The Poststructualist Sign

A poststructualist theorist to the core, Derrida bases much of the theory explicated in Dissemination on the process of infinite semiosis--the endless reproduction of signs. The concept of difference is quite useful in drawing out this process, which explains how scission leads to both dissemination and trace. It is no coincidence that infinite semiosis resembles biological mitosis in cell organisms, particularly viruses (even by the name). This is precisely the metaphor that Derrida shoots for in Dissemination. The way by which a virus reproduces itself is eerily comparable to differance. In order to procreate, a virus must first invade a normal cell. After that, the cell replicates with the virus inside it, and every cell generated thereafter will continue to contain the infection. The important lines of correspondence in this scenario are drawn between 1) the mitotic split and "scission," which results in the propagation of more distinct, autonomous signs 2) and the persistence of the virus, which is analogous to the enduring trace that unveils the filial relationships between signs. Much like with the virus, both these functions, bound together in différance, are necessary circumstances for meaning to exist and proliferate.

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