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Glossary for Thinking on Space Art 6


Written and translated by Taketoshi Murayama

Original translation is rewritten by Michiko Takahashi Christofis


   Jacques Derrida


(1930-2004)    French philosopher


Edmund Husserl
Ferdinand de Saussure

On the basis of phenomenology of Edmund Husserl (1859-1938 German philosopher) and linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure (1859-1913 Swiss linguist), while criticizing the limit of both, Derrida tried to conquer both synthetically. He is regarded as a standard-bearer of so-called post structuralism. He was the philosopher who always had polemic consciousness, and his lifetime posture was the relative-ization of metaphysics which can be realized with logos as an idea. Metaphysics, by his definition, is not only the one which is given a classical meaning confined to the scholasticism but also what can be seen here and there easily in the everyday life dimension. For example, if some individual makes him/herself quasi-godhood and forces his/her statement upon some group as a tenet which is unnecessary to be proved, a small-scale metaphysics exists there. In other words, metaphysics is like a habit which inheres in the consideration of human being universally and has possibility to grow a seed to cause forcible dictatorship.

Auguste Comte

It is existentialism (cf. glossary of "The World of Teruo Sato") that led a resistance to the traditional metaphysics. However, regarding Existence as sacred and inviolable has the danger of falling to be a huge metaphysics itself. This resembles the philosophy of Isidore Auguste Marie Francois Comte (1798-1857 French philosopher) which created the dogmatism of human religion while criticizing the unreasonableness of religion, and also resembles the corruption of communism which produced the worst privileged bureaucrat contrary to its goal, human equality.

Therefore, the criticism of existentialism raised by structuralism must not be forgotten. As structuralism only thinks of the unified system of ex-consciousness in which time is eliminated, itfs immune to the danger of creating metaphysics, but insufficient as a viewpoint of living human being. If it is so, the theory of structuralism itself will never meet metaphysics, and for this reason, paradoxically, there is even another danger of becoming a complement of it; it is obvious from such example that a simple scientist who is easily taken in by a visionary tenet of cult religion becomes a cats-paw of it. As a methodological viewpoint to expose these new dangers, Derrida reached a way of thinking called " Deconstruction ".

As seen above, the frame of thought which he tried to put forward was a new synthesized form of the present-day philosophy. He was a great herald who tried to establish truly intellectual liberty by means of critical cross-verifying of metaphysics and science in intelligent activities of human being, without sticking to either of them while constantly realizing their limits and relation.

(Written and translated by Taketoshi Murayama. Original translation is rewritten by Michiko Takahashi Christofis)


 The act of symbol


The act of communicating meanings or matters through an object. Its meaning is not contained in the object (the means of communication) itself, but is given by the habitual practices of some culture or the inference of the concept knowledgeable about the culture. In this site, the term is used to make contrast with "the word" which has the same function. "The word" links the sign with the meaning, and "the symbol" joins the object to the meaning. The picture is the art which uses the power of the symbol most effectively.

(Written and translated by Taketoshi Murayama. Original translation is rewritten by Michiko Takahashi Christofis)



Stephane Mallarme
Arthur Rimbaud
Paul Verlaine

Generally in the art including the picture, this term indicates the posture to place a symbol in the center of expression and to utilize its power to the maximum. It emerged in the poems of Stephane Mallarme (1842-1898 French poet), Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891 French poet), and Paul Verlaine (1844-1896 French poet) as the reaction to the naturalism and the modern science in France in the 1880s; then spread to the pictorial domain as well denying description of the

Gustave Moreau

Pierre Puvis de
Odilon Redon

appearance but forming tendency to depict the inner world. Gustave Moreau (1826-1898 French painter) who was the mentor of Henri Matisse and Georges Rouault, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824-1898 French painter), Odilon Redon (1840-1916 French painter), etc. are reckoned as representative painters.

(Written and translated by Taketoshi Murayama. Original translation is rewritten by Michiko Takahashi Christofis)

    Jacques Lacan

(1901-1981)    French psychoanalyst, philosopher


Sigmund Freud

Lacan developed the psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939 Austrian psychoanalyst) from the position of structuralism. A representative of Freud school in Paris. Freud's psychoanalysis tried to investigate the motive which causes widely from psychopathology of human being to a social phenomenon by means of dynamism which occurs in the frame of psychology of individuals such as ego, es, and superego. On the other hand, Lacan introduced the other person along with ego, and further created a complicated mutual relation by dividing each into two which he named: The Real, The Imaginary, and The Symbolic. Then, he particularly thought much of the contrast of image supporting The Imaginary and symbol guiding The Symbolic. It was an excellent methodology in foreseeing the individual innerness and human relations in well-balanced situation

Carl Jung

besides avoiding the individual existence from being buried in aggregation, contrary to the way adopted by Carl Jung (1875-1961 Swiss psychologist) which brought the aggregate to unconsciousness level, and fully objectifying psychology of the individual. Freud's viewpoint of evolution and biology, on the other hand, was eliminated.

For Lacan, image in The Imaginary and symbol in The Symbolic become the most important binominal confrontation which ties structuralism with psychoanalysis. He applied concrete examples, such as infant and adult, barbarian and civilized person,  animal and human being, to this confrontation. Although it is not clear that to what extent he was aware of this, it is not deniable that the predominance of European civilization and contemptuous looks to the barbarian were uncritically hidden behind those examples. Also, it may be a natural consequence that the superiority of human being to animal is criticized as it unconsciously presupposes the concepts of Christian Personal God and Creation by God; it is proved with circumstantial evidences such that his symbol is not a product of evolution nor what is found out empirically from a material existence, but is something given as self-evident inherence.

It would be another matter if he had developed psychoanalysis critically as a theologian. But since he claimed such an idea unconditionally based on the scientific of psychoanalysis, he should have explained about the contradiction occurring between his theoretical premise and science. In fact, he did not execute this task. Consequently, this self-contradiction was refuted by  Jacques Derrida (1930-2004 French philosopher).

(Written and translated by Taketoshi Murayama. Original translation is rewritten by Michiko Takahashi Christofis)

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