Is A Cat A Cat? (Derrida + Double Dragon) – 8-Bit Philosophy


How do we know what “cat” means? Is it as simple as pointing at the animals we call cat, and then saying the word? 20th century philosopher,
Jacques Derrida, would say no. The word “cat” is not simply a reference to the furry, four legged creature that meows and is indifferent to your existence. In other words, we don’t get the meaning of “cats” so easily. Language is quite a bit more complicated Thinkers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle all ground thinking into belief that there is an objective truth that can be apprehended through philosophy. They understood philosophy as a
sort of journey where, through practice, the truth and falsity of our claims
are eventually revealed. For Derrida, however, privilege in reason as the way to achieve objective truth is itself problematic. Deconstruction is a way of showing that our assumptions about language and objectivity are flawed. There is no reference point outside of text. No way to think outside of language. No correct and true word for actions or object. There is no objective truth. There is no significance in the words themselves. Calling a jump kick a snarflag, a punch a flipflam, a guy abobo, or a cat znutigunrgk jax
is just as good as any other word. In his loquacious work of grammatology, Derrida famously asserts that
there is nothing outside of the text. What he means is that we come to understand everything about the world through language. And as such, it is inescapable. The way that we come to know language isn’t from an encounter with the true essence of a term, but rather the meaning is
created in relation to other words, or what Derrida calls diffèrance. For example, we know what cat means because we understand the idea of feline, domestic, animal, and pet. We understand pet as not feral, as a friend. We understand friend as not an enemy. We comprehend enemy as an opposing force. We know that by force, in this instance, we don’t mean the multiplication of mass and acceleration, but rather an entity or person, and we comprehend person as not an animal, as not a… as not a cat. Each concept points to another
concept we define ad infinitum, the meaning of a term turtles all the way down. Moreover, all text is unreliable. There is no single or objective meaning of words. Most text contains conflicting narratives that intersect and contradict. Deconstruction points out these contradictions. And that is how deconstruction is both construction and destruction, hense the word play. But when does deconstruction end? Really, isn’t a cat just a cat?

100 thoughts on “Is A Cat A Cat? (Derrida + Double Dragon) – 8-Bit Philosophy

  1. we know what a cat is, but to say what it is we need words, to explain this words we need more words. he talks about the act of explain something like it is the act to understand something. what it is not.

  2. This explains why, when people learn a second language and stop speaking their first one, their perception of the world changes. Language structure affects thought patterns.

  3. I think he criticises the way of living going hand in hand with the way of this perception of "reality". In german I would say "Schubladendenken", because I don't know if "drawer thinking" is an english term. While you recognise a cat, you put it in a drawer to some other cats, pets etc.. But how would someone describe the notion, that he thinks the current drawer organization, or even the whole drawer system might be flawed, I don't know how radical he way on that topic. But I think he had something against the whole build up of our language. Which was more a 18th and 19th century romanticism thing. Nowadays with the "religionification" of science (science vs. religion; there was a time when science and religion was one and the same, slowly but steady "science" has created a kind of cult following, similar to "other religions"), those constructs are not attacked, since science tries to prove how they are not a religion and try to separate itself via (new) words and their ("new") meaning. Pretty much the same applies to political debates. The democrats want to seperate them from the republicans and vice versa, the leftist from the rightwing and vice versa, etc.
    Which settles the argument of our structure of language, since all major spiritual authorities say it's good like it is. But how do they know? Maybe because of convenience. Because it worked so well in the past. But did it? How many of the past mistakes, are based on flawed communications, misunderstandings or misuse of the current form of communication? I don't know and I don't know if there is a form, which is unmisusable or basically perfect. But I don't see any great try to make it better. Why? Because it has been so great in the past.

    We've almost all accepted this form of communication, but we see it changing. Maybe because unconsciously our collective "knows" that it has to be improved (evolution of language).

  4. Maybe I'm not grasping it but I feel like Derrida is right if you don't include context. Context helps makes sense of words, right?

  5. What the hell? No we don't understand things through language. Language is associative. Most of out thoughts are in the form of memories of sensory information. This is why we need to gain experience and learn the words.

  6. Blackadder Baldric dogsbody Dictionary CAT – is not the dog. and Letter C (C-sea) is blue wobbling thing there fishes live. You see everything is simple by baldric view no paradoxes.

  7. Like money, its just an agreed upon term that we use so that we can communicate. If there was only ever one consciousness in the world that never died then language would serve no use. There is no objective "word" for cat.

  8. 8-bit philosophy has made me question so many things I've understood as truths, and made me question my very existence on many occasions. Seriously, life is complicated XD

  9. this video is making me picture historic philosophers as characters from JoJo's Bizarre adventure… just imagine plato shouting "ZA WORLDO" and then crushing karl marx under a steam roller and you will understand my feelings about this situation

  10. I showed this video to my cat, Derrida. She meowed six times to tell me that my phone can not be as a sign of an established sign, and only a signifier. Then she tore apart my copy of the purloined letter, and shit in her litter box, which we now just call a Lacan in light of these recent troubling events.

  11. While I think we can't isolate something as something (identity) without having something to contrast it with (difference), language only has meaning as part of an embodied way of life, the meaning of words not being independent from a whole history of using the language – that is, the whole history of a culture of people interacting with one another. Even in learning the language, learning requires a history of embodied engagement in order to learn it. Because language is fundamentally IS interaction between human beings, who are embodied beings living in cultural communities within an environment, meaning of words can never be MERELY reference – and yet simultaneously must, by virtue of our embodiment, be GROUNDED IN REALITY.

  12. Hey Nerds, I got an idea for a show on your channel. It's called "Never-Ending-Arguments" and it's what happens when Derrida encounters PC Culture

  13. well these days the "truth" only exists to fit one's narrative if seen beneficial. Also Derrida knew that words and definitions were descriptive, not prescriptive. There could never be a definitive definition for any word because the way culture works is that words meaning varies from culture to culture. However, I do wonder in this age of language and discourse among people about language, what would have to say about that? For example what would Derrida say about political correctness? would he find it meaningless, because one word could have different meanings based on culture? could some help me answer this, I would love the help.

  14. If you follow that line of thinking to its conclusion though, you just end up at,
    “We don't know anything.”
    Which I'm not terribly impressed by, coming from a philosopher.

    The only useful thing which really comes out of this is that you should learn another language,
    but I just don't feel like it was ever his intention to take us there.

  15. Making up random words to replace other words isn't just as good unless more than one person uses them or has used them in the past. Otherwise, it's not a language, just nonsense.

  16. Never thought I'd laugh so much at something that has anything to do with Derrida and his deconstruction. This was really helpful and funny.

  17. Alright. I usually think of this as try to pay attention point
    But it is only because my colonial ass ears
    Recon. Deredas but. The spelling is a
    Bit out my ken.

  18. This is the grisle. Of existentialism.
    Essentially we sort of mull over our various fears.
    Collect them. For later I suppose.

  19. This is the grisle. Of existentialism.
    Essentially we sort of mull over our various fears.
    Collect them. For later I suppose.
    So, that's what I think Jesuits mot have been
    Being German Lutheran I simply did not care"

  20. Derrida makes, in my view, many mistakes through this idea, but biggest one I would argue, is confusing the boundaries of language, that is how we communicate and express things, to their actual value outside of human presence.

  21. "Furry, four-legged creature that meows and is indifferent to your existence" … I must be a cat, then.

  22. I like the kill at the end of the video. Yes, cat is just a cat. It is a social agreement that refers to a category. And yes cat belongs to other categories too, so what? It was just useful for society to have this word.

  23. We can totally think in terms that are not words. We just can't talk about it without words, because words are the best way we have come up with for communication. There may be a time in the future when we invent brain-to-brain interface, and then words will be rendered obsolete.

    You could expand the idea to include not words alone, but all mental constructs, and you would have a fair point. But you would have no basis to claim there is no way that concepts can be grounded in objective reality, and you can make the case that it is statistically more likely that they are than that there is no objective reality.

  24. This is how a philosopher tries to explain Gödel's incompleteness theorems without using mathematical terms.

    Maybe because of not having a clue about Math, or maybe because he did not even know the fact that this had already been described and proven independently on that field, and published in 1931 when Derrida was a baby.

    All those comments saying that Derrida (whose name I had not heard until tonight) is inherently wrong and his point stupid, are either missing Derrida's point entirely, misunderstanding it, or rejecting it following an obsolete dogma, like if they were defending their position against the existence of the number zero.

  25. Words do not create concepts, they presuppose them. A cat is a cat even if you call it something else. The word that is used is not what matters here, but rather correctly recognizing what the thing is.

  26. Why would the absence of language equal to the absence of objectivity truth? Who say thats the truth is based on language, thats just stupid.

  27. When you watch a small jumping spider hunt, there does seem to be something going on behind that cute face. If we can know the thoughts of other creatures, we can solve this issue.

  28. It's like finding the definition/meaning of a word in a dictionary and subsequently finding another from that same def/mea … the 'eternal' inter-play of the sign by means of its signifiers/signifieds.

  29. When I use the word "cat" I am indeed referring to a cat with the assumption that whomever I am conversing with, also recognize that sound as a reference to a cat, unless context dictates otherwise. I use this word, not because of some "true" essence, but because we have as a society agreed that the sound "cat" (and it's written word) refer to the animal. So I disagree

  30. Yes, words are effectively arbitrary in what they refer to. Yes, the meaning of words is learned by their relation to other words. However, that doesn't mean we can't know what a cat is. We all agree that Mr Whiskers is a cat, save for insane people and those who are being excessively pedantic like Derrida.

  31. AS AN APPLIED LINGUIST M.ED : I'll ad: this is COOL but inaccessible to people like me — I am a millennial, working-class intellectual and while this is certainly FUN to watch, it does not do the form nor the concepts justice. NO I AM NOT A FAN OF DERRIDA, BUT I THINK HIS CONCEPTS ARE IMPORTANT IN LINGUISTICS, OK? thank you! <3

  32. This is really interesting. I always rely upon the written word to explain what I am thinking or feeling better than actually speaking. So, this idea that we only live in text and must rely on context within the text because we see things with multiple meanings intrigues me.

  33. Isn't it self defeating ? To say deconstruction is true while affirming that you just deconstructed that statement ? If words have no real meaning then the mantra doesn't either. Thus it doesn't prove anything.
    I find it abusive to suggest such a deconstructive claim using the very same system structuralist use… It's hypocrisy..

    Also it seems to me that words to not refer endlessly to other words in a chain. At some point today the sign stops because of the logos.

  34. Interested in philosophy? Do you seek Truth? Discover the Universal language. Check out Hyperianism. https://youtu.be/2RlLjYfvC4w

  35. Daddy, can you say "Derrida" one more time, the way you say it makes my gigaboner blood-filled like vampire teeth.

  36. Derrida after losing an argument:
    "Well I don't care… words are stupid anyway…."
    * stomps away and pouts *

  37. Ideas exist independently as entities. We attach words to them sure. Every language is different though. Just how like German or Japanese might have a term for a unique emotion and feeling we may not have in English. Or Arabic or Greek May have a noun describing a type of person. Just exemplary it’s like bubbles of stuff we all try to catch with our own languages. Some share the same bubbles and some have their own

  38. I don't believe "four letter words" are mere coincidence. The F-word for example is a very satisfying expletive.

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