The lectures that Ferdinand de Saussure gave at the University of Geneva (1907-1913) constituted a breakthrough in how we perceive the relationship between language and thought. Whereas, up until this point, thought was generally considered to precede language, Saussure argued that language and thought constituted each other, and could not be separated. Indeed, in a famous metaphor, he likened language and thought to the recto and verso of a piece of paper: one cannot cut what is on one side without cutting what is on the other. Saussure’s linguistic theories would later constitute a major influence on Western thought, and particularly on the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, the phenomenological philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty,…

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Mevel, Pierre-Alexis. "Ferdinand de Saussure". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 May 2008
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]

Articles on Saussure's works

  1. Cours de linguistique générale [Course in General Linguistics]

Related Groups

  1. Structuralism