Among the terms Jacques Derrida employs in his deconstructive critique of Western philosophy, of what he calls the "metaphysics of presence," are logocentrism and differance (1978: 279–80). Logocentrism is "the orientation of philosophy toward an order of meaning – thought, truth, reason, logic, the Word – conceived as existing in itself, as foundation" (Curler 1982: 92).1 Derrida, who denies the existence of such a foundation, points out that every mental or phenomenal event is a product of difference, is defined by its relation to what it is not rather than by its essence. If nothing can legitimately claim to possess a stable, autonomous identity, then there is nothing which can be invested with the authority of logos. In his discussions of language and linguistics, Derrida refers frequently to Saussure's double hypothesis that because the relationship between signifier and signified is arbitrary, the production of meaning derives from the interaction of linguistic units, not from additive arrangements of nuggets of meaning contained in words.2