Okay so I'm going to have a very hard time trying to convey what I want to because I myself am unsure on how to frame this question.

Is there any philosophical branch that deals with 'binarial' nature of the universe? Is there any reference or book on something which tries to explain where someone must've proposed the idea of two possible outcomes to any action? Left right, up down, positive negative, possible not possible, alive dead and etc etc....

I'm really really sorry but I am unable to find anything on this and I am curious to know how philosophers read into this concept..

  • There is an extensive literature. Most of it comes under the heading of 'mysticism' since the Perennial philosophy is all about groking that we live in a dualistic world of opposites. Consider the sound of one hand clapping......
    – user20253
    Oct 1, 2018 at 11:53
  • In my opinion, your question is very similar to the philosophical trend - Dualism. Check out this direction ... Oct 2, 2018 at 19:15

1 Answer 1


You might care to take Derrida and deconstruction as a starting point.

Western thought, says Derrida, has always been structured in terms of dichotomies or polarities: good vs. evil, being vs. nothingness, presence vs. absence, truth vs. error, identity vs. difference, mind vs. matter, man vs. woman, soul vs. body, life vs.death, nature vs. culture, speech vs. writing. ( Jacques Derrida, Dissemination, trans. by Barbara Johnson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), Translator's Introduction, p. x.)

These opposites, however, have not been seen as equal entities. The second term is always put in the position of being a fallen or corrupted version of the first. Thus evil is the lack of good, absence is the lack of presence, error is a distortion of truth, and difference is an obstruction of identity. The two terms are not held in an opposing tension but are placed in a hierarchical order which gives the first term priority both in time and quality. The general result has been the privileging of unity, identity, and temporal and spatial presence over diversity, difference, and deferment in space and time. (Harold G. Coward, '"Speech versus Writing" in Derrida and Bhartṛhari', Philosophy East and West, Vol. 41, No. 2 (Apr., 1991), pp. 141-162 : 142-3.)

Derrida is not an easily accessible writer without a guide, so at least I have found. I suggest you approach him first through a commentary :

Julian Wolfreys, Derrida: A Guide for the Perplexed, ISBN 10: 0826486010 / ISBN 13: 9780826486011 Published by Continuum, 2007.

Christopher Johnson, Derrida (The Great Philosophers), ISBN 10: 0753801841 / ISBN 13: 9780753801840 Published by W&N 1997-10-27, 1997.

Christopher Norris, Derrida (Fontana Modern Masters), ISBN 10: 0006860575 / ISBN 13: 9780006860570 Published by Fontana Press, 1987.

Jack Reynolds, ed., Understanding Derrida, ISBN 10: 0826473164 ISBN 13: 9780826473165 Publisher: Continuum, 2004.

Online searches for 'Derrida' and 'deconstruction' may also be helpful, now that you know what to look for.


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