Deconstruction is a term introduced by French philosopher Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher, born in French Algeria. He developed the critical theory known as deconstruction and his work has been labeled as post-structuralism and associated with postmodern philosophy...

 in his 1967 book Of Grammatology
Of Grammatology
De la grammatologie is a book by French philosopher Jacques Derrida, first published in 1967 by Les Éditions de Minuit. Of Grammatology, the English translation by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, was first published in 1976 by Johns Hopkins University Press...

. Although he carefully avoided defining the term directly, he sought to apply Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."...

's concept of Destruktion or Abbau, to textual reading. Heidegger's term referred to a process of exploring the categories and concepts that tradition has imposed on a word, and the history behind them. Derrida opted for deconstruction over the literal translation destruction to suggest precision rather than violence.

In describing deconstruction, Derrida famously observed that "there is nothing outside the text." That is to say, all of the references used to interpret a text are themselves texts, even the "text" of reality as a reader knows it.