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Displaying: 1-9 of 9 documents

1. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Winfried Nöth The Semiotics of Models
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The paper sheds light on the concept of model in ordinary language and in scientific discourse from the perspective of C. S. Peirce’s semiotics. It proposes a general Peircean framework for the definition of models of all kinds, including mental models. A survey of definitions of scientific models that have been influential in the philosophy of science and of the typologies proposed in this context is given. The author criticizes the heterogeneity of the criteria applied in these typologies and the lack of a semiotic foundation in typological distinctions between formal, symbolic, theoretical, metaphorical, and iconic models, among others. The paper argues that the application of Peirce’s subdivision of signs into the trichotomies of the sign itself, its object, and its interpretant can offer a deeper understanding of the nature of models. Semiotic topics in the focus of the paper are (1) the distinction between models as signs and (mental) models as the interpretants of signs; (2) models considered as a type (or legisign) and models considered as tokens (or replicas) of a type; (3) the iconicity of models, including diagrammatic and metaphorical icons; (4) the contribution of indices and symbols to the informativity of models; and (5) the rhetorical qualities of models in scientific discourse. The paper argues in conclusion that informative models are hybrid signs in which a diagram incorporates indices and symbols in a rhetorically efficient way.
2. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Jui-Pi Chien The Dual Essence of Pleasure: Willing, Imagining and Planning the Saussurean Sublime and Beautiful in Surviving Daunting Nature and Culture
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This study seeks to update and expand the models of mind and consciousness that Ferdinand de Saussure conceived for the appreciation of linguistic signs. As a response to his theorization of the dual essence of language (a mixture of sounds and concepts), this study proposes a theorization of pleasure and understanding (a blending of different perspectives) deriving from our engagement with daunting situations in nature and culture. To begin with, the author discusses current neuroimaging findings that reveal how we may gain from low-arousal emotions. Certain benefits have been recognized that increase the pleasure and delight we may obtain through conscientious mental work rather than via instincts and preferences. Thus, in this context, the Saussurean network of differences is seen to be capable of generating motivated neural links that function to adjust our viewpoints. Further, in light of Adolphe Pictet’s mingling of philosophical aesthetics and linguistics, this study corrects a misapplication of another Saussurean model (a conjunction of our perceptions of time and space, synchrony and diachrony) in appreciating the Kantian notions of imagination and the sublime. Instead of judging this model as a revelation of one single ideal viewpoint, Pictet’s approach invites us to appreciate it as the functioning of a rigorous yet practical mind that is capable of devising multiple and useful perspectives. Notions of the sublime, the ugly and the beautiful are therefore equated as legitimate viewpoints that we should draw on so as to survive dealing with daunting situations in nature and culture. Finally, this study unifies and fortifies the Saussurean models through aligning them with a phenomenological approach to our memories, sensations and perceptions. Such integration empowers our imagination and confidence while we are widening our horizons to invent larger contexts for our objects of inquiry. All in all, the author cherishes the Saussurean models as a combination of the linguistic, the aesthetic and the moral laws that altogether sharpen our way of devising rationales that may boost the wellbeing of the community.
3. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Leticia Vitral, João Queiroz The Epistemic Role of Intermedial Visual Artworks: An Analysis of the Photobooks Palast der Republik and Domesticidades
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This paper presents, describes and analyses two photobooks: Palast der Republik and Domesticidades. We claim that, because of their highly iconic features, they can be regarded as epistemic artefacts (models) since they reveal information about their objects, as well as about their own morphological properties. The analysis focuses on (i) the kind of relations the photobooks establish with their respective objects (we claim that it is a mainly-iconic relation) and (ii) on the semiotic couplings that can be found in them – a type of interaction between semiotic resources (such as photographs, maps, written texts, illustrations, among others). We contextualize this analysis in relation to both a semiotic and an intermedial background.Further, we claim that the epistemic role of such artworks is directly related to their material and structural features that constrain the possibilities of manipulation and reasoning upon them. We conclude by presenting some of the information that was revealed by the manipulation of these photobooks, claiming that the semiotic-artefactual approach to models can be an epistemically interesting conceptual frame to thinking about artistic artefacts.
4. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Ott Puumeister Surviving Finitude: Survival as a Constructed Foundation of Identity
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The article deals with the biopolitical underpinnings of the Estonian national identity construction which is analysed by concentrating on public media coverage of (1) the Estonian Population and Housing Census 2011; and (2) the passing of the Registered Partnership Act in 2014. The object of analysis is the discourse – or the manner of speaking – that becomes apparent in the discussion of these cases. It is called the discourse of survival, since the main aim of national identity construction is to ensure the perseverance and preservation of this identity. This enables us to insert political identity construction into a biopolitical framework in which the political subject is understood as a fundamentally finite living being. In conceptualizing biopolitical finitude and the accompanying need of survival as the logic of identity construction, the article suggests the semiotic logic of this type of identity process as auto-communicative solidification of identity that has a presentist temporal structure.
5. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Patrick Sériot Biology for Linguists: An Obstacle or a Royal Path to Concept Building?
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Exchanging models, metaphors and analogies between biology and linguistics is well known, and August Schleicher’s book Die Darwinsche Theorie und die Sprachwissenschaft (1863) is a typical work in this line of thought. Nonetheless, there is a “counter-mainstream” to this, which is less well known, but extremely interesting to follow: orthogenesis, an explicitly anti-Darwinian theory in biology, the consequences of which are fascinating to observe in the history of ideas in Soviet linguistics as well as in Russian emigre linguistics in the inter-war period. Here the names of Nikolaj Troubetzkoy and Roman Jakobson are of primary importance if we consider that they received most of their inspiration from Goethe’s ‘morphology’ (‘Formenlehre’) and Lev Berg’s ‘nomogenesis’. The discussion between Georges Cuvier and Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire in 1830 is also an important landmark to highlight the specificity of a Russian and Central European structuralism which is extremely different from Saussure’s.
6. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Zdzisław Wąsik Umwelt, Lebenswelt and Dasein Seen Through the Lens of a Subjective Experience of Reality
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Departing from estimations of existential universes of animals (umwelt) and humans (Lebenswelt and Dasein), this paper observes a number of views on the subjective experience, or modelling systems of reality, developed in the philosophy of nature and culture. The first part examines how the semantic relationships of nonhuman and human organisms with their environments are outlined in phenomenology as a study of individual experience from a subject-oriented perspective. Respectively, animals are admitted to have meaningful relations with actual things in observable reality through an outward extension of their bodies, but they are stated to lack direct access to things in themselves and to their various forms of being, because they cannot transcend the imprisonment in their surroundings. In the second part, exposing the mundane background of semiotic phenomenology, the existence modes of animal and human subjects are considered in terms of being-in-the-world as immanence and being-for-the-world as transcendence. Immanent subjects are seen as existing in their environments and transcendent subjects as being able to go beyond their Lebenswelten. In keeping with positively marked or unmarked interpretations of existence and life in the subjective universes of humans and animals, made by other philosophers and psychologists, the author arrives at a conclusion that the extension of the study of reality and the world might enrich the framework of existential semiotics if the organisms’ relations to the world they dwell in were considered from the viewpoint of their becoming in the world and the becoming of the world as a result of their interactions.
7. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Katalin Kroó, Peeter Torop Text Dynamics: Renewing Challenges for Semiotics of Literature
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The paper examines the problem of textual/cultural dynamics linked to the issue of semiotic literariness, to be further investigated by the authors in later papers on literary semiotics. This scientific project aims to get closer to reaching an adequate disciplinary identification for semiotics of literature and a relatively precise definition of the status of this field in relation to semiotics of culture. The first step for the project is to reveal the interrelationhip between text and culture using the notion of dynamics that can be reconstructed from a historical perspective through some essential components of Formalist and Structuralist theory (Tynyanov’s ‘function’, Jakobson’s ‘dominant’) and also works by Lotman (the ‘text–culture’ relationship) and Bakhtin (‘dialogue’). The notions of inclusiveness/integration, distancing and hierarchization, leading to transformation, are interpreted in some detail in the context of these theories. On these grounds, three basic categories of the analysability of textual/cultural dynamics are set up with the indication of further aspects of the dynamic function: (1) mediation; (2) transposition; (3) temporality–spatiality. The suggested classification and the implied conceptual segmentation are expected to contribute to a synthesis between “Structuralist” and Peircean theoretical and methodological orientations in semiotic literary studies. This also reveals the need for a coexistence of approaches (a) moving from particular cultural fields (literary culture tradition) towards general semiotics of culture, and (b) returning from universal transfield concepts to literary culture, including the historical traditions both in art (object-level) and its scientific interpretation (meta-level).
8. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Andreas Ventsel, Taras Boyko On the Analysis of Power and Politics from the Perspective of Juri Lotman’s Semiotics of Culture
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9. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Remo Gramigna A Report on the Symposium “Juri Lotman and Sociosemiotics” (Elva, Estonia, 19–20 May 2017)
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