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The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 31, Issue 1/2, 2015
Tasks for Semiotic Research

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Displaying: 1-7 of 7 documents

1. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 31 > Issue: 1/2
Thomas F. Broden, A. J. Greimas: Education, Convictions, Career
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This article describes the upbringing and education of the semiotician A. J. Greimas (1917–1992) and explores how they contributed to shaping his subsequent life of ideas. An initial narrative characterizes the linguistic and cultural context in which he grew up, relates his schooling in Lithuania, and details his university studies in 1930s France. This account highlights the individuals, methods, authors, and books of his youth which proved particularly significant for him. A longer second section then synthesizes the experiences recounted. Four cultural and intellectual traditions played a leading role in Greimass development: Lithuanian, Slavic, Germanic, and French. He took a particular interest in poetry, the Middle Ages, philosophy, history, modernism, and philology. The essay inquires into the ways in which these heritages, arts, and topics informed the ensuing evolution of his outlook, his ideas, and his career.
2. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 31 > Issue: 1/2
André De Tienne, The Flow of Time and the Flow of Signs: A Basis for Peirce's Cosmosemiotics
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Peirce nurtured a lifelong interest in the mathematics, metaphysics, and logic of time. For him, time was the primal form of continuum, and he studied it as such. That study is fundamentally connected to Peirce’s semiotic and metaphysical exploration of the continuum of consciousness. In this paper I will use two successive approaches to answer the question “To what extent does the flow of time regulate the flow of signs and the flow of signs influence or determine the flow of time?” I will first examine Peirce’s views concerning the connection between time, the flow of perception, and the emergence of perceptual judgments. I will then apply several resulting distinctions (between first- and second-intentional processes, between poneception and anteception, and between two distinct temporal directions) to show how they illuminate the mutual determination of time and semiosis in Peirce’s mature semiotic theory. I will finish with considerations about how Peirce ended up viewing the genealogy of both time and logic in relation to the birth of a semiotic universe.
3. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 31 > Issue: 1/2
Susan Petrilli, Identity Today and the Critical Task of Semioethics
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The critical task of semioethics implies recognition of the common condition of dialogical interrelation and the capacity for listening, where dialogue does not imply a relation we choose to concede thanks to a sense of generosity towards the other, but on the contrary is no less than structural to life itself, a necessary condition for life to flourish, an inevitable imposition. With specific reference to anthroposemiosis, semioethics focuses on the concrete singularity of the human individual and the inevitability of intercorporeal interconnection with others. The singular uniqueness of each one of us implies otherness and dialogism. Semioethics assumes that whatever the object of study and however specialized the analysis, human individuals in their concrete singularity cannot ignore the inevitable condition of involvement in the destiny of others, that is, involvement without alibis. From this point of view, the symptoms studied from a semioethical perspective are not only specified in their singularity, on the basis of a unique relationship with the other, the world, self, but are above all social symptoms. Any idea, wish, sentiment, value, interest, need, evil or good examined by semioethics as a symptom is expressed in the word, the unique word, the embodied word, in the voice which arises in the dialectic and dialogical interrelation between singularity and sociality.
4. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 31 > Issue: 1/2
Horst Ruthrof, Sufficient Semiosis
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The paper argues for sufficient semiosis as a comprehensive set of constraints within which language functions. As a generalisation of Leibniz’s sufficient reason, sufficient semiosis replaces truth-conditional semantics. The paper opens with a series of ontological commitments about language, that sentence-types have only token potential, sentence-tokens have no more than meaning potential, and that only utterances can have meaning. This is so, the paper claims, because natural language always requires two fundamental ingredients to operate: aboutness and its modification by voice. Sufficient semiosis is then elaborated as a set of social constraints at all levels, phonetic, syntactic, lexical, and discursive, in both habitual and interpretive use. In contrast, truth-conditional semantics can be shown to be parasitic on meaning construction via hypoiconic, diagrammatical schematizations and so rests on a not so well-disguised petitio principii. Peirce’s hypoiconic interpretant is also employed in arguing that semantic identity and ideality are unwarranted imports into the analysis of language. Instead, the paper foregrounds intersubjective mentalism as an inevitable consequence of a Peircean approach to language. In conclusion, the paper rejects the popular idea that language is a symbolic system in favour of a heterosemiotic explanation.
in brief
5. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 31 > Issue: 1/2
James Bryson, On G. E. R. Lloyd’s Being, Humanity, and Understanding
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6. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 31 > Issue: 1/2
Adam A. Ferguson, Dreams of Signification: Inception, Source Code, and “The Library of Babel”
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While the films Inception and Source Code both hinge on questions of the unconscious/subconscious psyche through dreams, three broader questions emerge: What do the dreams signify; whom do they signify; and how do they signify? Such signification is rooted in a Saussurean understanding of semiosis and semiology. In this sense, dreams are the Deleuzean network that mediate between “words and things, and from bodies to appellations,” insofar as the boundaries between the linguistic/textual and the embodied/corporeal are porous—the relationship between signifier and signified is broken. Using Borges’ short stories “The Library of Babel” and “Ragnarök” as framework, this paper will argue that these psychic phenomena are rooted in a fundamental play between textuality and corporeality, as well as questions of inter-character relationships, agency, and ultimately, how such comes together to define identity in the (post)modern moment.
about the authors
7. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 31 > Issue: 1/2
About the Authors
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