The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 19, Issue 1/4, 2003

Special Issue on Gregory Bateson

Corey Anton
Pages 127-152

Playing with Bateson
Denotation, Logical Types, and Analog and Digital Communication

Gregory Bateson’s work on play led him to conclude that paradox is the ground of propositions and denotation. Working through the concepts of analog and digital communication, logical typing problems, and various dimensions of “framing” and meta-discourse, I broadly illustrate how what Bateson came to call “the paradoxes of abstraction” inevitably arise within denotative utterances. In addressing the root paradoxes of framing and denotation which Bateson’s work on play identified and sought to elucidate, this manuscript outlines and advances some of Bateson’s main contributions to communication theory.