The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 38, Issue 1/4, 2022

Esteban Céspedes, Miguel Ángel Fuentes
Pages 1-25

A Dynamic Model of Delimited Infinite Semiosis

Although it is broadly accepted that semantic interpretation depends on various kinds of conditions, it is still a big challenge to provide an account of meaning that clarifies how the plurality of meaning structures can be stabilized. In this paper, we analyze the ambiguity of interpretive processes, proposing a model that schematizes the mechanisms that can lead to the arrest of so-called unlimited semiosis. Although we elaborate our analysis mainly on the grounds of Eco’s account of unlimited semiosis, we would also like to put an emphasis on Peirce’s notion of habit, in order to tackle some relevant issues concerning it. Our proposal defines conceptual dynamics in topological terms. It shows how a recursive mechanism within semiosis can generate a basin of conceptual attraction, allowing the understanding of a phenomenon that is traditionally studied in a very qualitative way: how infinite semiosis can serve in different contexts of discourse. The basic idea can be applied to systems that process information in general, and the resulting conclusions are in principle applicable to texts, works of art, oral messages, and any sign or set of signs