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1. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 1/2
Dario Martinelli, Introduction—A Manifesto For “New Humanities”
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2. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 1/2
Marija Liudvika Drazdauskiene, Questionable Foundations and Quality in the Humanities
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Information, knowledge and understanding, history/tradition and novelty, fashion and science, show business and intellectual product are the contexts to review in order to answer the question why humanities have been losing credibility and have come under the hammer. The present article, informed by philosophers like Bertrand Russell and Mary Midgley, authors like Charles K. Ogden and Ivor A. Richards, semioticians like Algirdas Greimas and Roland Barthes and classical English literature, argue that the problem originates between the continuity of thought and indoctrination, between the stance of Rectors of universities and henchmen in the politics of market economy, and it is best exemplified by the caricature of humanities in some universities resulting from the implementation of the courses of technical skills. Knowing that humanities have been prized for intellectual attainment (Lincoln Barnett, Paul Goodman), their precarious state seems to depend on unbalanced philosophical, ethical, educational and economic principles. With economy being the factor which is hard to dispute, political and ethical principles tend to invite a revision because of a traceable tendency to promote the production of the manageable rather than the enlightened.
3. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 1/2
Ricardo Nogueira De Castro Monteiro, Numanities and Their Role in the Twenty-First Century: Three Questions Towards a New Era
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Despite the unquestionable importance of technological progress in twenty-first-century society, the decision by many political leaders worldwide to treat natural sciences as an almost exclusive priority betrays a terrible misconception of the complexity of the contemporary world. As the Renaissance cannot be reduced to Copernicus’s or Galileo’s brilliant contributions, or Enlightenment to the works of such giants as Newton and Cavendish, contemporary society will hardly be remembered as just a series of amazing software and gadget updates. There are three categories of questions today that only humanities are prone to answer. The first one, exploring the relations between subject and object mediated by the meaning of “property”, ultimately concerns the discussion between legality and legitimacy. Not long ago, teenagers were still being sued by the giants of the Entertainment Industry for downloading songs, and the practice of mash-ups or remixing even now arouses huge polemics. The second one, focused on the self-representations of the subject, concerns the changing meanings (and representations) of identity and cultural borders in a globalizing world. Finally, the inter-subjective interactions are the centre of the political tensions between democracy and demagogy, two opposed categories that have often been presented as hardly distinguishable from each other.
4. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 1/2
Seema Khanwalkar, Humanities in the Digital World / Or Digital in the Humanities?
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“Humanities in the digital age”, more than a topic, is today a genre in itself: an academic anxiety, a compromise, an opportunity for a new epoch, or the demise of a traditional ability to introspect. Browsing the literature on debates, research, experiments and future is overwhelming, and every other day we witness the closing down of a traditional humanities subject, or we see funding being diverted to the technological experiments in humanities. It becomes imperative to engage with this revolution, also called ‘digital humanities’. What to do in the wake of this new epoch? Do we resist, not ‘serving’ the system, or do we participate in creating a new digital humanities experience? The answer is difficult, particularly in the context of future generations who, as ‘digital natives’, cannot look back. There is merit to the anxieties with regard to the neo-capitalist enterprises that threaten to obliterate the fundamental tenets of the humanities. At a crossroads today are the academic departments, but at ease with new technologies are the younger generations. This article is one step towards discovering views, stating pros and cons, and looking into the kaleidoscopic spread of the humanities in the digital world. Or the digital in the humanities world … only future will tell.
5. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 1/2
Dario Martinelli, Lina Navickaitė-Martinelli, Musical Performance As an Intermedial Affair (A Case of a Pianist)
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The professional profile of a performer does not only consist of mere music playing, but calls into question a number of variables of private and public, musical and extra-musical articulation. Performers have their own personality and inclinations; they are exposed to different forms of education and influences; they develop certain technical and stylistic abilities; they find certain repertoires more suitable than others; they confront themselves with composers and their requests/indications; they have to take into account social demands to given repertoires; they also, intentionally or not, develop a public persona; finally, and particularly nowadays, they create a number of media interfaces that allow the public to access all the previously-listed features. The present article focuses on new media communication, particularly “official websites”, as one of such media interfaces (and one of the most important ones, in present-day society): the various semiotic strategies of visual, linguistic and audiovisual representation of this medium will be applied to the case of the Lithuanian pianist Andrius Žlabys.
6. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 1/2
Laura García-Portela, Our Responsibility to Future Generations in the Context of Ecological Crisis: Perspectives and Future Challenges
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The present article aims to present how the different philosophical perspectives have tackled the problem of the foundations of our responsibility to future generations in the context of ecological crisis. The main theories addressed here will be Hans Jonas metaphysical foundation, utilitarianism, communitarianism, the rights theory and contractarian perspectives derived from John Rawls’s theory. By assessing these perspectives, I assert that, against jonasianianism and related perspectives, our responsibilities to future generations must be thought of in terms of “political, not metaphysical”. The foundation of these responsibilities must be based, not on God, nor compassion, nor benevolence, nor identity sentiments, but on a conception of ourselves as rational and reasonable persons. From my point of view, we must find our responsibilities to future generations in our respect for their necessities and interests as well as in the maintenance of their available opportunities. This point of view allows us to point out some of our future challenges in the intergenerational justice scope.
7. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 1/2
Massimo Leone, Help! Is There a Semiotician on the Plane?
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“Please, we urgently need a semiotician!” is certainly not the most common request heard in a situation of emergency, yet a time may come when we realize that there are cases that a physician (or another scientist) cannot effectively deal with.Two passengers fight over the same space on a plane, to the point that the pilot is obliged to land and have the two contenders get off at the closest airport. Each of the humanities has a specific way to frame and seek to find a less disrupting solution to the problem. The present article argues that the specific contribution semiotics can and must give to present-day societies is that of providing discursive evidence that problems that fall in the domain of language cannot be solved by technology, no matter how smart it might be, but rather can be solved only via communication as such: talking, compromising, finding agreements.
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8. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 1/2
About the Authors
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9. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/4
John N. Deely (26 April 1942–2017 January 7)
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10. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/4
Richard Currie Smith, Introduction by the Guest Editor
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