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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 46, Issue 2/3, 2018

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Displaying: 1-10 of 14 documents

1. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2/3
Aleksandar Feodorov Peirce’s garden of forking metaphors
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The philosophic system of the founder of pragmatism Charles Sanders Peirce is rarely grasped from the point of view of its metaphoric usage. However, some of his most original yet often misunderstood and contested ideas such as those of ‘matter as effete mind’ and ‘the play of musement’ are metaphoric representations. In the present paper I am offering a new way to discuss the role of metaphors in Peirce’s philosophy by taking a twofold approach to the problem. On the one hand, metaphor itself becomes an object of inquiry. I touch upon the appearances of metaphoric thinking at the level of his classes of signs and metaphor’s relation to abductive inference. I trace those appearances in the process of their becoming from the spontaneity of Firstness towards the actuality of Secondness via the generalizing effects of Thirdness. Then I propose a flexible graphic model of metaphor that is parallel to Peirce’s inherent evolutionism. This model is seen as a “gentle” methodological tool for deriving meaning. To illustrate its applicability I include a playful nod to the literary works of Jorge Luis Borges to show how hard logical thought and aesthetic beauty complement each other.
2. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2/3
George Rossolatos Impossibly good looks: A pragma-ontological approach to unearthing the latent rhetorical structure of anti-ageing advertising discourse
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This paper aims at unearthing the appeals, the argumentative schemes and the modes of rhetorical configuration that make up the rhetorical structure of the anti-ageing skin care product category’s print advertising discourse. To this end, the pragma-ontological approach is put forward as an offshoot of the pragma-dialectical perspective in rhetorical analysis and criticism. The pragma-ontological approach adds interpretative depth to the overt argumentation structure of anti-ageing products’ ads on the grounds of fundamental ontology/existential phenomenology. The analysis points to three levels where the ads’ arguments function: an overt level and two covert ones. On the overt level the ads function against the background of mixed ethos/pathos/logos appeals that buttress an argumentation scheme from values. On a primary covert level, the ads appear to be functioning through an indirect appeal to fear, while resting on an argumentation scheme from consequences. On a secondary covert level, the ads are shown to be appealing indirectly to ontological angst, while manifesting an argumentation scheme per impossibile. The cultural implications for policy-making are highlighted amidst a predicament where anti-ageing claims are attracting heavy criticism.
3. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2/3
James B. Harrod A post-structuralist revised Weil–Levi-Strauss transformation formula for conceptual value-fields
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The structuralist Andre-Weil–Claude-Levi-Strauss transformation formula (CF), initially applied to kinship systems, mythology, ritual, artistic design and architecture, was rightfully criticized for its rationalism and tendency to reduce complex transformations to analogical structures. I present a revised non-mathematical revision of the CF, a general transformation formula (rCF) applicable to networks of complementary semantic binaries in conceptual value-fields of culture, including comparative religion and mythology, ritual, art, literature and philosophy. The rCF is a rule-guided formula for combinatorial conceptualizing in non-representational, presentational mythopoetics and other cultural symbolizations. I consider poststructuralist category-theoretic and algebraic mathematical interpretations of the CF as themselves only mathematical analogies, which serve to stimulate further revision of the logic model of the rCF. The rCF can be used in hypothesis-making to advance understanding of the evolution and prehistory of human symbolic behaviour in cultural space, philosophical ontologies and categories, definitions and concepts in art, religion, psychotherapy, and other cultural-value forms.
4. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2/3
Griselda Zárate, Homero Zambrano Financial discourse of the 2007–2008 crisis: From unpredictability and explosion to predictability
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This paper aims to identify the inflection point in financial discourse, the moment of explosion and unpredictability in the 2007–2008 economic crisis, through an analysis of metaphors, and its relation to the concept of jumps in finance. The corpus is formed by articles dating from 2007–2008 published in The Wall Street Journal and related to the movements of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (S&P500) of the United States. For the purposes of this paper, two texts are analysed: “Traders in Lehman, AIG held out hope – Friday”, and the speech “Four questions about the financial crisis” by Ben S. Bernanke. What is of particular interest is the transformation of unpredictability to predictability, as incorporated in this type of discourse to indicate a predetermined chain of events, chosen from a wide spectrum of possibilities. The theoretical framework draws on Juri Lotman’s views on the concepts of explosion, unpredictability, inflection point and predictability.
5. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2/3
Camelia Gradinaru GIFs as floating signifiers
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This paper investigates GIFs that use famous paintings and art collages in order to discern if their possible interpretations justify the label of ‘floating signifiers’. For this purpose, I explain what ‘floating signifier’ means and describe what happened with the term when it was correlated with the issues of information and digital materiality. Thus, in new media, the parallel term for ‘floating signifier’ is Hayles’s ‘flickering signifier’. In a subtle manner, GIFs represents perfect instantiation of both concepts. The paper also addresses the main “portrait” of GIFs, examining them in both online (Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook) and offline discursive contexts. The signifieds attributed to particular examples of GIFs, and to GIFs in general, delineate their profile in terms of floating signifiers.
6. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2/3
Riin Magnus, Tiit Remm Urban ecosemiotics of trees: Why the ecological alien species paradigm has not gained ground in cities?
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The transportation and translocation of species beyond their natural habitats is considered to be one of the major causes of biodiversity loss these days. Concerns are growing also about urbanization and the resulting destruction of natural habitats. At the same time, the integration of urban environments into nature protection efforts has brought along the intent to apply the ecological alien species paradigm in cities. Yet, as the practices of urban landscaping demonstrate, this objective has not been achieved. In this article, we propose that the reasons behind it are largely related to the specifics of the city as a semiotic system. Multiplicity of codes and subjects of various origins is contested by the ecological alien species paradigm, yet characteristic of the urban semiotic environment. The city often serves the function of a cultural model, embodying the principles of setting the borders between Self and the Other. Also in this case, the ecological alien species paradigm has to face a different complex of meanings attributed to the Other. We demonstrate how two different models of the city are expressed in the interpretations of alien trees by using pyramid oaks and poplars in Estonia as an example.
7. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2/3
Umberto Eco Giorgio Prodi and the lower threshold of semiotics
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Publication of a translation of the text of Umberto Eco’s talk given in honour of Giorgio Prodi in 1988.
8. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2/3
Kalevi Kull Umberto Eco on the biosemiotics of Giorgio Prodi
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The article provides a commentary on Umberto Eco’s text “Giorgio Prodi and the lower threshold of semiotics”. An annotated list of Prodi’s English-language publications on semiotics is included.
9. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2/3
Umberto Eco Animal language before Sebeok
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Publication of the text of Umberto Eco’s talk given at a symposium held in honour of Thomas A. Sebeok (1920–2001) in San Marino in 2002.
10. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2/3
Costantino Marmo Eco’s “latratus canis”: A memory of the backstage
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The paper describes the collaboration between Umberto Eco and his students Roberto Lambertini, Costantino Marmo, and Andrea Tabarroni resulting in the joint article “Latratus canis” (“On animal language in the medieval classification of signs”).