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Displaying: 101-120 of 1197 documents


101. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
James B. Harrod

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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.
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102. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Griselda Zárate, Homero Zambrano

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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.
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103. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Camelia Gradinaru

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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.
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104. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Riin Magnus, Tiit Remm

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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.
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105. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Umberto Eco

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Publication of a translation of the text of Umberto Eco’s talk given in honour of Giorgio Prodi in 1988.
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106. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Kalevi Kull

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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.
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107. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Umberto Eco

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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.
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108. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Costantino Marmo

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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”).
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109. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Kalevi Kull

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The article provides a commentary on Umberto Eco’s text “Animal language before Sebeok”, and an annotated bibliography of various versions of the article on ‘latratus canis’ that Eco published together with Roberto Lambertini, Costantino Marmo, and Andrea Tabarroni.
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110. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Ekaterina Velmezova

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111. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Pauline Delahaye

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112. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 2
Pauline Delahaye

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113. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Winfried Nöth

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The paper sheds light on the concept of model in ordinary language and in scientific discourse from the perspective of C. S. Peirce’s semiotics. It proposes a general Peircean framework for the definition of models of all kinds, including mental models. A survey of definitions of scientific models that have been influential in the philosophy of science and of the typologies proposed in this context is given. The author criticizes the heterogeneity of the criteria applied in these typologies and the lack of a semiotic foundation in typological distinctions between formal, symbolic, theoretical, metaphorical, and iconic models, among others. The paper argues that the application of Peirce’s subdivision of signs into the trichotomies of the sign itself, its object, and its interpretant can offer a deeper understanding of the nature of models. Semiotic topics in the focus of the paper are (1) the distinction between models as signs and (mental) models as the interpretants of signs; (2) models considered as a type (or legisign) and models considered as tokens (or replicas) of a type; (3) the iconicity of models, including diagrammatic and metaphorical icons; (4) the contribution of indices and symbols to the informativity of models; and (5) the rhetorical qualities of models in scientific discourse. The paper argues in conclusion that informative models are hybrid signs in which a diagram incorporates indices and symbols in a rhetorically efficient way.
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114. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Jui-Pi Chien

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This study seeks to update and expand the models of mind and consciousness that Ferdinand de Saussure conceived for the appreciation of linguistic signs. As a response to his theorization of the dual essence of language (a mixture of sounds and concepts), this study proposes a theorization of pleasure and understanding (a blending of different perspectives) deriving from our engagement with daunting situations in nature and culture. To begin with, the author discusses current neuroimaging findings that reveal how we may gain from low-arousal emotions. Certain benefits have been recognized that increase the pleasure and delight we may obtain through conscientious mental work rather than via instincts and preferences. Thus, in this context, the Saussurean network of differences is seen to be capable of generating motivated neural links that function to adjust our viewpoints. Further, in light of Adolphe Pictet’s mingling of philosophical aesthetics and linguistics, this study corrects a misapplication of another Saussurean model (a conjunction of our perceptions of time and space, synchrony and diachrony) in appreciating the Kantian notions of imagination and the sublime. Instead of judging this model as a revelation of one single ideal viewpoint, Pictet’s approach invites us to appreciate it as the functioning of a rigorous yet practical mind that is capable of devising multiple and useful perspectives. Notions of the sublime, the ugly and the beautiful are therefore equated as legitimate viewpoints that we should draw on so as to survive dealing with daunting situations in nature and culture. Finally, this study unifies and fortifies the Saussurean models through aligning them with a phenomenological approach to our memories, sensations and perceptions. Such integration empowers our imagination and confidence while we are widening our horizons to invent larger contexts for our objects of inquiry. All in all, the author cherishes the Saussurean models as a combination of the linguistic, the aesthetic and the moral laws that altogether sharpen our way of devising rationales that may boost the wellbeing of the community.
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115. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Leticia Vitral, João Queiroz

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This paper presents, describes and analyses two photobooks: Palast der Republik and Domesticidades. We claim that, because of their highly iconic features, they can be regarded as epistemic artefacts (models) since they reveal information about their objects, as well as about their own morphological properties. The analysis focuses on (i) the kind of relations the photobooks establish with their respective objects (we claim that it is a mainly-iconic relation) and (ii) on the semiotic couplings that can be found in them – a type of interaction between semiotic resources (such as photographs, maps, written texts, illustrations, among others). We contextualize this analysis in relation to both a semiotic and an intermedial background.Further, we claim that the epistemic role of such artworks is directly related to their material and structural features that constrain the possibilities of manipulation and reasoning upon them. We conclude by presenting some of the information that was revealed by the manipulation of these photobooks, claiming that the semiotic-artefactual approach to models can be an epistemically interesting conceptual frame to thinking about artistic artefacts.
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116. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Ott Puumeister

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The article deals with the biopolitical underpinnings of the Estonian national identity construction which is analysed by concentrating on public media coverage of (1) the Estonian Population and Housing Census 2011; and (2) the passing of the Registered Partnership Act in 2014. The object of analysis is the discourse – or the manner of speaking – that becomes apparent in the discussion of these cases. It is called the discourse of survival, since the main aim of national identity construction is to ensure the perseverance and preservation of this identity. This enables us to insert political identity construction into a biopolitical framework in which the political subject is understood as a fundamentally finite living being. In conceptualizing biopolitical finitude and the accompanying need of survival as the logic of identity construction, the article suggests the semiotic logic of this type of identity process as auto-communicative solidification of identity that has a presentist temporal structure.
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117. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Patrick Sériot

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Exchanging models, metaphors and analogies between biology and linguistics is well known, and August Schleicher’s book Die Darwinsche Theorie und die Sprachwissenschaft (1863) is a typical work in this line of thought. Nonetheless, there is a “counter-mainstream” to this, which is less well known, but extremely interesting to follow: orthogenesis, an explicitly anti-Darwinian theory in biology, the consequences of which are fascinating to observe in the history of ideas in Soviet linguistics as well as in Russian emigre linguistics in the inter-war period. Here the names of Nikolaj Troubetzkoy and Roman Jakobson are of primary importance if we consider that they received most of their inspiration from Goethe’s ‘morphology’ (‘Formenlehre’) and Lev Berg’s ‘nomogenesis’. The discussion between Georges Cuvier and Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire in 1830 is also an important landmark to highlight the specificity of a Russian and Central European structuralism which is extremely different from Saussure’s.
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118. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Zdzisław Wąsik

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Departing from estimations of existential universes of animals (umwelt) and humans (Lebenswelt and Dasein), this paper observes a number of views on the subjective experience, or modelling systems of reality, developed in the philosophy of nature and culture. The first part examines how the semantic relationships of nonhuman and human organisms with their environments are outlined in phenomenology as a study of individual experience from a subject-oriented perspective. Respectively, animals are admitted to have meaningful relations with actual things in observable reality through an outward extension of their bodies, but they are stated to lack direct access to things in themselves and to their various forms of being, because they cannot transcend the imprisonment in their surroundings. In the second part, exposing the mundane background of semiotic phenomenology, the existence modes of animal and human subjects are considered in terms of being-in-the-world as immanence and being-for-the-world as transcendence. Immanent subjects are seen as existing in their environments and transcendent subjects as being able to go beyond their Lebenswelten. In keeping with positively marked or unmarked interpretations of existence and life in the subjective universes of humans and animals, made by other philosophers and psychologists, the author arrives at a conclusion that the extension of the study of reality and the world might enrich the framework of existential semiotics if the organisms’ relations to the world they dwell in were considered from the viewpoint of their becoming in the world and the becoming of the world as a result of their interactions.
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119. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Katalin Kroó, Peeter Torop

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The paper examines the problem of textual/cultural dynamics linked to the issue of semiotic literariness, to be further investigated by the authors in later papers on literary semiotics. This scientific project aims to get closer to reaching an adequate disciplinary identification for semiotics of literature and a relatively precise definition of the status of this field in relation to semiotics of culture. The first step for the project is to reveal the interrelationhip between text and culture using the notion of dynamics that can be reconstructed from a historical perspective through some essential components of Formalist and Structuralist theory (Tynyanov’s ‘function’, Jakobson’s ‘dominant’) and also works by Lotman (the ‘text–culture’ relationship) and Bakhtin (‘dialogue’). The notions of inclusiveness/integration, distancing and hierarchization, leading to transformation, are interpreted in some detail in the context of these theories. On these grounds, three basic categories of the analysability of textual/cultural dynamics are set up with the indication of further aspects of the dynamic function: (1) mediation; (2) transposition; (3) temporality–spatiality. The suggested classification and the implied conceptual segmentation are expected to contribute to a synthesis between “Structuralist” and Peircean theoretical and methodological orientations in semiotic literary studies. This also reveals the need for a coexistence of approaches (a) moving from particular cultural fields (literary culture tradition) towards general semiotics of culture, and (b) returning from universal transfield concepts to literary culture, including the historical traditions both in art (object-level) and its scientific interpretation (meta-level).
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120. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1
Andreas Ventsel, Taras Boyko

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