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41. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 1
John Deely Physiosemiosis in the semiotic spiral: A play of musement
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A main question for semiotics today is how far does the paradigm for the action of signs, semiosis. extend. There is general agreement by now that semiosis extends at least as far as awareness or cognition occurs, which includes the entire domain of animal sign usage, or zoosemiosis. The open question today is whether semiotics is broader still, and on this question two positions have emerged. The comparatively conservative position would extend semiotics to the whole of living things. This extension was first formally proposed and argued under the label phytosemiotics, the study of an action of signs in the realm of vegetable life. The conservative faction has rallied around the label of biosemiotics. The more radical faction argues that even this extension leaves something out, namely, the physical universe at large which surrounds and upon which depends all life. The radical argument is that what is distinctive of the action of signs is the shaping of the past on the basis of furore events, a shaping that can be discerned even in the rocks and among the stars - a veritable physiosemiosis, theoretical justification and practical exploration ofwhich marks the final frontier of semiotic inquiry.
42. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 1
Timo Maran Mimicry: Towards a semiotic lmderstanding of nature
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Mimicry has been an important topic for biology since the rise of the Darwinian theory of evolution. However. by its very narure mimicry is a sign process and the quest for understanding mimicry in biology has intrinsically always been a semiotic quest. In this paper various theories since Henry W. Bates will be examined to show how the concept of mimicry has been shifted from perceptual resemblance to a particular communicative structure. A concept of mimicry will then be formulated which emphasizes its dynamic properties, and finally, mimicry will be considered in the framework of ecosemiotics.
43. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 1
Soren Brier Ecosemiotics and cybersemiotics
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The article develops a suggestion of how cybersemiotics is pertinent to ecosemiotics. Cybersemiotics uses Luhmann's triadic view of autopoietic systems (biological, psychological, and socio-communicative autopoiesis) and adopts his approach to communication within a biosemiotic framework. The following levels of exosemiosis and signification can be identified under the consideration of nonintentional signs, cybernetics, and information theory: (1) the socio-communicative level of self-conscious signification and language games. (2) the instinctual and species specific level of sign stimuli signifying through innate release response mechanism and sign games, and (3) the level of structural coupling, signal recognition, and languaging, where cybernetic feedback loops evince differences. Signification and communication levels arise whenever autopoietic systems interpenetrate (I) with the language system's semiotic and the psyche's phenosemiotic processes based on imaging, emotion, and volition and (2) between the psyche's phenosemiotic and the body's endosemiotic processes. It is at these two levels that we have the ecosemiotic signification processes of nonintentional signs in nature. Humans are linguistic cyborgs as animals are sign cyborgs because signs at different levels interpenetrate and form our embodied processes. Sign producing and interpreting capability has had selective influence on both animals and humans in evolution.
44. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 1
Winfried Nöth Ecosemiotics and the semiotics of nature
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Ecosemiotics is the study of sign processes (semioses) in relation to the natural environment in which they occur. The paper examines the cultural, biological, and evolutionary dimensions of ecosemioses on the basis of C. S. Peirce's theory of continuity between matter and mind and investigates the ecosemiotic dimensions of natural signs. Ecosemiotics and the semiotics of nature are distinguished from pansemiotism, and the coevolution of sign processes with their natural enviromnent is discussed as a determining factor of ecosemiosis.
45. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Ivan Mladenov Unlimited semiosis and heteroglossia (C. S. Peirce and M. M. Bakhtin)
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The article draws paralles between Bakhtin's literary theory and some of the Peirce's philosophical concepts. The comparisons with Bakhtin go beyond the theory of heteroglossia and reveal that related notions were implicitly originated by Dostoevsky. The elaboration of the concepts of dialogue, "self" and "other" continue into the ideas of consciousness, iconic effects in literature, and the semiotic aspect of thought. Especially important in this chapter is the aspect of Peirce's theory concerned with the endless growth of interpretation and sign building, or unlimited semiosis. Peirce's discussion of unlimited semiosis is not among the less elaborated ones. Quite on the contrary, it is one of the most important of his ideas of sign. As a semiotic notion it is widely exploited in many related areas. However, it is not often used as an analytical tool to examine literature or to other works of art. Here, we will employ this notion in conjunction with Bakhtin's doctrine of heteroglossia.
46. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Maria-Kristiina Lotman Prosody and versification systems of ancient verse
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The aim of the present study is to describe the prosodic systems of the Greek and Latin languages and to find out the versification systems which have been realized in the poetical practice. The Greek language belongs typologically among the mora-counting languages and thus provides possibilities for the emergence of purely quantitative verse, purely syllabic verse, quantitative-syllabic verse and syllabic-quantitative verse. There is no purely quantitative or purely syllabic verse in actual Greek poetry; however, the syllabic-quantitative versification systems (the Aeolian tradition) and quantitative-syllabic versification systems (the Aeolian tradition) were in use. The Latin language, on the other hand, has a number of features, which characterize it as a stress-counting language. Since at the same time there exists also the opposition of short and long syllables, there are preconditions for the syllabic, accentual and quantitative principle, as well as for the combinations of these. The Roman literary heritage shows examples of purely accentual, syllabic-quantitative, quantitative-syllabic, as well as of several other combinatory versification systems.
47. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Anti Randviir Sociosemiotic perspectives on studying culture and society
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The article analyses the position of sociosemiotics in the paradigm of contemporary semiotics. Principles of studying sociocultural phenomena are discussed so as they have been set for analysing the inner mechanisms of sign systems in the semiology of F. de Saussure on the one hand, and for studying sign systems and semiotic units as related to referential reality in the semiotics of C. S. Peirce on the other hand. Three main issues are touched upon to define the scope of sociosemiotics: the general methodology of sociosemiotics. its particular methods, and possible objects of analysis. The relevance of the features of objects in different humanitarian disciplines (cultural unit, historical fact, social fact, institutional fact, social process, etc.) is surveyed to define the object of study in sociosemiotics. Also, the article comments on the description of social organisations via cultural processes and on relations between an individual and society as controllable by social action models.
48. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Rodney J. Clarke Social semiotic contributions to the systemic semiotic workpractice framework
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The workpractices associaied with the use of an information system can be described using semiotic theories in terms of patterns of human communication. A model of workpractices has been created called the systemic semiotic workpractice framework that employs two compatible but distinct semiotic theories in order to explain the complexity of information systems use in organisational contexts. One of these theories called social semiotics can be used to describe atypical workpractice realisations, where a user renegotiates one or more canonical sequences of activities typically associated with a specific system feature. In doing so the user may alter the staging of the workpractice, redefine the goal of the workpractice, or renegotiate the usual role they adopt within the workpractice. Central concepts in social semiotics are explained and applied to an actual atypical renegotiated workpractice associated with the loan of materials to students in a smalloperational level information system called ALABS.
49. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Eero Tarasti Metaphors of nature and organicism in the epistemology of music: A "biosemiotic" introduction to the analysis of Jean Sibelius' symphonic thought
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Metaphors of nature and organism play a central role in the epistemes of the Western culture and arts. The entire project of the 'modern' meant a separation of man from the cosmos and its laws. Signs and symbols are thought to be arbitrary and conventional social constructions. However, there are many returns to iconic imitations of nature and biological principles also in such an esoteric art as music. One of the highest aesthetic categories in Western art music is the so-called 'organic growth' which particularly manifests in symphony. The concepts of 'organic/inorganic' can be used as analytic terms, whereby one might even compare such composers as Jean Sibelius and Gustav Mahler. Music is said to be 'organic' when (I) its theme actors live in their proper Umwelt (or isotopy); (2) all music material stems from the same themes (it is innerly iconic); (3) all musical events follow each other coherently (inner indexicality or the principle of Growth); (4) music strives for some goal (temporality). Moreover the Ueküll idea of a particular lch-Ton of every organism can be turned back to music. Hence we can say that every musical piece is like an 'organism' which has its lch-Ton detennining which signs it accepts and how it acts in the musical environmentof its own and formed by other musical works.
50. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Elin Sütiste Translating the seventeen syllables
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The present paper focuses on the similarities and differences between the formal characteristics of the traditional Japanese haiku and the translated haiku. more specifically, on the relations between the 5-7-5 syllable pattern in the Japanese haiku, and the patterns of syllable arrangement employed in the translations. Due to the influence of the target culture context, there emerge certain conventions in rendering the haiku form. the appearance of which is observed in the body of 420 haiku translations, made by 7 translators. On the basis of the overall frequency of appearance, as well as in respect to individual translators, tentative characterisation is proposed as to which types of syllable arrangement patterns can be considered more form-oriented than others in the context of the translated haiku, i.e., an attempt is made to mark the boundary between the "haiku-like" patterns and the "unhaiku-like" patterns.
51. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Paul Bouissac On signs, memes and MEMS: Toward evolutionary ecosemiotics
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The first issue raised by this paper is whether semiotics can bring any added value to ecology. A brief examination of the epistemological status of semiotics in its current forms suggests that semiotics' phenomenological macroconcepts (which are inherited from various theological and philosophical traditions) are incommensurate with the complexity of the sciences comprising ecology and are too reductive to usefully map the microprocesses through which organisms evolve and interact. However, there are at least two grounds on which interfacing semiotics with ecology may prove to be scientifically productive: (a) the very looseness of semiotic discourse can be an important catalyser for multidisciplinary interactions, an important condition for the emergence of truly holistic ecology; (b) the present semiotic conceptual apparatus is not carved in stone. All its notions, frames of reference and types of reasoning can evolve in contact with the problems encountered in evolutionary ecological research. Semiotics, as an open-ended epistemological project, remains a proactive intellectual resource. The second issue raised by this paper is precisely to call attention to the opportunity provided by recent developments for rethinking and furthering semiotic inquiry. An attempt is made to show that counterintuitive theories such as memetics and new frontiers in teclmology such as nanotechnology, could help recast ecosentioticsalong more intellectually exciting lines of inquiry than the mere rewriting of ecological discourse in terms of the traditional semiotic macroconcepts. It goes without saying that memetics and nanotechology are not presented here as definitive solutions but simply as indicative of possible directions toward acomprehensive evolutionary ecosentiotics that would radically transform the basis of the 20th century sentiotic discourse and its ideological agenda.
52. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Marlen Tonnessen Outline of an Uexküllian bio-ontology
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Traditionally, ontology, or at least western ontology, bas been an anthropocentric enterprise, that takes only human experiences into account. In this paper I argue that a prolific biocentric ontology can be based on UexkülI's Umwelt theory. UexkülI offers the basis of an ontology according to which the study of experiences is a much wider field than it is as depicted by classical ontology and contemporary philosophy of consciousness. Based on the thoughts of the contemporary philosopher Thomas Nagel I claim that there might very well be Iifeforms that are totally unimaginable to us. I argue that this view is compatible with the Umwelt theory, and that it should be adopted by biosemioticians. Furthermore, I argue that a biosemiotic possibilism should be implemented. Followingly, one should not claim to know which characteristics of living beings are universally and necessarily valid, but restrict oneself to statements about life as we know it.
53. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Larissa Naiditch Remarks on semantic peculiarities of numerals and on usage of numerals in several kinds of texts
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The paper deals with the general peculiarities of numerals. Cases where the sense of numeral cannot simply be explained by the idea of counting, of number, or of order are considered. Special types of texts folklore on the one band, propaganda on the other hand - are analyzed. For the latter the examples from two Soviet central official newspapers - Pravda and lzvestija of May 1986 have been chosen. These texts partially reflect common stylistic features of Soviet propagandistic discourse of the "period of stagnation"; their specificity is caused by the special situation, which obtained in the country in those days - the catastrophe in the atomic power station in Chemobyl. It is claimed that all the considered examples reflect several aspects of meaning of numerals contained in their general semantics. Thus, the development of the evaluative meaning is explained by the semantics of degree contained in the numerals. These data contribute to Frege's idea of relativity of number, but from another, purely linguistic, point of view.
54. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
John Deely A sign is what? A dialogne between a semiotician and a would-be realist
55. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Floyd Merrell Lotman's semiosphere, Peirce's categories, and cultural forms of life
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This paper brings Lotman's semiotic space to bear on Peirce's categories of the universe's processes. Particular manifestations of cultural semiotic space within the semiosphere are qualified as inconsistent and/or incomplete, depending upon the cultural context. Inconsistency and incompleteness are of the nature of vagueness and generality respectively, that are themselves qualified in terms of overdetermination and underdetermination, the first being of the nature of the category of Firstness and the second of the nature Thirdness. The role of Secondness is unfolded by acts of distinguishing the possibilities of Firstness into this and that, here and there, there and then, and all the distinctions that follow. Secondness, then, with respect to cultural semiotic space, gives rise to hegemony, to dominance and subervience, superordination and subordination. Commensurate with this interpretation of Secondness, the realms of overdetermination and underdetermination are labeled homogeny and heterogeny respectively. These theoretical assumptions will then be used as a modeling device providing an interpretation for various key aspects of Latin American cultures.
56. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Marina Grishakova Metaphor and narrative
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The paper examines linguistic, cognitive, communicative approaches to metaphor and its functioning in the narrative text. Special attention is paid to the problem of iconicity and the Wingensteinian notion of "aspect seeing" as relevant to the metaphor srudies. It is shown that the extended understanding of metaphor as "trope" or "figure" in the post-structuralist literary theory allows to see metaphor as a textual "interpretation machine". In the process of interaction of narrative and figurative patterns, metaphor functions as a means of perspectivization, i.e. representation of consciousness. In the literary text, perspective changes permanently and the subsequent configurations have an impact on the previous ones: there occurs a permanent "feedback" and correlation.
57. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Paul Cobley Analysing narrative genres
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There can be little doubt that human consciousness is now suffused with narrative. In the West, narrative is the focus of a number of lucrative industries and narratives proliferate as never before. The importance of popular genres in current narrative is an index of the demise of authorship in the face of new media and has necessitated the renewal of the term "genre" in narrative analysis over the last hundred years or so. However. this article attempts to make clear that the concept of genre and the notion of a textual formula in narrative are not the same thing. Genre, in contrast to formula, is concerned precisely with the issue of how audiences receive narrative conventions; however, much genre theory has treated genre as a purely textual entity. The current article argues that genre should properly be considered as an "idea" or an "expectation" barboured by readers and identifies in textual-based genre theory of the last two thousand years the perpetuation of ahistoricality and canonisation.
58. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Mihhail Lotman The semiotics of culture and the phenomenology of fear
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The semiotics of culture and the phenomenology of fear. In the paper fear is treated as semiotical phenomenon. The semiotical speciality of fear is that while being a strong semiotical factor, its semiotical nature is often overshadowed and fear is treated proceeding from the scheme of stimulus-reaction. In the paper fear is analysed in the context of both Peirce's semiotics and Saussure's semiology and it will be demonstrated that these approaches allow to open up different aspects of fear: while in Peircean perspective frightful evokes fear, then proceeding from the Saussure's approach we could say that fear creates the frightful, fear appears to be creative; we could even speak of fear as semiosis.
59. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Irene Machado Projections: Semiotics of culture in Brazil
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Projection is a dialogical mechanism that concerns the relationship among things in the world or in various systems, both in nature and culture. Instead of isolating these systems, projection creates an ecosystem without borderline. Projection is a way to comprehend how different cultures can link, enrich and deveop one another by understanding the relationship among different culture traditions can be related to one another by considering the nature of their sign system. That is why it is that the object of semiotics of culture is not culture but its sign systems. That is why we understand the nature of relationship among sign system as projection. In this article, we are interested in a particular kind of projection: that one in which the formulations of semiotics of culture of Slavic tradition project themselves onto the Brazilian culture. The conceptual field of Russian semiotics - dialogism, carnivalization, hybridity, border, outsideness, heteroglossia, textuality and modelling semiotic sign system - projects itself on the equally defining aspects of the semiotic identity of the Brazilian culture. I will refer here to two sets of projections: the concept of textual history, as a possibility to reach internal displacement within the culture, and the notion of semiodiversity produced by the meeting of different sign systems.
60. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 29 > Issue: 2
Han-liang Chang Naming animals in Chinese writing
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Naming, according to Sebeok, constihttes the first stage of zoosemiotics. This special but common use of language acrually inaugurates more complicated procedures of human discourse on non-human kingdom, including classification of its members. Because of language's double articulation in sound and sense, as well as the grapheme's pleremic (meaning-full) rather than cenemic (meaning-empty) characteristic (according to Hjelmslev). Chinese script is capable of naming and grouping animals randomly but effectively. This paper attempts to describe the said scriptorial "necessity of naming" (Kripke) in classical Chinese by citing all the creatures, real or fabulous, with a /ma/ (horse) radical.