The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 37, Issue 3/4, 2021

Addressing Precarity The New Prague School of Semiotics Visual Semiotics

Vít Gvoždiak
Pages 243-265

Ivo Osolsobě on General Semiotics in the Czech Tradition

This paper attempts to reconstruct Ivo Osolsobě’s criticism of the notion that the Prague Linguistic Circle stood for or did, in fact, introduce general semiotics to Czechoslovakia. In the first part, it presents the wider context of the origins of Osolsobě’s critique. In the second part, it discusses the definition and analysis of the main reasons for this criticism (which included a close connection with language and a lack of reflection on basic semiotic concepts in the works of the Prague School) and sketches an alternative for general semiotics in the form of cybernetics and theater semiotics. The final section deals with the position of the most important representatives of general semiotics (Charles Peirce, Ferdinand de Saussure, and Louis Hjelmslev) for the Czech tradition.