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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 29, Issue 2, 2001

Mihhail Lotman
Pages 417-439

The semiotics of culture and the phenomenology of fear

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.

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