Volume 34, Issue 1, 2006
The duality of understanding and the understanding of duality in semiotics
In the view of the author, the main problem of semiotics is the understanding and advancing of understanding. To contribute to the solution of this problem, a distinction is suggested between two types of understanding: enlogy and empathy. The subject of enlogy reduces what he understands to himself as a code: he hears only what he is himself. The subject of empathy reduces what she understands to herself as a text: she sees only what she is striving to become. Enlogy is possible due to the identity of the communicants as a present unified code. Empathy is possible due to the identity of the communicants as a future common text. Mastering the code is a by-product of empathy; the texts rests on the enlogy that already is possible. Enlogy and empathy do not pereceive each other as understanding. Therefore their mutual understanding remains the hardest problem of understanding. To fulfil its task, semiotics has to address this problem.