Let sleeping signs lie: On signs, objects, and communication

Let sleeping signs lie: On signs, objects, and communication J0RGEN DINES JOHANSEN The seminar chaired by Thomas A. Sebeok on Semiotics in the United States (Urbino, July 6-10, 1992) was indeed rewarding from a scholarly point of view. The seminar generated fruitful discussions of American semiotics; in addition, general and basic questions concerning the doctrine of semiotics were raised and debated. What follows is a discussion of two claims put forward and defended by some participants in the seminar, and questioned by others. The two radical theses were: (1) People do not communicate with each other; and (2) Nothing exists but signs. This article will be divided into three parts. First, I will attempt to make a case for the two claims within the framework of Peircean semiotics. Second, I will present my case against them, also based on Peircean semiotics. Third, I will try to balance the sheets and reach a conclusion. Needless to say, my discussion is indebted to the inspiring debates in the Urbino seminar. A scrap from somebody's life The claim that we do not communicate with each other seems counterintuitive, given that we are constantly engaged in dialogues and in collaboration with other people, a collaboration mediated by speech. There are ways, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Semiotica - Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique de Gruyter

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Walter de Gruyter
ISSN
0037-1998
eISSN
1613-3692
DOI
10.1515/semi.1993.97.3-4.271
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

J0RGEN DINES JOHANSEN The seminar chaired by Thomas A. Sebeok on Semiotics in the United States (Urbino, July 6-10, 1992) was indeed rewarding from a scholarly point of view. The seminar generated fruitful discussions of American semiotics; in addition, general and basic questions concerning the doctrine of semiotics were raised and debated. What follows is a discussion of two claims put forward and defended by some participants in the seminar, and questioned by others. The two radical theses were: (1) People do not communicate with each other; and (2) Nothing exists but signs. This article will be divided into three parts. First, I will attempt to make a case for the two claims within the framework of Peircean semiotics. Second, I will present my case against them, also based on Peircean semiotics. Third, I will try to balance the sheets and reach a conclusion. Needless to say, my discussion is indebted to the inspiring debates in the Urbino seminar. A scrap from somebody's life The claim that we do not communicate with each other seems counterintuitive, given that we are constantly engaged in dialogues and in collaboration with other people, a collaboration mediated by speech. There are ways,

Journal

Semiotica - Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotiquede Gruyter

Published: Jan 1, 1993

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