Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language by Umberto Eco

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By Umberto Eco

"Eco wittily and enchantingly develops issues frequently touched on in his prior works, yet he delves deeper into their complicated nature... this assortment might be learn with excitement by means of these unversed in semiotic theory." ―Times Literary Supplement

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The sign is not concerned with that smoke and that fire, but with the possibility of a relationship between antecedent and consequent regulating of any occurrence of the smoke (and of the fire). The sign is type, not occurrence. By now it is clear how, in the Stoics' semiotics, the theory of language becomes rightfully associated with the theory of signs. In order to have signs, propositions must be formulated, and the propositions must be [32] SEMIOTICS AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE organized according to a logical syntax which is reflected and made possible by the linguistic syntax (see Frede 1978).

5· 266- 68). [36] SEMIOTICS AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE We are left with the problem of the so-called substitutional tables, that is, minimal ciphers where the content-plane is given by the expression-plane of another semiotic system. In Morse code, for instance, /. -I = «a>>, and vice versa, with complete reciprocity. A substitutional table could be viewed as a degraded semiotic system, but in point of fact equivalence appears to be a 'sleeping' inference here as well (see Chapter 7 of this book).

11. 3), where the solid-line boxes indicate propositions which are already verified and where the broken-line boxes indicate tentative propositions produced in the process of reasoning. If signs were rooted in mere equivalence, their understanding would represent a simple case of modus ponens: every time one utters /man/ one means «rational mortal animal». But one uttered /man/; therefore, one meant «rational mortal animal». This is in fact the absolutely deductive process we implement when dealing with substitutional tables, as it happens with the dots and dashes of the Morse alphabet.

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