Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language

Overview

"Eco wittily and enchantingly develops themes often touched on in his previous works, but he delves deeper into their complex nature... this collection can be read with pleasure by those unversed in semiotic theory." —Times Literary Supplement

Indiana University Press

"Eco wittily and enchantingly develops themes often touched on in his previous works, but he delves deeper into their complex nature..." Tims Literary Supplement

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Overview

"Eco wittily and enchantingly develops themes often touched on in his previous works, but he delves deeper into their complex nature... this collection can be read with pleasure by those unversed in semiotic theory." —Times Literary Supplement

Indiana University Press

"Eco wittily and enchantingly develops themes often touched on in his previous works, but he delves deeper into their complex nature..." Tims Literary Supplement

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253203984
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/1986
  • Series: Advances in Semiotics Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 440,000
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco
Few cultural critics and novelists carry the scholarly heft of Umberto Eco, who was a noted historian and semiotician before he brought these sensibilites to bear on major novels such as The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum. Whether he is deconstructing modern wax museums or spinning a 13th-century tale, he is always clever, stately and profound.

Biography

Back in the 1970s, long before the cyberpunk era or the Internet boom, an Italian academic was dissecting the elements of codes, information exchange and mass communication. Umberto Eco, chair of semiotics at the University of Bologna, developed a widely influential theory that continues to inform studies in linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, cultural studies and critical theory.

Most readers, however, had never heard of him before the 1980 publication of The Name of the Rose, a mystery novel set in medieval Italy. Dense with historical and literary allusions, the book was a surprise international hit, selling millions of copies in dozens of languages. Its popularity got an additional boost when it was made into a Hollywood movie starring Sean Connery. Eco followed his first bestseller with another, Foucault's Pendulum, an intellectual thriller that interweaves semiotic theory with a twisty tale of occult texts and world conspiracy.

Since then, Eco has shifted topics and genres with protean agility, producing fiction, academic texts, criticism, humor columns and children's books. As a culture critic, his interests encompass everything from comic books to computer operating systems, and he punctures avant-garde elitism and mass-media vacuity with equal glee.

More recently, Eco has ventured into a new field: ethics. Belief or Nonbelief? is a thoughtful exchange of letters on religion and ethics between Eco and Carlo Maria Martini, the Roman Catholic cardinal of Milan; Five Moral Pieces is a timely exploration of the concept of justice in an increasingly borderless world.

Eco also continues to write books on language, literature and semiotics for both popular and academic audiences. His efforts have netted him a pile of honorary degrees, the French Legion of Honor, and a place among the most widely read and discussed thinkers of our time.

Good To Know

Eco is a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna, though in 2002 he was at Oxford University as a visiting lecturer. He has also taught at several top universities in the U.S., including Columbia, Harvard, Yale, and Northwestern.

Pressured by his father to become a lawyer, Eco studied law at the University of Turn before abandoning that course (against his father's wishes) and pursuing medieval philosophy and literature.

His studies led naturally to the setting of The Name of the Rose in the medieval period. The original tentative title was Murder in the Abbey.

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    1. Hometown:
      Bologna, Italy
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 5, 1932
    2. Place of Birth:
      Alessandria, Italy
    1. Education:
      Ph.D., University of Turin, 1954

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Signs
1.1. Crisis of a concept
1.2. The signs of an obstinacy
1.3. Intension and extension
1.4. Elusive solutions
1.5. The deconstruction of the linguistic sign
1.6. Signs vs. words
1.7. The stoics
1.8. Unification of the theories and the predominance of linguistics
1.9. The ‘instructional’ model
1.10. Strong codes and weak codes
1.11. Abduction and inferential nature of signs
1.12. The criterion of interpretability
1.13. Sign and subject

2. Dictionary vs. Encyclopedia
2.1. Porphyry strikes back
2.2 Critique of the Porphyrian tree
2.3. Encyclopedias

3. Metaphor
3.1. The metaphoric nexus
3.2. Traditional definitions
3.3. Aristotle: synecdoche and Porphyrian tree
3.4. Aristotle: metaphors of three terms
3.5. Aristotle: the proportional scheme
3.6. Proportion and condensation
3.7. Dictionary and encyclopedia
3.8. The cognitive function
3.9. The semiosic background: the system of content
3.10. The limits of formalization
3.11. Componential representation and the pragmatics of the text
3.12. Conclusions

4. Symbol
4.1. Genus and species
4.2. Expressions by ratio facilis
4.3. Expressions produced by ratio difficilis
4.4. The symbolic mode
4.5. Semiotics of the symbolic mode
4.6. Conclusions

5. Code
5.1. The rise of new category
5.2. The landslide effect
5.3. Codes and communication
5.4. Codes as s-codes
5.5. Cryptography and natural languages
5.6. S-codes and signification
5.7 The genetic code
5.8. Toward a provisonal conclusion

6. Isotopy
6.1. Discursive isotopies within sentences with paradigmatic disjunction
6.2. Discursive isotopies within sentences with syntagmatic disjunction
6.3. Discursive isotopies between sentences with paradigmatic disjunction
6.4. Discursive isotopies between sentences with syntagmatic disjunction
6.5. Narrative isotopies connected with isotopic discursive disjunctions generating mutually exlusive stories
6.6 Narrative isotopies connected with isotopic discursive disjunctions that generate complementary stories
6.7. Narrative isotopies connected with discursive isotopic disjunctions that generate complementary stoies in each case
6.8. Extensional isotopies
6.9. Provisional conclusions

7. Mirrors
7.1. Is the mirror image a sign?
7.2. The imaginary and the symbolic
7.3. Getting in through the Mirror
7.4. A phenomenology of the mirror: the mirror does not invert
7.5. A pragmatics of the mirror
7.6. The mirror as a prosthesis and a channel
7.7. Absolute icons
7.8. Mirrors as rigid designators
7.9. On signs
7.10. Why mirrors do not produce signs
7.11. Freaks: distorting mirrors
7.12. Procatoptric staging
7.13. Rainbows and Fata Morganas
7.14. Catoptric theaters
7.15. Mirrors that ‘freeze’ images
7.16. The experimentum crucis

References
Index of authors
Index of subjects

Indiana University Press

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