Signs / Edition 2

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The interpretive science of semiotics offers powerful analytical tools for the application of many disciplines to the study of perception. Semiotics is the study of signs, and as such, is of relevance to a wide spectrum of scholars and professionals, including social scientists, psychologists, artists, graphic designers, and students of literature. Semiosis - the production and interpretation of linguistic and visual signs - is innate to human beings of all societies. From the simplest of hand gestures to the most complex diagrams and charts, the sign is key to the communication of ideas. Thomas A. Sebeok examines, in an engaging, readable style, how the sign mediates between bodily experience and abstract thought.

This updated second edition of Signs combines some of Sebeok's most important essays with a new general introduction, introductory passages at the outset of each chapter, a glossary, and brief biographies of the major semioticians. From an overview of the discipline to a more detailed exploration of sign categories, the author powerfully demonstrates the co-dependency of verbal and non-verbal communication.

Aimed primarily at undergraduate and graduate students, this engaging book also has plenty to offer any general reader who is interested in exploring and analyzing the complex sign systems we so often take for granted.

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Editorial Reviews

A synthesis of Sebeok's thought on the "elemental" features of semiosis (the scientific study of signs), gathering together some of his most important essays dealing with the fundamental issues of contemporary semiotics. These essays are reworked into a cohesive textbook for use by semioticians, students of semiotics and communication theory, cognitive scientists, philosophers, and general readers Paper edition (unseen), $14.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802084729
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2001
  • Series: Toronto Studies in Semiotics and Communication Series
  • Edition description: Second edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 210
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas A. Sebeok is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Linguistics and Semiotics at Indiana University. He has written numerous articles and books, and is world-renowned as an authority on semiotics.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition
Foreword: Thomas A. Sebeok and Semiotics
1 Basic Notions 3
The Object of Semiotics 4
Defining the Sign 5
Structural Properties 6
Semiosis and Representation 8
Types of Signs 8
Nonverbal Communication 11
2 The Study of Signs 25
A Biological Approach to the Study of Signs 27
Messages 31
The Sign 32
Signs and 'Reality' 36
3 Six Species of Signs 39
General Features of Signs 39
Six Species of Signs 42
Signal 44
Symptom 46
Icon 50
Index 53
Symbol 55
Name 59
On the Being, Behaving, and Becoming of Signs 61
4 Symptom Signs 65
The Meaning of Symptom 66
The Peircean View 70
Symptoms and the Medical Origin of Semiotics 72
Interpreting Symptoms 76
5 Indexical Signs 83
Indexicality 84
Features of Indexicality 87
Manifestations of Indexicality 92
The Study of Indexicality 96
6 Iconic Signs 103
Iconicity 103
The Incidence of Iconicity 105
Features of Iconicity 107
The Study of Iconicity 110
7 Fetish Signs 115
The Origin of Fetishism as 'Deviation' 116
The Fetish in Psychology and Sexology 117
The Fetish in Semiotics 123
8 Language Signs 127
The Study of the Verbal Sign 128
Verbal and Nonverbal Signing 135
9 Language as a Primary Modelling System? 139
Modelling System 140
Uexkull's Model Revisited 143
Language as a Modelling System 146
Concluding Remarks 148
Glossary 151
Bibliography 159
Index 187
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