05/11/15

Before our deep exploration into the huge world of semiotics we first done a little research into Existentialism and Structuralism.

Existentialism is a catch-all term for those philosophers who consider the nature of the human condition as a key philosophical problem and who share the view that this problem is best addressed through ontology. – http://www.iep.utm.edu/existent/

Structuralism is a 20th Century intellectual movement and approach to the human sciences that attempts to analyze a specific field as a complex system of interrelated parts. Broadly speaking, Structuralism holds that all human activity and its products, even perception and thought itself, are constructed and not natural, and in particular that everything has meaning because of the language system in which we operate. It is closely related to Semiotics, the study of signs, symbols and communication, and how meaning is constructed and understood. – http://www.philosophybasics.com/movements_structuralism.html

In semiotics, semiotics is the study of signs. A sign is something that can be interpreted as having a meaning, which is something other than itself, and which is therefore able to communicate information to the one interpreting or decoding the sign. Signs can work through any of the senses, visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory or taste, and their meaning can be intentional such as a word uttered with a specific meaning, or unintentional such as a symptom being a sign of a particular medical condition. Semiotics mean everything like for example, what does an apple mean? people would answer with a lot of responses such as, health, food, greens, growth, art, garden of Eden, temptation, an award, technology and so on, the list could well be endless.

There are two major theories about the way in which signs acquire the ability to transfer information, both theories understand the defining property of the sign as being a relation between a number of elements. In the tradition of semiotics developed by Ferdinand de Saussure the sign relation is dyadic, consisting only of a form of the sign that is the signifier and its meaning (the signified). So the signifier would be a word or picture (written or verbal) and the signified would be of your understanding of what has been shown.

Saussure saw this relation as being essentially arbitrary motivated only by social convention. Saussure’s theory has been particularly influential in the study of linguistic signs. The other major semiotic theory developed by C. S. Peirce defines the sign as a triadic relation as “something that stands for something, to someone in some capacity” This means that a sign is a relation between the sign vehicle (the specific physical form of the sign), a sign object (the aspect of the world that the sign carries meaning about) and an interpretant (the meaning of the sign as understood by an interpreter). According to Peirce signs can be divided by the type of relation that holds the sign relation together as either icons, indices or symbols. Icons are those signs that signify by means of similarity between sign vehicle and sign object (e.g. a portrait, or a map), indices are those that signify by means of a direct relation of contiguity or causality between sign vehicle and sign object (e.g. a symptom), and symbols are those that signify through a law or arbitrary social convention. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sign_(semiotics)

The way which we are heading at the moment with semiotics is the way in which Ferdinand de Saussure explains to be his theory of the whole thing which is known as dyadic signs, though we shall be exploring Pierces theory in the future.

 

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