Cognitive Semiotics Seminar: "Reading Keller's A Theory of Linguistic Signs" (Jordan Zlatev)
Rudi Keller is usually known for his "Hidden Hand" theory of language change, where as in economy, structures emerge that are not directly intended by individual human acts. But his book from 1998 "A Theory of Linguistic Signs", translated from German and further adapted is much more: an original semiotic theory, focusing on language but with extensions to sign use in general, integrating ideas from the classics (Plato, Aristotle, Frege, Wittgenstein, Peirce...) to the present (Grice, Sperber & Wilson), giving due to both "representation" and "inference". And further, in unusual clear language and with many examples. So we will read (most of the) the book together and discuss it on 2 seminars. For this meeting, please try to read pages 1-95. Jordan will start with a 30 minute summary.
From the blurb:
"Signs shape our lives: we are surrounded by signs, we surround ourselves with signs, and usually we are completely unaware of it. Rudi Keller shows how signs emerge, function, and develop in the permanent process of language change. He recombines thoughts and ideas from Plato to the present day to create a new theory of the meaning and evolution of icons and symbols. By assuming no prior knowledge and by developing his argument from first principles, he has written a basic text which includes all the necessary features: easy style, good organization, original scholarship, and historical depth. This is a non-technical book which will interest linguists, philosophers, students of communications and cultural studies, semioticians/semanticists, sociologists, and anthropologists."