April 5, 2007

semiosphere: the vague boundaries of life

Seventeen definitions of "semiosphere", collected by Kallevi Kull (Tartu School) in the spirit of the late Jurij M. Lotman. see paper for details & quotations. prolegomena for a theory of web 2.0. (because web 2.0 is an emergent theory of life, built by software.)

(1) ‘semiosphere is a textual whole, a text together with other texts that make it a text’.
(neither a sign, an organism, a text, or a culture can exist alone — it always requires another sign, other organisms, texts, cultures, in order to exist, to live)
(2) ‘semiosphere is anything formed from the (endless) web of interpretations’.
(3) ‘semiosphere is the sphere of communication’. It “consists in communication”.
(4) ‘semiosphere is a web of sign processes, or semioses’. "The semiotic point of view is the perspective that results from ... the consequences of one simple realization: the whole of our experience […] is a network or web of sign relations." And this sort of circle, according to which language, in the presence of those who are learning it, precedes itself, teaches itself, and suggests its own deciphering, is perhaps the marvel which defines language.
(5) And not only language, of course, but all varieties of sign systems. “Semiosphere is the set of all interconnected umwelten. Any two umwelten, when communicating, are a part of the same semiosphere”.
(6) ‘semiosphere is the space of semioses’.
(7) The concept of ‘space’ appears to describe an important aspect of the semiosphere, e.g., ‘semiosphere is the space of meaning-generation’.
(8) ‘semiosphere is the space of whole-part relations’. This definition pays attention to the relational dimension of sign, allowing us to state that a sign is aways a part.
(9) ‘semiosphere is where distinguishing occurs, where distinctions are made’. (A tradition in semiotics that uses the idea of Gregory Bateson about information as a ‘difference that makes a difference’)
(10) ‘semiosphere is the space of qualitative diversity’. Indeed, we may state that ‘diversity in a web’ is the main concern of semiotics. "Semiosphere as a space of diversity provides us with the insight into the similarity between various processes of relational
(11) ‘semiosphere is a sphere of healing’. This is because in a non-semiosphere, there is no such condition as ‘healthy’ or ‘ill’ or even ‘broken’. There cannot be ‘errors’ outside the semiosphere.
(12) Unlike the physical world, which manifests a single truthful reality, ‘semiosphere is the world of multiple truths, of multiple worlds’.
(13) “the totality of ‘contrapuntal duets’ forms the sphere of communication — the semiosphere” .
(14) “semiosphere is thus the totality of interconnected signs, a sphere that covers the Earth”. Environment as a physical concept is not the same as semiosphere.
(15) ‘semiosphere as a continuum of culture’ or the space of meaninggeneration
(16) ‘semiosphere is the region of multiple realities’ (or, semiosphere is the world of several realities).
(17) ‘semiosphere is a communicative space of non-translatability’. And semiotics being
the study of non-translatability. (= qualitative diversity) Cf. Lotman (1992): “translation of non-translatable carries the information of highest value”; “Semiotic space occurs for us as a multilayer overlapping of different texts […] of various translatability and of spaces of non-translatability”.

My mother was born in estonia, by the way. Which has nothing to do with it.

Posted by martin at April 5, 2007 9:15 AM
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