Baltic accent

2018 Vol. 9 № 2

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The Image of the World Revealed In Words: Ludwig Wittgenstein and The Iсonic Semiotics



The article discusses an alternative version of semiotics in which the process of semiosis is based not on metonymic symbolization (substitution), when one entity stands for another, but on the metaphorical (iconic) representation. The author suggests considering iconicity as a basis for relating the signifier and the signified. This relation is understood as a construed one rather than something determined by physical similarity. The basis for such a revision of iconicity can be found in Lessing's treatise “Laoсoon”, and the conception of iconicity is described in Wittgenstein's “Tractatus”. In the picture theory of language, iconicity is understood as a logical isomorphism between structures. This allows the author to expand the concept of iconicity — due to the use of verbal means, an image can denote both actual, possible and even non-existent entities. This makes it possible to consider a sign as not only a discrete and symbolic phenomenon based on an arbitrary connection between the signified and the signifier. Alternative semiotics can be based on Wittgenstein’s understanding of a sign as a picture, a holistic structure of non-discrete components and a system, which is not construed from given components. It is a system, which forms intra- and intertextual structures. In this way, it will be possible to describe texts that are signs but do not consist of signs (movies, paintings) and create signs in the process of functioning. Accordingly, one can speak about the semiotics of text, in which such phenomena will be considered as primary ones. This will be a non-discrete and/or iconic semiotics, based not on the dogma of the artibrary connection between the signified and the signifier, but on various types of isomorphism between them.


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