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2018 Vol. 9 №4

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The paradox of the ‘semiotics of life’: Yuri Lotman’s later works



In a series of interviews given in the early 1990s, Yuri Lotman contemplated the boundary between the human and the animal. Keenly interested in animals, the scholar stressed in his later work the need to include animal communication in the semiosphere. Lotman’s model holds that semiosis requires at least two languages between which instances of untranslatability occur. However, he did not extend this model to animal communication. This is the apparent paradox of Lotman’s later work. Lotman might not have had enough time to think these problems through, although these issues had been addressed earlier by other authors. The problem of the relationship between cyclicality and openness, the old and the new, repetitions and novelty, the algoritmicity and non-algoritmicity as aspects of semiosis and of each act of interpretations has not been sufficiently investigated. Therefore, Lotman’s later work deserves attention today.


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