SIGNS AND MEANINGS: REVISITING FREGE
The Mobius strip of the pragmasemantics of sense: from culture through subjectivity to nothingness and backAbstract
The author endeavors to systematically present sense formation through the lens of the pragmasemantic approach. It enables the demonstration of how the primary factors of sense formation, socio-cultural practices and personal agency interact. Their relationship is non-linear: subjectivity results from the assimilation of socio-cultural experiences and the accompanying narrative communication. Self-consciousness of the Self arises from the socialization of the individual through reflexive self-description. Thus, it engenders a "strange loop" (as described by Hofstadter), in which the inner becomes entwined with the outer, and the social intertwines with the individual. In this way, the possessor of self-consciousness gains a broader worldview extending beyond physical existence. This expanded perspective not only facilitates responses to situationality but also enhances the potential to proactively pre-adapt to one's environment. Selfhood is a flexible entity, receptive to new content, capable of self-modification, and open to change. The primary identity of the self-aware individual is the self-sufficient personality without any specific characteristics. Human existence is marked by absence, lack, loss, and an aspiration for change. It resembles an emptiness that defies classification, a drifting surplus that connects the unconnected. In this context, the article places particular emphasis on the apophatic nature of sense formation. Pauses, intervals, breaks, and gaps give rise to signs within the backdrop of non-existence. Subjectivity functions as a ‘user of voids’, serving as a metacontext, a source, means, and outcome of sense formation. It exists as a gap within being, an inherent incompleteness ready for completion and replenishment. In this regard, personal agency manifests as a universal interface, potentially facilitating infinite interconnections across contexts. This interface facilitates interactions between the tangible reality we inhabit and any conceivable alternative worlds. It enables transitions from physical reality to the realm of imagination and vice versa, or even simultaneous consideration of both.
Signs and senses as an epistemological problemAbstract
The semiotic problem of the triad “sign – meaning – sense” is discussed as a methodological problem caused by philosophy of external realism and the representational theory of cognition based on it. Reification of linguistic signs, along with the erroneous view of the nature and function of language as a communication tool rather than the mode of existence of humans as living (cognitive) systems, impedes scientific explanation of both language and linguistic signs. As an alternative, the core problem of semiotics is approached within the framework of constructivist epistemology that allows us to resolve the contradictions in the objectivist interpretation and explanation of sign, meaning, and sense which are viewed as emergent phenomena.
How presuppositions and illocutionary force become components of sense: some implications from the analysis of fictitious names in Frege’s philosophyAbstract
Frege's fictitious names possess meaning but lack denotation. Both these names and the sentences containing them are deemed fictitious. Since any proper name can potentially refer to an imaginary entity, it is crucial to consider the speaker's intention. When making a statement, the speaker may refer to the real or the imaginary. In the latter case, the thought cannot be explicitly expressed, and consequently, denotation cannot be reached. In Frege's framework, fictional thoughts hold little significance for decision-making and actions. Therefore, we consistently seek to discern whether the discourse pertains to the real or the imaginary. To make this knowledge accessible, it must be incorporated into the content of a sentence, effectively becoming a thought. However, not every statement expresses a thought, even if it conforms to the structure of a sentence. I will now elucidate three intensionalization procedures that Frege proposes for constructing a sentence that expresses a thought, even if certain components within it lack denotation: the articulation of a naming relation, the formulation of a propositional attitude of intention, and the formulation of a propositional attitude that conveys a metafictional context. Through these methods, the speaker's intent to indicate a real or fictional object becomes a constituent of thought, i. e., the sense of the sentence. Fictions themselves become components of thought when they are found in an indirect context, wherein their sense serves as their denotation. When considered independently, the sense of a proper noun is an entity with a parameter that acquires a value in the specific situation where the name is employed by a particular speaker. Frege's foundational concepts are juxtaposed with certain aspects of Aristotle and Leibniz's doctrines.
Attribution of de re propositional attitudes as a means of persuasionAbstract
By de re propositional attitude ascription for rhetorical purposes, we will understand uttering a modal statement wherein the speaker deliberately uses a description of the attitude’s object which she knows to be unavailable to the attitude holder. As the existence of rhetorical de re is revealed, it gives rise to two questions that will be the primary concern of the present paper. (1) Using a rhetorical de re ascription, does the speaker utter something false in the model-theoretic sense? (2) Would it be justified to classify rhetorical de re as a rhetorical ploy designed to, or naturally predisposed to, mislead the addressee? This paper argues that the first question can be answered positively but the second one should receive a negative answer. We show that the question of whether a certain instance of rhetorical de re is a ploy or act of manipulation should be answered depending not on whether the statement is clearly false for the speaker but on whether it is clearly unacceptable for the speaker. In case the speaker herself considers the argument made by means of the statement acceptable, there is no reason to denounce such a communicative act as a ploy or manipulation irrespective of which model-theoretic truth-value the statement has. There are therefore reasons to incorporate rhetorical considerations into the modelling of how attitude reports are interpreted, in addition to considerations of truth and epistemological aspects, championed by Frege.
‘Definition of poetry’: Frege vs. JakobsonAbstract
This article presents a comparative analysis of two approaches to describing the reference within poetic statements: the pragmasemantic approach, which builds upon Gottlob Frege's ideas of the poetic sign as "a sign with meaning but without reference," and aesthetic-functional theories of poetic language linked to Roman Jacobson's concept of the poetic function. The pragmasemantic interpretation of the referential capabilities of a poetic sign explores questions regarding the principles of its verification and examines its relationship with extralinguistic objects. From this perspective, the artistic expression's ability to establish objective references is either entirely denied (by Frege) or associated with the actions of "aesthetic operators" (Linsky), specific illocutionary attitudes (Searle), or the recipient's standpoint (Zolyan). On the other hand, the theory of the poetic function of language, as presented in formalism and structuralism, posits that the reference of the poetic sign does not extend to the world of objects but rather to the linguistic environment inherent within the sign. It underscores the "auto-referentiality" (Faryno) of an artistic statement. Pragmasemantics and aesthetic-functional concepts of poetic reference both contribute to a reduction, albeit from opposite angles: pragmasemantics locates the referents of the poetic sign within ‘possible’ (artistic) worlds but somewhat overlooks the unique characteristics of poetic language. In contrast, functionalism sidelines the question of a sign's objective references, steering artistic discourse entirely toward linguistic elements. A potential resolution to this polarity in analytical approaches involves viewing the poetic sign as a bi-referential phenomenon, simultaneously engaging along two axes — extralinguistic and linguistic. This approach enables the consideration of an artistic statement not as deficient but, conversely, as abundant in its referential connections. It helps reveal the common semiotic mechanisms at play in any work of art, which motivate the ‘definition of poetry’ as a distinct statement about a unique world.
Semantic transformation of the noun mamochka: from ‘wife’ to ‘cannon’Abstract
In the semantic theory of Gottlob Frege, the content of a linguistic sign is determined by the connection between the meaning and a set of subjective perceptions that form the meaning. Our study aims to reveal the influence of individual perceptions of the meaning on the extension of the semantic structure of a word, using the kinship term ‘mamochka’ as an example. The article focuses on instances where the word ‘mamochka’ is used in fiction and, to some extent, Internet texts. The article examines cases spanning from the 1840s to the 2010s to explore the secondary usage of the term. The corpus, comprising a total of 2,192 cases, was carefully collected and annotated. Out of these cases, 362 examples were identified as instances of secondary usage. Each example was analyzed and categorized based on its type of use, including appellative (address), referential, or interjective use. Furthermore, for the secondary instances, the type of the meaning was also marked for accurate classification and analysis. The study delineated the semantic structure of the word ‘mamochka’ based on its various uses. Common meanings encompassed appellative and referential usages, denoting a wife, a woman fulfilling maternal roles, or a woman with a young child. Additionally, unique meanings emerged for specific contexts, such as a friend, a man, a non-living object, or even the caretaker of an animal. The investigation also uncovered systemic connections among these meanings, along with the dynamic transformations they underwent over time in the diachronic aspect.
SEMIOTICS: CONTINUATION OF THE DISCUSSION
On multiple semiotics integrally, aspectively and concretelyAbstract
Anton Zimmerling’s interpretation of the discursive particle TI1 is an important achievement. The article considers possibilities used by Zimmerling to interpret TI1 as a discursive particle, enclitic, part of speech and semantic sign. In addition, the article discusses its interpretation as a pragmatic marker. The author comments on the interpretations of semiotics by Zimmerling, in particular, the question of primary and secondary semiotic systems. The author presents his own concept of semiotics as a research programme in Imre Lakatos’ sense. Semiotics is also a kind of cognitive ability common to many forms of life and at the same time a system of epistemological and methodological possibilities for carrying out scientific research on meaning-making or semiosis built on this ability. Moreover, semiotics is not only a research programme, but a transdisciplinary integrative organon. Such universal complexes for integrating the capabilities of scientific knowledge are based on three basic cognitive abilities — (1) to perceive signals, to rank and to process them; (2) to recognize patterns (signal configurations) and shape them into more complex formations; (3) assessing and utilizing the meaning (initially functional significance, relevance) of the forms and modes of actuality. The latter ability is precisely the basis of semiotics and semiosis. The first two are metretics or organon for computational mathematics and statistics, as well as morphetics or organon for a wide variety of morphologies, comparative studies, discrete mathematics, topology, etc.
Where does the method come from? On the self-sufficiency of semiotic objectsAbstract
The article aims to illustrate the inadequacy of viewing semiotics as a mere extension of linguistic methods applied to non-linguistic objects. It highlights the dual and recursive nature of semiotic terms. Semiotics' objects are not independent signs but rather the processes involved in establishing sign relations, specifically semiosis and semiopoiesis. Given the dynamic character of semiosis, signs should not be regarded as fixed objects from a predefined vocabulary; instead, they should be seen as ongoing processes. This underscores the significance of referencing texts and contexts within semiotics. This aspect is crucial as it is where semiotics can complement linguistics effectively.
Social semiotics and poetic semantics, from different vantage points, demonstrate that the speaker's activity is not merely the reproduction of signs but the generation of them. Conversely, biosemiotics and molecular genetics offer insights into comprehending the internal laws of semiosis, affirming that sign generation is an inherent property of information systems and need not always involve a conscious subject. Simultaneously, linguistic descriptions can take various directions, focusing either on describing significative functions external to the system or on internal relationships within the system.
A part outside the whole? (To Anton Zimmerling's article “Really: syntactics without semiotics?”)Abstract
Before delving into the connections between linguistics and semiotics, it is essential to establish a clear demarcation between these fields, which necessitates a precise definition of each subject. However, the approach taken by Anton Zimmerling in this regard is subject to debate. In the discussion of semiotics, the focus tends to lean towards interpretations that recognize the dual understanding of signs, while unilateral conceptions of signs are often overlooked. Linguistics is typically confined to the study of language itself, and the treatment of linguistics concerning speech (text) is often seen as a concealed branch of philology. Moreover, it remains unclear whether the distinction between language and speech pertains to linguistics or philology. This ambiguity extends to the status of linguistic pragmatics.
To address this issue constructively, it is useful to differentiate between five concepts encompassing language and speech: hermeneutics, philology, linguistics, semiotics, and pragmalinguistics. Each of these concepts delineates a specific ontology and corresponding methodological approach. By considering them as orthogonal axes within a fan matrix, one can identify 25 possible approaches for studying speech, including those that are currently employed and potential ones. Within this framework, philological linguistics, as discussed by Zimmerling, finds its place, and the transitions of scholars like Witzany from biohermeneutics to biopragmalinguistics and Ongstad's shift from philology become more comprehensible.