ECO's Perspective on Semiotics and

Problems Combined with It. Review*

by Gerhard GELBMANN


»Abstraction« becomes the condition of all effective exercise of thought.
(Ferdinand Canning Scott SCHILLER in FL §6 pp.23-24)

Prof. Dr. Umberto ECO might be widely and well known as a successful and wonderful novelist.1 Yet in his publicly underrated profession as a Professor of Semiotics at the University of Bologna he has gained a profound and respectable reputation that does not rely on eye-catching bestsellers but for sure shall outlast his death.2

In 1991 the second and corrected edition of his masterpiece of 1976, "A Theory of Semiotics" (known to us in its German translation, i.e. Semiot), was published proving the judgement stated above. The theme of this book is a description -- or probably better: a mere, but breathtaking sketch -- of a Theory of Signs; it takes into account contributions from the wide fields of Linguistics as well as of Logics and Philosophy of Ordinary Language and it confers mostly to the classical foundations laid by Charles S. PEIRCE and Charles W. MORRIS.

The book's approximately 400 pages of clear and sometimes humorous reflections, deeply rooted in their style and substance within a genius' affection towards words and thoughts, cannot be summarised in this little essay which is only undertaken to stir up the appreciated reader's interest. But a short outline of the main points might give you an impression in combination with a critical background:

The book starts with an introduction into ECO's Philosophy of Culture. As it is often the case and as often is not evident, introductions contain the real and main problems. For instance ECO's definition of Culture as a semiotic phenomenon consisting of communication and signification admittedly is a radical hypothesis -- and in secret presents Semiotics as a General Theory of Culture or even as a substitute for Cultural Anthropology: Yet this definition -- besides being tautologous and therefore of no logical relevance due to the fact that Culture as the field of application for Semiotics is explained by Semiotics itself3 -- is questionable from the point of view that communication does not necessarily need to be distinguished from signification.4

The second part deals with signification and communication itself, considering communication as an intentional act.5 That is followed by a part called "Theory of Codes" in which definitions of all those famous terms and concepts of Logics and Linguistics like "code", "sign-function", "expression" and "contents", "denotation" and "connotation", "message" and "text", "reference",6 "sense" and "meaning", "extension", "interpretant", "Semantics", "semiosis" and "semem" are given, some of them new and astonishingly farsighted attempts in avoiding old prejudices and believes, others surprisingly overcritical or even unsound understatements. The most remarkable highlight among these is the so called "Model »Q« of Semantics",7 presenting an infinitely recursive and n-dimensional model of Semantics that is more capable than any other known to us and can at least be taken as the frame for a universal model fit for all natural languages.8

The fourth part is centred around a "Theory of Sign-Production" and in the critics' view solves one of the great epistemological problems KANT has left to us (and the great logician QUINE only succeeded in dealing with it by denying its Existence): the difference between analytical and synthetical sentences (or analytical and synthetical judgements respectively). If you are keen on learning about ECO's brilliant and rather sophisticated contribution to this discussion, it is worth buying the book right away and studying it throughout (it should not need to be mentioned that every student of Philosophy ought to know about the importance of this discussion). Moreover a very special chapter in this part focuses on a theme often neglected - viz. ostension, as Jonathan SWIFT and Ludwig WITTGENSTEIN understood it (and in former times Prof. emer. Erich HEINTEL in Vienna under the title of his "Philosophy of Language" liked to touch with some nice, some puzzling and some hideous remarks).

After further passages on Ideology and Rhetoric the fifth, last and shortest part has been placed, entitled with: "The Subject of Semiotics". Although it does not satisfy a profound reader, it rounds up this great work in the only acceptable way it can be done: by leaving something open that undeniably is substantial.

In spite of several critical points, ECO's opus on Semiotics has to be recommended warmly and without hesitation. It is written with wit and intelligence and with an irrevocably elegant strength of reasoning. Certainly it shall be estimated as a long missed undertaking of a complete overview and consistent composition of the difficult subject of signs for the next ten years and even more; it can be doubted if in our century and the first decades of the oncoming any work on the endless and abyss-like field of Semiotics will ever be edited comparable to this.

But if any gains more reputation within the next five or ten years, it will be written by the same man who is the unsurpassable successor of the great discoverers and constructors of Analytical Philosophy, Theory of Mind and Semiotics as an ars inveniendi in our time (as Gottfried Wilhelm LEIBNIZ determined it by conferring to John LOCKE and to Ramon LLULL,9 whose latter's project LEIBNIZ criticised in his dissertation, and as DESCARTES prepared it and inherited it to LEIBNIZ and to our days, as WIENER has pointed out10 in his autobiography). He stands together with HUME, KANT, J. St. MILL, BOOLE, BOLZANO, FREGE, HILBERT, SAUSSURE, RUSSELL, WHITEHEAD, BROUWER, BATESON, SCHLICK, GÖDEL, TARSKI, WITTGENSTEIN, WIENER, CARNAP, POPPER, LÖWENHEIM, SKOLEM, CHURCH, TURING, SPENCER-BROWN, von FOERSTER, CHOMSKY, LORENZEN, DERRIDA, WATZLAWICK, MATURANA, MATERNA, TICHÝ, VARELA and others passed by or still to come in one row of names worth being recalled - perhaps once you will be among them (but only if you have read ECO).-


Footnotes

* Written from 10th to 14th April and on 5th and 16th May in 1996, accomplished thanks to the help of Sarah O'KEEFFE. The text itself had to undergo few and small improvments afterwards, yet here it is conserved rather unchanged in its substance; some further references to literature have been added, however.-

This article is also quoted by Martin RYDER, who is the web-master of his virtual electronic documented collection "Instructional Technology Connections", http://www.cudenver.edu/~mryder/itcon.html (last access: Jan. 29th 1999), a research-project at the University of Colorado at Denver, School of Education, having won the free-election-based InTRO-Award 1997 for the "Best Instructional Technology Links or Hot List Page" in a selection called "Recognizing Outstanding Contributions to Instructional Technology on the World Wide Web from February 1996 - January 1997"), in a collection of contributional electronic documentations at http://www.cudenver.edu/~mryder/itc_data/semiotics.html (last access: Jan. 29th 1999).-

It is a pity that of PONZIO's articel in the S-European Journal for Semiotic Studies (S-EJSS) 9 (3, 4) 1997 could not be taken into thorough regard due to its forthcoming after the lines of this little essay have already been written. As remarkable in this respect nevertheless two things have to be mentioned: First of all PONZIO's course of criticism is a rather different and unique one, concerning points like differing within ECO's treatise Semiot between a notion of communication based on signification and another one working within its usual social field, secondly PONZIO takes ECO's later works on Semiotics into account, concentrating on their connection to his great treatise as presenting certain improvements, works, of which here no notice could have been taken.-

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1 His most prominent belletristic book deals in a criminological manner with the Middle-Ages and is called "The Name of the Rose"; it was screened with Sean CONNERY years ago and still endures its long-lasting success.

Worth being mentioned is his last novel, "L'isola del giorno prima", which is yet written with a barocque passion for imagination and romantic adventures, containing a bundle of allusions to Philosophy and cabbalistic tradition as it is thematized again in his profound latest scientific book "La ricerca della lingua perfetta nella cultura europea", i.e. SvS, similar in its style to the novel written before, namely "Il pendolo di Foucault").-

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2 In the author's opinion there is only one other thinker in our century of the History of Semiotics, who apart from his work is capable of writing fine literature in the rank of art: George SPENCER-BROWN, who seriously did something

as Bertrand RUSSELL generously and admiringly put it into words in his Autobiography, congratulating SPENCER-BROWN on his unique contribution to Logics presented with his ingenious book "Laws of Form" (i.e. LoF). And this was achieved, although SPENCER-BROWN, who was a student of RUSSELL and WITTGENSTEIN and has been a practising psychotherapist in the school of another fine thinker worth being remembered, Ronald D. LAING, is not a professional logician:

Because apart from this and apart from being a poet and holding two records as a glider pilot and apart from having worked as a sports correspondent for the Daily Express and having won some prizes in playing chess he under the name of James KEYS has published a bestseller about love ("Only Two Can Play This Game").

From that we may gain a further knowledge about the connections between creative sciences, the culture of thinking and the ways of art (besides love, of course), connections which rest within the ground of language and within an adorable, even though sometimes abstract passion for it and its flexibility in inhaling the richness of feeling as well as that of reflection. From this point of view (which barely is recognised) we might state that philosophising, as it is made up and passed through generations, is nothing but telling stories, the stories of Thought and Feeling, of Time and History, of Logics, Language, Learning, of Knowing and Experience, of Philosophy itself.-

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3 Going into detail we may state that you cannot prevent yourself from recognising that every definition of Culture must be tautologous due to the fact that language, Semiotics and every other possible definiens is generated by Culture itself or is in some other respect dependent on cultural effects.

The situation in giving a definition of Culture is very similar to the situation in giving a definition of History: In both cases the mere undertaking of a philosophical answer tells more about the philosophy in usage than about the questioned definiendum. It will lead to essentialism or combined historicism or something like culturalism, if you want to find out the essence of Culture by taking ECO's "definitions" too seriously (in stating this, we refer to Sir Karl Raimund POPPERs EH). These definitions do not show us what Culture is but how ECO uses and understands the word "Culture" and how his philosophy works.

ECO in the last consequence shares PEIRCE's nominalistic and mentalistic view that everything can be described as a process of signification -- even thinking. So his philosophy signifies not only its use of signs but also itself as a sign for such a metaphysical thesis to be improveable.-

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4 So if a distinction is not necessary, it can be omitted without jeopardising the given truth of one's thinking or risking any error; therefore it can not be counted as the fundamental distinction on ground of the facts in question, because these fundamental decisions have to be necessary, if they shall be fundamental.

The argument that distinctions like these are only de dicto and merely more or less convenient regulations of our usage of the Theory's language, does not hold true, because Culture as the field in which it is drawn counts as a fact and therefore is understood de re and not de dicto, which means that to speak of Culture as the main subject of the intended Theory is not a matter of regulating one's usage of words but a matter of saying what is the Theory's "what about" or, as Logicians are used to saying, what is the Theory's "universe of discourse". Culture is a real phenomenon, not only a reification or a name for a made up entity; Culture itself is not fictional (yet fiction is an unesteemable worthy part of it). It has (following Gregory BATESON's account of RUSSELL, cf. op. cit. sup.) to be stressed, that mixing up objective-language with meta-language can lead to contradictions (as long as TARSKI's Theory of Truth shall remain as acceptable and as rational as it is judged and worshipped by POPPER, who interprets it satisfyingly as a "Korrespondenztheorie" [cf. ObjE S.45-53, S.329ff., S.332-353; GPE "Einleitung 1978" S.XXIIff.; furthermore see CaRChapt.3 footnote33 p.116 and Chapt.10 pp.223ff. etc. and have a look at Alfred TARSKI's works])!

Propositio: What is a necessary step de dicto in a meta-language need not be followed by a necessary step de re in an object-language. Let us be given an example as a demonstration:

Example with proof: Take it as granted that British English can work as a meta-language of American English, which shall work as the object-language of daily Life. E.g., if an Austrian Logician or logically thinking human being living in the States like Paul WATZLAWICK decides that it is necessary to differ between the language of an English and that of an American motorist in order to be prevented from mixing up gasoline with petrol and suffering a breakdown of his car or even his nerves (so to let him use his incomplete British English of a total foreigner as a more or less private or let us say: mental meta-language), he makes a distinction de dicto which is precisely a necessary convention in his use of English, as long as the motivation of this distinction is purely semantical with the intention to regulate his further use of English under American circumstances (these circumstances are, of course, Semantics of American English in use for objects in America and named and baptised by Americans). But from that does not follow that the distinction between the words "gas" and "petrol" or even between the substances gas and petrol named by these words is necessary de re in American English (as the chosen object-language of our example) -- in fact the existence of this important and remarkable difference in American English and the equally remarkable difference between these two substances is merely somehow historically or empirically motivated and thus contingent: It could have been different and maybe a usage of the same words for the same things could have happened to be given vice versa. Ergo from a necessary step in construing a meta-language de dicto the necessity de re of a step in the object-language does not follow. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Lemma I: But if our motorist in America thinks his meta-language-distinction is only a contingent and not a necessary convention, he probably may learn through the agony of ruining his car or nerves that he has been desperately wrong (to this possible event a relatively high degree of likelihood ought to be put). Hence it follows that some kind of regulation of language in the sense given above or any equivalent sense (for all equifinal cases) could not be omitted or in any other way subdued (if and only if cars are to be used or under similar circumstances respectively).

Lemma II: WATZLAWICK -- although having studied Psychology in Switzerland -- must be thought of as having proved to have logical abilities since he found the backbones of our example, which is the difference between "gas" and "petrol" in America and the different usage of the same words in the U. K. (cf. his GAA S.72).

Lemma III: Logics are necessary, if you want to lead a comfortable Life in America (a comfortable Life in America includes having a car, in our opinion) and if you intend to avoid misunderstandings, which is true for all other places of the world, too (even including your own country), as long as there is semantic communication, there must be Language or at least the ability of speech-acts (as AUSTIN described them, for instance). Logics are even necessary for people who have no country. The necessity of Logics does not depend on a certain language or a certain country or nation, it can be called an interlingual and non-empirical, non-nationalistic and non-political, ergo a priori necessity. And the author of this essay is not sure if the necessity of Logics depends on having and using a language at all, but this suspicion reveals itself as a mere hypothetical conjecture. In any case Logics is not refutable on the ground of rationality.

Let us state two last notes before settling this matter: Fortunately most of the logical problems can be solved intuitively, maybe the problem enfolded above is one of these. Unfortunately one can never be sure if he should not have studied Logics in detail, because it does not lie in our power to decide the complexity of problems we are confronted with. Thus it is better to enfold a problem exactly and formally logically in order to deal with it than trying a solution intuitively, unless we do not want to prevent ourselves from risking errors (by accepting the latter you give way to the irrational thinking Hegelians seemingly prefer).-

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5 Of course, there is a certain, nevertheless deplorable tradition of defining communication as an intentional act, which in some respect understands communication only as undertaken with a certain purpose, as Jürgen HABERMAS always does it or as Gerhard SATKE recently has done in his thoroughly and professionally written diploma, cf. op. cit. sup. (Comprehending communication in this way can be called an idealistic reductionism.)

But this deplorable tradition ignores BATESON's, WATZLAWICK's et al. famous and empirical-founded contribution to cybernetic and systemic conceptions of communication, showing on the one side that Human Communication is not necessarily intentional and therefore must not be defined by intention, but showing on the other side that Human Communication always and necessarily under all circumstances is intensional, which means: dependent on the way and form of language, how language (spoken, signified, mental language and the expressions of gesture and posture of body, the so called kinesic and paralinguistic language, included) takes part in its interaction(s). (We comprehend intensionality as the counterpart of extensionality and appeal to SCHILLER, FREGE, CHURCH, MATERNA and TICHÝ and others in making this distinction.)

Even WIENER, WEAVER, SHANNON and ASHBY, who are (besides von NEUMANN) among the most important founders of the Theories of Information and Cybernetics and who introduced the term "communication" into modern science, have never declined to restrict it to intentional acts only. Though WATZLAWICK's, JACKSON's and BEAVIN's most prominent, most profound book ("Pragmatics of Human Communication. A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies, and Paradoxes", N. Y. 1967, i.e. PHC) is quoted by ECO in the list of literature at the end of his book, ECO obviously has not taken any notice of it.

That (among other, more complicated points) feeds our suspicion, that ECO despite or even because of his marvellous knowledge sometimes sacrifices facts to his acommunicative intention to fascinate us by his thrilling constructions. To say nothing of Jürgen HABERMAS and his huge and egoistic (C. F. von WEIZSÄCKER's biographer, GÖRNITZ, gives enough hints to conjecture and maintain that, cf. op. cit. sup.), yet senseless project of explaining the world and everything ultimately in the absurd manner of HEGEL, and not to mention the author's friend Gerhard SATKE: In his diploma SATKE tries to find an empirical application of HABERMAS' Theory to an analysis of all cases of Human Discourses by avoiding HABERMAS' idealizations, but he oversees that WATZLAWICK et al. have already done this years before HABERMAS even started his boasting project. SATKE quotes WATZLAWICK though, and even starts his reflection with him and moreover ventures to criticise WATZLAWICK as hypertrophical (without realising that HABERMAS' way of reasoning neglects certain facts and gets lost in the hypertrophical abyss of playing and riddling with problematic hegelian terms).-

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6 ECO convincingly distinguishes the term "reference" from the term "denotation", which has not been seen by FREGE, RUSSELL and others (but maybe was anticipated by WITTGENSTEIN's conception of "language-games" and "familiar similarity", at least WITTGENSTEINs concept of meaning as use avoids the mistakes of the logicists and positivists). ECO's idea provides a new and better understanding of the connection between thought and sign and of the connection between sign and object, due to its ability of distinguishing cases of thoughts working as objects from other cases.

So for instance the word "unicorn" refers to a certain thought or mental state (like a day-dream) or to a fictional animal or some possible entity not existing in our actual world, and it might be pitied for being purely fictional because it does not denote any real object that exists in Time and Space or in an abstract way of objectivity like p (but, of course, the thought "unicorn" has a reality and means something, although this fictional object unfortunately cannot be seen and stroked, as children have to learn when they get to know fairy tales and other intelligent cultural achievements [maybe James THURBER intends to tell us this particular and peculiar truth by writing his famous short-story about a unicorn in an everyday-human-being's garden ... ]).

Or to give another example: Some people believe in money and think of the word "dollar" (or similar ones) denoting anything like importance itself, so in their way of communication they refer to it with a special interest and habitualized gesture and build up a relationship towards money as in the Middle-Ages towards a debated (and still debatable) entity named "God" was done e.g. by members of taciturn monasteries through prayers of preachers; but their way of referring to such words and thoughts and imaginations does not provide money with the denotable existence of importance (as well as praying to something called "God" fortunately does not call it into existence; if it were so, reifications would be acts of creativity and not of stupidity) -- that is proved by everyone who reasonably talks about money without taking it too seriously (and, of course, by everyone who is of no importance at all and who does not talk money, like the author of this essay is doing at the moment and usually prefers to do in daily life). In spite of this, words like "money" or "dollar" or even "this coin" themselves doubtlessly do denote something and can be referred to in a meaningful way (for example as an abstract or even a physical object or at least as some kind of abstract, yet conventional and imaginary thing being in general use [as a collectival construed imagination, e.g.]). And of course, these words and thoughts do mean something and have a sense. But from that the importance of money can not be inferred -- and furthermore: Facts like these do not imply denotable importance of anything at all. So one cannot denote importance of a certain thing by referring to it -- a sentence of great importance itself.

Our last example is a tricky one: Although you can talk about thoughts (maybe the thoughts of ECO) and refer to them without knowing if they mean and denote anything, you can esteem them and believe in their reality and even in their existence (that's why "mind" and "brain" do not have the same denotatum: With one's thoughts and reasoning one can refer to thoughts and reasoning of a mind, but one cannot denote any part or state of a brain by referring to mind; trying to denote "mind" is not the same as trying to denote "brain", because in the first case one talks of an abstract object through reference or demonstration of a mental process and in the second case one talks of a physically given thing by pointing at it with other words like "cerebrum" or by showing it itself, what would be a case of ostension; yet it is clear that one cannot keep his mind in mind while showing his brain ostensionally due to the fact that the latter causes death).

From that results that we can never know for sure if a denoted meaning does really exist, but we always can refer to it. So for instance the denoted meaning of "photon" is a rather difficult question (Physicians like HEISENBERG and DE BROGLIE have shown that under certain circumstances it is the same as that of "wave", although the word "particles" is an antonym of "waves"), yet referring to "photons" (and even to things like "virtual particles") is no problem at all (at least for Physicians and their science-fiction-like language). Thus Culture can be understood as the ability and activity of referring and not as the ability and certainty of positive denotation; the latter is (stupidly) claimed by some cruel and short-sighted (mis)understandings of Science (like the positivistic one), whereas the first is the way of Philosophy (and daily language, of course).

Denotation always needs a given code and given Semantics (denotation works in the field of Logics and Mathematics due to the fact that the code of Logics and Mathematics is given and maybe independent of our construction of knowledge or otherwise rendered through the working of denotation and connotation), reference yet can change any code and any Semantics; denotation enslaves our mind in the chains of perfect knowledge and therefore omnipotence (which cannot be gained by human beings, trying to achieve it is an endless game), reference (besides connotation) liberates our mind for learning new codes and new Semantics (which are nothing but new worlds) and therefore leads to new experiences and a growth of one's personality. (The connotations and possible references of one word and concept to another build up the process of so called "endless semiosis", producing itself the mentioned "model »Q«", of that ECO talks, cf. also the author's article FvsE.)

One may doubt if the word "denotation" or even "meaning" denotes something and therefore is of cultural relevance (although PUTNAM opposes), but it is a senseless undertaking asking if the word "reference" or even "sense" can be referred to (because it is evidently true and has just been done). So we can always refer to words and concepts (semems, as ECO would say) like "denotation", "meaning" or "reference" through connotations or intentional acts of communicated reference or through other functive operations of semiosis and still behave as civilised members of a Culture; no act of reference can thus be criticised as an uncultivated act.

That can not be said of every act of denotation, because saying in a denotative way and with the purpose of stating a denotation e.g. "There exist antinomical facts" like it is done by some Hegelians in Vienna (like Dr. RICHLI) is a rather poor and more or less pure nonsense (if that were true, everything could be concluded from it, even obviously wrong sentences like "HEGEL is the personification of KANT as long as KANT is the personification of HEGEL and both are different persons" or "If something real is not reasonable, one has to blame the facts and not one's reasoning").

That is remarkable, isn't it? Culture is really as simple as that -- and Logics essentially belong to Culture (which should not be supposed of Hegelians, the can be referred to as belonging to Culture, but they are not necessary).-

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7 ECO named this conception "Model »Q«" in honour of the dissertation of M. Ross QUILLIAN ("Semantic Memory", outlined 1968 in Marvin MINSKYs "Semantic Information Processing", i.e. SIP).-

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8 The author of this essay has presented a similar (partial) model in the completely different context of discussing epistemological structures in essentialistic Theories of Knowledge and Science (under the title of a diploma named: "Epistemische Fraktalität. Ein typologischer Essay zu strukturellen und terminologischen Fragen der Epistemologie im Ausgang von PLATONs Dialog »Theaitetos«", Vienna 1995; a translation into English under a suggested title like "Epistemical Fractality. A Typological Essay on Structural and Terminological Questions Arising from PLATO's Dialogue »Theaitetos«" ought to be planned).

In fact, model »Q« as ECO describes it, can be regarded as a very strong and as an over-all-model appliciable to research for what may be called an epistemological algebra, in whose setting the Semantics of the Greek term epistemé with the complicated fractal structure of its reformulations in an essentialistic Theory like PLATO's configure as embodied and as an isolated and therefore abandoned part in the Semantical Universe, allowing the production of non-falsifiable absolutistic Theories, which according to POPPER are strictly to be excluded from Science (in the diploma this was realised in taking special consideration of Karl R. POPPER's critique of PLATO's and others essentialistical Theories of Definition [cf. footnote3a in the quoted diploma], but it is regrettable that this important step was taken only at the margin of this opusculum; it should have been put in its heart).

Essentialistic Theories like Hegelianism are to be called absolutistic because they violate the most significant and essential cultural achievement, the so called "endless semiosis" (saying this we suppose that the meta-language of Semiotics in our philosophy construes the concept of semiosis as a a theme of effability [and we do not oppose to a hypothetical relation between this concept of ECO and DERRIDA's concept of "infinit dissemination", a relationship never realized before as far as we do know]), which leads to a form of Metaphysics postulating the existence of something like "the last reason of everything", an "ultimative explanation", an arché, as some Greeks would have said, a totality of knowledge (POPPER has given evidence and good reason against conceptions like these, so in "The Aim of Science", now in ObjE S.198-213). This can be called an ideology, as well (but not in the sense of DESTUTT DE TRACY or of MARX's understanding, as Dr. G. LACHAWITZ has recently outlined in the author's impressed presence [Wintersemester 1996] in a private excursive colloquium during his lecture on the Greek Language and philosophical terminology).-

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9 For gaining general knowledge in LLULL's ars and its relational aspects see the diploma "Das Relationale im Denken Ramon Llulls" by HELMDACH, op. cit. sup. (with whom the author of this dissertation proudly and honestly has being shared a still deepening friendship since the together continuedly absolved seminars in Philosophy of the Middle-Ages, so about Nicolaus CUSANUS, Meister ECKHART, THOMAS D'AQUIN, etc., visited by them under the esteemed patronage of our professors Erwin WALDSCHÜTZ [] and Günther PÖLTNER at the University of Vienna).

For the same purpose of achieving an overview on Raimundus LLULLUS the German Kurt FLASCH (op. cit. sup. Kap.36 S.381-394 and elsewhere in his book) may be recommended, although HELMDACH probably would utter reservations and rejections (for further and special literature he is the expert).

For the (semiotic) relations between Ramon LLULL and LEIBNIZ (including DESCARTES and the age of the enlightenment and of the encyclopaedists) see ECO's SvS S.65-83 (chiefly on LLULL himself) and SvS S.276-298, op. cit. sup. In CASSIRER's well-known German edition of LEIBNIZ' most important works (cf. LeibI and LeibII, op. cit. sup.) several references (or simply: hints) of LEIBNIZ to LLULL's ars combinatoria (i.e. "Ars Magna") can be found: To prove this, LEIBNIZ' letter to REMOND from July the 3rd in 1714 should be read (LEIBNIZ critizises his own judgement of LLULL as he has passed it in his dissertation of his youth, "De arte combinatoria" from 1666, in which he thought of having found certain insufficiencies in LLULL's ars, cf. LeibII S.465).

In LeibI S.41 in footnote17 the editor Ernst CASSIRER comments that "Raymundus Lullus" ars magna has influenced Giordano BRUNO (a theme that will be of importance to HELMDACH, who plans a dissertation under the probable title of "Der Materialismus Giordano Brunos und seine Quellen bei Ramon Llull", as he told the author of this lines in May 1996 [cf. in the author's private and unpublished correspondence "Briefe IX"]; yet of course HELMDACH has remarked that fact in his profoundly and thoroughly researched diploma, op. cit., too and somewhat more convincingly); CASSIRER's interesting remark confers to a text by LEIBNIZ called "De Synthesi et Analysi universali seu Arte inveniendi et judicandi", which itself presents not only main thoughts concerning the well known project of the "characteristica universalis" (in this respect one may speak of a "Leibniz-Programm", which FREGE seemed to have successfully enhanced, cf. ECO's judgement in SvS S.317f. and in comparison to that have a glance on what GÖDEL in his introductorily reprinted essay "Russells mathematische Logik" in PM S.XXVIIf. [originally published in "The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell", edited by Paul A. SCHILPP, The Library of Living Philosophers, Evanston, Ill., New York 1944, pp.125-153] states as far as the relations between the logicism of RUSSELL and WHITEHEAD, the expectations of PEANO and, as one may supplement, of the not mentioned FREGE in successfully accomplishing the LEIBNIZ' programme are concerned), but furthermore yields reflections on the logic of definitions and the so called "Nominaldefinition" (under which aspect one may call LEIBNIZ a nearly throughout methodological nominalist in the sense of POPPER or GÖDEL as quoted above); cf. LeibI S.39-50.

At the "Sommerakademie 1996" of the Interdisciplinary Community PRO SCIENTIA in Klagenfurt, Carinthia, Stephan HELMDACH will have been so kindly to give a little lecture on LLULL in the "Arbeitskreis »Die Sprache des Fremden - das Fremde der Sprache«" constituted by Alexander KRALJIC and the author of this paper (this seminar's theme will have been concerning language in its structure and human dimension by dealing with different types and texts of foreign languages and different sign-systems, with selected problems of Semiotics and Philosophy of Language and with LLULL's philosophical attempt of construing a perfect thought-system of expression / language under respect of his neoplatonistic background). Here shall be the place to express our deepest gratitude to HELMDACH and KRALJIC, as well, thanks to them this course will have proven the promises that have arisen in the phase of it being mapped out.-

The part of this seminar concerning the dissertant's lecture on selected semiotical problems with special reference to the theme "reference" was published in the S-EJSS as FvsE, op. cit. sup.-

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10 Cf. Exprod S.8, S.17, S.87, S.303 and see also in Cyb Intr. p.2, p.12, Chapt.I p 41, Chapt.II p.58, Chapt.V p.125, Chapt.VII p.155.-

(back to 10)



LITERATUR:

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Pragmatics of Human Communication. A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies, and Paradoxes.
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Exprod
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Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp



first update by G.G. on 9th July 1998

last update by G.G. on 23rd April 1999

minor changes by G.G. in Dec. 2001 and in July 2002


© Gerhard Gelbmann / Gerhard.Gelbmann@gmx.net