By Thomas A. Sebeok
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Extra info for A Sign Is Just a Sign (Advances in Semiotics)
Is perfused with signs, if it is not composed exclusively of signs"is known as Idealism, and that of a particular hue, sometimes called "conceptual idealism," which maintains that our view of reality, namely, our Umwelt, entails an essential reference to mind (Gemüt) in its constitution. As Kant insistedand, of course, both Peirce and Jakob von Uexküll had thoroughly assimilated Kantian principles"raw experience" is unattainable; experience, to be apprehended, must first be steeped in, strained through, and seasoned by a soup of signs.
And, some time ago, when my seven-year-old wondered just how Dracula was killed by a "steak" driven into his heart, I knew I was not being led into the tangled thickets of philanthropy or Transylvania, but into that locus classicus of signs in action, paranomasia. < previous page page_20 If you like this book, buy it! next page > < previous page page_21 next page > Page 21 A few lines above I used the expression "historical sciences," but this, too, may well perpetuate an illusion. " At a semiotic level we make the past as well as the present and the future.
For this reason, a Turing Machine necessarily lacks a "semiotic self"its Umwelt forever being merely specular to its creators' Innenwelt (cf. Uexküll and Wesiack 1988:188, 196). It would be instructive to reflect at leisure (not afforded here) on three predominant styles of ethnographic discourse. It is the hallmark of great (or near-great) bourgeois ethnographies that they depict and interpret the semiotic self of their subjects by their possessions rather than, as was the custom in other works, by their actions.