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You searched for "Derrida". Your search returned 73 results.

Stupid postmodernism

According to a search on Google Ngram, the term “postmodernism” reached its apogee in the 1990s. Then there was a sharp decline, at least in books up to 2008, which is the extent of the current Ngram database. But what was once a term debated, disputed and exhausted in academic circles in the 1980s and … Continue reading

What a mess!

Anyone with a sense of order can’t help but notice that problems frequently occur at the seams, where things join, or don’t join, or don’t quite align as they should — where the joins don’t survive successive adaptations. Sociologist Richard Sennett illustrated the demoralized state of crafters in the former Soviet Union. Once when shown … Continue reading

Invisible icons

An icon is a likeness; something that resembles the thing it refers to — its referent. Iconography is a branch of study that deals with such resemblances, i.e. drawings or other pictorial representations of things. That’s the OED definitions, but in spite of such generality, we mostly reserve the word icon for use in particular … Continue reading

Elect a clown; expect a circus

… says the meme. I’ve been reading Julia Kristeva (1941-) lately, not least as she championed a revised understanding of semiotics in the turbulent 1960s, and is a major figure in the history of semiotics. She mentions C.S. Peirce favourably in a few places, though her philosophy emerges from the structuralism of de Saussure. Roland Barthes … Continue reading

What does a theory look like?

What do theories look like? They are shaped like triangles. Theories are triangular. I am being glib, but according to one of the top OED definitions, a theory is a “collection of theorems forming a connected system.” The least number of entities that can be connected to create a number of relationships greater than the number … Continue reading

Triadomania

Many of us new to the details of C.S. Peirce’s sign categories find them difficult to define, identify, remember, recall and use. As Miss Brodie said of the use of the quarter hour, I refuse to be intimidated by Peirce’s fine semiological distinctions. I’m assuming Peirce’s system constitutes a kind of brain trainer, the understanding … Continue reading

On being clear and distinct

Who would not advocate for clarity and distinctness in communication? It’s a big deal in American politics at the moment, as pundits wrestle with the president’s messages that are anything but. The opposite of clear and distinct is something like obscure and blurry, like being in a cloud, where you can’t see properly and forms … Continue reading

Sign here ……………………

How do signatures function? A signature is a sign, seal, or mark on a document indicating its authenticity, as when a painter signs a painting, or someone signs a letter or legal document. The signature and the thing it marks is meant to be a one-off. The signature marks an original document, before the thing … Continue reading

Archi-memes

Is a Gothic arch a meme? According to John James, historian of the Gothic,  “A meme is like a catchy tune, a new fashion in clothes or a way of building an arch. When an architect hears about a good idea, he passes it on to his colleagues and students, and if it catches on … Continue reading

What does architecture represent?

For the architectural semiotician, buildings and building elements operate as signs, pointing to something other than themselves. So for the semiotician one of the key roles of architecture is to represent. For the semiotically informed, the things of nature are amongst the targets of representation, evident in floral and foliated ornamentation, frescoes of nature scenes, shapes that resemble tree … Continue reading

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