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interpretation

This tag is associated with 30 posts

Decryptopolis

Newly elected US Members of Congress and their staff were disoriented and nervous as they hid in the basement of the Capitol. Included in their concern was the fear of contracting COVID-19 while close to one another, and in the company of people who wouldn’t wear masks (Washington Post). Elsewhere I’ve identified cases where the … Continue reading

This man has a sign

The semiotic philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce said enigmatically that “man is a sign” (54). I’ve referred to this in a previous post. This statement hints at something significant about the use of language. We humans are capable of profound transformation under the operations of the sign. But I find it easier to think in terms … Continue reading

Hermeneutics and logic

Winfried Nöth’s highly useful Handbook of Semiotics has a chapter on hermeneutics. There I saw a cogent account of something I suspected all along — a statement about the similarity between Peirce’s description of abductive inference and hermeneutics (the art of interpretation as discussed by Hans-Georg Gadamer). “For [] hermeneutics, textual understanding (and human knowledge in general) … Continue reading

Cracks and flaws

I enjoy Keith Olbermann’s weekly YouTube tirades against the US presidential incumbent, who he describes as “f*cking crazy.” See The Resistance with Keith Olbermann. Crazy is what you say about old ships “Full of cracks or flaws; damaged, impaired, unsound; liable to break or fall to pieces; frail, ‘shaky’” (OED). The metaphor translates to a state … Continue reading

Outsiders

Some would-be achievers like to position themselves as outsiders. An outsider can provide a fresh point of view. An outsider is also someone with an outside chance, as opposed to a front runner. That way others expect less of them. How can someone outside the mainstream be expected to capitalise on insider benefits, or know as much as an insider? When … Continue reading

In bad taste

France, and some other countries, use the two-round election system. If there’s no majority vote winner from among a set of candidates then there’s a second election. It’s a playoff between the top two candidates. Binary choices are often easier to deal with, and are decisive. Of less consequence than state elections, I find it easy enough to choose … Continue reading

You have reached your destination

It sounds final. “You have reached your destination,” says my car SatNav. Achieving a goal is melancholic in several respects. Some achievers realise there’s nothing left. It’s not going to get any better. Then some think their achievement doesn’t accrue all the benefits they expected. Freud also explained melancholy as a tendency to focus on losing something, even if it is … Continue reading

Is post-truth politics a thing?

The term “post-truth politics” was coined by journalist David Roberts in an article in Grist in 2010. The use of the term is convenient shorthand to indicate disagreement with some current political circumstance. The term also comes into play as a way of accounting for the strange unregulated world of social media. The term also helps mainstream media outlets account for their declining role as gatekeepers to truth, … Continue reading

Nature as the site of hermeneutical play

Metaphors can be playful, and observers of nature commonly refer to metaphors of play: “we find talk of the play of light, the play of the waves,” and “the play of gnats” (104). This is a passing reference to play in nature by the hermeneutical philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer as he affirmed the importance and ubiquity of play. … Continue reading

Video game semiotics

Many video games require the player to investigate and solve mysteries, to read the signs, gather evidence and follow leads. I think this is the area in which semiotics can be applied most usefully to computer gaming and game design. Semiotics is the study of communication from the point of view of signs and symbols, and how … Continue reading

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