The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

February 17, 2004

Various from Eco's A Theory of Semiotics

..a sign is always an element of an _expression plane_ conventionally
correlated to one (or several) elements of a _content plane._

Properly speaking there are not signs, but only _sign-functions._

..the classical notion of 'sign' dissolves itself into a highly complex
network of changing relationships.

..under the name of /'code/ the engineer is considering at least four
different phenomena:

(a) A set of _signals_ ruled by internal combinatory laws. (b) A set of
states [of X] which are taken into account as a set of _notions_ .. about
the state of [X] and which can become .. a set of possible communicative

(c) A state of possible _behavioral responses_ on the part of the

(d) A _rule_ coupling some items from the (a) system with some of the (b)
or (c) system. This rule establishes that a given array of syntactic
signals refers back to a given state of [X], or to a given 'pertinent'
segmentation of the semantic system; that both the syntactic and the
semantic units, once coupled, may correspond to a given response; or that
a given array of signals corresponds to a given response even though no
semantic unit is supposed to be signalled; and so on.

Only this complex form of rule may properly be called a _'code.'_


It might be valuable to have an online reading of the work? Anyway it's
worth thinking about - Alan

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