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Afterword: (Re)constructing the Drafts of Past

  • Mihhail Lotman
Chapter

Abstract

In general, the evolution of Tartu-Moscow Semiotic School may be presented as follows. From the semiotics of text, it evolved into the semiotics of culture, and from that, into the semiotics of mental processes and the semiosphere. In conjunction with that, the center of attention shifted from the semiotics of space to the semiotics of time.

In the beginning, there was the semiotics of text. Text as a semiotics object offers certain challenges (Lotman, A Few Notes on the Philosophical Background of the Tartu School of Semiotics.” European Journal for Semiotics Studies, 12(1): 23–46, 2000). On the one hand, text is not an independent phenomenon in classical structuralism; it is the result of the realization of language. Natural language is a sign system; therefore, a text is made up of signs. This, however, does not mean that a text is a sovereign semiotic phenomenon which cannot be reduced to the simple sum of signs present in it. On the other hand, a text could be interpreted as a single sign, and this could be done from the perspective of Peirce, rather than Saussure, that is, meaning is not inside a sign as it is signified (an inseparable part of a sign), but is associated with a sign (representamen) in an act of communication. These two points of view are not easy to reconcile.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mihhail Lotman
    • 1
  1. 1.Tallinn UniversityTallinn and University of TartuTartuEstonia

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