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Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language (Advances in Semiotics) Reprint Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0253203984
ISBN-10: 0253203988
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Eco wittily and enchantingly develops themes often touched on in his previous works, but he delves deeper into their complex nature ... this collection can be read with pleasure by those unversed in semiotic theory." Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

UMBERTO ECO is the author of five novels and numerous essay collections, including The Name of the Rose, The Prague Cemetery, and Inventing the Enemy. He received Italy's highest literary award, the Premio Strega, was named a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur by the French government, and is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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Product Details

  • Series: Advances in Semiotics
  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; Reprint edition (July 22, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253203988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253203984
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Umberto Eco (born 5 January 1932) is an Italian novelist, medievalist, semiotician, philosopher, and literary critic.

He is the author of several bestselling novels, The Name of The Rose, Foucault's Pendulum, The Island of The Day Before, and Baudolino. His collections of essays include Five Moral Pieces, Kant and the Platypus, Serendipities, Travels In Hyperreality, and How To Travel With a Salmon and Other Essays.

He has also written academic texts and children's books.


Photography (c) Università Reggio Calabria

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you want to know what meaning 'means' in linguistics inquiry then this is an incredible volume. Eco's discussion of theories of meaning based on dictionaries and encyclopedias and the relationship between the two shoud be read by linguists and computer scientists alike as this debate (which is really the heart of much of the book) has direct bearing on theories of grammar and artificial intelligence (much to the detriment of most modern theories of the latter). The only real complaint I have is that the initial chapter is quite dense and definitely not understandable for the reader not versed in at least some of his concepts--I had family members who wanted to know what I study and so I gave them this volume and they could not get past the first chapter to the meat of the book, which is very well written.
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Format: Paperback
Umberto Eco has really delved deep into the field of semiotics and how it intersects with linguistic philosophy in this book. Eco presents a very detailed and logical exposition on semiotic phenomena and how we probably tend to categorize meaning in our brains.
An important note: This book is NOT for the layperson in either of the fields of semiotics or linguistics. I have not been exposed to much of the former and hence had to research further in order to understand what he was talking about at points. It would have been helpful to have a glossary of terms to refer to. Overall this is a very interesting look at semiotic categorization and how it relates to linguistic meaning. Highly recommended for anyone who is already well-versed in linguistics and semiotics.
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It seems to me, that you can divide the world's linguists into two categories. There are those who can use their linguistic insights to present their ideas clearly, simply and concisely, and there are those who instead use their linguistic insights to exhibit their vast knowledge of the subject via the liberal use of complexity, clever metaphor, and insider or otherwise obscure references and terminology. Eco is undeniably the consummate grandiloquent semiologue. As Edmund Kean remarked, "Complexity is easy, simplicity is hard." Methinks the truly brilliant linguist, would be one of few words. While reading this book, I just couldn't help thinking, what's wrong with this picture? Is this rocket science? No, I found here a pretentious alchemy, attempting to fashion lead into gold at the end of a semiotic rainbow.

To get a sense of some of the discourse, try this for size, the concluding sentence of the chapter on symbol:

"In any case, behind every strategy of the symbolic mode, be it religious or aesthetic, there is a legitimating theology, even though it is the atheistic theology of unlimited semiosis of or hermeneutics as deconstruction. A positive way to approach every instance of the symbolic mode would be to ask: which theology legitimates it?" p.163

So it ain't science, it's art. No, I take that back, it's a modern religious art (and seasoned with more than a little Dada).

Such pseudointellectual bourgeoisie seem to thrive on belaboring the number of linguistic angels that can dance on the head of a pin. That, and a propensity for name dropping. The true measure of any "science," analysis, or even a mere methodology, is its results. Where's the beef? Sure, Eco is known to tell a good story now and then, but so do many others.
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This work is not for the faint hearted. It reflects the depth of the author, his stylistic interests, as well as making a true contribution to semiotics with in the world of philosophy.
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