Eco asks whether iconic signs can be called analogous on p 200 of his Theory of Semiotics? In some sense it appears as though analogy and similarity are synonymous terms. (p200) Functions of analogous computers provides an explanation of analogy as a relationship of proportionality. But for it to be analogous there must be ‘constancy in the proportionality between two series of entities’ not just a constancy in the entities themselves. (p 200) This relationship of proportionality may be defined as a type of analogy but, Eco cautions, “…not all definitions of analogy reduce themselves to that of proportion”.
When analogies are not proportional but ‘resemblances’ between entities then that supposes an iconic relationship.
[SS I feel another mushy, muddled, complexity coming on…]
A notion of iconism that is not based on a proportional analogy leaves us “…with the absurdity of having semiotics resort to analogy to explain iconism, while invoking iconism to explain analogy.” (p201) We thus have a proposition based on a premise that itself requires proof – a ‘peiitio principii’. Which leads to circular reasoning, which Eco avoids by concluding that an analogy is “a procedure instituting the basic conditions for transformation.” (p201)
[SS Well caught Eco.]
[OS What is well caught?]
[SS The boomerang of potential confusion.]
[OS There is a glimmer of hope: these arguments/discussions/definitions/debates/explorations are not just circular, they are increasingly feeling like concentric circles.]
[SS You mean there is movement outwards instead of round and round on the same lines?]
[OS Yes. With training we too are starting to recognise a line of reasoning in his theory. Just have to keep following it.]
[SS Keep ‘trucking’, like Tomas the Tank Engine. Just keep moving. Keep rolling, rolling, rolling: keep that Phd rolling along!]