Semiotic Enclaves

Begins: 5:57pm

Eco shows a representative case of ‘substitution of the instrumental cause by the effect’ in a discussion of Virgil’s poem the Aeneid (quoted on p 281).

He then gives an exemplary use of a ‘semiotic enclave’ while illustrating the difficulty of distinguishing between the rhetorical figures metaphor and metonymy.  A reference to a ‘bachelor’ known to the author could be substituted by the term /that unlucky seal/.  But as Eco makes clear, understanding the substitution can only come about if Eco’s “audience has read Katz, Fodor and Postal (and in the circle that I move in everybody ha)s”. (p 282)

[SS Well we haven’t so now what?]

[OS Well Katz, Fodor and Postal wrote about semantic theories in the discipline of linguistics. That we know.  And maybe for now, that’s all we need to know!]

[SS So we have to just remain excluded from the inner semiotic circle? I mean, he doesn’t even give a note with information on where we can find out more about the reference.  Why would he do that?]

[OS Because he can.  And he probably doesn’t want to or need to rehash the entire theory that those guys probably spent years developing.  It’s not critical to our overall PhD focus.  Even if it does irritate you!]

The example of the bachelor and the ‘unlucky seal’, if understood, makes the substitution clear, but points to an apparent difficulty deciding whether the rhetorical figure is a metaphor or a metonymy. (p 282)  There are two possible solutions, Eco explains, both of them produce infra- or inter-sememic connections and the presence “of a semantic global universe whose format is that of Model Q. (note 49)”. (p 283)

Ends 7:18pm



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