February 10, 2009

about axioms, syntagmatics, paradigmatics, Charles Peirce, Ferdinand de Saussure and Umberto Eco

yep, I am going back to school. So now I know what Philologische Grundlagen means - its epistemology (a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge.) Now it may sound totally boring but it so not boring......at all. Communications models >denotation, connotation, semiotics (Umberto Eco`s The Name of the Rose is a visualisation of semiotics - and I never even knew that), literature, poetry, the function of grammar and how it affects how we speak, what we speak and write.

Heard about a guy named Charles Peirce. Funny how mathematics figures in so much of everything. Logical thinking. Someone once told me this and now I am experiencing it in literature.

Wiki says this about him (plus a lot more of course)
"Charles Peirce: (September 10, 1839 – April 19, 1914) was an American logician, mathematician, philosopher, and scientist, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Peirce was educated as a chemist and employed as a scientist for 30 years. It is largely his contributions to logic, mathematics, philosophy, and semiotics (and his founding of pragmatism) that is appreciated today. In 1934, the philosopher Paul Weiss called Peirce "the most original and versatile of American philosophers and America's greatest logician"

Although an innovator in fields such as mathematics, research methodology, the philosophy of science, epistemology, and metaphysics, Peirce considered himself a logician first and foremost. While he made major contributions to formal logic, "logic" for him encompassed much of what is now called the philosophy of science and epistemology. He, in turn, saw logic as a branch of semiotics, of which he is a founder. As early as 1886 he saw that logical operations could be carried out by electrical switching circuits, an idea used decades later to produce digital computers."

We went through a whole lot more, I wrote everything down but am now trying to just digest all this. Lots of big words (hyperonym, hyponym, descriptive grammar, generative grammar and a whole lot more)

Plus I have to hand in a reading list of 10 books to be discussed in front of the class. Lucky we can choose anyone we want - from 1700 to the present.

You know what the most amazing thing is about all this?

Firstly, pressing the bench (die Bank druecken - ja das mach ich wieder - nach langer langer Zeit), secondly learning about things I´ve never heard about, thirdly, hearing things I do know a bit about, and lastly, being struck (like, literally, knocked over) once again about how much I don´t know.

Love of the language. Thats what this is all about. Boy, was I naive in thinking I could step up into the realm. But at least I can learn more about that space between heaven and earth. That place where prose is created and washes down upon us. And inspires us in times of woe.

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