„Semiotic provides a basis for understanding the main forms of human activity and their interrelationship, since all these activities and relations are reflected in the signs which mediate the activities … In giving such understanding, semiotic promises to fulfil one of the tasks which traditionally has been called philosophical. Philosophy has often sinned in confusing in its own language the various functions which signs perform. But it is an old tradition that philosophy should aim to give insight into the characteristic forms of human activity and to strive for the most general and the most systematic knowledge possible. This tradition appears in a modern form in the identification of philosophy with the theory of signs and the unification of science, that is, with the more general and systematic aspects of pure and descriptive semiotic.“

—  Charles W. Morris, p. 58-59 as cited in: Adam Schaff (1962). Introduction to semantics, p. 88-89
Charles W. Morris Foto
Charles W. Morris
US-amerikanischer Semiotiker und Philosoph 1903 - 1979
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Umberto Eco Foto

„When semiotics posits such concepts as 'sign', it does not act like a science; it acts like philosophy when it posits such abstractions as subject, good and evil, truth or revolution.“

—  Umberto Eco Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist 1932 - 2016
Context: When semiotics posits such concepts as 'sign', it does not act like a science; it acts like philosophy when it posits such abstractions as subject, good and evil, truth or revolution. Now, a philosophy is not a science, because its assertions cannot be empirically tested … Philosophical entities exist only insofar as they have been philosophically posited. Outside their philosophical framework, the empirical data that a philosophy organizes lose every possible unity and cohesion. To walk, to make love, to sleep, to refrain from doing something, to give food to someone else, to eat roast beef on Friday — each is either a physical event or the absence of a physical event, or a relation between two or more physical events. However, each becomes an instance of good, bad, or neutral behavior within a given philosophical framework. Outside such a framework, to eat roast beef is radically different from making love, and making love is always the same sort of activity independent of the legal status of the partners. From a given philosophical point of view, both to eat roast beef on Friday and to make love to x can become instances of 'sin', whereas both to give food to someone and to make love to у can become instances of virtuous action. Good or bad are theoretical stipulations according to which, by a philosophical decision, many scattered instances of the most different facts or acts become the same thing. It is interesting to remark that also the notions of 'object', 'phenomenon', or 'natural kind', as used by the natural sciences, share the same philosophical nature. This is certainly not the case of specific semiotics or of a human science such as cultural anthropology. [O] : Introduction, 0.6

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Karl Popper Foto

„But science is one of the very few human activities — perhaps the only one — in which errors are systematically criticized and fairly often, in time, corrected.“

—  Karl Popper Austrian-British philosopher of science 1902 - 1994
Context: The history of science, like the history of all human ideas, is a history of irresponsible dreams, of obstinacy, and of error. But science is one of the very few human activities — perhaps the only one — in which errors are systematically criticized and fairly often, in time, corrected. This is why we can say that, in science, we often learn from our mistakes, and why we can speak clearly and sensibly about making progress there. Ch. 1 "Science : Conjectures and Refutations"

Umberto Eco Foto

„Not every specific semiotics can claim to be like a natural science. In fact, every specific semiotics is at most a human science, and everybody knows how controversial such a notion still is.“

—  Umberto Eco Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist 1932 - 2016
Context: Not every specific semiotics can claim to be like a natural science. In fact, every specific semiotics is at most a human science, and everybody knows how controversial such a notion still is. However, when cultural anthropology studies the kinship system in a certain society, it works upon a rather stable field of phenomena, can produce a theoretical object, and can make some prediction about the behavior of the members of this society. The same happens with a lexical analysis of the system of terms expressing kinship in the same society. [O] : Introduction, 0.4

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Harvey Mansfield Foto
Umberto Eco Foto

„Every specific semiotics (as every science) is concerned with general epistemological problems.“

—  Umberto Eco Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist 1932 - 2016
Context: Every specific semiotics (as every science) is concerned with general epistemological problems. It has to posit its own theoretical object, according to criteria of pertinence, in order to account for an otherwise disordered field of empirical data; and the researcher must be aware of the underlying philosophical assumptions that influence its choice and its criteria for relevance. Like every science, even a specific semiotics ought to take into account a sort of 'uncertainty principle' (as anthropologists must be aware of the fact that their presence as observers can disturb the normal course of the behavioral phenomena they observe). Notwithstanding, a specific semiotics can aspire to a 'scientific' status. Specific semiotics study phenomena that are reasonably independent of their observations. [O] : Introduction, 0.4

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Alvin M. Weinberg Foto

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