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Peter Grzybek “The Concept of ‘Model’ in Soviet Semiotics”

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Grzybek, Peter 1994. The Concept of ’Model’ in Soviet Semiotics. – Russian Literature XXXVI: 285-300

a)    Natural language can indeed be considered a modelling system, since it involces the construction of mental models. These models are analogical (or iconical) in nature, but they are not the only mode to represent the contents of a text. In this sense, then, natural language actually reflects what Lotman terms the „principal semiotic heterogeneity“.
b)    The semiotic heterogeneity of a ’text’ not only generally confirms the idea of semiotic heterogeneity; it also makes the claim of an isology between ’sign-text-culture’ more and more convinving.
c)    Although mental models are analogical by nature, their generation is not restricted to iconic signs; nevertheless, iconic components are indispensable from the construction of discouse models, by whatever kind of signs they may be generated.
d)    Since a mental model need not be veridical, but can instead be fictitious and may involve true or false assertions, it is necessary to realize that within this framework, a literary work of art cannot be distinguished from an everyday statement. Given this circumstance, the notion of a ’secondary modelling system’ will have to be reflected anew. It might turn out to be useful to re-define a secondary modelling system not as a structure which is superimposed upon language or constructed like it, but as a structure to which, on a secondary level of signification, cultural concepts (semantic oppositions) are attributed which, instead of the original input, serve as the basis of interpretation. […] secondary modelling systems represent only part of art in general, and that art is not restricted to secondary modelling systems. (295-296)