Thursday, January 19, 2012

If there's a connection between linguistics and other sets of symbol systems

Such as Structuralism claims. If social life can successfully be analyzed semiotically, it may be because linguistic perception spills over into other areas of social life. Kant identified several modes of thought used by the mind in interacting with society and nature, that he called different kinds of reason. For example practical reason, which is practical knowledge about how to do things as opposed to analytic knowledge about what a thing is. It's conceivable that we use a unique way of organizing experience, a linguistic reason, that has its own rules and logic, when we talk to each other or tell stories. It's also possible that individuals unconsciously treat social products like they do symbols in an oral story. Repeated interactions over time with products by many individuals could produce complex symbol systems that appeared to be organized like a language. This would explain how structral systems can proliferate outside of a direct linguistic context.

A structural system would be the outcome of the mediation of members with products made by society or by nature, whether they're fashionable clothing, health products, or hot books. Preferences would be organized using rules implicit in the linguistic mode of perception as a secondary level of organization. The primary mode would relate to the main purpose of what's being looked at. For example, food's main purpose is to supply energy, but on a secondary level there are preferences that are less tied to nutrition than they are to social and cultural phenomenon. All this of course, presumes that belief systems, fashion, and other symbol systems really do organize themselves in a linguistic way, which is a huge 'but'.

If true, it would also mean that the conflict between structuralism and post-structuralism is irrelevant, because neither has a claim to reality, both being reducible to biological response. Deconstruction would simply point to the ambiguity of philosophical anthropology instead of to a complete, absolute crisis, in truth.

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