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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton August 3, 2006

A dialectical materialist reading of the sign

  • Wolff-Michael Roth

    Wol-Michael Roth (b. 1953) is Lansdowne Professor of Applied Cognitive Science at the University of Victoria. His research interests include applied cognitive science, science studies, communication, epistemology, and semiotics. His recent major publications include Toward an Anthropology of Graphing: Semiotic and Activity-Theoretic Perspectives (2003); Rethinking Scientific Literacy (with Angela Calabrese, 2004); and Talking Science: Language and Learning in Science (2005).

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From the journal Semiotica

Abstract

In this article, I reread sections of Karl Marx's Capital, substituting the term ‘sign’ wherever he used ‘commodity.’ I show that such a substitution yields statements that have close family relationship with the results of twentieth century scholarship in a variety of disciplines. The question about the origin of such family resemblance can be found in the notion of substitution that occurs in trade and translation. The results of this rereading suggest that a theory of sign can be grounded in the notion of substitution, translation, and use rather than in the notion of reference and meaning. This approach thereby fundamentally depsychologizes our understanding and theories of the sign.

About the author

Wolff-Michael Roth

Wol-Michael Roth (b. 1953) is Lansdowne Professor of Applied Cognitive Science at the University of Victoria. His research interests include applied cognitive science, science studies, communication, epistemology, and semiotics. His recent major publications include Toward an Anthropology of Graphing: Semiotic and Activity-Theoretic Perspectives (2003); Rethinking Scientific Literacy (with Angela Calabrese, 2004); and Talking Science: Language and Learning in Science (2005).

Published Online: 2006-08-03
Published in Print: 2006-06-01

© Walter de Gruyter

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