Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Semiotica

Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

6 Issues per year


CiteScore 2016: 0.32

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.240
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.819

Online
ISSN
1613-3692
See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 2015, Issue 205 (Jun 2015)

Issues

Semiotic analysis of the observer in relativity, quantum mechanics, and a possible theory of everything

Vern S. Poythress
Published Online: 2015-05-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2015-0006

Abstract

Semiotic analysis of the role of the observer in the theory of relativity and in quantum mechanics shows the semiotic function of basic symmetries, such as symmetries under translation and rotation. How can semiotics be relevant to theories in physics? It is always human beings who form the theories. In the process of theory formation and communication, they rely on semiotic systems. Included among these systems is the semiotics involved in our pre-theoretical human understanding of space, time, and motion. Semiotic systems thereby have an influence on theories in physics. As a result, key concepts in fundamental physical theory have affinities with semiotics. In terms of Kenneth Pike’s tagmemic theory, applied as a theory of theories, all symmetries take the form of distributional constraints. The additional symmetry under Lorentz transformations introduced by the special theory of relativity fits into the same pattern. In addition, constraints introduced by the addition of general relativity suggest the form and limitations that might be taken by a “theory of everything” encompassing general relativity and quantum field theory.

Keywords: theory of relativity; quantum mechanics; symmetry; theory of everything; perspectives; tagmemics

References

  • Christiansen, Peder Voetmann. 1985. The semiotics of quantum-non-locality. Roskilde: Roskilde Universitet.Google Scholar

  • Christiansen, Peder Voetmann. 2003. The semiotic flora of elementary particles . SEED 3(2). 47–68.Google Scholar

  • Dosch, Hans Günter, Volkhard F. Müller & Norman Sieroka. 2005a. Quantum field theory, its concepts viewed from a semiotic perspective. http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/1624/1/ms_dosch_muller_sieroka.pdf (accessed 17 January 2015).

  • Dosch, Hans Günter, Volkhard F. Müller & Norman Sieroka. 2005b. Quantum field theory in a semiotic perspective. Berlin & Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar

  • Einstein, Albert. 1920. Relativity: The special and general theory. New York: Henry Holt.Google Scholar

  • Goldstein, Herbert. 1980. Classical mechanics, 2nd edn. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar

  • Jammer, Max. 1966. The conceptual development of quantum mechanics. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar

  • Januschke, Eugen. 2010. Semiotische Aspekte der Quantenphysik. Münster: Monsenstein und Vannerdat.Google Scholar

  • Krips, Henry. 2013. Measurement in quantum theory. In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2013/entries/qt-measurement/(accessed 17 January 2015).PubMed

  • Laudisa, Federico & Carlo Rovelli. 2013. Relational quantum mechanics. In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2013/entries/qm-relational/ (accessed 17 January 2015).

  • Lloyd, Seth. 2006. A theory of quantum gravity based on quantum computation. http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0501135 (accessed 17 January 2015).

  • Lloyd, Seth. 2007. Programming the universe: A quantum computer scientist takes on the cosmos. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar

  • Mackey, George. 1963. Mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics: A lecture-note volume. New York & Amsterdam: Benjamin.Google Scholar

  • Markopoulou, Fotini. 2000a. An insider’s guide to quantum causal histories . Nuclear Physics B-Proceedings Supplements 88(1). 308–313.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Markopoulou, Fotini. 2000b. Quantum causal histories. Classical and Quantum Gravity 17(10). 2059–2072.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Nagel, Ernest & James Newman. 2008. Gödel’s proof. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar

  • Pike, Kenneth L. 1959. Language as particle, wave, and field. Texas Quarterly 2(2). 37–54.Google Scholar

  • Pike, Kenneth L. 1967. Language in relation to a unified theory of the structure of human behavior, 2nd edn. The Hague & Paris: Mouton.Google Scholar

  • Pike, Kenneth L. 1976. Toward the development of tagmemic postulates. In Ruth M. Brend & Kenneth L. Pike (eds.), Tagmemics: Volume 2: Theoretical discussion, 91–127. The Hague & Paris: Mouton.Google Scholar

  • Pike, Kenneth L. & Evelyn G. Pike. 1977. Grammatical analysis. Dallas, TX: Summer Institute of Linguistics and the University of Texas at Arlington.Google Scholar

  • Pike, Kenneth L. 1982. Linguistic concepts: An introduction to tagmemics. Lincoln, NB & London: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar

  • Polanyi, Michael. 1964. Personal knowledge: Towards a post-critical philosophy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

  • Polanyi, Michael. 1967. The tacit dimension. Garden City, NY: Anchor.Google Scholar

  • Poythress, Vern S. 1982a. A framework for discourse analysis: The components of a discourse, from a tagmemic viewpoint. Semiotica 38(3/4). 277–298.Google Scholar

  • Poythress, Vern S. 1982b. Hierarchy in discourse analysis: A revision of tagmemics. Semiotica 40(1/2). 107–137.Google Scholar

  • Poythress, Vern S. 2013a. Information-theoretic confirmation of semiotic structures. Semiotica 193(1/4). 67–82.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Poythress, Vern S. 2013b. An information-based semiotic analysis of theories concerning theories. Semiotica 193(1/4). 83–99.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Prashant. 2006. Quantum semiotics: A sign language for quantum mechanics. http://cumc.math.ca/2006/quantum_semiotics.pdf (accessed 17 January 2015).

  • Resnick, Robert. 1968. Introduction to special relativity. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar

  • Ryder, Lewis H. 1996. Quantum field theory, 2nd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Simon, Keith R. 1960. Mechanics, 2nd edn. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar

  • Smolin, Lee. 2007. The trouble with physics: The rise of string theory, the fall of a science, and what comes next. New York: Mariner.Google Scholar

  • Waterhouse, Viola G. 1974. The history and development of tagmemics. The Hague & Paris: Mouton.Google Scholar

  • Weinberg, Steven. 1995. The quantum theory of fields: Volume I: Foundations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Wigner, Eugene P. 1959. Group theory and its application to the quantum mechanics of atomic spectra. New York & London: Academic.Google Scholar

  • Woit, Peter. 2007. Not even wrong: The failure of string theory and the search for unity in physical law. New York: Basic.Google Scholar

About the article

Vern S. Poythress

Vern S. Poythress (b. 1946) is a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary. His research interests include hermeneutics, mathematical linguistics, and theology. His publications include The gender-neutral Bible controversy (2000); Redeeming science (2006); In the beginning was the word: Language – a God-centered approach (2009); and Redeeming sociology (2011).


Published Online: 2015-05-19

Published in Print: 2015-06-01


Citation Information: Semiotica, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2015-0006.

Export Citation

©2015 by De Gruyter Mouton. Copyright Clearance Center

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in