Why Semiotics is not enough

Søren Brier, Professor at the Copenhagen Business School, published in 2008 the book “Cybersemiotics: Why Information Is Not Enough” (now available as paperback). The main argument is that meaning cannot be covered by accounts that reduce information to a technological or natural science perspective. Hence the necessity for Brier to resort to Semiotics (see for reviews here).

However, Joseph Brenner, affiliated with the International Center for Transdisciplinary Research (CIRET) in Paris, contends “that some underlying metaphysical assumptions of semiotics conflict with the properties of information as a physical as well as epistemological process embedded in a physical world”. So he organises a round table at our Summit “to examine some of the critical conditions for a semiotic view of information and contrast it with other philosophical views of information, which, in contrast to Semiotics, are more directly grounded in science”.

Brenner sees three possible positions on the relation between Semiotics and Information Science:

  • Parallel: Mutual distrust or disregard: to the extent that some semioticians do not directly refer to the most recent concepts of information, they may be missing valuable insights for the applications, as well as limitations of Semiotics
  • Orthogonal: Touching at one point: if two theories are orthogonal, this implies that at least they intersect at one point, or on one point, even if it is the one from which they diverge. If this is the more accurate model, what is this point?
  • Interactive: Cooperative: each approach accepts and informs the other, giving sense and an expressed preferred domain of operation for non-semiotic vs. semiotic principles

Clearly, his sympathy is with the third possibility. And, at the same time, for Brenner a possibility is favoured that “would avoid reduction to a doctrine that excludes meaning, esthetics and ethics”.

As a result, the round table will try to go beyond a confrontation of Semiotics and Information Science and take other approaches into account.

The round table will be populated besides Brier by John Collier, Pedro C. Marijuán and Wolfgang Hofkirchner. It will be part of the FIS 2015 and the ICPI 2015 Conference Streams as well.

Go there.

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