First published in 1992, this book evokes Pandora and Occam as metaphoric corner posts in an argument about language as discourse and in doing so, brings analytic philosophy to bear on issues of Continental philosophy, with attention to linguistic, semiological, and semiotic concerns. Instead of regarding meanings as guaranteed by definitions, the author argues that linguistic expressions are schemata directing us more or less loosely toward the activation of nonlinguistic sign systems. Ruthrof draws up a heuristic hierarchy of discourses, with literary expression at the top, descending through communication-reduced reference and speech acts to formal logic and digital communication at the bottom. The book offers multiple perspectives from which to review traditional theories of meaning, working from a wide variety of theorists, including Peirce, Frege, Husserl, Derrida, Lyotard, Davidson, and Searle. In Ruthrof’s analysis, Pandora and Occam illustrate the opposition between the suppressed rich materiality of culturally saturated discourse and the stark ideality of formal sign systems.
This book will be of interest to those studying linguistics, literature and philosophy.
Table of Contents
Preface; Prologue: Pandora and Occam: Two Stories; Introduction; 1. The Directionality of Meaning 2. The Rape of Autumn or the Rich and Fuzzy Life of Meanings 3. The Modalities of the "Künstlerroman" 4. Literature and Husserl: A Critique of Noematic meaning 5. Meaning as Sense and Derrida’s Critique of the Concept 6. The Limits of Langue 7. Phrases in Dispute: Toward a Semiotic Differend 8. A Striptease of Meaning on the Ladder of Discourse 9. Hypocrisis or Reading as Feigning 10. The Fictions of Political Discourse and the Politics of Reading; Conclusion: Pandora, Occam, and the Post-Humanist Subject; Notes; Bibliography; Index