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CHAPTER ONE

SIGNS AND SIGNING

There are many views about how we make sense of the world. In one, there is an independently existing world and it is up to us to devise signs and systems of communication to coincide with it. The idea being that it is possible to “remake” aspects of the world by using an imitation or representation of it—what might, broadly speaking, be called a “language.”

The table below presents a rather naive and simplistic view of how this might work. One problem with it is that systems of communication themselves have an influence over—and can alter or augment—the way in which the world itself is viewed. In the field of semiotics, it is argued that the communication systems we devise actually frame, or dictate in some ...

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