Brian Rotman’s monograph on the semiotics of zero is an unusual work for two reasons. First, it breaks the ever more damaging divorce between science and. Signifying nothing: The semiotics of zero. brian rotman. Uploaded by. Brian Rotman. Loading Preview. Sorry, preview is currently unavailable. You can. Signifying Nothing has 33 ratings and 6 reviews. Greg said: I have never really grasped semiotics. I get the general idea, one thing, the sign, points to.
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Preview — Signifying Nothing by Brian Rotman. The Semiotics of Zero by Brian Rotman.
Paperbackpages. Published July 1st by Stanford University Press first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Signifying Nothingplease sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Mar 26, Greg rated it really liked it Shelves: I have never really grasped semiotics. I get the general idea, one thing, the sign, points to something else.
For example this “0” is a sign for zero, signifyign zero as a concept outside of any particular zero ok, bad example, but that’s what this book is about, just take it for face value that is a something ‘zero’ in the world, and forget that the very idea of their being the existence of this ‘zero’ is possibly paradoxical to all ideas of reality.
Wignifying why doesn’t the concept of zero point to the I have never really grasped semiotics.
Signifying Nothing: The Semiotics of Zero – Brian Rotman – Google Books
But why doesn’t the concept of zero point to the mark “0”? Maybe this is pretty self evident, but in other nothin the whole thing becomes a muddle, for me at least, kind of like a chicken or the egg brisn. As a result I have never given much attention to semiotics, it hurts my head and leads to unnecessary confusion, for me at least. Besides the whole thing reeks of a Platonism I’m not fully able to accept.
Signifying Nothing: The Semiotics of Zero
That said, there are large parts of this book I didn’t quite get, but other parts that I enjoyed quite a bit and shed an interesting light on the current state of fiscal unease the world is feeling. The argument of the book is that the concept of zero entered into the European mind at about the same time that paper signiyfing came to economics and the vanishing point into painting. All three represent revolutions of sort in the way that the world nothinf viewed. Sadly for me of the three topics being explored the one that I could grasp best was the effect of money, the math part being a little out of my depth, and the art part falling into my general ignorance of art I know so little about art, and anytime I read about art in books I just nod along and take whatever the writer says at face value, I have no critical faculties in place, and with my guard down I feel really dumb.
This is opposed to the math parts that I sort of understood but just never really stopped to do all the necessary thought I should have. I’m a terrible reader sometimes. The idea behind this book is that the introduction of this nothingness into the three different spheres created quite a signifyjng at signifyinv, they were ‘dangerous’ ideas in some respect, and then something strange happened the nothingness inherent in each of these three fields reflected back on itself, thus creating a sort of meta-nothingness that altered entirely the definition of the original nothingness and as a result ‘sanitized’ the concept itself, but at the risk of unleashing ramifications that would be invisible in art I don’t know exactly how this works out, I’m sticking the cash money part that I can actually wrap my head around.
It’s this second move of the concept, the ‘meta’ zero-point that’s quite interesting in the book, and I think that it kind of explains some of the difficulties I have of wrapping my head around the whole semiotics problem.
What does it mean for a sign to point towards itself? What kind of problems does this entail? Why should we care about shit like this anyway since isn’t it really just a bunch of post modern crap? I would like to think so, but the ‘postmodern’ turns in the examples Rotman gives all happened in a time when Modernity wasn’t even getting ready to rear it’s difficult little head. In the money example what happens is that paper money is introduced.
Paper money itself is nothing, rather it’s a sign that points towards something, that would be some kind of metal that has been granted the authority of having value that can be used to trade for ‘goods’. The metal itself has no inherent value, rather society decided that certain things found in the ground were valuable and had the purpose of being hoarded, spent, signifging, won, earned, etc.
Already the stuff found in the ground is a sign towards something that doesn’t really exist except in the collective acceptance that this thing you dug up is worth something. For example, if everyone but one guy woke up one day and decided that gold wasn’t worth anything, that it was as good as any stone you see on the ground this is at a time when gold was used as a standard of currencyand everyone now accepted this then the one person who still believed that his gold was worth something would come to a rude awakening when he tried to pass it off to buy some eggs in the morning.
It would be like going to the store with some string and trying to change it in for something. So in a way gold or silver, or bronze, of whatever you want to insert hereis a wide spread and all pervasive delusion that society in it’s entirety accepts so that things will run smoothly. Now if you think about it that way the stuff from the ground is already on shaky ground, it’s value proscribed by delusions. Now add a piece of paper that allows the bearer to trade in these things from the ground, that they don’t actually have access to, but which are held by the place that issued the piece of paper.
Now make another move where the pieces of paper aren’t even pointing anymore to a one to one ratio with the gold, but which fluctuate in it’s value based on a while variety of variables and at the same time, make the paper money the standard, and you start to see the sign of paper money pointing towards something tangible and outside of itself to in general acceptance pointing only towards other paper money.
This pointing towards itself is the ‘meta’ move. This isn’t really anything to be worried about, but eventually society forgets that the money is pointing ultimately towards something outside of itself, and behold it’s enough to make it permanetly point towards itself such as what happened when paper money was no longer backed by gold or silver, such as the case in the present day.
Now money, which was originally only a sign points only towards briwn. The results of this can be seen in a whole slew of economic problems that are occurring today.
This review is sort of a whole rtoman of nonsense, and I’m realizing now that I completely missed explaining how he connected paper money to zero, but think of it as the cliff hanger that will make you want to seek out the book signfiying read it. Seriously it’s an interesting book, and it utilizes many different disciplines to show the effect that zero has had on both society and on the concept itself. View all 10 comments. Feb 08, Melissa Rudder rated it liked it Recommends it for: In Signifying NothingSognifying Rotman looks at the unique position of “nothing” and “zero” in culture by studying the introduction of the zero in mathematics, the vanishing point in Western art, and imaginary money in economics.
While an interesting look at the cultural struggles with the concept of zero and nothing–for instance, I learned that adherents to the Hebrew signiifying nihilo view of creation accept it while those adhering to a Greek view of creation struggle notging the frightening and blasphemo In Signifying NothingBrian Rotman looks at the unique position of “nothing” and “zero” in culture by studying the introduction of the zero in mathematics, the vanishing point in Western art, and imaginary money in economics.
While an interesting look at the cultural struggles with the concept of zero and nothing–for instance, I learned that adherents to the Hebrew ex nihilo view of creation accept it while those adhering to a Greek view of creation struggle with the frightening and blasphemous thought of the void, and I learned that paper money took its primordial form in IOUs issued by feudal lords–the book is, first and foremost, a study of how nothing, no-thing, the absence of things, has been represented in speech, writing, exchange, and art.
Zero and its art and economic counterpartshe argues, is both a sign representing nothing and a metasign representing the absence of other signs. The introduction of this metasign led to rotmah, crazier metasigns. Like variables in math. Or paintings without vanishing points that instead depict painters painting.
And eventually we end up discussing xenomoney, but I’d pretty much gone cross-eyed by that point. And somewhere in there, the metasigns created metasubjects that’s the painter painting a painter. And the signs which lead to other signs couldn’t possibly have rptman been preceded by things because the painters sitnifying scenes that they can’t bbrian and the dollar no longer represents vrian certain amount of gold and it’s all out of control rohman Derrida running behind the slippery slippery signifiers shrieking, “I told signifyinf so!
But I think I did learn something about nothing. Jul 12, Anthony rated it really liked it Shelves: Feb 23, Leonardo marked it as to-keep-reference. Feb 16, Plorqk rated it did not like it. I don’t know what I just read. Jan 28, Alexan Martin-Eichner rated it really liked it Shelves: Brilliant semiotic examination of western modernity from an intellectual position very much between traditions and between disciplines.
Cites both Von Neumann and Derrida. Emily rated it liked it Feb 26, Yeshua Tolle rated it really liked it May 14, Ruby rated it really liked it May 23, Brixn Schoettle rated it it was amazing Aug 05, Niklas rated it liked it Apr 07, Robert rated it it was amazing Feb 10, Relish rated it really liked it Oct 19, Layla rated it really liked it Apr 03, Amantha rated it did not like it Apr 22, John Fox rated beian it xignifying amazing Feb 14, Jill Perry rated it really liked it Dec 14, Natalie rated it really rottman it Jun 14, Joshua rated it liked it Jan 07, Merrari rated it it was amazing Mar 04, Dan Qaurooni rated it really liked it Nov 09, Mary rated it liked it Nov 09, Stefan rated it really liked it Sep 14, Adarsh rated it it was amazing Jul 15, Karen Kobie rated it it was amazing Nov 08, Summer rated it really liked it Jul 01, Junkydawn rated it it was amazing Nov 04, Franklin Ridgway rated it it was amazing May 24, Kevin rated it really liked it Apr 21, Elizabeth rated it really liked it Feb 10, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
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