01.03.2021 - 12:00
On 1 March at 12:00 Tyler James Bennett will defend his doctoral thesis “Detotalization and Retroactivity: Black Pyramid Semiotics” for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (in Semiotics and Culture Studies).
Prof. Kalevi Kull, University of Tartu
Assoc. Prof. Andreas Ventsel, University of Tartu
Dr. Donald Favareau, National University of Singapore (Singapore)
Prof. Daniele Monticelli, Tallinn University
Detotalization describes the tradition of semiotics which takes psychoanalysis, ideology critique, and structural semiology as its major theoretic coordinates. Interest in these coordinates has declined against the ascent of the semiotics of Charles Peirce, the two approaches are sometimes construed as irreconcilable, but the dissertation seeks to integrate Peirce to the coordinates of detotalization. This integration requires that Peirce be read in the way that Jacques Derrida and Umberto Eco propose to read him, by moderating his realism. This is achieved through theorization of the notion of retroactivity. Chapters one through four restate the coordinates of detotalization in terms of retroactivity, and chapter five searches the domains of cognitive and biosemiotics for the Peircean equivalent of retroactivity. The black pyramid schema is a picture of the Peirce-Hjelmslev hybrid, where Peirce is integrated to detotalization. In the schema, semiotics is organized by the domains of sign function and sign production, and the Peircean trichotomy is reconciled to the Saussurean dichotomy by means of this division. The synthesis has two advantages. In one direction, the subjectivist relativism of detotalization is anchored by the empirical and logical applications of cognitive and biosemiotics. In the other direction, cognitive and biosemiotics are enhanced by the textual procedures of retroactivity, which account for the external without compromising the definition of the sign by importing a naïve referent. There is a scientific explanation for the profound articulatory matrix, but there is also a need within scientific semiotics for the textual experimentation characteristic of detotalization. Retroactivity as the bridge concept between the two divided camps of semiotics also restores its original ambition, to provide a unifying vocabulary for the fractured social sciences.
Senate Hall (Ülikooli 18–204) and via video bridge