WITTGENSTEIN'S THEORY OF SEMIOTIC SYSTEMS AND ITS APPLICATIONS TO THE PROBLEM OF REPRESENTATION AND COMMUNICATION

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This study is an attempt to establish the semiotic theory of Wittgenstein as it can be discerned in
his two major works namely, the Tractatus and the Philosophical Investigations. The specific
problem of the study is to investigate the theory of representation and communication in the
philosophy of Wittgenstein. The core task of the study consists in determining the necessary and
sufficient conditions for the adequacy of representation and efficacy of communication of a sign
system in the philosophy ofWittgenstein.
The study is based on three basic assumptions which hold that Wittgenstein's philosophical
insights include a semiotic theory; that all semiotic systems can be formalized recursively from a
finite set of components and rules and fmally that communication constitutes the pragmatic
aspect of Wittgenstein's theory of language. Concomitant with these assumptions are three basic
objectives that the study has attempted to achieve namely, determination of the semiotic theories
in the Tractatus and the Philosophical Investigations, interpretation of the communicative theory
of Wittgenstein and lastly, indication of the relevant areas where Wittgenstein's ideas can be
applied relative to the chief philosophical goals of semiotic activity identified in the study which
are representation and communication.
Consequent to the analysis of the semiotic theories in the two chief works of Wittgenstein, the
study has attempted to synthesise the two works by employing the theoretical framework of
model-theory as proposed by Tarski but extended by Henry Hiz in order to formulate a unified
semiotic theory ofWittgenstein. The study concludes that the philosophy ofWittgenstein gleaned
from the two major works implies a semiotic theory in which signs are given a much richer
conception as a four term relation whose variables are the users, the sign, the object signified and
the context of use. This semiotic theory is further applicable as a basis for reconciling the logical
and the social semiotics, elaboration of philosophy of communication as well as a framework for
developing a methodology for multidimensional textual analysis.
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