The science of signs suggets that we read off meanings from the structured symbols represented to us, is this true?
Founding semioticians, Charles S. Peirce and Ferdinand Saussure developed hypothesis suggesting that meaning is consumed from symbols and signs that can be presented to us through many methods. It is clear from Peirce and Saussure’s models of signification that we do understand the signs that are presented to us and we use these signs to create a meaning and to communicate. This essay will focus on the fundamentals of Peirce and Saussure’s models and how the models created a correlation behind the indication that humans do read off signs. It will also endeavor to outline the importance behind Roland Barthes’ theory, where it can be argued that meaning is interpreted differently through culture, past experiences and previous knowledge to
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“No one fact, text, or object exists alone”(Leeds-Hurwitz, 2012 p. 13) as “a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus”(Weiten, Dunn, Yost-Hammer, 2008 p. 42) For example, if someone was to point his or her finger to the sky, rather than simply registering the message of the sky, you would look in the direction of the finger pointing. Perhaps there was smoke, and when we see smoke we think of fire. In this example, the acting elements behind a sign work together to interpret the signal, instead of assuming the finger could be pointing to the sky, we decode the importance behind the signal of a pointing finger and from that we read off what message to identify as a result of that sign. (Cobley and Jansz, 1997)
Barthes was a French philosopher and literary theorist who studied semiotics, throughout his studies he became to believe that texts were “a galaxy of signifiers, not a structure of signified; it