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ANR funded project

Sciences humaines et sociales (CE33) 2015

Differential Archaeology of the Linguistic Sign

“Why are there linguistic signs?”
“What is a linguistic sign and how does it mean what it means?”
“What effects do linguistic signs have and what precautions are called for when we avail ourselves of them in order to convey our thoughts and feelings, argue with other people or try to move them in any way?”

This complex set of issues, whose roots go back at least as far as Plato and Aristotle, is still of paramount importance today, insofar as it governs the most fundamental questions we ask about language, its meaning and its uses. Throughout debates whose emphasis has shifted hence and forth between logic, grammar, theology, as well as rhetoric and literature, our understanding of what it takes for a linguistic expressions to be meaningful has come in a variety of ways. In order to make sense of this diversity, the consideration of results, even the most recent ones in linguistics, cognitive sciences and information sciences, however essential, is not enough. What is required first and foremost is a second-order model allowing us to catalogue, classify and differentially analyse theoretical patterns that have been implemented throughout history in order to account for the complex phenomenon of meaning as a property of linguistic expression, as a correlate to contents of thought, or else as a product of communication practices.

SÊMAINÔ research project is meant to develop such a methodological device by way of historical comparison between relevant authors and theories. Used as a heuristic filter, it will help us discover and assess (filter “in” and “out”) differences and similarities between them. These as well as other elements of continuity and discontinuity, whose charting is one of the project’s priorities, will be instrumental in identifying both past patterns and margins for future development.


UMR 8163 "STL" UMR 8163 « Savoirs, Textes, Langage » (STL), Université de Lille 3

UNIGE Département de Philosophie, Université de Geneve

ANR grant: 200 000 euros
Beginning and duration: avril 2016 - 36 mois


ANR Programme: Sciences humaines et sociales (CE33) 2015

Project ID: ANR-15-CE33-0008

Project coordinator:
Monsieur Leone Gazziero (UMR 8163 « Savoirs, Textes, Langage » (STL), Université de Lille 3)


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The project coordinator is the author of this abstract and is therefore responsible for the content of the summary. The ANR disclaims all responsibility in connection with its content.