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Linguistic arbitrariness and the ‘Nebulous’ world of vorstellung in Saussure

Ruthrof, H. (2010) Linguistic arbitrariness and the ‘Nebulous’ world of vorstellung in Saussure. Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 3 . pp. 157-168.

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The paper discusses de Saussure’s linguistic sign as defined in the Cours de linguistique général. I first deal with his notion of arbitrariness and the assertion that Vorstellung (idée, concept) on its own is nebulous. The second part of the paper defends the systemic nature of perception and Vorstellung before addressing the idea of language as ‘refinement’ and rejecting the view that language is an ‘applied formal system’. The paper ends with the claim that language is parasitic on nonverbal signification, which requires a redefinition of the linguistic sign.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Publisher: University of Calabria. Dept. of Philosophy
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