Papers on Semiotics, Coding and Meaning

Semiotics is the study of signs, and, more generally, of meaning. This page provides links to two papers by me exploring how complex meanings like those expressed in interviews, ethnographies, and case studies can be analyzed and explored at the finest level of detail. Drawing from the fields of semiotics, linguistics, philosophy, and logic, both papers consider how the concept of coding can be applied to this task, and both papers push the code concept to its limits, albeit in different ways.

The first paper, Categories of Codes, published in Semiotica in 1991, explores what a code is and how we are unconsciously guided by different kinds of codes in forming ordinary, but semantically rich, meanings across a wide range of “texts” (that is, across multiple types and instances of communication).

The second paper, Godel’s Metaphor, published in Semiotica in 1994, draws from the literatures of number theory, philosophy, and symbolic logic to argue that some complex functions of communication like word play, metaphor, self-reference, and poetic reverberance can be analyzed as nuances of coding.