What is a Symbol?

          Human symbol systems include language, mathematics, music, and money (at the least). We understand a symbol system as the flow of signs such that the effect of the flow is determined by the interaction among the signs rather than by signs taken one at a time. Traditionally, these effects have been described as "meaning", where meaning was understand as a specification of a non-material realm - ideas. Contemporary philosophies and research in communication and rhetorical theory have provided good arguments and evidence as to why meaning so understood does not exist. However, dispensing with the term meaning leaves an unfilled gap that ultimately has made Derridean deconstruction nothing more than an excellent critical tool (but not a sufficient basis for reforming the human matricial flow). An alternative is to employ a material definition of meaning, which understands meanings as intersections of indiscreetly bounded sections of symbolic flows embedded in more than one medium.




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