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LANGUAGE AS AN OPEN SYSTEM

eds. Johannes Fehr & Petr Kouba
ISBN 80-7308-139-3(paperback). 200pp.
Publication date: September 2007
Price: € 12.00 (not including postage)

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This volume is dedicated to the theoretical legacy of Ferdinand de Saussure, which is still challenging not only for linguistics, but for many other disciplines. For Saussure, to conceive language as a system made it possible to found linguistics as an autonomous scientific discipline. However, if language could be seen and treated as a system, it had consequences not only for linguistics, but also for esthetics, anthropology, or cultural theory. With respect to Czech functional structualism, as developed by Jan Mukarovsky and others, it seems important that it was in Prague that Saussurean thinking on language came in touch with phenomenological philosophy. Since Husserl’s work was already authoritative at the beginning of the 30th, the confrontation of Saussure’s theory of language with phenomenological reflections on language was inevitable. The interaction between structuralism and phenomenology then continued, above all, in the philosophical work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. But if the interaction between structuralist theory and phenomenology is in focus of this volume, it is not so much for historical reasons; it is rather due to a mapping of the possible views of language that issue from the confrontation of structuralist and phenomenological tradition of thinking. With regard to language, a high attention is paid to the post-phenomenological and the post-structuarlist theories, too.

Contents 
I. System and Function
1) Johannes Fehr – “Language as a System. Revisiting Saussure”
2) Jan Sokol – “Language and Experience”
3) Ondrej Sladek – “Ferdinand de Saussure Interpreted by Jan Mukarovsky: Reception and Revison”
II. Language and Thought
4) Michal Ajvaz – “Maurice Merleau-Ponty: A Love Affair between Phenomenology and Structuralism”
5) Petr Urban – “Relationship of Thought and Language in Husserl’s Phenomenology”
6) Petr Kouba – “Beyond Phenomenology of Language”
7) Yong Ho Choi – “Saussure and Ricoeur at Odds with the Question of Meaning”
III. Conditions and Limits of Subjectivity
8) Alice Klikova – “Lived Worlds as the Systems of Signs – Uexkull’s Bio-Semiotics”
9) Emil Volek – “Habitats of Language/Language Inhabited: from the Umwelt to the Possible Worlds of Communication and Culture”
10) Josef Fulka – “The Lacanian Destiny of the Signifier”
11) Louis Armand – “Language and Interactivity”

Johannes Fehr lectures on the theory of language as Titular Professor at the Philosophical Faculty at the University of Zurich, and since the first of October 2001 he has been Deputy Head of Chair of the Collegium Helveticum, Zurich. His publications include Saussure between Linguistics and Semiology (2000) and Literature in the Digital Age (2003, co-editor).

Petr Kouba works in the Centre for Theoretical Studies, Prague, and at the Faculty of Philosophy of Charles University. His research is focused on the philosophy of psychopathology. He is the author of The Phenomenon of Mental Disorder (2006).

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