ERIC Number: ED393433
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993
The Role of Interpretation in Communication Theory.
Anderson, James A.
Scholars in the field of communication theory and research have ignored and problematized the relationship between sign and meaning. This paper discusses the relationship in order to catalogue the different positions taken and to investigate the work that gets done from these positions. In the "brute sense data" or physicalist position, the character of the sign is responsible for encoding, decoding, and interpretation. The perceptionist position occupies a broad region, noting only certain discrepancies in the reception and interpretation of sensory information, speculating on perceptual realities only loosely connected to sensation. The constructionist draws the conclusion which the perceptionist resists: if perception intervenes between understanding and the phenomenal world then humans must be active participants in co-constructing the world they believe in. The hermeneuticist places meaning in the successful expression of power. For the physicalist and the perceptionist, signs have meanings independent of their creation; for the constructionist and hermeneutist there is nothing prior to semiotics in understanding and meaning is a cultural production. Two tables accompany the discussion and present the relationship between sign and meaning in the realms of sign production and interpretation for each of the four positions. (Contains 45 references.) (AEF)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Verbo-Visual Literacy: Understanding and Applying New Educational Communication Media Technologies. Selected Readings from the Symposium of the International Visual Literacy Association (Delphi, Greece, June 25-29, 1993); see IR 017 742.