Publication 8049

Blühdorn H. (1998) O discurso sobre o real e o virtual: Uma abordagem semiótica [The discourse on the real and the virtual: A semiotic approach]. Pandaemonium Germanicum [Image and reality]. Revista de Estudos Germânísticos 2(1): 229–255. Fulltext at
This article deals with the notion of reality. During the last twenty years, public discourse in western societies has identified the opposition between the real and the virtual as one of the cultural key questions. Taking concrete examples as a point of departure, the paper investigates the semantics of the polysemic terms virtual and real. A semiotic model of the relation between (human) organisms, concepts and signs is used in order to demonstrate that the virtual cannot be adequately described as something opposed to reality, but must be seen as an indispensable part of it. The way in which organisms constitute reality is discussed in the light of the basic cognitive operations of categorization and the formation of conceptual relations, and also of their linguistic counterparts. The apparent conflict between the real and the virtual, which has led many critics to develop apocalyptic visions of the end of civilization, is, in fact, a phantom, product of an outdated theory of semantics.


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