The paradoxical co-presence of predictability and unpredictability is a fundamental aspect of the dynamics of the semiotic world. Abduction, habit, explosion, (artistic) modelling, code, interaction, meaning-making, signification, innovation, uncertainty, change, order and disorder, entropy, translation, interpretation – there are numerous concepts that reflect this tension in different kinds of semiotic systems and processes.

Predictability and unpredictability are processual notions that have been used for the description and analysis of different forms of creativity and freedom on both the psychological and the social level. They were also key concepts for Juri Lotman. He considered every act of communication and understanding as involving elements of unpredictability, and every dialogue as being not only about language use, but involving language creation as well. From the perspective of cultural dynamics, every revolution, but also every new fact or event within culture and society is an explosion – a tension between predictability and unpredictability. Underlying these conceptions is an understanding of predictability and unpredictability as it pertains to the different models we use for conceiving and changing reality: scientific as well as artistic. In order to sustain itself, every society needs both.

The conference will explore the functioning of semiotic mechanisms that mediate order and change in cultural, social, and biological systems from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. (Un-)predictability is also of utmost practical value in cognition – for simpler forms of life, for human everyday life, for scientific inquiry, and in practically oriented applications of semiotics.

We invite presentation and session proposals that investigate the processes and structures that facilitate predictability and unpredictability in meaning-making, their particular forms, mechanisms and functions, as well as the role, value and nature of (scientific) predictability in the object domain and disciplinary tasks of semiotics. Proposals that approach the issues of predictability and unpredictability from theoretical as well as applied perspectives are welcome.



CONTACT

E-mail: semiotics@ut.ee

Postal address:
Tartu Summer School of Semiotics
Department of Semiotics, University of Tartu
Jakobi 2
Tartu 51014
Estonia