Greimasian Semiotic Square

October 3, 2008

Here is Greimas’ semiotic square…

This is how it works:

S1 and S2 = opposition

S1 and ~S1, S2 and ~S2 = contradiction

S1 and ~S2 = complementarity

But there is also both S1 and S2.

As well, there is neither S1 nor S2.

If we assign to S1 – masculine, and to S2 – feminine; ~S1 – not-masculine, ~S2 – not-feminine… this is how it works:

There is an opposition between masculine and feminine.

There is a contradiction between masculine and not-masculine, or between feminine and not-feminine.

But masculine and not-feminine, or feminine and not-masculine are complementary.

Both masculine and feminine together is hermaphrodite/bi-sexual.

Neither masculine nor feminine is asexual.

So how does this work with the Greimasian semiotic square that Zizek uses for the four Judgments in FTKNWTD?

Necessary is in the position of S1, Impossible is in the position of S2, Possible is in the position of ~S1 and Contingent is in the position of ~S2.

In this case, the opposition is between Necessary and Impossible.  There is a contradiction between Necessary and Contingent, and between Impossible and Possible.  Necessary and Possible are complementary, as are Impossible and Contingent.  But happens when we have both Necessary and Impossible, or neither Necessary nor Impossible?

Keep in mind that the four Judgments are:  Existence (Impossible), Reflection (Possible), Necessity (Necessary) and Notion (Contingent).  Also, keep in mind that Impossible is Real, Necessary is Symbolic, Possible is Imaginary, and Contingent is the symptom.


2 Responses to “Greimasian Semiotic Square”

  1. battleofthegiants said

    Do the ‘four discourses’ work on this logic too, or are they completely different?

  2. The Universal Singular said

    I’m not sure… Maybe! How would you relate this to the four discourses?

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