I've just read 'Introducing Semiotics', a rather nicely formatted book in the 'Introducing…' philosophy series. Now, that might strike you as a strange thing for a Developer to be reading, but far from it. A Developer's job is all (often?) about Human Computer Interaction so I feel that it is vitally important to understand as much about what makes people tick, and about communication. Semiotics is about both of those things
So, first off, i'm not telling you to go out and buy a philosophy textbook. I found this book in the library, so it was 'free'. It is also styled in a graphical novel style that makes it all a lot easier to digest.
What I learnt was:
Semiotics is about how ideas are communicated from one person's head to anothers in the form of language or symbols How this language is interpreted is based on the habits and assumptions that you have learnt over the years What you interpret as the world around you is not the world itself, only your interpretation. You might be wrong, or it might not even exist (Baudrillard, The Matrix, et al) An interpretation could lead to another symbol, which leads to another interpretation, and so on forever…or until a final meaning is ascertained. There is a lot of this going on in advertising and the cinema (Barthes) I am a hack. A lot of the subject went right over my head Two schools of thought grew up almost seperately in the US and in Europe I had heard a lot of the names involved before, but had never actually read anything by or about them: Barthes, Baudrillard, Derrida, Eco, Lacan