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Brian Rotman’s monograph on the semiotics of zero is an unusual work for two reasons. First, it breaks the ever more damaging divorce between science and. Signifying nothing: The semiotics of zero. brian rotman. Uploaded by. Brian Rotman. Loading Preview. Sorry, preview is currently unavailable. You can. Signifying Nothing has 33 ratings and 6 reviews. Greg said: I have never really grasped semiotics. I get the general idea, one thing, the sign, points to.

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Adopting an interdisciplinary approach. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

This unusual book is a delightful analysis of the nature of zero as a sign intimately connected to the idea of nothing. Rotman draws interesting parallels using the textual rrotman systems of mathematics, painting, and economic exchange and their respective meta-signs — zero, the vanishing point, imaginary money — which represent the absence of certain signs.

Focusing on the Renaissance period, the author argues that the introduction of a meta-sign disrupts a code system that prompts the creating of new sign systems, as represented by the multifarious transitions from Roman to Hindu numerals, from iconic to perspective art, and from gold money to imaginary bank money.

Adopting an interdisciplinary approach Rotman builds a viable thesis for the semiotics of zero via a thorough examination of Montaigne’s ‘Essays,’ Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’, the ‘Kabbalah,’ and Vermeer’s paintings.

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Signifying Nothing: The Semiotics of Zero – Brian Rotman – Google Books

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Please try again later. A delightful little book about the history of zero. But by no means is it a history of nothing. It tells the story of how the zero was invented in India perhaps out of philosophic necessity demanded by Vedic cosmologythen traveled over to the Arab world, giving birth to al-gebra eventually, and later still, arriving in Europe in the very early dawn of the Renaissance. That much we know. Rotman goes on to discuss the havoc the little non-number that was so incomprehensible to the Romans they didn’t have a symbol for it wreaked on the European world-view.

The deconstruction of the flat planar pictorial representation of the Midle Ages into a proto-cyber 3-D optical illusion by way of the vanishing point, another manifestation of the zero, in pictorial terms. The zero is shown to have gone on to radically alter the concept of money, its management, generation, and financial exchange following the rise of paper money with lots of zero’s on ’em.

Something we now take for granted was not always that way and Rotman shows the roadblocks set up by the Hellenic-Roman-Christian cosmologies that prevented earlier appropriation of the concept in the western world. Speaking of King Lear, he is invoked in the book as well as Montagigne, the Kabbalah, Vermeer’s paintings, and Renaissance architectural perspectives. In short, the zero and signifylng manipulation is what made possible the rise of the West as the engine of modernity.

The idea of Nothing, numerically represented as zero invented to keep Infinitity companyis or was of course the sine qua non of the Signiifying. But in the West it was and still is, by and large a metaphysical albatross around the neck of many a thinker, despite their ability to manipulate it like nobody before them.

How ironic that the zero is what made the possibility of total annihilation possible in our time. This book, with its erudition-lite, allows you to think about how the Vedic origin of the zero might relate to the idea put forth by Sloterdyjk in his “Critique of Cynical Reason”.


Namely, that for the West, the nuclear missile in its silo is the Buddha — in its infinite stillness, silence, acceptance of the inevitable, and self-negation. The bomb is the zero manifest awaiting its ecstasy to come on ground zero.

There are other books out there on the theme of zero but I think this one is most philosophically thought-provoking. A clear explanation of the origins and concepts of zer. One person found this helpful. See all 3 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. The Semiotics of Zero.

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Signifying Nothing: The Semiotics of Zero

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Signifying Nothing: The Semiotics of Zero by Brian Rotman

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