First, it breaks the ever more damaging divorce between science and the analysis of culture by taking mathematics as the key system for its exploration of conceptual changes in the Renaissance: the introduction of the Hindu zero in mathematics, the development of perspective in painting, the development of imaginary money. Second, its characterisation of the fundamental alterations of signifying codes in the Renaissance is conceived not as an historical investigation finding its justification in the realms of influence and tradition but as a genuine semiotic study which links mathematics, painting and money through the tracing of formal similarities in their historical transformations. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

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He studied mathematics at the University of Nottingham , after which he taught the subject at a grammar school, a technical college and then for 20 years at Bristol University , along the way obtaining an M.

Sc in the foundations of mathematics and a Ph. D in combinatorial mathematics. Kneebone, a graduate textbook on set theory, The Theory of Sets and Transfinite Numbers, as well as numerous papers on ordered structures and Boolean algebras , and in published Jean Piaget : Psychologist of the Real an exposition and critique of the ideas behind the work of the Swiss child psychologist.

In he co-founded Mouth and Trousers , a London fringe theatre company based at the York and Albany pub in Camden Town , which operated for nearly four years during which time he wrote several stage plays.

In he left Bristol and mathematics teaching and worked in London as a free-lance copy writer until the stock market crash of put an end to such work. In that year his essay Signifying Nothing: the Semiotics of Zero on the cultural significance of the mathematical zero sign was published. In he and his wife Lesley Ferris, an American theatre director and academic, and their two daughters, emigrated to the United States and lived in Memphis, Tennessee for 6 years.

During this time, he gained expertise in the classroom training the young and spirited minds of calculus students at Memphis University School a distinguished "school for boys" during the school year. In he published Ad Infinitum From he was a professor of interdisciplinary studies in the English department at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and in moved to Columbus, Ohio to join the faculty of the Ohio State University, first as a professor in the Advanced Center for Art and Design and then as a member of the department of Comparative Studies.

His students have called him both stunning and eccentric, and keen to bend disciplines. In he published Mathematics as Sign: Writing, Imagining, Counting, a collection of essays which gathered his writings on the semiotics of mathematics.

More recently his work has focused on the gestural dimension of thought, inner speech, and the psychic effects produced by technological media, some of which, that concerned with the medium of writing, is elaborated in the book Becoming Beside Ourselves referred to above.

In November he was invited by Goldsmiths College in London to choreograph a mathematical dance piece entitled Ordinal 5, which was performed at the Tate Modern.


Brian Rotman

Start your review of Signifying Nothing: The Semiotics of Zero Write a review Shelves: philosophy-theory-and-other-their-i I have never really grasped semiotics. I get the general idea, one thing, the sign, points to something else. Maybe this is pretty self evident, but in other examples the whole thing becomes a muddle, for me at least, kind of like a chicken or the egg question. As a result I have never given much attention to semiotics, it hurts my head and leads to unnecessary confusion, for me at least.

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It would be like going to the store with some string and trying to change it in for something. While an interesting look at the nothimg struggles with the concept of zero and nothing—for instance, I learned that adherents to the Hebrew ex nihilo view of creation accept it while those adhering to a Greek view of signifyihg struggle with the frightening and blasphemous thought of the void, and I learned that paper money took its primordial form in IOUs issued by feudal lords—the book is, first and foremost, a study of how nothing, no-thing, the absence of things, has been represented in speech, writing, exchange, and art. Write a customer review. All three represent revolutions of sort in signifyng way that the world was viewed. Get to Know Us.

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