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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front Phil Chin    2013, Vol. 8 Issue (4) : 607-623     https://doi.org/10.3868/s030-002-013-0048-9
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Sign, Image and Language in The Book of Changes (Yijing 易经)
Heinrich Geiger()
Asia Department, Catholic Academic Exchange Service (KAAD), 53129 Bonn, Germany
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Abstract

It is challenging to estimate the degree to which the system of the Trigrams and Hexagrams in The Book of Changes (Yijing) had an impact on the whole history of Chinese thought. The universal paradigm from which it was derived formed the basis of a semiotic theory of evolution which, because of structural analogies, was applied to all fields and aspects of human life where decision making and action in correspondence with a cosmic principle was required. To achieve that goal, countless commentaries on and interpretations of the Yijing have been written. They can be divided into two schools. The first used the Yijing as a book for divination, in combination with manifestations of the universe and nature. The second interpreted it with a philosophical background, making it part of the tradition of Confucian thought. Modern scholars have also contributed some new approaches to the Yijing. My paper is based on the assumption that the Trigrams and Hexagrams of the Yijing cannot be understood in a purely representational way. They do not represent things apart from their relation to human needs or consciousness. Because of the co-determination of text and reader as a task without determinate end-points, it proves to be a unique case of effective-history. In the Yijing, there is no real line between culture and nature, sign/image/language and fact, the universe of semiosis and other universes. With its use of signs, images and language, the Yijing confirms that the universe of semiosis is the universe of heaven, earth and man. Against this background, my explanations will not only focus on the Trigrams and Hexagrams. My paper will also deal with the following topics: (1) interpenetration of linguistic meaning and objective reality and (2) the social nature of verbal or literary expression.

Keywords mind      cosmology      effective-history      relation      meaning      sign      image      language      Yijing     
Corresponding Authors: Heinrich Geiger,Email:Geiger@kaad.de   
Issue Date: 05 December 2013
 Cite this article:   
Heinrich Geiger. Sign, Image and Language in The Book of Changes (Yijing 易经)[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2013, 8(4): 607-623.
 URL:  
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fpc/EN/10.3868/s030-002-013-0048-9
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fpc/EN/Y2013/V8/I4/607
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