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The Transformation of Semiosis

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Chapter Summary

This chapter interrogates the hypothesis that creatures are signs of God in the light of the oddity that the 'thing signified' in this case is not a creature but God. It goes further by arguing that creaturely signification of God transcends intra-creaturely signification altogether. Augustine unpacks the implications of his apophatic insight that God, as supreme thing, is not a thing like other things, precisely in the elaboration of his uti/frui distinction. The implication, in the terms of his uti/frui distinction, is that God cannot become for creatures an object of use, or in other words, be referred to anything beyond himself. Human cognition, even in its distinctiveness, does not create a self-contained world, but plugs human beings back into the wider network of signs of which they are a part. Their new identities will always carry with them traces of their past.

Keywords: creatures; God; human beings; uti/frui distinction



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