The principles governing elemental composition, variation, and change in Plato’s Timaeus appear to be incompatible, which has led commentators to prioritize some of the principles to the exclusion of others. Call this seeming incompatibility the problem of isomorphic variants. In this paper, I develop the theory of proportionate atomism as a solution to this problem. Proportionate atomism retains the advantages of rival interpretations but allows the principles of material composition, variation, and change to combine into an internally coherent and explanatorily powerful atomic physics.
Both ‘sign’ and ‘symbol’ are words with a long and polysemic history in Western culture. Moreover, the 120-year history of the modern semiotics movement has failed to provide a highly needed definition of these most basic terms, thus resulting in ambiguity of the definition of the discipline itself. This paper proposes defining ‘sign/symbol’ as ‘a sensuous entity to be regarded as carrying meaning’. Furthermore, the terminological chaos that arises between ‘sign’ and ‘symbol’, which originated in Western languages, has caused chaos for translators in selecting the appropriate Chinese term from the options Fuhao and Xiangzheng, since a phonetic rendition is hardly possible in Chinese. On this basis, the paper attempts to define ‘semiotics’ as ‘the formal study of meaning-making’. In this understanding, semiotics covers not only signification but also communication and interpretation of meaning.