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School of English, The University of Hong Kong
School of English, The University of Hong Kong
School of English, The University of Hong Kong
School of English Postgraduate Seminar Session
What is Science?’ Discussion from an Integrationist Semiological Perspective
Joseph Tai, Mphil Candidate, School of English

The question “what is science?”, also known as the demarcation problem, refers to the search for the criterion/criteria that separates science from non-science. However, by the standards of philosophers of science, no criteria proposed thus far have been able to definitively separate science from non-science. This talk proposes that the difficulty in solving the demarcation problem has a semiological basis, and that it may be understood using linguist Roy Harris’ integrational semiology. Specifically, from the perspective of integrational semiology, how one understands science (as a thing), and by extension, what activities one considers to be a part of science, cannot be separated from how science (as a word) is defined. This talk proposes that one’s semiological leanings will affect how one answers the demarcation problem.

Fundamentals of Integrationism and Foundations of Meaning
Fang Xuan, PhD Candidate, School of English

For the seminar, I will present a cursory outline of the research I have done for my PhD thesis. First, I will explain the purpose of my thesis, which is to address the long-standing issue of considering meaning from an integrational perspective: that is, the discrepancy between the opaqueness of the nature of meaning, and the transparency of meaning as a phenomenon. Secondly, I will put forward the findings of my research: 1) that the meaning issue cannot be adequately handled by any semantic, semiological, or semiotic approach alone; 2) that every approach presupposes certain philosophical views. Thirdly, I will discuss my studies of the impactful schools of thought about meaning that have held sway across the western academic tradition and disclose their latent philosophical positions. Finally, I will delineate my reconstruction of an integrational philosophy and my construction of a corresponding integrational account of meaning. 


Finding Agency in the Face of Climate Change: Creative Expressions from the Sundarbans and the Pacific
Monirul Huq, PhD Candidate, School of English

The Pacific Island states and the lower Bengal delta, including the Sundarban, are among the places most affected by planetary climate change. In response to the “slow violence” wrought on these places, writers and activists hailing from them often resort to oral tradition and performative practices to emphasise the residents’ “environmental identities” and “environmental heritage,” both connected to the land they inhabit. Acknowledging the essential differences in perceiving and reacting to the Anthropocene, this paper discusses how creative expressions situate the residents of these two regions in relation to the land to reinforce their identities and to proclaim their agency as climate warriors. Despite the disparities between these practices and the distinct geographical positions of these places, this paper highlights the way cultural productions from distant regions may complement each other and bring into view a new kind of cosmopolitics oriented toward a common world composed through agency distributed across ecological borders.


Zoom Details

Zoom link: https://hku.zoom.us/j/95537801179?pwd=cXYwSlh0bzZjSXpBNk5YNWtXZXREdz09

Meeting ID:    955 3780 1179
Password:      150496

In view of the current pandemic situation, all face-to-face events or activities shall be suspended in accordance to the notice issued by Task Force. As a matter of fact, the upcoming seminar will be shifted from hybrid mode to online mode only.