So far, we have employed analytic philosophy and anthropological semiotics to analyse the fundamental changes in the semantics of ‘talent’, in order to establish what sort of term it is, and how it is currently used. In this way, we have been able to determine that ‘talent’ has become an accidental designator and an empty signifier, and, as such, is no longer causally linked to the actual world. In this chapter, I go into more detail, providing a linguistic analysis of what it is that changes, in the semantics themselves, as a term is transformed from a standard signifier to an empty one. I provide a general framework for this kind of thinking, and then elucidate the details of the transformation in the case of ‘talent’, which, as I discuss below, primarily involves the gradual weakening of the word’s connections to its original denotative meaning, concurrent with the slow accumulation and strengthening of multiple competing, subjective, and equally vacuous connotative meanings.
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- The Denotation and Connotation of ‘Talent’
- Palgrave Macmillan UK