Definitions of Atheism

Algirdas Julien Greimas, on semantics

Greimas' semantic rectangle

"It was not a simple matter, and Michel had spent a fair amount of time at his computer screen sketching one kind of combinatoire after another, using the two different systems as the x and y axes of several different grids, none of which told him much. But then he began moving the four terms around the inital points of a Greimas semantic rectangle, a structuralist schema with alchemical ancestry, which proposed that no simple dialectic was enough to indicate the true complexity of any cluster of related concepts, so that it was necessary to acknowledge the real difference between something's oppsite and its contrary; the concept "not-X" being not quite the same thing as "anti-X," as one saw immediately.

Thus -S was a simple not-S, and S [with a line over it] was the stronger anti-S; while -S [with a line over it] was the for Michel skullcracking negation of a negation, either a neutralizing of the initial opposition, or the union of the two negations; in practice this often remained a mystery or koan, but sometimes it came clear ..."
-- Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars 1993 pp 196-7

"... the man who elaborated a complete theory of narrative structures was Algirdas Julien Greimas. His theory, propounded and modified by several steps (Sémantique Structurale 1966, Du sens 1970, Les actants, les acteurs et les figures 1973, Entretien avec A J Greimas sur les structures é lémentaires de la signification by Frédéric Nef,1976) has now obtained fairly wide acceptance, at least among writers on drama and theatre ..."
"A Grammar of Narrativity: Algirdas Julien Greimas" by Wanda Rulewicz
application of Greimas'
semantic rectangle to atheism

an application of the Greimas' semantic rectangle
to the subject [S] of theism and
its three (at least) counter-subjects.

In this application, theism is taken as the socially established "allowed" thesis from which are derived its oppositions: not-theism, anti-theism, and not-anti-theism. All three oppositions are manifest in contemporary euro-american Christian society:
not theism not allowed monisms: Daoism, Buddhism,
Humanism, Unitarian Universalism
anti-theism forbidden American Atheists, Inc.
not anti-theism neither forbidden
nor not allowed
Jewish, Christian, Muslim atheism

--tpk 1993/1998

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created 1jun1996, revised 20mar98     |     comments on this site? tpkunesh@atheisms.info