Signs and Survival

American Journal of Semiotics 29 (1/4):1 - 16 (2013)

Nathan Houser
Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis
The themes of SSA 2006, “The Future of Semiotics”, and of SSA 2007, “Semiotics and Survival”, are linked by an initial consideration of the prospects for the survival of semiotics as a discipline. Since its separation from philosophy in the United States in the mid-twentieth century and its founding as a separate multi-disciplinary study, semiotics has faced an uphill battle for acceptance in the academy. The pervasive dogma of physicalism, which rejects outright the idea of semiosis as non-reducible to physical action, has been the principal threat to the survival of semiotics. The theme of “Semiotics and Survival” is then extended to a consideration of the centrality of signs for survival in the Katrina crisis and a more general consideration of the centrality of signs for survival . A deep link between signs and survival is conjectured to exist in the ubiquitous formation of habits throughout the universe. Finally, the role of semioticians in the survival of great cities and cultures is considered, especially when signs are turned into weapons that threaten established ways of life
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  Language and Literature  Semiotics
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ISBN(s) 0277-7126
DOI 10.5840/ajs2013291-42
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