"Eco wittily and enchantingly develops themes often touched on in his previous works, but he delves deeper into their complex nature... this collection can be read with pleasure by those unversed in semiotic theory." —Times Literary Supplement.
Semiotic objections to markets urge us not to place a good on the market because of the message that doing so would send. Brennan and Jaworski reject them on the grounds that either the contingent semiotics of a market can be changed or the weakness of semiotic reasons allows them to be ignored. The scope of their argument neglects the impure semiotic objections that claim that the message a market sends causes, constitutes, or involves a nonsemiotic wrong. These are (...) the most compelling class of semiotic objections and are the kind actually advanced in the literature. Rather than focusing on the necessity or contingency of a market's semiotics, we should instead attend to a semiotic objection's most important feature: its purity or impurity. (shrink)
In this reply to James H. Fetzer’s “Minds and Machines: Limits to Simulations of Thought and Action”, I argue that computationalism should not be the view that (human) cognition is computation, but that it should be the view that cognition (simpliciter) is computable. It follows that computationalism can be true even if (human) cognition is not the result of computations in the brain. I also argue that, if semiotic systems are systems that interpret signs, then both humans and computers are (...) semiotic systems. Finally, I suggest that minds can be considered as virtual machines implemented in certain semiotic systems, primarily the brain, but also AI computers. In doing so, I take issue with Fetzer’s arguments to the contrary. (shrink)
Later reprinted by Deborah Charles Publications (and not available from Amazon), this book expounds and comments on the application of Greimasian semiotics to a legal text, as found in the article by Greimas and Landowski in Greimas, Sémiotique et Sciences Sociales (1976), compares this with the semiotic presuppositions of Hart, Dworkin, MacCormick and Kelsen, and offers my own analysis of the implications of such semiotic analysis for legal theory, including some more recent radical non-positivist accounts.
_Edusemiotics_ addresses an emerging field of inquiry, educational semiotics, as a philosophy of and for education. Using "sign" as a unit of analysis, educational semiotics amalgamates philosophy, educational theory and semiotics. Edusemiotics draws on the intellectual legacy of such philosophers as John Dewey, Charles Sanders Peirce, Gilles Deleuze and others across Anglo-American and continental traditions. This volume investigates the specifics of semiotic knowledge structures and processes, exploring current dilemmas and debates regarding self-identity, learning, transformative and lifelong education, (...) leadership and policy-making, and interrogating an important premise that still haunts contemporary educational philosophy: Cartesian dualism. In defiance of substance dualism and the fragmentation of knowledge that still inform education, the book offers a unifying paradigm for education as edusemiotics and emphasises ethical education in compliance with the semiotic unity between knowledge and action. Chapters contain accessible discussions in the context of educational philosophy and theory, crossing the borders between logic, art, and science together with a provocative theoretical critique. Recently awarded a PESA book award for its contribution to the philosophy of education, _Edusemiotics_ will appeal to an academic readership in education, philosophy and cultural studies, while also being an inspiring resource for students. (shrink)
One of the leading concerns animating current philosophy of mind is that, no matter how good a scientific account is, it will leave out what its like to be conscious. The challenge has thus been to study or at least explain away that qualitative dimension. Pursuant with that aim, I investigate how philosophy of signs in the Peircean tradition can positively reshape ongoing debates. Specifically, I think the account of iconic or similarity-based reference we find in semiotic theory offers a (...) more promising variant of the phenomenal concept strategy. Philosophers who endorse this strategy think that the difficulties we have fitting conscious qualia into a scientific picture may owe to the peculiar nature of indexical concepts. They point to the fact that, when we try to convey the feel of our experiences, we employ context-dependent gestures and/or utterances that are indexed to perspectives unique to each person. However, according to the theory I defend, there are three ways signs can refer, namely by convention, causal contact, and similarity. Since similarity is not reducible to proximity, I argue that a theory of reference that turns on shared quality can bypass some of the implausible consequences that plague indexical accounts. In the first chapter, I describe the apparatus needed to make sense of this claim. In the second chapter, I present my account of iconic reference. In the third chapter, I justify my reliance on a distinction that is less than real yet more than nominal. In the fourth chapter, I sketch a trinitarian metaphysics well-suited to house the foregoing account of qualia. (shrink)
The central focus of this paper is the disjunction between the findings of climate science in revealing the threat of global warming and the failure to act appropriately to these warnings. The development of climate science can be illuminated through the perspective provided by Peircian semiotics, but efforts to account for its success as a science and its failure to convince people to act accordingly indicate the need to supplement Peirce’s ideas. The more significant gaps, it is argued, call (...) for the integration of major new ideas. It will be argued that Peirce should be viewed as a Schellingian philosopher, and it will then be shown how this facilitates integration into his philosophy of concepts developed by other philosophers and theorists within this tradition. In particular, Bourdieu’s concepts of the ‘habitus’ and ‘field’ will be integrated with Peirce’s semiotics and used to analyse the achievements and failures of climate science. It will be suggested that the resulting synthesis can augment Peirce’s evolutionary cosmology and so provide a better basis for comprehending and responding to the situation within which we find ourselves. (shrink)
Using new semiotic methods and analyses as the fulcrum of its approaches, the volume aims to clarify why great classical composers from Mozart and Beethoven to Brahms and Wagner fascinate music listeners and lovers from all cultures of the ...
Semiotic Theory of Learning asks what learning is and what brings it about, challenging the hegemony of psychological and sociological constructions of learning in order to develop a burgeoning literature in semiotics as an educational foundation. Drawing on theoretical research and its application in empirical studies, the book attempts to avoid the problematization of the distinction between theory and practice in semiotics. It covers topics such as signs, significance and semiosis; the ontology of learning; the limits of learning; (...) ecosemiotics; ecology and sexuality. -/- The book is written by five of the key figures in the semiotics field, each committed to the belief that living is a process of interaction through acts of signification with a signifying environment. While the authors are agreed on the value of semiotic frameworks, the book aims not to present an entirely coherent line in every respect, but rather to reflect ongoing scholarship and debates in the area. In light of this, the book offers a range of possible interpretations of major semiotic theorists, unsettling assumptions while offering a fresh, and still developing, series of perspectives on learning from academics grounded in semiotics. -/- Semiotic Theory of Learning is a timely and valuable text that will be of great interest to academics, researchers and postgraduates working in the fields of educational studies, semiotics, psychology, philosophy, applied linguistics and media studies. (shrink)
Originally written in 1990, this reviews largely late 20th century debates on the study of law as Logic, Discourse, or Experience; the Unity of the Legal System and the Problem of Reference; Semiotic Presuppositions of Traditional Jurisprudence (Austin, Hart, Kelsen, Dworkin, Legal Realisms); then turns to legal philosophies explicitly Employing Forms of Semiotics (Kalinowski, the Italian Analytical School, Rhetorical and Pragmatic Approaches, Sociological and Socio-Linguistic Approaches, Peircian Legal Semiotics, Greimasian Legal Semiotics and Aesthetic/Symbolic Approaches). A major section (...) then offers (from a largely Greimasian point of view) some hypotheses for legal semiotics on the Problem of Reference, Semantic and Pragmatic Levels, Semiotic Groups and “The Legal Culture”, Normativity and Justification, and finally considers the implications for particular legal phenomena: the “Legal System”, Legal Institutions, Legal Codes, Legal Rules, Rights, Courtroom Behaviour: Witness and Counsel, The Judge: Justification of Decisions on Law, and the Criminal Justice Process. A conclusion addresses the status of legal semiotics. (shrink)
Developed from a one-day symposium at the University of Tilburg, this collection of papers explores the semiotic foundations of legislation as viewed from jurisprudential, institutional and sociological perspectives. They pose such questions as: the audience of legislation; the relations between legislative and judicial discourse; the contributions of speech act theory; the effectiveness of legislation and its meaning in non-legal discourse; and the creation of a supra-national form of constitutional discourse, that of Europe.
This review-article deals with Duvall's book 'Faulkner's Marginal Couples' and evaluates his claim that his approach is 'primarily structuralist, with a special debt to the narrative semiotics of Greimas.' There is also a discussion of general issues in narrative semiotics not tied to any one researcher's approach.
In Semiotic Investigations, Alec McHoul develops a theory of meaning that he calls "effective semiotics" - a theory that investigates "the ways in which signs have meaning by virtue of their actual uses." McHoul expounds his theory of effective semiotics - of "meaning-as-use" - in a series of provocative chapters on diverse topics. He begins by examining the relations between semiotics and history and between semiotics and specific communities. He elaborates on the nature of these relations (...) by demonstrating the "effective semiotics" of a particular photograph from the 1880s, episodes from the film Singin' in the Rain and the Batman comics, literary works, children's primers, popular accounts of science, and many other objects, artifacts, and experiences. Semiotic Investigations advances its own comprehensive theory of signs while ably examining works by such distinguished philosophers and theorists as Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Derrida, Foucault, Habermas, Lyotard, Kuhn, and others. Yet the book is also down-to-earth and clearly written, with an eye towards a startling range of "ordinary" and "uncommon" experiences. It will be required reading for linguists, philosophers, semioticians, anthropologists, literary theorists, and students of cultural studies. (shrink)
Terms loaded with informational connotations are often employed to refer to genes and their dynamics. Indeed, genes are usually perceived by biologists as basically ‘the carriers of hereditary information.’ Nevertheless, a number of researchers consider such talk as inadequate and ‘just metaphorical,’ thus expressing a skepticism about the use of the term ‘information’ and its derivatives in biology as a natural science. First, because the meaning of that term in biology is not as precise as it is, for instance, in (...) the mathematical theory of communication. Second, because it seems to refer to a purported semantic property of genes without theoretically clarifying if any genuinely intrinsic semantics is involved. Biosemiotics, a field that attempts to analyze biological systems as semiotic systems, makes it possible to advance in the understanding of the concept of information in biology. From the perspective of Peircean biosemiotics, we develop here an account of genes as signs, including a detailed analysis of two fundamental processes in the genetic information system (transcription and protein synthesis) that have not been made so far in this field of research. Furthermore, we propose here an account of information based on Peircean semiotics and apply it to our analysis of transcription and protein synthesis. (shrink)
Peirce described himself as a disciple of Berkeley, and described the truth of Berkeleyanism as consisting, in part, of “hinging” all philosophy (or "all coenoscopy") on the concept of sign. This article collects Berkeley’s chief semiotic contributions, and discusses how it may have influenced Peirce’s semiotic.
A key topic in the work of Burghard Rieger is the notion of meaning. To explore this notion, he and his collaborators developed a most sophisticated approach combining theoretical ideas and concepts of semiotics with empirical and numerical tools of computational linguistics. In the present contribution, relations of Rieger’s achievements to some issues of interest in the physics and philosophy of complex systems will be addressed.
Semiotics embraces linguistics, philosophy, and literary studies, as well as linking to anthropology, art, psychology, and biology. This new Routledge collection helps to make sense of the subject’s huge interdisciplinary corpus of scholarly literature and brings together the best and most influential materials from ‘the first phase’, neo-classics from the institutionalization of semiotics in the 1960s, and contemporary works illustrating the ongoing development of semiotics and its widening applications. Volume I collects pre-modern material showing the genesis of (...)semiotics from Locke to Peirce, along with a range of work from the last thirty years. Volume II includes key work from recent developments in cognitive linguistics and cognitive semantics, while Volume III focuses on ‘Text and Image’. Finally, Volume IV gathers the best offerings from other disciplines, and from emerging fields such as ‘biosemiotics’. Fully indexed, and with a comprehensive introduction, newly written by the editor, that places the collected material in its historical and intellectual context, this is an essential work destined to be valued by scholars, students, and researchers as a vital one-stop reference resource. (shrink)
Jacob Sparks has developed a semiotic critique of markets that is based on the fact that “market exchanges express preferences.” He argues that some market transactions will reveal that the purchaser of a market good inappropriately prefers it to a similar non-market good. This avoids Brennan and Jaworski’s criticism that semiotic objections to markets fail as the meaning of market transactions are contingent social facts. I argue that Sparks’ argument is both incomplete and doomed to fail. It can only show (...) that some preferences are morally problematic, not that the transactions that they lead to are immoral. (shrink)
The concern of this work is with developing an alternative to standard categories in theology and philosophy, especially in terms of how they deal with nature. Avoiding the polemics of much contemporary reflection on nature, it shows how we are connected to nature through the unconscious and its unique way of reading and processing signs. Spinoza's key distinction between natura naturans and natura naturata serves as the governing framework for the treatise. Suggestions are made for a post-Christian way of understanding (...) religion. Robert S. Corrington's work represents the first sustained attempt to bring together the fields of semiotics, depth-psychology, pragmaticism, and a post-Monotheistic theology of nature. Its focus is on how signification functions in human and non-human orders of infinite nature. Our connection with the infinite is described in detail, especially as it relates to the use of sign systems. (shrink)
The subject of this book is the thought of the American pragmatist and founder of semiotics, Charles Sanders Peirce. The book collects the papers presented to the International Conference Semiotics and Philosophy in C.S. Peirce (Milan, April 2005), together with some additional new contributions by well-known Peirce scholars, bearing witness to the vigour of Peircean scholarship in Italy and also hosting some of the most significant international voices on this topic. The book is introduced by the two editors (...) and is divided into three sections, corresponding to the three main areas of the most interesting contemporary reflection on Peirce. Namely, Semiotics and the Logic of Inquiry (part I); Abduction and Philosophy of Mathematics (part II); Peirce and the Western Tradition. (part III). The analysis is carried out from a semiotic perspective, in which semiotics should not be understood as a specific doctrine but rather as the philosophical core of Peirce’s system. As we read in the introduction: “it is semiotics and philosophy or, rather, semiotics as philosophy and philosophy as semiotics, which emerge from a reading of these papers”. (shrink)
Because humans cannot know one another’s minds directly, every form of communication is a solution to the same basic problem: how can privately held information be made publicly accessible through manipulations of the physical environment? Language is by far the best studied response to this challenge. But there are a diversity of non-linguistic strategies for representation with external signs as well, from facial expressions and fog horns to chronological graphs and architectural renderings. The general thesis of this dissertation is that (...) there is an impressively wide spectrum of conventional systems of representation, corresponding to the many ways that the problem of communication can be solved, and that these systems can be described and explained using the tools of contemporary mathematical semantics. As a partial corrective to the countervailing norm, this work concentrates on the class of systems arguably most different from language— those governing the interpretation of pictorial images. Such representations dominate practical communication: witness the proliferation of maps, road signs, newspaper photographs, scientific illustrations, television shows, engineering drawings, and even the fleeting imagery of manual gesture. I argue that systems of depiction and languages embody a parallel technologies of communication. Both are based on semantics: systematic and conventional mappings from signs to representational content. But I also provide evidence that these semantics are profoundly divergent. Whereas the semantics of languages are based on arbitrary associations of signs and denotations, the semantics of systems of depiction are based on rules of geometrical transformation. Drawing on recent research in computer graphics and computational vision, I go on to develop a precise theory of pictorial semantics. This in turn facilitates a detailed comparison of iconic, image-based representation, and symbolic, language-based representation. A consequence of these conclusions is that the traditional, language-centric conception of semantics must be overhauled to allow for a more general semantic theory, one which countenances the wide variety of interpretive mechanisms actually at work in human communication. (shrink)
This chapter presents a detailed explanation of Peirce’s early and late views on semiotic indeterminacy and then considers how those views might be applied within biosemiotics. Peirce distinguished two different forms of semiotic indeterminacy: generality and vagueness. He defined each in terms of the “right” that indeterminate signs extend, either to their interpreters in the case of generality or to their utterers in the case of vagueness, to further determine their meaning. On Peirce’s view, no sign is absolutely determinate, i.e., (...) every sign is indeterminate to at least some degree and so exhibits some degree of generality or vagueness. If Peirce was right about this, then no instance of biosemiosis is completely determinate—every biosign must be general or vague to some degree. I show that on Peirce’s view, whether a sign is general or vague depends on its immediate object, “the idea which the sign is built upon,” and I explain how Peirce would go about identifying the immediate object of a sign lacking both a minded utterer and a minded interpreter—an identification that must be possible if any biosign is indeterminate. (shrink)
This paper offers a renewed construction grammar analysis of linguistic constructions in a diachronic perspective. The present theory, termedAgentive Cognitive Construction Grammar(AgCCxG), is informed byactive inference(AIF), a process theory for the comprehension of intelligent agency. AgCCxG defends the idea that language bear traces of non-linguistic, bodily-acquired information that reflects sémiotico-biological processes of energy exchange and conservation. One of the major claims of the paper is that embodied cognition has evolved to facilitate ontogenic mental alignment among humans. This is demonstrated by (...) the results of a corpus study in which the patterns of association between verbs, the particle UP and argument structure in Old and Middle English have been studied. The conclusion is that, similar to biological systems, the linguistic sign system displays patterns of equilibrium and non-equilibrium. In other words, while in Old English usage near equilibrium was reached through the use of a conservative set of constructional semiotic templates (attachment patterns), associated with motor modalities, Middle English displays high rates of randomness resulting in a less stable, yet distinct, system of constructional attachment. (shrink)
This book analyses various examples of the imaginative semiotisation of the Fall of Man and the Church's semiotic perception of the Divine plan for Redemption. Based on a close reading of primary sources, it analyses the meaning-making inherent in these ideas, which are filtered through and given material representation by the semiotic paradigms of various cultural fields, including philology, verbal arts and science.
Semiotics in America has had a long and rich history. It has been customary to begin historical accounts with Peirce, and to trace his influence through subsequent generations of semioticians as they in turn encounter Continental structuralist and post-structuralist semiotics. Sebeok's account strikes out in new directions by tracing semiotics back to Native American sources, moving through the "book of Nature" framework of subsequent Eurocentric North Americans, passing through literary models, and moving forward into nineteenth-century sources that (...) in some respects made Peircean pragmaticism possible. (shrink)
Most bodies in this world do not have brains and the minority of animal species that do have brained bodies are descendents from species with more distributed or decentralized nervous systems. Thus, bodies were here first, and only relatively late in evolution did the bodies of a few species grow supplementary organs, brains, sophisticated enough to support a psychological life. Psychological life therefore from the beginning was embedded in and served as a tool for corporeal life. This paper discusses the (...) semiotically controlled dynamics of bodily existence that has allowed the evolution of these seemingly ‘unnatural’ mental and even linguistic kinds of species. It is shown how the skin, on the one hand, makes us belong in the world, and on the other hand, is part of the huge landscape of membranes across which the semiotic self incessantly must be reconstituted. The discussion moves on to the intracellular world of signal transduction through which the activity of single cells are put to service for bodily needs. The paper further considers the mechanisms behind homeostasis and the semiotics of the psycho-neuro-endocrine integration in the body. The concept of semiotic emergence is introduced and a holistic marker hypothesis for why some animals may have an experiential life is suggested. (shrink)
The birth of social semiotics is usually associated with the publication of Michael Halliday’s book Language as Social Semiotic (1978). We try to draw attention to possible new developments in social semiotics, which still remain a potential transdisciplinary project for social sciences. In order to do this, we address the interrelation between sociolinguistics, social semiotics and the semiotics of culture. All of these describe mechanisms of meaning production and translation beyond linguistic structures. The differentiation between these (...) workings is based on a distinction between various aspects of meaning production and communication and functional characteristics of goal setting. The complexity of these processes legitimates the complexity of methodology used to describe them. Interconnection between different domains and aspects may create synthetic methods based on the dynamic approach to meaning production and transmission. (shrink)
This entry addresses the action theoretical semiotics derived from A. J. Greimas’s theory and positions it in the context of edusemiotics. Greimas’s narratological theory is discussed and investigated in terms of its fruitfulness for education. The entry focuses on the major features of Greimas’s theory such as his famous actantial model as well as the anthropomorphic, or human- and subject-centered, approach in general. According to Greimas, at the core of the meaning of every significant discourse, there lies a typical (...) human situation within which the actants – or entities that assume certain roles in a narrative story – function as Subject and Object, Sender and Receiver, and at times also as Helper and Opponent. Greimas’s central analytic tools, the semiotic square and the generative model, are interpreted in dynamic terms and applied to the analysis of education as a meaningful practice. These tools help us see education as a value-based action and shed a critical light on the presupposed dualism between nature and culture in the context of education. For the analysis of action, Greimas’s major concepts prove themselves to be especially useful. The conception of competences expressed, specifically, in modal verbs such as want, can, know, and must is significant for education. As such, education becomes an action that strives to develop students’ competences. (shrink)
Based on chapter 3 “The musical Work and its score” of Roman Ingarden’s The Work of Music and the Problem of its Identity, this paper examines the semiotic theory from which the Polish philosopher develops his analysis of music.
The label `semiotic grammar' captures a fundamental property of the grammars of human languages: not only is language a semiotic system in the familiar Saussurean sense, but its organizing system, its grammar, is also a semiotic system. This proposition, explicated in detail by William McGregor in this book, constitutes a new theory of grammar. Semiotic Grammar is `functional' rather than `formal' in its intellectual origins, approaches, and methods. It demonstrates, however, that neither a purely functional nor a purely formal account (...) of language is adequate, given the centrality of the sign as the fundamental unit of grammatical analysis. The author distinguishes four types of grammatical signs: experiential, logical, interpersonal, and textural. The signifiers of these signs are syntagmatic relationships of the following types, respectively: constituency, dependency, conjugational and linking. McGregor illustrates and exemplifies the theory with data from a variety of languages including English, Acehnese, Polish, Finnish, Japanese, Chinese, and Mohawk; and from his pioneering research on Gooniyandi and Nyulnyul, two languages of the Kimberleys region of Western Australia. (shrink)
Brown examines the types of scene that exist, along with related concepts such as authenticity and the 'really' real. It also explores the effectiveness of scenes in spreading new actions and ideas, as welll as their role in both facilitating 'difference' and introducing originality and newness in modern society. Finally, the book deals with the fragility of scenes, why they can often become subsumed by normality and how this might be prevented.
The threshold from unicellularity to multicellularity has been crossed only in three major living domains in evolution with any lasting success. The hard problem was to create a multicellular self. Such a self is vulnerable to breakdown due to the unavoidable appearance of mutant anarchistic cells, and stringent semiotic scaffoldings had to emerge to prevent this. While a unicellular self may go on to live practically forever, the multicellular self most often must run through an individuation process ending in the (...) death of the individual. Due to basic differences in cells of plants, fungi and animals this individuation process poses very different challenges in the three kingdoms of plants, fungi and animals, and the solutions found to these differences are discussed. In the same time as multicellularity ushered life into the epoch of mortality it logically also led to the appearance of fertilization and thereby the need for a whole new set of elaborate semiotic scaffoldings. Multicellularity also opened the door to the formation symbiotic relations where cells with different genomes might collaborate or at least coexist inside the same body. All in all multicellularity led to an enormous diversification both of morphology space and the space of sensomotoric elaborations. New means for scaffolding of this expansion and diversification of possible life forms into functional patterns called for a corresponding growth in the space of semiotic tools and initiated a growth in semiotic freedom, that has continued to our days. (shrink)
The notion of culture implies the relative stability of sets of algorithms that become entrenched in human brains as children become socialized, and, to a lesser extent, when immigrants become assimilated into a new society. The semiotics of culture has used the notion of signs and systems of signs to conceptualize this process, which takes for granted memory as a natural affordance of the brain without raising the question of how and why cultural signs impact behaviour in a durable (...) manner. Indeed, under the influence of structuralism, the semiotics of culture has mostly achieved synchronic descriptions. Dynamic models have been proposed to account for the action of signs (e.g., semiosis, dialogism, dialectic) and their resulting cultural changes and cultural diversity. However, these models have remained remarkably abstract, and somewhat disconnected from the actual brain processes, which must be assumed to be involved in the emergence, maintenance, and transformations of cultures. Semiotic terminology has contributed to a systematic representation of cultural objects and processes but thephilosophical origin of its basic concepts has made it difficult to construct a productive interface with the cognitive neurosciences as they have developed and achieved notable advances in the understanding of memory over the last few decades. The purpose of this paper is to suggest that further advances in semiotics will require a shift from philosophical and linguistic notions toward biological and evolutionary models. (shrink)
In the last few years, researchers have begun to investigate the emergence of novel forms of human communication in the laboratory. I survey this growing line of research, which may be called experimental semiotics, from three distinct angles. First, I situate the new approach in its theoretical and historical context. Second, I review a sample of studies that exemplify experimental semiotics. Third, I present an empirical study that illustrates how the new approach can help us understand the socio‐cognitive (...) underpinnings of human communication. The main conclusion of the paper will be that, by reproducing micro samples of historical processes in the laboratory, experimental semiotics offers new powerful tools for investigating human communication as a form of joint action. (shrink)
Introduction: Semiotic ScaffoldingA central idea in biosemiotic writings has been the idea of growth in semiotic freedom as a persistent trend in evolution . By semiotic freedom we mean the capacity of species or organisms to derive useful information by help of semiosis or, in other words, by processes of interpretation in the widest sense of this term. While even bacteria have a certain very limited ability to interpret cues in the medium this ability obviously becomes more developed in more (...) complex organisms, and is typically most developed in big-brained animals that are late arrivals at the evolutionary scene. The evolution of a richer semiotic capacity is of course only one among many strategies available in the evolutionary game. Yet, this particular strategy potentially ignites a self-perpetuating evolutionary dynamics, since each step taken by a species along this route potentially opens new agendas for further change:the more capable some species ar .. (shrink)
The individual and social formation of a human self, from its emergence in early childhood through adolescence to adult life, has been described within philosophy, psychology and sociology as a product of developmental and social processes mediating a linguistic and social world. Semiotic scaffolding is a multi-level phenomenon. Focusing upon levels of semiosis specific to humans, the formation of the personal self and the role of friendship and similar interpersonal relations in this process is explored through Aristotle’s classical idea of (...) the friend as ‘another self’, and sociologist Margaret Archer’s empirical and theoretical work on the interplay between individual subjectivity, social structure and interpersonal relations in a dynamics of human agency. It is shown that although processes of reflexivity and friendship can indeed be seen as instances of semiotic scaffolding of the emerging self, such processes are heterogeneous and contingent upon different modes of reflexivity. (shrink)
Semiotics is the study of signs addressing their action, usage, communication and signification. Edusemiotics—educational semiotics—is a recently developed direction in educational theory that takes semiotics as its foundational philosophy and explores the philosophical specifics of semiotics in educational contexts. As a novel theoretical field of inquiry, it is complemented by research known under the banner ‘semiotics in education’, which is largely an applied enterprise. In this respect edusemiotics is a new conceptual framework for both theoretical (...) and empirical studies. Edusemiotics has also been given the status of being a new branch of theoretical semiotics and it was launched as such at the 12th World Congress of the International Association for Semiotic Studies in September 2014 at the New Bulgarian University in Sofia. The article presents ‘semiosis’ as the action of signs across culture AND nature and posits ‘learning’ in terms of developing semiotic consciousness and semiotic competence. Semiosis is a process and as such it defies the Cartesian philosophy of substance-dualism that still informs the culture of education. The paper focuses specifically on university education permeated by disciplinary boundaries and the fragmentation of knowledge grounded in objective science inherited from modernity. Where is semiotics as the science of signs in the context of academic culture? The authors conclude by affirming the transdisciplinary character of semiotics and edusemiotics and specify the distinctive focal points of transdisciplinary knowledge afforded by edusemiotics. (shrink)
Face-to-face interaction is a primordial site for human activity and intersubjectivity. Empirical studies have shown how people reflexively exhibit a face orientation and work to establish a formation in which everyone is facing each other in local participation frameworks. The Face has also been described by, e.g., Levinas as the basis for a first ethical philosophy. Humans have established these Face-formations when interacting since time immemorial, but what happens when one of the participants is present through a telepresence robot? Based (...) on ethnomethodology, Peircean/goodwinian semiotics, multimodal conversation analysis and video data from a Danish residential rehabilitation center, the article shows the ways in which participants manage to interactively, cooperatively, and moment by moment achieve an F-formation in situ. The article contributes a detailed analysis and discussion of the kind of participant a telepresence robot is, in and through situated interactions: I propose that we term this participant the RoboDoc, given that it is an assemblage of a doctor who controls a robot. By focusing on the affordances of mobility, the article contributes to a renewed understanding of the importance and relevance of establishing Face-orientations in an increasingly technofied telepresence world. (shrink)