Semiosis and the elusive final interpretant of understanding

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Semiosis and the elusive final interpretant of understanding. / Sonesson, Göran.

In: Semiotica, Vol. 179, No. 1-4, 2010, p. 145-258.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Semiosis and the elusive final interpretant of understanding

AU - Sonesson, Göran

PY - 2010

Y1 - 2010

N2 - While the conceptual history of the sign, as recounted by John Deely in Four ages of understanding, is immensely enlightening, history is never enough. If, before Augustine, it had occurred to no one that such diverse phenomena as are covered by this term had something in common, and if, in the time of Aquinas, Fonseca, and Poinsot, different usages of the term were in competition, the reason is not simply intellectual confusion, but rather that meaning is of many kinds. In this essay, I have shifted the terrain from socio-history to phylogeny and ontogeny, suggesting that, in the child, as well as in the human species, perception is the primary type of meaning, whereas true signs are acquired much later, followed by signs systems and organism-independent artifacts. The whole point of having a semiotic theory, it is argued, is to be able to account for the differences, and not only the similarities, of different kinds of meaning.

AB - While the conceptual history of the sign, as recounted by John Deely in Four ages of understanding, is immensely enlightening, history is never enough. If, before Augustine, it had occurred to no one that such diverse phenomena as are covered by this term had something in common, and if, in the time of Aquinas, Fonseca, and Poinsot, different usages of the term were in competition, the reason is not simply intellectual confusion, but rather that meaning is of many kinds. In this essay, I have shifted the terrain from socio-history to phylogeny and ontogeny, suggesting that, in the child, as well as in the human species, perception is the primary type of meaning, whereas true signs are acquired much later, followed by signs systems and organism-independent artifacts. The whole point of having a semiotic theory, it is argued, is to be able to account for the differences, and not only the similarities, of different kinds of meaning.

KW - psychology

KW - ecological

KW - phenomenology

KW - Umwelt

KW - picture

KW - sign

KW - intentionality

U2 - 10.1515/semi.2010.023

DO - 10.1515/semi.2010.023

M3 - Article

VL - 179

SP - 145

EP - 258

JO - Semiotica

JF - Semiotica

SN - 0037-1998

IS - 1-4

ER -