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The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 37, Issue 1/2, 2021
40th Anniversary Issue

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Displaying: 1-8 of 8 documents

1. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1/2
Andre De Tienne Signs of Transition: An Editorial
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2. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1/2
Nicholas L. Guardiano Transcendentalist Encounters with a Universe of Signs
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This essay aims to identify a semiotic consciousness found in New England Transcendentalism, consisting of the worldview that signs are pervasively present throughout nature and society. It finds that this worldview exists as a historical strand of thought stretching through the 19th century and, ultimately, further beyond, thereby making up an early movement in American semiotics. In this context, I furthermore see Transcendentalist thought informing the backdrop of Charles Peirce’s groundbreaking theory of signs later in the century, especially his metaphysical claims about a “universe . . . perfused with signs”1 (1906: EP 2.394). In order to bring into full view the presence of a semiotic consciousness in Transcendentalism, I first address the intellectual history and genealogical roots that helped shape the minds of the Transcendentalists. Relevant influences include those both local to New England and imported from abroad, in particular the theologies of Jonathan Edwards and of Emanuel Swedenborg. Next, I directly examine the ideas of the figurehead of the Transcendentalist movement, Ralph Waldo Emerson, together with his Concord peers, Amos Bronson Alcott and Henry David Thoreau. Taking them as my case studies, I track the different ways a like-minded interest in signs takes shape within their individual projects. Focus-ing on their descriptions of nature, we find it in their experiences of the natural environment, their understanding of phenomena as representational and poetic, and their belief in the dialogical sharing of ideas across minds and species. Along the way, I further work out some of the aspects of a general theory of signs identifi-able within the Transcendentalist perspective, as well as distinguish it from other theoretical alternatives. Ultimately, I contend that the Transcendentalists held a similar idea of nature existing as a sign representing deep and varied meanings.
3. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1/2
Ionut Untea Semioethics and the Average Life: Philosophical Harvesting from Arid Soils
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Concerning the public cultivation of the philosophical vocation, it can be said that some people become sowers, others become reapers, and still others, followers. However, from the followers’ perspective, sometimes the reapers may appear as sowers because they harvest ideas that they did not plant. In the context of globalization, those whose lives have been traditionally deemed “average”—and therefore insignificant—may become critical sources of inquiry for philosophy when it is seen as a way of life. I draw inspiration from semioethics, a branch of semiotics that does not focus on technical discourse, but instead advances the reflection upon signs as one of the most basic philosophical activities. With this perspective in place, even the so-called “average” person can engage in spiritual exercises, either by personally tailoring their way or by following reapers or sowers.
4. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1/2
Geoffrey Ross Owens Semiotics and the Suburbs: A Phenomenological Analysis of Urban Frontier Settlements
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The term “Suburb” conjures up a range of images—from the African shanty towns to the affluent exurbs of major cities across Europe and North America. In nearly all cases, the emergence of suburbs is predicated upon the growth and diversity of cities, thus suggesting there is an evolutionary corollary to the evolution of complex societies. This article has two aims: first, to explore Peirce’s phenomenological tripartite evolutionary scheme as a way in which to rein in the disparate portrayals of suburban growth that have been documented throughout the world, and second, to empirically demonstrate its utility for understanding large-scale societal transformation that has given rise to suburban agglomerations and resulted in many convergent evolutionary changes over the past century.
5. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1/2
Thaddeus Martin Jaspers on Communicology: The Scission Point Boundary Condition of Existence and Existenz
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A semiotic phenomenology of the scission point boundary condi-tion between Karl Jaspers’s concepts of existence and Existenz reveal them as fundamental distinctions that can manifest in healthy or pathological forms of communication, including the “inner action” of the competing “voices” “heard” by the patient undergoing treatment. My analysis illustrates that the mind, for Jaspers, represents how communicability as truth involves us in a natural rhetorical (tropic) relationship with a society. In this analysis, I frame the problematic boundary between existence and Existenz in the language of Husserl. To provide context, I introduce Jaspers’s semiotics and explicate his theory of communication. Lastly, I connect what we have learned from the scission boundary condition between existence and Existenz to the competing voices of the patient. We discover that for Jaspers, our “selves” are cyphers, striving for communicability in a world of others.
review article
6. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1/2
Dario Dellino People and Words Reciprocally Educate Each Other: Semiotic Theory of Learning
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book review
7. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1/2
W. John Coletta, Ryan T. Polacek Critical Global Semiotics
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about the authors
8. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1/2
About the Authors
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