Peirce’s Theory of Semiosis: Toward a Logic of Mutual Affection

This is a course on the development of Peirce’s theory of signs (semiotics), focusing on various writings of Peirce in more or less chronological order. Just about as soon as Peirce began to philosophize he was using the concept of a ‘sign’ to help clarify his thoughts. The course begins with the philosophical tradition Peirce as a young Harvard student inherited and ends with our own speculations on Peirce’s legacy. Our study is guided by the concept of reciprocity in Peirce’s thought. Our aim is to attain a more philosophically refined understanding of the concept and at the same time acquire a deeper appreciation of Peirce’s semiotics, and semiosis as a form of reciprocity, as we review the various formulations of the concept in his work. In refining the concept of reciprocity illustrations of working uses of the concept in a variety of disciplines will be sought for analysis and reflection Thus, the course will function as a true community of inquirers believed by Peirce to be best way for knowledge to increase.

The Dialogic Nature of Signs

We may define “dialogue” as external or internal discourse where the word of the other, not necessarily of another person, interferes with one’s own word. It is also a genre of discourse. Philosophers such as Charles S. Peirce and Mikhail Bakhtin consider dialogue as the modality itself of thought.
A distinction must be drawn between purely substantial dialogism – or substantial dialogicality – and purely formal dialogism – or formal dialogicality.