Semiotics and Phenomenology: New Perspectives

A special issue of Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 August 2022) | Viewed by 10272

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Centre for Language and Literature, Lund University, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
Interests: cognitive semiotics as the new transdisciplinary science of meaning grounded in phenomenology; consciousness and sign use; language as a semiotic system, interacting with other systems in polysemiotic communication; the evolution and development of polysemiotic communication in the human species and in children; language and consciousness; the Motivation and Sedimentation Model (MSM) and metaphor

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Language and Literature, Lund University, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
Interests: cognitive semiotics; phenomenology; iconicity; sign use; intentionality; pictorial semiotics; perceptual meaning; sedimentation; semiotics of culture

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Despite considerable thematic overlap within the broad domain of (human) meaning making, and occasional productive crossovers such as Merleau-Ponty’s creative assimilations of the work of Saussure, the disciplines of semiotics and phenomenology have had surprisingly few explicit encounters. At times it has appeared almost as if Peirce and Husserl had lived in parallel universes. In recent decades, however, this has been changing, and we are witnessing examples of rapprochement from both directions. Along with their productive engagement with enactive and embodied paradigms in cognitive science, many phenomenologists have needed to deal with issues such as imagery, gesture and language, thus finding themselves in semiotic territory. On their side, researchers in semiotics and linguistics (it is hard to keep the boundary distinct, especially with the ascent of cognitive and “multimodal” linguistics) have increasingly turned toward phenomenology for uncovering the various layers of lived experience and intentionality. Further, given the emphasis on pre-predicative experience in much of phenomenology, and on sign use (including but also going beyond language) in semiotics, collaboration between the two approaches seems especially called for. This would allow a better understanding of the interactions between the various layers of human meaning making, from perception and movement to language and technology.

Hence, we envision this Special Issue as a forum for fruitful dialogue between scholars who mostly identify phenomenology or semiotics, but it is open to the other tradition, or even to those who already view themselves as involved in blends such as phenomenological semiotics or semiotic (or structural) phenomenology. Accordingly, we invite original research articles that address topics such as the following, without being limited to them:

  • Theoretical discussions of relations between Husserlean and Peircean concepts, such as intentionality and semiosis;
  • Interactions between pre-signitive and signitive intentionality;
  • Interactions between language and consciousness;
  • The dialectics of spontaneity and sedimenation;
  • Elucidating a particular sign system like language, gesture or depiction with the help of phenomenology;
  • Empirical domains of meaning making (e.g., education, technology, design) approached within a phenomenological semiotics.

We look forward to receiving your contributions!

Prof. Dr. Jordan Zlatev
Prof. Dr. Göran Sonesson
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • meaning making
  • intentionality
  • sign systems
  • consciousness
  • sedimentation
  • language
  • gesture
  • depiction
  • polysemiotic communication
  • relevance

Published Papers (5 papers)

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13 pages, 255 KiB  
Article
A Semiotic Reading of Aron Gurwitsch’s Transcendental Phenomenology
by Simone Aurora
Philosophies 2023, 8(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies8010001 - 23 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1448
Abstract
The aim of the paper is to show the relevancy of Aron Gurwitsch’s transcendental-phenomenological theory of the field of consciousness for semiotics and the theory of meaning. After a brief biographical introduction, the paper will focus upon the key theoretical points that define [...] Read more.
The aim of the paper is to show the relevancy of Aron Gurwitsch’s transcendental-phenomenological theory of the field of consciousness for semiotics and the theory of meaning. After a brief biographical introduction, the paper will focus upon the key theoretical points that define Gurwitsch’s theory of the field of consciousness and will consider some of Gurwitsch’s reflections on linguistic and semiotic issues. Finally, it will be shown that the latter are strictly connected with Gurwitsch’s general philosophical framework and, accordingly, that it is possible (and fruitful) to provide a semiotic understanding of Gurwitsch’s phenomenology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Semiotics and Phenomenology: New Perspectives)
21 pages, 363 KiB  
Article
Hypoiconicity as Intentionality
by Horst Ruthrof
Philosophies 2022, 7(6), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7060126 - 9 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1828
Abstract
The paper analyses Peirce’s hypoiconicity through the lens of Husserlian intentionality. Peirce’s triple structure of hypoiconicity as resemblance relation, diagrammatical reasoning and metaphoric displacement is shown to require intentional acts in its production and interpretation. Regarding hypoiconicity as a semiotic schematization of Vorstellung [...] Read more.
The paper analyses Peirce’s hypoiconicity through the lens of Husserlian intentionality. Peirce’s triple structure of hypoiconicity as resemblance relation, diagrammatical reasoning and metaphoric displacement is shown to require intentional acts in its production and interpretation. Regarding hypoiconicity as a semiotic schematization of Vorstellung, the paper places it in the context of Husserl’s conception of intentionality in which iconicity appears as a stepping-stone towards the skeletonization of resemblance in diagrammatical abstraction and as schematic displacement in metaphor. As such, hypoiconic intentionality is argued to play a role also in Peirce’s community conception of language. The paper’s core claim is that intentionality provides an avenue for revealing hypoiconicity as a major, critical concept of semiotics, functioning as paradigm case for investigating the convergence of semiotics and phenomenology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Semiotics and Phenomenology: New Perspectives)
18 pages, 655 KiB  
Article
Husserl and Heidegger on Modernity and the Perils of Sign Use
by Johan Blomberg
Philosophies 2022, 7(6), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7060120 - 25 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1777
Abstract
In his late writings Husserl emphasizes how the semiotic properties of writing, and of mathematical formulae and diagrams, are crucial for the historical, cross-generational survivability of meaning and specifically indispensable to the operation of scientific knowledge. However, the demand for objectivity, exactitude, and [...] Read more.
In his late writings Husserl emphasizes how the semiotic properties of writing, and of mathematical formulae and diagrams, are crucial for the historical, cross-generational survivability of meaning and specifically indispensable to the operation of scientific knowledge. However, the demand for objectivity, exactitude, and repeatability insidiously interferes with the meaning that such signs seek to express. This leads to a duality of objectivity encapsulated in the notion “the sedimentation of meaning”. On this view, the transmission of objectivity established in an original sense-constituting act cannot survive unless being deposited in some external form, which at the same time risks the original sense being irrevocably lost in a web of signification that amounts to nothing more than empty and meaningless symbol manipulation. I discuss Husserl’s analysis and propose that it is limited by its one-sided focus on the negative impact of modernity. I compare Husserl’s account with Heidegger’s even more radical critique of modern society as one where a so-called “technological” mode of “revealing” reigns supreme at the expense of eradicating other, and more authentic ways to apprehend the world. I critically reconstruct the respective position of both thinkers and show how they point not only to a criticism of the instrumentalization and formalization of knowledge in modern society, but that they are just as importantly highlighting essential semiotic properties of signs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Semiotics and Phenomenology: New Perspectives)
21 pages, 338 KiB  
Article
Relevance as the Moving Ground of Semiosis
by Jan Strassheim
Philosophies 2022, 7(5), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7050115 - 13 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1623
Abstract
All levels of semiosis, from the materiality of signs to their contents and the contexts of their application, are structured by a selectivity in human experience and action that foregrounds only a fraction of the situation here and now. Before Sperber and Wilson, [...] Read more.
All levels of semiosis, from the materiality of signs to their contents and the contexts of their application, are structured by a selectivity in human experience and action that foregrounds only a fraction of the situation here and now. Before Sperber and Wilson, concepts of “relevance” were proposed in both semiotics and phenomenology to analyze this selectivity. Building critically on Alfred Schutz’s phenomenology, I suggest that a productive way to capture the fundamental role of relevance in processes of meaning-making is to see relevance as the outcome of an interplay between two antagonistic tendencies. On the one hand, socially stabilized and individually sedimented “types” guide our experience and action along established patterns. On the other hand, we are actively open to new and unexpected aspects; we are ready to deviate from types and to change typical patterns. Only both tendencies taken together account for our semiotic behavior in context. Spatial metaphors such as “ground” illuminate only a part of this interplay. Due to the double movement in what becomes relevant to us, the typical ground on which we produce and interpret signs is constantly being shifted and re-grounded, which keeps driving on an endless process of semiosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Semiotics and Phenomenology: New Perspectives)

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27 pages, 1541 KiB  
Essay
The Phenomenology of Semiosis: Approaches to the Gap between the Encyclopaedia and the Porphyrian Tree Spanned by Sedimentation
by Göran H. Sonesson
Philosophies 2022, 7(5), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7050114 - 11 Oct 2022
Viewed by 2281
Abstract
When putting semiotics and phenomenology in juxtaposition, the first task necessarily is to find out what a study of meaning, conceiving of itself as an empirical science, has to do with a philosophical school, the business of which it is to secure the [...] Read more.
When putting semiotics and phenomenology in juxtaposition, the first task necessarily is to find out what a study of meaning, conceiving of itself as an empirical science, has to do with a philosophical school, the business of which it is to secure the epistemological foundations of all the sciences (broadly understood). Our answer, in short (but we will go at some length to show it), is that since all results of phenomenology also count as contributions to phenomenological psychology, the phenomenological method constitutes a part of the panoply of methods offered to semiotics. Our second task will be to review the fragmentary semiotics proposed, originally employing that term, by Edmund Husserl, to gauge its value for contemporary semiotics. Since our investigation of Husserl’s semiotics will demonstrate that it sometimes concerns the sign in a narrow sense, and sometimes broadens up to a study of meaning in general, our third and final task, in this paper, will be to consider a proposal made by a close follower of Husserl, Alfred Schütz, whose idea of a system of relevancies, wedded to Husserl’s notion of sedimentation, might be amended when considered in connection with Umberto Eco’s idea of the encyclopaedia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Semiotics and Phenomenology: New Perspectives)
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