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Sign Crossroads in Global Perspective: Semiotics and Responsibilities

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Language is the species-specific human version of the animal system of communication. In contrast to non-human animals, language enables humans to invent a plurality of possible worlds; reflect upon signs; be responsible for our actions; gain conscious awareness of our inevitable mutual involvement in the network of life on this planet; and be responsibly involved in the destiny of the planet.

The author looks at semiotics, the study of signs, symbols, and communication as ...

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Overview

Language is the species-specific human version of the animal system of communication. In contrast to non-human animals, language enables humans to invent a plurality of possible worlds; reflect upon signs; be responsible for our actions; gain conscious awareness of our inevitable mutual involvement in the network of life on this planet; and be responsibly involved in the destiny of the planet.

The author looks at semiotics, the study of signs, symbols, and communication as developing sequentially rather than successively, more synchronically than diachronically. She discusses the contemporary phenomenon that people in today's society have witnessed and participated in, as part of the development of semiotics. Although there is a long history preceding semiotics, in a sense the field is, as a phenomenon, more "of our time" than of any time past. Its leading figures, whom Petrilli examines, belong to the twentieth and twenty-first century.

Semiotics is associated with a capacity for listening. This capacity is also the condition for reconnecting to and recovering the ancient vocation of semiotics as that branch of medical science relating to the interpretation of signs or symptoms. The pragmatic aspect of global semiotics studies the impact of language or signs on those who use them, and looks for consequences in actual practice. In this respect, Petrilli theorizes that the task for semiotics in the era of globalization is nothing less than to take responsibility for life in its totality.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The seventh Thomas Sebeok Fellow of the Semiotic Society of America, Petrilli (Univ. of Bari, Italy) presents both her engagement with the major semioticians of the 20thand 21stcenturies and their own contributions to the field. She weaves semiotics as explored by Charles Sanders Peirce, Charles Morris, Michel Bakhtin, Roman Jakobson, and (most notably) Thomas Sebeok, to present a global semiotics, “a metascience concerned with all academic disciplines as sign-related.” Petrilli argues that semiotic studies “must account for all terrestrial biological systems, and she adds an ethical dimension to Sebeok’s global semiotics, concluding that semioethics “summons [one] to participation and involvement with the other beyond individual separatisms and interests.” In that sense, Petrilli’s semioethics is an offer of a new form of humanism that envisions an escape from both relativism and dogmatism.” Recommended.

Choice "This book is a welcome addition to the power of semiotics to change the world, not through any ideological or theoretical framework, as in political movements, but by its uncanny ability to allow people to get to the meaning of things. Susan Petrilli is a giant in the field and, like very few others, knows the global village is expanding in sign-based ways. It is these ways that need to be deciphered and understood, so that life in the village can be truly harmonious." Marcel Danesi, University of Toronto; Editor-in-Chief, Semiotica "The present volume features a series of brilliant essays by the highly respected and internationally renowned Italian scholar, Susan Petrilli. The eight studies are representative of her work in semiotics, semioethics, and her interpretation the work of many of the illustrious pioneers of the inter-discipline of semiotics. The chapters in this collection typify her ability to explicate complex theoretical ideas in clear, lucid, and comprehensible prose. Scholars worldwide will welcome this collection of her essays on these timely topics because they add to our basic knowledge of them. Their clarity of purpose and originality make this volume one that every scholar in semiotics and interdisciplinary studies should possess." Frank Nuessel, University of Louisville "It is impossible for me to imagine a more lucid, informative, and insightful treatment of such central but somewhat elusive topics than the essays in this volume. Such topics as responsibility, bodies, translation, and the origin of language are explored here not only in depth and detail but also with clarity and precision." Vincent Colapietro, Pennsylvania State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412810678
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/5/2010
  • Pages: 330
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Petrilli is an associate professor at the University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy. She is author of many books, including Expression and Interpretation in Language and The Self as a Sign, the World, and the Other.

John Deely is professor of philosophy at the Center for Thomistic Studies, University of St. Thomas and managing editor of The American Journal of Semiotics. He is the author of numerous books including The Impact on Philosophy of Semiotics and What Distinguishes Human Understanding.

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Table of Contents

Preface: In Her Own Voice John Deely vii

The Seventh Sebeok Fellow John Deely xi

1 Semioethics and Responsibility: Beyond Specialisms, Universalisms, and Humanisms 3

2 Working with Interpreters of the "Meaning of Meaning": International Trends among 20th-Century Sign Theorists 49

3 The Relation with Morris in Rossi-Landi's and Sebeok's Approach to Signs 89

4 Iconicity and the Origin of Language Charles S. Peirce Giorgio Fano 123

5 Bodies and Signs: For a Typology of Semiosic Materiality 137

6 Semiotic Phenomenology of Predicative Judgement 159

7 On Communication: Contributions to the Human Sciences and to Humanism from Semiotics Understood as Semioethics 193

8 Iconicity in Translation: On Similarity, Alterity, and Dialogism in the Relation among Signs 237

Index 303

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