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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton September 1, 2011

Philosophical Aspects of Semiotics

Abraham Solomonick
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies


This article is based on my research in the field of semiotics, a field in which I have been involved for over 25 years. Throughout that time, I felt that my work was situated on the boundary between semiotics and philosophy. Recently, I concluded that all semiotic activity related to scientific research is part of epistemology, in that it deals with certain aspects of the acquisition of knowledge.

Semiotic activity is a significant part of all scientific research. Along with observation and experimentation, it is included to varying degrees in all stages of the scientific process. Scientists rely on signs throughout their research work, from the time they plan a project through the summarizing of their conclusions.

Every branch of science develops its own sign-system or systems. The development process is one of constant and continuous innovation, because the system of signs used by a science must grow and develop along with the science itself. My research has led me to conclude that sign-systems evolve in predictable patterns, gradually becoming more abstract by incorporating increasingly abstract symbols. If we can identify these patterns, we may be able to determine the stage of maturity of a given scientific theory at a particular time. The essays in this article are one of the first attempts to begin identifying and characterizing these patterns.

Published Online: 2011-9-1
Published in Print: 2011-9-1

© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston