Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton February 17, 2018

Toward a Pedagogy of Firstness

Aesthetic education as Firstness experience

Cary Campbell
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies

Abstract

This paper examines how the Peircean category of Firstness can illuminate pre-cognitive and pre-interpretative aspects of learning. This study can be understood as part of a broader edusemiotic project currently gaining momentum (cf. Semetsky (ed.) 2010, 2017; Stables and Semetsky 2014; Olteanu 2015). I explore various iterations of Peirce’s thought, from his early Lowell Lectures (1866) to what Strand (2013) has called his “rhetorical turn” following the introduction of the concept of semiosis in 1883. My contention is that engagement in arts-based processes is educationally useful in inducing and cultivating reflection on those primary aspects of consciousness that are often neglected by formal educational programs. My aim here is to explore what stimulates engaged absorption and examine how this can be applied to form an “education of inquiry” informed by Peirce’s pragmatism, which places contemplation on this pre-interpretative realm of meaning in a central role. In conclusion, the paper will show how an understanding of Firstness is necessary for understanding Peirce’s aesthetics, and thus his ethics, which depends upon the “habits of feeling” emerging from Firstness. Thus, we can understand how the cultivation of a “pedagogy of Firstness” is foundationally an ethical educational program.

Acknowledgement

Thank you to Sandy Gillis, Rita Helena Gomez, Maria Spychiger, Susan O’Neill, Michael Ling, Kalevi Kull, Charlie Pearson, and Marion Benkaiouche for offering guidance on different iterations of this ongoing study. Your assistance and mentorship has been instrumental in the development of this paper and my ongoing research. Thank you most of all to my students. This work is about you and it is for you.

References

Campbell, Cary. 2015a. Educating firstness: An enquiry into Peirce’s domain of firstness and its implications for aesthetic education, Revista Reflexões de Filosofia, 4I(7). 1–16.Search in Google Scholar

Campbell, Cary. L. 2015b. A dialogue on inquiry. SFU Educational Review 1. 1–18.Search in Google Scholar

Campbell, Cary. 2016. Indexical ways of knowing: An inquiry into the indexical sign and how to educate for novelty, Philosophical Inquiry in Education. 24(1). 15–36.Search in Google Scholar

Campbell, Cary. 2017. Learning that reflects the living: Aligning anticipation and rdusemiotics. Public Journal of Semiotics 8(1). 1–25.Search in Google Scholar

Cunningham, Donald. J. 1998. Cognition as semiosis: The role of inference. Theory & Psychology 8(6). 827–840.10.1177/0959354398086006Search in Google Scholar

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (ed.). 2014[1990]. Toward a psychology of optimal experience. In Flow and the foundations of positive psychology, 209–226. Springer Netherlands.Search in Google Scholar

Davey, Nicholas. 2011. Gadamer’s aesthetics, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edward N. Zalta (ed.) http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2011/entries/gadamer-aesthetics/ (accessed 2 January 2015).Search in Google Scholar

Deely, John. 1990. Basics of semiotics. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Deely, John. 2001. Four ages of understanding. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Search in Google Scholar

Deely, John. 2009. Augustine and Poinsot: The protosemiotic development. Scranton, PA: University of Scranton Press.Search in Google Scholar

Deely, John. 2014. Semiotic entanglement: The concepts of environment, Umwelt, and Lebenswelt in semiotic perspective. Semiotica, 2014 (199). 7–42.Search in Google Scholar

Dewey, John. 2005 [1934]. Art as experience. New York: Penguin.Search in Google Scholar

Dewey, John. 1938. Logic, the theory of inquiry. New York: H. Holt.Search in Google Scholar

Dewey, John. 1939. Theory of valuation. Chicago, IL: Chicago UP.Search in Google Scholar

Dewey, John. 1954 [1927]. The public and its problems. Athen OH: Shallow Press.Search in Google Scholar

Eco, Umberto. 1979. The role of the reader: Explorations in the semiotics of texts. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Eco, Umberto. 1984. Semiotics and the philosophy of language. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Eco, Umberto. 2000. Kant and the platypus: Essays on language and cognition. New York: Harcourt Brace.Search in Google Scholar

Eco, Umberto. 2014. From the tree to the labyrinth. Cambridge, MA & London: Harvard UP.Search in Google Scholar

Garrison, Jim. 1999. John Dewey. In the Encyclopaedia of educational philosophy and theory, M. Peters, T. Besley, A. Gibbons, B. Žarnić, P. Ghiraldelli (eds.). http://eepat.net/doku.php?id=dewey_john (accessed 29 April 2016).Search in Google Scholar

Gibson, James. J. 2014[1979]. The ecological approach to visual perception: classic edition. New York: Psychology Press.Search in Google Scholar

Greene, Maxine. 1977. Toward wide-awakeness: An argument for the arts and humanities in education. The Teachers College Record 79(1). 119–125.Search in Google Scholar

Gunnlaugson, Olen, Edward W. Sarath, Charles Scott & Heesoon Bai (eds.). 2014. Contemplative learning and inquiry across disciplines. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.Search in Google Scholar

Gorlée, Dinda. L. 2009. A sketch of Peirce’s Firstness and its significance to art. Σημειωτκή-Sign Systems Studies (1–2). 205–269.Search in Google Scholar

Ingold, Tim. 2000. The perception of the environment: Essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Ingold, Tim. 2017. Anthropology and/as education. Abingdon (UK): Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Kerdeman, Deborah. 2003. Pulled up short: Challenging self-understanding as a focus of teaching and learning. Journal of Philosophy of Education 37(2). 293–308.10.1111/1467-9752.00327Search in Google Scholar

Laughlin, Charles.D. & Eugene G. D’Aquili. 1974. Biogenetic structuralism. New York: Columbia University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Laughlin, Charles. D. John McManus & Eugene G. d’Aquili. 1990. Brain, symbol & experience: Toward a neurophenomenology of human consciousness. Boston: New Science Library.Search in Google Scholar

Laughlin, Charles. D. 1992. Consciousness in biogenetic structural theory. Anthropology of Consciousness 3(1–2). 17–22.10.1525/ac.1992.3.1-2.17Search in Google Scholar

Laughlin, Charles. D. 1996. The properties of neurognosis. Journal of Social and EvolutionarySystems 19(4). 363–380.10.1016/S1061-7361(96)90004-1Search in Google Scholar

Laughlin, Charles. D. 1997. The cycle of meaning: Some methodological implications of biogenetic structural theory. In Stephen D. Glazier (ed.), Anthropology of religion: A handbook of theory and method, 471–488. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Search in Google Scholar

Laughin, Charles. D. 1998. Neurognosis and expereince. http://biogeneticstructuralism.com/exper.htm (accessed 1 December 2017).Search in Google Scholar

Laughlin, Charles D. & Jason Throop. 2001. Imagination and reality: On the relations between myth, consciousness, and the quantum sea. Zygon® 36(4), 709–736. Chicago University Press.10.1111/0591-2385.00392Search in Google Scholar

Langer, Susanne. 1957. Philosophy in a new key. 3rd edn. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP.Search in Google Scholar

Levinas, Emmanuel. 1981. Otherwise than being or beyond essence. Trans. A. Lingis. The Hague: Nijhoff.Search in Google Scholar

Lonergan, Bernard. 1993. Topics in education (Collected Work of Bernard Lonergan, Volume 10). Robert M. Doran and Frederick E. Crowe (eds.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Search in Google Scholar

Mandoki, Katya. 2015. The indispensable excess of the aesthetic: Evolution of sensibility in nature. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.Search in Google Scholar

Merrel, Floyd. 1997. Peirce, signs, and meaning. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.Search in Google Scholar

Morgan, Patricia. F. 2012. Following contemplative education students’ transformation through their “ground-of-being” experiences. Journal of Transformative Education 10(1). 42–60.Search in Google Scholar

Noth, Winfred. 2010. The semiotics of teaching and the teaching of semiotics. In Inna Semetsky (ed.), Semiotics education experience. 1–21. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Search in Google Scholar

Olteanu, Alin. 2015. Philosophy of education in the semiotics of Charles Peirce: A cosmology oflearning and loving. Oxford: Peter Lang.Search in Google Scholar

Peirce, Charles. S. 1931–1966. Collected papers of Charles Sanders Peirce. Charles Hartshorne, Paul Weiss, Arthur W. Burks (eds.). Cambridge, MA: Belknap.Search in Google Scholar

Peirce, Charles. S. 1866 [1982]. Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A chronological edition. Vol. I. Max. H. Fisch (ed). Bloomington, INdiana: Indiana University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Peirce, Charles. S. 1867 [1984]. On a new list of categories. Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A chronological edition. Vol. II, 49–59. Edward. C. Moore (ed). Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Peirce, Charles. S. 1868. Some consequences of four incapacities. Journal of SpeculativePhilosophy 2(3):140–157.Search in Google Scholar

Peirce, Charles. S. 1877. The fixation of belief. Popular Science Monthly 12. 1–15.Search in Google Scholar

Peters, Richard. S. 1966 [2015]. Ethics and education. Routledge Revivals. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Petrilli, Susan & Augusto Ponzio. 2005. Semiotics unbounded: Interpretive routes through the open network of signs. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.Search in Google Scholar

Poinsot, John. 1985 [1632]. Tractatus de Signis: The semiotic of John Poinsot. John Deely (ed.) with Ralph A. Powell. Berkeley: University of California Press.Search in Google Scholar

Reimer, Bennett. 1991. Essential and nonessential characteristics of aesthetic education. Journal of Aesthetic Education 25(3). 193–214.10.2307/3333003Search in Google Scholar

Shank, Gary. 1998. The extraordinary ordinary powers of abductive reasoning. Theory & Psychology 8(6). 841–860.10.1177/0959354398086007Search in Google Scholar

Shank, Gary. 2008. Abductive strategies in educational research. The American Journal of Semiotics 5(2). 275–290.Search in Google Scholar

Shusterman, Richard. 2003. Pragmatism between aesthetic experience and aesthetic education. Studies in Philosophy and Education 22(5). 403–412.10.1023/A:1025127015220Search in Google Scholar

Sebeok, Thomas. A. 1994. Signs: An introduction to semiotics. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.Search in Google Scholar

Sebeok, Thomas A. & Marcel Danesi. 2000. The forms of meaning: Modeling systems theory and semiotic analysis (Vol. 1). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Search in Google Scholar

Semetsky, Inna. 2005a. Peirce and education: An introduction. Educational Philosophy andTheory 37(2). 153–156.10.1111/j.1469-5812.2005.00106.xSearch in Google Scholar

Semetsky, Inna. 2005b. Peirce’s semiotics, subdoxastic aboutness, and the paradox of inquiry. Educational Philosophy and Theory 37(2). 227–238.10.1111/j.1469-5812.2005.00111.xSearch in Google Scholar

Semetsky, Inna. 2010. Semiotics education experience. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Search in Google Scholar

Semetsky, Inna. (ed.). 2017. Edusemiotics – A handbook. Singapore: Springer Singapore.Search in Google Scholar

Sheriff, John K. 1994. Charles Peirce’s guess at the riddle: Grounds for human significance. Bloomington, In: Indiana UP.Search in Google Scholar

Strand, Torill. 2013. Peirce’s rhetorical turn: Conceptualizing education as semiosis. Educational Philosophy and Theory 45(7). 789.10.1111/j.1469-5812.2011.00837.xSearch in Google Scholar

Stables, Andrew & Inna Semetsky. 2014. Edusemiotics: Semiotic philosophy as educational foundation. Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2018-02-17
Published in Print: 2018-02-23

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston