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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 26, 2020

A Cultural Semiotics of Jingshen: A Manifesto

Jie Zhang and Hongbing Yu
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies

Abstract

In the face of myriad crises in modern societies, semiotic inquiry has many valuable contributions to make. However, the long-standing dominant analytical paradigms in the field have made it exceedingly difficult, if not altogether impossible, to tackle the countless unanalyzable aspects of semiosis in the human condition. What needs to be done in semiotics is to highlight another mode of knowing, synthetic thinking, without excluding the analytical mode. Drawing inspiration and strength from classical Eastern philosophies and aesthetics, notably I Ching and Laozi, as well as classics and advances in global semiotics, the present paper proposes a cultural semiotics of jingshen, understood here as the holistic flux of mind, vitality, and creativity. This route of inquiry seeks cogent coalescence of the two foregoing modes of knowing so as to better inform semiotics in a new age. At the same time, it creates a unique methodology: the fusion of revelatory “embodied cognition” and “cognition via knowledge/ abstraction.” Viewed in this light, the purpose or function of semiotics is not limited to understanding signs and sign relations or uncovering laws governing the evolution of semiosis, but more importantly it embraces the improvement of mental capacity, the expansion of cognitive space, and the liberation of human thinking.

Acknowledgements

The research in the present paper was supported by the Significant Chinese National Social Science Fund (15ZDB092), the Third Phase of the Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD: Phase III) (20180101), and Ryerson University Professional Development Fund.

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Published Online: 2020-11-26
Published in Print: 2020-11-25

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