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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton January 14, 2021

Peirce on learning and teaching

Winfried Nöth
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies

Abstract

The paper is a precis of C. S. Peirce’s semiotic theory of education. It presents this theory of learning and teaching from the perspective of Peirce’s phenomenological categories of Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness. In the domain of Thirdness, learning is mediation between ignorance and knowledge, new information and old knowledge. Teaching has its focus on laws, symbols, legisigns, and reasoning. In the domain of Secondness, learners acquire new knowledge from the “hard realities” of real-life experience, from obstacles, and from the resistance caused by error and doubt. Teaching takes place by means of sinsigns (singular signs) and indexical signs. In the domain of Firstness, the learner acquires familiarity with the sensory qualities of objects of experience and learns from free associations, imagination, and acts of creativity. The instruments of teaching are qualisigns, icons, and abductive reasoning. The paper concludes that Peirce’s philosophy of education is holistic insofar as it states that most efficient signs are those signs in which “the iconic, indicative, and symbolic characters are blended as equally as possible.”


Corresponding author: Winfried Nöth, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, e-mail:

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Published Online: 2021-01-14
Published in Print: 2021-02-23

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