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

Peircean anti-psychologism and learning theory

Cary Campbell, Alin Olteanu and Sebastian Feil
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies

Abstract

Taking influence from Peirce’s phenomenological categories (Firstness, Secondness, Thirdness), a notion of what we call bottom-up modeling has become increasingly significant in research areas interested in learning, cognition, and development. Here, following a particular reading of Peircean semiotics (cf. Deacon, Terrence. 1997. The symbolic species: The co-evolution of language and the brain. London and New York: W. W. Norton; Sebeok, Thomas and Marcel Danesi. 2000. The forms of meaning: Modelling systems theory and semiotic analysis. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter), modeling, and thus also learning, has mostly been thought of as ascending from simple, basic sign types to complex ones (iconic – indexical – symbolic; Firstness – Secondness – Thirdness). This constitutes the basis of most currently accepted (neo-Peircean) semiotic modeling theories and entails the further acceptance of an unexamined a priori coherence between complexity of cognition and complexity of signification. Following recent readings of Peirce’s post-1900 semiotic, we will present, in abbreviated form, a discussion as to the limits of this theoretical approach for theories of learning that draws upon Peirce’s late semiotic philosophy, in particular his late work on iconicity and propositions. We also explore the corollary conceptions of semiotic resources and competences and affordances to develop an ecological perspective on learning that notably does not impose a linear developmental progression from simple to complex. In conclusion, we address some of the implications of this (post-Peircean) conceptualization for transdisciplinary research into learning.


Corresponding author: Cary Campbell, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, e-mail:

Funding source: Estonian Research Council

Award Identifier / Grant number: MOBDJ346

Funding source: SSHRC

Acknowledgments

Cary Campbell received funding from an SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier scholarship.

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

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