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Cognitive Semiotics

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Vico, Peirce, and the issue of complexity in human sciences

The natura-artificium question

Amadeu Viana
Published Online: 2017-04-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cogsem-2017-0001


This paper deals with some trends in complexity issues related to the connections between natural and social sciences. More precisely, it explores the possible correspondences between physical and phenomenological accounts by arguing that natura and artificium are not far from one another given that human nature is actually incomplete without signs and signs are essentially embodied and enacted. The paper draws upon the work developed by Giambattista Vico in the eighteenth century and Charles S. Peirce in the twentieth century as well as their respective implications and effects in contemporary cognitive and semiotic research. Accordingly, it also explores the prevailing role of objects and artifacts in cognition, claiming that things shape the mind and that we should thus be wary of their constitutive effects in the course of human history.

Keywords: biosemiotics; symbolic origins; embodiment; extensionalism; material engagement


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About the article

Amadeu Viana

Amadeu Viana is Professor of Linguistics in the Departament de Filologia Catalana i Comunicació at the University of Lleida, Spain. Viana’s research agenda has focused on pragmatics and the history of sociolinguistic ideas. He translated and edited Aspectes del pensament sociolingüístic europeu (1995, Barcelona), a primer about the foundations of sociolinguistic thinking from Dante to Meillet. In Raons relatives (1997, Lleida), he gathered research about literacy, discourse, rhetoric, and semiotics. He has also investigated humor and conversation (Acròbates de l’emoció, 2004, Taragona). As part of his interest in the origin of sociolinguistic and pragmatic ideas, he has studied the work of the eighteenth century Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico (Vico nella storia della filologia, with Silvia Caianiello, 2004, Naples; Tempesta de signes, 2015, Lleida). As translator, he has rendered Lewis Carroll and G. C. Lichtenberg into Catalan. He is currently exploring the relationships between Vico and Charles S. Peirce and their cognitive and biosemiotic implications.

Published Online: 2017-04-25

Published in Print: 2017-05-01

Citation Information: Cognitive Semiotics, Volume 10, Issue 1, Pages 1–18, ISSN (Online) 2235-2066, ISSN (Print) 1662-1425, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cogsem-2017-0001.

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