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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.509

CiteScore 2018: 0.23

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.232
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.478

Agenzia Nazionale di Valutazione del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca: Classe A

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Volume 2010, Issue 179


Semiosis and the elusive final interpretant of understanding

Göran Sonesson
Published Online: 2010-04-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2010.023


While the conceptual history of the sign, as recounted by John Deely in Four ages of understanding, is immensely enlightening, history is never enough. If, before Augustine, it had occurred to no one that such diverse phenomena as are covered by this term had something in common, and if, in the time of Aquinas, Fonseca, and Poinsot, different usages of the term were in competition, the reason is not simply intellectual confusion, but rather that meaning is of many kinds. In this essay, I have shifted the terrain from socio-history to phylogeny and ontogeny, suggesting that, in the child, as well as in the human species, perception is the primary type of meaning, whereas true signs are acquired much later, followed by signs systems and organism-independent artifacts. The whole point of having a semiotic theory, it is argued, is to be able to account for the differences, and not only the similarities, of different kinds of meaning.

Keywords:: sign; intentionality; picture; Umwelt; phenomenology; ecological psychology.

About the article

Published Online: 2010-04-21

Published in Print: 2010-04-01

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2010, Issue 179, Pages 145–258, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2010.023.

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