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

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

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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 2013, Issue 196


Lady Welby: Significs and the interpretive mind

Deana Neubauer
Published Online: 2013-08-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2013-0058


Victorian epistemological debates surrounding the role of language and the relation between thought processes and knowledge, and therefore consciousness, were the legacy of the linguistic turn that took place at the end of the eighteenth century when the philosophical, a priori method of understanding language was abandoned for a historical, a posteriori one. In the nineteenth century, language was no longer conceived as a fixed form, but as a growing and developing medium. It was this shift in understanding that gave a model of thought for Darwin's evolutionary theory and that afforded new depths of investigation. It was against this backdrop that Lady Welby elaborated her significs theory of language, sign, and meaning. She focused on the interrelation between signs, meaning, and value, not only at the level of verbal language, but throughout the universe to show a fundamental continuity between the natural and cultural world as she believed that the universe is permeated with meaning.

Keywords: hermeneutics; evolutionary theory; mind; translation; interpretation; biosemiotics

About the article

Deana Neubauer

Deana Neubauer (b.1976) is a PhD student and lecturer at London Metropolitan University 〈 〉. Her interests include nineteenth century English literature, cultural studies, semiotics and biosemiotics, and German philosophy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Her publications include “The biosemiotic imagination: A response to the effects of enlightened reason in Welby and Newman” (2008); “From a mechanistic to a natural interpretation of the world: A biosemiotic perspective (2011); and “Sympathy” (2012).

Published Online: 2013-08-23

Published in Print: 2013-08-15

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2013, Issue 196, Pages 243–260, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2013-0058.

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©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

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