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The American Journal of Semiotics

Essays by Paul Cobley, 9th SSA Sebeok Fellow

Volume 30, Issue 3/4, 2014
Umwelt Exploration

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Displaying: 1-6 of 6 documents


1. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3/4
John Deely, Christopher Morrissey, Ninth Sebeok Fellow: Introduction
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thomas a. sebeok fellow address
2. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3/4
Paul Cobley, Enhancing Survival by Not Enhancing Survival: Sebeok’s Semiotics and the Ultimate Paradox of Modelling: 9th Sebeok Fellow Address
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Tom Sebeok lives in recent memory partly because of his phenomenal networking, administration, editing and promotion of individuals in semiotics as well as the disciplinary field in general. Yet this must not be allowed to obscure a body of published writings that is as original as it is eloquent. One of Sebeok’s most penetrating insights arises from his consideration of a fundamental paradox in modern intellectual life, one that traverses the bridge between the ‘hard’ and ‘human’ sciences. Sebeok’s 1979 review of investigations into animals’ aesthetic behaviour, originally cast as an early chapter of a much larger book, contains the key observation which drives contemporary, twenty-first-century semiotics. Sebeok’s abduction of the riddle posits that “aesthetic sensibility plays the part of a delicate sieve” among animals. In so doing, it not only clarifies the modelling process as a whole, across verbal and averbal modes, but also provides an agenda for re-thinking tertiary modelling, the humanities and global arts policy.
articles
3. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3/4
Paul Cobley, What the Humanities Are For: A Semiotic Perspective
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In the wake of both 9/11 and the financial crisis of 2008, the humanities have been offered as constituents of higher education which, if more prominent and more strenuously promoted, might have prevented both events. At the same time, the humanities have undergone an assault from governments in the West, with massively reduced or wholly cut funding as part of an attempt to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in universities. The response from parts of the humanities to these government initiatives has been strident, insisting that a thriving humanities or liberal arts curriculum is crucial to democracy, ethics and citizenship, and that the humanities should be an essential ingredient of science and business education. Contemporary semiotics’ deployment of the concept of Umwelt demonstrates that the contribution the humanities might make to theory, practice and social life remains indispensable. Yet this contribution is of a rather different character to that portrayed in the traditional defence of ‘humanistic’ study. Indeed, the example of semiotics reveals that the humanities themselves are regularly misconceived.
4. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3/4
Paul Cobley, To Be Means to Communicate
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This paper explores the idea that ‘structure facilitates’. It argues that the idea is central to contemporary semiotics and refers to two traditions that exemplify the idea in respect of subjectivity. The first tradition stems from ‘sociosemiotics’ and the work of Bakhtin, Halliday, Kress, Ponzio and Petrilli; the second stems from ‘biosemiotics’ and the work of Hoffmeyer, Deely and, especially, Sebeok. The paper argues that, ultimately, the two traditions are closely related in their framing of the subject. This conclusion is reached not just because culture is a part of nature but because the inescapable facts of subjectivity, dialogue and semiosis suffuse the biosphere.
5. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3/4
About the Author
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review article
6. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3/4
John Deely, The Cenoscopic Science of Signs: Reflections on Cornelis de Waal’s Book Peirce: A Guide for the Perplexed
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