The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 20, Issue 1/4, 2004

Jason Barrett-Fox
Pages 179-192

Peirce and Bakhtin
Object Relations and their Effects on Consciousness

Serving as an analysis of some of the major connections between Charles S. Peirce and Mikhail Bakhtin, this paper demonstrates that each thinker’s reliance on a triadic model can be incorporated to explain the analogous relationship between the dialogical movement within the sign vehicle and without it. Inside the sign, the dialogical relationship between the immediate and dynamical objects transposes its form onto what becomes Bakhtin’s dialogical model of consciousness with its centripetal and centrifugal valences. These are pulls within a consciousness toward internal consistency and external dynamism. Taken together, Peirce’s semeiotic and Bakhtin’s theory of dialogical development offer a nuanced, post-traditional explanation of the shape of self, the dialogue between the semiotic form and human consciousness.