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The American Journal of Semiotics


published on November 24, 2016

Silver Rattasepp, Kalevi Kull

The Semiotic Species
Deelying with Animals in Philosophy

Animals are treated in philosophy dominantly as opposed to humans, without revealing their independent semiotic richness. This is a direct consequence of the common way of defining the uniqueness of humans. We analyze the concept of ‘semiotic animal’, proposed by John Deely as a definition of human specificity, according to which humans are semiotic (capable of understanding signs as signs), unlike other species, who are semiosic (capable of sign use). We compare and contrast this distinction to the more standard ways of drawing the distinction between humans and animals.

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