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The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 33, Issue 3/4, 2017

Cassirer on Communicology

Eric M. Kramer
Pages 233-332
DOI: 10.5840/ajs2017122731

Cassirer as Revolutionary: Semiotics as Embodied Worldview
Appreciating the Other in Ourselves

This article examines the meaning of interactive comportment as identified by Richard Lanigan and the role fundamental analysis of this facticity (communicology) can play in improving social life. The role of communicology as exposed by this non-naïve sense of responsibility is examined. The contribution of Ernst Cassirer’s work on symbology generally, and the primitive more specifically, is explored as a case that supports Lanigan’s assertion that fundamental examination of comportment can expand our understanding of ourselves and others, facilitate tolerance, foster creativity, and enrich our lives. Rigorous examination and appreciation of comportment, including the relationship between identity and difference, has implications for, and reverberates throughout, the lifeworld. A non-naïve understanding that social studies take place within a social environment and have consequences for that environment prompts us to self-consciously interrogate the implications of such work for life. Cassirer’s work demonstrates the potential for communicology to facilitate change.