The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 37, Issue 1/2, 2021

40th Anniversary Issue

Thaddeus Martin
Pages 99-122

Jaspers on Communicology
The Scission Point Boundary Condition of Existence and Existenz

A semiotic phenomenology of the scission point boundary condi-tion between Karl Jaspers’s concepts of existence and Existenz reveal them as fundamental distinctions that can manifest in healthy or pathological forms of communication, including the “inner action” of the competing “voices” “heard” by the patient undergoing treatment. My analysis illustrates that the mind, for Jaspers, represents how communicability as truth involves us in a natural rhetorical (tropic) relationship with a society. In this analysis, I frame the problematic boundary between existence and Existenz in the language of Husserl. To provide context, I introduce Jaspers’s semiotics and explicate his theory of communication. Lastly, I connect what we have learned from the scission boundary condition between existence and Existenz to the competing voices of the patient. We discover that for Jaspers, our “selves” are cyphers, striving for communicability in a world of others.