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1. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 3/4
Richard L. Lanigan Cassirer on Communicology: The Symbolic Forms of Language, Art, Myth, and Religion in Cultural Semiotics
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2. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 3/4
Göran Sonesson Beyond the “Tragedy of Culture”: In-between Epistemology and Communication
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Spelling out the more or less implicit phenomenology found in Peirce’s categories and in the “Basisphänomene” suggested by the late Cassirer, this paper attempts to extend Cassirer’s own suggestion for the grounding of the human, or, as we prefer to say, semiotic, sciences, by means of an elucidation of the components of the basic situation of communication, revised on the basis of the Prague school approach to semiotics. In the first part of the paper, we consider Cassirer’s proposal for a theory of science, in the light of both the first scholarly discussion of the theme, involving Rickert, Windelbrand and Dilthey, and the second round, initiated by Gadamer and Habermas, while drawing final conclusions from the surreptitious results of the advent of Structuralism, in which Cassirer was a somewhat unheeding player. In the second part of the paper, the semiotic sciences are tentatively grounded in the sciences of normalcy, the epitome of which is Husserl’s science of the Lifeworld, presenting the different “Basisphänomene” as being the foundation for three fundamental epistemological operations, derived from the act of communication, which are all necessary to the deployment of the semiotic sciences.
3. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 3/4
Richard L. Lanigan Ernst Cassirer’s Theory and Application of Communicology: From Husserl via Bühler to Jakobson
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The Human Science of Communicology culminates from several disciplinary developments, largely viewed as singular constitutions and foundational to differential attitudes about the nature and function of philosophy and science in apposition (triadic relation) to human embodiment. In more familiar terms, the idea of Culture stands in contrast to the idea of Science, because there is a measured distinction between what human beings express and what they perceive. In Modernity, we know this apposition (Human–Culture–Science) as the emergence of (1) the distinct cultural disciplines (expression of human embodiment) over against the (2) the distinct scientific disciplines (perception of physical nature). Ernst Cassirer explores this problematic in The Logic of the Cultural Sciences (1942) where he distinguishes Culture as the perception-of-expression and Science as the perception-of-objects. Cassirer’s thematic explication is to be found in The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms (1923–1996) where his semiotic phenomenology of human communication is articulated in detail such that Science is bracketed by Culture. In Cassirer’s terms of symbolic forms, we can distinguish the semiotic distinction among (1) the Perception of Expression (Culture) where (a) Myth (Langage) and (b) Knowledge (Parole) contrast with (2) the Perception of Objects (Science) in the form of (c) Speech (Langue) and (d) Art (Discours). Symbols are constitutive of social semiotics (sensuous expression) and the intersubjective phenomenology of human embodiment (intuitive expression) in the tradition of Immanuel Kant and Edmund Husserl.
4. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 3/4
Eric M. Kramer Cassirer as Revolutionary: Semiotics as Embodied Worldview: Appreciating the Other in Ourselves
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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.
5. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 3/4
Rolf-Dieter Hepp Epistemological and Symbolic Aspects of Sociological Thinking
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Considering different aspects of society such as identity, entity, and totality seems to be an integral object of social science research which offers specific configurations of and for symbols and signs. They are tools for decoding and deciphering the social quadratic structure of Self—Other, combined with, Similarity—Difference. If these semiotic comparisons are based on communicated Language, particularly when examined from the point of view of a symbolic pervasion and permeation of power, then we can see that normal thought patterns (hexis) loose their natural coherence in practice (habitus). As Jaques Lacan points out by referring to the unconscious, first of all Language (langue) has to assure itself of its object (sign/parole) in order to be able to develop its analytic pattern (symbol/discours). In this communicative context taking the term field as an example, Bourdieu shows how socially accepted terms are applied in an uncontrolled way (illusio) without being examined thoroughly (as contingent and precarious indexical referents), thus gaining system access (rhetoric as practical logic) to the production of social knowledge (ideology) in a given culture.
6. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 3/4
Maureen Connolly Paulo Freire and Ernst Cassirer: Mythic and Superstitious Consciousness in Contemporary Academic Culture
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The extent to which superstitious consciousness is prevalent in students, professors and administrators in university culture is no less alarming than the extent to which Cassirer (1946) proposed mythic consciousness is prevalent (and even necessary) within a totalitarian state. These are the connections I wish to explore: superstitious and mythic consciousness, and, pedagogic and political overlaps in the context of higher education and, in particular, in the processes of teaching, learning, scholarship, and curriculum development. Through examples drawn from my earlier and more recent years in higher education contexts, I examine, interrogate, and puzzle over the tensions, paradoxes, risks, and choices which characterize working from a Freirian orientation. In this analysis, I also engage the resonances between Paulo Freire and Ernst Cassirer. I refer to the works in Ira Shor’s 1987 collection devoted to applications of Paulo Freire’s theorizing and praxis and comment on their on­going relevance. Last, I employ post-colonial and semiotic phenomenological modes of analyses and explication in my attempt to work through issues of power, pedagogy, and praxis in the increasingly urgent and intolerant politics of contemporary academic culture at the universities.
7. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 3/4
Jacqueline M. Martinez Cassirer’s “Violent Inner Tensions of Culture”: A Cultural Phenomenology of Ethics, Freedom and the Mythology of Peace
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Ernst Cassirer’s assertion that the most “violent inner tensions” are at work in the unfolding of culture, is the central problematic taken up in the present work. A “mythology of peace” is identified as central in maintaining a collective blindness to these violent inner tensions at the level of culture. Any notion of cultural ethics must emerge from an examination of culture as it is alive and concrete. Such an examination requires a cultural phenomenology. Cultural ethics must be considered in its relationship to conditions of human freedom. Cassirer’s concern with symbolic forms provides an entrée into the problematic of the relationship between culture, ethics and freedom. From within this problematic, Cassirer develops the terms, conditions, and practices of a cultural science that investigates the function of symbolic forms as they at work within the everyday world of people communicating. The work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty offers important extensions of Cassirer’s cultural science, particularly with regard to the relationship between individual perception or experience and the cultural milieu in which those perceptions and experiences are situated. A specific case of an ex-police officer turned mass-murderer within the U.S. American context is analyzed as a moment of rupture—an eruption of these violent inner tensions. This phenomenology of culture provides an insight into how mythologies of the “totalitarian race” and of “the hero” exacerbate these violent inner tensions of culture to the point of concrete expression. It also reveals the danger of overly rigid mythologies that can emerge from “symbolic forms,” and which deeply impede the “task of freedom” in a human world.
8. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 3/4
Thomas D. Craig Shelter on the Mountain of God: Ernst Cassirer and the Religious Institution of Empire
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Ernst Cassirer proposes that a significant shift in thinking occurs in the early decades of the twentieth century. In sum, the makers of modern political myth had exploited the allure of “mythical world feeling” (1957 [1929]: 150) for their own pragmatic purposes. While there is no direct connection between the two, the American Protestant Fundamentalist missionary organization, L’Abri Fellowship International, began in Switzerland shortly after Cassirer’s Myth of the State (1946) was published in the early post-WWII era. Cassirer’s analysis in that publication, as well as his earlier writings on the symbolic forms of expression, provide an insightful theoretical means for understanding how a new strategic institution of religious empire could appropriate an immediate sense of reality within a collectivist claim to truth. Borrowing from both the theoretical corpus of Cassirer on (1) the symbolic forms of bodily expression (Ausdrucksfunktion), (2) the discursive function of strategic organizational action (Darstellungsfunktion), and (3) the ongoing communicological writings of Richard Lanigan, I provide a semiotic and phenomenological analysis of the disclosure of the forms of expression of L’Abri within the available historical and cultural contents, norms, and inscriptions which helped to build a worldwide religious institution that has endured for over sixty years.
9. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 3/4
Yun Xia Cassirer’s Symbolic Forms in Application: New Symbolization of New Thought in the Language of Online Communication
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Communication online via the Internet includes different genres, such as email, blogs, chat groups, virtual worlds, and the World Wide Web. Across different genres, Internet communication is primarily undertaken in the form of written language in visual modalities with oral features. The technical properties of Internet communication production and transmission influence how people perceive and use language orthography to construct meanings from language as a new way of thinking and practicing self-expression. My analysis uses Ernst Cassirer’s philosophy of symbolic forms and Louis Hjelmslev’s glossomatics as a theoretical base to analyze and discuss how Internet communication serves to offer a new symbolic form of a new thought process as a type of Walter Ong’s second-order orality in human communication.
10. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 3/4
About the Authors
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