C. S. Peirce’s Evolutionary Sign: an Analysis of Depth and Complexity within Peircean Sign Types and Peircean Evolution Theory.



Torkild Leo Thellefsen, Department of Communication, Kroghstræde 3, 9220 Aalborg Øst, Denmark



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The very essence of Peircean semiotics is the process through which an object is represented by a sign and creates another sign. This means that Peircean semiotics basically constitutes a theory of representation. This implies that the object and the sign cannot be the same and hence sign displacements occur in the cognitive processes. When dividing the Peircean sign types into signs of nature, man and culture, we are able to get a precise idea of the sign displacement that occurs from nature to culture and within culture. In this way, the sign displacement is an elaboration of how we semiotically construct our understanding of our surroundings. The article argues that our understanding of the world is placed only within the Thirdness trichotomy containing Rheme, Dicent sign and Argument. But the sign displacement and thus the semiotic constructivism implies a dynamical perspective and in order to understand this perspective we must take a closer look at Peircean evolution theory. At the center of Peirce's evolution theory is the idea of habit formation and the notion is in fact similar to the interpretant. Based on the similarity between the signs and the different parts of the evolution theory, the article presents a comparative analysis of the sign and evolution theory.


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