On 25 February 2022, Prof. Göran Sonesson presented “What is Cognitive Semiotics?” for the International Open Seminar on Semiotics: a Tribute to John Deely on the Fifth Anniversary of His Passing. In the spirit of openness, I have penned a response to this presentation:
In his brief and dense work, The Human Use of Signs, Or Elements of Anthroposemiosis (published in 1994), John Deely writes that the semiotic analysis proper to criticism—as that species-specifically human intellectual activity whereby we exercise a conscious control over objectivity—concerns the integrity of a pattern of significations. The negative duty of the critic, then, is to discern when a pattern of significations lacks such integrity, and articulate this lack to the audience.
With all due respect, it is just such a lack of integrity which is found in Professor Sonesson’s presentation, “What is Cognitive Semiotics?” (with no intention of signifying anything concerning his subjective, moral integrity). I will restrict the remarks constituting this response to three brief comments. Deely 1994: The Human Use of Signs, Or Elements of Anthroposemiosis, ¶228: “here it is not a question of the integrity of the inquirer but rather of the integrity of the pattern of significations into which inquiry is made.”