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[Summer 2022] Semiotics: Thought and Contributions of John Deely

Semiotics—toward which human beings took their first explicit steps in the beginning of the Latin Age of philosophy, in the work of St. Augustine of Hippo (350–430AD), an age that culminated in the thinking of John Poinsot (1589–1644)—is that by which we begin in a true postmodernism. This is one of the key and perhaps surprising claims of John Deely (1942–2017). That is, often today what is called “postmodernism” is nothing more, in fact, than an ultramodernism: a fragmentary, distorted view of the world grown out of the errors of modern philosophical thinking, run toward its natural, incoherent conclusions.

Listen to a preview here

Preview – Semiotics as origin of genuine post-modernism.

In contrast, consider this description Deely gives:

In a word, postmodernism is the opening of a passageway from the age of classical modern philosophy to an epoch as distinct from the modern age as the modern age was from Latin times, or Latin times from the ancient Greek period. The opposition of modernity to Latin (and Greek) times eventually took the form of the opposition of idealism to realism in philosophy. Postmodern thought begins, properly speaking, not so much by rejecting this opposition as by transcending it, for in experience integrally taken, mind-dependent and mind-independent being assert themselves equally—not “equally” in the quantitative sense, but “equally” in the sense of components both asserting themselves in different ways at different times and in different proportions throughout the course of human life, both together making up the one fabric of our lives we call “experience”.

What was needed for philosophy to mature [to postmodernism] was not so much a shift as an expansion, an expansion of the notion of reality—and with it, being—to include the whole experience as the prior ground out of which human understanding arises and on which it throughout depends. From the start, being should have been an inclusive, not an exclusive and oppositional notion. Being is not only “that which can only be said in many ways” (Aristotle), but that out of which the division between what is and what is not independent of the mind arises (Aquinas), and not in any finally fixed way, but differently according to the time and circumstances of the one experiencing such a contrast among objects.

Deely 1994: New Beginnings (18–19).

To understand and affect this maturation into postmodernity, we will turn our attention in this seminar to the major contributions to semiotics given by Deely: the proto-semiotic history, an expanded doctrine of causality,  the retrieved and clarified notion of relation, the concept of physiosemiosis, the continuity of culture and nature, the notion of purely objective reality, and the real interdisciplinarity which semiotics fosters. This is an advanced seminar which provides a serious challenge to all participants.

DISCUSSIONS:
July 2—27 August
Saturdays, 3:15-4:15pm ET /
7:15-8:15pm UTC

WHERE:
Lyceum Institute digital platform run on Microsoft Teams

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (with a break at the halfway point—see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we will discover the enormous contributions to semiotics made by John Deely. The instructor for this seminar is Dr. Brian Kemple, who wrote his dissertation under Dr. Deely, and who is Executive Director of the Lyceum Institute. You can read more about Dr. Kemple here.

Lyceum Institute seminar costs are structured on a principle of financial subsidiarity. There are three payment levels, priced according to likely levels of income. If you wish to take a seminar but cannot afford the suggested rate, it is acceptable to sign up at a less-expensive level. The idea is: pay what you can. Those who can pay more, should, so that those who cannot pay as much, need not. Lyceum Institute members receive a further discount (see here for details).

[2022Su-B] Semiotics: Deely – Participant

Recommended for those who are currently students or with part-time employment.

$80.00

[2022Su-B] Semiotics: Deely – Patron

Recommended for those in professions that do not pay as well as they ought and for whom continued education is especially important (including professors and clergy).

$135.00

[2022Su-B] Semiotics: Deely – Benefactor

Recommended for those with fulltime employment in well-paying professions and sufficient resources to provide a little more in support of the Lyceum Institute and its mission.

$200.00

IO2S Deely – Signs and Being: the Role of Semiotics in Heidegger’s Thought

On 30 April 2022, at 11am ET (check event times around the world here), Rocco Gangle will present on “Signs and Being: the Role of Semiotics in Heidegger’s Thought”. Prof. Gangle is the author of several books, including Diagrammatic Immanence: Category Theory and Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2016). His research focuses on semiotics, diagrammatic logic, French phenomenology and post-structuralism, and the work of Francois Laruelle. He is Professor of Philosophy at Endicott College, USA and Distinguished Research Fellow with GCAS College Dublin, Ireland.

Commentary will be provided by Mafalda Blanc, Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy of the Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon, since 1980.

Join the Zoom meeting to participate in the Q&A.

2022 International Open Seminar on Semiotics (IO2S) | Website

This collaborative international open scientific initiative and celebration is jointly organized by the Institute for Philosophical Studies of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra, the Lyceum Institute, the Deely Project, Saint Vincent College, the Iranian Society for Phenomenology at the Iranian Political Science Association, the International Association for Semiotics of Space and Time, the Institute for Scientific Information on Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Semiotic Society of America, the American Maritain Association, the International Association for Semiotic Studies, the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies and the Mansarda Acesa with the support of the FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P., of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education of the Government of Portugal under the UID/FIL/00010/2020 project.

IO2S Deely – A Holistic Approach to Semiotics: Juri Lotman

On 12 March 2022, Marek Tamm presented on “A Holistic Approach to Semiotics: Juri Lotman”. Tamm is Professor of Cultural History at the School of Humanities in Tallinn University and Head of Tallinn University Centre of Excellence in Intercultural Studies. His primary research fields are cultural history of medieval Europe, theory and history of historiography, and cultural memory studies. He has recently published Cultural History of Memory in the Early Modern Age (co-edited with Alessandro Arcangeli, Bloomsbury 2020), Making Livonia: Actors and Networks in the Medieval and Early Modern Baltic Sea Region (co-edited with Anu Mänd, Routledge, 2020), Juri Lotman – Culture, Memory and History: Essays in Cultural Semiotics (Palgrave Macmillan 2019), Rethinking Historical Time: New Approaches to Presentism (co-edited with Laurent Olivier, Bloomsbury 2019), and Debating New Approaches to History (co-edited with Peter Burke, Bloomsbury 2018). His most recent publishing project is The Companion to Juri Lotman: A Semiotic Theory of Culture, co-edited with Peeter Torop (Bloomsbury, forthcoming in 2022).

John Redennick-Trowe provides commentary.

2022 International Open Seminar on Semiotics (IO2S) | Website

This collaborative international open scientific initiative and celebration is jointly organized by the Institute for Philosophical Studies of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra, the Lyceum Institute, the Deely Project, Saint Vincent College, the Iranian Society for Phenomenology at the Iranian Political Science Association, the International Association for Semiotics of Space and Time, the Institute for Scientific Information on Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Semiotic Society of America, the American Maritain Association, the International Association for Semiotic Studies, the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies and the Mansarda Acesa with the support of the FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P., of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education of the Government of Portugal under the UID/FIL/00010/2020 project.

IO2S Deely – A Response to Göran Sonesson

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.[1]  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.

[1] 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.”

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IO2S Deely – What is Cognitive Semiotics?

On 25 February 2022 at 11am ET (4pm UTC – check event times around the world here) Göran Sonesson will present on the topic of “What is Cognitive Semiotics?” Sonesson is Professor Emeritus at the Division of cognitive semiotics, Lund University, holds doctorates in general linguistics from Lund and in semiotics from Paris. He has published numerous papers, both theoretic and experimental, on pictorial, cultural, and cognitive semiotics, as well as on the semiotics of communication and translation and the evolutionary foundations of semiosis. Apart from anthologies, his papers have appeared in journals such as Semiotica, Cognitive Semiotics, Cognitive Development, Sign System Studies, Degrés, Signa, Signata, Sign and Society, Frontier of Psychology, etc. His main book-length works are Pictorial Concepts (1989), which is a critique of the critique of iconicity, and Human Lifeworlds (2016), which is a study in cultural evolution. His new book, The Pictorial Extensions of Mind will soon be published by De Gruyter.

Join the Zoom meeting to participate.

2022 International Open Seminar on Semiotics (IO2S) | Website

This collaborative international open scientific initiative and celebration is jointly organized by the Institute for Philosophical Studies of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra, the Lyceum Institute, the Deely Project, Saint Vincent College, the Iranian Society for Phenomenology at the Iranian Political Science Association, the International Association for Semiotics of Space and Time, the Institute for Scientific Information on Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Semiotic Society of America, the American Maritain Association, the International Association for Semiotic Studies, the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies and the Mansarda Acesa with the support of the FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P., of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education of the Government of Portugal under the UID/FIL/00010/2020 project.

IO2S Deely – Peirce on History, Science, and Realism

On 5 February 2022 at 12pm ET/5pm UTC (check event times around the world here), Tullio Viola will present, “Peirce on History, Science, and Realism”. Viola is an assistant professor in Philosophy of art and culture at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. He has a doctorate in philosophy from the Humboldt University in Berlin, and before joining Maastricht University he held post-doc positions in Berlin and Erfurt. He has published mainly on Peirce, north-American pragmatism, and its links to European philosophy. His book, Peirce on the Uses of History, has come out with De Gruyter in 2020.

2022 International Open Seminar on Semiotics (IO2S) | Website

This collaborative international open scientific initiative and celebration is jointly organized by the Institute for Philosophical Studies of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra, the Lyceum Institute, the Deely Project, Saint Vincent College, the Iranian Society for Phenomenology at the Iranian Political Science Association, the International Association for Semiotics of Space and Time, the Institute for Scientific Information on Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Semiotic Society of America, the American Maritain Association, the International Association for Semiotic Studies, the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies and the Mansarda Acesa with the support of the FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P., of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education of the Government of Portugal under the UID/FIL/00010/2020 project.

IO2S Deely – On the genesis of semiotics according to Algirdas Julien Greimas

On 22 January 2022 at 9:00am ET/5:00pm MSK (2:00pm UTC – check times around the world here) Dr. Inna Gennadievna Merkulova will present on the thinking of Algirdas Julien Greimas, a seminal figure in the history of the European tradition. Dr. Merkulova focuses her research on literary semiotics, intercultural dialogue, and theory of translation. Dr. Alexandre Provin Sbabo will provide commentary.

2022 International Open Seminar on Semiotics (IO2S) | Website

This collaborative international open scientific initiative and celebration is jointly organized by the Institute for Philosophical Studies of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra, the Lyceum Institute, the Deely Project, Saint Vincent College, the Iranian Society for Phenomenology at the Iranian Political Science Association, the International Association for Semiotics of Space and Time, the Institute for Scientific Information on Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Semiotic Society of America, the American Maritain Association, the International Association for Semiotic Studies, the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies and the Mansarda Acesa with the support of the FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P., of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education of the Government of Portugal under the UID/FIL/00010/2020 project.

Winter Seminars – Reminder

Our Winter Seminars start tomorrow (first discussion sessions 1/15)! There’s still plenty of time to sign up, but readings are already available and discussion threads will begin on 1/8.

INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHICAL THINKING

As you might surmise, this is a course for those who have had no (or have not had in a long time) formal philosophical education. It is a bit different than the typical introductory course. Here, you will find no histories or surveys, no trite clichés about questioning authority, no attempts at “dumbing down” a complex topic to make it “accessible”. Rather, you will find the essential challenge of philosophy itself: learning the habit of conscious reflection on our own conceptions. We will do this through a series of lectures, curated readings, and discussion sessions—with part of the seminar focused on Plato, as a master of the means to philosophical reflection—and a community of like-minded inquirers.

SEMIOTICS: CULTURAL WORLD OF THE SIGN

This is a much more advanced seminar, presuming the participant already has some familiarity with semiotics and possibly with scholastic realism as well. Here, we are asking the question of culture explicitly from the perspective of semiotics: how is culture constituted, mediated, diminished, and otherwise altered by the action of signs? How does culture, conversely, shape the “grammar” of signs by which we ourselves think? These questions are, I think, important especially today, in which we are experiencing a dramatic shift in the constitution of culture as affected by the digital paradigm of daily experience. If we are to change culture for the better, we must understand how we participate in it—and thus we must understand the signs through which culture affects human life, and, conversely, how human beings may affect culture through the use of signs.

[2022 Winter] Semiotics: Cultural World of the Sign

How can semiotics help us to understand culture? Simply put: through understanding the causality of the sign in conjunction with the reality of the specifically-human world. This demands, of course, that we understand what we mean by reality. Is it just those things that exist independently of our minds? Or does it have a broader, more complex, more difficult to ascertain being? Does the sign not merely operate within or alongside the reality of the world–but as constitutive of it? Is this constitutive activity of the sign–presuming it can be identified–limited to cognition-independent signification; or is such fundamentally a misnomer?

This study will focus on the contributions of semioticians—especially Yuri Lotman and John Deely—in establishing and understanding the importance of cultural reality.  We will therefore undertake to understand the Umwelt and Lebenswelt, the Bildendwelt, the influence of the future on the past, diachrony and synchrony, textuality, codes, and the relation between self and culture.

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (with a break at the halfway point–see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we will discover the world-constituting and world-dependent causality of the sign. The instructor for this seminar is Brian Kemple, PhD, Executive Director of the Lyceum Institute. You can read more about Dr. Kemple here.

DISCUSSIONS:
January 15–12 March
Saturdays, 10:00-11:00am ET /
3:00-4:00pm UTC

WHERE:
Lyceum Institute digital platform run on Microsoft Teams

Lyceum Institute seminar costs are structured on a principle of financial subsidiarity. There are three payment levels, with discounts for those who are professors and clergy (whose continuing education is not sufficiently prioritized by their institutions) and for students (who are already taxed excessively by the educational system). However, if you are part of the working world and wish to take a seminar but cannot afford the “standard” rate, it is acceptable to sign up at one of these discounted prices. The idea is: pay what you can. Those who can pay more, should, so that those who cannot pay as much, need not. Lyceum Institute members receive a further discount (see here for details).

Registration is closed.