Seminar: Semiotics

[CPI Seminars] [CPI Lyceum Platform]

What is a sign?  Though a seemingly simple question, and one which may receive a technically simple answer, attaining a clear understanding of signs is a task both very difficult and very important; so important, in fact, that the whole future of philosophy (and by extension, human knowledge in general) depends upon our getting the answer right.  A great deal of our present difficulty, in the 21st century, follows from several centuries’ failure to attain a true semiotics.  To begin rectifying this, I believe we must draw on a handful of key sources: John Poinsot, Charles Sanders Peirce, and John Deely.  In this seminar, we will focus on Peirce and his unique contributions to the foundations of the discipline of semiotics proper and show how we must instantiate an understanding of signs in our day-to-day practices, both practically and theoretically.

[Syllabus] [Flyer]

That is: an understanding of signs is the doorway to all understanding; if all our understanding is by means of signs (and there is indisputable argument that it is), can we understand our understanding if we do not understand the nature of the sign?  Moreover, such an understanding not only opens the door to our own understanding–which is nevertheless the focus of this seminar, insofar as we must begin in a certain way with the things that are best known to ourselves–but to countless difficulties of the cosmos.  Yet without an understanding of understanding, we may lock ourselves into fundamental theoretical mistakes which undermine all our knowledge: as seems rampantly evident today.

Therefore, among the specific goals for the seminar are to understand the general theory of semiotics—as the study of the action of signs—which was founded in Charles Peirce and has since been developed; to understand the categorical basis of Peirce’s thought, or his “phaneroscopy”; and to understand especially how signs play a role in human thinking.

The seminar will run for 8 weeks–from September 28 through November 16–with discussion sessions being held on Saturdays at 1:00pm ET, lasting roughly 45 minutes.

The cost of the seminar is $135 per person (inclusive of a $12 technology fee).  Professors receive a discounted rate of $85 per person and graduate and undergraduate students of $60 per person.  Lyceum discounts also apply to these lowered rates.

If you would like to sign up (the first session is free! no payments due until 10/4), please fill out the form below and Dr. Kemple will be in touch.

For more details, please see the seminar syllabus or contact Dr. Kemple.  There is also a concurrent seminar on Retrieving Thomistic Psychology.