Semiotics between Peirce and Bakhtin
Augusto Ponzio, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Susan Petrilli, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy (email@example.com)
By reading together Charles S. Peirce and Mikhail Bakhtin it is possible to construct a semiotic model able to explain signs and semiosis in all their complexity. This sign model is distant from oversimplifying approaches that put the signifiant at the service of a signifié already given outside the interpretation/communication process. Peirce places the sign in the complex context of semiosis and in the relation with the interpretant. Bakhtin evidences the fact that the sign can only flourish in the context of dialogism. The implication is that the logic of otherness is structural to the sign, that otherness is at the very heart of identity. The sign is not possible without an interpretant which means that the interpretant is not secondary, an accessory. On the contrary, the interpretant is constitutive of the sign. This means to say that meaning is not in the sign, but in the relation among signs. Bakhtin thematizes the dialogic nature of the word, including of interior discourse. Both Bakhtin and Peirce evidence the dialogical nature of the sign. In fact, to be this sign here the sign must be at once identical to itself and different.
1) Massimo A. Bonfantini, Valentina Pisanty, Giampaolo Proni, Salvatore Zingale
Abduction and Dialogue, Otherness and Utopia – in History and Novel
MAB: Abducton is the third inference because it is the third to have value historically: after deduction and induction. But it is the first because it opens to any semiosis, as Peirce discovered. Formally it is made of three rejoinders of which the first is a question.
VAL: It is a question that comes from the outside, from something that is surprising, a discomfort or a doubt which otherness alien to the subject, as we read in the New List, puts to interpretation, to the series of interpretations. When interaction, in addition to natural is social, we can speak of dialogue among people and of dialogue in history or history of dialogue as in Plato.
GIAMPA: Dialogue, argumentation, and history and therefore also the novel, as we all know as Bakhtin evidenced as well, are copresent as discourse (logos) or semiosis of all of humanity in the dramatis personae of Plato's theatre.
SZING: But it is also true that it is from dialogues, from the dialogues of everyday life precisely, that stories arise, our stories of love and friendship. But also the stories of knowledge in the three temporal dimensions of abductive interpretation: reconstructions of past causes on the basis of manifest effects; the constitution and recognition of permanent identities; anticipations, projects, utopia.
GIAMPA: This dimension of abduction of the future is inaugurated by Plato inventor of utopia; the classical author is Moore. And together with reflection on the social and existential effects, it is at the basis of science fiction as from the Republic of the lakes.
SZING: But you have quite an experience of science fiction as a writer and novelist with your three novels dedicated to Computer Asia. In the dialectical relation with the protagonist detective. As a semiotician of project inventiveness, I too am like you, utopic and together realist, like Verne and the mystery Island. The possible absent of the project is at reach, when the reality of need and absence is identified.
VAL: The great novel can dig in actual historical reality and not only in science fiction. Fiction is not falsification, as is instead ideologically manipulated history, revisionism, and above all negationism. But Peirce helps.
MAB: But Peirce doesn't only help to create science and detection (Guessing) or to design musement. He also helps us to conceive universal history as an enormous undecided universal story, which now puts to us an altogether unpredicted obstacle, the danger of ecological catastrophe, against which to invent hypotheses and habits of revolutionary life.
2) Yunhee Lee, Research Professor, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dialogical interaction and symbolic mediation: a quest for meaning and self-control
As has been fully recognized, Peirce’s theory of signs is distinguished from the structural theory of signs after Saussure’s linguistic sign. The concept of interpretant in Peirce makes a fundamental difference between the two, implying that the interpreting mind embodied in human agency makes a semiotic system dynamic with choice, not force, in the system. This aspect leads to the observation of dynamic relations in Peirce’s theory of sign, which he calls dialogic characters of sign. This expression rings true to the characteristics of thought-sign and allows us to observe the internal world as to how the mind works and interacts with others and the self.
This paper aims to look at the dialogical character of sign in Peirce in relation to Bakhtin’s theory of dialogism, particularly with an emotional-volitional aspect of action sign to discern how human subjects act and control themselves by virtue of symbolic mediation, representing the dialogic relation of sign. I thus examine the concept of the Peircean symbol as thirdness, a mediator, and a genuine sign on three levels: expression, representation, interpretation.
First, symbol as representamen expresses a quality of dialogical relation between two qualities. Another name for the symbol is ‘abstract’ symbol or ‘metaphor’ with an attributed quality. Thus, this symbol has a dominant character as metaphoric representation of similarity. Second, symbol as representamen represents a dialogical relation between icon being endowed with an internal character and index being endowed with a relative character, so that the symbol, with an attributed character, represents the indexical relation of the two. Another name for this is ‘singular’ symbol. The representation of the dialogic can be divided in two: analogical representation with a parallelism and symbolical representation with an attributed character. Third, symbol as representamen interprets the dialogical relation, which has another name of ‘genuine’ symbol with a logical interpretant functioning as interpretative representation. In this way, symbolic mediation is incorporated with dialogic sign relations so as to attain a triadic meaning of action in self-control, thus leading to self-identity and truth.
Bakhtin, M.M.(1993). Towards a Philosophy of the Act. Trans. and note by Vadim Liapunov, eds. by Vadim Liapunov and Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press.
______ (1986). Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Trans. By Vern W. McGee, eds. by Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Liszka, James J. (1996). A General Introduction to the Semeiotic of Charles Sanders Peirce. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
Peirce, Charles S. (1931-58). Collected Papers of Charles S. Peirce, 8 vols., ed. C. Hartshorne, P. Weiss, and A. Burks. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
_____ (1998).The Essential Peirce: Selected Philosophical Writings, vol. 2. (1893-1913), ed. The Peirce Edition Project. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Petrilli, Susan and Augusto Ponzio(2005). Semiotics Unbounded: Interpretive Routes through the Open Network of Signs. Toronto Buffalo London: University of Toronto Press.
Yunhee Lee, Research Professor, email: email@example.com
Affiliation: Semiosis Research Center at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, Korea
Research interests: Peirce’s semiotics, narrative, media studies and literary semantics
3) Vladimir Feshchenko (Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences)
Gustav Shpet between Peirce and Bakhtin: an Implicit Tradition of ‘Deep Semiotics’ in Russia
This paper examines the implicit tradition of ‘deep semiotics’ in Russia initiated by Gustav Shpet (1879-1937), a Russian philosopher of language. Shpet’s semiotic approach was developed synchronically with the major lines of European and American semiotics (Saussurian and Peirceian), but is now insufficiently known and studied. The recent publications of previously unknown papers by G. Shpet makes this Russian philosopher an advanced figure on the Russian semiotic scene. Shpet’s semiotic and linguistic ideas lay the foundations for ‘deep semiotics’. The concept of the “inner form” determines the direction of this tradition – the study of the creative person’s inner language and the inner system of its texts (an approach simultaneously developed by V. Voloshinov and M. Bakhtin). Whereas Russian structuralism influenced by Shpet’s ideas was formed into a major scholarly method, deep semiotics remains, as of yet, a ‘shimmering’ tradition, which is still to be reconstructed and actualized.
‘Deep semiotics’ envisages the extension of the theory of sign systems by way of the personological dimension of sign-making and sense-making. This kind of semiotic approach takes into account the truly human and personal self-determination. As the self and the mind of the self are the source, the means, and the result of producing sense, this dimension could be called personal, or self-referential. This approach allows shifting from the two-dimensional consideration of a sign system to the stereometrical, the one that gives semiosis a depth perspective, that is why the term deep semiotics is used.
Shpet’s most well known book Inner Form of the Word (1927) dwells upon the particular importance of inner forms in poetic semiosis. Inner forms, in his view, have direct relation to the subject of semiosis, the creator, or persona creans, as he puts it in Latin. Shpet brings us closer to understanding the semiotics of poetry, and semiotics of artistic creativity in general. Shpet was the first Russian scholar to mention the term semiotics, by which he meant a “general ontological study of signs”. It was as early as in 1916 that Shpet used this term in his work History as the Subject of Logic (1922). Shpet’s main semiotic writing, the book called Language and Sense (1920s), traces back the origins of semiotic thinking and lays the foundations for new semiotics, by which he means the science of understanding signs. It is here that Shpet speaks of the ontological study of a sign, calling this study semiotics, or else characterics, and raising the issue of the semiotic mind.
4) Cecília Contani Baraldo, Universidade Estadual de Londrina – Brasil
Esther Gomes de Oliveira, Universidade Estadual de Londrina – Brasil
THE ARGUMENTATIVE CONSTRUCTION IN QUEIROSIAN FICTION
This paper examines the argumentative features and semantic discourse potential found in Eca de Queirós’ The city and the mountains. The notion of speech is focused as a source of meaning and persuasion. The protagonist, Jacinto de Tormes, born in Paris, is of Portuguese descent and is the heir to a vast estate located in a village in Portugal. He never visited the place, but rental incomes from that family property allow him to afford his living in the metropolis. At a certain point in time, he started to become bored and disappointed with life among all sorts of appliances and devices available in modern urban life, plus the rush that was becoming typical. It was then that he received a letter from the estate manager, his best friend, José Fernandes, notifying him that for a decision to be made, his presence was required in the farmland. Fernandes travels to Paris to see Jacinto about the issue and to persuade him to come to Portugal – and so it happens. Upon this return to roots, with the contact with the country environment, Jacinto started reflecting about the sense of life with technology and of life without it. Fernandes takes part in the plot with more than his dialogues with Jacinto: he lends his voice as a narrator. A mix of speeches is produced as a result of this enriched story telling, a remarkable skill of the author to employ a multiplicity of voices as found in the Dostoevskyan model. The concept of polyphony discussed by Bakhtin (2013) in Problems of Dostoevsky's poetics is used to explain this operation and grasp the meanings found in the characters’ wide-ranging discussion. The presence of two voices at first distinct, but afterwards integrated into dialogues and narration is not simply opposition, but a divergence that shape the argument and provide contrasting and complementary meanings. Voices that overlap in the same context and merge into a third voice with argumentative power and ability to clarify the theme in the novel. The argument is further built, to a larger extent, by the use of adjectives, thus releasing statements that this study will point out as countermeanings, a notion inspired in the psychoanalytical concept of countertransference, to cover differences that are not purely oppositions, but disagreements and agreements that can be worked out.
Keywords: Argumentative resources; Countermeaning; Polyphony; Semiotics and literature
5) Vladimir Sánchez Riaño
La Ponencia presenta una propuesta sobre la proyección de algunos de los postulados teóricos planteados desde la perspectiva pragmaticista de Charles Sanders Peirce a un campo concreto de producción signica contemporánea como lo es la publicidad. Para ello se expresan de manera expositiva las principales nociones que serán usadas en el planteamiento del modelo. En concreto se exponen las nociones de signo y de interpretante, sus divisiones y relaciones, así como las nociones de propósito y de Interpretabilidad. A partir de ello, se plantea una propuesta de modelo de análisis y evaluación de piezas publicitarias y su posterior vertimiento en una pieza, tratando de obtener toda la información legítimamente extraíble para inferir y evaluar el propósito de la misma. Por último se desarrolla una discusión final y se presenta una visión esquemática de un posible modelo más amplio en el que no sólo se tenga en cuenta los efectos posibles del signo, sino también los efectos reales, relacionados con los caracteres de cualidad, esfuerzo y hábito.
Vladimir Sánchez Riaño: profesor Asociado de tiempo completo de la Universidad de Bogotá Jorge Tadeo Lozano. Licenciado en Filosofía y Letras y Especialista en Docencia Universitaria de la Universidad Santo Tomás, Magister en Estudios Políticos de la Universidad Javeriana, Magister en Semiótica de la Universidad de Bogotá Jorge Tadeo Lozano, actualmente se encuentra cursando el Doctorado en Filosofía de la Universidad Santo Tomás
 Se utiliza Pragmaticismo, siguiendo al mismo Peirce quien en su artículo de 1905: “Qué es el Pragmatismo” propone el nacimiento de dicho término para diferenciarlo del uso común y ligero que se venía usando y que lo alejaba de su idea original: “… pero en la actualidad se empieza a encontrar la palabra ocasionalmente en los periódicos literarios, donde se abusa de ella del modo impío que las palabras deben esperar cuando caen en las garras literarias. (…) De modo que, el escritor, (…) siente que (…) para servir al preciso propósito de expresar la definición original, tiene el gusto de anunciar el nacimiento de la palabra "pragmaticismo", que es lo suficientemente fea para estar a salvo de secuestradores” (C.P. 5. 414). Léase Collected Papers. El primer número antecedido de punto hace referencia al volumen y los siguientes a los parágrafos en los que se desarrolla el volumen.
 Este trabajo es fruto de varios años de investigación y recoge los esfuerzos realizados por su autor sobre la semiótica publicitaria, la cual es una sublínea de investigación del grupo Publicidad, sociedad, cultura y creatividad del programa de Publicidad de la Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano. Es de señalar que un primer acercamiento de la proyección del Pragmaticismo peirceano a una estética contemporánea como lo es la Publicidad, tuvo su origen en la tesis de grado de la Maestría en Semiótica cursada por el autor, la cual fue rigurosamente dirigida por Douglas Niño, a quien debo mis agradecimientos por su orientación y aporte en el camino investigativo de la semeiótica peirceana. Esta versión, se constituye en el primer acercamiento teórico a la tesis doctoral en Filosofía de la Universidad santo Tomás.