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Philosophy of Education in the Semiotics of Charles Peirce

A Cosmology of Learning and Loving

Alin Olteanu

This book investigates the philosophy of education implicit in the semiotics of Charles Peirce. It is commonly accepted that the acts of learning and teaching imply affection of some sort, and Charles Peirce’s evolutionary semiotics thoroughly explains learning as an act of love. According to Peirce, we evolved to learn and to love; learning from other people has proved to be one of the best ways to carry out our infinite pursuit of truth, since love is the very characteristic of truth. As such, the teacher and the student practise love in their relation with one another.
Grounded within an edusemiotics framework and also exploring the iconic turn in semiotics and recent developments in biosemiotics, this is the first book-length study of Peirce’s contribution to the philosophy of education.
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Chapter 1 Semiotics and Education


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Semiotics and Education

The purpose of this chapter is to point out the close connection between the disciplines of semiotics and education, in terms of a common history. The recent emergence of a body of literature that proposes semiotics as an educational philosophy does not come as a surprise. Initially, the development of semiotics constituted the rationale of the implementation of a liberal educational philosophy.

The rediscovery of semiotics that is occurring in the present age brings along a new wave of philosophy of education. In 2009 Frederik Stjernfelt remarked that “it is only in the ongoing interaction with other disciplines that semiotics finds its place as the non-skepticist mediator between formal and material, humanist and scientific, strands of academia” (Stjernfelt in Bundgaard and Stjernfelt, p. 233). Being so, this might tempt one to consider that it is just a convenience that semiotics has recently become an interesting approach for what used to be principally the business of psychology and sociology. The compatibility between semiotics and education is deeper than this, however.

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