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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 2 Charles S. Peirce’s List of Categories and Taxonomy of Signs


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Charles S. Peirce’s List of Categories and Taxonomy of Signs

In the previous chapter some concepts that are central for developing a Peircean Theory of Learning – such as iconicity, suprasubjectivity, biosemiotics and semiotic evolution – have been introduced. The present chapter looks at how Charles Peirce picked some of these concepts and built a semiotic philosophy at the centre of which stands nothing else but what Peirce found to be the principle of learning, namely diagrammatic reasoning.

Peirce’s work is vast and rich but still we do not possess an organized collection of it. Now, after a century since Peirce, the interpretation of his writings is still subject to controversy. I consider that a key for understanding Peirce’s philosophy is acknowledging Peirce’s own bibliographical sources, reason for which I considered the previous chapter necessary. This book accepts a certain reading of Peirce that is found in Deely (2001) and Stjernfelt (2007). Seen through this perspective, Peirce’s pragmaticistic philosophy appears as asuprasubjective realism, an extreme scholastic realism, to put it in Peirce’s own terms (CP 5.470). This reading of Peirce fits in a large extent with the late Eco’s re-reading of Peirce marked by Kant and the Platypus (1997). Since throughout Peirce’s writings it can be noticed that for him education is a method with the only purpose of serving the evolution of science, which serves the evolution of signs in general, life in itself that is, I argue that in...

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