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Applied Interdisciplinary Peirce Studies


Edited By Elize Bisanz

The volume focuses on the application of Peirce’s semeiotic as a methodological tool to establish a common field for interdisciplinary research. Contributors from the fields of biology, architecture, logic, esthetics and neuroscience, among others, work on diverse research problems, unified by the idea of transcending the dyadic limitations of disciplinary restrictions and applying Peirce’s triadic method, and the structure and process of sign relations of the particular problem that has to be solved. The result is an invigorating example of methodological plasticity wherein the reader acquires an understanding of scientific observation within the complex universe of semeiosis relations.

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The Magnificent Impossibility of Virtual Reality (Owen Kelly)


Owen Kelly

The Magnificent Impossibility of Virtual Reality

Abstract: In this paper I wish to approach the topic of virtual reality using some of the tools bequeathed to us by Charles Sanders Peirce. I wish to ask what we usually mean by the term ‘virtual reality’, and what we might mean by it. I wish to ask whether the term makes sense either as a simple description, a label for something we can experience in some way, or as a more complex sign pointing us toward something not yet revealed.

To make sense of this inquiry I draw upon some aspects of research that I conducted during an eight year experiment in the so-called virtual world Second Life.

I conclude by examining the use of the term ‘virtual reality’ and asking whether we might regard it with some suspicion: as a smokescreen to cover certain other activities, or as a Trojan Horse through which certain social effects might get smuggled rapidly into our lives.

The Philippine Tarsier

I will begin with a simple example that approaches the concept of the phaneron, as defined by Charles Sanders Peirce. This example revolves around the sensory apparatus of the Philippine tarsier and the common mouse.

Philippine tarsiers, one of the tiniest primates known to scientists, use ultrasound for communication and their calls have been documented at upwards of 90 kHz. Human hearing, to remind you, is usually estimated at...

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