Semiotic as a logic of action



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Communication and Cultural Studies


This dissertation has three aims:

An intellectual biography of Charles Peirce An explication of his semiotic concepts An introduction to projects that apply these concepts

These aims, it is argued, are interdependent. They also involve a number of distinctive sub-themes, including: the centrality of indices in Peirce's early and mature sign classifications (Chapters 1,2); an opposition of semiotics with philosophy of mind (2); ethical inquiry about social relativism (3); the influence of evolutionary discourse (3); the influence of mathematics in the development of iconicity (4,5); Thirdness as social discourse (8), with educational (5), jurisprudential and theological (8) implications; reference to the contemporary writings of Kevelson and Deleuze in extending Peirce's seminal work on communication media and jurisprudence (6,7,9,20); the literary form of metaphysics and Peirce's writing generally (Afterword).

While these themes might be studied separately, this thesis will argue that they are interdependent, each qualifying the others and all essential to understanding overall coherence, development and resolution of the work of Peirce. A general understanding of Peirce's semiotic, as being pragmatic, as being a discourse on action and inquiry about human behaviour, will be argued, along with specific attention to corporeal, indicative, mediated, moral and social dimensions of sign-acts.

This thesis is unavailable until Saturday, December 31, 2050