Four Functions of Signs in Learning and Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Title: Four Functions of Signs in Learning and Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Format: Chapter
Publication Date: 2010
Publisher Sense Publishers

For SAAP: Developing a theory of signs was Peirce’s goal for about fifty years of his life. There are some indications that he himself perceived his efforts at the end as a failure. This paper argues that a fundamental problem of Peirce’s approach to semiotics is that he did not realize that signs can fulfill a set of very different functions. Depending on these functions, our understanding of what signs are will vary. I will show that there are at least four basic sign functions which I call the “representational,” the “epistemic,” the “volitional,” and the “formal” function. A main point of my argument is that only the epistemic and the formal sign function can be modeled as triadic relations, while-in contrast to Peirce’s most fundamental assumption-the representational and the volitional function can only be fulfilled if four irreducible elements are present simultaneously.

Ivan Allen College Contributors:

series Educational Futures: Rethinking Theory and Practice Volume 43 ISBN 978-94-6091-224-5 hardback USD99/EUR90 ISBN 978-94-6091-223-8 paperback USD49/EUR45 July 2010, 300 pages I Cc-d in Michael Peters and Gary Genosko to express our huge gratitude for their reviews.

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