Charles Sanders Peirce (1839 – 1914)*, Kaja Silverman (b.16.9.47)

*(Wikipedia): “American philosopher, logician, mathematician, and scientist who is sometimes known as “the father of pragmatism”. Peirce considered himself, first and foremost, a logician. He made major contributions to logic, a subject that, for him, encompassed much of what is now called epistemology and the philosophy of science. He saw logic as the formal branch of semiotics, of which he is a founder, which foreshadowed the debate among logical positivists and proponents of philosophy of language that dominated 20th-century Western philosophy. Additionally, he defined the concept of abductive reasoning, as well as rigorously formulated mathematical induction and deductive reasoning. As early as 1886, he saw that logical operations could be carried out by electrical switching circuits. The same idea was used decades later to produce digital computers.”

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

“Peirce’s Sign Theory, or Semiotic, is an account of signification, representation, reference and meaning. Although sign theories have a long history, Peirce’s accounts are distinctive and innovative for their breadth and complexity, and for capturing the importance of interpretation to signification. For Peirce, developing a thoroughgoing theory of signs was a central philosophical and intellectual preoccupation. The importance of semiotic for Peirce is wide ranging. As he himself said, “[…] it has never been in my power to study anything,—mathematics, ethics, metaphysics, gravitation, thermodynamics, optics, chemistry, comparative anatomy, astronomy, psychology, phonetics, economics, the history of science, whist, men and women, wine, metrology, except as a study of semiotic” (SS 1977, 85–6). Peirce also treated sign theory as central to his work on logic, as the medium for inquiry and the process of scientific discovery, and even as one possible means for ‘proving’ his pragmatism. Its importance in Peirce’s philosophy, then, cannot be overestimated.

Across the course of his intellectual life, Peirce continually returned to and developed his ideas about signs and semiotic and there are three broadly delineable accounts: a concise Early Account from the 1860s; a complete and relatively neat Interim Account developed through the 1880s and 1890s and presented in 1903; and his speculative, rambling, and incomplete Final Account developed between 1906 and 1910. The following entry examines these three accounts, and traces the changes that led Peirce to develop earlier accounts and generate new, more complex, sign theories. However, despite these changes, Peirce’s ideas on the basic structure of signs and signification remain largely uniform throughout his developments. Consequently, it is useful to begin with an account of the basic structure of signs according to Peirce…”

Poetics of the Flesh: An Interview with Kaja Silverman 

Janell Watsonthe minnesota review (2011) 2011 (76)

“Kaja Silverman’s body of work spans the disciplines of English, film studies, semiotics, psychoanalytic criticism, feminist theory, masculinity studies, and art history. In this interview, Silverman discusses her career as an interdisciplinarian, beginning with the days when interdisciplinarity was not yet trendy and continuing with her nineteen years in the rhetoric department at the University of California at Berkeley. She describes the evolution of her relationship to Freud’s thought, her ongoing commitment to feminism, her more recent engagement with Heidegger, and the place of painting, photography, and poetry in her work. Other figures discussed include John Donne, James Coleman, Gerhard Richter, and Hannah Arendt. The interview culminates with some thoughts on the concepts of flesh and of analogy, the topic of the book she is currently writing.”

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