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Title: Communication and Consciousness in the Pragmatist Critique of Representation: W. James and C. S. Peirce
Authors: Pires, Edmundo Balsemão 
Keywords: Representation; Semiotics; Consciousness; Communication; William James; Charles Sanders Peirce
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Associazione Pragma
Serial title, monograph or event: European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy
Volume: III
Issue: 1
Place of publication or event: Roma - Italy
Abstract: The pragmatist turn in Philosophy in the late XIX century and XX century was a serious attempt to refuse the privilege of the representational elements of the consciousness in the production of knowledge. Such privilege has its roots in Ancient Philosophy, in some consequences of the Platonic heritage, but was toughened by Modern philosophers of empiricist or aprioristic lineages within the modern concepts of Experience and Truth. With these last concepts of Experience and Truth I’m referring to the objectivising tendency that leads to identify experience with the final object resulting from the judicative fixation of relations. Due to the fixation of some basic relations the object of experience was identified and conceived with such and such characteristics as something independent of the mental or judicative activity. Such method of fixation and objectivising of relations is also present in the common-sense ideas of Reality, Experience and Truth. In the field of the theory of signs the reputation of the modern concept of representation was so vast that despite the progress in the discovery of the differential character of the linguistic units, Saussure’s well-known notion of sign and the division between “signifiant” and “signifié” still kept the reference to the double across the body / mind polarity and to the “mental image” of the sign, Vorstellung, concept or “signifié”, as the core of meaning. If Peirce and James agree in the refusal of the classical theory of representation, their rejection came from different horizons and their critiques don’t mean the same. I’ll try to show that James’s and Peirce’s attempts are not disjunctive, although they are not members of a simple addition. In the writings of the Tartu School and in T. Sebeok’s reassessment to Peircean semeiosis one finds interesting tools to reconsider the relation to the World of the “field of consciousness” and semeiosic cycles, beyond representationalism, such as the concepts of environment and primary, secondary and tertiary modelling systems. Starting with these insights I’ll propose at the end of the essay the notion of a double environment between psychic systems and systems based on communication.
ISSN: 2036-4091
DOI: 10.4000/ejpap.864
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FLUC Secção de Filosofia - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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