1st Edition

Semioethics as Existential Dialogue The Gift and Burden of Responsibility

Edited By Susan Petrilli, Susan Mancino Copyright 2025
    304 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection brings together perspectives on the interplay of communication, dialogue and responsibility, exploring communicative acts of disruption towards a social environment attuned to short-sighted individualism. Semioethics highlights the condition of inevitable entanglement with the other at the origin of sociality, which demands a response to the other based on listening and accountability.

    The volume introduces readers to the theoretical foundations of semioethics, an emergent direction within sign and language studies which relies upon a commitment to otherness, non-indifference, and dialogue. Building on the dialogic approaches of Mikhail Bakhtin and Emmanuel Levinas, chapters, grouped into five sections, are all guided by the notion of responsibility towards the other outside do ut des logic and greedy exchange.  This collection highlights the ways in which semioethics considers the ethical implications of the signs that mediate dialogue among persons in the social sphere, public and private, sacred and profane. It presupposes the notion that signs are only meaningful in their relation to other signs and the intersubjectivity among persons in dialogue. Chapters also variously examine how the interplay of semioethics and dialogue underpins public life and the existential gifts that sustain a healthy polis.

    This book will be of interest to scholars in semiotics, dialogue research, communication ethics, and philosophy of communication.




    List of Contributors


    Introduction: The ethical dimension as the I-other intrigue in human semiosis

    Augusto Ponzio, Susan Petrilli and Susan Mancino



    Part I: Alterity, Infunctionality and Semioethics


    1. The right to infunctionality: The foundation of social relations outside the trap of identity

    Susan Petrilli and Augusto Ponzio

    2. Experience, dialogue and ethics: Peircean reflections on dialogical ethics

    Vincent Colapietro

    3. Vico, common sense, communication: Recommendations for a semioethics program

    Frank Nuessel



    Part II: Relation and Communication as Orientation toward the Other


    4. Relational logic and semioethics: A Peircean approach

    Elize Bisanz

    5. The voice as a hero of dialogue: Reading Bakhtin alongside Peirce

    Deborah Eicher-Catt

    6. Codes of conduct: Signs of moral memory as symbols of ethical eloquence

    Richard L. Lanigan

    7. Veneration of semioethical imagination: Wavering between the good and evil of De-sign

    Farouk Y. Seif



    Part III: Gifting, Caring and Semioethics


    8. The gift of the unilateral gift: The epigenetic origins of semioethics

    Genevieve Vaughan

    9. A womanist ethic of care and semioethics: Shared ethical and moral expression

    Annette D. Madlock

    10. Semioethics as an axiology of care for the self-other: A Welbian geneology

    Zoe Hurley



    Part IV: Listening in Dialogic Relation


    11. Dialogues with and about the past: Semioethics of remembering and forgetting

    in a digital age

    Susan Mancino

    12. Semioethical Dimensions in leisure: Deepening Dialogic Capacities

    Annette M. Holba

    13. Semioethic Listening: Engagement in ‘the 15-minute City’

    Ionut Untea

    14. Linguistic Relativity: Semioethics and Climate Change Denialism

    Marcel Danesi



    Part V: Dialogue, Responsibility and Love


    15. Powerful sacred signs: A semioethical approach to the laying on of hands in the sacrament of reconciliation

    Fernando López-Arias and Jordi Pujol


    16. St. Catherine of Siena: Semioethics-responsive communication

    Christina L. McDowell


    17. Pope Francis’s Semioethical ‘Net’ Work: An approach for Dialogical Conversion

    Christopher J. Oldenburg


    Subject and Name Index




    Susan Petrilli is Professor of Philosophy and Theory of Languages at the University of Bari, Aldo Moro, Italy.

    Susan Mancino is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Saint Mary’s University, USA.