Semiotic Theory of Learning : New Perspectives in the Philosophy of Education book cover
1st Edition

Semiotic Theory of Learning
New Perspectives in the Philosophy of Education

ISBN 9780367487805
Published February 25, 2020 by Routledge
242 Pages

USD $49.95

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Book Description

Semiotic Theory of Learning asks what learning is and what brings it about, challenging the hegemony of psychological and sociological constructions of learning in order to develop a burgeoning literature in semiotics as an educational foundation.  Drawing on theoretical research and its application in empirical studies, the book attempts to avoid the problematization of the distinction between theory and practice in semiotics. It covers topics such as signs, significance and semiosis; the ontology of learning; the limits of learning; ecosemiotics; ecology and sexuality.

The book is written by five of the key figures in the semiotics field, each committed to the belief that living is a process of interaction through acts of signification with a signifying environment. While the authors are agreed on the value of semiotic frameworks, the book aims not to present an entirely coherent line in every respect, but rather to reflect ongoing scholarship and debates in the area. In light of this, the book offers a range of possible interpretations of major semiotic theorists, unsettling assumptions while offering a fresh, and still developing, series of perspectives on learning from academics grounded in semiotics.

Semiotic Theory of Learning is a timely and valuable text that will be of great interest to academics, researchers and postgraduates working in the fields of educational studies, semiotics, psychology, philosophy, applied linguistics and media studies.

Table of Contents


Andrew Stables, Winfried Nöth, Alin Olteanu, Sebastien Pesce and Eetu Pikkarainen

Section 1: Andrew Stables

  1. The Limits of Learning
  2. Andrew Stables

  3. The Semiotic Encounter
  4. Andrew Stables

  5. Semiosis, Education and Society: Affecting Encounters
  6. Andrew Stables

    Section 2: Winfried Nöth

  7. Education in the Domain of Thirdness
  8. Winfried Nöth

  9. Education in the Domain of Secondness
  10. Winfried Nöth

  11. Education in the Domain of Firstness
  12. Winfried Nöth

    Section 3: Alin Olteanu

  13. Ecosemiotics as a Theory of Learning
  14. Alin Olteanu

  15. Ecology, Love and Learning
  16. Alin Olteanu

  17. Sexuality as a Case of Ecological Learning
  18. Alin Olteanu

    Section 4: Sebastien Pesce

  19. From Comprehensive Research to Semiotic Approaches to Education: A Subjective Genealogy of Educational Semiotics
  20. Sebastien Pesce

  21. Signs, Significance and Semioses in the classroom: Multimodality, Narrativity, Dialogism and Rhetoric as Cornerstones of a Fully Semiotic Perspective on Teaching and Learning
  22. Sebastien Pesce

  23. Training Semiotically Wise Teachers: Rhetoric of Inquiry, Epistemology of Action and Habit Change
  24. Sebastien Pesce

    Section 5: Eetu Pikkarainen

  25. Learning and Semiotic Theory
  26. Eetu Pikkarainen

  27. Ontology of Learning (and Semiotics)
  28. Eetu Pikkarainen

  29. Human Learning: Education and Bildung

Eetu Pikkarainen

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Andrew Stables is Professor Emeritus in Education and Philosophy at Roehampton University, London and a Senior Researcher at the International Semiotics Institute, Kaunas Technological University, Lithuania.

Winfried Nöth is currently based at the University of Kassel in Germany.

Alin Olteanu is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania.

Eetu Pikkarainen is currently a Lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Open University of University of Oulu, Finland.

Sébastien Pesce is Assistant Professor of Educational Studies at the University of Tours, France.


"An increasingly important and complex concept in society, "learning" is raising new questions and challenges within research. As partial as I may be, here, I feel that semiotics is properly equipped to crack at least a few answers – which, alone, is a good reason to engage into the reading of this monograph. But there is more. The five authors reflect the current landscape of edusemiotics in diverse yet complementary ways, producing a "pentagon" of approaches that is convincing in terms of competence, originality and argumentation. An excellent piece of work!"

Prof. Dr. Dario Martinelli, Director of the International Semiotics Institute.

"[In this review] we do hope to convey at least a sense of the multiform, complex, and insightful nature of this multivoiced editorial enterprise. Each of the five authors investigates different aspects of learning and education, at times even differing in their interpretation of major semiotic perspectives, but complementing each other and reflecting the live nature of current debate in this domain, united in their common quest for a semiotic grounding of learning and education, without hesitating to challenge traditional approaches from other disciplines such as psychology and sociology, when deemed necessary."

Susan Petrilli, 'Learning and education in the global sign network', Semiotica 2020; 234: 317-420.