1st Edition

Victoria Welby and the Science of Signs Significs, Semiotics, Philosophy of Language

By Susan Petrilli Copyright 2015

    Victoria Welby (1837–1912) dedicated her research to the relationship between signs and values. She exchanged ideas with important exponents of the language and sign sciences, such as Charles S. Peirce and Charles S. Ogden. She examined themes she believed crucially important both in the use of signs and in reflection on signs. But Welby's research can also be understood in ideal dialogue with authors she could never have met in real life, such as Mikhail Bakhtin, Susanne Langer, and Genevieve Vaughan.

    Welby contends that signifying cannot be constrained to any one system, type of sign, language, field of discourse, or area of experience. On the contrary, it is ever more developed, enhanced, and rigorous, the more it develops across different fields, disciplines, and areas of experience. For example, to understand meaning, Welby evidences the advantage of translating it into another word even from the same language or resorting to metaphor to express what would otherwise be difficult to conceive.

    Welby aims for full awareness of the expressive potential of signifying resources. Her reflections make an important contribution to problems connected with communication, expression, interpretation, translation, and creativity.

    Foreword, by Frank Nuessel
    Introduction: Prefigurations and Developments in the
    Study of Signs

    Part I On Signs in the Direction of Significs
    1 Significs: A New Approach to Signs and Language

    1.1 The Scope of Significs, or "Semioethics"
    1.2 Problems of Language and Terminology
    1.3 Significs and Theory of Meaning
    1.4 Iconicity and Translative Processes in Language and Knowledge
    1.5 Geosemiosis, Heliosemiosis, Cosmosemiosis
    1.6 Mother-Sense, Love, and Subjectivity
    1.7 Interpretative Itineraries in the Relation between Religion, Philosophy, and Science

    2 Understanding and Misunderstanding
    2.1 Significs as the Critique of Bad Linguistic Usage
    2.2 Ambiguity of the Live Word and Sclerosis of Definition
    2.3 For a Significal Education
    2.4 Common Sense and Common Speech in Welby and Peirce
    2.5 Semantic Vagueness and Logical Abstraction

    3 Life Sciences and Human Sciences in Dialogue
    3.1 The Transdisciplinary Vocation of Significs
    3.2 The Problem of Sense, an Evolutionary Perspective
    3.3 A New Copernican Revolution74
    3.4 The Development of Signifying Processes
    3.5 Similarity and the Figurative Nature of Meaning

    4 The Question of Translation
    4.1 Translation as Method
    4.2 Significance in Interpretative-Translative Processes
    4.3 Translation Theories: Welby, Peirce, Bakhtin, Wittgenstein111
    4.4 Translatability and Common Meaning
    4.5 Centrality of Translation in Sign Processes and Evolutionary Development

    Part II Among Masters of the Sign

    5 Victoria Welby and Charles S. Peirce: Significs, Semiotics, Semioethics
    5.1 The Welby Network
    5.2 From "Code Semiotics" to "Interpretation Semiotics"
    5.3 Sense, Meaning, and Significance
    5.4 Interpretation, Translation, and Value
    5.5 Significs, Semantics, Semiotics

    6 Victoria Welby and Giovanni Vailati: The Critique of Language
    6.1 An Intellectual Alliance
    6.2 Linguistic Ambiguity and Definition
    6.3 Figurative Speech, Analogy, and Communication

    7 Victoria Welby and Charles K. Ogden: What Does Meaning Mean?
    7.1 Welby, Ogden, and Others: A Communication Network
    7.2 The Correspondence between Victoria Welby and Charles K. Ogden
    7.3 Significs and "The Meaning of Meaning"
    7.4 Meaning, Referent, and Linguistic Production
    7.5 A Biobibliographical Study on Ogden

    8 Victoria Welby, Mary Everest Boole, and Susanne K. Langer: Humanizing Signs
    8.1 Victoria Welby and the Logic of Mother Sense
    8.2 Mary Everest Boole in Correspondence with Welby
    8.3 Susanne K. Langer on Signs, Symbols, and Significance

    9 Victoria Welby and Mikhail Bakhtin: The Vitality of Meaning
    9.1 Intellectual Biographies: Difference and Encounter
    9.2 Language and Culture
    9.3 Identity and Otherness
    9.4 Ideology, Language, Consciousness
    9.5 Sign Theory in Welby, Peirce, Bakhtin

    10 Victoria Welby and Genevieve Vaughan: Gift-Giving and Communication
    10.1 Gift-Giving, Significs, Semioethics
    10.2 For the Quality of Life in the World of Global Communication
    10.3 Sensitivity to Otherness with Global Semiotics and Semioethics
    10.4 The Gift from a Semioethical Perspective
    10.5 To "Pull the Mother Back into Philosophy"
    10.6 Significs: Following

    Name and Subject Index


    Susan Petrilli