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Bildung and Humanity: Semiotico-theoretical considerations. Bildung seminar, Oulu 25.-27.5.2009 Eetu Pikkarainen. Semiotics. Study of meaningful sign structures = How meaning effects are created

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Bildung and Humanity: Semiotico-theoretical considerations

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Bildung and humanity semiotico theoretical considerations

Bildung and Humanity:Semiotico-theoretical considerations

Bildung seminar, Oulu 25.-27.5.2009Eetu Pikkarainen



  • Study of meaningful sign structures = How meaning effects are created

  • Sign structures can be produced intentionally for to create certain meaning effects: messages in communication;or they can be side products of other action or just any parts of environment.



  • Meaning effect = influence to subject’s action

  • Objective “meanings” (causal effect)

  • Subjective meanings: how subject itself affects its own action because of the object/event

  • Intersubjective meanings: a shared or common way to experience meaning effects



  • Interaction between subject and its environment

  • Contains subject’s deeds = events caused by subject (on some object)

  • Requires that subject has competencies (cf. intentionality etc.)

  • Semiotic competence = ability to experience meanings (-> direct ones action in environment)



  • An unordinary (not empirical) property which we must presuppose to a subject when we perceive (and presume) it doing a deed (in action)(cf. disposition)

Action circle s

Action circle(s)

External processes: Environment, objects

Internal processes: competences

Plan, intention


Internal action

External action





  • Bildung = becoming a human being, or part of humanity

  • Extending from bio- and zoosemiotic level to anthroposemiotic level

  • What is humanity?

  • How does this becoming happen?



  • Learning = changing of competences (= internal process)

  • How competences can change?

    • spontaneously (random)

    • by time (biology) = mature, develop

    • in action = learning

  • Learning = changing of subjects competences as a (side) effect of its own action (including its internal action)

Humanity 1

Humanity 1

  • Human being = social, rational and free

  • The internal action -> self-consciousness; independence from external.

  • Special human freedom and rationality is based on intersubjective meanings.

Humanity 2

Humanity 2

  • Bildung : not only changing just competencies of some individual subjects, but changing the whole human community. (Intersubjective meanings!)

  • Humanity itself is “sich bildende(?)”, self transcending



  • Bildung = intransitive process (not action)

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