Title

Signing in the Flesh: Notes on Pragmatist Hermeneutics

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-2007

Publication Title

Sociological Theory

Publisher Location

Washington, D.C.

Volume

25

Issue

3

First page number:

193

Last page number:

224

Abstract

This article offers an alternative to classical hermeneutics, which focuses on discursive products and grasps meaning as the play of difference between linguistic signs. Pragmatist hermeneutics reconstructs meaning through an indefinite triangulation, which brings symbols, icons, and indices to bear on each other and considers a meaningful occasion as an embodied semiotic process. To illuminate the word-body-action nexus, the discussion identifies three basic types of signifying media: (1) the symbolic discursive, (2) the somatic-affective, and (3) the behavioral-performative, each one marked by a special relationship between signs and their objects. An argument is made that the tension between various type-signifying media is unavoidable, that the pragmatic-discursive misalignment is an ontological condition, and that bridging the gap between our discursive, affective, and behavioral outputs is at the heart of ethical life.

Keywords

Ethics; Hermeneutics; Pragmatics; Semiotics

Disciplines

Semantics and Pragmatics | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology | Sociology of Culture

Language

English

Permissions

Use Find in Your Library, contact the author, or use interlibrary loan to garner a copy of the article. Publisher copyright policy allows author to archive post-print (author’s final manuscript). When post-print is available or publisher policy changes, the article will be deposited.

Identifier

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9558.2007.00305.x

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