The purpose of this study is to determine whether there is any unified theory of mental phenomena in the writings of Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914). Our thesis is that we find in Peirce's semiotic approach to human consciousness a remarkably unified perspective. In order to understand Peirce's reflections on the nature of mind, it is necessary first to situate them in the larger context of his philosophical system. Thus, in the first chapter, we present an overview of his system of thought. In the second chapter, we examine Peirce's concept of sign-activity or what he called semiosis, since this constitutes for him the perspective from which all manifestations of mind must be interpreted. In order to be in a position to grasp Peirce's semiotic approach to mind, it is essential to have a basic understanding of his concept of semiosis. In the third chapter, we consider the way in which Peirce's critique of intuitionism cleared the way for his semiotic interpretation of mental phenomena. In the fourth chapter, we examine the particulars of Peirce's attempt to interpret the various modifications of human consciousness (e.g., sensation, emotion, and volition) as instances of semiosis or sign-activity. This semiotic interpretation of mental phenomena is found in Peirce's early writings. But, as a result of later refinements and developments in his understanding of semiosis, Peirce's theory of mind undergoes corresponding refinements and developments. In the fifth and final chapter, we examine Peirce's mature formulation of his semiotic theory, a formulation which gives a prominent place to both habits and self-control.

Recommended Citation

COLAPIETRO, VINCENT MICHAEL, "PEIRCE'S SEMIOTIC APPROACH TO MIND" (1983). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI8409277.