AbstractThis paper examines how the Peircean category of Firstness can illuminate pre-cognitive and pre-interpretative aspects of learning. This study can be understood as part of a broader edusemiotic project currently gaining momentum (cf. Semetsky (ed.) 2010, 2017; Stables and Semetsky 2014; Olteanu 2015). I explore various iterations of Peirce’s thought, from his early Lowell Lectures (1866) to what Strand (2013) has called his “rhetorical turn” following the introduction of the concept of semiosis in 1883. My contention is that engagement in arts-based processes is educationally useful in inducing and cultivating reflection on those primary aspects of consciousness that are often neglected by formal educational programs. My aim here is to explore what stimulates engaged absorption and examine how this can be applied to form an “education of inquiry” informed by Peirce’s pragmatism, which places contemplation on this pre-interpretative realm of meaning in a central role. In conclusion, the paper will show how an understanding of Firstness is necessary for understanding Peirce’s aesthetics, and thus his ethics, which depends upon the “habits of feeling” emerging from Firstness. Thus, we can understand how the cultivation of a “pedagogy of Firstness” is foundationally an ethical educational program.
Chinese Semiotic Studies – de Gruyter
Published: Feb 23, 2018
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