Bibliography: Semiotics in the 21st Century (John Deely)


Semiotics = metasemiosis = knowledge of the action of signs

John Deely examines the role of Thomas Aquinas (1224/5-1274) in the growth of semiotic consciousness among the Latins, as Charles Sanders Peirce will take up the matter in influencing the twentieth-century establishment of semiotics as a global intellectual movement. Although Aquinas never focused on the subject of signs for its own sake, he frequently treats of it in relation to other direct investigations in a great variety of contexts. The result of his treatments is to have left a series of texts which, though not without their inner tensions, contain a series of consequences and connections which can be developed into a unified theory of the being constitutive of signs as a general mode. Precisely this theory was spelled out systematically for the first time in the 1632 Treatise on Signs of John Poinsot, expressly grounded in a pulling together of Aquinas's various texts together with a careful analysis of the role of signs in human experience. The resulting doctrinal perspective proves to have been implicit in Aquinas and to lie at the foundation of Peirce's notion of signs as triadic relations, a notion he took over from the later Latins and developed anew, particularly in shifting the focus from the being to the action proper to signs, or 'semiosis'. It is this appropriation and shift that marks the boundary between modernity and postmodernism in philosophy, with respect to which the writings of Aquinas are like a taproot.

2012a. Marcel Danesi and John Deely (eds.), Semiotic Prologues (Ottawa: Legas).
semiotic prologues
2012. John Deely, How Science Enriches Theology (South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's Press).
How Science Enriches Theology
2011. "Thomas A. Sebeok and the semiotics of the 21st century", in Paul Cobley, John Deely, Kalevi Kull, Susan Petrilli (eds.), Semiotics Continues to Astonish: Thomas A. Sebeok and the Doctrine of Signs (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter), 123–160. See also, "Tom Sebeok, the man who loved time", 431–433.
[Book review by Jamin Pelkey in Linguist List 23.733 (Feb 13, 2012).]
Semiotics Continues to Astonish
2010. Medieval Philosophy Redefined (Scranton: University of Scranton Press).
Medieval Philosophy Redefined
2010a. The Semiotic Animal: A Postmodern Definition of "Human Being" Transcending Patriarchy and Feminism (St. Augustine's Press).
Semiotic Animal
2010b. "Realism and Epistemology", in Paul Cobley (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Semiotics (Routledge). The Routledge Companion to Semiotics
2010c. Semiotics Seen Synchronically: The View from 2010 (Ottawa: Legas).
[Buy the book]
2010d. "Theses on Semiology and Semiotics" (in consultation with Jeff Bernard), American Journal of Semiotics 26.1–4 (2010): 17-25. [View journal]
2010e. Funeral address: "Jeff Bernard (12 Sep 1943-2010 Feb 24): First Meeting and After", American Journal of Semiotics 26.1–4 (2010): xi-xiii. [View journal]
2009. Augustine and Poinsot: The Protosemiotic Development. Volume 1 in the "Postmodernity in Philosophy" Poinsot Trilogy: Determining the Standpoint for a Doctrine of Signs (Scranton: University of Scranton Press).
      and Poinsot
2009a. Purely Objective Reality (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter). [Read PDF Version Online] [Promotional Copy] See also Purely Objective Reality (New Bulgarian University 2005 Seminar Publication; Sofia, Bulgaria: New Bulgarian University). Purely Objective Reality
2009b. Basics of Semiotics. Fifth Edition (Tartu: Tartu University Press, 2009). Fifth edition now includes "The Full Vista of the Action of Signs", as Ch. 12, at 233-275. [View Table of Contents for the Fifth Edition (PDF)] Fourth edition appeared in Bulgarian translation (Sofia: New Bulgarian University, 2005) and in the bilingual Estonian edition (Tartu: Tartu University Press, 2005), in which chapters from eight to eleven are new, and the first but especially the third and fourth chapters contain important additions. Third edition was in Italian translation (Bari: Laterza, 2005). Expanded second edition was in Spanish (Mexico City, Mexico: Universidad Iberoamericana, 1996). Basics of Semiotics, Fifth Edition 2009
2009c. Paul Cobley (ed.), Realism for the 21st Century: A John Deely Reader (University of Scranton Press). Realism for the 21st Century
2009d. "In the Twilight of Neothomism, a Call for a New Beginning—A Return in Philosophy to the Idea of Progress by Deepening Insight Rather than by Substitution: A Review of The Way toward Wisdom", American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 83.2 (Spring 2009): 267-278. [View PDF]
2009e. "Pars Pro Toto from Culture to Nature: An Overview of Semiotics as a Postmodern Development, with an Anticipation of Developments to Come", American Journal of Semiotics 25.1–2 (2009): 167-192. [View journal]
2009f. "Words, Thoughts, Things: Aristotle's Triangle and the Triadic Sign", Prologue to John Deely and Leonard G. Sbrocchi (eds.), Semiotics 2008 (Ottawa: Legas, 2009), li-xc. [Buy the book]
2009g. "Semiotics and Academe: At the Heart of the Problem of Knowledge", in John Deely and Leonard G. Sbrocchi (eds.), Semiotics 2008 (Ottawa: Legas, 2009), 476-493. [Buy the book]
2009h. "In Her Own Voice", Preface to Susan Petrilli, Sign Crossroads in Global Perspective (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers). Sign Crossroads 
      in Global Perspective
2008. Descartes & Poinsot: The Crossroad of Signs and Ideas. Volume 2 in the "Postmodernity in Philosophy" Poinsot Trilogy: Contrasting the Way of Signs to the Way of Ideas, Semiotics to Epistemology (Scranton: University of Scranton Press). Descartes and Poinsot
2008a. "From Semiosis to Semioethics: The Full Vista of the Action of Signs", Sign System Studies 36.2 (2008), 437-491. [View ToC]
2008b. "How to go nowhere with language", essay review of John O'Callaghan, Thomist Realism and the Linguistic Turn (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003), American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 82.2 (Spring 2008), 337-359.  
2008c. "On the Value of Poinsot's Work to Philosophy Today", Introductory Remarks to the critical edition reprint of Poinsot's Cursus Philosophicus ed. B. Reiser "II reimpresso emendata" 1948 (original edition Spain, 1631-1635; Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 2008), Vol. 1, pp. v-xiv. [Download PDF]
2008d. "Evolution, semiosis and ethics: rethinking the context of natural law", in Contemporary perspectives on natural law. Edited by Ana Marta González (Aldershot, England: Ashgate), 241-257.  
2008e. "Clearing the Mists of a Terminological Mythology Concerning Peirce", at (October 4, 2008). [Download PDF]
2008f. "Introduction" to the 2008 Hildesheim reprint of Joannes a Sancto Thoma, Cursus Philosophicus Thomisticus, v-xiv. [Download PDF]
2008g. "The Quo/Quod Fallacy in the Discussion of Realism (Part Two)", Człowiek w Kulturze 20 (2008): 289-316. Note: Part One in Człowiek w Kulturze 19 (2007): 389-425. [Download PDF]
2007. Intentionality and Semiotics: A Story of Mutual Fecundation (Scranton: University of Scranton Press). Intentionality and Semiotics
2007a. "The Primary Modeling System in Animals", in La filosofia del linguaggio come arte dell'ascolto: sulla ricerca scientifica di Augusto Ponzio / Philosophy of language as the art of listening: on Augusto Ponzio's scientific research. Edited by Susan Petrilli. (Bari: Edizione dal Sud, 2007), 161-179. [Download PDF]
2007b. "The Quo/Quod Fallacy in the Discussion of Realism (Part One)", Człowiek w Kulturze 19 (2007): 389-425. Note: Part Two in Człowiek w Kulturze 20 (2008): 289-316. [Download PDF]
2006. "On 'Semiotics' as Naming the Doctrine of Signs", Semiotica 158.1/4 (2006), 1-33.  
2006a. "The literal, the metaphorical, and the price of semiotics: an essay on philosophy of language and the doctrine of signs," Semiotica 161.1/4 (2006), 9-74.  
2006b. "Semiotics, History of", Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Second Edition. Edited by Brown Keith (London: Elsevier), 216-229.  
2006c. "Let us not lose sight of the forest for the trees...", Cybernetics & Human Knowing 13.3-4 (2006), 161-193. A commentary response to the Frederik Stjernfelt review of Deely 2001 in Cybernetics & Human Knowing 13.1 (2006), 86-103.  
2006d. "'To find our way in these dark woods' versus coming up short", Recherche Sémiotique / Semiotic Inquiry 26.2-3 (2006), 165-234.  
2005. "Defining the Semiotic Animal: A postmodern definition superseding the modern definition 'res cogitans'," American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 79.3 (Summer 2005), 461-481. An abbreviated version (with the help of Philipp W. Rosemann) of "Defining the Semiotic Animal. How the postmodern understanding of human being supersedes the modern definition 'res cogitans'", which was printed as Ch. 8 in The Semiotic Animal (Ottawa: Legas Publishing, 2005), 145-186. For the most complete version see Defining the Semiotic Animal: A Postmodern Definition of "Human Being" (Sofia, Bulgaria: New Bulgarian University 2005 Seminar Series Publication, Southeast European Center for Semiotic Studies), available in the United States only in the Graduate Philosophy Library of the University of St. Thomas, Houston. The Semiotic Animal
2005a. "The Thomistic Import of the Neo-Kantian Concept of Umwelt in Jakob von Uexküll", Angelicum 81.4 (2005): 711-732. Originally presented as a colloquium at the Center for Thomistic Studies of the University of St. Thomas, Houston, 19 February 2004.  
2005b. Thomas Albert Sebeok and Semiotics (New Bulgarian University 2005 Seminar Publication; Sofia, Bulgaria: New Bulgarian University). A small book dedicated to the late Thomas Sebeok. Following a brief introduction, the book contains two parts: a brief introduction into the development of semiotics, and a biography of Sebeok detailing his role in 20th century semiotics.  
2004. Why Semiotics? (Ottawa: Legas Publishing). A modestly expanded book version of Deely 2003a, with bilingual Appendices presenting the seminal texts from Locke, Saussure, and Poinsot on what constitutes the standpoint of semiotic. This work traces the emergence into English-language dictionaries of the terms semiology and semiotics together with their variants. Why Semiotics?
2004a. "The Semiosis of Angels", The Thomist 68.2 (2004), 205-258. [View HTML]
2004b. "The Role of Thomas Aquinas in the Development of Semiotic Consciousness," Semiotica 152-1/4 (2004), 75-139. [View abstract]
2004c. "'σημεῖον' to 'Sign' by Way of 'Signum': On the Interplay of Translation and Interpretation in the Establishment of Semiotics," Semiotica 148-1/4 (2004), 187-227. [Download PDF]
2004d. "Semiotics and Jakob von Uexküll’s concept of umwelt", Sign System Studies 32.1/2 (2004), 11-34. Lecture given at the opening of the Jakob von Uexküll-Archiv, University of Hamburg 10 January 2004. [Download PDF]
2004e. "Thomas Albert Sebeok, "Biologist Manqué", International Association for Semiotic Studies 2004 World Congress, Lyon. (Sebeok Memorial Essay) [View HTML]
2004f. "Tom Sebeok and the external world", Semiotica 150-1/4 (2004), 1-21. [Download PDF]
2004g. "Dramatic Reading in Three Voices: 'A Sign is What?'", American Journal of Semiotics 20.1-4 (2004), 1-66. Spiral on p. 10. [Download PDF]
2004h. "Why the Semiotic Animal Needs to Develop a Semioethics", Presented on Sunday, July 11, at the 8th IASS Congress, Lyon, France, 7-12 July 2004. Printed as Ch. 10 in Deely, Petrilli, Ponzio 2005: 207-221. [Download PDF]
2003. The Impact on Philosophy of Semiotics: : The Quasi-Error of the External World with a Dialogue between a ‘Semiotist’ and a ‘Realist’ (South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's Press). [Part II = Deely 2003c; Part III = Deely 2001b.] The Impact on Philosophy of Semiotics
2003a. "The word 'semiotics': Formation and origins", Semiotica 146-1/4 (2003), 1-49. Winner of 23rd Mouton D'Or Award for best essay in the field published in the calendar year.  
2003b. "Semiotics of Community", in Encyclopedia of Community, From Village to the Virtual World, ed. Karen Christensen and Daniel Levinson (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc.), 1219-1223. [View book page]
2003c. "The Quasi-Error of the External World: An Essay for Thomas A. Sebeok, In Memoriam," Cybernetics & Human Knowing 10.1 (2003), 25-46. Preprinted in Semiotics 2001, 477-509; reprinted in Deely 2003: 117-154.  
2003d. "The Semiotic Animal" (humanist version), presented in the Monday, 22 September 2003, "Metaphysical Sessions", of the International Congress "Christian Humanism in the Third Millennium", Rome, 21-25 September 2003; web version posted on Congress site: "The Semiotic Animal: A Postmodern Definition of Human Being Superseding the Modern Definition res cogitans," in Pontificia Academia Sancti Thomae Aquinatis and Societa Internazionale Tommaso d'Aquino / Proceedings of the International Congress on Christian Humanism in the Third Millenium: The Perspective of Thomas Aquinas (Vatican City: Pontificia Academia Sancti Thomae Aquinatis), 261-274. [Download PDF]
2003e. "From semiotic animal to semioethic animal and back", in Macht der Zeichen, Zeichen de Macht / Signs of Power, Power of Signs. Edited by Withalm Gloria and Wallmannsberger Josef. (Wien: Lit. Verlag 2004), 120-136. Printed as Ch. 9 in Deely, Petrilli, Ponzio 2005: 187-205.  
2003f. "The semiotic foundations of the human sciences from Augustine to Peirce", Recherche Sémiotique / Semiotic Inquiry 23 (2003), 3-29.  
2003g. "The Semiotic Animal" (first systematic draft; long version), in Logica, dialogica, ideologica. I segni tra funzionalità ed eccedenza. Edited by Susan Petrilli and Patrizia Calefato (Milano: Mimesis), 201-219; also in The Second Renaissance (Milan: Spirali).  
2003h. "The Semiotic Animal" (definitional version), in Semiotics 2003. Edited by Rodney Williamson, Leonard Sbrocchi, and John Deely (Ottawa: Legas Publishing). [Legas Publishing]
2002. What Distinguishes Human Understanding? South Bend: St. Augustine's Press. ISBN 1890318973 [View blurb]. What Distinguishes Human Understanding?
2002a. "The Absence of Analogy", Review of Metaphysics 55 (March 2002), 521-550. [View item]
2002b. "Response to the Speakers" (43-51) and "Afterword" (67-74), in "Getting the Postmodern Perspective: a Symposium on Philosophy Today", American Journal of Semiotics 21.1-4 (2005), 1-74. This symposium is the transcription of a Special Session held 2 November 2002 in the framework of the 76th Annual Meeting of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.  
2002c. From semeion to 'signum' to 'sign': translating sign from Greek to Latin to English", in Essays in translation, pragmatics, and semiotics (Helsinki: Helsinki University Press), 129-172.  
2002d. "Why intersubjectivity is not enough", Presented Sunday, September 8, to the New Bulgarian Southeast European Center for Semiotic Studies 8th International Early Fall School of Semiotics 5-10 September 2002. Printed as Ch. 11 in Deely, Petrilli, Ponzio 2005: 223-242.  


Four Ages of Understanding: The First Postmodern Survey of Philosophy from Ancient Times to the Turn of the Twenty-First Century. Toronto: University of Toronto. ISBN 0802047351
2001a. "Physiosemiosis in the Semiotic Spiral: A Play of Musement", Sign System Studies 29.1 (2001), 27-48. [View ToC]
2001b. "A Sign is What? A dialogue between a semiotician and a would-be realist", Sign System Studies 29.2, 705-743. Presidential Address to the Semiotic Society of America delivered at October 19, 2001, luncheon of 26th Annual Meeting held at Victoria University, Toronto. Reprinted as "Dialogue between a 'semiotist' and a 'realist'" in Deely 2003: 157-208. [Download PDF]
2001c. "A New Determination of the Middle Ages", Foreward to John P. Doyle, ed, and trans., The Conimbricenses: Some Questions on Signs (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press). [Buy the book]
2001d. "John Locke (1632-1704)", entry in Cobley ed., Routledge Critical Dictionary of Semiotics and Linguistics (London: Routledge), 217-218.  
2001e. "Umwelt", Semiotica 134.1-4 (2001), 125-135.

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See also: The Physiosemiosis Bibliography


Deely downloads:

[The Red Book (PDF): cf. Chapter 15 of Deely 2001]

[The Green Book (PDF): cf. Part I of Deely 2003: 3-113]

Click here for more John Deely bibliography (from the 20th Century)

Basics of Semiotics, Fifth Edition 2009 Basics of Semiotics
Expanded Fifth Edition, bilingual Estonian/English edition (Tartu: Tartu University Press, 2009).

Kull, K.; Salupere, S.; Torop, P., "Semiotics has no beginning", in Basics of Semiotics (Tartu: Tartu University Press, 2005), ix-xxv.


Read more here: Charles S. Peirce