Educating Semiosis: Foundational Concepts for an Ecological Edusemiotic

  • Cary CampbellEmail author


Many edusemiotic writers have begun to closely align edusemitoics to biosemiotics; the basic logic being that, if the life process can be defined through the criterion of semiotic engagement, so can the learning process (Stables in J Curr Stud 38(4):373–387, 2006). Thus, the ecological concept of umwelt has come to be a central area of investigation for edusemiotics; allowing theorists to address learning and living concurrently, from the perspective of meaning and significance. To address the conceptual and experiential foundations of the edusemiotic perspective, this paper will focus its attention on the basic semiosic processes that sustain the learner’s primary modelling system or umwelt—the world of meaning and sensory engagement that the organism is immersed in. This focus enables us to identify and explore four basic principles that an ecologically concerned edusemiotic perspective can be said to rest upon; the Iconicity Hypothesis, the Principle of Suprasubjective Relation, the Natural Learning Flow Principle, and the Continuity Principle. The identification and elaboration of these basic philosophical orientations will help establish the importance and relevance of the edusemiotic perspective for educational philosophy and theory in general. This task requires the methodological framework of Sebeok and Danesi’s (The forms of meaning: modeling systems theory and semiotic analysis, vol 1, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 2000) Modelling Systems Theory (MST), which; (a) provides a biosemiotically grounded approach to understanding the diversity of modelling phenomena across all species, and; (b) contextualizes the specific focus of this study within the broader forms of learning and knowing encompassed by a semiotic theory of learning. Hopefully such attention to the foundational doctrina of this new perspective will encourage more educational research to take what Semetsky (J Philos Educ 48:490–506, 2014) has called the edusemiotic turn.


Edusemitoics Umwelt Semiotics Primary iconism Indexicality Modeling CS. Peirce Umberto Eco Sebeok Danesi 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityVancouverCanada

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