Predicating from an early age: Edusemiotics and the potential of children's preconceptions

A Olteanu, M. Kambouri, Andrew Stables

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This paper aims to explain how semiotics and constructivism can collaborate in an educational epistemology by developing a joint approach to prescientific conceptions. Empirical data and findings of constructivist research are interpreted in the light of Peirce’s semiotics. Peirce’s semiotics is an anti-psychologistic logic (CP 2.252; CP 4.551; W 8:15; Pietarinen in Signs of logic, Springer, Dordrecht, 2006; Stjernfelt in Diagrammatology. An investigation on the borderlines of phenomenology, ontology and semiotics, Springer, Dordrecht, 2007) and relational logic. Constructivism was traditionally developed within psychology and sociology and, therefore, some incompatibilities can be expected between these two schools. While acknowledging the differences, we explain that constructivism and semiotics share the assumption of realism that knowledge can only be developed upon knowledge and, therefore, an epistemological collaboration is possible. The semiotic analysis performed confirms the constructivist results and provides a further insight into the teacher-student relation. Like the constructivist approach, Peirce’s doctrine of agapism infers that the personal dimension of teaching must not be ignored. Thus, we argue for the importance of genuine sympathy in teaching attitudes. More broadly, the article also contributes to the development of postmodern humanities. At the end of the modern age, the humanities are passing through a critical period of transformation. There is a growing interest in semiotics and semiotic philosophy in many areas of the humanities. Such a case, on which we draw, is the development of a theoretical semiotic approach to education, namely edusemiotics (Stables and Semetsky, Pedagogy and edusemiotics: theoretical challenge/practical opportunities, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, 2015).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
JournalStudies in Philosophy and Education
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2016

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