The implications for education of Peirce’s agapist principle

Alin Olteanu

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In his divisions of science, Peirce placed pedagogy in the branch of practical sciences. This means that the profession of teaching can only be meliorated by experience, through practice. However, I argue that a holistic look at Peirce’s semiotics reveals an implicit philosophy of education. The key lies in understanding his account of experience in the context of his theory of evolution. By experience Peirce meant semiosis (action of signs), not the modern empirical notion of experience. The sign, unlike an idea (purely mental entity) does not belong strictly to mental or non-mental phenomena. Experience is a characteristic of the Universe (CP 5.448), understood as a physiology of arguments (Stjernfelt 2007). According to Peirce’s taxonomy of signs, learning is the evolution of signification from the Icon sign type to the Argument sign type, being the Universe’s way of discovering itself through life forms. The Argument sign type is a result of agapasm, evolution due to creative love (CP 6.302). The paper explains how Peirce’s theory of agapistic evolution underpins an educational paradigm.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number212
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2016

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