The Semiotics of Global Warming: Combating Semiotic Corrruption

Theory and Science 9 (2):1-36 (2007)
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The central focus of this paper is the disjunction between the findings of climate science in revealing the threat of global warming and the failure to act appropriately to these warnings. The development of climate science can be illuminated through the perspective provided by Peircian semiotics, but efforts to account for its success as a science and its failure to convince people to act accordingly indicate the need to supplement Peirce’s ideas. The more significant gaps, it is argued, call for the integration of major new ideas. It will be argued that Peirce should be viewed as a Schellingian philosopher, and it will then be shown how this facilitates integration into his philosophy of concepts developed by other philosophers and theorists within this tradition. In particular, Bourdieu’s concepts of the ‘habitus’ and ‘field’ will be integrated with Peirce’s semiotics and used to analyse the achievements and failures of climate science. It will be suggested that the resulting synthesis can augment Peirce’s evolutionary cosmology and so provide a better basis for comprehending and responding to the situation within which we find ourselves.
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