Publication 413

Cobley P. (2011) Observership: The view from semiotics. In: Thellefsen T., Sorensen B. & Cobley P. (eds.) From first to third via cybersemiotics: A festschrift in honor of Professor Soren Brier on the Occasion of his 60th Birthday. Scandinavian Book, Frederiksberg: 423–447.
Although semiotics has not consistently and explicitly developed a theory of observership, constructivism has, particularly in its radical form (see, for example, Watzlawick 2008, Poerksen 2004). However, it envisages a theory of the observer that amounts to a form of nominalism. This paper takes its cue from Sebeok’s (1986, 1991) comments on John Archibald Wheeler’s conception of the “participatory universe” and tries to explicate the relevance of Wheeler’s (1994, 1998) philosophy of science for semiotics. The paper contributes to recent key debates in the field on “knowing” sciences (Kull 2009) and on relation (Deely 2010).
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