Existential Semiotics and Cultural Psychology

Eero Tarasti

in The Oxford Handbook of Culture and Psychology

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195396430
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Existential Semiotics and Cultural Psychology


Existential Semiotics is a new approach, or “school,” within the general semiotics and philosophy. It tries to renew the epistemic foundations of the theory of signs, inspired by rereading the classics of continental philosophy in the line of Kant, Hegel, Schelling, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Jaspers, Arendt, and Sartre and, on the other hand, the whole tradition of classical semiotics from Saussure to A.J. Greimas. Yet, the new issue it offers is the revalorization of subject and subjectivity, and hence it opens the field to psychological explanation and application as well. It launches new notions to the field, such as transcendence, Dasein, modalities, values, Moi/Soi, and so forth. It constitutes a kind of ontological semiotics starting from the modality of Being and shifting toward Doing and Appearing, as well. Many concepts of various disciplines from representation and genre to dialogue and nature of communication can be re-interpreted in its light. Albeit it also takes into account moral and axiological acts, it emphasizes the transcendental aspect of value as virtual entities and hence does not belong so much to any post-modern or post-structuralist thought; rather, it aims for what is called “neosemiotics,” philosophy, and methodology of signification conceived in the 2010s.

Keywords: transcendence; subject; modalities; being; doing; appearance (schein); dasein; moi/soi; sign categories: pre-sign; act-sign; post-sign; neosemiotics; existentiality

Article.  20721 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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