Speaker series
Evolution and the Social Mind
Speaker Series
 
Reading patients:
Medical semiotics since ancient times
 
A Presentation by Thomas A. Sebeok
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of  Linguistics and Semiotics, Indiana University
January 11, 1999 at 4:00 - 6:00pm
Humanities and Social Sciences Building 2001A
 
 
Abstract
 
The earliest sign category recognized and discussed in Western semiotic tradition was the Index. Under the rubric of Symptom / Syndrome, it was variously applied to medical theory and practice by Hippocrates and with especial clarity and force by Galen. The early iatric interpretation of signs was eventually generalized and variously elaborated in philosophical contexts and only much more recently in linguistics. The most far-reaching development in 20th-century semiotic inquiry -- the domain and field of Biosemiotics -- then arose at the interface of medical semiotics with the investigations of the Prussian biologist Jakob von Uexkuell.

This lecture is co-sponsored by the UCSB Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, College of Creative Studies, Center for Evolutionary Psychology, the Evolutionary Behavioral and Social Science seminar series; Departments of English, Linguistics, and Spanish & Portuguese, Comparative Literature Program, and Latin American & Iberian Studies Program.

Thomas A. Sebeok is widely considered to be the world's leading scholar in semiotic studies with special expertise in animal communication and Finno-Ugric linguistics. He has authored or edited several dozen books, including Animal communication; techniques of study and results of research; Aboriginal sign languages of the Americas and Australia; Encyclopedic dictionary of semiotics; How animals communicate; and The Clever Hans phenomenon: communication with horses, whales, apes, and people. He holds five honorary doctorates, and maintains an active career of short-term visiting professorships in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Latin America.

 

 Top of page
 
Speaker series
Evolution and the Social Mind
Speaker Series