Bits of Semiotic History

A good historical and systematic overview about semiotics in general (presented in one volume) can be found in Noeth (2000)[274] (an older English edition is from 1990 [273]). A very short and simplifying overview is given in Wikipedia (2013) [329].

From this one can infer that the general theory of signs can already be found within the Greek philosophy, followed by the Middle Ages and in the following centuries. The explicit usage of the term 'semiotics' (or in some traditions also as 'semiology')13.1) as the general science of signs compared to more specialized disciplines like linguistics, phonetics, psychology of language, etc. in this general sense emerges during the 17th century (Locke, Baumgarten, Lambert, Bolzano, Peirce, Morris, Saussure).

This history shows a broad spectrum of opinions and theory-like presentations which do not allow to compress this all into one single unified coherent picture. In this booklet we follow mainly the definitions presented in Peirce, Morris, and Saussure.

Very recently we can observe the emergence of computational semiotics as a specialized branch of semiotics (cf. Wikipedia (2013) [330]). And here, too, you can observe a great variety of variants. We will focus here on that kind of computational semiotics where theoretical models of sign users are simulated as artificial sign users embedded in some environment. An important source for this kind of thinking is Ricardo Gudwin from Unicamp with several colleagues (cf. Gudwin et al. (2000 - 2007) [126], [127], [128], [129], [130], [132], Loula et al. (2007) [237]) and closely connected to him the International Computational Semiotics Group (cf. Doeben-Henisch (1995 - 2012)[331])

Gerd Doeben-Henisch 2013-01-14