Keynote Speakers, SSA 43rd Annual Conference

We are honored to announce that Prof. Ivo Assad Ibri and Prof. Wendy Wheelerare our keynote speakers at the SSA 43rd Annual Conference in Berea, Kentucky.


Ivo Ibri - pictureProf. Ivo Assad Ibri

The Semiotic Resilient Mind – Conflictual and Agapic Relationship between Logic and Emotional Interpretants”


By resilient mind I mean every mind’s capacity to deal with the hardness of otherness, which demands a continuous effort to allow the development of habits of conduct. The predicate of resilience comes from the mind’s ability to self-correct every time such habits lose their mediative efficiency, therefore requiring the reconstruction of new cognitive mediations as habits of action. In this paper, I propose to reflect on the set of semiotic interpretantsproposed by Peirce with the aim of exploring their habitual facet. With this line of analysis, I intend to show that resilience is a necessary property that every mind must have in the highest degree in order to deal with the conflict between emotional and logical interpretants, where the predominance of the former to the detriment of the latter can generate acute situations of psychological suffering by blocking access to representations that otherwise might break the brute force of otherness.


Biographical Note

Ivo Assad Ibri is full professor of philosophy at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUCSP), Brazil, Ph.D. in philosophy – University of São Paulo (1994) and post-doctorate at the Indiana University (USA, 2004-2005). He is the founder and director of the Center for Pragmatism Studies of PUCSP, editor of the journals Cognitio and Cognitio-Estudos and general chair for the biannual International Meetings on Pragmatism, (PUCSP). His work is mainly focused on American pragmatism and German idealism. He published several essays on pragmatism and semiotics and a book on Peirce’s metaphysics called Kósmos Noétos (Springer – 2017). He is member of the board of consultants of the Peirce Edition Project at Indiana University. He is fellow past president (2014 – 2016) of The Charles Sanders Peirce Society (USA).



Wendy Wheeler, IMG_3006Prof. Wendy Wheeler

“Resilience in a Time of Semiocide: Against the Murder of Natural and Cultural Meanings”


This talk will discuss biosemiotic theory and some of its major implications:

  • cultural evolution as an extension of natural evolution;

  • all life as semiotic and interpretive rather than mechanical;

  • the centrality of meanings and purposes;

  • evolution as cybernetically driven by informational feedback, and the growth of semiotic complexity;

  • mind as embodied, enworlded, distributed cognition;

  • the breaking down of a rigid distinction between subjective and objective experience and meanings (as per medieval semiotics), and common umwelt as arbiter of truth.

Living in a natural and cultural world perfused with signs and meanings, and with the potential for the evolutionary growth of signs at every level, must pose a direct challenge to modernity’s nihilism. Aware of the need for rich and diverse natural ecologies, a biosemiotic view might alert us to the need for a rich and diverse ecology of meanings also. Framed by the emergence of modern nihilism as the transformation of religion into politics, the talk will finally consider the dangers of semiocide –  the murder of both natural and cultural meaning-making.


Biographical Note

Wendy Wheeler, Ph.D. (1994) University of Sussex, is Professor Emeritus of English Literature and Cultural Inquiry at London Metropolitan University. She has been a Visiting Research Fellow and Professor at several universities in the UK, USA and Australia, and is the author of five books and more than 50 articles and chapters, especially on biosemiotics, nature and culture. Her latest book Expecting the Earth: Life|Culture|Biosemioticswas published by Lawrence & Wishart in 2016. She is currently working on a Royal Society of Edinburgh funded interdisciplinary research project at the Eidyn Research Centre, Department of Philosophy, at the University of Edinburgh on Living Organisms and their Choices.

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About Farouk Seif

Professor Emeritus, Antioch University Seattle, Washington, a registered architect, an artist, a Fellow of the International Communicology Institute, and the former Executive Director of the Semiotic Society of America.