Announcing CFP Extension for the 43rd SSA Annual Conference

Berea Logo Simple

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to extend the deadline for submitting abstracts to the 43rdAnnual Conference of the Semiotic Society of America to Friday, June 22, 2018.  We anticipate a significant number of submissions.  We encourage you to submit your proposal as soon as possible.

All the best,

Farouk Seif

Chair, Program Committee

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.

Dr. John Hittinger First Speaker in SVC’s John Deely/Jacques Maritain Lecture Series


Dr. John Hittinger

First Speaker in SVC’s John Deely/Jacques Maritain Lecture Series Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, PA, April 14, 2018

Dr. John Hittinger will be the first speaker in the newly-created John Deely/Jacques Maritain Lecture Series at Saint Vincent College, in Latrobe, PA, on April 14, 2018.
“The John Deely/Jacques Maritain Lecture Series heralds the future potential at Saint Vincent College of the Deely/Maritain Chair in Philosophy,” explained Fr. Paul R. Taylor, O.S.B., executive vice president. “The chair, as grounded in Benedictine tradition, will provide a setting internationally for further developing the Catholic tradition in ways that meet the needs of our current age in the shaping of future culture. As a philosophical framework and direction, a forward-looking Thomism and the contemporary transdisciplinary field of semiotics have joined together in this development, thanks to the work of Maritain and Deely.”
A renowned Maritain scholar, Dr. Hittinger holds the Rudman Chair of Philosophy at the University of St Thomas, Houston, in the Center for Thomistic Studies. John Deely invited him to introduce the Semiotic Society of America conference in Houston (2008), representing 23 nations. Hittinger also wrote an introductory essay on Deely’s 1,000-page opus, Four Ages of Understanding, for a special issue of Semiotica (2010).
John Deely (April 26, 1942 – Jan. 7, 2017) was appointed philosopher in residence at Saint Vincent College, in the fall of 2015. In the words of Paul Cobley, editor of Realism for the 21st Century: A John Deely Reader and the Special Issue of Chinese Semiotic Studies, Deely in Review: “Arguably Deely has been the ‘philosopher in residence’ for contemporary semiotics.” According to the great Thomist and semiotician Mauricio Beuchot, O.P., “John Deely’s legacy is a pivotal element in the future of both semiotics and Thomistic thought.” Well known Thomist and Maritain scholar Christopher Morrissey comments further that Deely’s “seminal legacy” is his promotion of the works John Poinsot as an “explicit link” between the developing Catholic tradition and the philosophical tradition of semiotics: “It is a legacy that ties together John’s efforts not only to the work of the great semioticians Charles Sanders Peirce and Thomas Sebeok, but also to the historic Benedictine Order.”
Jacques Maritain (Nov. 18, 1882 – April 28, 1973), one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century, was the foremost philosopher whose work prepared the way for the Second Vatican Council. At the close of the council, Pope Paul VI publicly honored Maritain for that contribution. Earlier in his life Maritain was named French ambassador to the Vatican in 1944 and was actively involved in drafting the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. His forward-looking Thomism applied perennial truths to the changing historical climate of his own time. Deely wrote the constitution of the international American Maritain Association, now in its 41st year.

For Information:
Don Orlando, Director, Public Relations
Saint Vincent College, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650-2690 Phone 724-805-2010, FAX 724-805-2019,,