Translatio signorum : penser les signes à l’Age classique à partir de la division signum formale/ signum instrumentale

Abstract : All along its history, semiotic has oscillated between a large and a narrow definition of its object. The 17th century is, in this regard, a pivotal period, with a trend towards a narrower construal of the term ‘sign’, which, for most authors of that time,does not apply anymore to concepts and ideas. This move however is not an homogeneous one. The first half of the century witnesses, among late scholasticism, to an important debate about the definition of ‘sign’, stirred by the introduction, among traditional taxonomies, of the division between ‘signum formale’ and ‘signum instrumentale’. The former echoed the medieval inclusion of concepts under the category of ‘signs’. The latter matches the definition of Augustine, according to which the sign is exclusively sensible and strictly different from the thing signified. The reconstruction of the terms of this late scholastic debate, which originates in Sebastião do Couto’s commentary on Peri Hermeneias, shows that the 17th century authors have tended to return to a strictly instrumental conception of signs, but one from which the traditionnal Augustinian reference is absent. In contrast with the rather common interpretation according to which the definition of signs to be found in the Port-Royal’s Logic offered the new paradigm for representation, this works argues that the semiotic thought of this period is better defined as a translatio, especially visible among Bayle, Gassendi and Hobbes, from a linguistico-pschychological model to a natural semiotics, emblematic of a new logic that has been submitted to physical science.
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Hélène Leblanc. Translatio signorum : penser les signes à l’Age classique à partir de la division signum formale/ signum instrumentale. Philosophie. Université Charles de Gaulle - Lille III; Università del Salento (Italie), 2015. Français. ⟨NNT : 2015LIL30048⟩. ⟨tel-02420534⟩

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