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(2018) Readings in numanities, Dordrecht, Springer.

Semiotics as a proposal for a numanistic educational programme

Alin Olteanu

pp. 3-17

This chapter explores the common history shared by semiotics and educational studies. An academic semiotic consciousness began in the early medieval age (the Patristic age), marked by St. Augustine who legitimized the educational tradition of the liberal arts at the dawn of the Christian age. Ever since, throughout the Medieval Age educational philosophy was underpinned by semiotics as the doctrine of signs. By looking at some of the main moments in the history of semiotics, the chapter explains the co-evolution of education and semiotics, from the early to the late medieval age. The entanglement of education and semiotics, due to their common roots in the hermeneutics of medieval mystical theology, underpinned an anthropological and ecological bearing. Arguably, this was rediscovered by recent edusemiotic research. This consists in understanding the human as the interpreter of the world, as such both "reading" and "writing" reality. In contrast to this tradition, non-semiotic dualist modernism took education on different paths, towards a utilitarian curriculum as the province of ideological education, dismissing the relevance of the body and its relation to the environment for the learning process. The chapter concludes by explaining the present educational perspective that semiotics offers, in both past and future perspectives: a proper continuation of the medieval liberal education project, albeit in the present global context. Thus, I argue that semiotic based education is rather coherent with the general Numanistic perspective (as presented in Martinelli in Arts and Humanities in Progress: A Manifesto of Numanities. Springer, New York, 2016), in contrast to the modernist and implicitly ideological educational programme.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-66914-4_1

Full citation:

Olteanu, A. (2018)., Semiotics as a proposal for a numanistic educational programme, in O. Andreica & A. Olteanu (eds.), Readings in numanities, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 3-17.

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