Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense
Language, Perception, Technics
By (author) Robert E. Innis
Publication date:15 December 2002
Length of book:280 pages
PublisherPenn State University Press
Making sense of the world around us is a process involving both semiotic and material mediation—the use of signs and sign systems (preeminently language) and various kinds of tools (technics). As we use them, we experience them subjectively as extensions of our bodily selves and objectively as instruments for accessing the world with which we interact. Emphasizing this bipolar nature of language and technics, understood as intertwined "forms of sense," Robert Innis studies the multiple ways in which they are rooted in and transform human perceptual structures in both their individual and social dimensions.
The book foregrounds and is organized around the notion of "semiotic embodiment." Language and technics are viewed as "probes" upon which we rely, in which we are embodied, and that themselves embody and structure our primary modes of encountering the world. While making an important substantive contribution to present debates about the "biasing" of perception by language and technics, Innis also seeks to provide a methodological model of how complementary analytical resources from American pragmatist and various European traditions can be deployed fruitfully in the pursuit of new insights into the phenomenon of meaning-making.
—Vincent Colapietro, Penn State University