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Intention et signe dans le Tractatus de signis de Jean Poinsot

Abstract : When it comes to the many possible ways of dealing with historical materials, one can often observe a tension between two main options in scholarly literature. On the one side, one can, consider an author as breaking new grounds for a revolution which supposedly leads directly to our modernity. On the other hand, and in reaction to this first point of view, there is the tendency to focus not on possible anticipations, but on detailed contextualization. In such a case, however, one faces the risk of smoothing away any originality in the author at stake. Such are the two ways in which John Poinsot (also called John of Saint Thomas), a Dominican of the early 17th century, has been rediscovered: as the forerunner of Peirce's semiotics, because of his understanding of the sign as pertaining to the category of relation, a claim that is at the origin of new editions of Poinsot's Tractatus de signis. However, studies of such an orientation have been immediately followed by others, which, by contrast, tend to minimize Poinsot's modernity, sometimes in a quite excessive way. The present paper sides with the contextualist approach and attempts to find a middle way in comparing Poinsot's treatise on signs with the questions on the same subject by Sebastião do Couto, Coimbra's commentator. The proposed comparison focuses on the different ways in which intentions and signs are connected, a topic which has not been dealt with up to now. The contextualization of Poinsot's treatment of this precise question reveals a relative originality of our author. We will show that even if the semiotic discourses of Poinsot and Couto do not present any major difference, a certain originality can nonetheless be noticed in Poinsot in the treatment of the category of relation, a position which leads him to reconfigure the pattern of the semiotic question.
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Contributor : Hélène Leblanc <>
Submitted on : Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 1:08:05 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 3:48:53 PM

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Hélène Leblanc. Intention et signe dans le Tractatus de signis de Jean Poinsot. Methodos : savoirs et textes, Savoirs textes langage - UMR 8163, 2014, URL : ⟨10.4000/methodos.3705⟩. ⟨hal-01053572⟩



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