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Products for Grant FA-57755-14

Charles Peirce and the Role of Aesthetic Expression in 19th-Century U.S. Philosophy and Semiotics
Iris Fischer, University of Kansas, Lawrence

Grant details:

Theatre at the Birth of Semiotics: Charles Sanders Peirce, Francois Delsarte, and James Steele Mackaye (Article)
Title: Theatre at the Birth of Semiotics: Charles Sanders Peirce, Francois Delsarte, and James Steele Mackaye
Author: Iris Smith Fischer
Abstract: This paper explores the role theatre played in the life of Charles Peirce and his second wife, Juliette, from 1884–1888. Peirce became acquainted with playwright and director Steele Mackaye, who trained Juliette in the acting techniques associated with “aesthetic expression,” a movement derived from the work of François Delsarte. I first trace the Peirces’ interactions with Mackaye during this period. The paper then demonstrates affinities between Peirce’s semiotic account of cognition as mediated through feeling and sensation and the architecture of Delsarte’s system of actor training. The latter employs Delsarte’s séméiotique as an analytical tool for conveying the dramatic character’s inner life. A function of mind, séméiotique intertwines with the functions of life and soul to complete the actor’s task. The affinities between these two accounts of semiotic emerge from the paper’s analysis of Peirce’s 1888 essay on aesthetic expression, “Trichotomic,” and related passages from A Guess at the Riddle.
Year: 2013
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal of American Philosophy

On the 'Realistic Hypostatization of Relations' (Book Section)
Title: On the 'Realistic Hypostatization of Relations'
Author: Iris Smith Fischer
Abstract: In late 1887 and early 1888, when Charles Sanders Peirce was drafting Chapter IV of “A Guess at the Riddle,” he was also writing about theatre and performance. Peirce’s wife Juliette had studied with the playwright, actor, and director James Steele Mackaye (1842–1894), and Peirce hoped to see her perform on the New York stage. Mackaye’s approach to actor training drew on the speculative philosophy of his teacher, François Delsarte. In his unfinished essay “Trichotomic” (probably drafted in early 1888), Peirce noted with interest Mackaye’s triadic account of the actor’s task, which involves the use of three capacities (sensation, perception, and affection) to represent the corresponding categories as they are experienced in human life. Peirce did not take up Mackaye’s triads or the speculative philosophy behind them. Yet, as Peirce notes in the above passage from “A Guess at the Riddle,” the artist’s aesthetic task struck Peirce as notably similar to that of the scientist’s “genius of the mind.” In these documents, Peirce seems to treat intuition as a theatrical scene involving a double-sided act of creation.
Year: 2014
Publisher: Mouton de Gruyter
Book Title: Charles S. Peirce in His Own Words: 100 Years of Semiotics, Communication, and Cognition