Peirce's (1906) proposal that the universe as a whole, even if it does not
consist exclusively of signs, is yet everywhere perfused with signs, is a
thesis that better than any other sums up the life and work of Thomas A.
Sebeok, "inventor" of semiotics as we know it today.
Semiotics - the doctrine of signs - has a long and intriguing history that
extends back well beyond the last century, two and a half millennia to
Hippocrates of Cos. It ranges through the teachings of Augustine, Scholastic
philosophy, the work of Peirce and Saussure. Yet a fully-fledged doctrine of
signs, with many horizons for the future, was the result of Sebeok's work in
the twentieth century. The massive influence of this work, as well as
Sebeok's convening of semiotic projects and encouragement of a huge
number of researchers globally, which, in turn, set in train countless research
projects, is difficult to document and has not been assessed until now. This
volume, using the testimonies of key witnesses and participants in the
semiotic project, offers a picture of how Sebeok, through his development of
knowledge of endosemiotics, phytosemiotics, biosemiotics and
sociosemiotics, enabled semiotics in general to redraw the boundaries of
science and the humanities as well as nature and culture.