[Photograph courtesy of Lee Anne Roquemore, Petal & Vine Photography, Lakeland, FL]
The concept of semiotics was introduced to me during my MA in Philosophy studies at the University of Kentucky (1975-77) with James H. Fetzer. At that time Jim was working through galley proofs of his major work for D. Reidel - Scientific Knowledge: Causation, Explanation, and Corroboration (Kluwer, 1981). The galleys were distributed to several of his faculty colleagues and students for review and discussion. Much of the epistemology and philosophy of mind in that book is based on Charles Sanders Peirce's theory of semiotics.
During those years at UK Jim became my mentor and we became friends. His work remains an intellectual touchstone and keystone for me to this day. Peirce's theory of signs (i.e., semiotics) and Fetzer's philosophy of science formed not only the main focus of my PhD studies at the University of Georgia (1984-86, no degree), but the very conceptual and intellectual framework of my adult life thus far.
Having spent 38 of the last 40 years as an information technology professional at IBM, Oracle, Wycliffe Bible Translators, World Vision, and elsewhere in the industry, the time has come again to return to academia to pick up where I left off in 1986. A crucial crossroads whereby I became a disciple of Christ (1992) casts all of this in an entirely new light, of course, leading me to continue the journey in much the same direction, but with different focus and perspective, and more profound implications for my life's purpose, destiny, and legacy.
On November 24, 2015 I was accepted into the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program at George Fox Evangelical Seminary, specifically as a member of Dr. Leonard Sweet's Semiotics and Future Studies cohort beginning in the fall term of 2016. During the preceding spring and summer terms I'm enrolled in preparatory courses in biblical theology, exegesis and hermeneutics, church history, and contemporary theology, officially starting in just two days (January 11, 2016). These 12 semester hours of Master of Divinity (MDiv) level studies are needed to better equip me for seminary studies in general.
If all goes as hoped and planned I will receive that DMin in Semiotics and Future Studies sometime around my 70th birthday in June, 2016. The surrounding story is mainly autobiographical, dating back to formative years in secondary school in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. It tells how a tapestry of academic, professional, and personal experience has been woven over more than half a century to produce - at last! - a nearly finished life story. The purpose, mission, destiny, and legacy of that story is finally clearly seen, and it is all about semiotics, or more precisely, how my own life as a semiotic journey is turning out in its final season.
The "AUTOBIO" blog post category will tell my personal story, and the "DMIN" category will journal my academic adventure at George Fox. Other categories will elaborate other themes and relevant topics, while the"GUIDE" will offer outline and roadmap markers and directions for all who choose to join in. All who do so are welcome!
Life, Reality, and Semiosis
Semiotics (or semiology) is the study of signs. Semiosis refers to the processing of signs by humans in particular and in nature more generally. The importance of signs is best expressed by Peirce himself: