Semiotics and cyberspace beyond Charles Sanders Peirce
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In 1867 Charles Sanders Peirce detailed a pansemiotic perspective of the world that defines a sign as “something that stands to somebody for something.” The triadic semiotic theory that Peirce developed includes all phenomena known in his time. This dissertation offers an extension of Peirce's work to include virtual phenomena characterized by simultaneous yet separate realities experienced in cyberspace. Chapter 1, “Thirdness and Beyond,” explores Peirce's phenomenological theory of semiotics and suggests its extension to include the simultaneous presence and absence which marks virtual entities. Chapter 2, “The Paradox of Discovery,” discusses abduction as the reasoning process that introduces innovation and provides the foundation for revolution in computer technology. It also introduces the concept of Fourthness and extends Peirce's phenomenological categories to include simultaneous presence and absence experienced in virtual realities. Chapter 3, “Toward Fourthness: A Necessary Convergence,” elaborates Fourthness as a separate phenomenological category that reveals the ontological dynamics of the mutually created virtual environments. Chapter 4, “Fourthness: Out of the Void,” applies the new concept to Multi-User Domains, Object Oriented (MOO) and shows virtuality as the source of creativity and the abductive process.