Semiotics, the science of signs, has a long history. The “father of medicine,” Hippocrates, was interested in signs and their relation to medical symptoms; after him, philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Saint Augustine, and John Locke also wrote about various aspects of signs. Modern semiotics is said to have started with the work of two authors: Ferdinand de Saussure, a linguist at the University of Geneva, who called his approach “semiology,” and Charles S. Peirce, a philosopher at Harvard University, who called his science “semiotics.” Saussure's book Course in General Linguistics, published in 1915, is made of notes from his students that were collected and put together by Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye. Peirce produced an enormous body of writings on semiotic theory that have ...

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