Charles Morris and the Behavioral Foundations of Semiotics

  • Roland Posner
Part of the Topics in Contemporary Semiotics book series (TICSE)


Charles W. Morris1 studied psychology at the University of Chicago in the early 1920s and originally planned on a career in psychiatry. He wanted to learn why and how human beings act so that he would later be able to help them. These goals went through his mind when he was sitting in a car one evening, waiting for his good friend, Bauhaus artist Lászò Moholy-Nagy. Suddenly it became clear to Morris that human action is unthinkable without sign processes and evaluations. How could he become a good psychiatrist without acquiring a theoretical understanding of signs and values himself?


Main Road Orientation Stimulus Contact Sense Orientation Property Distance Sense 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Apel, K.-O. (1959). “Sprache und Wahrheit in der gegenwärtigen Situation der Philosophie. Eine Betrachtung anlässich der Vollendung der neopositivistischen Sprachphilosophie in der Semiotik von Charles Morris.” Philosophische Rundschau, 7: 161–184.Google Scholar
  2. Apel, K.-O. (1973). “Charles Morris und das Programm einer pragmatisch integrierten Semiotik”. Introduction to the German translation of Morris, 1946a: Charles W. Moms, Zeichen, Sprache und Verhalten, (pp. 9–66 ). Düsseldorf: Schwann.Google Scholar
  3. Apel, K.-O. (1980). Towards a Transformation of Philosophy. Translated from the German by D. Frisby and G. Adey. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Ballard, E. G. (1953). “In Defense of Symbolic Aesthetics.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 12: 38–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berelson, B. (1952). Content Analysis in Communication Research. Glencoe: Free Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bessler, H. (1970). Aussagenanalyse. Bielefeld: Bertelsmann.Google Scholar
  7. Black, M. (1949). “The Semiotic of Charles Morris.” In: M. Black, Language and Philosophy. Studies in Method, (pp. 167–185 and 253–254 ). Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Boehme-Dürr, K. (1987). “Medienspezifische Präsentationsformen und ihre Wirkungen.” Zeitschrift für Semiotik, 9.Google Scholar
  9. Boring, E. G. (1929). A History of Experimental Psychology. 2nd ed. New York: Appleton-CenturyCrofts, 1950.Google Scholar
  10. Bridgman, P. W. (1927). Logic of Modern Physics. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  11. Bridgman, P. W. (1936). The Nature of Physical Theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Bridgman, P. W. (1938). “Operational Analysis.” Philosophy of Science, 5: 114–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brown, C. H. (1974). Wittgensteinian Linguistics. The Hague and Paris: Mouton.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carnap, R. (1934). Logische Syntax der Sprache. Vienna and New York: Springer. 2nd edition. 1968. (English by A. Smeaton, The Logical Syntax of Language. London: Kegan Paul 1937.)Google Scholar
  15. Carnap, R. (1947). Meaning and Necessity-A Study in Semantics and Modal Logic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2nd ed. 1956.Google Scholar
  16. Craig, M. (1918). “Appetites and Aversions as Constituents of Instincts.” Biological Bulletin (Woods Hole), 34: 91–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dewey, J. (1925). Experience and Nature. Chicago: Open Court.Google Scholar
  18. Dewey, J. (1946). “Peirce’s Theory of Linguistic Signs, Thought, and Meaning.” Journal of Philosophy, 43: 85–95, 280.Google Scholar
  19. Dutz, K. D. (1979). Glossar der semiotischen Terminologie Charles W. Morris’. Zur Terminologie der Semiotik. 2. Münster: MAkS.Google Scholar
  20. Dutz, K. D. (1983). “Die Semiotiken des Charles W. Morris und ihre Rezeption.” In: K. D. Dutz & H. J. Wulff, eds., Kommunikation, Funktion und Zeichentheorie. Zur Terminologie der Semiotik. 3. Münster: MAkS.Google Scholar
  21. Eakins, B. W. (1972). Charles Morris and the Study of Signification. Ph.D.Diss.: University of Iowa. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1. (1967). Grundriss der vergleichenden Verhaltens forschung. München: Piper.Google Scholar
  22. Eschbach, A. (1975). “Charles W. Morris’ dreidimensionale Semiotik und die Texttheorie.” In: A. Eschbach, ed., Charles W. Morris: Zeichen, Wert, Ästhetik, (pp. 7–68 ). Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  23. Eschbach, A. (Ed.) (1981). Zeichen über Zeichen über Zeichen. 15 Studien über Charles W. Morris. Tübingen: Narr.Google Scholar
  24. Feigl, H. (1934). “Logical Analysis of the Psychophysical Problem.” Philosophy of Science, I:420ff.Google Scholar
  25. Feigl, H. (1950). “Logical Reconstruction, Realism, and Pure Semiotic.” Philosophy of Science, 17:35ff.Google Scholar
  26. Feigl, H. (1958). The ‘Mental’ and the ‘Physical’. In: H. Feigl, M. Striven, & G. Maxwell, eds., Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 2. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 370ff.Google Scholar
  27. Fiordo, R. A. (1977). Charles Morris and the Criticism of Discourse. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press and Lisse, Netherlands: The Peter de Ridder Press.Google Scholar
  28. Geller, A., Kaplan, D., & Lasswell, H. D. (1942). “An Experimental Comparison of Four Ways of Coding Editorial Content.” Journalism Quarterly, 19.Google Scholar
  29. Günther, A. F. (1968). “Der Zeichenbegriff bei K. Bühler und G. H. Mead.”IPK-Forschungsbericht,68(2):1–82. Bonn: Institut für Phonetik und Kommunikationswissenschaft.Google Scholar
  30. Gustafsson, L. (1977). “Grammatik, Logik, Realität.” In: Posner & Reinecke, 1977: 295–306.Google Scholar
  31. Habermas, J. (1962). Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit-Untersuchungen zu einer Kategorie der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft. Neuwied and Berlin: Luchterhand. (English translation: Communication and the Evolution of Society. London: Heinemann 1979.)Google Scholar
  32. Habermas, J. & Luhmann, N. (1971). Theorie der Gesellschaft oder Sozialtechnologie. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  33. Henne, H. (1975). Sprachpragmatik-Nachschrift einer Vorlesung. Tübingen: Niemeyer.Google Scholar
  34. Hovland, C. I., ed. (1957). The Order of Presentation in Persuasion. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Hull, C. L. (1937). “Mind, Mechanism, and Adaptive Behavior.” Psychological Review, 44: 1–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hull, C. L. (1943). Principles of Behavior. New York: Appleton-Century.Google Scholar
  37. Johnson, A. B. (1936). A Treatise on Language. New York: Harper. (New ed., D. Rynin, Berkeley: University of California Press 1959.)Google Scholar
  38. Jones, E. E. & Gerard, H.B. (1967). Foundations of Social Psychology. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  39. Kaplan, A. (1943). “Content Analysis and the Theory of Signs.” Philosophy of Science, 10: 230–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Klaus, G. & Segeth, W. (1962). “Semiotik und materialistische Abbildtheorie.” Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, 10: 1245–1260.Google Scholar
  41. Kretschmer, E. (1921). Körperbau und Charakter. Berlin: Springer. (25th ed., 1967.)Google Scholar
  42. Lewis, D. (1969). Convention-A Philosophical Study. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Lewis, D. (1970). “General Semantics.” Synthese, 22: 18–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lieb, H.-H. (1971). “On Subdividing Semiotic.” In Y. Bar-Hillel, ed. (1971), Pragmatics of Natural Languages, (pp. 94–119 ). Dordrecht: Reidel.Google Scholar
  45. Mead, G. H. (1912). “The Mechanism of Social Consciousness.” Journal of Philosophy, 9: 401–406.Google Scholar
  46. Mead, G. H. (1922). “A Behavioristic Account of the Significant Symbol.” Journal of Philosophy, 19: 157–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mead, G. H. (1932). The Philosophy of the Present. Ed. w. introd., A. E. Murphy. La Salle, Ill.: Open Court.Google Scholar
  48. Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, Self, and Society-From the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist. Ed. w. introd., C. W. Morris. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  49. Mead, G. H. (1938). The Philosophy of the Act. Ed. w. introd., C. W. Morris in cooperation with J. M. Brewster, A. M. Dunham, & D. L. Miller. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  50. Mead, G. H. (1956). On Social Psychology-Selected Papers. Ed. w. introd., A. Strauss. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  51. Meltzer, B. N., Petras, J. W., & Reynolds, L. T. (1975). Symbolic Interactionism-Genesis, Varieties, and Criticism. London and Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  52. Meyer, M. F. (1921). The Psychology of the Other One. Columbia, Mo.: The Missouri Book Company.Google Scholar
  53. Miller, N. & Campbell, D. T. (1959). “Recency and Primacy in Persuasion as a Function of the Timing of Speeches and Measurements.” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 59: 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Morris, C. W. (1927a). “The Concept of the Symbol.” Journal of Philosophy, 24:253–262 and 281–291.Google Scholar
  55. Morris, C. W. (1927b). “The Total-Situation Theory of Ethics.” International Journal of Ethics, 37: 258–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Morris, C. W. (1929). “The Relation of Formal to Instrumental Logic.” In: T. V. Smith & W. K. Wright, eds., Essays in Philosophy. By Seventeen Doctors of Philosophy, (pp. 251–268 ). Chicago: Open Court.Google Scholar
  57. Morris, C. W. (1932). Six Theories of Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  58. Morris, C. W. (1934). “Pragmatism and Metaphysics.” Philosophical Review, 43: 549–564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Morris, C. W. (1935a). “Philosophy of Science and Science of Philosophy.” Philosophy of Science, 2: 271–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Morris, C. W. (19356). “The Relation of Formal and Empirical Sciences within Scientific Empiricism.” Erkenntnis, 5: 6–14.Google Scholar
  61. Morris, C. W. (1935c). “Semiotic and Scientific Empiricism.” Actes du Congrès International de Philosophie Scientifique 1935, (pp. 2–16 ). Paris: Hermann.Google Scholar
  62. Morris, C. W. (1936). “The Concept of Meaning in Pragmatism and Logical Positivism.” Actes du Huitième Congrès International de Philosophie à Prague, 2–7 Septembre 1934, (pp. 130–138). Prague. (Reprint Nendeln, Liechtenstein: Kraus, 1968.)Google Scholar
  63. Morris, C. W. (1937). Logical Positivism, Pragmatism, and Scientific Empiricism. Paris: Hermann. (= Morris, 1934, 1935a,b,c, 1936 ).Google Scholar
  64. Morris, C. W. (1938). Foundations of the Theory of Signs. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  65. Morris, C. W. (1939a). “Aesthetics and the Theory of Signs.” Erkenntnis. Journal of Unified Science, 8: 131–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Morris, C. W. (19396). “Science, Art, and Technology.” Kenyon Review, 1: 409–423.Google Scholar
  67. Morris, C. W. (1940). “The Mechanism of Freedom.” In R. N. Anshen, ed., Freedom Its Meaning, (pp. 579–589 ). New York: Harcourt and Brace.Google Scholar
  68. Morris, C. W. (1942). Paths of Life: Preface to a World Religion. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  69. Morris, C. W. (1943). “Comments on a Paper by A. Kaplan.” Philosophy of Science, 10: 247–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Morris, C. W. (1946a). Signs, Language, and Behavior. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  71. Morris, C. W. (1946b). “Answer to Dewey.” Journal of Philosophy, 63:196 and 363f.Google Scholar
  72. Morris, C. W. (1948a). The Open Self. New York: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  73. Morris, C. W. (1948b). “Signs about Signs about Signs.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 9: 115–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Morris, C. W. (1956). Varieties of Human Value. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Morris, C. W. (1958). “Words without Meaning.” Contemporary Psychology, 3: 212–214. (Review of B. F. Skinner, Verbal Behavior).Google Scholar
  76. Morris, C. W. (1964). Signification and Significance. Cambridge, Mass.: The M.I.T. Press.Google Scholar
  77. Morris, C. W. (1966). Festival. New York: Braziller.Google Scholar
  78. Morris, C. W. (1970). The Pragmatic Movement in American Philosophy. New York: Braziller.Google Scholar
  79. Morris, C. W. (1971). Writings on the General Theory of Signs. The Hague: Mouton. (Contains Morris, 1938, Morris, 1946a, and other essays, as well as the first chapter of Morris, 1964.)Google Scholar
  80. Morris, C. W. & Jones, L. V. (1955). “Value Scales and Dimensions.” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51: 523–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Morris, C. W. & Jones, L. V. (1956). “Relations of Temperament to Choice of Values.” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 53: 345–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Morris, C. W., Eiduson, B. B., & O’Donnovan, D. (1960). “Values of Psychiatric Patients.” Behavioral Science, 5: 297–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Morris, C. W., Osgood, C. E., & Ware, E. E. (1961). “Analysis of the Connotative Meanings of a Variety of Human Values as Expressed by American College Students.” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 62: 62–73.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Morris, C. W. & Hamilton, D. J. (1964). “Aesthetics, Signs, and Icons.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 25: 356–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Morris, C. W. & Sciadini, F. (1966). “Paintings, Ways to Live, and Values.” In G. Kepes, ed., Sign, Image, Symbol, (pp. 144–149 ). New York: Braziller.Google Scholar
  86. Müller, A. (1970). Probleme der behavioristischen Semiotik. Ph.D. Dissertation: University of Frankfurt.Google Scholar
  87. Murphy, A. E. (1927). “Objective Relativism in Dewey and Whitehead.” Philosophical Review, 36: 121–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Murphy, A. E. (1963). Reason and the Common Good. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  89. Ogden, C. K. & Richards, I. A. (1923). The Meaning of Meaning. London: Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  90. Peirce, C. S. (1931–1935). Collected Papers,Vol. 1–6, ed. by C. Hartshorne & P. Weiss. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  91. Peirce, C. S. (1958). Collected Papers, Vol. 7 and 8, ed. by A. W. Burks. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  92. Pelc, Jerzy (1978). “A Guide to Morris.” Semiotica, 23: 377–379.Google Scholar
  93. Posner, R. (1972a). Theorie des Kommentierens-Eine Grundlagenstudie zur Semantik und Pragmatik. Frankfurt: Athenäum. 2nd improved ed. Wiesbaden: Athenaion 1980.Google Scholar
  94. Posner, R. (1972b). “Commenting: A Diagnostic Procedure for Semantico-Pragmatic Sentence Representation.” Poetics, 5: 67–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Posner, R. (1972c). “Statt eines Vorworts.” In: C. W. Morris, Grundlagen der Zeichentheorie. Ästhetik und Zeichentheorie, (pp. 7–13 ). Munich: Hanser.Google Scholar
  96. Posner, R. (1974). “Diskurs als Mittel der Aufklärung-Zur Theorie der rationalen Kommunikation bei Habermas und Albert. In: M. Gerhardt, ed., Linguistik und Sprachphilosophie (pp. 280–303). Munich: List. (English translation: ”Discourse as a Means to Enlightenment-On the Theories of Rational Communication of Habermas and Albert.“ In: A. Kasher, ed., Language in Focus [pp. 641–660]. Dordrecht, Boston, and London: Reidel 1976.)Google Scholar
  97. Posner, R. (1982). Rational Discourse and Poetic Communication. Methods of Linguistic, Literary, and Philosophical Analysis. Berlin and New York: Mouton.Google Scholar
  98. Posner, R. (1986a). “Syntactics.” In: T. A. Sebeok, ed., Encyclopedic Dictionary of Semiotics. Berlin and New York: Mouton.Google Scholar
  99. Posner, R. (1986b). “Charles W. Morris.” In: T. A. Sebeok, ed., Encyclopedic Dictionary of Semiotics. Berlin and New York: Mouton.Google Scholar
  100. Posner, R. & Reinecke, H.-P., eds. (1977). Zeichenprozesse-Semiotische Forschung in den Einzelwissenschaften. Wiesbaden: Athenaion.Google Scholar
  101. Price, K. B. (1953). “Is a Work of Art a Symbol?” The Journal of Philosophy, 50: 485–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Resnikov, L. O. (1977). “Zeichen, Sprache, Abbild.” Trans. from the Russian by H. Siegel. Ed. w. introd., A. Eschbach. Frankfurt: Syndikat.Google Scholar
  103. Roberts, L. (1955). “Art as Icon: An Interpretation of Charles W. Morris.” Tulane Studies in Philosophy, 4: 75–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Rochberg-Halton, E. & McMurtrey, K. (1983). “The Foundations of Modem Semiotic: Charles Peirce and Charles Morris.” American Journal of Semiotics, 2: 129–156.Google Scholar
  105. Romeo, L. (1981). “Charles Morris and the History of Semiotics.” In: Eschbach, 1981:227–234. Rossi-Landi, F. (1953). Charles Morris. Milan: Bocca.Google Scholar
  106. Rossi-Landi, F. (1967). “Sul modo in cui è stata fraintesa la Semiotica estetica di Charles Morris. Nuova Currente, 42–43: 113–117.Google Scholar
  107. Rossi-Landi, F. (1975). “Signs about a Master of Signs.” Semiotica, 13: 155–197.Google Scholar
  108. Rossi-Landi, F. (1976). “Über einige Fehlinterpretationen der ästhetischen Semiotik von Charles Morris.” In: F. Rossi-Landi, Semiotik, Ästhetik und Ideologie, (pp. 75–82 ). Munich: Hanser.Google Scholar
  109. Rossi-Landi, F. (1978). On Some Post-Morrisian Problems. Ars Semeiotica, 3: 3–32.Google Scholar
  110. Rudner, R. (1951). “On Semeiotic Aesthetics.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 10: 67–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  111. Sanctius, F. (= Francisco Sànchez de las Brozas) (1587). Minerva: seu, De causis linguae Latinae. Salamanca: Renaut.Google Scholar
  112. Searle, J. (1969). Speech Acts. An Essay in the Philosophy of Language. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  113. Searle, J. (1975). “Indirect Speech Acts.” In: P. Cole & J. Morgan, eds., Syntax and Semantics III: Speech Acts, (pp. 59–82 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  114. Sebeok, T. A. (1981). “The Image of Charles Morris.” In: Eschbach, 1981: 267–284.Google Scholar
  115. Sheldon, W. H. (1940). The Varieties of Human Physique. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  116. Shibutani, T. (1961). Society and Personality. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  117. Skinner, B. F. (1938). The Behavior of Organisms. New York: Appleton-Century.Google Scholar
  118. Steiner, P. (1977). “Jan Mukafovskÿ and Charles W. Morris: Two Pioneers of the Semiotics of Art.” Semiotica, 19, 3–4:321–334. (Reprinted in Eschbach, 1981:285–297.)Google Scholar
  119. Steiner, W. (1981). “Ein Beispiel unklaren Denkens: Die Neokritizisten gegen Charles Morris.” In: Eschbach, 1981: 299–314.Google Scholar
  120. Stokoe, W. C. (1977). “Die ‘Sprache der Taubstummen.” In: Posner & Reinecke, 1977: 167–179.Google Scholar
  121. Tarski, A. (1935). “Der Wahrheitsbegriff in den formalisierten Sprachen.” Studia Philosophica, 1: 261–405.Google Scholar
  122. Teigeler, P. (1968). Verständlichkeit und Wirksamkeit von Sprache und Text. Stuttgart: Nadolski.Google Scholar
  123. Tolman, E. C. (1932). Purposive Behavior in Animals and Men. New York: Century.Google Scholar
  124. Tranöy, K. E. (1972/75). “ ‘Sollen’ impliziert ‘Können’: Eine Brücke von der Tatsache zur Norm?” Ratio, 14:111–125, 17: 141–169.Google Scholar
  125. Uexküll, J. von (1937). “Umweltforschung.” Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie, 1: 33–34.Google Scholar
  126. Watson, J. B. (1913). “Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It.” Psychological Review, 20: 158–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  127. Watson, J. B. (1914). Behavior An Introduction to Comparative Psychology. New York: Holt.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  128. Watson, J. B. (1919). Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviorist. Philadelphia: Lippincott.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  129. Watzlawick, P., Beavin, J. H., & Jackson, D. D. (1967). Pragmatics of Human Communication. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  130. Wilson, W. & Miller, N. (1968). “Repetition, Order of Presentation, and Timing of Arguments and Measures as Determinants of Opinion Change.”Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9: 184–188.Google Scholar
  131. Wittgenstein, L. (1922). Tractatus logico-philosophicus. London: Kegan Paul.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roland Posner
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsTechnical University of BerlinBerlinWest Germany
  2. 2.Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social SciencesWassenaarThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations