Thomas A. Sebeok’s Doctrine of Signs

  • Eugen Baer
Part of the Topics in Contemporary Semiotics book series (TICSE)


This being a very personal reckoning, I would like to seize this occasion to publicly avow my good fortune at having first encountered semiotic notions in a University of Chicago seminar of Morris’ in the early 1940s—precisely midway, that is, between his Foundations of the Theory of Signs (1938) and Signs, Language, and Behavior (1946). 1 have thus had the singular, and very likely unique, privilege of having studied both with Morris and, not long afterwards, Jakobson, the two having cross-pollinated in the intervening years. (Sebeok, 1976: 155)

Thomas A. Sebeok was born in Budapest in 1920, and arrived in the United States in 1937, where he first studied at the University of Chicago (B.A. 1941), with Charles Morris as his most important professor. He then attended Princeton University (M.A. 1943; Ph.D. 1945), where Roman Jakobson in particular, from his base in New York, exercised a great influence on him. Since 1943, Sebeok has taught linguistics, anthropology, and semiotics at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he also directs the Research Center for Language and Semiotic Studies. In 1975 he was president of the Linguistic Society of America. From 1976 to 1980 he was Executive Director of the Semiotic Society of America, whose founding and rapid growth can largely be attributed to his initiative and expertise, and in 1984 he served as its president.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugen Baer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyHobart and William Smith CollegesGenevaUSA

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