The View Finder: The Camera as Significal Pedagogue
Southern Semiotic Review, 2014
20 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2014
Date Written: September 11, 2014
This paper is intended as an exploratory contribution to the recently retrieved trend in semiotics to relate sign-studies with ethics and values, i.e., 'semio-ethics'/'significs', and to suggest how the 'semio-ethical' or 'significal' consciousness may be educationally enhanced. In "Designing the camera" I wrote about ways to shape the camera or photography qua sign for semio-ethical purposes. Victoria Welby spoke of significs not only as a theory of signs, but also as a kind of (moral) educational theory, since she believed that the understanding of signs-in-relation-to-values raised our critical and ethical consciousness. Here I argue and give phenomenological evidence for the claims that the camera is a pedagogical tool just as it enhances significal formation. But not only that: the camera is a self-automating pedagogical tool; through using it, one is helped to discover the significant point of view. It is almost as if it automatically unpacks significs, or the semio-ethical consciousness.
Keywords: photography, significs, semioethics, natural law, moral education
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