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Workshop | Dynamics of Signs


FNO 02/ 40-46


The main subject of the workshop is the ‘dynamic object’ as developed in the philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce and its possible application to the consortium’s studies on the ‘Dynamics in the History of Religions’. The workshop is based on and further develops research results of the Focus Group ‘Dynamics and Stability’.

Roughly speaking, in order to develop a suitable notion of dynamics respectively stability for Religious Studies, the workshop intends to link sociological system theory with its idea of the chain of production, generating self-referential meaning via the production from products and thus performing what Luhmann calls a ‘dynamic stability’ to concepts that have been subject of previous discussions in the Focus Group ‘Dynamics and Stability’ and the Focus Group ‘Attraction’. By doing so, we might come to a fusion of Peircean semiotics and system theory with regard to a descriptive language of religious phenomena. One might argue that the religious attractor (as a main subject of the Focus Group ‘Attraction’) is a (what Peirce calls) dynamic object generating a chain of signs (of immediate objects), that – while reaching for a full understanding of the object though never reaching ‘it’ – describes the process of attraction. The concept of secret is the best illustration for this process. This dynamic object might be fictional (it was introduced to grasp literary fictions like Hamlet), but it ‘acts’ by generating interpretation.  This is the stability of the chain of interpretation – not the object nor the interpretations are stable, but their interrelation, the chain as such, which relates one interpretational product to one another. It integrates the reflexive moment Luhmann points at into a form of stability that bases and reacts on the instability of the flux of time.