Peircean semeiotic and legal practices: Rudimentary and "rhetorical" considerations

Vincent Colapietro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Too often C. S. Peirce's theory of signs is used simply as a classificatory scheme rather than primarily as a heuristic framework (that is, a framework designed and modified primarily for the purpose of goading and guiding inquiry in any field in which signifying processes or practices are present). Such deployment of his semeiotic betrays the letter no less than the spirit of Peirce's writings on signs. In this essay, the author accordingly presents Peirce's sign theory as a heuristic framework, attending to some of the most important ways that it might serve to facilitate a semeiotic investigation of our legal practices. He pays close attention to the ways the topics of history, formalism, reductionism, and generality become, from a Peircean perspective, salient features of legal studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-246
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal for the Semiotics of Law
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Law


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