Ripensamenti d’autore. Dalle dispense del corso di laurea a Kant e l’Ornitorinco

Francesco Galofaro


In the summer course of the year 1996/97, Umberto Eco held the course in Semiotics of the text at the University of Bologna. The three handouts of the course correspond to Chapters 1, 2 and 6 of Kant and the Platypus (from now on KEO). The references among them show that the volume, whose first edition would have been published in October of that year, grew around this nucleus. The variants introduced by the author let us think to a sudden rethink, occurred in less than twelve months:

a) The reader implied by the handouts is interested in philosophy whereas KEO is addressed to a reader interested in cognitive science;

b) The title of the book: a step of the first handout suggests that originally was referred to ontology.

c) Semiotics is portrayed in KEO as a unified discipline, where the handouts rather show a debate;

d) In the handouts Eco refers to a constructivist epistemology; in KEO he proposes his negative realism;

e) Eco radically rethink the proposed theoretical model. In the handouts we can’t find the concept of molar content; the cognitive type can be affected by historical and cultural changes; the connection between perception and interpretation is mediated by intertextual frames; in KEO, on the contrary, the interpretation mediates between perception and narrative structures


semiotics, cognitive sciences, negative realism, cognitive type, perceptual judgements


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