Now, at the beginning of the new millennium, semiotics not only addresses human verbal communication but embraces the study of all sign activity.
Sebeok places himself in the 'major tradition' of semiotics represented by John Locke, C.S. Peirce and the ancient physicians Hippocrates and Galen. Semiotics is for him the 'sign science' that converges with the 'life sciences'. Indeed, it is Sebeok's central thesis that sign activity is the very definition of life in the universe.
What are the consequences of Sebeok's vision for the arts, humanities and science? What does it say for ethics? And why does the concept of 'global semiotics' entail a fundamental reorientation of humans to the environment in which they live? Thomas Sebeok and the Signs of Life offers answers to these questions and presents a vision of the human being as a sign in a universe of signs.
Susan Petrilli and Augusto Ponzo teach at the Department of Linguistic Practices and Text Analysis, Bari University, Italy.