gerard books



Gérard Deledalle, Charles S. Peirce’s Philosophy of Signs. Essays in Comparative

Semiotics. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2000.

Reviewed by Geoffrey Sykes



For the past four decades Gérard Deledalle has been the main

exponent of American philosophy in France. Books such as La

Philosophie Américaine and À la Recherche d’une Méthode have become widely

known and circulated. Much of his exposition has been centred at l’Université

de Perpignan, in southwestern France, in regular weekly seminars that ran

for over 25 years until his retirement. Commencing with his personal association

with John Dewey, Deledalle’s scholarship, including several publications on

Peirce, would seem to run counter to postwar French interest in structural and

Marxist semiotics, and philosophical traditions. Yet it is part of his professional

achievement not only to represent pragmatism as a minority, mainly American

influence, in France, but through its advocacy to help question and overcome 

stereotypical divisions between European and American thought. Through

personal and professional contacts, he has introduced the work of James, Dewey

and Peirce, and pragmatism generally, to thinkers such as Foucault, Deleuze and Lacan.

Such introductions, and the consequent influence of pragmatism on post-structural French

thinking, cannot be underestimated, and testify to Deledalle’s role in modern French

philosophy and semiotic theory.