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Dr. Tiago da Costa e Silva

Dissertation Project

The Logic of Design from a Semiotic Perspective 

This dissertation aims to develop a contribution to the understanding of creative dynamics of design by applying the semiotics, or theory of signs, of Charles S. Peirce. In general, the concept of “design” can be understood as a goal-oriented activity that generates a creative force in preparation for later producing an object resulting from this process. Every design thus inherently carries a kind of intentionality toward further embodiments and actualizations in which additional properties capable of being discovered in the course of this dynamic process become more visible, more accessible to experience, more predictable, and more specific.
By applying Peirce’s theory of signs to the area of design and thus considering or analyzing the development-operations of design as a form of semiosis, it becomes possible to grasp the complexity of design dynamics. When design dynamics are seen from this perspective, the result is a knowledge of design that allows itself to be understood as a process of an intentional development. This approach focuses its argumentation on the question of how something new can originate through a design and its embodiment, in the sense of its realization.
Through the application of Charles S. Peirce’s semiotics and, above all, in light of the non-reducible triadic structure of semiosis, dynamic object, and interpretant theory, together with Pierce's pragmatism and aesthetics, this dissertation defends the thesis that design is a long-term, continual process of development consisting of an evolutionary, non-reversible process generated by an orientation originating from a simple state to a more complex, developed state and manifesting a pragmatic character. The evolutionary orientation and the characteristic non-reversibility of this process, as well as the creative effect and its potential for networking and growth, are determined by an aesthetic intentionality. The dissertation thereby considers the thesis of aesthetic intentionality as a vector of a creative, diagrammatic, and evolutionary force as a parameter for the sensitization of perception in light of newer concepts, ideas, and design development, treating this thesis as a possible application of the aesthetic project that was only partially formulated by Charles S. Peirce.    


From 1998–2002, Tiago da Costa e Silva studied industrial design in the area of visual communication at São Paulo State University in Brazil; from 2003–2005, he completed a master's degree at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC/SP). From 2007–2009, he taught courses in the history and theory of design, image analysis, and experimental language lab at the Senac University Center and at the Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado. In 2011, he began a PhD program at the University of Bamberg.
His main areas of research include philosophy in the area of objective humanism, aesthetics, semiotics, pragmatism, visual communication, and design theory.


Da Costa e Silva, Tiago. "What is the Esthetics of Charles S. Peirce for? Inquiry into a Theoretical Framework of Esthetics for a Theory of Discovery", in: Peirce Studies, Vol X. Charles S. Peirce. Bridging the Disciplinary Boundaries of Natural Sciences and Humanities. Elise Bisanz and Kenneth Laine Kettner (Orgs.), Berlin: Peter Lang Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften, 2018. (Forthcoming).

"The Logic of Design Process. Invention and Discovery in Light of the Semiotics of Charles S. Peirce", Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, November 2018.

„Ästhetische Erfahrung als Quelle unzähliger Inventionen“, in: Art Value – Positionen zum Wert der Kunst, Heft 17, 2016, S. 48-50.

A Linguagem Poética do Cinema de Animação: Estudos de Quatro Curtas-Metragens, Saarbrücken: Novas Edições Acadêmicas, 2016.

„Prototyp als Provisorium im Entwurfsverfahren“, in:, Onlinepublikation des Graduiertenkollegs „Das Wissen der Künste“, Nr. 4 „das Provisorische“, November 2015, URL:

„Universe, Human, and Growth: Charles S. Peirce’s Contributions to a Culture of Love“, in: Doda-Wyszyńska, Agnieszka / Machtyl, Katarzyna (Hg.): Studia Kulturoznawcze, Poznań, 2015, S. 213–226.

„Szenographien des Wissens: Über kreative und poietische Prozesse“ (zusammen mit Jens Meinrenken), in:, Onlinepublikation des Graduiertenkollegs „Das Wissen der Künste“, Nr. 2 „Opake Evidenzen“, Juni 2014, URL:

„Julia und die Sonne“, in:, Onlinepublikation des Graduiertenkollegs „Das Wissen der Künste“, Nr. 3 „Entwurf/Modell“, November 2014, URL:

„Essay über Intentionalität und Entwurfsdynamik“, in:, Onlinepublikation des Graduiertenkollegs „Das Wissen der Künste“, Nr. 1 „Wissensformationen und -praktiken“, Oktober 2013, URL:

„Perceptive Habits and New Habits of Feeling in the Light of Intentional Aesthetics“, in: Eckardt, Anke (Hg.): Sonic Spaces. Ground-Wall-Verticality, Berlin: Revolver Publishing, 2013, S. 10–15.

„On the Genesis of the Peircean Aesthetics: Studies Upon the Objetive Idealism between Peirce and Schelling“. COGNITIO-ESTUDOS: Revista Eletrônica de Filosofia (ISSN: 1809-8428), volume 7, número 1 – janeiro/junho – Sao Paulo, Päpstliche Katholische Universität Sao Paulo – PUC/SP, 2010.

  „Moving Pictures of Thought - the Projective-Imagetic Power and its Outsourcing within new Technologies“, in: Arte e tecnologia: interseções entre arte e pesquisas tecno-científicas. Brasília, UnB Verlag, (ISBN: 978-85-89698-13-9), 2007, p. 318-323.





[Translate to English:] Lehrveranstaltungen

[Translate to English:] (SoSe 2014) Gibt es eine Logik des Entwerfens? (wöchentliches Seminar am Institut für Theorie und Geschichte der Gestaltung - IGTG der Fakultät Gestaltung der UdK)

(WiSe 2013/2014) Labor für Ästhetik und Interaktionismus: von der Wahrnehmung zur Entwurfsdynamik (wöchentliches Seminar am Institut für Theorie und Geschichte der Gestaltung - IGTG der Fakultät Gestaltung der UdK)

(SoSe 2013) Bilddynamiken: Theorie über Bilder als Anregung für neue Bildproduktionen (wöchentliches Seminar am Institut für Theorie und Geschichte der Gestaltung - IGTG der Fakultät Gestaltung der UdK)