The Semiotic Animal and the Image of God
Semiotician and philosopher John Deely made the observation that human beings are the semiotic animal, the only species with the capacity to become aware of signs and semiosis, i.e. semiotic consciousness. He discusses in multiple places that this is the defining characteristic of human beings from all of the other animals.
Since human beings ascend to semiotic consciousness, they thus are able to engage in the social construction of reality, and they are the only animals that do this.
Deely’s concept of the semiotic animal is ripe for dialogue with theological anthropology.
In this article, I explore how humanity’s being the semiotic animal is part and parcel of its being made in the Image of God. By being the semiotic animal, humans are able to exercise dominion over the rest of creation and participate in the continuing creation of God.