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Si E. San Juan Bilang "Interpretant"

Virgilio S. Almario


In this rejoinder to E. San Juan’s lecture “Kahulugan, Katotohan, Katwiran: Pagpapakilala sa Semiotika ni Charles Sanders Peirce,” Almario addresses San Juan’s critique of his reading of Cirio H. Panganiban’s poem in his essay “Pormalismo at Marxismo sa Pagbasa ng ‘Three O’ Clock in the Morning.’” Almario’s essay was delivered in 1992 in a seminar at Ateneo de Manila University and published in 2006 in his book Pag-unawa sa Ating Pagtula. Although Almario lauds San Juan’s critical interventions on C. S. Peirce’s semiotics, which updates Saussurian linguistics with the role of the “Interpretant,” he nevertheless deplores San Juan’s shortsightedness when the latter fails to evaluate the former’s essay in its entire argument. San Juan overlooks Almario’s analysis of modernization and Americanization, subtexts that, for San Juan, represent the “real meaning” of the poem but were missing in Almario’s reading. Moreover, San Juan dismisses Almario’s elaboration of the Christian/ moralist strain in the poem as vulgar and reductive whereas this textual consideration, Almario argues, although deemed outdated compared to current Marxist hermeneutics, was relevant to materialist reading practices at that time. Thus, Almario attributes what San Juan observes as his lack of theoretical complexity to the historical moment. Lastly, Almario decries the absolutist stance of San Juan’s criticism which forecloses other possible mediations between text and history. This, he cautions, contradicts the sense of dynamic and ongoing interrogation that C. S. Peirce’s pragmatic method of inquiry requires.


formalism, marxism, Philippine literary criticism, Philippine literature, pragmatism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2012.01912