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Displaying: 1-20 of 48 documents


1. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen Signs systematically studied: Invitation to Peirce’s theory
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This introductory presentation reviews noteworthy topics and concepts in Peirce’s interrelated kingdoms of the theory of signs, their classification, categories, logic and semeiotic.
2. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Francesco Bellucci Exploring Peirce’s speculative grammar: The immediate object of a sign
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The paper argues against what I call the “Fregean interpretation” of Peirce’s distinction between the immediate and the dynamic object of a sign, according to which Peirce’s dynamic object is akin to Frege’s Bedeutung, while Peirce’s immediate object is akin to Frege’s Sinn. After having exposed the Fregean interpretation, I briefly reconstruct the genesis of Peirce’s notion of immediate object in his semiotic writings of the years 1904–1909 and defend the view that, according to Peirce, only propositions have immediate objects.
3. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Helmut Pape Comment
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4. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Helmut Pape C. S. Peirce on the dynamic object of a sign: From ontology to semiotics and back
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That reality, and in particular the (dynamic) objects of signs, are independent of our thoughts or other representations is a crucial thesis of Peirce’s realism. On the other hand, his semiotics implies the claim that all reality and all real objects are real for us only because of the signs we use. Do these two claims contradict, even exclude, each other? I will argue that both Peirce’s metaphysics and his semiotics provide a natural via media: a structural account of the openness of processes, featuring transitive relations, connects process ontology implicit in his evolutionary metaphysics and the relational, quasi-inferential features embodied in interpretational sequences of signs. It is shown that Peirce’s notion of a sign, its normative role and his account of the directional force of objects implies a sort of logical causality that supports the unity of objects. In this way sign sequences are able to relate flexibly sign use with contextually specified independent objects. That is to say, relational properties of object-oriented chains of interpretations provide sign users with a flexible, fallibilistic instrument able to capture by contingent identity relations (teridentity) of the identity of objects in changing situations.
5. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Francesco Bellucci Comment
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6. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Juuso-Ville Gustafsson Triadism and processuality
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This paper examines the connections between triadism and processuality in Peirce’s semiotics by comparing two reducibility theses. Peirce’s thesis regarding the irreducibility of triads and its corollary in semiotics, the irreducibility of signs, is compared with the process metaphysical thesis regarding the irreducibility of processes. The comparison indicates that (1) there is a connection between the irreducibility of signs and the irreducibility of processes; (2) that the triadic condition of the sign entails process metaphysical commitments; and this in turn (3) urges us to consider the ontology of the sign from a process metaphysical perspective.
7. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Tyler James Bennett The semiotic life cycle and The Symbolic Species
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In The Symbolic Species (1997) Terrence Deacon identifies human verbal language acquisition as the first and foremost evolutionary threshold where symbol use happens, with all the concomitant adaptive advantages it affords, but along with these advantages in this book and elsewhere he alludes to certain disadvantages that result from symbols. To describe these disadvantages he uses words like maladaptation, parasitism, cognitive penumbra, and other hyperbolic terms. He does so offhandedly, either in connection with the results of some laboratory experiments, or simply in disconnected ominous generalizations, but never justifies these sign effects within the dominantly Peircean model of language acquisition that gives the book its title. In later works Deacon attempts to contextualize these generalizations within Richard Dawkins’ theory of the meme. Deacon is sometimes disparaged for his supposedly imprecise or incorrect use of the sign theory of Charles Peirce to defend his claims about memes and symbols. The problem is not that Peirce should not be used in this way. In fact Deacon’s book is a singular achievement in the application of Peirce. The problem is that Deacon’s Peircean model is too simple. In fact Deacon’s claim about the possible disadvantages of symbol use can be reinforced with a closer look at the mature, turn-of-the-century Peircean sign model. This preserves the theoretical integrity of The Symbolic Species and clarifies the relation between memes and signs.
8. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Mats Bergman The highest branch of logic?: On a neglected question of speculative rhetoric
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C. S. Peirce once described philosophical rhetoric as “the highest and most living branch of logic”. This article outlines a new interpretation of what prompted this unexpected elevation of the third subdivision of semiotic (understood as logic in the broad sense), and explores some of the implications of the proposed reading. Two plausible explanations are identified, leading to an exposition of Peirce’s equally puzzling association of rhetoric with objective logic in the 1890s. The final part of the essay briefly addresses the question of how Peirce’s subsequent shift from rhetoric to methodeutic may have affected his conception of the concluding branch of logic.
9. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Jean-Marie Chevalier The role of emotional interpretants in Peirce’s theory of belief and doubt
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The theory of emotional interpretant is mentioned only a few times in Peirce’s works. My hypothesis is that if Peirce did not develop this concept through and through, and reflected on it only very late in his writings, it is because it had been implicit in almost all his previous epistemological and semiotic works. The qualitative nature which defines belief and doubt makes the whole theory of inquiry rely on feelings, and is a consistent part of the characterization of beliefs as dispositions. In spite of this, objectivity is still preserved.
10. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Henrik Rydenfelt Comment: Emotion and belief
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11. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Henrik Rydenfelt Emotional interpretants and ethical inquiry
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The connection between emotions and ethical views or ethical inquiry has been considered intimate by a number of philosophers. Based on Peirce’s discussion on the emotional interpretants in MS 318, I will suggest that such interpretants could be exploited in ethical inquiry. I will first argue, drawing on T. L. Short’s interpretation of Peirce, that there are final emotional interpretants, and such emotional interpretants actually formed (or dynamical) can be more or less appropriate concerning the sign’s (dynamical) objects. I will then explore the prospect that emotional interpretants could be harnessed for the particular cognitive purpose of ethical inquiry, concluding that normative judgments based on feelings could serve as its observational part.
12. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Jean-Marie Chevalier Comment: A note on moral sentimentalism in the light of the emotional interpretant
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13. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Frederik Stjernfelt Blocking evil infinites: A note on a note on a Peircean strategy
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This brief note considers Peirce’s strategy of terminating potentially evil infinities – concerning relations, continuous predicates, leading principles, habits – by appeal to the Nota Notae principle.
14. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Marc Champagne A less simplistic metaphysics: Peirce’s layered theory of meaning as a layered theory of being
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This article builds on C. S. Peirce’s suggestive blueprint for an inclusive outlook that grants reality to his three categories. Moving away from the usual focus on (contentious) cosmological forces, I use a modal principle to partition various ontological layers: regular sign-action (like coded language) subsumes actual signaction (like here-and-now events) which in turn subsumes possible sign-action (like qualities related to whatever would be similar to them). Once we realize that the triadic sign’s components are each answerable to this asymmetric subsumption, we obtain the means to track at which level of complexity semiosis finds itself, in a given case. Since the bulk of such a “trinitarian” metaphysics would be devoted to countenancing uninterpreted phenomena, I argue that current misgivings about sign-based ontologies are largely misplaced.
15. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Jean-Marie Chevalier Comment: Semiotics is not metaphysics
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16. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Nathan Houser Being in the world
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This essay addresses a question raised by Helmut Pape: “What logical, semiotical and mental structure does our consciousness have to have in order to establish the proper link between perception, thought and propositional content expressed by indicators?” The answer, it is proposed, is found in Peirce’s Existential Graphs (EG). First, EG is, itself, a model of cognition that provides the formal structure required for such a consciousness. Second, an appropriate semiotical interpretation will give us the requested structure. Third, interpreted as a psychological or perceptual model, EG will represent the links we seek.
17. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Benoit Gaultier Some perplexities about Peirce’s “skeleton ideas”
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In seven paragraphs written in 1893, Peirce puts forward a puzzling and thought-provoking claim about the role of rather mysterious “skeleton-sets” in processes of association of ideas: all association of ideas, either by resemblance or by contiguity, requires and involves “skeleton sets”, whose iconic dimension is necessary for these processes to take place. Because it relates to the question of the nature and mode of the existence of ideas, to that of the role of icons in thought, and to that of the content of concepts, this thesis is clearly of great importance for Peirce’s philosophical system. In this paper, I would like to examine two questions: (1) what is the justification of Peirce’s claim that “skeleton-sets”, or “skeleton ideas”, are necessary for an association of ideas – by resemblance or by contiguity – to take place in one’s mind? (2) Is this claim compatible with Peirce’s philosophical system?
18. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Jelena Issajeva Sign theory at work: The mental imagery debate revisited
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This article attempts to give a plausible explanation to the long-debated question about the nature of mental imagery (MI). The traditional approach to this question is based on the representational paradigm, which, I claim, is misguided. Instead of representational aspects of mental imagery, I emphasize the functions of mental imagery, the variety of properties that images exhibit in experimental studies, and the relations between diff erent characteristics of images, their functions and the subject of imagery. That is, I propose to account for mental imagery as a sign system, consisting of different types of signs. A mental image can contain important properties as parts of the complex sign. This approach to the explanation of the nature of MI is beneficial, since it suggests the phenomenon of mental imagery, which overcomes some long-standing controversies on the issue.
19. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Amirouche Moktefi Is Euler’s circle a symbol or an icon?
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The most familiar scheme of diagrams used in logic is known as Euler’s circles. It is named after the mathematician Leonhard Euler who popularized it in his Letters to a German Princess (1768). The idea is to use spaces to represent classes of individuals. Charles S. Peirce, who made significant contributions to the theory of diagrams, praised Euler’s circles for their ‘beauty’ which springs from their true iconicity. More than a century later, it is not rare to meet with such diagrams in semiotic literature. They are often offered as instances of icons and are said to represent logic relations as they naturally are. This paper discusses the iconicity of Euler’s circles in three phases: first, Euler’s circles are shown to be icons because their relations imitate the relations of the classes. Then, Euler’s circles themselves, independently of their relations to one another, are shown to be icons of classes. Finally, Euler’s circles are shown to be iconic in the highest degree because they have the relations that they are said to represent. The paper concludes with a note on the so-called naturalness of Euler’s circles.
20. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen Recent studies on signs: Commentary and perspectives
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In this commentary, I reply to the fourteen papers published in the Sign Systems Studies special issue on Peirce’s Theory of Signs, with a view on connecting some of their central themes and theses and in putting some of the key points in those papers into a wider perspective of Peirce’s logic and philosophy.