ONT Re: Signs Of Pragmata -- Discussion
SOP. Discussion Note 2
HT = Hugh Trenchard
Re: SOP 1. http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg05410.html
HT: I find this quite confusing. It looks like Peirce is saying that
the "triadic" relationship of the sign, object, and interpretant
cannot exist in any other combination except in the triad.
HT: If I can paraphrase this a bit, it sounds like an object (the "second")
may be perceived by a person, but it is meaningless as any particular
object until that person interprets the object by relating it to certain
properties (i.e. conceptions and extensions (?)) she knows that can help
to identify and give meaning to the particular object (these properties
being the sign or "representamen"). The triadic relationship, if I am
anything close to the mark, is about gleaning meaning from perception.
The first thing to do is to realize that a "sign relation" is a certain type
of formal structure that one is trying to characterize in a formal way, much
like the way that we define mathematical objects like graphs and groups and
so on ad infinitum. Whether a particular family of formal objects is good
for any particular purpose is a whole separate question. So quite a few
of the words that we necessarily have to use to talk about this familiy
of formal objects, for instance, "object" or "sign", will have to be
shorn of their ordinary connotations, and perhaps get to keep only
some of their former associations. In this situation, all of the
designations Object, Sign, Interpretant refer to the relational
roles that particular elements play in a particular 3-tuple of
a particular set of 3-tuples that we call a "sign relation".
To make it short but rough, "object" is used more in the
sense of "object of discussion" or "object of thought".
It can be, but doesn't have to be an ordinary physical
or even a presently existing object. Indeed, very
often the word "objective", in the sense of "goal"
or "intentional object" is a better paraphrase of
what's being intended in a particular application.
So let us go back to "the" definition of a sign relation --
I'd recommend No. 14 as being the clearest on this score:
There you can see that whatever we are talking about has a lot to do
with a special relationship of "correspondence" and "determination",
and to find out what Peirce meant by those words you have to do some
further reading, where you'd find that he is talking about a triple
correspondence, no kind of 2-adic mirror correspondence need apply,
and a type of determination that is informational and partial in
general, not of necessity causal or absolutely deterministic.
To be continued ...
HT: I get confused (or more confused) when he talks about a sunflower
being a representamen of the sun. Is the sunflower in this case a
property of the sun -- a thing which triggers an image of the sun;
something which implies the sun? If so, I can't help but think
again of Borges' story in which the jaguar implies the deer the
jaguar ate, the grass the deer ate ... the universe (or that idea),
and I question the proximity of the relationship. A sunflower may
conjure images of the sun, but isn't a closer representamen of the
sun a circle and bright skies?
HT: Also, if a person is involved in the perception of the object, isn't
the person himself part of the relationship? It sounds like we have
object, sign, and interpretation of sign=meaning. But what about the
physical system (i.e. the brain) which facilitates this transformative
process? Isn't this a quadratic relationship? (he-he-heaven forbid --
anything but a triad! Bring out the crucifixes and the wooden stakes!
Sweep up the stars, dismantle the sun!)
HT: Obviously I'm missing a TON,
but some clarification of these
for starters might be helpful.