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Re: [ontolog-forum] Triadic Sign Relations

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 2010 10:08:01 -0400
Message-id: <4C67F4C1.5020708@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Rich,    (01)

RC>> ... so you teach that the "interpretant" (which is a noun) is actually
>> naming an "interpreter" agent?  That contradicts intuition and seems odd.    (02)

No.  The interpretant of a sign is always another sign.  The process of
interpretation, which Peirce called semiosis, is always performed by
what Peirce called a mind or a quasi-mind.  A computer, for example,
is not a mind, but it behaves like a quasi-mind by interpreting signs.    (03)

Inside a digital computer, all the signs are bit patterns, which are
interpreted by other bit patterns.  But if you get down to the level
of physical hardware, the interpretants are signs in variety of media,
ranging from electrical pulses to magnetic spots to ink droplets to
holes in a card to whatever any inventor might imagine.    (04)

Jon Awbrey's selection from Peirce's writings is an excellent place
to start:    (05)

http://www.mywikibiz.com/Directory:Jon_Awbrey/Papers/Information_%3D_Comprehension_%C3%83%E2%80%94_Extension#Selection_18    (06)

That is Selection 18 from a long list of other important comments
from Peirce's early writings (which are usually easier to understand
than his later writings, which go into much more depth with many
more comments about side issues).    (07)

The meaning triangle, which Ogden and Richards drew, was inspired by
Peirce.  While Ogden was a student at Cambridge, Lady Victoria Welby
had been his mentor.  VW had been carrying out a lengthy correspondence
with Peirce, and O&R included excerpts from some of CSP's letters in
the appendix of their book.    (08)

The meaning triangle is actually a gross oversimplification of what
CSP was trying to say.  When O&R talked about the "object", they were
thinking of an actual physical object, but Peirce was thinking of
another sign -- which could be a physical object, but it was more
likely another sign.  (To be completely general, Peirce made the
point that every physical object is also a sign of itself.)    (09)

In fact, all three nodes of a meaning triangle (or 'triad' as Peirce
called it) are signs, which could themselves be part of other
triads.  Instead of just one triad, Peirce talked about triads
of triads linked together in all possible ways.    (010)

For examples of the way meaning triangles can be linked together,
see Section 2, Signs of Signs, in the following article:    (011)

    http://www.jfsowa.com/ontology/ontometa.htm    (012)

John    (013)

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