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Re: [ontolog-forum] Triadic Sign Relations

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 2010 14:39:36 -0700
Message-id: <20100815213946.17785138CD5@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Hi John,


Thanks for the clarity.  My comments are below:




Rich Cooper


Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com

9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2




RC>> ... so you teach that the "interpretant" (which is a noun) is actually

>> naming an "interpreter" agent?  That contradicts intuition and seems odd.


JFS>>No.  The interpretant of a sign is always another sign. 


Does that make it the "interpretant" property of type Sign, without saying anything about the other properties of the same sign?  Do you mean for "interpretant" to name a role, or to be a specific designation.  I.e., would you prefer TSign1 or TSign2 below:


type TSign = record

  Sign         : TDesignated_Thing;

  Interpretant : TInterpretation;

  Interpreter  : TInterpreter;



I'm curious about your mental image of an interpretant in more detail.


JFS>>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.


Is that precisely true, i.e. "semiosis" names a "process", or "action" of "interpretation" in your mental image?  Using any of those three words in place of semiosis would function properly in your view?


JFS>>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.


But that is specifically your (JFS’s) interpretation, that for the context you describe, interpretants are more like physical manifestations than symbols.  A digital computer can be interpreted at so many, many levels that I don’t think declaring that specific meaning of “interpretant” as a standard works very well.  In anther context, such as IEEE standards that have been debated, documented and decreed, it might be proper to skip referring to the interpreter as having a unique distinct mental image, and think in terms of well-understood, agreed-upon by many, official mental images.  


So I am still confused about where the boundaries lie for these signs signifying other signs.  That can only go on so long before it gets to be circular.  How do you stop the infinite recursion, either in decreed standards or in specifc mental images?


I plan to add more comments later, but for now I don’t have time to give your email as much attention as it deserves – more to come later on the issues below!




JFS>>Jon Awbrey's selection from Peirce's writings is an excellent place

to start:




JFS>>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).


JFS>>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.


JFS>>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.)


JFS>>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.


JFS>>For examples of the way meaning triangles can be linked together,

see Section 2, Signs of Signs, in the following article:







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