Jon, Edwina, List,
I think:
- The representamen is the loud sound, and everything connected with it in the situation (as the representamen is also the sign, so including all following points too)
- The dynamical object is that, what the bird initially feels to be the source of the loud sound, as this (imaginary) source really (not imaginary) is, and as it is in the concepts of all other birds and all other creatures,
- The immediate object is what is initially arisen (imagined) in the bird´s mind by the loud sound for being its source,
- The immediate interpretant is the reason the bird assumes having to fly away,
- The dynamical interpretant is really avoiding the (still imaginary) danger by flying away,
- The final interpretant is the real benefit achieved by the bird, defined by what would really have happened if the bird had not flown away.
This was a quick shot. Now I guess, maybe there is a pattern of combinations of "imaginary" and "real"...
02. Februar 2018 um 17:25 Uhr
Von: "Jon Alan Schmidt" <>

 Edwina, List:
I has been a pleasant (and presumably mutual) surprise to discover that, at least in the specific example of a bird fleeing upon hearing a loud sound, our analyses of the semiosis involved are substantially in agreement after all.
  • The Dynamic Object (DO) is the loud sound itself.
  • The Immediate Object (IO) is the bird's sensation of the loud sound.
  • The Representamen (R) is, or at least includes, the bird's neural pattern that stands for the loud sound.
  • The Immediate Interpretant (II) is the range of possible effects of this neural pattern on the bird.
  • The Dynamic Interpretant (DI) is the actual effect of this neural pattern on the bird, which is its flight.
What remains unresolved is the "location" of the bird's collateral experience and habits of interpretation; hence the new subject line.  This is an aspect of Peirce's overall semeiotic that I have been wondering about for quite some time.  You place them within (or as) the R, but I am still having a hard time seeing it that way in light of Peirce's definition (in multiple places) of the R as that which stands for the Object to the Interpretant.  My sense is that these elements are instead somehow bound up in what it means for the Object to determine the Sign to determine the Interpretant; i.e., collateral experience is what enables the bird to "recognize" its sensation as corresponding to the loud sound, while a habit of interpretation--whether instinctive, learned, or both--is what prompts the bird's response to be flight, rather than any of the other possible effects.
One alternative is to designate the habit of interpretation as the one correlate that is missing above--the Final Interpretant (FI).  Up until now, my working hypothesis has been that the FI is defined as the habit of feeling/action/thought--i.e., the habit of interpretation--that the Sign would produce.  However, I had in mind the habit that the Receiver (in this case, the bird) would develop after sufficient repetition of the same Representamen (in this case, the neural pattern that stands for the loud sound).  I am starting to wonder if instead we should define the FI as the general tendency that governs (but does not mechanically dictate) which actual DI is produced by a particular Sign from among the various possibilities that correspond to its II.  The FI would then be the cumulative effect of all previous instances of semiosis that are somehow relevant to this particular encounter with this particular Sign.
I will stop there and ask again--what do you think?  Feedback from others would also be very welcome.
Jon S.
On Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 7:04 PM, Edwina Taborsky <> wrote:

Jon - with regard to the example in section 3.

I maintain that the Representamen is the bird's knowledge base. This is not just its individual collateral experience but also the biological 'habits' or laws of its species. So, this Representamen includes the bird's individual life experiences plus its own species-specific 'internal awareness of the sound - the as you say,  instinctive 'neural pattern that enables the bird to 'recognize the loud sound'...'. So- to me, the Representamen is both the biological habits AND the living experience habits.

The II - I agree - the range of possible effects..of this neural pattern..

And the DI - is flight.


On Thu 01/02/18 7:49 PM , Jon Alan Schmidt sent:

Edwina, List:
1.  Again, I am still sorting out what the IO is, beyond being the Object as represented in the Sign.  I have not said anything to suggest that it is "mechanical."
2.  Again, we do not disagree about this at all.
3.  Okay, I understand now that you are treating the loud sound--the physical waves of compression and decompression propagating through the air--as the DO.  Let us take the bird's flight as the DI, so that we do not get sidetracked in "the mental workings of the human brain."  That narrows our different analyses to the Sign itself as the (internal) triad of IO-R-II.  In this specific case, I am even willing to concede that the IO can be identified as the impinging of the sound waves on the bird's ears and/or the resulting nerve impulses, although I still maintain that the IO is not defined as "sensate data," and would not be "sensate data" for other kinds of Signs.  That leaves the R and the II.  You say that the R is the bird's "knowledge base," which I characterize instead as its collateral experience ; and that the II is the bird's "internal awareness" of the sound.  For me, the latter is the R; presumably the (largely instinctive) neural pattern that stands for the loud sound within the bird.  As for the II, as usual I see it as the range of possible effects that this neural pattern may have on the bird, one of which is obviously the flight that actually results from it (DI).
In other words, for this particular example--in which all of the correlates are Existents (2ns), which I suspect helps minimize the discrepancies--it looks to me like the only difference in our analyses is that your R is my collateral experience, your II is my R, and my II is something that you do not include, at least not explicitly.  What do you think?
Jon S.
On Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 5:05 PM, Edwina Taborsky <> wrote:


1. You still haven't explained' what is the IO. It surely can't be just a mechanical 'site' within the Sign. It has to have some informational content.

2. Peirce's objective idealism is that 'the one intelligible theory of the universe is that of objective idealism, that matter is effete mind, inveterate habits becoming physical laws'. 6.25.  That is - Mind-as-Matter.

"all mind more or less partakes of the nature of matter'. 6.268

And - "the one original law [is] the recognized law of mind the law of association, of which the laws of matter are..mere special results' 6.277.

3. The loud sound - is the Dynamic Object. This loud sound has its own Dynamic Object[s] [the tree and the wind]...But, to the human, the cat, the bird, who are each full Signs in themselves...their interaction with the external world is just: the loud sound.  They are affected by this sound and must interpret it. The human, the cat, and the bird are NOT themselves, Signs of that loud sound! They simply receive it..and must interpret it. ..and as such, are affected by it; their knowledge base [Representamen] will change...and thus, as a Sign, they too change.


On Thu 01/02/18 5:25 PM , Jon Alan Schmidt sent:

Edwina, List:
1.  Again, I have been trying to sort out what I think the IO is throughout this thread; but where did Peirce ever define it as "sensate data"?
2.  Peirce's stated view was "that matter is effete mind" (CP 6.25, EP 1:293; 1891), not the other way around.  Of course, he later famously said that "the entire universe--not merely the universe of existents, but all that wider universe, embracing the universe of existents as a part, the universe which we are all accustomed to refer to as 'the truth'--that all this universe is perfused with signs, if it is not composed exclusively of signs" (CP 5.448n1, EP 2:394; 1906).  So we actually do not disagree about this at all.
4.  Yes, the Receiver is a Sign, but not the Sign that I thought we were discussing--the loud sound.  I see now that this may be the very root of our overall disconnect.  You seem to be suggesting that the loud sound is the Dynamic Object of the human, the cat, and the bird, each of which is a Sign of that loud sound.  That is not consistent with my understanding of Peirce's terminology at all.
Again, just to be clear--I emphatically do not "confine semiosis to the mental workings of the human brain," any more than you do.  I just analyze it much differently than you do.
Jon S.
On Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 3:50 PM, Edwina Taborsky <> wrote:

Jon - we are simply light-years apart..

1] What do you think the IO is - if not sensate data received from the external world?

2] You and I have a totally different view of 'what is a Sign'. As I've said - I follow Peirce's view that 'Mind is Matter' - and that this matter is, as a whole, a Sign. The whole biochemical unit - is a sign. An atom, a molecule - is a Sign. It exists as such in interaction with other Signs, i.e., other atoms, other molecules. What do you think a Sign is - merely a mental concept in someone's mind?

The bird is a whole Sign - and is receiving sensate data from another Sign...let's say...from another bird.

3] I am not going to get into a discussion of reality vs existentiality. The Representamen, as a qualisign, a sinsign, a legisign, does not exist per se, separately. It exists as such - within the triad of the whole Sign. This is basic to Peirce and Aristotle.

4] The Receiver is a Sign! The bird, as a whole, is a Sign. The human, as a whole, is a Sign. And - to be a Sign, it is always receiving and sending information to other Signs.

You confine semiosis to the mental workings of the human brain. I view semiosis as basic within all matter...Mind-is-Matter. Peirce was quite specific - that Mind functions within all matter.

So- quite frankly- we have very little in common about these issues.


On Thu 01/02/18 4:37 PM , Jon Alan Schmidt sent:

Edwina, List:
Again, my reading of Peirce is very different from yours.
1.  If you have quotes where he explicitly defined the Immediate Object to be "sensate data," I would like to see them; I did not find any in CP or EP.  This whole thread is about trying to get a better handle on what the IO is.
2.  The Sign must be in a relation with the DO, which is external to it; the DO is not part of the Sign.  I was sure that we agreed on that, as long as your (correct) emphasis on the (necessarily) interactive nature of semiosis is kept firmly in view.  What you call "a knowledge base" is not the Representamen, it is the result of collateral experience.  Here you call the bird "the whole Sign," but before you called it the "Receiver" of the Sign; which is it?
3.  There are Real Qualisigns and Legisigns, but none of them exist, except as Sinsigns (replicas).  Likewise, all of the other five correlates and four relations only exist, strictly speaking, when they are Existents (2ns), not when they are Possibles (1ns) or Necessitants (3ns); but those in the latter two Universes can nevertheless be Real.
5.  There is no "reduction" here, just faithfulness to Peirce's own terminology.  As far as I know, he never referred to the six correlates themselves as "relations," only the four relations that the Sign has to the three external correlates (DO, DI, FI).
6.  Again, the Representamen is internal to the Sign, not to the Receiver.  Now, some Signs are internal to the Receiver--Interpretant Signs and thought-Signs being obvious examples.  Sensing the sound waves in your body is a Dynamic Interpretant--an actual effect that an external Sign (the loud sound) produces.  Your thoughts about this sensation are subsequent Signs.
Jon S.
On Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 1:55 PM, Edwina Taborsky <> wrote:

Jon - we'll have to 'agree to disagree'. There is simply a HUGE gap between your view and mine - and an even bigger gap between my view and that of Gary F.

1. I can come up with quotes as well....and your use of 'represented in the sign' doesn't explain what this means. What do you think the IO is?

2. No - I told you that the Sign must include the Dynamic Object. I don't keep archives as you do and so can't check - but to have the Sign as strictly and only internal and subjective - doesn't make any sense. The whole point of semiosis - is that it is interactive, relational. Not just subjective - which would be nominalistic. What I agreed to was that there WAS a basic internal triad [since some people reject even the IO and the II] - but - there need not be a DI. But there has to be a DO - The Sign is not an isolate subjective 'thing' or 'event'. It is interactional.

I don't agree with your diagrams of the IO as the 'site' on the Sign where the DO bonds to it. To me - that doesn't make any sense. That almost sounds as if 'the IO site already exists within the 'Sign'..and the DO simply 'bonds/attaches to it! That doesn't make sense to me.

 My diagram is that the whole Sign [let's say a bird] - carries within it a knowledge base [physiological, mental]..known as the Representamen. When a Dynamic Object, which is an external Sign/Mind-as-Matter interacts with this Bird/Sign/Mind-as-Matter.... the sensate data from that DO enters the body/mind of the bird. That information is the IO.  The Representamen acts on this data..and transforms it into an Interpretation [II and DI].

3. The Sign is NOT just the Representamen! [qualisign, sinsign, legisign!!]. It's the whole triad! Therefore, it does exist - otherwise it wouldn't be a Sign.

5] I don't agree with your reduction of the phases of semiosis to 'correlates'. They are vital components of the whole semiosic process. Each functions within a Relation.  That is, each can interact within a different categorical mode - though there are restrictions in their 'whole set of relations'.

6 The external loud sound can hardly be the Representamen!!! The Representamen is INTERNAL - and this loud sound is coming from an external source! Plus, the Representamen has the function of mediation between the O and the I.

The falling of the oak tree is the final - the FI; all that I get - is the DO, which is the loud sound. I have no idea what it is.

And the sensate effect of this loud sound - is the Immediate Object. I can 'feel' the sound waves in my body. Then, my body, via its physiological and mental Representamen capacities - must 'interpret' this., as an II - first - that it's a loud force external to me and also, that it's something outside.

7. You say 'internal to the Sign' - not internal to the receiver. But where is the sign?


On Thu 01/02/18 2:11 PM , Jon Alan Schmidt sent:

Edwina, List:
As you know, my reading of Peirce is very different from yours, but hopefully we can engage in some constructive dialogue anyway.
1.  Here are three quotes where Peirce explicitly defined the Immediate Object to be the Object as it is represented in the Sign.  "… there are two aspects of the object: 1. The object as acting on the sign. That is called the real object. 2. The object as represented in the sign, or the immediate object" (R 1334:53; 1905).  "... one must distinguish the Object as it is represented, which is called the Immediate Object, from the Object as it is in itself" (R 793:14; 1906).  "We must distinguish between the Immediate Object,--i.e., the Object as represented in the sign,--and the Real (no, because perhaps the Object is altogether fictive, I must choose a different term; therefore:), say rather the Dynamical Object ..." (EP 2:498; 1909).  On the other hand, I am not aware of any passage where Peirce explicitly defined the Immediate Object to be "sensate data."
2.  You agreed with me about this a little less than a year ago; has something changed?  I wrote, "We now agree that the Sign is a triad  in the sense that the Immediate Object and Immediate Interpretant are  internal  to it.  What remains is whether the Dynamic Object and the Dynamic Interpretant are also parts  of the Sign as a single triad, or distinct correlates of a triadic relation ...  both the (Dynamic) Object and (Dynamic) Interpretant are distinct  Subjects that are  independent of the Sign ...  the Object is 'something else' than the Sign, while the Interpretant is the 'effect' of the Sign; so again, it strikes me as saying that they are  separate ."  You replied, "I would agree that the internal triad is thus basic - and the external parts could be called correlates - and are not necessarily found at the same time."  The necessity of the Dynamic Object to determine the Sign has never been at issue between us, nor the fundamentally interactive nature of semiosis in general.  Diagrammatically, I think of the Immediate Object as something like the site on the Sign where the Dynamic Object "bonds" to it, and the Immediate Interpretant as the site on the Sign where the Dynamic Interpretant "bonds" to it.
3&4.  I tend to treat the Sign as an individual site/node for abstract analytical purposes, but Gary R.'s concrete thought experiments are helping me to recognize some of the limitations of that approach.  I am uncomfortable with your use of "existential" in this context, since only Sinsigns strictly exist; that is why Qualisigns and Legisigns must be embodied as Sinsigns in order to act as Signs (CP 2.244-246, EP 2:291; 1903).  A word is not only a Sign as a Token (Sinsign), it is also a Sign as a Type (Legisign)--a general whose Reality is not confined to its actual instantiations, but includes the inexhaustible continuum of its potential instantiations.
5.  Dynamic Object, Immediate Object, Representamen, Immediate Interpretant, Dynamic Interpretant, and Final Interpretant are Peirce's terms for six correlates or subjects that are involved in semiosis, not six relations.  He identified four relations, each including the Sign itself--its dyadic relations to the Dynamic Object, Dynamic Interpretant, and Final Interpretant; and its triadic relation to the Dynamic Object and Final Interpretant.  Together these correspond to the ten trichotomies of his 1908 Sign classification (CP 1.342-376, EP 2:478-490).  There are no distinct relations of the Sign to its Immediate Object and Immediate Interpretant, because those are both parts of the Sign itself.
6.  We agree that every Sign-action must have at least the first four correlates, although we define them quite differently.  In your example, given your characterization of several Dynamic Interpretants, I am inclined to identify the loud sound as the Representamen, the falling of the oak tree as the Dynamic Object, and the entire range of possible effects of the loud sound on anything and everything as the Immediate Interpretant.   As such, these correlates are the same for the human, the cat, and the bird; only their Dynamic Interpretants are different, as a result of the different habits of interpretation that they have previously developed.   I understand the Immediate Object and Immediate Interpretant to be internal to the Sign , not internal to the Receiver ; in particular, "'It is usual and proper to distinguish two Objects of a Sign, the Mediate without, and the Immediate within the Sign" (EP 2:480; 1908).  However, this thread has called my attention to the difficulty of clarifying exactly what it means for the Immediate Object to be "internal to the Sign," and I find myself unsure about "where to locate it" in this case.
Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA
Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman
On Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 11:30 AM, Edwina Taborsky <> wrote:

List - I've kept out of this baffling exchange because was too baffling. I had and have no idea what Gary F and Jon AS are talking about. I'll just try to clear up a few things - as I see them.

1. The Immediate Object is not the 'Object as it is represented in the Sign'. The IO is the sensate data before 'representation/interpretation'.

2. I did not and do not agree that the Sign is a 'triad of the Immediate Object/Representamen/Immediate Interpretant'. That would make the Sign a strictly INTERNAL proposition - and the whole nature of the Sign [capital S] is that it is existential and not just subjective. The external Dynamic Object MUST be part of this semiosic process.

3. I'll try to explain my understanding.  I totally reject Gary F's confinement of the term 'sign' to the single site/node ..Semiosis is a complex process; it is an action, a process - and consists of Relations between 'existential units'...which are constantly interacting informationally. There are a number of steps within the Sign. We could best understand the Sign as a syllogism - but - I won't get into that.

4. We should first understand that semiosis is an interaction between - let's say for simplicity, two 'existential units' [though in reality, the interactions and units are without count].  Each unit, as existential, will be itself a Sign.

What is a Sign? It is an existential form of Mind-as-Matter. So, a stone, a leaf, a plant, an insect, a tree, a human, a word....these are all Signs. They are all existential forms of Mind-as-Matter. They are also all constantly in semiosic interaction with other Signs. If there is no such interaction - then, they cease to exist as Signs, as Mind-as-Matter.

5. The process of this semiosic interaction is necessarily complex. Why? Because such complexity enables the generation of diverse forms of new Signs/Mind-as-Matter.

The semiosic interaction is: - in its full  stage - made up of 6 interactive phases.

Dynamic Object- Immediate Object- Representamen-Immediate Interpretant-Dynamic Interpretant-Final Interpretant.

Each interaction is a Relation, ..and can be in any one of the three categorical modes of Firstness; Secondness; Thirdness. I won't get into that.

6. The basic semiosic interaction - known as The Sign is: O-R-I...but we must break this down into..

DO-IO-R-II. Note- we MUST have two existences, two units, two Mind-as-Matter units in the semiosic situation. The external 'thing'...and..the Receiver..

An example:

DO- a loud sound. Now - this loud sound...enters the 'sensual awareness' of three Receivers. A human  being, a cat, a bird

IO - this is the sensate data that is subjective, it is INTERNAL to each of the three Receivers. Each of them 'hears' or receives this loud sound in a different way.

R - this is their knowledge base. It mediates the data from the IO...and, according to each different capacity, will come up with and Interpretation....[Note - this is what Gary F refers to as the sign, and this, I suggest, ignores that the Sign is the whole complex process, not just one Relation].

II - this is their subjective, INTERNAL 'awareness' of that loud sound. The human will be physically aware that there is some loud force outside of themselves. The cat..will be equally aware...but..might feel it even in their body. Same with the bird.

DI- here, at this phase, the human will articulate: Oh - that old Oak tree finally fell. The cat will watch the human to see if what it heard/felt should be interpreted as alarm. The bird's interpretant is: Flee.


I'll just note that the Representamen - which can be in any categorical mode, is a powerful, powerful mediative force. Since it can be in 1-1 [Pure Firstness] or 2-2 , or 2-1; or 3-3, or 3-1, or 3-2.....then, it can add and transform to the sensate data of that Immediate Object - to produce a completely novel Interpretant.


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