BODY { font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;
}Jon - even a Dicent Indexical Sinsign functions in a triad - that
infamous weathervane...which is an interaction between two subjects. 

        And for dyadic actions to take place, the two agents in brute
interaction are, in themselves, triads [the wind, the wooden vane]

        So- I can do nothing about your confusion.

 On Sun 11/02/18 10:18 PM , Jon Alan Schmidt
 Edwina, List:
 I continue to be confused by your latest comments.  From a purely
logical standpoint, "no Signs are things" entails "no things are
Signs," unless there is some sort of equivocation on the meaning of
"Signs" and/or "things."  You said that you agree with me that "a
sign is not a real thing" (EP 2:303), but subsequently said that "a
'thing' must also be a Sign."  Which is it? 
 You also seem to be saying now that every interaction of one "thing"
with another "thing" is "always semiosic," and even that "all
interactions are semiosic."  I do not believe that this was Peirce's
view; in fact, he explicitly denied it in "Pragmatism," which I just
finished rereading.
 CSP:  All dynamical action, or action of brute force, physical or
psychical, either takes place between two subjects,--whether they
react equally upon each other, or one is agent and the other patient,
entirely or partially,--or at any rate is a resultant of such actions
between pairs. But by "semiosis" I mean, on the contrary, an action,
or influence, which is, or involves, a cooperation of  three
subjects, such as a sign, its object, and its interpretant, this
tri-relative influence not being in any way resolvable into actions
between pairs. (EP 2:411; 1907)
 Besides semiosic (triadic) action, which is not "resolvable into
actions between pairs," there is also brute dynamical (dyadic)
action, which is "resolvable into actions between pairs."  Do you
deny the existence of the latter?  On the contrary, Peirce seems to
have considered it to be the  defining characteristic of existence.
 CSP:  A brute force, as, for example, an existent particle, on the
other hand, is nothing for itself; whatever it is, it is for what it
is attracting and what it is repelling: its being is actual, consists
in action, is dyadic. That is what I call existence. (CP 6.343; 1907)
 From a cosmological standpoint, my guess is that this is what Peirce
meant when he described matter as "mind whose habits have become fixed
so as to lose the powers of forming them and losing them" (CP 1.601;
1902).  I wonder if this is precisely the difference between a
"thing" and a "Quasi-mind"; the latter must still have at least  some
capability for Habit-change, as all human minds obviously do.
 Jon S. 
 On Sun, Feb 11, 2018 at 6:52 PM, Edwina Taborsky  wrote:
        Jon - I am saying that a 'thing' cannot exist unless it is in
interaction with another 'thing'. This interaction is always
semiosic. Therefore, an insect does not exist 'per se' but only in
interaction with...the air, other insects, the sun..etc etc.. And all
interactions are semiosic.

        Therefore, yes, a 'thing' must also be a Sign [again, remembering
that I mean: DO-[IO-R-II]) . ....

 On Sun 11/02/18  6:38 PM , Jon Alan Schmidt
[2] sent:
 Edwina, List:
 I am having trouble following you here.  Since you agree that a Sign
is not a thing, what does it mean to say that things must also be
Signs?  Are you suggesting that all things must also be Signs, or
that all Dynamic Objects must also be Signs, or something else
entirely?  In this context, since a thing cannot be a genuine Sign,
by "Signs" do you mean "ordinary" Sinsigns or  Replicas of genuine
 Jon S. 
 On Sun, Feb 11, 2018 at 2:44 PM, Edwina Taborsky  wrote:
        Jon AS - I agree with your outline of the 'sign is not a real

        With regard to the necessity of the Dynamic Object, I'd suggest that
this Dynamic Object, as a thing also requires that it be related, so
to speak, with a Mind that is interacting with it. That is, things
must also be Signs.

 On Sun 11/02/18  3:15 PM , Jon Alan Schmidt
 Helmut, Gary F., List:
 I suspect that we are misplacing the emphasis if we read Peirce as
saying that "a sign is not a real thing"; I take him to be saying
instead that "a sign is not a real thing."  In other words, genuine
Signs are constituents of the third Universe of Experience, rather
than the second that corresponds to "the Brute Actuality of things
and facts" (CP 6.455, EP 2:435; 1908).  That is why he added that a
Sign "is of such a nature as to exist in  replicas"; existence, in
his terminology, pertains only to whatever belongs to the second
 Peirce's definition of "Real" is "having Properties, i.e. characters
sufficing to identify their subject, and possessing these whether they
be anywise attributed to it by any single man or group of men, or not"
(CP 6.453, EP 2:434; 1908).  Hence it is clearly not a matter of more
or less, and "degenerate" is not a pejorative meaning "less real." 
In fact, Peirce explained elsewhere that it is borrowed from
geometry, where it describes the conic section formed by two coplanar
lines (EP 2:306; 1904); it is simply the antonym of "genuine." 
 So I agree with Gary F. that "The sign proper is a  Type , its
replicas are Tokens , and it is only the tokens that exist as
'things' ... a sinsign  is not a genuine  sign."  And yet Sinsigns
are the only "Signs" that exist; both Legisigns (Types) and
Qualisigns (Tones) must be embodied in Sinsigns (Tokens) serving as
Replicas in order to exist.  Another way of stating this is what
Peirce said specifically about a Qualisign--"It cannot actually act
as a sign until it is embodied; but the embodiment has nothing to do
with its character as a sign" (CP 2.244, EP 2:291; 1903, emphasis
added).  Yet I do not see degenerate Signs as somehow "less real"
than genuine Signs. 
 The distinction of two different kinds of Sinsigns is interesting. 
I wonder now if it has any connection with the issue of whether a
particular Sign has an utterer, and whether this in turn has bearing
on Peirce's notion of a Quasi-mind.  Peirce's lengthy discussion in
"Pragmatism" about the Object begins by identifying it as "an
ingredient of the utterer" that "will function as a sort of
substitute for an utterer, in case there be no utterer, or at any
rate fulfills nearly the same, but a more essential, function" (EP
2:404; 1907).  That is why every Sign, genuine or degenerate, has a
Dynamic Object; but does every Replica of a genuine Sign perhaps 
require a Quasi-mind to serve as its utterer?
 Jon S. 
 On Sun, Feb 11, 2018 at 12:10 PM, Helmut Raulien  wrote:
    Gary, List, I think it is not easy to decide (I don´t have a
child) whether a baby´s scream is a token of "scream gets mother´s
attention" (learned) or "I have a problem, and thus scream by
instinct" (instinctively). About the term "real thing" I wonder if
there is a definition. About the term "degenerate" I wonder, whether
this is just a technical term concerning the categorial assignment,
or a pejorative term, meaning "less real". I tend to the former. Is
reality and thingness a continuum, or binary? I mean, are there
things more or less real (e.g. tokens less real than types), or are
things either completely real or completely unreal? I vaguely
remember, that John Deely (so sad he is dead) has said or written,
that relations are ontological. I guess that means that they are real
things. Best, Helmut  11. Februar 2018 um 17:17 Uhr
        Jon, list, 

        Gary R is the one to thank for noticing the timeliness of the
example — on my blog it started out as just the two translations of
the Dogen text, and the semiotic commentary was an afterthought. 

        I recall that years ago, when we were discussing Peirce’s “New
Elements” on the list, there was some consternation caused by his
statement that “a sign is not a real thing.” On the one hand,
this seemed to cast doubt on the reality of signs, which Peirce often
affirms elsewhere. On the other, it would seem to assert that an
existing thing (a sinsign) is not really a sign at all. The
clarification that “It is of such a nature as to exist in 
replicas” was insufficient for many of us.  

        But now I think the same idea could be stated this way: The sign
proper is a Type, its replicas are Tokens, and it is only the tokens
that exist as “things.” You’ll recall that in “New
Elements” (EP2:300-324) Peirce focusses on the Symbol as the
“genuine” sign and refers to the Icon and Index as
“degenerate.” If we apply those terms to the
qualisign/sinsign/legisign trichotomy which Peirce introduced in the
1903 “Syllabus” (but does not mention in “New Elements”), we
could quite reasonably say that the legisign is genuine while the
sinsign is degenerate (and the qualisign even more so). Then we could
reasonably translate “a sign is not a real thing” as follows: a 
sinsign is not a genuine sign. 

        On the other hand, in his classification of sign types in the
Syllabus Peirce does not use the terminology of “genuine” vs.
“degenerate.” The icon, index, qualisign, sinsign etc. are all
referred to as “signs.” But the whole classification of signs in
the Syllabus is arrived at by analysis of the most genuine, or
paradigmatic Sign type, which is legisign, symbol or argument
depending on the trichotomy in question. Peirce presents his
classification as if these genuine signs are ‘built up’ from
simpler types, and in a sense they are, because (for instance) the
symbol can only convey  information by involving an index involving
an icon. But in another sense these ‘simpler’ types are not
genuine signs; they are defined by analysis of more genuine signs
into their functional parts. In 1906 Peirce wrote that “an Argument
is no more built up of Propositions than a motion is built up of
positions. So to regard it is to neglect the very essence of it”
(MS 295). Likewise the essence of the most genuinely triadic sign
relations is not to be ‘built up’ of simpler ones, but  analyzed
into those simpler relations; and the most genuinely triadic
relations are those by which arguments, legisigns and symbols are
related to their respective objects and interpretants. 

        This ‘top-down’ view of the classification of signs is not
incompatible with, but is easily overlooked in, the presentation on
“Nomenclature and Divisions of Triadic Relations.” Take for
example the Legisign (CP 2.264, EP2:291): 

        [[ A Legisign is a law that is a Sign. ... It is not a single
object, but a general type which, it has been agreed, shall be
significant. Every legisign signifies through an instance of its
application, which may be termed a Replica of it. Thus, the word
“the” will usually occur from fifteen to twenty-five times on a
page. It is in all these occurrences one and the same word, the same
legisign. Each single instance of it is a Replica. The Replica is a
Sinsign. Thus, every Legisign requires Sinsigns. But these are not
ordinary Sinsigns, such as are peculiar occurrences that are regarded
as significant. Nor would the Replica be significant if it were not
for the law which renders it so.]]   

        What I’m suggesting is that, in the language of “New
Elements,” a legisign is a more “genuine” sign than a sinsign
or replica; and when Peirce said in “New Elements” that “a sign
is not a real thing,” he meant the same thing that he meant in
saying that “ It is not a single object, but a general type.” And
we must notice here that Peirce defines two kinds of sinsigns:
“ordinary Sinsigns, such as are peculiar occurrences that are
regarded as significant”; and the sinsigns that are the replicas
required by legisigns. The difference is that the ordinary sinsign is
regarded, but not intended, as significant. So in Gary’s R’s
example, the burnt child’s scream is an ordinary sinsign for the
mother, because she reads it as an index of the child’s distress,
not because it is a replica of any legisign. There is a 
psychological sense in which that scream is more real than a replica
of a legisign would be, because it elicits a more dynamic reaction
from the mother. But that reaction, being more dyadic and less
intentional, is the interpretant in a relation to the sign which is
less genuuinely triadic (from a logical point of view) than the
relation would be if the sign were a replica of a legisign. 

        We’ve all seen children who seem to crave such reactions from
adults and therefore pretend to be in greater distress than they
really are. When they scream intending to get that reaction, the
scream is a replica of a legisign, which may be verbalized as the law
“scream gets mother’s attention.” The element of intention makes
that sinsign, as a replica of a legisign, a  more genuine sign from
the logical point of view, precisely because it is a fake, a
pretense, from a psychological point of view. So which sign is more
real, the “ordinary sinsign” (like the burnt child’s scream) or
the sinsign which is a replica of a legisign (like the scream of a
child who just wants attention)? It depends on whether you are doing
a top-down analysis of semiosis as Peirce (the logician) generally
did, or trying to build up a concept of semiosis from its simplest

        I think this line of thought is closely related to the fact that it
takes a symbol to say anything true about a real object, but symbol
use also makes it possible to lie. This explains why symbols are
‘particularly remote from the Truth itself’ (EP2:307), even
though they are more “genuine” signs than icons or indices, as
Peirce also says in “New Elements”.  

        Gary f. 
        } To enjoy freedom we have to control ourselves. [Virginia Woolf] {  [3] }{ Turning Signs gateway 
        From: Jon Alan Schmidt []
 Sent: 10-Feb-18 21:44
 To: Gary Fuhrman 
 Cc: Peirce-L 
 Subject: Re: [PEIRCE-L] one and the same representamen 
        Gary F., List:  

        Thank you for posting such a timely example.    

        GF:  In Peircean texts like this one, ‘representamen’ and
‘sign’ are two words for the same thing – which is obviously
not an existing physical “thing,” since it can be embodied many
times in many ways.    

        This is why I confessed last night that my own usage of
"Representamen" to date is not strictly consistent with Peirce's--he
basically treated it as synonymous with "Sign," although at least a
couple of times he defined a Sign as a Representamen with a mental
Interpretant.  It is also a good reminder that whether we call it a
Replica or a Token or a Sign-vehicle, the physical embodiment of a
Sign is not  the Sign  itself.    

        CSP:  In the first place, a sign is not a real thing. It is of such
a nature as to exist in replicas.  Look down a printed page, and
every the you see is the same word, every e the same letter.  A real
thing does not so exist in replica.  The being of a sign is merely
being represented.  Now  really being and being represented are very
different. (EP 2:303; 1904)   

        CSP:  Logic is the study of the essential nature of signs.  A sign
is something that exists in replicas.  Whether the sign "it is
raining," or "all pairs of particles of matter have component
accelerations toward one another inversely proportional to the square
of the distance," happens to have a replica in writing, in oral
speech, or in silent thought, is a distinction of the very minutest
interest in logic, which is a study, not of replicas, but of signs.
(EP 2:311; 1904)   

        CSP:  It seems best to regard a sign as a determination of a
quasi-mind; for if we regard it as an outward object, and as
addressing itself to a human mind, that mind must first apprehend it
as an object in itself, and only after that consider it in its
significance; and the like must happen if the sign addresses itself
to any quasi-mind.  It must begin by forming a determination of that
quasi-mind, and nothing will be lost by regarding that determination
as the sign. (EP 2:391; 1906)    

        That last quote expresses why, in Gary R.'s thought experiment,
although certainly a Dynamic Interpretant for the child, I analyze
the girl's scream as a Sign for the mother--or rather, correcting
myself now, a Replica of a Sign.  I acknowledge that, as a physical
sound, it  can be analyzed instead as a Dynamic Object for the
mother; but this seems to treat it "as an object in itself," thus
breaking the continuity with  its own Dynamic Object, which is the
hot burner.  More to ponder ...   


        Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA   

        Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman    [4] -

PEIRCE-L subscribers: Click on "Reply List" or "Reply All" to REPLY ON PEIRCE-L 
to this message. PEIRCE-L posts should go to . To 
UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message not to PEIRCE-L but to with the 
line "UNSubscribe PEIRCE-L" in the BODY of the message. More at .

Reply via email to