In an effort to reduce the quantity of my individual messages, I am going
to try combining multiple replies into one post.

Gary R.:

1.  I agree that even persons can lose, or deliberately set aside, their
capacity for Habit-change.  Hopefully it is evident that I am still very
much open to adjusting my own views on these matters.

2.  In particular, as you have observed and I have acknowledged previously,
I tend to be a more abstract than concrete thinker; so these kinds of
practical examples are good "stretching exercises" for me.  In this case, I
am wary of drawing a sharp distinction between "the child's semiosis" and
"the mother's semiosis"; are they not *continuous*?  It seems to me that
there must be *some *semiotic connection between the hot burner and the
mother's eventual response to the child's cry, because the one would not
have happened without the other.  Why regard the girl's scream as
having a *different
*Dynamic Object for the mother than it does for the child?  Is it not the
very same Sign?  I suppose that it might have different *Immediate* Objects
for the two of them, because of their different Collateral Experiences, but
I am still mulling over that possibility.  Regardless, my conjecture is
that any "individual" instance of semiosis *begins* with a Dynamic
Object--either selected for a purpose in a Quasi-mind (genuine Signs), or a
"thing" itself (degenerate Signs)--and *ends* (if it ever does) with a
Habit-change.  For the child, that termination is (I suspect) her new habit
of not touching hot burners; but her scream, as a Dynamic Interpretant, is
an external Sign that continues the semiosic process in the mother--perhaps
resulting in a new habit of not leaving her daughter alone in the kitchen.

3.  As a matter of fact, Peirce used the term "quasi-sign" at least twice.
In "What Makes a Reasoning Sound" (1903), it refers to "certain objects
more or less analogous to signs," but nothing more is said (EP 2:257).  In
"Pragmatism" (1907), it refers to something that *would* be a Sign *except*
that it lacks "the triadic production of the interpretant," and a Jacquard
loom is given as an example (CP 5.473; cf. EP 2:404).  However, I think
that there is now fairly widespread consensus, at least among those of us
who have discussed it on the List in recent years, that as long as
something is *interpretable*--i.e., has an *Immediate* Interpretant--it
qualifies as a Sign, even if it never *actually* produces a *Dynamic*

4.  I agree that Edwina is using "Form" in way that better aligns with 3ns
than 1ns.  As I said in the other thread, while it is undeniable that
Peirce associated "Form" with 1ns, "Matter" with 2ns, and "Entelechy" with
3ns in NEM 4:292-300 (c. 1903?) and EP 2:304 (1904), this does not entail
that he *always* did so.  Having reread both "A Sketch of Dichotomic
Mathematics" and "New Elements" within the last few days, I noticed a few
other uncanny similarities, suggesting that he may have composed them at
about the same time and for much the same purpose.  I wonder if that is why
the online Commens bibliography dates R 4 as 1904, rather than "c. 1903?"
per CP and Robin.


1.  What do you make of Peirce's statements in "Pragmatism" (1907) that
habit-changes as "ultimate logical interpretants" are *not* Signs (CP
5.476), or that habits as "final logical interpretants" are (at least) not
Signs *in the same way* as the Signs that produce them (EP 2:418)?  What
warrants analyzing the dissipation of a rock as (triadic) *semiosic*
action, rather than (dyadic) *dynamical* action?  No one is advocating the
separation of Mind and Matter; the point, as always, is that Matter *is*
(effete) Mind whose habits have become so inveterate as to be effectively
invulnerable to *Habit-change*, which is the final cause of every semiosic

2.  I agree that there is "a plethora of Signs" in the example, which is
why I said a while back that we have to agree on *which* Sign to analyze
before attempting to assign any of the other terms.  Right now, we are
discussing the girl's scream as a Sign; but unless you have changed your
mind, you analyze it instead as a Dynamic Object for the mother, since you
deny that there are any *external* Signs.

3.  Do you have any specific comments on my latest tentative definition of
"Quasi-mind" (see below)?

4.  In NEM 4:292-300, obviously "Form" does not mean "formlessness."  In
fact, I find it very interesting that Peirce instead characterizes it as
"something definite," in contrast to other writings where "definite" and
"vague" are antonyms, and he associates the *latter* with 1ns (e.g., CP
5.447-450; 1905).  So again, we must pay careful attention to the context
and not necessarily impose the same interpretation on a given word
throughout Peirce's (or anyone else's) writings, despite his explicit
desire to be self-consistent in his own terminology.  Since you prefer
aligning "Form" with 3ns, what corresponding terms do you advocate for 1ns
and 2ns to highlight the *distinctions* among the three Categories, while
still affirming that all three are present in any phenomenon?


Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA
Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman -

On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 7:34 AM, Edwina Taborsky <> wrote:

> Gary R, Jon, list:
> 1. I don't think that there is an 'end to semiosis', because Firstness,
> which is akin to entropy, is as basic to semiosis as Thirdness/habits. Even
> a rock will dissipate. Also, I don't think that Mind is ever separate from
> Matter and vice versa.
> 2. I consider, as I outlined previously, that the situation with the
> mother, child, hot stove, burn etc is not one Sign but a plethora of
> Signs.  I don't think that a regression analysis is correct here.
> Each Sign is triggered from another Sign but I don't think you can regress
> to the One Sign. So, I continue to maintain that for the Mother, the Sign
> that she reacts to is the cry of the child [a Rhematic Indexical Sinsign].
> The hot stove is almost irrelevant to her.
> 3. I remain concerned about the role of 'quasi-mind'.
> 4. Peirce has multiple and contradictory uses of the term 'Form' and I
> certainly don't see it as akin to the formlessness of Firstness. Firstness
> is a State and has no structure.
> Edwina
On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 2:56 AM, Gary Richmond <>

> Jon, list,
> 1.  I am inclined to agree with you on this.  As I understand it, the end
> of semiosis--both its final cause and its termination--is the production of
> a habit; a substance is a bundle of habits; and a material substance is a
> bundle of habits that are so inveterate, it has effectively lost the
> capacity for Habit-change.
> Nicely said. And I would suggest that to the extent that a person has
> "effectively lost the capacity for Habit-change," has become, say, 'set in
> his ways' or 'married to his theories, that he is, in a sense, to that
> extent intellectually 'hardened' or spiritually 'deadened'.
> I'll be interested to see how you develop your idea that the "irreducibly
> triadic action of semiosis" *requires* a Quasi-interpreter. I agree that
> 'things', especially those in nature, can serve as Quasi-utterers of
> degenerate Signs.
> 2.  Something is a Sign by virtue of having a DO, an IO, and an II--not
> necessarily a DI, so I do not see the relevance of the mother's inability
> (at first) to interpret the Sign (correctly, in my view) as standing for
> the hot burner.  She would presumably find this out very quickly, of
> course, after rushing into the kitchen.
> I disagree. Whether or not the mother interprets the DI (the cry of her
> daughter) correctly or not, the cry is part of the child's semiosis, not
> that of the mother. You continue:
> The Dynamic Object determines the Sign--perhaps a neural signal of
> pain--of which the girl's scream is a Dynamic Interpretant; and every
> Sign determines its Interpretant to stand in the same relation to the
> Sign's Dynamic Object as the Sign itself does.  Hence both the internal
> neural signal and the external scream are *Indices *of the hot burner; at
> least, that is how I see it at the moment.
> I would say that the Interpretant standing in the same relation to the
> Sign's DO as the Sign does concerns the child's sign only. I see the mother
> as grounding (in the sense of semiotic 'determination') her Immediate
> Object for *her, *the mother's) semiosis not in the distant burner but in
> the cry of her child. So I still hold that the child is the Dynamic Object
> of the mother's Sign action (semiosis). Again, in my understanding the
> interpretant standing "in the same relation to the Sign's Dynamic Object as
> the Sign itself does" applies to a different Sign, namely, that of the
> child.
> 3.  Did you mean to say "Quasi-mind," rather than "Quasi-sign"?  My
> current tentative definition of "Quasi-mind" is a bundle of Collateral
> Experience and Habits of Interpretation (i.e., a *reacting substance*)
> that retains the capacity for Habit-change (i.e., *learning by experience*),
> and thus can be the Quasi-utterer of a *genuine *Sign (since this
> requires a *purpose*) and the Quasi-interpreter of *any *Sign.
> Yes, of course I meant Quasi-mind and not Quasi-sign (an impossibility,
> I'd think). I'll have to reflect on your "current tentative definition of
> 'Quasi-mind' " which at first blush seems quite promising.
> 4.  I addressed this already in the "Aristotle and Peirce" thread.
> It would be helpful for me if you'd comment on my thought that Edwina may
> be using 'Form' in a different sense than Peirce such that in her sense it
> *would* connect more to 3ns than to 1ns. And of course I'd be especially
> eager to hear what Edwina thinks about that interpretation.
> Best,
> Gary R
> [image: Gary Richmond]
> *Gary Richmond*
> *Philosophy and Critical Thinking*
> *Communication Studies*
> *LaGuardia College of the City University of New York*
> *718 482-5690 <(718)%20482-5690>*
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