Gary R., List:

I guess I can boil down the main feedback that I am seeking to two
questions about the girl's scream.

   1. For the child, as an *involuntary *reflex, is it a Dynamic
   Interpretant produced by triadic semiosis, or merely an effect produced by
   a series of dyadic causes?
   2. For the mother, is it a Replica (Token) of a genuine Sign (Type), or
   a natural/degenerate Sinsign?

Obviously I am also seeking explanations for any answers offered.  For #1, when
the Sign, Object, and Interpretant are all Existents (2ns), how do we
distinguish Sign-action from brute dynamical action/reaction?  For #2, how
do we distinguish a Replica from a natural/degenerate Sinsign?


Jon S.

On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 10:35 PM, Gary Richmond <>

> Jon, list
> You asked of your analysis of the child and mother example:
> JAS: Does any of this make sense?  To be honest, it all still feels highly
> conjectural to me, so I am expecting (hopefully constructive) criticism.
> I am sorry to say that your complex analysis does not make a lot of sense
> to me; or, perhaps it would be more correct to say that it seems so "highly
> conjectural" that I just can't enough sense of it to offer a helpful
> critique of it. It feels to me almost like a kind of literary exegesis,
> rich but somewhat fantastic. You propose several extraordinary interpretive
> claims and suggestions (for example, that the child's scream may not be
> sign-action at all) which seem, well, strained.
> So, I'm going to leave it to others to offer constructive criticism.
> Meanwhile, I'll stand by my previous analyses.
> 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>*
> On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 10:49 PM, Jon Alan Schmidt <
>> wrote:
>> Gary R., List:
>> Thank you for your characteristically thoughtful and thought-provoking
>> response.  Up until now, I have been considering all of this with the
>> mindset that the child's scream must be analyzed as *one *Sign.  Upon
>> reflection, I realize that such an approach fails to take proper account of
>> the nature of a *genuine *Sign as "something that exists in replicas"
>> (EP 2:411; 1904).  What you seem to be suggesting--please correct me if I
>> am misunderstanding--is that the same "thing" can be a Replica of *more
>> than one* Sign.
>> In this case, as Gary F. observed, the girl's scream is, for her,
>> "primarily a natural sign," or what I have started calling a *degenerate
>> *Sign--an instinctive physical reflex, rather than an intentional
>> "utterance"--such that all six Correlates are Existents (2ns).  As such, I
>> get the sense that many of the steps in the *internal *chain of events,
>> from the contact of the child's finger with the hot burner to the
>> propagation of sound waves from her vocal chords--including both of those
>> phenomena themselves--could conceivably be analyzed as *dynamical*,
>> rather than *semiosic*.  Why should we treat the girl's scream as the
>> Dynamic Interpretant of a particular neural pattern within her that
>> represents the hot burner, rather than as merely the last in a series of
>> strictly dyadic causes and effects?  If she effectively *cannot help*
>> but scream, is this really an example of Sign-action at all?  The same
>> questions arise regarding the flight of a bird upon hearing a loud sound.
>> I have some vague notions of possible answers, but I am hoping that you (or
>> someone else) can provide a clear explanation.
>> For the mother, on the other hand, the scream does not produce any kind
>> of *deterministic *response.  Although it probably triggers certain
>> "motherly instincts," she rushes into the kitchen *deliberately*;
>> presumably she *could *ignore the child if she were so inclined, as a
>> neglectful parent might be.  From her standpoint, the child is the
>> *utterer* of the Sign that is the scream, even if *unintentionally*; and
>> therefore, the girl is indeed where we must "look" to "find" the Sign's
>> Dynamic Object, "the essential ingredient of the utterer" (EP 2:404;
>> 1907).  However, I am still not convinced that it is the child *herself*;
>> typically when a Sign *has *an utterer, the Dynamic Object is *not *that
>> utterer, but whatever the utterer (as the saying goes) *has in mind*
>> upon uttering the Sign--in this case, perhaps the *pain *that the girl
>> is sensing.  The Immediate Object is then the combination of attributes of 
>> *this
>> particular scream* that the mother's Collateral Experience leads her to
>> associate with previous *screams of pain or distress* that she has
>> heard, both from this child and from others, which likely differentiates
>> them somehow from *other kinds* of childish screams.
>> This, then, takes us back to my first paragraph above.  For the mother,
>> the girl's scream is a *Replica*--a Token of a Type--which it obviously 
>> *cannot
>> *be for the child.  The Dynamic Object of the corresponding *genuine *Sign
>> is presumably something like *pain or distress in general*.  Hence the
>> context-dependence of any *concrete *instance of *actual 
>> *semiosis--necessarily
>> involving Replicas--is quite evident here.
>> Does any of this make sense?  To be honest, it all still feels highly
>> conjectural to me, so I am expecting (hopefully constructive) criticism.
>> In fact, I can already anticipate that Edwina will reject it right
>> away--understandably, given her very different model of semiosis--but I am
>> eager to see what you and others have to say.
>> Regards,
>> Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA
>> Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman
>> -
>> On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 6:12 PM, Gary Richmond <>
>> wrote:
>>> Jon, Edwina, list,
>>> Jon, while I am tending to agree with you on much of your analysis, I
>>> still can't agree with you in the matter of the Dynamic Object for the
>>> mother. You wrote:
>>> JAS: 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?
>>> I do not see the semioses as continuous which is not to say that there
>>> is no continuity. There's a continuity of communication, shall we say, but
>>> the dynamic object of each person's semiosis is different in my opinion.
>>> The mother's semiosis at that moment of its occurrence seems to me not
>>> determined by the oven at all, but by her daughter. So in my view the
>>> Immediate Object of the mother concerns the oven not at all. Rather it is
>>> grounded (in Peirce's sense of the ground of a sign, which he later terms
>>> the immediate object: 'selected' characters of the DO) in the child
>>> herself.Again, the ground of he semiosis cannot be the child in the
>>> entirety of all her characters (an impossibility), but exactly those which
>>> are predominant, her scream, perhaps the look on her face, etc. So, again,
>>> as I see it the Dynamic Object for the mother is the child, while those
>>> several characters which form the ground of her semiosis (equivalent to her
>>> immediate object) contribute to a wholly different IO-R-II-DI, and so a
>>> different Sign, than her daughter's, again, the consequence of their having 
>>> *entirely
>>> different* Dynamic Objects.
>>> Edwina, while my understanding of the semioses involved here seems
>>> closer to yours than to Jon's, I do not agree that the child's scream in
>>> the DO. For just as the DO was the oven, while the heat (a character) from
>>> the flaming burners led to the child's pain (a character) that grounded her
>>> semiosis, it was the child as DO whose scream (a character for her mother)
>>> grounded her mother's semiosis.
>>> Jon continued:
>>> JAS: 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.
>>> Well this kind of thinking would, I believe, lead to an infinite regress
>>> going as far back as the child's conception, and probably much further back
>>> than that. It seems to me a kind of post hoc, propter hoc version of that
>>> regress. What you point to ("the one would not have happened without
>>> the other") seems to me more like physical than semiotic determination.
>>> JAS: 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 do not *at al*l see it as "the very same Sign." In my view there are
>>> two signs, not, however, unrelated, and even intimately connected by the DI
>>> of the child leading to the IO of the mother: but still *two distinct
>>> signs*(at least) Here I think Edwina and I may be in at least partial
>>> agreement.
>>> So, I think I already offered a reason in my earlier post as to why I
>>> think our views are so different GR: ". . . in my understanding the
>>> interpretant standing "in the same relation to the Sign's Dynamic Object as
>>> the Sign itself does"  doesn't apply to both signs, but to the child's
>>> sign and* not *to the mother's (as you've been analyzing the semioses).
>>> The remainer of your analysis follows from your viewpoint which, as I
>>> see it, goes well beyond the example into habit-change and the like which
>>> will in my view necessarily involve more time, more semiosis, additional
>>> signs, etc. than the discrete analysis put forth here. This is not to
>>> suggest that the habits of the mother and the daughter will not lead to
>>> perhaps life-changing habit change. But you yourself have noted that these
>>> will be very different habits: not touching flames in the future for the
>>> child; not leaving the child alone in the kitchen in the future for the
>>> mother. Again, this stark difference in habit-change strongly suggests to
>>> me two different signs, not one.
>>> 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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