Matt, List:

Your first and last comments (quoted below) tie in with something that
Peirce wrote around the same time as EP 2:304, where he discussed "the
ideal sign which would be quite perfect."

CSP:  There is a science of semeiotics whose results no more afford room
for differences of opinion than do those of mathematics, and one of its
theorems increases the aptness of that simile.  It is that if any signs are
connected, no matter how, the resulting system constitutes one sign; so
that, most connections resulting from successive pairings, a sign
frequently interprets a second in so far as this is "married" to a third.
Thus, the conclusion of a syllogism is the interpretation of either premiss
as married to the other, and of this sort are all the principal
translation-processes of thought.  In the light of the above theorem, we
see that the entire thought-life of any one person is a sign; and a
considerable part of its interpretation will result from marriages with the
thoughts of other persons.  So the thought-life of a social group is a
sign; and the entire body of all thought is a sign, supposing all thought
to be more or less connected.  The entire interpretation of thought must
consist in the results of thought's action outside of thought; either in
all these results or in some of them. (R 1476:36[5-1/2]; c. 1904)

I only discovered this passage within the last couple of days, thanks to
Gary Fuhrman quoting one sentence from it--the statement of the theorem--in
his online book (, Gary Richmond
sending me an off-List message calling that citation to my attention, and
Jeff Downard making all of the scanned Peirce manuscripts available on the
SPIN Project website (  What better
demonstration of its truth could there be than this very chain of events,
which now results in its much wider dissemination?


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

On Tue, Mar 13, 2018 at 5:54 PM, Matt Faunce <>

> First, Hi to everyone! I've missed a lot of the conversations in the past
> year or so, but the concept of 'perfect sign' in the other thread caught my
> attention and pulled me in for the moment ...
> Just like a hive of bees has a collective intelligence, humans do too; and
> this is the type of intelligence that will lead us toward the right social
> order in the long run, that is, if the leveraging of elite individual will
> from elite individual intelligence doesn't drive the human race into
> extinction.
> Matt
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