Hi Edwina, List,

Thank you; I knew you would respond in a complete and thoughtful manner. (I also apologize to Frances for responding earlier in the thread and hijacking her more recent comment, since I first asked the question and had been formulating a response directly to Edwina.) So, Edwina, there is much I agree wholeheartedly with in your response, which should not be met with indifference or sneers because what we are really probing here is whether Peirce captured some fundamental essences of reality or not.

General Agreement
I agree with all of these interpretations:

  • "there is nothing in my [Edwina's] view that counters or cannot be sustained within a Peircean analysis"
  • "don't confine semiosis to the conceptual or human realm"; "include the physical-chemical and biological realms"
  • "the Sign is . . . a relational dynamic process"
  • I like the use of 'instantiations' to discuss Secondness
  • I concur with the "DO-[IO-R-II]-DI" expansion of the Sign, though once stated, continuing to drag along the DO and DI just seems to complicate things a bit. In real simple terms, DO and DI just affirm Peirce's standard mantra that truth is a limit function, so our signs can only incompletely represent the object and can only be incompletely understood
  • I concur it is better practice to use "the term R or Representamen to differentiate it from the Sign"
  • I concur the Sign is "the triad set of Three Relations [IO-R-II]"
  • "semiosis is Relational; it is necessarily interactive and dynamic"
  • Your CP 8.328, 8.330 quotes of Peirce go without saying.

My Real Question
My real question relates to your earlier assertion that all three universal categories need not be involved in a relationship with Thirdness, for which you used the term "quasi-necessarily" and also presented your two examples of '3-2' and '3-1'.

For example, your '3-2' example of bird beaks evolving for new seed types can not occur without Firstness, the source of chance or variation. I really have no idea what you mean as an "
example of 3-1, in the biological realm, would be where organisms reproduce according to the dominant model [iconicity]." Is not an organism a Secondness?

By virtue of describing the Sign as 'dynamical' and a 'process' I think you already concede that the Sign, any Sign, is triadic. Thus, while I see certain aspects of the universal categories as being more dominant in a given circumstance, which Peirce also clearly acknowledges in his ten-classification scheme, I do not believe any sign can be monadic or dyadic. A Sign is not synonymous with a relation, even though a "Sign is relational".

Some Ancillary Items
I'm not sure I agree with these characterizations, because they do not feel general enough, but are points I really don't want to dispute or get bogged down with:

  • "My view of semiosis is that it defines the basic process of Mind-as-Matter in our universe." Yeah, I can see that, and Peirce's use of mind and quasi-mind attempts to define a realm for thought or the symbolic, but I think this is not the metaphor I want to lead with, since there is such a broad range of interpretation about 'mind' and I personally think it is too easily anthropomorphized
  • "I understand the Representamen as an action of mediation." Hmmm, I really don't like this statement. To use your notation, here is how I see it. O is a 2ns, I is a 3ns, and R is a 1ns. We know that Thirdness is often characterized as mediation. Are you really trying to say that the Representamen is in Thirdness??
  • I don't really have a problem calling the 'universal categories', the phrase most used I think by Peirce, 'modal categories', but I'm not sure Peirce ever used this phrasing. Further, in your own emphasis on the total of six modes, note that O has two options, I has three options, and R stands alone.

So, in summary, I question whether 'dynamic processes' can ever be characterized as anything less than triadic. I guess I remain unconvinced that there are classes of interactions involving Thirdness that can be expressed solely as dyadic relations ('3-1', '3-2'). I can see the argument for a dominant mode (1ns or 2ns), but ones that still require participation by all three of the universal categories.


On 4/11/2018 3:18 PM, Edwina Taborsky wrote:

Mike - I sent a long response but it seems to have disappeared. I'll try again.

First - I expect this response will be met with indifference or sneers from the list but I maintain that there is nothing in my view that counters or cannot be sustained within a Peircean analysis.

My view of semiosis is that it defines the basic process of Mind-as-Matter in our universe. That is, I don't confine semiosis to the conceptual or human realm. I include the physical-chemical and biological realms.

 Therefore, my view of the Sign is that it is a relational dynamic process, where Mind becomes Matter, as 'instantiations' [which can last anywhere from a nanosecond to centuries] within an ongoing interactiional triadic process. So, the Sign is a crystal, a rock, a bacterium, an insect...and a word, a sentence etc. AND - all of these 'instantiations' are interactive with other 'instants' or Mind-as-Matter.

 The basic Sign is a Set of Relations: DO-[IO-R-II]-DI... I add the DO Relation to the basic triad because no Sign can exist as isolate. I use the term R or Representamen to differentiate it from the Sign, which I see as the triad set of Three Relations [IO-R-II]. As we know, there need not be a DI, but, most existent instances do produce a new form of matter/mind. [See 4,536, 8.314-]. I understand the Representamen as an action of mediation.

I understand, therefore, that this semiosis is Relational; it is necessarily interactive and dynamic. How do the Relations function? Within the modal categories. These categories are modes of being, or organizations of Mind-as-Matter.

So, as Peirce outlines, "Firstness is the mode of being of that which is such as it is, positively and without reference to anything else.

Secondness is the mode of being..with respect to a second but regardless of any third.

Thirdness is the mode of being ...bringing a second and third in relation to each other'. 8.328.

But Peirce doesn't just use these three modes. He mixes them up to create a total of six - and this mixture enables pragmatic or 'factual' adaptation.

So- genuine Secondness functions by setting up Relations that are brute interactions; 'one thing acting upon another' 8.330. 1.380] But there is a 'degenerate Secondness' where the Relational interaction involves a shared quality between the two [8.330, 2.91].

And pure or genuine Thirdness is an action of the Mind only - aspatial and atemporal and alienated from physical reality and feelings. But, if you add in Secondness to it, such that the relation is 3-2, then, the mental interaction includes a physical contact with existential reality. [2.92, 8.330] And if you insert Firstness into the mental interaction, then, the relationship is one of similarity, iconicity.


Examples include, in the biological realm, of 3-2,  where an organism, operating within its habits of organization [3rdness] will interact, informationally, via Secondness  with the external world - to inform itself about these physical realities, such that a bird, for example, will adapt its beak to better deal with novel seed forms. A bacterium will adapt to antibiotics.

An example of 3-1, in the biological realm, would be where organisms reproduce according to the dominant model [iconicity].


You referred to word examples. I'm not sure if you refer to the conceptual realm. I'd give as an example, in this realm, of 3-2 where a belief system will relate to external existential reality -and so, will adapt. An example of 3-1 is an iconic mindset [see Peirce's a priori fixation of belief] where beliefs are held due to the dominant population.

Now - I hope that this attempt gets through!



On Wed 11/04/18 3:13 AM , Mike Bergman m...@mkbergman.com sent:

Hi Edwina,

You stated in the 'General Agreement' thread:

But Thirdness is complex with three types [3-3, 3-2, 3-1] and this enables information exchange with the environment [via 3-2] rather than simple repetition of type [3-1]. So, Firstness is involved to enable adaptation, and Secondness is involved to enable direct contact with the local environmental realities. The result - is an adapted insect.

I like the adaptive insect portion, but, honestly, I'd like you to present word examples of what you mean by these complexes of types. For example, please explain '3-1' or via '3-2'. Are these predicates? That seems to be central to your argument. And, are predicates in Thirdness?

Best, Mike



Michael K. Bergman
Cognonto Corporation
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