Mike, List:

I understand your point.  In fact, I used to treat "Sign-action" as a
synonym for semiosis, before discovering that Peirce *never *used that
particular term, at which point I stopped doing so.  Since you mentioned
"triadic action," I wondered if Peirce ever used *that *term; and as it
turns out, he did in two places.

CSP:  The action of a sign calls for a little closer attention. Let me
remind you of the distinction referred to above between dynamical, or
dyadic, action; and intelligent, or triadic action. An event, A, may, by
brute force, produce an event, B; and then the event, B, may in its turn
produce a third event, C. The fact that the event, C, is about to be
produced by B has no influence at all upon the production of B by A. It is
impossible that it should, since the action of B in producing C is a
contingent future event at the time B is produced. Such is dyadic action,
which is so called because each step of it concerns a pair of objects.

But now when a microscopist is in doubt whether a motion of an animalcule
is guided by intelligence, of however low an order, the test he always used
to apply when I went to school, and I suppose he does so still, is to
ascertain whether event, A, produces a second event, B, *as a means* to the
production of a third event, C, or not. That is, he asks whether B will be
produced if it will produce or is likely to produce C in its turn, but will
not be produced if it will not produce C in its turn nor is likely to do
so. (CP 5.472-473; 1907)

Here it does not seem to be the nature of the *actions *themselves that is
distinguished, but the *relation *between the corresponding *events*; and
any event (or occurrence) is always a matter of 2ns, not 3ns.  Of course,
no one disputes the propriety of talking about triadic *relations*--whether
genuine (irreducible), like I take DO-S-FI to be, or degenerate (composed
of dyadic relations), like I take DO-SR-DI = DO-SR + SR-DI to be.

CSP:  That whatever action is brute, unintelligent, and unconcerned with
the result of it is purely dyadic is either demonstrable or is too evident
to be demonstrable. But in case that dyadic action is merely a member of a
triadic action, then so far from its furnishing the least shade of
presumption that all the action in the physical universe is dyadic, on the
contrary, the entire and triadic action justifies a guess that there may be
other and more marked examples in the universe of the triadic pattern. (CP
6.332; c. 1909)

Here it is likewise clear that any triadic action has "members" that are
dyadic actions.  As Peirce stated in the immediately preceding paragraph,
"Every triadic relationship involves three dyadic relationships ... "  So
we can perhaps say that actions are *involved *in 3ns, even though they
themselves belong to 2ns--just as Tokens are involved in Types, Indices are
involved in Symbols, and Dicisigns are involved in Arguments.  And in the
paragraph right before that ...

CSP:  Any dynamic action--say, the attraction by one particle of
another--is in itself *dyadic*. It is governed by a law; but that law no
more furnishes a correlate to the relation than the vote of a legislator
which insures a bill's becoming a statute makes him a participator in the
blow of the swordsman who, in obedience to the warrant issued after
conviction according to that statute, strikes off the head of a condemned
man. In the law, *per se*, there is no physical force nor other compulsion.
It is nothing but a formula, a maxim. The particles follow the law simply
because, being sprung from the stock of reason, they naturally incline to
obey reason. It is true that the attraction of one particle for another
acts through continuous Time and Space, both of which are of triadic
constitution. Yes; but this continuous Time and Space merely serve to weld
together (while imparting form to the welded whole) instantaneous impulses
in which there is neither continuous Time, Space, nor any third correlate;
and it is such instantaneous impulse that I say is dyadic. However, the
dyadic action is not the whole action; and the whole action is, in a way,
triadic. (CP 6.330; c. 1909)

Law as 3ns *governs *dynamic/dyadic action as 2ns, and *continuous *space-time
is the *medium *in which such action occurs.  However, neither law nor
space-time is a third *Correlate *that acts on, reacts to, or interacts
with the two attracting particles.  Likewise, Signs *as Real generals *do
not act on, react to, or interact with anything; only their Instances or
Replicas *as Existent individuals* do so, each producing a *Dynamic
by *actually *determining some Quasi-mind to a feeling, to an exertion, or
to another Sign-Replica.

This exchange illustrates my general approach to List discussions.  When
someone posts something that seems inconsistent with how I understand
Peirce's writings, I look for relevant passages in them, and usually end up
quoting them in my response.  As Gary F. noted recently, this is about as
close as we can get to *inductively *testing any interpretative hypothesis;
and as the record shows, occasionally the result is that I abandon mine as
no longer tenable.  In this case, though, I still (so far) hold
that viewing "action" through *anything other than* a dyadic lens is likely
to lead to difficulties in truly understanding semiosis; I think that it
blurs the fundamentally different natures of 2ns and 3ns.


Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA
Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman
www.LinkedIn.com/in/JonAlanSchmidt - twitter.com/JonAlanSchmidt

On Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 9:14 PM, Mike Bergman <m...@mkbergman.com> wrote:

> Jon,
> On 8/9/2018 7:11 PM, Jon Alan Schmidt wrote:
> Mike, List:
> Natural language indeed exhibits a lot of flexibility--again, all general
> Signs are indeterminate to some degree.  That is precisely why I advocate
> carefully selecting and defining the *technical *terms that we use in
> collaborative inquiry; and on the Peirce List, it seems to me that we
> should strive to do so in accordance with *his *usage as much as
> possible.  He clearly did not consider "binding" and "sense" as
> descriptions of 3ns to be "expressions of action," since the latter would
> be descriptions of 2ns.
> Bingo, and this is the crux of it. The restriction that 'action' must be
> in 2ns is a dyadic view. Granted, most actions are kinesthetic or can be
> framed in a dyadic action-reaction mode, but the genius of Peirce's
> embracing of Thirdness is, in part, to acknowledge signs (which are
> triadic) and mediating actions, such as thought, generalization,
> continuity, or A gives B to C. I would think that viewing 'action' solely
> through a dyadic lens is likely to lead to difficulties in truly
> understanding semiosis (which is, by definition according to my
> understanding, a triadic action).
> In my humble view, thinking deeply about what I just said is the beginning
> of beginning to understand Peirce, an understanding I am not claiming to
> have achieved.
> Mike
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