List,

I think we can expand Stephen's suggestion, to which I think I agree, that triadic action is involved Peirce's pragmatic maxim.

I think we can understand the supreme importance of triadic action by questioning how life began from inanimate matter. There are many hypotheses about how life emerged from the 'soup' or thermal vents or others. In all cases, though, the common postulate is that some event (such as a spark or spontaneous change in chirality or ???) occurs, but in the presence of the right amino acids or protein precursors. The dyadic action of the initial event (say a lightening strike) needed some form of requisite environment (interpretant) in order for the action of 'create life' to occur. This action and its relations can be investigated by dyadic means, but cannot be explained by them.

Our creation and use of symbols requires the same triadic action. Peirce notes many times that symbols without an interpretant are mere scribbles, discernible, but meaningless.

When we communicate with natural language, we are able to do so in part because context informs our interpretation. I submit this, as well, is a form of triadic action.

All signs, evolution, and semiosis depend on triadic action. My guess is that one of reasons for Peirce's animus to Descartes was due to the confining lens of dyadic action.

Mike


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