Gary, Ben, List:
Thank you for the responses to my questions. Your answers persuade
me that my questions were not crisp and hence not very generative.
BTW, I try to make it a habit to use logical terms in the sense of
their roots in Latin or Greek, hence my use of the term category
was in the wide sense.
It seems from this and subsequence discussions on the list, that I
failed to weigh the depth of effort to trichotomize decision logic in
Peirce's writings adequately. The use of the term divisible in
reference to natural languages terms is rare and I find it quite
difficult to interpret. I find it rather difficult to think of
common language as a source of terms that can be divided into three.
This sentiment certainly comes out of respect for the concept of
The design of the trichotomies in chemical structures is a relatively
simple task in that each trichotomy of material origin is signified
by the identities of three different elements. For each of the three
elements, concrete evidence must be obtained that exhibits the
present of that element in the compound. For example, any chemical
structure that contains only carbon, hydrogen and oxygen is a sign.
This tactic for generating chemical trichotomies is not readily
extended to natural terms. How would one show that a particular term
has three extensions? Even a superficial examination of a dictionary
shows that many, perhaps the majority of words have more than three
Of course, one could assume that the categorization into trichotomies
is not a general logical operation. Perhaps it is only a local
operation that is restricted to some fraction of the terms. How
would one identify such a fraction of the potential terms? The image
of a commutative diagram comes to mind but...
From a mathematical perspective, the richness of the combinatorial
possibilities is daunting. How does one ensure consistency within
trichotomies in the absence of concrete grammars that generate
I will be at the Whitehead Conference in Salzburg next week so I do
not anticipate much time for replies. At least for the Salzburg
papers, I am going to restrict my remarks to comparison of
synthetic symbol systems, although I continue to hope that Peirce
had something useful to say to modern chemical logic.
On Jun 21, 2006, at 1:05 AM, Peirce Discussion Forum digest wrote:
Subject: Re: Sinsign, Legisign, Qualisign - help!
From: Benjamin Udell [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2006 18:14:24 -0400
Jerry, Gary, list,
A number of recent posts have addressed the topics of:
On Jun 19, 2006, at 1:05 AM, Peirce Discussion Forum digest wrote:
Re: Sinsign, Legisign, Qualisign
I am seeking help in understanding the importance of these terms to =
The definitions are reasonably clear, at least to me.
At issue is the question of why are these terms important to =
understanding human communication.
To Peirce, logical process =3D representational process, and is not
specifically human or intelligent-life phenomenon, a chapter in the =
books of psychology, sociology, history, even if these books covered =
reasoning creatures other than homo sapiens which is the only clear =
example of which we know (SETI hasn't found ET, at least not yet). =20
Instead, to Peirce, humans are a special logical phenomenon -- he
assent to a current phrase like logic processors though not in the =
computer sense (deductive, with strict algorithms, etc.). For my
part, I =
would say that logicality is general like statisticality or (in
information-theoretic sense) information.
So these terms (signsign, legisign, qualisign) are important in =
understanding the logical possibilities which human communication
to actualize. IMHO the importance is not so very different from the =
importance of aerodynamics to the evolution and anatomy of winged =
insects, pterosaurs, birds, bats, flying organisms generally. But I =
think that a more exact analogy would be the relationship of =
probability, statistics, and, as a general mathematical
subject, stochastic processes, to matter.=20
In the Peircean system, terms like qualisign/sinsign/legisign are
important, or regarded as destined to be important, in
understanding the =
possibilities realized in metaphysics -- questions of ontology, =
questions of God, freedom, immortality, and (philosophical)
questions of =
space, time, matter, etc. This is implicit in Peirce's
classification of =
logic as a field which does not presuppose metaphysics but which is =
presupposed by metaphyiscs.
The appending of three unusual prefixes to the concept of a sign
clearly a creative use of language.
The apparent (mechanical) objective is to form three new
categories as =
derivatives of the parent