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[Xmca-l] Re: Noumenal and Phenomenal

Hi James,

You write that "To my mind, Interpretant (Thirdness) is very important as it implies a mental concept - in Peirce's words, "sign in the mind”.”

Do you know Paul Kockelman’s work (ref below)? Kockelman emphasizes that the interpretant is *not* necessary mental. For example, a plant can respond to sunlight as an Object by turning in its direction (Interpretant). It is hard to see how a ‘mental concept’ could be a sign for a subsequent step of semiosis, whereas a plant turning, or an umbrella opened, or … more obviously could be.

This video is in Spanish, but otherwise pretty clear!



Kockelman, P. (2005). The semiotic stance. Semiotica, 2005(157), 233-304.

> On Jun 27, 2016, at 1:54 PM, Ma, James (james.ma@canterbury.ac.uk) <james.ma@canterbury.ac.uk> wrote:
> I like David's elaboration. Just to add a few comments to his and others' points:
> For Peirce, any sign is a triad which constitutes three realms: Representamen, Object & Interpretant, corresponding to Firstness, Secondness & Thirdness as three aspects of the sign. Within the aspect of Secondness, there are three forms: Icon, Index & Symbol, relating to the three realms - hence, Icon (Firstness), Index (Secondness) & Symbol (Thirdness). Through the realm of Interpretant, each of the three forms contributes to an understanding of the sign (i.e. Object), although such understanding is insusceptible of final proof. To my mind, Interpretant (Thirdness) is very important as it implies a mental concept - in Peirce's words, "sign in the mind". What's more, Interpretant is in itself a new sign for the next triad (i.e. semiosis).
> Peirce's semiosis is an interplay of these three realms - it is concerned with sign action in terms of production and interpretation of a sign through the representamen-interpretant relation that leads to "a discovery of true meaning, the object" (see Mats Bergman's Peirce's Philosophy of Communication, 2009, p.114). My take on Peirce's semiosis is that any sign is an end in itself - here, "end" means "purpose" or "goal" (rather than "closure").
> The term "sign" was used loosely both Saussure and Peirce. For Saussure, sign means signifier, whereas for Peirce it means the form the sign takes. The "object" is normally hidden; it would have been otherwise pointless to make a sign if the object is already present. Object is absent in Saussure's dyad (which is self-contained: signifié-signifiant, i.e. signified-signifier). Saussure's "signified" is not quite the same as Peirce's "interpretant". In the former, the system of signification which bridges the signified and the signifier is fixated, e.g. the sound MIAO as signifier resulting in a linguistic concept CAT as signified is determined by the system of signification, English language. If the system is French language, then the linguistic concept will be LE CHAT. More importantly, the idea behind Peirce's interpretant is "dialogical thought" which is also absent in Saussure's dyad.
> Regarding word-image relations, what's interesting is that both modes of meaning are slippery and elusive - which opens up a huge scope for semiotic thinking. The approach to written texts is in the form of linear itinerary, but the approach to visual images is in the form of circumnavigation, which spirals outwards from the centre to the periphery and at the same time inwards from the periphery to the centre. In terms of meaning potential, I don't think the centre necessarily implies a deep structure whereas the periphery a surface structure - both can be either, depending on the phenomenon and the person who finds himself in that phenomenon.
> James
> ________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> Sent: 26 June 2016 22:19
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Noumenal and Phenomenal
> Martin:
> Actually, it's the icon that is "first" for Peirce, but it's sometimes
> pretty hard to tell what "firstness" means, because it's not really
> equivalent to mediacy, which is the way most Vygotskyans are trained to
> think. Instead, Peirce uses a set of thought experiments to distinguish
> what comes first: "An icon is a represntamen whose representative quality
> is a firstness of it as a first. That is a quality that it has qua thing
> renders it fit to be a representament.". (Philosophical writings of Peirce,
> J. Buchler ed., New York: Dover, p. 104).
> Here's the passage of Peirce I find most useful:
> "A sign is either an icon, an index or a symbol. An icon is a sign that
> would possess the character which renders it significant even though its
> object had no existence: such as a lead pencil streak representing a
> geometrical line. An index is a sign which would,at once,lose the character
> which makes it a sign if its object where removed, but would not lose that
> character if there were no interpretant. Such,for instance, is a piece of
> mould (i.e. particle board--DK) with a bullet hole in it as a sign of a
> shot; for without the shot there would have been no hole,but there is a
> hole there, whether anybody has the sense to attribute it to a shot or not.
> A symbol is a sign which would lose the character which renders it a sign
> if there were no interpretant. Such is any utterance of speech which
> signifies what it does only by virtue of its being understood to have that
> signification." (104).
> So icons are "first" because they don't need an object to mean; indexes are
> "second" because although they need an object, they don't need an
> interpretant, and symbols are "third" because in order to mean they need an
> object, and an interpretant. What is confusing to people is that this
> doesn't create three distinct categories: a symbol has to also be some kind
> of index and some kind of icon, and an index has to be an icon. So a foot
> is a foot and it doesn't need any aim or goal or object to mean a foot. In
> the same way, a foot print is a footprint, but it it's not just a
> footprint: it also means that there was a foot there at one time,and that's
> what makes it an index as well as an icon. Finally, the word "foot" or
> "pied" or "jiao" is a sound, but it's not just a sound; it also means that
> there was a speaking mouth, tongue, vocal cords, lungs and brain there at
> one time, and these are what makes each spoken word an icon and an index as
> well as a symbol.
> David Kellogg
> Macquarie University
> On Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 4:18 AM, Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co
>> wrote:
>> Hi Larry,
>> I though that Greg was asking whether it was not the case that the Ur-sign
>> for LSV was the index, rather than the icon or symbol. I took this to be a
>> reference to LSV's frequent mention of the infant's pointing - an indexical
>> sign if ever that was one, since the gesture is literally done  with the
>> index finger.
>> As I understand it, for Peirce the index was basic, the icon more complex,
>> and the symbol the most complex kind of sign.
>> And for what it's worth, I read Hegel (and many other phenomenologists) as
>> aiming to describe the movement in consciousness from appearance to
>> reality. Or perhaps better put, the movement from what seems real to what
>> turns out to be the mere appearance of a deeper reality. For Hegel (for
>> Marx, for LSV?), this movement never ends. (Well, there's some debate over
>> that claim, but let it stand for now!)
>>> On Jun 26, 2016, at 2:08 PM, Lplarry <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> I hope this topic (noumenal and phenomenal) can continue.
>>> Greg's question if objects (and objectives) is the *ur* phenomenon for
>> Vygotsky, and this model contrasting with Peirce's triadic model where the
>> objects ( *ur* phenomenon)  is one element of semiosis.
>>> I am going to introduce a quote from Hegel that  may add to this topic:
>>> "Philosophy is not meant to be a narration of happenings but a cognition
>> of what is *true* in them, and further, on the basis of this cognition, to
>> *comprehend* that which, in the narrative, appears as a mere happening."
>>> Is this process of truth as the basis for *comprehending* noumenal or
>> phenomenal?
>>> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
>>> From: Lplarry