Re: "infra-semiotic" Re: [xmca] On Roth's "On Mediation"

From: Jay Lemke <jaylemke who-is-at>
Date: Thu Oct 25 2007 - 11:58:36 PDT


I don't disagree with this general view about meaning. But I still
think that operations do not normally function as elements of
semiosis, except indirectly by potentiating the actions that they
constitute. Or at least they do so in ways very different from how
actions participate in semiosis. We don't use operation-level
behaviors normally as objects, representamina, or interpretants ...
though of course they do have a material role in the overall
practices in which we do so for actions.

Think of the articulations of the lips, tongue, palate, vocal chords,
etc. in the process of uttering a word.


At 12:39 PM 10/25/2007, you wrote:
>Another way of putting this:
>Meaning is not what signs convey;
>Meaning is what signs do.
>What signs do is that they mean, and what it is for signs to mean is
>that they signify through unending cascades of interpretants
>potentiated by the triadic relations constituting them as signs.
>On Thu, 25 Oct 2007, Tony Whitson wrote:
>>I would just want to briefly take issue with the idea of "semiotic"
>>that is presupposed in your gloss on "infra-semiotic."
>> From a Peircean perspective, I would argue that meaning is not
>> something that signs convey. Meaning is what signs potentiate.
>> Sign is triadic relation, potentiating interpretants in which the
>> "object" of interpretation is interpreted through the mediation of
>> representamena (including intermediate/intermediating
>> interpretants). Meaning is the
>> signification-thru-mediated-activity* potentiated by the triadic
>> sign relation, rather than a positive (or structurally relative,
>> as in Saussure) semantic content that may be contained and
>> conveyed in or by "signs" as containers or conveyors of "meaning."
>>In this view, operations qualify as fully semiotic (vs.
>>infra-semiotic) sign-elements insofar as they participate in such
>>triadically mediative activity.* The difference that you point to
>>in terms of "meaningfulness" might be considered in terms of
>>differences in how Thirdness is realized, as between actions and
>>operations, but this would not be a differences of semiosis vs.
>>non- (or infra-) semiosis.
>>*"activity" here is not meant in the sense of differentiation from
>>actions & operations.
>>On Thu, 25 Oct 2007, Jay Lemke wrote:
>>>I have always thought of operations as "normally infra-semiotic" ,
>>>i.e. under most conditions they do not have or convey meaning in
>>>themselves. (Anything can be made meaningful by some special
>>>framing, of course).
>>>Jay Lemke
>>>University of Michigan
>>>School of Education
>>>610 East University
>>>Ann Arbor, MI 48109
>>>Tel. 734-763-9276
>>>Website. <>
>>>xmca mailing list
>>Tony Whitson
>>UD School of Education
>>NEWARK DE 19716
>>"those who fail to reread
>>are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
>> -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
>Tony Whitson
>UD School of Education
>NEWARK DE 19716
>"those who fail to reread
> are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
> -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
>xmca mailing list

Jay Lemke
University of Michigan
School of Education
610 East University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Tel. 734-763-9276
Website. <>
xmca mailing list
Received on Thu Oct 25 12:02 PDT 2007

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