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[Xmca-l] Re: The Semiotic Stance.pdf


My impression is that Tony included Saussure to demonstrate that with appropriate interpretation the two systems could be seen as mutually relevant to one another, not because Peirce's triadic sign is dependent on Saussure's dyadic approach. In fact, in a subsequent publication, he makes it clear that Saussure's dyadic sign is inherently flawed in ways that Peirce corrects:

"Lacan's model of a 'free play of signifiers' would also allow a wide variety of elements to participate together within the free 'chaining' of dyadic signifier-signifieds. By contrast with the Peircean account of semiosis, we can now see how the indeterminacy, or 'freedom,' in Lacan's approach betrays a basic flaw inherent in the two-term model of the sign, which he adopted from de Saussure" (Kirshner & Whitson, 1998, p. 26--note, Tony wrote this section). 

I've attached the article so you can get the full story. 


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Greg Thompson
Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2016 7:43 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Semiotic Stance.pdf

​Thanks David.

Tony Whitson captures the trouble with Peirce's terms (esp. "mind") in the following:

"Finally, Peirce's use of the term mind in the previous quotation demands some comment. Peirce sometimes spoke of the interpretant as being produced by a mind or by a person who is interpreting the representamen; but he himself referred to this usage as a compromise he made in "despair of making my own broader conception understood" (Letter to Lady Welby, December 14, 1908, in Kardwick, 1977, pp. 80-81). A more adequate expression of Peirce's broader conception can be seen in his references to signs as being used not only consciously by human persons, but used as well by any kind of 'scientific' intelligence, that is to say, by an intelligence capable of learning by experience' (2.227 [c. 1987])"
(Whitson, p. 103).

I think this speaks to the sense in which a sunflower can be an interpretant for Peirce.

But in reading his chapter, I am unclear why there is a need to turn back to Saussure? The essay says that it is a "complement" but is it a necessary complement? What is lost if we don't add Saussure?

(my fear is that Saussure necessarily turns back the gains that Peirce's triadic view of the sign has to offer and returns us to the dualism that Tony was trying to get away from. Tony's figure 7.3 makes me doubly anxious about this since it seems to suggest that the object and the representamen exist in different realms. I'm fine with that kind of dualism in a dualistic account, but it seems not quite right to have such a dualism as part of an account whose goal is non-dualism).



On Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 3:24 AM, Ma, James (james.ma@canterbury.ac.uk) < james.ma@canterbury.ac.uk> wrote:

> Many thanks David
> James
> ________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu 
> <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of David H Kirshner 
> <dkirsh@lsu.edu>
> Sent: 30 June 2016 19:07:35
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Semiotic Stance.pdf
> James,
> Tony Whitson gives a wonderful exposition of semiotic 
> theory--supported by accessible examples and neat graphics--in this 
> chapter. Some of those examples address your questions about the 
> interpretant. Tony's chapter begins on page 97.
> David
> https://books.google.com/books?id=w3yRORQocjwC&pg=PA97&lpg=PA97&dq=whi
> tson+%22cognition+as+a+semiosic+process%22&source=bl&ots=a5Eej451uH&si
> g=7I1LbYsnZGkxTbyaOX5n30WKpr8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjo-c_JptDNAhXky4MK
> HaN-At8Q6AEIKzAD#v=onepage&q=whitson%20%22cognition%20as%20a%20semiosi
> c%20process%22&f=false
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Ma, James (
> james.ma@canterbury.ac.uk)
> Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:17 PM
> To: Martin John Packer; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Semiotic Stance.pdf
> Hi Larry, yes, I think it's a fascinating piece too (I first came 
> across his work 11  years ago while doing a postdoc and later on 
> quoted "the semiotic stance" in my article for MCA in 2014).  What's 
> more fascinating - I've just found that there's a whole list of his 
> publications downloadable via http://www.envorganism.org/Essays.html
> I've got a question for Martin - when speaking about Kockelman's idea 
> of the interpretant being "not" necessary mental, you gave an example 
> of a plant react ingto sunlight by turning its direction - which you 
> considered to be an interpretant. However, to me, this is a plant's 
> natural response to the stimulus produced by the sun - it is similar 
> to what Jung called IRM (instinctual releasing mechanism) as a result 
> of human organisms' (as well as non-human organisms') behavioural 
> adaptation to the environment through evolution. I'm still wondering why you think this is an interpretant.
> James
> ________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu 
> <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Lplarry 
> <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
> Sent: 30 June 2016 16:46
> To: Martin John Packer; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Semiotic Stance.pdf
> Not sure if others are reading this fascinating article on the 
> semiotic stance.
> The first few pages offer multiple examples of *thirds* that 
> illuminate the complexity of this notion for interpretation.
> When discussing Peirce's thirds as 3 components that are a single 
> phenomenal unit, it is equally important to focus on Peirce's further 
> discussions of the iconic component as dividing into (image-icons)
> (diagrammatic-icons) and (metaphoric-icons) Image icons are 
> qualitative imitation Diagrammatical icons are structural analogy 
> Metaphoric icons refer to parallelism.
> Icon images will have some objective correspondence with the signifier
> (representamen) and the signified (object)
> Diagram icons will also have some objective correspondence with 
> signifier and signified.
> With Metapor icons the correspondence may be (perceptually) or
> (experientially) constituted on the basis of a parallelism.
> Franson Manjali indicates Percean *units* as *thirds* form a continuum 
> starting from those having a maximum of objective correspondence 
> between the object and the (spatial/temporal) form of the 
> signifier/representamen as in the case of the image-icon, and moving 
> by degrees to the *arbitrary* or (law-like) symbol, where such an 
> objective correspondence is almost absent.
> In this continuum the metaphor-icon occupies a middle position, the 
> nature of the correspondence being a parallelism that is subjectively (felt).
> The iconicity of the metaphor is thus part OBJECTIVE and part SUBJECTIVE.
> The via media way.
> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
> From: Martin John Packer

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

Attachment: KirshnerWhitsonER.pdf
Description: KirshnerWhitsonER.pdf