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Re: Vygotsky/tool/sign/symbol

Excellent suggestion, Ana, thanks a lot. 

I have not gotten around yet to considering the znak=sign/symbol issue
in relationship to the sense/meaning distinction in LSV. I can't see
any simple mapping. Any thoughts
on how to go further with this?

On Sat, 27 Nov 2004 18:55:25 -0500, Ana Marjanovic-Shane
<ana@zmajcenter.org> wrote:
> Another relevant source, although after Vygotsky's time, is Susanne
> Langer. However, she summarizes Cassirer and Pierce and many others.
> In the "Philosophy in a New Key" she distinguishes between sign, signal
> and symbol.
> Signs stand for something else, but are not "intended" by anyone, and
> often are either a part of the larger event for which they stand or in
> other ways associated with it by local proximity. For instance,
> lightning is a sign of thunder and storm.
> Signals are different from signs in that they are developed within a
> culture and used by members of a community/culture with an intention to
> communicate certain very specific messages. For instance: green light on
> a traffic light means: "go!" and red light means "stop!" Signals are not
> natural parts of a situation or event, they are accepted arbitrary codes.
> What distinguishes signals from symbols is their rigid association with
> the referent they denote. There is no room for interpretation: Green
> light in traffic means "go!" and only "go!" It never means anything
> else, and there is no room for polysemy or interpretation.
> On the other hand, symbols are much more complex: they have to be
> interpreted depending on their context, on the history of their use and
> on a particular situation in which they are being used. Their meaning
> can fluctuate from situation to situation, from person to person, even
> from an intonation to an intonation within the same utterance. And yet,
> there is some consistency and rule-like constraint in the ways symbols
> change their meanings.
> Vygotsky also struggled with the relationship between "znak"
> (sign/symbol??) and what it "stands for" or what function it plays in
> thinking and communication. In Thought and Language, Vygotsky tried to
> make a distinction between meaning and sense (smisl) of a symbol (znak)
> -- as that domain of meaning which is most dependent on the particular
> context and its relative locus in the context.
> Ana