Re: Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs.

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Thu Dec 16 2004 - 14:45:39 PST

Don-- Might you point us to your point us to your rash moment when
dealing with signs and artifacts? And to your favorite dicussion of
first, second, and thirdness?

To me, the articles for discussions are media for our collective self
-development. For my part, as someone who may not understand artifacts
but thinks about them, I would be happy to try to build on next

There is a paper by (I think) Bourne and Shewder or Shweder and someone on the
semiotic nature of the self in cultural psychology. If that is
relevant, I can chase it down and try to make it available.

On Thu, 16 Dec 2004 15:43:09 -0500, Cunningham, Donald J.
<> wrote:
> There is much to admire in Uslucan's paper but also much I would
> critique. To leave aside a discussion of firstness, secondness and
> thirdness is a bit like a discussion of Descartes leaving out that pesky
> issue of mind/body. I am especially concerned that the paper gives the
> impression that Peirce minimizes the importance of doubt when in fact
> doubt (genuine doubt that arises from experience) is the only state in
> which we learn something new. It is true that he saw no need for the
> methodological form of doubt used by Descartes as a tool to discover the
> indubitable, but that is an entirely different issue. Likewise, for
> Peirce all thought is in signs, but not all signs are thoughts. Dialogue
> is semiosic but not all semiosis is dialogic (unless you take dialogue
> as a metaphor for all inter- or trans-action).
> But perhaps a more useful activity than taking shots at the article is
> to consider the broader question of how Peircean semiotics might inform
> activity theory and vice versa. In a rash moment I once suggested that
> Peirce's concept of sign might elucidate the concept of artifact in
> CHAT. That may be because I never had a very clear idea of artifact
> (never mind object!)...........djc
> Don Cunningham
> Indiana University
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bill Barowy []
> Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 12:09 PM
> To:
> Subject: Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs.
> "..dialogue is the genuine context in which signs evolve. The semiotic
> activity has at least two sides: the generation of signs and the
> interpretation of signs. All signs require two minds: (a) a quasi
> utterer,
> and a (b) quasi interpreter (CP 4.551). Dialogicity is not only a
> special
> human capacity but, far more, it is a constitutive condition of signs
> and of
> the act of semiosis."
> I think this is where semiotics, while preserving the constructive
> nature of
> meaning making, departs radically from constructivism (a culture-free
> individually-focussed epistemology) to account for a collective basis of
> thought. "Mind is distributed" seems to be the buzzphrase, but it is
> more
> than that - signs, in their evolution, have a history closely tied to
> ontogenesis. As well as being dialogic, semiosis relies upon the history
> of
> the interpretant, with whom interpretation is a
> putting-into-relation-of-prior-signs. Ontogenesis is now a development
> of
> the "semiotic self" and consequently developmental processes are
> bi-directional.
> Semiosis is inherently dynamic, dependent over time: "Even in the most
> private
> moment, thinking is dialogue between the self of the moment and the self
> of
> the next moment"
> And a solid methodology of semiotics is forthcoming (I've heard semiotic
> approches termed "eclectic"): Peirce "failed to formulate the empirical
> basis of the semiotic constitution...."
> But I think I disagree with this: "The idea of a semiotic psychology is
> to
> look at how signs actually function in intrapersonal and interpersonal
> behavior. "
> Isn't the nature of semiosis, by involving signs that are always
> cultural,
> fundamentally and only interpersonal, never intrapersonal in the
> traditional
> sense, no matter how private is the private moment?
> bb

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