Peirce's Sign Theory, or Semiotic, is an account of signification, representation, reference and meaning. Although sign theories have a long history, Peirce's accounts are distinctive and innovative for their breadth and complexity, and for capturing the importance of interpretation to signification. For Peirce, developing a thoroughgoing theory of signs was a central philosophical and intellectual preoccupation. The importance of semiotic for Peirce is wide ranging. As he himself said, “[…] it has never been in my power to study anything,—mathematics, ethics, (...) metaphysics, gravitation, thermodynamics, optics, chemistry, comparative anatomy, astronomy, psychology, phonetics, economics, the history of science, whist, men and women, wine, metrology, except as a study of semiotic”. (SS 1977, 85–6). Peirce also treated sign theory as central to his work on logic, as the medium for inquiry and the process of scientific discovery, and even as one possible means for 'proving' his pragmatism. Its importance in Peirce's philosophy, then, cannot be underestimated. -/- Across the course of his intellectual life, Peirce continually returned to and developed his ideas about signs and semiotic and there are three broadly delineable accounts: a concise Early Account from the 1860s; a complete and relatively neat Interim Account developed through the 1880s and 1890s and presented in 1903; and his speculative, rambling, and incomplete Final Account developed between 1906 and 1910. The following entry examines these three accounts, and traces the changes that led Peirce to develop earlier accounts and generate new, more complex, sign theories. However, despite these changes, Peirce's ideas on the basic structure of signs and signification remain largely uniform throughout his developments. Consequently, it is useful to begin with an account of the basic structure of signs according to Peirce. (shrink)
This book, officially a contribution to the subject area of Charles Peirce’s semiotics, deserves a wider readership, including philosophers. Its subject matter is what might be termed the great question of how signification is brought about (what Peirce called the ‘riddle of the Sphinx’, who in Emerson’s poem famously asked, ‘Who taught thee me to name?’), and also Peirce’s answer to the question (what Peirce himself called his ‘guess at the riddle’, and Freadman calls his ‘sign hypothesis’).
Cognitive science has been dominated by the computational conception that cognition is computation across representations. To the extent to which cognition as computation across representations is supposed to be a purposive, meaningful, algorithmic, problem-solving activity, however, computers appear to be incapable of cognition. They are devices that can facilitate computations on the basis of semantic grounding relations as special kinds of signs. Even their algorithmic, problem-solving character arises from their interpretation by human users. Strictly speaking, computers as such — apart (...) from human users — are not only incapable of cognition, but even incapable of computation, properly construed. If we want to understand the nature of thought, then we have to study thinking, not computing, because they are not the same thing. (shrink)
This article explores the role of the Deaf child as peer educator. In schools where sign languages were banned, Deaf children became the educators of their Deaf peers in a number of contexts worldwide. This paper analyses how this peer education of sign language worked in context by drawing on two examples from boarding schools for the deaf in Nicaragua and Thailand. The argument is advanced that these practices constituted a child-led oppositional pedagogy. A connection is drawn to Freire’s (1972) (...) theory of critical pedagogy. Deaf children’s actions as peer educators are framed as an act of resistance towards the oppression of their language and culture. A contrast is drawn between oralist pedagogy that is historically associated with punitive practices and didactic methods and the experiential and dialogic interaction that characterised peer learning of sign languages. The argument is made that the peer teaching and learning processes enabled the self-actualisation of the Deaf children whereas the oralist methods were based on a deficit model that focused on modifying deaf children according to the norms of hearing society. The implications of this for current policy and practice are inferred to be about access to sign languages and the importance of Deaf communities in deaf children’s education. The argument is made that space needs to be created for deaf children to engage in peer learning. (shrink)
Translator's introduction: The germinal structure of Derrida's thought -- Translator's note -- Introduction -- Sign and signs -- The reduction of indication -- Meaning as soliloquy -- Meaning and representation -- The sign and the blink of an eye -- The voice that keeps silent -- The originative supplement.
Walter Benjamin foreshadowed many of the aesthetic theories, currently playing a fundamental role in the production and interpretation of art. By emphasising the role of the expressive character of art, or rather the category of expressivity itself, Benjamin defined art as a language. His aesthetics was characterised by the continuous interaction of two almost reciprocal projects: the theoretical critique of art which is based on an understanding of historical processes, and the understanding of historical processes which is formed by the (...) critical experience of art. We find a fundamental similarity between Benjamin’s dialectical character of the aesthetic sign and Lotman’s double-sidedness of the artwork. In classifying the system of art as a language, both theoreticians space out the structure ofart and determine it as the intersection of the synchronic and the diachronic aesthetic discourse. The paper follows the traces of the transition of modern painting from its representational status to an autonomous signification, that is, from being a symbolic expression to a discourse in the grammatological meaning of écriture. Parallel to this transition which resulted into the process of abstraction in painting, there can be observed a shift in the cultural values of art which had its critical bearing upon the world secured not by connections of likeness, but by virtue of the very independence of its values. The abstract form of the modern painting has been the declaration of the language of art as an exemplary realm. What must be expressed and experienced within this realm was (1) the critical reflection on the human condition, and (2) representing the society in so far as art maintained a moral independence from those conditions. This dialectic between the autonomous and social character of art has left deep impacts on the language of painting, a complexity, which has been made transparent through the various semiotic analytic approaches of the aesthetic sign. The paper discusses the processual character of the modern painting and demonstrates briefly the deficiency in the structural analysis of the painting language, encouraging its synthesis with the dynamical character of cultural products as we find it in the Lotmanian culture theory. (shrink)
Ecosemiotics represents a theoretical approach to human ecology that can be applied across several disciplines. lts primary justification lies inthe ambition to transcend "Cartesian", conceptual dichotomies such as culture/nature. society/nature, mental/material. etc. It argues that ecosystems areconstituted no less by flows of signs than by flows of matter and energy. This paper discusses the roles of different kinds of hmnan sign systems in the ecologyof Amazonia, ranging from the phenomenology of unconscious sensations. through linguistic signs such as metaphors and ethnobiological (...) taxonomies, to money and the political economy of environmental destruction. Human-environmental relations mediated by direct, sensory and (oral) linguistic communication have tended to enhance biological diversity, suggesting modes of calibrating the long-term co-evolution of human and non-human populations. Economic sign systems, on the other hand, have rapidly and drastically transfonned human-environmental relations in Amazonia to the point where the entire rainforest ecosystem is illlder threat. In detaching themselves from the direct, "face-to-face" communication between humans and their natural environments, flows of money and commodities - and the decontextualized knowledge systems that they engender - have no means of staying geared to the long-term negotiation of local, ecological co-existence. It is argued that the ongoing deterioration of the biosphere can be viewed as a problem of communication, deserving semiotic analysis. (shrink)
The article deals with the relationships between the concepts of life process and sign process, arguing against the simplified equation of these concepts. Assuming that organism (and its particular case — cell) is the carrier of what is called ‘life’, we attempt to find a correspondent notion in semiotics that can be equalled to the feature of being alive. A candidate for this is the textual process as a multiple sign action. Considering that biological texts are generally non-linguistic, the concept (...) of biotext should be used instead of ‘text’ in biology. (shrink)
The present article discusses sign typology from the perspective of action which is conceived as having a sextet structure. The relation between means and purpose in action is analogous to the relation between sign and meaning. The greater the degree in which the action has purpose, the less tool-like the action is.Peirce’s trichotomies correspond to a fragment of the sextet structure.
The term ‘parenthetical’ is applied to an almost unlimited range of linguistic phenomena, which share but one common feature, namely their being used parenthetically. Parenthetic use is mostly described in terms of embedding an expression into some host sentence. Actually, however, it is anything but clearwhat it means for an expression to be used parenthetically, from both a syntactic and a semantic point of view.Given that in most, if not all, cases the alleged host sentence can be considered syntactically and (...) semantically complete in itself, it needs to be asked what kind ofinformation the parenthetical contributes to the overall structure. Another issue to be addressed concerns the nature of the relation between parenthetical and host (explanation, question, etc.) and the question what is it that holds them together.Trying to figure out the basic function of parentheticals, the present paper proposes a semiotic analysis of parenthetically used expressions. This semioticanalysis is not intended to replace linguistic approaches1, but is meant to elaborate on why parentheticals are so hard to capture linguistically. Taking a dynamicconception of signs and sign processes (in the sense of Peirce, Voloshinov and Bahtin) as starting point, parentheticals are argued to render explicit the inherentdialogicity of signs and utterances. This inherent dialogicity is hardly ever taken into consideration in linguistic analyses, which take the two-dimensional linearityof language as granted. (shrink)
The present article discusses different basic semiotic-scientific postulates regarding mammals’ sign activity. On the one hand, there are arguments denying animals sign activity, according to which mammals are not capable of semantic generalization on the basis of conventional linguistic values. According to another approach, mammals’ sign activity can be considered as means of ecological adaptation, that is, the features of animal behaviour based on the information, received by them through their habitat characteristics without direct visual contacts with their kind. Movement (...) elements, behavioural reactions of similar motivation and parameters of the sign field, which represents an animal’s sign-information environment, may have some numerical expression and can becalculated depending on the research tasks. Formalization of the animal activity implies simultaneous consideration of the following parameters: magnitude,intensity, anisotropy and the value of a given sign object. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to argue that there existed a very prominent view of signs and signification in late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe which can help us to understand several puzzling aspects of baroque culture. This view, called here "pansemioticism," constituted a fundamental part of the baroque conception of the world. After sketching the content and importance of pansemioticism, I will show how it can help us to understand the (from a modern perspective) rather puzzling concept of the polymath, (...) or polyhistor, which constituted the ideal of the baroque scientist. In this context I will also discuss a seventeenth century phenomenon essentially connected with polyhistorism, namely that of the early modem polyhistorical collections, the Wunderkamnmern. Since such a study needs a clearly determined focal point, we will concentrate on the last three quarters of the seventeenth century and will mainly discuss works by German authors of the time. (shrink)
On Reading Signs; Some Differences between Us and The Others If there are certain kinds of signs that an animal cannot learn to interpret, that might be for any of a number of reasons. It might be, first, because the animal cannot discriminate the signs from one another. For example, although human babies learn to discriminate human speech sounds according to the phonological structures of their native languages very easily, it may be that few if any other animals are capable (...) of fully grasping the phonological structures of human languages. If an animal cannot learn to interpret certain signs it might be, second, because the decoding is too difficult for it. It could be, for example, that some animals are incapable of decoding signs that exhibit syntactic embedding, or signs that are spread out over time as opposed to over space. Problems of these various kinds might be solved by using another sign system, say, gestures rather than noises, or visual icons laid out in spatial order, or by separating out embedded propositions and presenting each separately. But a more interesting reason that an animal might be incapable of understanding a sign would be that it lacked mental representations of the necessary kind. It might be incapable of representing mentally what the sign conveys. When discussing what signs animals can understand or.. (shrink)
Original and penetrating, this book investigates of the notion of inference from signs, which played a central role in ancient philosophical and scientific method. It examines an important chapter in ancient epistemology: the debates about the nature of evidence and of the inferences based on it--or signs and sign-inferences as they were called in antiquity. As the first comprehensive treatment of this topic, it fills an important gap in the histories of science and philosophy.
In this paper I examine parallels between C.S. Peirce's most mature account of signs and contemporary philosophy of language. I do this by first introducing a summary of Peirce's final account of Signs. I then use that account of signs to reconstruct Peircian answers to two puzzles of reference: The Problem of Cognitive Significance, or Frege's Puzzle; and The Same-Saying Phenomenon for Indexicals. Finally, a comparison of these Peircian answers with both Fregean and Direct Referentialist approaches to the puzzles highlights (...) interesting parallels and important differences between Peirce's final account of signs, and the concepts used in analytic philosophy of language. (shrink)
: T.L. Short's book argues that Peirce's early theory of signs was flawed, and that the development of his mature theories required a new start and the rejection of some fundamental doctrines from the earlier view. While agreeing that Peirce's view of signs changed and agreeing on the new developments that were of most significance, I express some doubts about Short's diagnosis of why such changes were required. I argue that the changes were required, not by internal inconsistencies in the (...) earlier position, but rather by the need to come up with an adequate account of the role of experience in cognition. (shrink)
Frege’s celebrated distinction between judgments and their contents invites the Tractarian denigration of his assertion sign as merely indicating the holding or putting forth as true of a thought, for whatever its other merits the marking of such an event seems of little relevance to a thought’s inferential significance. However, in light of (a) Frege’s conception of a logically correct language serving inter alia as an organon for the acquisition or reconstruction of knowledge, and (b) his epistemic conception of inference, (...) it is argued that the sign of assertion is a device for distinguishing from all others those thoughts lying on the path of discovery. The drawing of such a distinction is then shown to be of inferential significance by elucidating Frege’s conception of inference as involving the acquisition or reconstruction of knowledge. Frege’s view of inference rules as codifying justificatory relations among judgments is then given an interpretation as making no undue use of psychological notions, and his denial that the assertion sign can have semantic content is shown to be mistaken but not in such a way as to frustrate the aim with which it is introduced. (shrink)
On Reading Signs; Some Differences between Us and The Others If there are certain kinds of signs that an animal cannot learn to interpret, that might be for any of a number of reasons. It might be, first, because the animal cannot discriminate the signs from one another. For example, although human babies learn to discriminate human speech sounds according to the phonological structures of their native languages very easily, it may be that few if any other animals are capable (...) of fully grasping the phonological structures of human languages. If an animal cannot learn to interpret certain signs it might be, second, because the decoding is too difficult for it. It could be, for example, that some animals are incapable of decoding signs that exhibit syntactic embedding, or signs that are spread out over time as opposed to over space. Problems of these various kinds might be solved by using another sign system, say, gestures rather than noises, or visual icons laid out in spatial order, or by separating out embedded propositions and presenting each separately. But a more interesting reason that an animal might be incapable of understanding a sign would be that it lacked mental representations of the necessary kind. It might be incapable of representing mentally what the sign conveys. When discussing what signs animals can understand or. (shrink)
This essay presents a phenomenological analysis of the functioning of symbols as elements of the life-world with the purpose of demonstrating the interrelationship of individual and society. On the basis of Alfred Schutz''s theory of the life-world, signs and symbols are viewed as mechanisms by means of which the individual can overcome the transcendences posed by time, space, the world of the Other, and multiple realities which confront him or her. Accordingly, the individual''s life-world divides itself into the dimensions of (...) time, space, the social world and various reality spheres which form the boundaries or transcendences that the I has to understand and integrate. Signs and symbols are described as appresentational modes which stand for experiences originating in the different spheres of the life-world within the world of everyday life, within which they can be communicated, thereby establishing intersubjectivity. Schutz''s theory of the symbol explains how social entities – such as nations, states or religious groups – are symbolically integrated to become components of the individual''s life-world. The following paper reconstructs Schutz''s concept of the symbol as a crucial component of his theory of the life-world, which is seen as an outstanding phenomenological contribution to the theory of the sign and the symbol in general. (shrink)
: This paper is a commentary on some topics discussed by Thomas Short in his recent book Peirce's Theory of Signs: Peirce's distinction between iconic and indexical signs, the objects of propositions, and different ways of interpreting the distinction between the immediate and dynamic objects of signs. Peirce's distinction between immediate and dynamic objects is in certain respects analogous to Alexius Meinong's distinction between the "auxiliary objects" and the "ultimate objects" ("target objects") of mental representations. It is suggested that the (...) models of a theory can be regarded as its immediate objects, and the real systems represented by the models are the dynamic objects of the theory. (shrink)
In this essay I describe two of the accounts that Peirce provides of personhood: the semiotic account, on which a person is a sequence of thought-signs, and the naturalistic account, on which a person is an animal. I then argue that these disparate accounts can be reconciled into a plausible view on which persons are numerically distinct entities that are nevertheless continuous with each other in an important way. This view would be agreeable to Peirce in some respects, as it (...) is modeled on his theory of perception, incorporates his categories of Firstness, Secondness and Thirdness, and is in harmony with his objective idealism. But it diverges from Peirce in one important respect, viz. its rejection of the idea that some groups of human beings count as persons. (shrink)
Dr. Fouts began his lecture with the story of how he and his wife Deborah became involved with Washoe—the first non-human to acquire the signs of American Sign Language (ASL). Project Washoe began in 1966 with Drs. Allen and Beatrix Gardner in Reno, Nevada. There had been other experiments that attempted to get chimpanzees to speak. These experiments were not successful due to anatomical and neurological differences between humans and chimpanzees. (Fouts showed some video of the chimpanzee Vicki trying to (...) say the four words she had learned—mama, papa, up, cup.) Part of the issue is the construction of the chimpanzee’s vocal box while another part of the issue is that chimpanzee vocalizations are tied to their .. (shrink)
: This paper argues that pragmatists must be more cognizant of the concept of "power" and its consequences. To demonstrate this, I show how Foucault's analytics of power can be brought into Peirce's theory of signs. Central to both philosophers is the role of action. Using the concept of action, I explain that Foucault's conception of power, action on actions, can be understood as structuring Peircian habits, which are rules for action. From here I build out to Peirce's semiotics, illustrating (...) how power channels the meanings of signs in certain directions. The rest of the paper is dedicated to reconstructing in light of Foucault Peirce's claim that the subject is nothing more than the signs it uses. I argue that any understanding of the subject must account for the subject being distributed through a field of power. The paper concludes by proposing a new "philosophy of the subject" which seeks to reconcile Foucault's concerns with those of pragmatism. (shrink)
There are close parallels between perception (the interpretation of sensory experience as representing physical objects) and hermeneutics (the interpretation of signs as having meaning). Perceptual illusions corresponds to ambiguities in texts; naive realism corresponds to fundamentalism; the scientist's reinterpretation of the "manifest image" to the global/local interplay of the "hermeneutic circle" in the interpretation of large texts.
It is argued, that theory sf signs, especially in the tradition of the great philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914) can inspire the study of central problems in the philosophy of biology. Three such problems are considered: (1) The nature of biology as a science, where a semiotically informed pluralistic approach to the theory of science is introduced. (2) The peculiarity of the general object of biology, where a realistic interpretation of sign- and information-concepts is required to see sign-processes as immanent (...) in nature. (3) The possibility of an artificial construction of life, hereby discussed as a conceptual problem in the present form of the artificial life project and its implied definition of life. (shrink)
Even though sign-systems are a crucial part of society, critical realism, as developed by Roy Bhaskar, does not yet have an adequate theory of signs and semiosis. The few suggestions that Bhaskar offers can be advanced through the semiotics of C.S. Peirce. In doing so, however, it becomes necessary to reconsider Bhaskar's ontological domains of the real, the actual, and the subjective, and expand the last domain into one of semiosis. This new understanding of ontological domains, incorporating Peirceian semiotics, provides (...) the basis for rethinking the ontology of society: the customary dyad structures/agents becomes the triad structures/agents/discourses, each of which possesses material, sociological, and meaningful aspects. (shrink)
Peircean semeiotics—Peirce's own term, in contrast to the discipline of "semiotics" that is usually spelled without the second "e"—has generated a substantial secondary literature, much of it designed to clarify Peirce's obscure, unsystematic, and continuously developing ideas about signs articulated over a forty-year career, but some of it in the attempt to illuminate other disciplines or fields of inquiry (e.g., one of the most recent being the provocative Cinema and Semiotic: Peirce and Film Aesthetics, Narration, and Representation, by Johannes Ehrat, (...) published by the University of Toronto Press in 2005). T. L. Short's comprehensive discussion advances the conversation, or at least attempts to do so, in at .. (shrink)
In this book, T. L. Short corrects widespread misconceptions of Peirce’s theory of signs and demonstrates its relevance to contemporary analytic philosophy of language, mind, and science. Peirce’s theory of mind, naturalistic but nonreductive, bears on debates of Fodor and Millikan, among others. His theory of inquiry avoids foundationalism and subjectivism, while his account of reference anticipated views of Kripke and Putnam. Peirce’s realism falls between ‘internal’ and ‘metaphysical’ realism and is more satisfactory than either. His pragmatism is not verificationism; (...) rather, it identifies meaning with potential growth of knowledge. Short distinguishes Peirce’s mature theory of signs from his better-known but paradoxical early theory. He develops the mature theory systematically on the basis of Peirce's phenomenological categories and concept of final causation. The latter is distinguished from recent and similar views, such as Brandon’s, and is shown to be grounded in forms of explanation adopted in modern science. (shrink)
We describe how a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) process was used to develop a means of discussing end-of-life care needs of Deaf seniors. This process identified a variety of communication issues to be addressed in working with this special population. We overview the unique linguistic and cultural characteristics of this community and their implications for working with Deaf individuals to provide information for making informed decisions about end-of-life care, including completion of health care directives. Our research and our work with (...) members of the Deaf community strongly show that communication and presentation of information should be in American Sign Language, the language of Deaf citizens. (shrink)
To Aristotle, spoken words are symbols, not of objects in the world, but of our mental experiences related to these objects. Presently there are two major strands of interpretation of Aristotle’s concept of the linguistic sign. First, there is the structuralist account offered by Coseriu (Geschichte der Sprachphilosophie. Von den Anfängen bis Rousseau, 2003 , pp. 65–108) whose interpretation is reminiscent of the Saussurean sign concept. A second interpretation, offered by Lieb (in: Geckeler (Ed.) Logos Semantikos: Studia Linguistica in Honorem (...) Eugenio Coseriu 1921–1981, 1981) and Weidemann (in: Schmitter (Ed.) Geschichte der Sprachtheorie 2. Sprachtheorien der abendländischen Antike, 1991), says that Aristotle’s concept of the linguistic sign is similar to the one presented in Ogden and Richard’s (The meaning of meaning: A study of the influence of language upon thought and of the science of symbolism, 1970 ) semiotic triangle. This paper starts off with an introductory outline of the so-called phýsei-thései discussion which started during presocratic times and culminated in Plato’s Cratylus. Aristotle’s concept of the linguistic sign is to be regarded as a solution to the stalemate position reached in the Cratylus. Next, a discussion is offered of both Coseriu’s and Lieb’s analysis. We submit that Aristotle’s concept of the linguistic sign shows features of both Saussure’s and Ogden and Richards’s sign concept but that it does not exclusively predict one of the two. We argue that Aristotle’s concept of the linguistic sign is based on three different relations which together evince his teleological as well empiricist point of view: one internal (symbolic) relation and two external relations, i.e. a likeness relation and a relation katà synthéken. (shrink)
There are two main approaches to the problem of donkey anaphora (e.g. If John owns a donkey , he beats it ). Proponents of dynamic approaches take the pronoun to be a logical variable, but they revise the semantics of quantifiers so as to allow them to bind variables that are not within their syntactic scope. Older dynamic approaches took this measure to apply solely to existential quantifiers; recent dynamic approaches have extended it to all quantifiers. By contrast, proponents of (...) E-type analyses take the pronoun to have the semantics of a definite description (with it ≈ the donkey, or the donkey that John owns ). While competing accounts make very different claims about the patterns of coindexation that are found in the syntax, these are not morphologically realized in spoken languages. But they are in sign language, namely through locus assignment and pointing. We make two main claims on the basis of ASL and LSF data. First, sign language data favor dynamic over E-type theories: in those cases in which the two approaches make conflicting predictions about possible patterns of coindexation, dynamic analyses are at an advantage. Second, among dynamic theories, sign language data favor recent ones because the very same formal mechanism is used irrespective of the indefinite or non-indefinite nature of the antecedent. Going beyond this debate, we argue that dynamic theories should allow pronouns to be bound across negative expressions, as long as the pronoun is presupposed to have a non-empty denotation. Finally, an appendix displays and explains subtle differences between overt sign language pronouns and all other pronouns in examples involving ‘disjunctive antecedents’, and suggests that counterparts of sign language loci might be found in spoken language. (shrink)
Semiotics, the theory of sign and meaning, may help physicians complement the project of interpreting signs and symptoms into diagnoses. A sign stands for something. We communicate indirectly through signs, and make sense of our world by interpreting signs into meaning. Thus, through association and inference, we transform flowers into love, Othello into jealousy, and chest pain into heart attack. Medical semiotics is part of general semiotics, which means the study of life of signs within society. With special reference to (...) a case story, elements from general semiotics, together with two theoreticians of equal importance, the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure and the American logician Charles Sanders Peirce, are presented. Two different modes of understanding clinical medicine are contrasted to illustrate the external link between what we believe or suggest, on the one hand, and the external reality on the other hand. (shrink)
The body of philosophical knowledge concerning the relations among language, the senses, and deafness, interpreted as a canon of key ideas which have found their way into folk metaphysics, constitutes one of the historically sustained conditions of the oppression of deaf people. Jonathan Rée, with his book I see a voice, makes the point that a philosophical history, grounded in a phenomenological and causal concern with philosophical thought and social life, can offer an archaeology of philosophy's contribution to the social (...) oppression of deaf people.This article offers support for such a project while being critical of Rée's philosophical phenomenology, since it presumes, àpriori, two ideas about deafness and sign language: firstly, that deaf experience is like hearing experience but without hearing; and secondly, that the iconic qualities of sign languages are strictly superficial phenomena. Both presumptions, it is argued here, derive from the same philosophical knowledge which has linked deafness to the sense of hearing and the voice, and in doing so secured an intellectual basis for the oppression of deaf people in social life. (shrink)
Giambattista Vico considered his greatest philosophical achievement to be his discovery that early humans spoke in 'poetic characters'. Vico's New Science is thus also a philosophy of signs or se;mata . Jürgen Trabant reads the profound insights into human semiosis contained in Vico's 'sematology' as both a spirited rejection of Cartesian philosophy and an early critique of enlightened logocentricism. Sean Ward's translation makes this work available to an English-reading audience for the first time.
Consciousness and the mind are prescientific concepts that begin with Greek theorizing. They suppose human rationality and reasoning placed in the human head by God, who structured the universe he created with the same kind of underlying characteristics. Descartes’ development of the model included scientific objectivity by placing the mind outside the physical universe. In its failure under evidential scrutiny and without physical explanation, this model is destined for terminal decline. Instead, a genuine biological and physical function for the brain (...) phenomenon can be developed. This is the theory of brain-sign. It accepts the causality of the brain as its physical characteristics, already under scientific scrutiny. What is needed is a new neurophysiological language that specifies the relation of the structure and operation of the brain to organismic action in the world. Still what is lacking is an account of how neurophysiologies in different organisms communicate on unpredictable dynamic tasks. It is this evolved capacity that has emerged as brain-sign. Thus rather than mentality being an inner epistemological parallel world suddenly appearing in the head, brain-sign, as the neural sign of the causal status of the brain capable of being held adequately in common, facilitates the communicative medium of otherwise isolated organisms. The biogenesis of the phenomenon thus emerges directly from the account of the physical brain, and functions as a monistic feature of organisms in the physical world. This new paradigm offers disciplinary compatibility, and genuine development in behavioral and brain sciences. (shrink)
From the perspective of semiotics, or a science of signs, communication exceeds the usual verbal mode of expression and covers extra linguistic modes. This paper addresses a specific communicative system represented by Tarot pictures. The semiotic approach not only presents Tarot as exceeding its function as a game but also de-mystifies, in part, its occult side by virtue of the analysis of semiosis, or the action of signs in nature. Using references from the Hermetic philosophy, to Dummett, to Peirce, to (...) Smolin, the paper asserts that, should we understand the language of signs, the memories of past and future events would be accessible to human reason. (shrink)
In mathematics education, students' difficulties with negative numbers are well known. To explain these difficulties, researchers traditionally refer to obstacles raised by the concept of NEGATIVE NUMBERS itself throughout its historical evolution. In order to improve our understanding, I propose to take into consideration another point of view, based on Vygotsky's principles, which define a strong relationship between signs such as language or symbols and cognitive development. I show how it is of great interest to consider students' difficulties with negatives (...) in the light of the use of symbols, in particular the minus sign. I describe the results of an empirical study about students' strategies in solving arithmetical equations with negatives. My analysis shows that the problems raised by the presence of negatives in the equations are attributable to students' very restricted and often inadequate use of the minus sign, which prevents them from finding a negative solution or making sense of it. (shrink)
This paper describes the semiotic approach to organism in two proto-biosemiotic thinkers, Susanne K. Langer and Hans Jonas. Both authors develop ideas that have become central terms of biosemiotics: the organism as subject, the realisation of the living as a closed circular self, the value concept, and, in the case of Langer, the concept of symbol. Langer tries to develop a theory of cultural symbolism based on a theory of organism as a self-realising entity creating meaning and value. This paper (...) deals mainly with what both authors independently call “feeling”. Both authors describe “feeling” as a value-based perspective, established as a result of the active self interest manifested by an organic system. The findings of Jonas and Langer show the generation of a subject pole, or biosemiotic agent, under a more precise accent, as e.g. Uexküll does. Their ideas can also be affiliated to the interpretation of autopoiesis given by the late Francisco Varela (embodied cognition or “enactivism”). A synthesis of these positions might lead to insights how symbolic expression arises from biological conditions of living. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophical stances toward `artistic truth' derive from Kant's aesthetics. Whereas philosophers who share Kant's emphasis on aesthetic validity discount art's capacity for truth, philosophers who share Hegel's critique of Kant render artistic truth inaccessible. This essay proposes a critical hermeneutic account of aesthetic validity that supports a non-esoteric notion of artistic truth. Using Gadamer and Adorno to read Kant through Hegelian eyes, I reconstruct the aesthetic dimension from three polarities in modern Western societies. Then I describe aesthetic validity as (...) an horizon of imaginative cogency governing the exploration, presentation and creative interpretation of aesthetic signs. The essay argues that aesthetic processes, so construed, are crucial to cultural pathfinding, and that aesthetic validity-claims in art talk contribute significantly to this pursuit. Aesthetic validity, cultural orientation and art talk constitute the hermeneutical matrix from which questions of artistic truth emerge. Key Words: Theodor W. Adorno aesthetics art Hans-Georg Gadamer Jürgen Habermas hermeneutics imagination Immanuel Kant language validity. (shrink)
This commentary supports MacNeilage's dismissal of an evolutionary development from sign language to spoken language but presents evidence of a feature in sign language (echo phonology) that links iconic signs to abstract vocal syllables. These data provide an insight into possible mechanism by which iconic manual gestures accompanied by vocalisation could have provided a route for the evolution of spoken language with its characteristically arbitrary form–meaning relationship.
Most work on the public-private division concerns itself with identifying the lines between both and the historical developments that shifted this line. These contributions provide an aerial view that pays little attention to the interactional micropolitics of privacy. The present article uses a pragmatist approach to analyze the local negotiation of privacy and publicity. It relies on scholarship on “accounts” and “aligning actions” to view “privacy-work” as an attempt to remove actions from having to account for them in a specific (...) social group and “publicity-work” as a converse attempt to draw them out by demanding that actors account. Thus, I will understand privacy as whatever is hidden, situationally, behind “moving armies of stop signs” for alignment demands. (shrink)
This paper is a commentary on some topics discussed by Thomas Short in his recent book Peirce's Theory of Signs: Peirce's distinction between iconic and indexical signs, the objects of propositions, and different ways of interpreting the distinction between the immediate and dynamic objects of signs. Peirce's distinction between immediate and dynamic objects is in certain respects analogous to Alexius Meinong's distinction between the "auxiliary objects" and the "ultimate objects" ("target objects") of mental representations. It is suggested that the models (...) of a theory can be regarded as its immediate objects, and the real systems represented by the models are the dynamic objects of the theory. (shrink)
For Millikan, purpose pervades the biological order, including the genes and genetically encoded traits of every living thing, the unconditioned reflexes and conditioned behavior of every animal, artifacts produced by humans or non-humans. There are also the conscious, explicit purposes and intentions of human beings. These are purposes in “a quite univocal sense,” Millikan insists. “In all cases,” she says, “the thing’s purpose is … what it was selected for doing.” Moreover, “…the purposes we attribute to whole persons … are (...) composed of no more than the purposes of [their] parts and aspects, and of the ways these have been designed to work together.” (13) The chain of purposes forms a double helix with another great chain -- the great chain of signs. At the bottom of the great chain, sit locally recurrent natural signs. These are wholly natural occurrences or states of affairs that carry “local information.” Locally recurrent natural signs are not yet intentional signs but they are the ground on which intentionality ultimately rests. Local natural signs are “basic” representations in the following sense: … when the systems that produce and/or use intentional representations perform the tasks they were designed to perform and perform these tasks by means of their normal mechanism … then the intentional representations are basic representations. (69) When an intentional sign producing/consuming system is functioning “normally” its intentional signs will just be local natural signs. Systems don’t always function normally; So we can’t quite say that intentional signs are built out of locally recurrent natural signs. Still, without such signs subsisting at the ground level, there apparently could not be intentional signs. But it is far from clear whether locally recurrent natural sign can really carry the load Millikan needs them to carry. Locality seems designed to exorcise the ghost of disjunction that haunts many correlational theories of content.. (shrink)
Over the past decade, discussion has flourished among practitioners and academics regarding workers’ rights in developing countries. The lack of enforcement of national labour laws and the limited protection of workers’ rights in developing countries have led workers’ rights representatives to attempt to establish transnational industrial relations systems to complement existing national systems. In practice, these attempts have mainly been operationalised in unilateral codes of conduct; recently, however, negotiated international framework agreements (IFAs) have been proposed as an alternative. Despite their (...) growing importance, few studies have empirically studied IFAs. This paper starts to fill this gap by studying why corporations adopt IFAs, based on a qualitative study of the process leading to the signing of a recent IFA. The study’s findings complement existing research into why corporations adopt IFAs, codes of conduct, and CSR policies by demonstrating that corporate motives can be linked to a desire to retain a trusting relationship with the labour union movement. In addition, the findings indicate that the discrete campaign model of stakeholder pressure dominant in previous research should be complemented by a continuous bargaining model of stakeholder pressure. The paper concludes by discussing differences between these conceptual models of stakeholder pressure and avenues for future research. (shrink)
There is no question that something goes on in the head, which has been called consciousness. But is it consciousness? Over the last fifty years, there has been a concerted attempt to show how consciousness can be physical, of the brain. The diversity of views is characteristic of a Kuhnian pre- normal science revolution: but the revolution has not arrived. This is because the assumption that consciousness exists is wrong. In this paper consciousness (with e.g. its subjective/objective distinction) is characterized (...) as a pre-scientific theory. The biological ontology of the phenomenon is revealed, and its placement in organismic biology explained. The phenomenon will be termed brain-sign, as appropriate to its biological function. The nature of this function completely reconstructs our view of ourselves, and other creatures in which it is manifest. The detail and ramifications cannot be addressed at length in a paper, but a research program is outlined briefly. (shrink)
Through a detailed re-reading of Saussure's work in the light of contemporary developments in the human, life and physical sciences, Paul Thibault provides us with the means to redefine and refocus our theories of social meaning-making. Saussure's theory of language is generally considered to be a formal theory of abstract sign-types and sign-systems, separate from our individual and social practices of making meaning. In this challenging book, Thibault presents a different view of Saussure. Paying close attention to the original texts, (...) including the Cours de Linguistic Generale, he demonstrates that Saussure was centrally concerned with trying to formulate a theory of how meanings are made. In addition to demonstrating the continuing viability of Saussure's thinking through a range of examples, Re-reading Saussure makes an important intervention in contemporary linguistic and semiotic debate. (shrink)
Instead of reading Spinoza's account of the imagination in an anthropocentric way, as dependent on the traditional doctrine of human faculties, the author considers it as a consequence of his physics and cosmology. Knowledge by signs, as Spinoza calls imagination, has to be rooted in his theory of marks and images, and concerns all beings (human and non human) that are capable of marking and being marked by other bodies in the infinite semiosis of nature.
We introduce the second part of a two-part collection of articles exploring a possible new research program in the field of science and religion. At the center of the program lies an attempt to develop a new theology of nature drawing on the philosophy of C. S. Peirce. Our overall idea is that the fundamental structure of the world is exactly that required for the emergence of meaning and truth-bearing representation. We understand the emergence of a capacity to interpret an (...) environment to be important to the emergence of life, and we see the subsequent history of biological evolution as a story of increasing capacities for meaning-making and -seeking. Theologically, we understand God to be the ground of all such meaning-making and the ultimate goal of the universe's emerging capacity for interpreting signs. Here we summarize the articles in Part 1, which focused on scientific and philosophical aspects of the research program, and introduce Part 2, which turns to the theological outworking of the project. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with Cavaillès’ account of “intuition” in mathematics. Cavaillès starts from Kant’s theory of constructions in intuition and then relies on various remarks by Hilbert to apply it to modern mathematics. In this context, “intuition” includes the drawing of geometrical figures, the use of algebraic or logical signs and the generation of numbers as, for example, described by Brouwer. Cavaillès argues that mathematical practice can indeed be described as “constructions in intuition” but that these constructions are not (...) imbedded in the space and in the time of our Sensibility, as Kant believed: They take place in other structures which are engendered in the history of mathematics. This leads Cavaillès to a critical discussion of both Hilbert’s and Brouwer’s foundational programs. (shrink)
In this paper, we try to shed light on the ontological puzzle pertaining to models and to contribute to a better understanding of what models are. Our suggestion is that models should be regarded as a specific kind of signs according to the sign theory put forward by Charles S. Peirce, and, more precisely, as icons, i.e. as signs which are characterized by a similarity relation between sign (model) and object (original). We argue for this (1) by analyzing from a (...) semiotic point of view the representational relation which is characteristic of models. We then corroborate our hypothesis (2) by discussing the conceptual differences between icons, i.e. models, and indexical and symbolic signs and (3) by putting forward a general classification of all icons into three functional subclasses (images, diagrams, and metaphors). Subsequently, we (4) integratively refine our results by resorting to two influential and, as can be shown, complementary philosophy of science approaches to models. This yields the following result: models are determined by a semiotic structure in which a subject intentionally uses an object, i.e. the model, as a sign for another object, i.e. the original, in the context of a chosen theory or language in order to attain a specific end by instituting a representational relation in which the syntactic structure of the model, i.e. its attributes and relations, represents by way of a mapping the properties of the original, which hence are regarded as similar in a relevant manner. (shrink)
The use of negative probabilities is discussed for certain problems in which a stochastic process approach is indicated. An extension of probability theory to include signed (negative and positive) probabilities is outlined and both philosophical and axiomatic examinations of negative probabilities are presented. Finally, a class of applications illustrates the use and implications of signed probability theory.
T. L. Short's Peirce's Theory of Signs offers a strong interpretation of semeiotic, advocating a developmental and naturalistic position. This commentary examines some of the main features of Short's approach, raising a number of critical questions concerning the growth of Peirce's thought and the problem of anthropomorphism. First, two possible weaknesses in Short's account of the development of semeiotic, connected to the treatment of the "New List of Categories" and the role of the index, are noted. Next, the menace of (...) anthropomorphism is placed in the context of Peirce's startling affirmation of this point of view. Finally, the article draws attention to Short's bold claim that Peirce's theory of signs needs to be modified in order to accommodate a plurality of final interpretants in view of varying purposes. (shrink)
The hypothesis of this paper is that we maintain a relationship with the dead precisely in their death, and this relationship is best understood in terms of Peirce's semiotics and its influence on the work of Jacques Derrida. Roland Bardies' theory of photography illustrates this semiotics of death. The subsistent and continuous reality of the non-extant, absent and silent being of the dead individual is manifested—and continues to communicate—through indexical signs, i.e., any traces left behind by the dead individual (such (...) as photos, clothes, glasses, writings, recordings). (shrink)
Taxonomy Based modeling was applied to describe drivers’ mental models of variable message signs (VMS’s) displayed on expressways. Progress in road telematics has made it possible to introduce variable message signs (VMS’s). Sensors embedded in the carriageway every 500m record certain variables (speed, flow rate, etc.) that are transformed in real time into “driving times” to a given destination if road conditions do not change. VMS systems are auto-regulative Man-Machine (AMMI) systems which incorporate a model of the user: if the (...) traffic flow is too high, then drivers should choose alternative routes. In so doing, the traffic flow should decrease. The model of the user is based on suppositions such as: people do not like to waste time, they fully understand the displayed messages, they trust the displayed values, they know of alternative routes. However, people also have a model of the way the system functions. And if they do not believe the contents of the message, they will not act as expected. (shrink)
Sign languages exhibit all the complexities and evolutionary advantages of spoken languages. Consequently, sign languages are problematic for a theory of language evolution that assumes a gestural origin. There are no compelling arguments why the expanding spiral between protosign and protospeech proposed by Arbib would not have resulted in the evolutionary dominance of sign over speech.
The author uses Eco's The Name of the Rose to pose the problem of the relation between the infinite aesthetic play of semiotics and pragmatic moral responsibility for human conduct. This problem is addressed through Peirce's semiotic theory, which not only links signs to objects, but situates them in an interpretant relation that is formative of human conduct. Religion is advanced as the paradigm of this relation; a "categorial semiotic" where concrete symbolic acts move beyond nominalism through real experience of (...) the divine, to which "fallibilistic" doctrines are always subject. (shrink)
Expressions of the form "s represents an F", "s represents t as G", and "s represents an F as G" are analysed by means of C. S. Peirce's and Nelson Goodman's semiotic theories, and these theories are compared with each other. It is argued that Peirce's concept of interpretant provides a plausible account of what Goodman calls the exemplification features of aesthetic signs (works of art).
Medicine maintains a distinction between the medical symptom -- the patient''ssubjective experience and expression, and the privileged medical sign -- the objective findings observable by the doctor. Although the distinction is not consistently applied, it becomes clearly visible in the undefined, medically unexplained disorders of women patients. Potential impacts of genderized interaction on the interpretation of medical signs are addressed by re-reading the diagnostic process as a matter of social construction, where diagnosis results from human interpretation within a sociopolitical context. (...) The discussion is illustrated by a case story and empirical evidence of the gendering in the doctor-patient relationship. The theoretical analysis is supported by semiotic perspectives of bodily signs, feminist theory on experience, and Foucault''sideas about medical perception and gaze, and concludes that a medical diagnosis is seldom a biological fact, but the outcome of a process where biological, cultural and social elements are interwoven. Further deconstruction of the chain of signs from a feminist perspective, assigning validity to the voice of the woman patient, might broaden the understanding of women''shealth, illness and disease. (shrink)
MARXISM AND THE PHILOSOPHY, OF LANGUAGE By V.N. Volo?inov translated by Ladislav Matejka & I.R. Titunik Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1986. 205 pp., $9.95 (paper) The contributions of Volo?inov's theories of language are assessed and are contrasted to traditional Marxist philosophy, Saussurean linguistics and more recent developments in transformational grammar and sociolinguistics. Studying connections between language and politics in the 1920s, Volosinov explored the ways social reality enters verbal signs and their usage, anticipating many (...) of the debates within modem linguistics. (shrink)
A signed -equation is an expression of the form t t or t t, where t and t are -terms (for some ranked set ). We characterize those classes of -algebras which are models of a set of signed -equations. Further we consider the problem of finding a complete deductive system analogous to equational logic for the logical consequence operation restricted to signed equations.
We commend Arbib for his original proposal that a mirror neuron system may have participated in language origins. However, in our view he proposes a complex evolutionary scenario that could be more parsimonious. We see no necessity to propose a hand-based signing stage as ancestral to vocal communication. The prefrontal system involved in human speech may have its precursors in the monkey's inferior frontal cortical domain, which is responsive to vocalizations and is related to laryngeal control.
The first issue raised by this paper is whether semiotics can bring any added value to ecology. A brief examination of the epistemological status of semiotics in its current forms suggests that semiotics' phenomenological macroconcepts (which are inherited from various theological and philosophical traditions) are incommensurate with the complexity of the sciences comprising ecology and are too reductive to usefully map the microprocesses through which organisms evolve and interact. However, there are at least two grounds on which interfacing semiotics with (...) ecology may prove to be scientifically productive: (a) the very looseness of semiotic discourse can be an important catalyser for multidisciplinary interactions, an important condition for the emergence of truly holistic ecology; (b) the present semiotic conceptual apparatus is not carved in stone. All its notions, frames of reference and types of reasoning can evolve in contact with the problems encountered in evolutionary ecological research. Semiotics, as an open-ended epistemological project, remains a proactive intellectual resource. The second issue raised by this paper is precisely to call attention to the opportunity provided by recent developments for rethinking and furthering semiotic inquiry. An attempt is made to show that counterintuitive theories such as memetics and new frontiers in teclmology such as nanotechnology, could help recast ecosentioticsalong more intellectually exciting lines of inquiry than the mere rewriting of ecological discourse in terms of the traditional semiotic macroconcepts. It goes without saying that memetics and nanotechology are not presented here as definitive solutions but simply as indicative of possible directions toward acomprehensive evolutionary ecosentiotics that would radically transform the basis of the 20th century sentiotic discourse and its ideological agenda. (shrink)
Natural law as fact, theory, and sign of contradiction -- The second tablet project -- The mystery of what? -- The natural, the connatural, and the unnatural -- Accept no imitations: natural law vs. naturalism -- Thou shalt not kill . . . whom? the meaning of the person -- Capital punishment: the case for justice -- Constitution vs. constitutionalism -- Constitutional metaphysics -- The liberal, illiberal religion.
Do you want to make sure you · Don’t invest your money in the next Enron? · Don’t go to work for the next WorldCom right before the crash? · Identify and solve problems in your organization before they send it crashing to the ground? Marianne Jennings has spent a lifetime studying business ethics---and ethical failures. In demand nationwide as a speaker and analyst on business ethics, she takes her decades of findings and shows us in The Seven Signs of (...) Ethical Collapse the reasons that companies and nonprofits undergo ethical collapse, including: · Pressure to maintain numbers · Fear and silence · Young ’uns and a larger-than-life CEO · A weak board · Conflicts · Innovation like no other · Belief that goodness in some areas atones for wrongdoing in others Don’t watch the next accounting disaster take your hard-earned savings, or accept the perfect job only to find out your boss is cooking the books. If you’re just interested in understanding the (not-so) ethical underpinnings of business today, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse is both a must-have tool and a fascinating window into today’s business world. (shrink)
Since Estonia is in the midst of a national redefinition and examination of past traditions and future aspirations, it makes an excellent case study for the potentiality of theatre as an arbiter of national identity. The changing value of the institution itself is part of the equation (will Estonians continue to appreciate and attend the theatre in coming years?). In addition, the historical role of Estonian theatre as a repository for national narratives, especially literary ones, makes it a significant site (...) for struggles around print and technology, and between embodied performances and archival performatives.This essay introduces a series of articles that address how Estonia and its theatre might be regarded and understood in light of its history, memories, present experiences, and future possibilities. The idea of pretence that lies at the heart of theatricality itself provides an ideal means for interrogating national identity in a time of great instability and flux. The examples of productions discussed in these three essays share more than a deliberate utilization of the rubrics of theatricality. It seems no coincidence that the reworking of national classics, Estonian national myths, and ethnic folk songs and ceremonies takes place concurrently with the representation of new technologies, commodity capitalism, and diasporic collisions. Embodying precisely the predicament of culture in a country reassessing its past and confronting its future, the theatre is an important institution for national resignification. (shrink)
I want now to argue that just as no intentional representations of retinal images intervene between physical objects and the seeing of those objects, no representations of speaker intentions in speaking need intervene between world affairs spoken of by speakers and hearers' understandings of those words.1 When conventional signs are true or satisfied and when this has come about in the normal way, conventional signs are locally recurrent natural signs. True, tokens of the same conventional sign may have diverse etiologies, (...) through different people's perceptual systems and cognitive systems. They differ from more ordinary recurrent natural signs in that there will usually be numerous different kinds of causal paths to their production, depending on the ways that different speakers have managed to translate diverse prior natural signs into a uniform medium of thought and expression. But there are reasons why the same linguistic form continues to coincide with the same kind of represented affair over a certain domain --it is no accident-- and we have decided to take that as the primary criterion for a locally recurrent sign (Chapter Six). Assuming that this step in the production of a conventional sign has been accomplished through normal mechanisms --the speaker is not confused, does not lie, and so forth-- then reading a conventional sign is mainly a matter of tracking its natural domain, that is, determining what reproducing family it has been copied from. Compare tracking the.. (shrink)
The progress in computer programming leads to the shift in traditional correlation between intuitive and formal components of mathematical knowledge. From epistemological point of view the role of intuition decreases in compare with formal representation of mathematical structures. The relevant explanation is to be found in D. Hilbert’s formalism and corresponding Kantian’s motives in it. The notion of sign belongs to both areas under consideration: on the one hand it is object of intuition in Kantian de re sense, on the (...) other hand, it is part of formal structure. Intuitive mathematical knowledge is expressed by primitive recursive reasoning. The W. Tait’s thesis, namely, that finitism as methodology of mathematics is equivalent to primitive recursive reasoning is discussed in connection with some explications of Kantian notion of intuition. The requirements of finitism are compared with normative role of logic. (shrink)
Evidence from studies of the processing of topographic and classifier constructions in sign language sentences provides a model of how a mental scene description can be represented linguistically, but it also raises questions about how this can be related to spatial linguistic descriptions in spoken languages and their processing. This in turn provides insights into models of the evolution of language.
It is not the purpose of the present paper to chronicle transformations in the recent history of dance but rather to demonstrate that an art in which the materiality of the body and the localizability of space are critical has nevertheless been engaged in a struggle between sign and image. This struggle cannot be understood without attending to the tensions between the visceral and the virtual, between site specific spatiality and cyberspace. Exploring changes in dance, an art not generally discussed (...) in this context, may help to illuminate the conceptual underpinnings of structuralism understood as a theory of signs and the shift to a poststructuralist culture of images. (shrink)
A simple mathematical notion of a sign is a partial function f deﬁned on semantic representations and mapping its parts to a set of morphs in a syntactic representation together with the domain and target representation. S =.
The Marburg neo-Kantians argue that Hermann von Helmholtz's empiricist account of the a priori does not account for certain knowledge, since it is based on a psychological phenomenon, trust in the regularities of nature. They argue that Helmholtz's account raises the 'problem of validity' (Gueltigkeitsproblem): how to establish a warranted claim that observed regularities are based on actual relations. I reconstruct Heinrich Hertz's and Ludwig Wittgenstein's Bild theoretic answer to the problem of validity: that scientists and philosophers can depict the (...) necessary a priori constraints on states of affairs in a given system, and can establish whether these relations are actual relations in nature. The analysis of necessity within a system is a lasting contribution of the Bild theory. However, Hertz and Wittgenstein argue that the logical and mathematical sentences of a Bild are rules, tools for constructing relations, and the rules themselves are meaningless outside the theory. Carnap revises the argument for validity by attempting to give semantic rules for translation between frameworks. Russell and Quine object that pragmatics better accounts for the role of a priori reasoning in translating between frameworks. The conclusion of the tale, then, is a partial vindication of Helmholtz's original account. (shrink)
The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA), whose leaders govern well over half of the 80 million Anglicans worldwide, have put forward ‘a contemporary rule,’ called The Jerusalem Declaration, to guide the Anglican realignment movement. The FCA and its affiliates, e.g. the newly-formed Anglican Church in North America, require assent to the Declaration. To date, there has been little serious appraisal of the Declaration and the status accorded to it. I aim to correct that omission. Unlike ap-praisals in the social media, (...) however, mine grants the FCA’s conservative stand on same-sex unions and homosexual practice. Nevertheless, I argue, the Declaration mischaracterizes the traditional Christian teaching on marriage, binds Anglicans to falsehoods and dubieties in the Thirty-Nine Articles, and adds to the gospel. Two things follow. First, no one—especially no Anglican who identifies herself as con-servative, traditional, orthodox, evangelical, Anglo-catholic or simply concerned with the truth—should assent to the Jerusalem Declaration. Second, since the FCA and its affiliates know that these defects ex-ist in the Declaration, they should fess up to these shortcomings and retract the Declaration’s status as ‘a contemporary rule’ and they should stop requiring assent to it. Anything less constitutes intellectual dis-honesty of a most egregious sort. (shrink)
The paper argues that Wittgenstein's criticisms of Frege and Russell's assertion sign are, a bottom, criticisms of a common flaw in these philosophers' early conceptions of the proposition. Each philosopher offers an account of the proposition that *seems* to suggest that a sentence cannot get so far as to say something without the addition of the assertion sign. This leads to the mistaken idea that there is a coherent notion of "logical assertion.".
My aim in this article is to argue that Philippa Foot fails to provide a convincing basis for moral evaluation in her book Natural Goodness. Foot’s proposal fails because her conception of natural goodness and defect in human beings either sanctions prescriptive claims that are clearly objectionable or else it inadvertently begs the question of what constitutes a good human life by tacitly appealing to an independent ethical standpoint to sanitize the theory’s normative implications. Foot’s appeal to natural facts about (...) human goodness is in this way singled out as an Achilles’ heel that undermines her attempt to establish an independent framework for virtue ethics. This problem might seem to be one that is uniquely applicable to the bold naturalism of Foot’s methodology; however, I claim that the problem is indicative of a more general problem for all contemporary articulations of virtue ethics.Je soutiens dans cet article que, dans son livre, Natural Goodness, Philippa Foot ne parvient pas à fournir de fondement convainquant à l’evaluation morale. Son argumentation échoue parce que sa conception des qualités et des défauts naturels, soit sanctionne des jugements prescriptifs qui sont manifestement susceptibles d’étre rejetés, soit commet par mégarde une pétition de principe en définissant ce qu’est la bonne vie morale au moyen d’une référence implicite à un point de vue éthique indépendant servant à assainir les implications normatives de la théorie en question. L’utilisation que Foot fait des données de la nature sur l’excellence humaine est ainsi identifi’e comme le talon d’Achille de sa théorie qui ruine sa tentative d’établir un cadre indépendant pour l’éthique de la vertu. Ce problème pourrait paraître concerner uniquement la méthodologie de Foot et son naturalisme radical. J’affirme cependant qu’il est le signe d’un problème plus general pour toutes les formulationscontemporaines de l’éthique de la vertu. (shrink)
David Hume’s critique of intelligent design is vastly overrated. Nevertheless, his critique, especially at the hands of his contemporary disciples, has been highly effective at shutting down discussion about design. I want here to review Hume’s critique, indicate how modern disciples have updated it, and then describe the response to Hume by his contemporary Thomas Reid. That response in my view is decisive. Would that more philosophers studied it. Hume did not demolish design. Reid demolished Hume.
Robert Brandom’s expressivism argues that not all semantic content may be made fully explicit. This view connects in interesting ways with recent movements in philosophy of mathematics and logic (e.g. Brown, Shin, Giaquinto) to take diagrams seriously - as more than a mere “heuristic aid” to proof, but either proofs themselves, or irreducible components of such. However what exactly is a diagram in logic? Does this constitute a semiotic natural kind? The paper will argue that such a natural kind does (...) exist in Charles Peirce’s conception of iconic signs, but that fully understood, logical diagrams involve a structured array of normative reasoning practices, as well as just a “picture on a page”. (shrink)