Re: LSE Conference abstracts on representation in art and science
Benjamin Udell <budell <at> nyc.rr.com>
2006-06-03 14:37:13 GMT
Joe, Gary R., Mats, list
Once again I've tripped up over the difference between "signification" & "significance." In addition to
tripping up often simply because of trying to think through ideas of comprehension, denotation, etc., in
regard to qualities, representational relations, etc., I have located one case in "The New Elements"
where Peirce used the word "signification" to mean "meaning" (what's formed into the interpretant)
instead of "comprehension" (a ground as referenced), and it probably worked its way into my mind in past readings.
". every sign is intended to determine a sign of the same object with the same signification or meaning. Any
sign, B, which a sign, A, is fitted so to determine, without violation of its, A's, purpose, that is, in
accordance with the 'Truth,' even though it, B, denotes but a part of the objects of the sign, A, and
signifies but a part of its, A's, characters, I call an _interpretant_ of A." ('New Elements', EP 2:304,
Anyway, if one can, unlike me, keep straight the more usual terminology (ground, comprehension,
connotation, signification versus interpretant, meaning, significance), Mats' assertion that
mental icons are _the_ carriers of connotative meaning in communication makes a lot more sense.
As an icon refers to a ground (the ground of the quality which the icon presents), it could be said to have
comprehension a.k.a. connotation, at least by some of Peirce's characterizations (unless those
characterizations involved implicit and unstated qualifications limiting comprehension to being a
property of symbols). And as the function of an asserted icon is to evoke a mental icon, the mental icons can
be said to be -- well, here, I still part with Mats -- not the "carriers" but the decodings, or just say it
plain, the interpretants, of connotative meaning in communication. As decodings, interpretants, they
are also encodings, signs, carriers; it's a difference of emphasis, yet an important one, I think,
relating to the fact, in which Joe Ransdell has been particularly interested in the past, that a symbol is
supposed to lead to a mental icon, and that a particular semiosis or inquiry process finds an ending (but
not a resting -- there I part with Peirce) in an icon, not a symbol. A symbol is also a carrier of
comprehensional meaning such that it doensn't seem clear or obvious that mental icons are _the_
principal carriers of comprehensional meaning in communication.