Semiotics, Semiosis, Sign Relations

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Jon Awbrey

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Nov 24, 2018, 8:56:40 AM11/24/18
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Here’s the intro I wrote for Wikipedia many moons ago. There wasn’t much left of it there the last time I looked but I saved several copies elsewhere.

InterSciWiki
http://intersci.ss.uci.edu/wiki/index.php/Semeiotic

Wikiversity
https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Semeiotic

Folks already registered on Wikipedia would find it easy to use the talk page on Wikiversity if they wanted to engage in additional discussion there. 

Regards,

Jon

Stephen Jarosek

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Nov 24, 2018, 10:01:15 AM11/24/18
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Jon, members

Thanks Jon for your links. For the benefit of members who are not familiar with semiotic theory and why it is important for the life sciences...

Semiotic theory... namely, the semiotics of CS Peirce and the biosemiotics of Jakob von Uexküll, holds the greatest promise for an axiomatic framework for the life sciences. We are all familiar with the axiomatic framework that Isaac Newton provided for the physical sciences. A comparable axiomatic framework is absent from the mainstream life sciences. There is good reason to anticipate semiotic theory to fix this dire situation.

All living organisms share the same fundamental principles, best understood within the context of semiosis. The triadic scheme of Peirce relates to the three categories, namely, firstness, secondness and thirdness. These three categories can be best understood in the context of motivation, association (associative learning) and habituation, and they apply throughout all levels, including the cellular.

Eric Kandel has done considerable research in associative learning and habituation in neurons (e.g., his work on Aplysia). And Klopf’s thesis of associative learning in neurons (1982) has been successfully implemented in neural net architectures, such as that of Mobus (given that the hard-wired circuits of neural nets persists across time, we can assume habituation to be a given, at least as an approximation... thus the single missing parameter is motivation). Furthermore, if bacteria “communicate like neurons in the brain” (McDonald 2015), we can infer that the same principles apply to bacteria. Googling around on search terms such as [habituation singe cells] or [associative learning single cell] yields plenty of results to explore.

Forbes writer Morris (2018) references the work of Monica Gagliano, who has shown that plants also make choices from the environment and learn by habituation and association.

Systems theorist Humberto Maturana received his original inspiration from the biosemiotics of Jakob von Uexküll (Wikipedia 2018).

Semiotic theory has enormous potential as a solid axiomatic framework for the life sciences. A lot of concepts come together within the semiotic paradigm. For example, Hebb’s rule (neurons that fire together wire together).

Stephen Jarosek

REFERENCES:

Kandel, E. R. & Hawkins, R. D. (1992). The biological basis of learning and individuality. Scientific American: Mind and Brain, 267(3), 53-60.
Klopf, A. H. (1982). The hedonistic neuron: A theory of memory, learning and intelligence. Washington, DC: Hemisphere.
McDonald, K (2015). Biologists discover bacteria communicate like neurons in the brain. UCS San Diego News Center:
https://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/index.php/pressrelease/biologists_discover_bacteria_communicate_like_neurons_in_the_brain
Mobus, George E. “Toward a Theory of Learning and Representing Causal Inferences in Neural Networks.” In Neural Networks for Knowledge Representation and Inference, edited by D. S. Levine and M. Aparicio. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, New Jersey, 1994: 339-374:
https://faculty.washington.edu/gmobus/Adaptrode/causal_representation.html
Morris, A (2018). A mind without a brain: The science of plant intelligence takes root. Forbes:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/andreamorris/2018/05/09/a-mind-without-a-brain-the-science-of-plant-intelligence-takes-root/
Wikipedia contributors. (2018, May 22). Humberto Maturana. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humberto_Maturana
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Jon Awbrey

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Nov 24, 2018, 11:10:58 AM11/24/18
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Here are links to fuller discussions of semiotics.

InterSciWiki
http://intersci.ss.uci.edu/wiki/index.php/Sign_relation

Wikiversity

The approach described here is based on what I regard as the core definition of sign relations, one explicit enough to support a consequential theory of signs.


C.S. Peirce • On the Definition of Logic (as depending on the definition of a sign) 


C.S. Peirce • Logic as Semiotic 

Regards,

Jon
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Jon Awbrey

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Nov 24, 2018, 1:46:31 PM11/24/18
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A comment I made on another thread about the transition from agent talk to relation talk can be put to good use here. I’ll elaborate after looking up a few bits of source material. 


Introductory treatments of sign relations and sign processes often begin by speaking of sign-using agents, making argumentation, communication, interpretation, etc. relative to interpreters, which may be individuals or communities.


As theory develops applications of the pragmatic maxim will lead us to replace the hypostatic abstraction known as the agent with operational definitions of specific agents in terms of their effects, which are called “interpretant signs”, or “interpretants” for short.


This returns us to the scene of triadic sign relations proper, namely, subsets of cartesian products O×S×I, where O, S, and I are the relevant object, sign, and interpretant domains, respectively.


Regards,


Jon


Jon Awbrey

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Nov 24, 2018, 5:45:39 PM11/24/18
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There’s a classic passage from Peirce that illustrates the transformation from agent talk to relation talk, in this case from interpreters to interpretants of signs within a triadic sign relation.

See the following blog post:

Sign Relations • Comment 4
https://inquiryintoinquiry.com/2018/01/11/sign-relations-•-comment-4/

<quote>

We are all, then, sufficiently familiar with the fact that many words have much implication;  but I think we need to reflect upon the circumstance that every word implies some proposition or, what is the same thing, every word, concept, symbol has an equivalent term — or one which has become identified with it, — in short, has an interpretant.

Consider, what a word or symbol is;  it is a sort of representation.  Now a representation is something which stands for something.  I will not undertake to analyze, this evening, this conception of standing for something — but, it is sufficiently plain that it involves the standing to something for something.  A thing cannot stand for something without standing to something for that something.  Now, what is this that a word stands to?  Is it a person?

We usually say that the word homme stands to a Frenchman for man.  It would be a little more precise to say that it stands to the Frenchman’s mind — to his memory.  It is still more accurate to say that it addresses a particular remembrance or image in that memory.  And what image, what remembrance?  Plainly, the one which is the mental equivalent of the word homme — in short, its interpretant.  Whatever a word addresses then or stands to, is its interpretant or identified symbol.  Conversely, every interpretant is addressed by the word;  for were it not so, did it not as it were overhear what the word says, how could it interpret what it says.

There are doubtless some who cannot understand this metaphorical argument.  I wish to show that the relation of a word to that which it addresses is the same as its relation to its equivalent or identified terms.  For that purpose, I first show that whatever a word addresses is an equivalent term, — its mental equivalent.  I next show that, since the intelligent reception of a term is the being addressed by that term, and since the explication of a term’s implication is the intelligent reception of that term, that the interpretant or equivalent of a term which as we have already seen explicates the implication of a term is addressed by the term.

The interpretant of a term, then, and that which it stands to are identical.  Hence, since it is of the very essence of a symbol that it should stand to something, every symbol — every word and every conception— must have an interpretant — or what is the same thing, must have information or implication.

(Peirce 1866, Lowell Lecture 7, CE 1, 466–467).

</quote>

Regards,

Jon

Jon Awbrey

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Nov 24, 2018, 11:13:00 PM11/24/18
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Stephen, All —

I am very much in favor of axiomatic frameworks for semiotics in general, which is one of the reasons I emphasize Peirce’s more consequential definitions of sign relations. These are the orders of definition we find in mathematics, just by way of a very instructive example, the definition of a mathematical group, a few simple axioms that support a vast theory of groups, at a level of abstraction that encompasses diverse concrete applications.

Regards,

Jon

http://inquiryintoinquiry.com

Leo Semashko

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Nov 25, 2018, 3:55:22 AM11/25/18
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Dear GHA members, friends,

                                       As a result of the new discussions, the “Spherons Statistics Table” was updated, as well as its description and justification, which are now presented in the attachment (4 pages) and on the website here:
http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=848 
                                       
                                       Special thanks to Victor Danilov (
http://www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=ru_c&key=758), who offered an original and understandable visual diagram of the “Spherons Population” of any country and any of its regions. This scheme gives a simple representation of Spherons and their approximate proportional ratio, which is specified and refined by the statistical Table of Spherons. Now its filling becomes clearer and accessible even for schoolchildren who own the Internet. You could invite your children, grandchildren and students to this work for 1-2 hours to acquaint them with the great legacy of Gandhi's nonviolence and its modern scientific update. Therefore, we hope that this intelligent tool will facilitate and speed up your Spherons Tables, which we are waiting by December 5 to include them in the GHA book.
                                       
            This book will illustrate two revolutions of the 21st century: peacemaking and statistical/scientific. Each Table of Spherons is a bold and great intellectual contribution to them, freeing humanity from wars and violence in our century. Please, do not miss your chance and opportunity to join these key historical events of our century. We hope you understand this well.

Heartily,
Best wishes for peace from Spherons' harmony,

Leo

Dr   Leo  Semashko:
-State  Councillor  of  St.  Petersburg,  Russia; RANH Professor;
-Philosopher, Sociologist and Peacemaker from Harmony;
-Global Harmony Association  (GHA)  Founder  (2005)  and  Honorary  President  (2016);
-Director, GHA Website "Peace from Harmony":
www.peacefromharmony.org;
-Global    Peace    Science    (GPS)   from   Harmony   (616   pages):
http://peacefromharmony.org/docs/global-peace-science-2016.pdf;
-SPHERONS  as  GPS Center (20  pages):
http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=423;
-NO TO USA WAR WITH RUSSIA:
http://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/no-to-war-hot-or-cold-with-russia;
    “THE WAR KILLED MY FATHER, AND I KILLED WAR”:
-Personal  page:
http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=253
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Jon Awbrey

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Nov 29, 2018, 8:50:20 AM11/29/18
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For ease of reference, here are two variants of Peirce’s 1902 definition of a sign, which he gives in the process of defining logic.


C.S. Peirce • On the Definition of Logic
https://inquiryintoinquiry.com/2012/06/01/c-s-peirce-•-on-the-definition-of-logic/

Selections from C.S. Peirce, “Carnegie Application” (1902)

No. 12. On the Definition of Logic
Logic will here be defined as formal semiotic. A definition of a sign will be given which no more refers to human thought than does the definition of a line as the place which a particle occupies, part by part, during a lapse of time. Namely, a sign is something, A, which brings something, B, its interpretant sign determined or created by it, into the same sort of correspondence with something, C, its object, as that in which itself stands to C. It is from this definition, together with a definition of “formal”, that I deduce mathematically the principles of logic. I also make a historical review of all the definitions and conceptions of logic, and show, not merely that my definition is no novelty, but that my non-psychological conception of logic has virtually been quite generally held, though not generally recognized. (NEM 4, 20–21).

No. 12. On the Definition of Logic [Earlier Draft]
Logic is formal semiotic. A sign is something, A, which brings something, B, its interpretant sign, determined or created by it, into the same sort of correspondence (or a lower implied sort) with something, C, its object, as that in which itself stands to C. This definition no more involves any reference to human thought than does the definition of a line as the place within which a particle lies during a lapse of time. It is from this definition that I deduce the principles of logic by mathematical reasoning, and by mathematical reasoning that, I aver, will support criticism of Weierstrassian severity, and that is perfectly evident. The word “formal” in the definition is also defined. (NEM 4, 54).

Charles S. Peirce (1902), “Parts of Carnegie Application” (L 75), published in Carolyn Eisele (ed., 1976), The New Elements of Mathematics by Charles S. Peirce, vol. 4, 13–73.  Online.

Jon Awbrey

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Apr 30, 2019, 2:00:20 PM4/30/19
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Cybernetic Communicators,

Questions about the nature of concepts and their action in sign relations
arose in discussions elsewhere, prompting me to pick up this thread again.

Here is the context:

Re: Semiotic Triangle
At: https://www.academia.edu/s/82ada7ef2e/semiotic-triangle-zero-update-2-0

Re: John Corcoran
At: https://www.facebook.com/groups/peircesociety/permalink/1569171163218870

Here is my comment:

Cf: Semiotics, Semiosis, Sign Relations ??? 4
At: https://inquiryintoinquiry.com/2019/04/29/semiotics-semiosis-sign-relations-%e2%80%a2-4/

Concepts for Peirce are mental symbols, so they fall under the general designation
of signs. For triadic sign relations in general, then, we are considering a triadic
relation among objects of signs, signs of objects, and what Peirce calls interpretant
signs, or interpretants for short. It is critical to regard the designations of objects,
signs, and interpretants as relational roles not ontological essences. It is also critical
to distinguish (a) extended sign relations, (b) elementary sign relations, (c) the slots of
an ordered triple, and (d) the things that fill those slots.

Triangles like the one linked above have long been used to introduce the idea of
a triadic sign relation. They have the unintended consequence, however, of leading
people to miss all the points I mentioned above. So it's wise to move quickly on to
better pictures and more detailed descriptions.

Regards,

Jon

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Stephen Paul King

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May 1, 2019, 1:43:58 AM5/1/19
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Could the Triangular relation itself define a process? The difference between any pair that makes a difference to a third?


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