Apologies! Your web browser lacks required capabilities. Please consider upgrading it or switching to a more modern web browser.
Initializing. Please wait…
<center style="padding:1em; border: 1px solid white;"><large>An Introduction to Cognitive Semiotics</large><br>
<small>//From the perspective of Tartu Semiotics//</small>
<center>[[OK|Introduction]]</center>As we saw in the last lecture on Peirce, much of what semiotics attempts to do can be framed as a theory of mind. Let's start with two more mainstream <small>(i.e., from outside institutionalized semiotics)</small> views on Peirce's semiotics as such:
[[Peirce's semeiotic as a theory of mind|P-Mind]]
[[Peirce's theory of content determination|P-TCF]]
After that, we can move on to
[[Phaneroscopy]]!"All thinking is dialogic in form... Consequently, all thinking is conducted in signs that are mainly of the same general structure as words" (CP 6.338)
"By saying that all thinking is dialogic Peirce is here plainly implying [...] that all thinking is inherently communicational and thus inherently social" (Skagestad 2004: 242)
Thoughts are not //words//. Peirce thinks of the structure of thoughts and words as similar.
[[Next|Thoughts and signs]]
[[Back|Introduction]]Perhaps a less convoluted way to have a Peircean view of cognition is by assuming a //representational theory of mind (RTM)//.
<small>RTM: A theory for describing subpersonal mental states or the relation between subpersonal and personal states.</small>
We are offered a concept of representation by Peirce in the form of the sign relation.
This can be reworked in the following way:
"a representation is constituted by a //representation-bearer// that represents some object (or has //content//), where this representing has //significance// for some interpreter" (Von Eckardt 2012: 30)
[[Back|Introduction]]As you may remember, Peirce coined the term //phaneroscopy// to denominate his particular flavor of phenomenology.
But what is phaneroscopy, exactly?
[[Phenomenology]] Starting from //experience itself// to describe phenomena is a good point to deal with the challenge of understanding cognition. Husserl's phenomenology provides, if anything, inspiration, but also continuity of a program to understand subjectivity in a scientific manner.Remember the concept of the sign relation.
Peirce's theory posits the difference between dyadic relations and triadic relations.
*__Dyadic relations__: Physical interactions. The physical world can be described with them.
*__Triadic relations__: Mental phenomena, irreducible relations that require of a non-mechanistic response.
"Communication, to Peirce, is the context in which thoughts are formed, and is logically prior to thinking processes taking place in individual minds" (Skagestad 2004: 245).
[[Back|Introduction]]In this view, Peirce's concept of congition "is construed as the development of internal or external signs, and not as a succession of conscious states of mind" (Skagestad 2004: 249)
So cognition is not based on specific mental states, but rather on sign manipulation. The essence of the mental is, for Peirce, teleology (or rather, final causation).
[[On to better explanations|TL Short]]
[[Back|Introduction]]So the mental is considered to be "signs interpreting signs" (Short 2007: 289).
<small>There are signs outside thought that thought interprets, and there are interpretants outside thought as well, in animal behavior especially. Thought itself is interpretable in behavior. It thus becomes possible to conjecture a natural history of thought: perhaps the capacity to think evolved from more primitive forms of semeiosis, when our ancestors began to interpret signs by other signs rather than directly in action.</small>
Perhaps final causation can be better expressed in terms of intentionality:
*Let's remember that Mind is an extended property in the continuum of reality in Peirce's view.
*Teleology only needs to be accounted for intentionally.
*The description of the intentional demands transitivity.
"X possesses intentionality if it cannot fully be described without implying a grammatically simple affirmation about it which cannot be expressed without employing one or another intentional verb" (Short 2007: 174)
[[Back|Introduction]]The significance of a sign depends on its ''being interpretable, ultimately, in conduct'' (Short 2007: 289).
In order to remove the possible problem of behaviorism, we have to assume that thought is not //reduced// to behavior. There is no absolute correspondence between the assumed thought and its interpretation.
*Represented object: //Object//
But what exactly are representamina for us here?
It depends on what exactly we mean by //mental//.
<small>Computations, connectionist networks, patterns of activation</small>
Peirce distinguishes, in this view, wo kinds of representational relations:
*Semantic: Representation, reference, sense expression
*Ground: Similarity, causality, convention
[[Next|Representations2]]Representations are usually considered as having some //content//. How is this content determined? This is where ground relations affect semantic relations.
Content is determined, for Peirce, by way of sign types.
Resemblance, however, cannot be a naive similarity as a mental representation cannot have representamina share the sensory properties of the object. Instead, we pick out things that have a certain relational structure extensionally.
Are interpretants of representations always thoughts?
"If thoughts are themselves (or involve) mental representations and all representations (including the mental ones) must have interpretants to be representations, then there will be infinite regress of interpretation" (Von Eckardt 2012: 42)
[[How do we solve this?]]Exactly. We run the risk of infinite regress, something that is potentially very dangerous to accept in our theory.
[[How do we solve this?]]*Intepretants are //potential//, not necessarily //actual//, making infinite regress limited in scope.
*Regress can be eliminated because the interpretant of a mental representation derives in a change of habit.
[[Home|Introduction]]The phaneron is " the collective total of all that is in any way or in any sense present to the mind, quite regardless of whether it corresponds to any real thing or not" (CP 1.284)
The phaneron is not the same as a sign, however. So we must not treat it so much as a representation, but rather as an impression of experience.
Apparently, phaneroscopy is what allows us to investigate into the categories!
[[But what's the use?]]"It will be plain from what has been said that phaneroscopy has nothing at all to do with the question of how far the phanerons it studies correspond to any realities. It religiously abstains from all speculation as to any relations between its categories and physiological facts, cerebral or other. It does not undertake, but sedulously avoids, hypothetical explanations of any sort. It simply scrutinizes the direct appearances, and endeavors to combine minute accuracy with the broadest possible generalization. The student’s great effort is not to be influenced by any tradition, any authority, any reasons for supposing that such and such ought to be the facts, or any fancies of any kind, and to confine himself to honest, single-minded observation of the appearances. The reader, upon his side, must repeat the author’s observations for himself, and decide from his own observations whether the author’s account of the appearances is correct or not." (CP 1.287)