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From: Benjamin Udell <budell <at> nyc.rr.com>
Subject: Re: The "composite photograph" metaphor
Newsgroups: gmane.science.philosophy.peirce
Date: Friday 18th August 2006 19:37:38 UTC (over 11 years ago)
Joe, Gary, Jim, Charles, list,

>[Joe] The requirement of collateral acquaintance with the object is simply
what is implicit in the definition of the interpretant, as in the
formulation of the New List, where it is said to represent the relate to be
a representation of the same correlate which the interpretant itself
represents, and there is no special problem involved in diagramming that. 
It is merely a matter of (1) having one referential arrow from the
interpretant, I1,  pointing to the sign, S1, as a sign, hence pointing not
at the node, S1, but at an arrow running from S1 to O, and (2) having a
second arrow from that interpretant running to the object, O, without being
mediated through S1's reference to it.  This is a matter of the internal
structure of a given instance of semiosis and is essential to the process
being a semeiosical process.  

We've covered pretty similar ground before. You're saying that the
interpretant is not an interpretation but (1) an experience or observation
of the sign S1 in S1's representing and corresponding to the object, and
also (2) an experience or observation of the object itself. To the
contrary, the interpretant is a sign which _represents_ the sign S1 in S1's
representation of the object, and is a sign which separately _represents_
the object. Below, I removed a ">" sign or two which I must have originally
inserted by mistake.

[peirce-l] Re: [Arisbe] Re: Critique of Short: Ransdell response toShort
Benjamin Udell budell at nyc.rr.com 
Wed Feb 16 13:25:56 CST 2005

Correction: I said "The interpretant does the things which you describe..."
-- I didn't mean all the things including perception.  I meant in terms of
ground and correlate etc. Sorry about that, it was clear in the first
draft, but I forgot to keep it clear in the second draft. - Ben

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Benjamin Udell" 
To: "Peirce Discussion Forum" 
Cc: "Thomas L. Short" ; "Peirce-L website devel
Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2005 1:35 PM
Subject: [peirce-l] Re: [Arisbe] Re: Critique of Short: Ransdell response

Joe, list,

>> BU: The Interpretant separately _represents_ the Object whose Sign the
Interpretant represents as Sign of the Object. This is to say that the
Interpretant [is] a sign of the Sign as Sign of the Object and also
separately is a sign of the Object. To say, then, that the Interpretant is
determined immediately by the Object's sheer insistence, is to say that the
Interpretant is also an index, which seems okay, if that's what you mean.

> JR: That's what I was wanting to say, i.e. the logical space is being
made available for indexicality in that way.

>> BU: ("But to put together the different subjects as the sign represents
them as related - that is the main of the Interpretant-forming" - from A
Letter to William James, EP 2:493-4, 1909.) But it sounds like you may mean
that the Interpretant is also a perception (and an observation) of the
Object. But then, the Interpretant would convey familiarity with the Object
although the Interpretant, as a sign of the Object, is supposed not to do

> JR: I don't think familiarity can be conveyed: that is why every
successive interpretant will have to have, on its own, an independent
relation to the object. The interpretant is a perception of the object,
i.e. it completes the particular occurrence of interpreting, providing the
ordering relationship which neither the reference to the ground nor the
reference to the correlate provides (since the latter only provides a
reference to a second thing as other than the first but does not order them
as subject and predicate). In other words the ground becomes the predicate
and the correlate becomes the (immediate) object or subject term only in
virtue of the reference to the subsumption which the interpretant


Peirce says that observation of the object is no part of the interpretant. 
"All that part of the understanding of the Sign which the Interpreting Mind
has needed collateral observation for is outside the Interpretant." (From A
Letter to William James, EP 2:493-4, 1909)  This rules out your idea that
the interpretant is a perception of the object. One's experience of a sign
of the object is not one's experience of the object, because the sign is
not the object.  Furthermore, the sign conveys meaning, but does not
"convey" experience of the object and this is what Peirce reiterates.  It
may be more generally true that nothing conveys experience, but I would
hold that in some sense familiarity, experience, etc., can be conveyed
through familiarities, experiences, etc.  One recalls the experience, one
identifies and recognizes the object across memories -- that's conveyance
of familiarity -- evolvent chains and structures of recognitions, and
recognitions of recognitions as recognitions of the object.

The reason that the sign of the object does not convey, or amount to,
experience of the object is that the sign is not the object.  The given
sign is too different from the object, or too small a sample of the object,
etc.  For whatever such reason, the mind does not recognize the sign _as_
the object, and indeed recognizes the sign as another thing than the object
to the extent that the mind is sure that the sign is indeed not the object
itself but instead a sign of the object.  The sign is still, at least, a
_sign_ of the object because, despite not being the object, it tells the
mind something about the object. The sign, in some sense, is something
which is "almost" the object. But is, still, not quite the object.  Thus
the sign is a non-acquaintive source of information about the object.

The interpretant does the things which you describe [CORRECTION: in terms
of ground and correlate, etc., but not in terms of perception] but that
does not make the interpretant phenomenologically a perception or
observation of the object.  The interpretant is a sign. The index is a
sign.  The perception is experienced, in its secondness, as fully
determinate.  A sign is not experienced in that way.  A sign does not
convey experience of its object -- one's sign of an object is not one's
experience of the object and one's experience of a sign of an object is not
one's experience of the object. Experience of the sign's object must be had
collaterally. If one does not have such experience already, then one needs
to acquire it.  The interpretant, by being formed in terms of conceivably
practically relevant experience, points to ways to recall or acquire such
experience -- which is to say that the interpretant, and even the sign, are
addressed to the recognition just as determinatively as the sign is
addressed to the interpretant.  One's clarification of implicit meaning of
the sign, not one's observation or perception of the object, is what one's
interpretant does.  The fullness to which an intepretant is experienced to
come is a relative fullness of clarification, an at-least provisionally
satisfying reduction of obscurity, a relative fullness of expression of
what was implicit. However, one may adjust one's television so that it
presents a clear high-resolution image, but one still may not recognize the
object whose semblance the image is and which the show's announcer claims
to be also indexically represented by the image as an actual photograph
formed by a reaction leading back to the object -- this is like a case
where one has formed an intepretant sign out of familiar signs visually
composing it but the result is something novel.  In various cases the mind
may or may not reasonably recognize this as observation and recognition of
the purported object as something new and as being as it is purported to
be.  Sometimes one's instruments are reasonably experienced as functioning
as extensions of one's senses. As photographic and video artifice become
cheaper and more widely available, the trustworthiness of television images
will tend to decline.

From another viewpoint than that of the perceiver, a perception may be a
sign.  One's observation of the object may be another's sign of the object
and -- by such shifts of semeiotic reference frame from mind to mind or,
more generally stated, from part to part of a same mind or of a same
commind -- we may, for instance, analyze perceptions into signs. But my
observation of the object is not my sign of the object.  Meaning and value
are formed as the interpretant; but validity and legitimacy are formed as a
recognition which is informed by interpretant and sign by being formed, the
recognition, as collateral to interpretant and sign in respect of the
object recognized.  The use of shifts of semeiotic reference frame to
supposedly reduce recognition to interpretation carries a prohibitive cost
in entailing the same kind of supposed reduction of interpretant to "mere"
sign and of sign to object.

Peirce says not merely that the interpretant has its own relation to the
object but instead more specifically that the interpretant separately
_represents_ the object.  Thus if the unconveyability of object-experience
by objects' signs is the reason for this, it must be indirectly the reason
for this.  It must be only indirectly the reason furthermore because
familiarity with the object is no part of the interpretant.  A separate
representation of the object is a separate sign or interpretant of the
object (presumably with some indexical or at least "designative" aspect).
In other words, the interpretant is formed out of a collateral
understanding regarding the object, an understanding or interpretation
which is not in question in the analysis which draws a triangle with one of
its edges running directly from interpretant to object such that said edge
represents a line of interpretation which, for the time being, is not
analyzed into signs. One forms interpretants out of other interpretants
which compete, so to speak, to join or otherwise interact to fill the
niche.  Interpretants "laterally" dovetail, echo one another, or have
logical order, in the building of bigger "pictures."  The need for
familiarity is in addition to all this.  In forming an interpretant out of
"collateral interpretants" or "collateral understandings," one is also
building access to other areas of familiarity --  in which sense it is true
that the need for familiarity helps drive interpretant-formation.  For one
has already recognized some interpretants, any number of interpretants, as
correct.   One tries to understand and interpret things in familiar terms
-- via familiar sign systems and in terms of experience with signs'
objects.  What you have done is replace the interpretant with a somewhat
rudimentary "recognizant."  What I asked below is what you then do with the
interpretant as Peirce defined and described it, the interpretant such that
experience or familiarity with the object is quite outside of it.  If you
can't "get rid of it," then you have become a four-ist like me, who am
happy and insistent about retaining it!


>> BU: If that, nevertheless, is how you conceive it, then -- what would
be, and how would you "get rid of," a semeiotic entity X which puts the
Sign of the Object together with X's own representation (e.g., X's own
index or indexical aspect) regarding the Object? Wouldn't X be a
"classical" interpretant, a translation into more-familiar terms (soever
novelly arranged) with an eye to conceivably practically relevant
experience, while your conception would be about something else, something
more, incorporating the experience as such itself? Or have I jumped the gun
(for some mysterious reason, since it's not as if I currently have lots of
spare time)?

> JR: Could you say that a different way, Ben? I don't understand what you
are getting at.

[peirce-l] Re: [Arisbe] Re: Critique of Short: Ransdell response toShort
Joseph Ransdell ransdell4 at cox.net 
Wed Feb 16 14:22:29 CST 2005


I'll have to chew on this a bit before coming up with a proper answer, Ben.
Admittedly, I did say that an interpretant is a perception of the object,
but you will note that I followed that by an "i.e." which takes that back
by saying that it completes the particular occurrence of interpreting, i.e.
the perceiving.  So I mis-spoke but not grievously so.  Does that get me
off the hook as regards the rest of what you say?  I don't know.  I'll just
have to think that over a bit before confessing or denying.

What follows that, and then the subsequent post, are also of interest, but
since the current post is already rather bulky, I'll just provide the URLs.
(first post quoted above)
(Joe's response (its first paragraph quoted above)
(my response to Joe's reponse)
(February posts sequenced by date at Arisbe at stderr.org)
(Arisbe archives)

>[Joe] Verification concerns the relationship of one instance of semiosis,
C1, regarded as a cognition of something, O, and a second instance of
semiosis, C2, also regarded as a cognition of something that is purportedly
the same object, O, that C1 is about, and in agreement with it as regards
what it predicates of O.  This means that, diagrammatically, C1 is one
cognition, and C2 is another cognition whose referential arrows will differ
in one important respect:  the arrows of C2 will refer to O -- the same O
-- just as those of C1 do, but there will also be a further reference of
the arrows of C2 that are absent from those of C1, namely, those that refer
to the interpretant, I1, and sign, S1, of C1 since C2 is not only about O
but also about C1, i.e. about I1 as interpretant of S1 as sign of O.   In
other words, the verifying cognition, C2, is both about what C1 is about
and also about C1 since it says of the sign in C1 that it is a
representation of what it, S2, represents and which it represents in the
same way.   

>[Joe] This makes for some interesting complexity of reference, designed to
show both the referential structure of C1 and show also, by exhibition, the
referential structure of C2, which includes reference to S1 and I1; and if
it were easy here to do a lot of drawing of referential arrows and the like
we could see what all of that involves.  But it is simply a matter of
drawing arrows from nodes with labels which differentiate those nodes which
are functioning as signs, nodes functioning as interpretants of signs, and
nodes which are functioning as the object of signs, and also of drawing
arrows from nodes which point to other arrows from nodes.  There is
nothing, though, that requires some new type of entity functioning as nodes
other than something of the nature of a sign, something of the nature of an
interpretant of a sign, and something of the nature of an object of a sign.
Basically, It is still just a diagram about signs referring to objects,
some of which are being referred to as signs and some of which are not.  

When one starts to diagram the scenario which you describe, one wonders
whether cognition C2 involves an _experience/observation_ of C1 and its
components, or a further _interpretant_, one concerned with cognition C1
and its components. Since you hold that semiosis consists of object, sign,
and interpretant and since you call a cognition an instance of semiosis, I
take it that you mean that cognition C2 of C1 consists of an interpretant
(I'll call it I2) and interpretant I2's referring lines to cognition C1's
object O, sign S1, and interpretant I1, and also separately to the object
O. So you're saying that verification is a kind of interpretation. But
verification involves experience, observation, etc. Experience of the
object is outside the interpretant. If cognition C2 consists of an
experience of C1 and the reference line to C1, and an experience,
collateral to C1, of the object O and the reference line to the object O,
then none of its diagrammed reference lines are of determining an
interpretant or sign. If C2 consists of an interpretant of C1 and a
collateral experience of the object O, then some of its diagrammed
reference lines are those of determining an interpretant or sign, and some
of them are not such.

>[Joe] One of the complexities to get into if one gets into that sort of
diagramming -- as no doubt some people already have by now, in one way or
another -- is that one can, I believe, use sign-to-object referential
arrows in such a way as to take account of whether the signs involved in
the referential structure are functioning iconically, indexically, or
symbolically.  This involves nothing new either, though I have found that
in practice it is difficult to do this without resorting to something like
a third dimension in the process of doing so, and that it is difficult to
do on an unchanging two-dimensional surface in a perspicuous way, though I
suspect that it can be done fairly well now, given the development of
computer technologies and of programming skills that can take advantage of
the ability to graphically represent processes as undergoing
transformations and also to rotate the graphical entities themselves around
so that they can be viewed from different perspectives. I say I believe
this can be done because in process of trying to do so myself, at a time
prior to the development of the computational technologies required, I
found that although I could draw arrows that seemed to serve that purpose
in principle, I could not do so in a way that is visually perspicuous, so
that, at that time, I could see no advantage in working it out in detail
myself inasmuch as it would only yield an uninformatively complex
representation intuitively incapable of adding anything to what one already
understands on a verbal basis.  

>[Joe] But however that might be, the point is that all that the
representation of a cognition functioning as a verification requires by way
of notational elements is what is already available for use in representing
cognitions that are not verifications, such as those that the verifying
representations purport to verify.  And there are surely a vast number of
cognitions that are neither verifiers nor verified.
>[Joe] The reason why I used very simple examples of verification to try to
make my point to you was that I thought you would see that the
representation of verification is merely one of the things which the
distinction between sign, object, and interpretant might make possible,
among the many different things of logical interest that his basic analysis
provides the basic elements for.  Why? Because the point to the basic
category analysis is to make it possible to represent cognitions of any and
every sort in a helpfully analytic way, and once you have the elements
required for the analysis of any given cognition, you ipso facto have what
is required for such special cases as, say, that of verifying cognitions,
and not all cognitions have that function, as for example in the case of
the cognitions being verified.  And there are surely a vast number of
cognitions that go unverified.

One ipso facto is _supposed_ to have the elements required such cases as
that of verifying cognitions. That it's the plan doesn't make it the
reality. The application of such elements in the analysis functions, by the
semiotician's deliberate intent or otherwise, as a _test_ of the theory of
those analytic categorial elements. Moreover, insofar as clarification and
interpretation are defined or characterized essentially as being in terms
addressed to experiences (_conceivable_ experiences in the case of
clarification of a _conception_), _all_ semiotic elements are in terms
addressed at least eventually to experiences.  The definition or essential
characterization of interpretation as being in _terms addressed to_
experience makes experience a dimension along with the other three of all
semiosis, in just the same sense as the definition of the sign as being
about the object and _addressed to_ the interpretant makes all semioisis
have all three aspects, objectification, representation, and
interpretation, as dimensions. The address to experience is in terms of
relevant experience, i.e., experience in which the interpretant's turning
out true would make a difference, experience which, then, by mind's
conscious intent or otherwise, functions to support or overturn the
interpretant (overturn -- confirm an interpretant which is negative to the
overturned interpretant, i.e., the "negative" interpretant is the one which
was "trying to get through" to the mind, the other was, so to speak, an
"imposter," a deceptive sign.). So what is really the fourth dimension of
semiosis, the fourth element, is not just experience per se, which as a
term "experience" is thought of has having only subject-object referents,
but instead a recognitive experience, an establishing, which refers to all
elements, the object, the experiential subject, and the sign and
interpretant reaching from object to experiential subject analogously as
encoding and decoding reach from source to recipient.

As for the categorial schemata themselves involved, I've disputed them
previously on peirce-l. Peirce's philosophy is sufficiently unified that
one can't dispute an important aspect of it without disputing some other
important aspect of it.

1. The semiotic object, at its barest, barer than even the immediate object
as usually conceived as a "statistical version" of the object, is a kind of
extremal version of the object, it is, appropriately enough in its
"barest-ness," a simplest and most parsimonious version, formed from hardly
more than a potential transformation leading from objects better known
(even if not at all concrete objects), e.g., a mapping or function, or even
an anti-derivative or even a many-to-many relationship (the kind expressed
as "equations" but not as "equalities"). Object(s)-to-object(s)
relationships of this kind are my category I.
2. The sign represents, in its pre-interpretant aspect, a universe, a
totality. The conception of a universe or totality, and structures formed
in terms of them, is another way of conceiving of "whetherhoods" -- "yes,"
"no," "if," "[logical] and," "informatively," "probably," "possibly,"
"feasibly," "optimally," etc. Such are my category II.
3. The interpretant narrows down, from universals and universe, to a
general scenario by selection of ramifications in accordance with the
standards of value and interest of the interpreting mind. These have the
generality of modifications or _accidentia_, appearances or positive
phenomena in general, which are my category III.
4. The recognizant singularizes in accordance with the singularity, actual
situation and historical tapestry, etc., of the recognizing, experiencing
mind. This correlates with my category IV, _substantia_, substance in the
sense of this man, this horse.

_Substantiae_ and object(s)-to-object(s) relationships are inverse to each
other, are each other "inside out" in that which seems a sufficiently
obvious way. _Accidentia_ and "whetherhoods" are inverse to each other, are
each other "inside out" in a way which becomes more evident when one
considers that the _accidens_ a.k.a. modification, e.g., a diamond's
hardness, involves structures of modality, possibility, optimality,
probability, etc. Not only are "whetherhoods" the categorial correlate of
the attribution of _accidens_ to _substantia_, but so that we can think of
_accidentia_ as "networked" by whetherhoods, but also there are
whetherhoods "networked" within the given _accidens_. There is more to say
about these matters, and about the fact that really it's all four getting
"networked" together, but let me move on. I will add that this category
system corresponds to families of research -- (I) 'Pure' mathematics, (II)
applied yet mathematically deep/nontrivial mathematics (deductive
mathematical theories of logic, information, probability, and
optimization), (III) abstract yet positive-phenomenally deep studies (of
phenonena in general -- philosophy, cybernetic theory, statistical theory,
inverse-optimization theory (young field)).

The semiotic elements also correlate with the categories also in the
_opposite_ sequence, as follows:

1. The semiotic object is cognized as (IV) _substantia_ but often by
hypostatic abstraction.
2. The sign is cognized as (III) a _manifestation_, an appearance, a
modification (but often with abstraction involved).
3. The interpretant is cognized as (II) that which attributes signs to
objects, predicates to subjects ("subject" in the "subject & predicate"
sense, not in the "experiential subject" sense), modifications to
substances, and, in the Peircean picture, qualities to
4. The recognizant is cognized as (I) that which puts the objects and their
associated signs and interpretants into objects-to-objects relations with
the already established things in the already established world as known to
the mind. The recognizant, in common parlance, is what "puts them on the
map" though in that parlance what is really meant is "recognizes or
establishes their place in the territory."

These fourfolds also relate to a fourfold of connection, resemblance,
meaning, and legitimacy, embodied in index, icon, symbol, and proxy. But
I've gone on long enough for the time being.

I certainly take account of the things which you're saying, but I disagree
with it and often with its assumptions. That which I've said above
addresses much of that which you go on to say in your final paragraph
below.  I would add that your remark "Perhaps the verification is simply
the sum total of reports considered in respect to their agreement on the
matter in question" skates pretty close to a truth-as-consensus viewpoint
even taking "verification" in a fallibilistic sense. It does seem to be
fallibilistic-verification-by-consensus, in which case it is not a suitable
basis for a Peircean defense against incorporating the conception of
verification among the conceptions of the semiotic elements. Verification
is not just about reports. Verification, establishment, involve bringing,
tying things in to subjection to existential consequences. I also addressed
this issue about a totality of "alternate channels" and the like, in my
discussion in a recent post of an analogy between semiosis and the standard
info-theoretic scenario. I don't feel as if you've taken that into account
but I know that I'm too verbose.

I'm working on my response to your previous post, essentially trying to
boil it down to recurrent themes and to organize it better. As I'm involved
in some practical matters (the co-op president is gone for three or four
week on vacation and I'm the VP nowadays; also I have other time-consuming
matters to take care of), it may be a while yet before I send my response.

Best, Ben Udell http://tetrast.blogspot.com/ 

>[Joe] One more sort of example to make my point.  Verification is relevant
to any thing regarded as purportedly being the truth about something where
some occasion has arisen that makes that questionable.  It need not be
verification of a scientific theory, for example, but can be concerning
some matter of fact about something at a particular time or place. 
Anything reported in a newspaper is something that normally ought be, if
not verified, at least verifiable.  Now suppose that it is said that a
certain event occurred at a certain time and place.  Someone has a belief
or at least claims to have a belief that it occurred and one is a reporter
needing verification that it occurred at all.  One way of doing that would
be to try to find out if there are other reports by other persons that are
in agreement with that report.  Now, each of these other reports may be,
considered by itself, no more or less reliable than the report in question,
but it clearly makes a difference whether such other reports do or do not
agree and/or what proportion of them do.  If the degree of agreement is
very high it might seem reasonable to conclude that the original report has
been verified, taking due account of the various reasons why this or that
report might or might not be such as to be counted as a verification or a
disverification.   But there is nothing about the original or first report,
the cognition requiring verification, that makes it something to be
verified or disverified in contradistinction from being something that
verifies or disverifies it.  Perhaps the verification is simply the sum
total of reports considered in respect to their agreement on the matter in
question.   How could it possibly be supposed, then, that being a
verification of something is an analytic element on par logically with the
analytical elements that are involved in all of the cases, regardless of
whether they are verifiers or that which is verified?  The universal
categories are analytical elements involved in all cases alike and any
individual case must already be fully constituted as being of the nature of
a cognition of some sort before the question of its verificational status
can even arise.  The verificational factor therefore cannot be on par with
the sort of universal element we are concerned with when we are concerned
with the categories.  

>[Joe] I just don't see that anything you say takes account of this, Ben.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Benjamin Udell 
To: Peirce Discussion Forum 
Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 8:01 PM
Subject: [peirce-l] Re: The "composite photograph" metaphor

Charles, Joe, Gary, Jim, list,

Currently, I'm focused on answering Joe's recentest post to me,
particularly in regard to the question of how to argue that some very
complicated complexus of objects, signs, and interpretants will not amount
to a verification. My focus there has as much to do with trying to restrain
my prolixity as anything else!

Still, I'd like to attempt at least a brief response here. 

A point which I'll be making in my response to Joe, and which may be
pertinent here, is that the "reflexivity" involved in semiosis is not just
that of feedback's adjusting of behavior but instead that of learning's
effect on the semiotic system's very design -- solidifying it or
undermining it or renovating it or augmenting it or redesigning it or etc.

Generally, I'd respond that that which Peirce overlooks in connection with
verification is 

-- that verification is an experiential recognition of an interpretant and
its sign as truly corresponding to their object, and that verification (in
the core sense) involves direct observation of the object in the light
(being tested) of the interpretant and the sign. "In the light (being
tested)" means that the verification is a recognition formed _as_
collateral to sign and interpretant in respect of the object. Experience,
familiarity, acquaintance with the object are, by Peirce's own account,
outside the interpretant, the sign, the system of signs. 

-- and that, therefore, the recognition is not sign, interpretant, or their
object in those relationships in which it is the recognition of them; yet,
in being formed as collateral to sign and interpretant in respect of the
object, it is logically determined by them and by the object as represented
by them; it is further determined by the object separately by observation
of the object itself; and by the logical relationships in which object,
sign, and interpretant are observed to stand. Dependently on the
recognitional outcome, semiosis will go very differently; it logically
determines semiosis going forward.  So, how will you diagram it? You can't
mark it as object itself, nor as sign of the object, nor as interpretant of
the sign or of the object. What label, what semiotic role, will you put at
the common terminus of the lines of relationship leading to it, all of them
logically determinational, from the sign, the object, and the interpretant?

If, as verification, it is logically determined by object, sign, and
interpretant, and is neither the object itself, or sign or interpretant of
the object, then *_what_* is it in its logically determinational
relationship to object, sign and interpretant?

My answer is that verification is just that, verification, a fourth
semiotic element on a part with object, sign, and interpretant.

The content of your summary seems at first glance generally correct, except
that I would not call it so much a summary as a placement of Peirce's
discussion of transuasion into an appropriate further Peircean context.

Previously on peirce-l, I think it was over a year ago, I addressed the
issue of induction and verification in a general way:

[peirce-l] Re: [Arisbe] Re: Critique Of Short -- Section 4 --Discussion
Benjamin Udell Sun Jan 2 23:55:43 CST 2005 
> [Joe:] The purpose of the collateral knowledge is not to "confirm the
meaning" but to identify the object independently of its identification in
the sign.

The latter, not the former, was Peirce's purpose, but it amounts to the
same thing, & takes on importance since there would be no other way to
confirm the meaning. For instance, the experimentation which conveys
collateral acquaintance with the object to the experimenter's mind is, by
that very stroke, not an interpretant or sign.in the relevant relations.
It's an induction which concludes not in an interpretant but in a
recognition -- some degree of recognition -- though it certainly will also
conclude in an interpretant to the extent that the interpretant goes beyond
the recognition & represents the object in respects in which collateral
experience has not been furnished. The progression continues. But at some
point I will address how this works when the collateral experience is
conveyed only weakly & how it is that we are satisfied with that which we
call evidence when the evidence is not the object itself freshly observed.

(The way in which I eventually addressed the issue was in terms (a) of a
general evidentiary power of signs in virtue of their deserving recognition
on the basis of experience, and in particular of a kind of sign,
classificationally seated alongside index, icon, & symbol, a sign _defined_
in terms of the recognition which it would deserve and which I call the
"proxy" and (b) a certain slack and experimentability which the mind has in
understanding and practicing the difference between an interpretant and a
recognition/verification, not a distinction such that the mind "makes" the
distinction and employs it as an option tied neither to penalty nor to
reward, but, instead, a distinction such that the mind _learns_ how to
practice it.)

Another way to put it is that, given the rule is that experience with the
object is outside the interpretant, then an interpretant takes form as a
_conception as reached by inference_, not as a judgment as reached by
inference, even if it takes the form of a proposition (or even of an

It is a conception as inferred-to consciously or unconsciously. In the case
of a conception unconsciously inferred-to, the interpretant conception (or
its embodiment as a commonly perceptible sign) may be a sign formed "from
life," like a painting of an actual person, and intended more as an
occasion for interpretation and less as an outcome of interpretation. 
(Most of us, and most artists, will rightly not regard such a painting as
actually an "uninterpretive" sign; W.C. Williams' novel _White Mule_ is not
mere "slice of life" writing; but even when one is aware of its
interpretive aspects, there are very likely even more aspects that could be
fairly called interpretive than those of which one is aware).  The
interpretant is the idea, the clarification, the elucidation, that one
comes up with from the sign; the recognition is the establishment, in
greater or lesser firmness, of said idea, and takes form as a judgment as
reached by inference, a concluding judgment.

The inferred-to conception may be vibrant to the mind and important to it,
etc. I agree with the view to which Peirce came, that even a name can
reasonably have something like assertoric force, influencing the mind. 

I've called the conscious inference to a conception "conceptiocination,"
though that is not a general enough term.  Given that in commonsense
perception one can form a perceptual judgment, I would tend to regard that
as involving percepts rather than perceptual "conceptions."

It is perfectly possible to act upon an unverified -- or an inadequately
verified -- interpretant, and this is experimentation. It also may be bold
and may be rash or brave. It does, when deliberate, involve at least the
conscious recognition of the interpretant _as_ an interpretant, and this is
a kind of recognition which we experience, observe, and practice every day.
Somebody says, "well that's just your interpretation," and the addressee
says, "well, yes, but I believe that I'll be able to prove it this
afternoon." Coming up with an idea is one thing, establishing it is
another.  That's common sense, and the burden is on critical common sense
if it wishes to reject the common sense.  A recurrent problem , as Peirce
pointed out in regard to pre-modern science, is mistakenness about
verification itself, not some lack of verificatory spirit; and, as Peirce
wrote elsewhere, everybody thinks himself or herself already sufficiently
good at logic.  There is an order of being, whereby we explain things by
inferred objects, laws, etc., and an order of knowledge, whereby we verify;
in that sense, the explanatory "ultimates" means what is farthest from the
mind, while verificational "ultimates" means what is nearest to the mind
and most familiar.  So it's natural to believe oneself to have little of
worth yet to learn about logic unless one truly believes oneself to be low
in intelligence by some standard which one actually holds. 

The question in the current discussion seems now to be revolving over the
issue of whether establishment and verification are a formal logical
element on a par with object, sign, and interpretant, though Joe's
recentest post raises the idea once again (if it was ever really left
aside) of whether a verification might be merely some complexus of objects,
signs, and interpretants in considerable multiplicity. 

Best, Ben Udell

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Charles F Rudder 
To: Peirce Discussion Forum 
Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 12:08 PM
Subject: [peirce-l] Re: The "composite photograph" metaphor

Ben, list:


I am struggling to understand exactly what it is you are saying Peirce
overlooks in connection with verification.  In an effort to get some
further clarification of your position, I am including a statement of my
understanding of some of what Peirce says on the subject followed by some

I. Peirce on Verification

 TRANSUASION (CP 2.98):  A Transuasive Argument, or Induction, is an
Argument which sets out from a hypothesis, resulting from a previous
Abduction, and from virtual predictions, drawn by Deduction, of the results
of possible experiments, and having performed the experiments, concludes
that the hypothesis is true in the measure in which those predictions are
verified, this conclusion, however, being held subject to probable
modification to suit future experiments. Since the significance of the
facts stated in the premisses depends upon their predictive character,
which they could not have had if the conclusion had not been hypothetically
entertained, they satisfy the definition of a Symbol of the fact stated in
the conclusion. This argument is Transuasive, also, in respect to its alone
affording us a reasonable assurance of an ampliation of our positive
knowledge. By the term "virtual prediction," I mean an experiential
consequence deduced from the hypothesis, and selected from among possible
consequences independently of whether it is known, or believed, to be true,
or not; so that at the time it is selected as a test of the hypothesis, we
are either ignorant of whether it will support or refute the hypothesis,
or, at least, do not select a test which we should not have selected if we
had been so ignorant. (END QUOTE)

I take the word "verification" as a synonym for the consequences of
Peirce's transuasive arguments (distinguishable from abductive and
deductive arguments) that set out the conditions under which individuals
will be most likely to agree to act as if statements referring to
perceptual events and relations between and among perceptual events are
true.  I say "act as if" because I understand Peirce to say that "belief"
necessarily entails both cognitive and behavioral action.  Granting that
there are semiosical antecedents to one's being able to name and otherwise
classify perceptual events like seeing a burning building, any physically
and psychologically normal person who sees a burning building will most
likely voluntarily or quasi voluntarily agree to report seeing or having
seen a burning building as a consequence of their experience's compelling
them to act as if they are or were in the actual presence of a burning
building.  The cognitive assent in agreeing to say there is or was a
building burning in which Thirdness is predominant is inseparably connected
to a nonvoluntary inability dominated by Secondness to act as if seeing a
burning building is or was an hallucination, optical illusion, etc.  To
refuse to report or to quibble over reporting that a building is or was
burning would be an instance of "paper doubt."  Say what you will, the
consequences of acting as if there is or was no building burning are
identical to what we conventionally mean (the import of Peirce's pragmatic
maxim) by saying that a building is burning is true.  Peirce's transuasive
argument does not set out conditions under which all rational individuals
ought to agree, but conditions under which, over time, most people will in
actual fact agree as a consequence of an inability to act as if what is
predicted will not occur.  Belief has the character of a wager.  Whatever a
person's state of mind, relative to present states of information the odds
favor acting as if the conclusions of  transuasive arguments are true.

II.  Questions

1.  Do you generally agree with my summary of Peirce's transuasive
argument?  If not, where in your opinion have I gone astray?

2.  If you do generally agree with my account of transuasion, what does
Peirce's transuasive argument fail to address in connection with
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