Peirce's Theory of Signs

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a major achievement, a singularly important work on Pierce's theory of signs and one of the most important works to ever be published on Peirce." - Journal of the History of Philosophy

"...his attempt to demonstrate the relevance of Peirce's semiotics in contemporary philosophical though hinges on a balanced interplay between convincing arguments and documented research. This book insightfully unravels the necessity of overcoming the contemporary philosophical tendency to 'atomize issues', and there is reason to believe that Short's comprehensive study will set the agenda for interesting future developments in Peircean scholarship." —Chiara Ambrosio, University College London: Philosophy in Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521108942
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/19/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 374
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

T. L. Short is Chairman of the Board of Advisors to the Peirce Edition Project (Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis). He has published broadly in the philosophy of science, conceptual change, teleology, and aspects of the philosophy of C. S. Peirce in journals such as The Monist, American Philosophical Quarterly, Grazer Philosophische Studien, Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society as well as in Biology and Philosophy, Synthese, and Semiotica.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

1 Antecedents and Alternatives 1

1 Peirce 1

2 Sources of Peirce's Semeiotic in Locke and Kant 2

3 Brentano on Intentionality 6

4 Chisholm, Quine, et al. on Intentionality 11

5 Saussure's Semiology 16

6 Aristotle, the Stoics, St. Augustine 21

2 The Development of Peirce's Semeiotic 27

1 1865-1866: Thoughts as Representations 28

2 1867: The 'New List' 31

3 1868-1869: Thought-signs 32

4 1859-1877: Nominalism versus Realism 36

5 Three Flaws in the 1868-1869 Doctrine of Thought-signs 42

6 Derrida et cie 45

7 1877-1885: The First Flaw Corrected 46

8 After 1885: Consequences of the Foregoing 51

9 1903: The Second Flaw Corrected 53

20 1907: The Last Flaw Corrected 56

3 Phaneroscopy 60

1 The 1902 Architectonic 61

2 The Phaneron and Phaneroscopic Method 66

3 The Language of Phaneroscopy 71

4 1stness and 2ndness 75

5 Two Forms of Generality 78

6 The Experience of Continuity 80

7 The Experience of Causing 82

8 3rdness 84

9 The Categories Interpreted Metaphysically 86

10 The System of Categories 89

4 A Preface to Final Causation 91

1 Strange Objects of Desire 92

2 What Is Mechanical? 94

3 Teleology's Locus Classicus 98

4 A Budget of Errors 103

5 Hume's Ghost 105

6 Ordinary Purposes 108

7 The Mysterious Case of the Surplus Body 112

5 Final Causation 117

1 Explanation in Statistical Mechanics 117

2 Reflections on the Preceding 124

3 Natural Selection 128

4 Evolution and Entropy 133

5 Peirce's Concept of Final Causation 136

6 Comparison to Recent Views 139

7 Purpose's Realm 144

6 Significance 151

1 Teleology as Conjectural and Empirical 152

2 Valuationas Teleological 153

3 'Interpret' Defined 156

4 'Sign' Defined 159

5 'Significance' Defined 162

6 The Breadth of These Definitions 162

7 Peirce's Definitions of 'Sign' 164

8 Peirce's 1907 View 168

9 Significance and Purpose 172

10 Intentionality Explained 174

7 Objects and Interpretants 178

1 Much Groping, No Conclusion 180

2 Immediate, Dynamic, and Final Interpretants 187

3 Immediate and Dynamic Objects 191

4 Peirce's Realism 196

5 Emotional, Energetic, and Logical Interpretants 200

8 A Taxonomy of Signs 207

1 Qualisign, Sinsign, Legisign 208

2 Icon, Index, Symbol 214

3 Iconic, Indexical, and Symbolic Legisigns 222

4 A Common Error Corrected 225

5 Rheme, Dicisign, Argument 231

9 More Taxa 235

1 Principles of Semeiotic Taxonomy 235

2 Dicisigns and Assertion 242

3 Six Trichotomies 248

4 Ten Trichotomies 256

5 Where We Are Now 260

10 How Symbols Grow 263

1 Hypostatic Abstraction 264

2 The Hiddenness of Abstraction 270

3 A Very Virtuous Variety of Vagueness 274

4 Abstraction and Rigid Designation 276

5 Incommensurability and Meaning's 'Location' 279

6 Pragmatism and the Growth of Symbols 285

11 Semeiosis and the Mental 289

1 Contemporary Philosophy of Mind 291

2 Functionalism's Problem with Content 295

3 On Being Simple-minded 301

4 Beyond Biology 303

5 Consciousness and Subjectivity 311

12 The Structure of Objectivity 317

1 Antifoundationalism 318

2 Objectivity 323

3 Peirce's Concept of Science 326

4 A Fixation on Truth 330

5 How Theories Are Tested 333

6 Why Observe? 337

7 Realism, Not Relativism 341

8 How Aims Are Tested 344

9 Objectivity and Freedom 346

Bibliography 349

Name Index 361

Subject Index 365

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