6/23/12

Charles Sanders Peirce -The Sign creates something in the Mind of the Interpreter

“The Sign creates something in the Mind of the Interpreter, which something, in that it has been so created by the sign, has been, in a mediate and relative way, also created by the Object of the Sign, although the Object is essentially other than the Sign. And this creature of the sign is called the Interpretant. It is created by the Sign; but not by the Sign quâ member of whichever of the Universes it belongs to; but it has been created by the Sign in its capacity of bearing the determination by the Object. It is created in a Mind (how far this mind must be real we shall see). All that part of the understanding of the Sign which the Interpreting Mind has needed collateral observation for is outside the Interpretant. I do not mean by "collateral observation" acquaintance with the system of signs. What is so gathered is not COLLATERAL. It is on the contrary the prerequisite for getting any idea signified by the sign. But by collateral observation, I mean previous acquaintance with what the sign denotes... But to put together the different subjects as the sign represents them as related - that is the main of the Interpretant-forming... the quality of the sympathetic element of the situation... that is the Interpretant of the Sign, - its 'significance.'

-Charles Sanders Peirce (A Letter to William James, EP 2:493-4, 1909)

Cap tip Gary Moore


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