## Zeroth Law Of Semiotics • Comment 5

It may be a day or two before I can get back to the zeroth law of semiotics and how grasping it cures a strain of ills that language and some fashions of logic are heir to, but on the subject of nominalism I found a summary of a previous discussion that may say some things better than I have this time around.

## Zeroth Law Of Semiotics • Comment 4

General terms are terms like man, woman, child, etc., each of which applies to many individuals, in other words, has a general denotation or a plural extension.  Generally speaking, a general term is treated as bearing an accessory reference, indirect denotation, or other form of association to a general property like man-ness, woman-ness, child-ness, etc. and to a set of individuals like men, women, children, etc.  But a strict nominalist would hold that we have no need of these properties or sets, that all we need are the individual terms that denote individuals individually together with the general terms that denote individuals in a general way.

## Zeroth Law Of Semiotics • Comment 3

Nominalism takes its name from the idea that “generals are only names” and it goes by the maxims “Do not take a general name for the name of a general” and “Do not multiply entities beyond necessity”.  In other words, we should not confuse a general term, one that applies to many individuals, with a term that denotes a general entity, property, or universal, as those are dispensable in favor of individual entities.

It would be a mistake to think that pragmatism is diametrically opposed to all that.  As far as the advice against confusing signs with objects, the caution against confusing different types and uses of signs with one another, and even the general recommendation to economize our budgets of entities to some degree, if not to the extreme of absolute austerity, pragmatism can go a long ways with that.  The fork in the road comes with the degree to which general entities can be eliminated, wholly or not so wholly.

## All Liar, No Paradox • Comment 1

A statement $S_0$ asserts that a statement $S_1$ is a statement that $S_1$ is false.

The statement $S_0$ violates an axiom of logic, so it doesn’t really matter whether the ostensible statement $S_1,$ the so-called liar, really is a statement or has a truth value.

When I endeavored some years ago to examine the so-called “liar paradox” from what I take to be a pragmatic, semiotic, sign relational standpoint, I arrived at a way of understanding it that dispelled, for me, every air of paradox about it.  I wrote out an outline of that analysis under the same title I’m using here and shared it in several discussion groups.  The couplet above is a bare bones rendering of that analysis.

The more rambling version can be found at these locations:

## All Liar, No Paradox

A statement $S_0$ asserts that a statement $S_1$ is a statement that $S_1$ is false.

The statement $S_0$ violates an axiom of logic, so it doesn’t really matter whether the ostensible statement $S_1,$ the so-called liar, really is a statement or has a truth value.

## Zeroth Law Of Semiotics • Comment 2

My old avatar $0^*$ (Zero-Aster) does incline to laconic verses, but I hope to address a class of concrete applications that will serve to unpack their sense.

The main thing I’d like to communicate here is the possibility that many so-called insolubilia and paradoxes are really just examples of conceptual difficulties that can be resolved when viewed within the right sort of conceptual framework, namely, Peirce’s pragmatic semiotics, or a natural extension of it.

## Zeroth Law Of Semiotics • Comment 1

New discussions of the so-called “Liar Paradox” have broken out at several places on the web in recent weeks (1) (2) and these always bring to my mind at least a number of critical ways in which the Peircean paradigm of logic as semiotics differs from the fallback paradigm that bedevils the thinking of those who have yet to see by Peirce’s lights.

And that brings to my mind at least the following oldie but still goodie that articulates what I take to be the issue at the root of this and many other pseudo-problems.  (I have revised the title a bit for this edition.)

### Zeroth Law Of Semiotics

Meaning is a privilege not a right.
Not all pictures depict.
Not all signs denote.

Never confuse a property of a sign,
just for instance, existence,
with a sign of a property,
for instance, existence.

Taking a property of a sign
for a sign of a property
is the zeroth sign of
nominal thinking
and the first
mistake.

Also Sprach 0*
2002 Oct 09