Systems Of Interpretation • 3

Figure 2. An Elementary Sign Relation

Figure 2. An Elementary Sign Relation

Re: Peirce List DiscussionMike BergmanValentine Daniel

That “triskelion” stick-figure for an elementary sign relation or individual triple (o, s, i) is about the simplest possible.  There are some problems with the sketch — we should have used lower case o, s, i to label the termini of the triple instead of the upper case O, S, I that are more commonly used to denote sets — but let’s pass over past sins in silence.

Returning to the cryptkeeper’s archive, we used a less skeletal figure in an earlier paper to articulate the commonalities that Peirce’s concept of a sign relation shares with its archetype in Aristotle.

Figure 1. The Sign Relation in Aristotle

Figure 1. The Sign Relation in Aristotle

Here is the corresponding passage from “On Interpretation”.

Words spoken are symbols or signs (symbola) of affections or impressions (pathemata) of the soul (psyche);  written words are the signs of words spoken.  As writing, so also is speech not the same for all races of men.  But the mental affections themselves, of which these words are primarily signs (semeia), are the same for the whole of mankind, as are also the objects (pragmata) of which those affections are representations or likenesses, images, copies (homoiomata).  (De Interp. i. 16a4).


  • Awbrey, J.L., and Awbrey, S.M. (Autumn 1995), “Interpretation as Action : The Risk of Inquiry”, Inquiry : Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines 15(1), pp. 40–52.  ArchiveJournalOnline.
  • Awbrey, S.M., and Awbrey, J.L. (September 1999), “Organizations of Learning or Learning Organizations : The Challenge of Creating Integrative Universities for the Next Century”, Second International Conference of the Journal ‘Organization’, Re-Organizing Knowledge, Trans-Forming Institutions : Knowing, Knowledge, and the University in the 21st Century, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.  Online.
  • Awbrey, S.M., and Awbrey, J.L. (May 2001), “Conceptual Barriers to Creating Integrative Universities”, Organization : The Interdisciplinary Journal of Organization, Theory, and Society 8(2), Sage Publications, London, UK, pp. 269–284.  Abstract.
This entry was posted in Artificial Intelligence, Communication, Community of Interpretation, Diagrammatic Reasoning, Diagrams, Interpretation, Interpretive Frameworks, Knowledge, Knowledge Representation, Logic, Logic of Relatives, Logical Graphs, Objective Frameworks, Peirce, Peirce List, Relation Theory, Semiotics, Sign Relations, Triadic Relations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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