Figure 2. An Elementary Sign Relation
Peirce’s existential graphs are a general calculus for expressing the same subject matter as his logic of relative terms and thus they serve to represent the structures of many-place relations. Cast at that level of generality, there is nothing to prevent existential graphs from being used to express the special cases of relative terms that we need in a theory of triadic sign relations, for example, terms like “s stands to i for o” or “__ stands to __ for __” or any number of other forms, depending on the style one prefers. People sometimes get wigged out about the fact that we have to use sign relations in order to mention sign relations but the fact is that we do that all the time whether we are using Peirce’s semiotics or not. Peirce just makes the process a whole lot clearer than most others do.
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