Three summers ago I hit on what struck me as a new insight into one of the most recalcitrant problems in Peirce’s semiotics and logic of science, namely, the relation between “the manner in which different representations stand for their objects” and the way in which different inferences transform states of information. I roughed out a sketch of my epiphany in a series of blog posts then set it aside for the cool of later reflection. Now looks to be that later and looking out my window it is certainly cooler.
A first pass through the variations of representation and reasoning distinguishes the axes of iconic, indexical, and symbolic manners of representation on the one hand and the axes of abductive, inductive, and deductive modes of inference on the other. Early and often Peirce will argue for a natural correspondence between the main modes of inference and the main manners of representation but his early arguments differ from his later accounts in ways deserving a second look. This is partly for the extra points in his line of reasoning and partly for his explanation of indices as signs constituted by convening the variant conceptions of sundry interpreters.
- This Blog • Survey of Pragmatic Semiotic Information
- My Notes • Information = Comprehension × Extension
- C.S. Peirce • Upon Logical Comprehension and Extension