Questions about use and mention came up recently on Facebook. In pragmatic semiotics the trade-off between signs-of-objects and signs-as-objects opens up the wider space of “higher order sign relations”. Here is how I introduced the subject in an earlier writing:
When interpreters reflect on their own use of signs they require an appropriate technical language in which to pursue their reflections. For this they need signs referring to sign relations, signs referring to elements and components of sign relations, and signs referring to properties and classes of sign relations. The orders of signs developing as reflection evolves can be placed under the description of “higher order signs” and the extended sign relations involving them can be referred to as “higher order sign relations”.
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