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”. In earlier work on Inquiry Driven Systems I introduced the subject in the following way.
When interpreters reflect on their use of signs they require an appropriate technical language in which to pursue the reflections. 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”.
- Exposition continues at Higher Order Sign Relations