Sign Relations • Discussion 1

Thus, if a sunflower, in turning towards the sun, becomes by that very act fully capable, without further condition, of reproducing a sunflower which turns in precisely corresponding ways toward the sun, and of doing so with the same reproductive power, the sunflower would become a Representamen of the sun.

— C.S. Peirce, Collected Papers, CP 2.274

Re: CyberneticsKlaus Krippendorff
Re: FacebookRichard Saunders

I’m working at reviewing and revising some pieces I’ve rewritten two score times over the last … lost count of years … and that bit from Peirce is one of my favorite epigraphs for the work ahead.  But I take it as an allegorical figure whose purpose is to illustrate a certain form of relation, and not to be taken too literally.  So I’m sympathetic to the reactions of several readers who find it clangs a bit if taken at face value.  I think there are clues in the passage, the hypothetical subjunctive construction, the unnatural qualification, “without further condition”, etc., telling us Peirce did not intend it as a truth of botany.  But taken rightly it does point to the shape of a proper definition to come.  So I’ll be getting to that …

Resources

cc: CyberneticsOntolog • Peirce List (1) (2)Structural ModelingSystems Science

This entry was posted in C.S. Peirce, Logic, Logic of Relatives, Mathematics, Peirce, Peirce's Categories, Philosophy, Pragmatic Semiotic Information, Pragmatism, Relation Theory, Semiotics, Sign Relations, Thirdness, Triadic Relations, Triadicity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sign Relations • Discussion 1

  1. Jeb says:

    I like it, familiar with it in other forms.  Peirce’s terms don’t tip of the tongue, only thing that clangs.  But it’s an older poetic form of language.  “Lyke unto a dumb solsequium” Old Scots song.

  2. Pingback: Sign Relations • Discussion 7 | Inquiry Into Inquiry

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