Sign Relations • Signs and Inquiry

There is a close relationship between the pragmatic theory of signs and the pragmatic theory of inquiry.  In fact, the correspondence between the two studies exhibits so many congruences and parallels it is often best to treat them as integral parts of one and the same subject.  In a very real sense, inquiry is the process by which sign relations come to be established and continue to evolve.  In other words, inquiry, “thinking” in its best sense, “is a term denoting the various ways in which things acquire significance” (John Dewey).  Tracing the passage of inquiry through the medium of signs calls for an active, intricate form of cooperation between our converging modes of investigation.  Its proper character is best understood by realizing the theory of inquiry is adapted to study the developmental aspects of sign relations, whose evolution the theory of signs is specialized to treat from comparative and structural points of view.


  • Charles S. Peirce (1902), “Parts of Carnegie Application” (L 75), in Carolyn Eisele (ed., 1976), The New Elements of Mathematics by Charles S. Peirce, vol. 4, 13–73.  Online.
  • Awbrey, J.L., and Awbrey, S.M. (1995), “Interpretation as Action : The Risk of Inquiry”, Inquiry : Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines 15(1), pp. 40–52.  ArchiveJournal.  Online (doc) (pdf).


Document History

See OEIS Wiki • Sign Relation • Document History.

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This entry was posted in C.S. Peirce, Logic, Mathematics, Peirce, Relation Theory, Semiosis, Semiotics, Sign Relations and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Sign Relations • Signs and Inquiry

  1. Pingback: Survey of Semiotics, Semiosis, Sign Relations • 3 | Inquiry Into Inquiry

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