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Sign Relations & Sign Relational Complexes

From: Jon Awbrey <jawbrey@oakland.edu>
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2001 23:00:01 -0500
Message-ID: <3A690D41.AF00ED92@oakland.edu>
To: RDF Logic <www-rdf-logic@w3.org>

RDF Logic SIG:

I am going to introduce here some material on "sign relations"
and on their generalizations, the "sign relational complexes".
This is the formal subject matter that constitutes the main
object of study in the "pragmatic theory of signs" (PTOS).

Sign relational complexes are what we would use to describe
all of those troubling cases, that the Ancients were fond
of discussing under the heading of "being and non-being",
but that we, more prosaically, are more apt to encounter
under the nomens of "missing data" or "signs that do not
denote", and all of the other sorts of non-sorts that we
find ourselves running up against, typically ill-prepared,
when we practice to deploy our way too awefully pretty formal
systems against all of the ugly brutalities that are represented,
or else not, by the real world's not always so freely given "data".
And these "complexer" sorts of constructs would, of course, be very
relevant to the kinds of problems that I can overhear being batted
about, back and forth, up and down, in the ambient AIR hereabouts,
and it saddens me that I cannot possibly get that far in my all
too necessarily incremental exposition of my subject matter to
be of much help in repairing the tears of the immediate fray.

So I am bound to begin with sign relations, simpliciter,
and I hope that you will be patient, knowing full well,
as I do, that there are far more ex-&-in-citing topics.

A quick way for me to lead right off is to assemble
a smattering of links to bits of papers that I have
written in the past and to bits of discussions with
other people that I have had on these very subjects.
Later I will try to adapt my discourse more closely
to the present aims of this interest group, but for
the moment, it is all pretty generic stuff, anyway.

Actually, maybe just one link is enough to start.
Here is a primer on "Sign Relations" that enjoys
the distinct advantage of moving very quickly to
near-maximally simple and very concrete examples.


Even though I tend to be a bit combinatorial,
discrete, elemental, and finite in the sorts
of mathematics that I like, it was curiously
enough a rather long time before it occurred
to me that I should bother to examine finite
examples of sign relations, and then, it was
only the prompting of my former advisor, one
T.G. Windeknecht, who urged me in this wise,
a singular question and a triple imperative:

1.  How simple can it be and still be interesting?
2.  Examples!  Examples!  Examples!

So if you find this maximally dull
and simply too insipid to bear,
well, you know who to blame!

Of course, the accompanying disadvantage in starting out
on these concrete, impoverished, reduced, and simplistic
examples is that it will be correspondingly difficult to
see exactly what all the fuss is about, since one cannot
always be expected to have any foresight or insight into
the general class of which an example is a paradigm case.

But that is just the one of those trade-offs that cannot be e-vaded.

Many Regards,

Jon Awbrey

Received on Friday, 19 January 2001 22:58:45 UTC

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