Re: Pragmatic Hermeneutics


Arisbeans, ConGraphers, RDF Loggers, SemioComrades, ...

An astute observer -- you know who you are! -- has pointed out
that my taking up the banner of "pragmatic hermeneutics" (PH)
is apt to be risky, and liable to incur not a little bit of
misapprehension, and also that I have unwittingly trampled
all over my own chief points in a flurry of turgid prose.
It would not be the first time, and most likely, or not,
it will not be the last, but I will attempt now to take
this advice to heart, to collect my wits in a bit more
succinct form, and to try to point out what my chief
point is.

The most important idea in that whole barrage is this:

> to convey the idea that exchanges of signs are
> instanced with regard to our pragmatic objects

A few pieces of the remaining context are slightly supportive:

> at the moment of exchange in question -- no matter
> whether it happens to be one sign (s) being exchanged
> for another sign (s' = i) within the internal dynamics
> of an integral modality of meaning, or perhaps an
> isolated person or processor, ... or whether it is
> between two such agents that the exchange of signs
> in question is made.

So let me try to focus on this single point and this epsilon-neighborhood of it,
and seek to ignore the diverting entanglements of the wider circles, ellipses,
parables, hyperboles, and other "comic sections" that I find to surround it.

The concept of "signs being exchanged in regard to an object", alternatively,
the notion of "signs that are traded on behalf of some objective" (STATOBOSO),
is the chief idea that informs the nature of every particular "sign relation",
and it is the main idea behind the entire "pragmatic theory of signs" (PTOS).

A principal feature to note about the generic type of a sign relation
is its "arity" (equivalently, its "adicity", "adinity", or "valence"),
to wit, that it is a triadic relation, and in general, irreducibly so.

Unpacking the terseness of these abstract generalizations
just a little, the concept of a sign relation is usually
observed in practice to apply in either one of two ways:

1.  Between two "agents of interpretation" (AOI's),
    whereby signs are "exchanged" in the sense that
    they "change hands", if indeed an AOI has hands,
    or less metaphorically, whereby a single sign,
    or more properly, a token of the type of same,
    is passed from one agent to another, perhaps,
    if demanded by the applicable "law of nomos"
    or the prevailing "law of physis", with the
    complementary exchange of a token of a sign
    in the reciprocating direction.

2.  Within the "internal dynamics" (ID) of a single AOI,
    an order of process that is no less problematic than
    what transpires between two AOI's -- and if you read
    the "Radical Indeterminacy Of Translation" (RIOT) Act
    as I do, one that forms the core of the whole problem.

The upshout of all of this "hue and cry" (HAC)
is that "discussion and thought" (DAT) is no
less "dialogic", if not to say "diabolic" in
its bedeviling and its pandemonic problematic,
whether it is the "Other" that one is trying
to address with one's communiques or whether
it is one's very own homuncular daimon with
which one finds oneself forced to entertain
a dialogue.

Aside from those epaulets upon the shoulders of giants
that I "eyes-righted" and bid you salute at the finale
of that whole psyche-pompous and ceremonious parade --
well, all of the rest of it can safely be regarded at
a properly comic distance and to a first approximation,
at any rate, as I will well admit, as mere "decoration".

Nevertheless, I would like to persist in trying to attract
your special attention to the following particular version
of Peirce's "Pragmatic Maxim", from which our intellectual
history records that we derive, if a bit too reductively,
the notion of an "operational definition" (OD).

Pragmatic Maxim:

| Consider what effects that might 'conceivably'
| have practical bearings you 'conceive' the
| objects of your 'conception' to have.  Then,
| your 'conception' of those effects is the
| whole of your 'conception' of the object.
| Charles Sanders Peirce,
| The Maxim of Pragmatism,
| CP 5.438

If I could just get a reasonable portion of
the practical implications of 'that' across,
I believe that I could finally rest content.

Many regards are possible,
Many regards are necessary,
Many regards are actualized,

Many Regards,

Jon Awbrey


Received on Monday, 22 January 2001 09:54:10 UTC