Appendix (Peircean Semiotics)

Overview of Peircean Semiotics

Who was Charles Sanders Peirce?
  • Born: Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1839
  • Died: Milford, Pennsylvania, 1914
  • Harvard educated
  • Career highlights:
    • Scientist: U.S. Coast Survey
    • Lecturer: Johns Hopkins University
    • Architect of philosophy of pragmatism
  • A fully developed, human-centered scientific method focused on reasoning
  • The only major philosophy developed by an American
  • Original name: “pragmatism”

What is Semiotics?

The theory or science of signs.
3 Major Disciplines
  • Semiology (Ferdinand de Saussure)
  • Semiotics (Charles William Morris)
  • Semeiotic (Charles Sanders Peirce)
    • Only “semeiotic” is based entirely on mathematics and logic

What is a Sign?

Peircean definition:
“Anything (R) which is so determined by anything else, called its Object (O), and so determines an effect upon a person, which I call its Interpretant (I).”

Peircean Triadic Sign

Peircean Triadic Sign

  • Complex conceptual structure reduced to a single triadic sign
  • Unique system - all others are dyadic (two-part)
  • Signs may be concatenated to construct concepts
  • Peircean system of logic developed from the sign
Laboratory Philosophy
  • Open system (exocentric)
  • User-centered
  • Closed loop self-control
  • Abstractively ordered system
  • Developed for scientists and engineers (traditionally unafraid of experimentation)
Impact of Peirce’s Philosophy On and Beyond Science
  • Physics
  • Language
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Sociology
  • Literature
  • Cultural Studies, and many others...

Peircean Sign - 3 Basic Types

Peirce proved that the Triadic Sign can be concatenated. The Interpretant (I) becomes the Object (O) for the next sign.
Peircean Sign - 3 Basic Types

Peirce: Normative Science

Normative Science (facts interpreted with reference to their meaning or value)

  • Esthetics: “What should my purpose be?”
  • Ethics: “How should I control my activities while achieving my goals?”
  • Logic (Semeiotic): “How should I reason while focusing on problem solving?”
  • Speculative grammar: Examines what is requisite for representation of any kind.
  • Critic (narrow definition of logic): Formal science of the truth of representations; study of the reference of signs to their objects.
  • Speculative rhetoric: Studies how knowledge is transmitted; science of interpretation.

Warfare Applications

Cyberspace/information centric
NCW battle systems
Cognitive/information processing systems
Full Spectrum Dominance

Peircean Philosophy Outline courtesy of E. T. Nozawa, unpublished data