Quotes from The Primacy of Semiosis

“In fact, as Deely emphasizes, Poinsot’s ontological analysis of signs as relations only develops its full power when there is included within it a post-Peircian analysis of how signs become, or grow, and how they can do this without the need for physically existent terms.” (Paul Bains, The Primacy of Semiosis: An Ontology of Relations, p.9)

“For Deely (…), the main problem of so-called linguistic philosophy is that it fails to give an account of how we can talk about non-existent things, this being one of the most notable features of human language. Linguistic philosophy attempts to treat language as primarily involved in mirroring or developing a point-by-point correspondence with an external, non-linguistic reality. In the analytical approach, meaning and truth only occur when there is a direct referential correspondence between words and things.” (p.29)

“Deely (…) argues that Locke is using the term ‘idea’ as a representation whose cognitive function is to make ‘present within awareness objects regardless of their proximity within the environment. This is the main function of the idea that Locke had in mind, as also Descartes, and it is perhaps not too much to say that this is the principal notion of idea throughout the period of modern philosophy.’ However, unless we have an understanding of the distinction between representation and species (or representation and signification), we cannot understand the difference between a metaphysics of representation (‘the way of ideas’) and a semiotic (‘the way of signs’).” (Paul Bains, The Primacy of Semiosis: An Ontology of Relations, p.47)

“Maturana contends that the traditional view of language as a denotative symbolic system for transmitting information concerning independent entities has obscured the fact that such a conception assumes the pre-existence of the function of denotation, whereas denotation is the very function that requires explanation in an evolutionary theory of natural languages.” (p.128)


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