Poinsot versus Peirce on Merging with Reality by Sharing a Quality

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
C. S. Peirce introduced the term “icon” for sign-vehicles that signify their objects in virtue of some shared quality. This qualitative kinship, however, threatens to collapse the relata of the sign into one and the same thing. Accordingly, the late medieval philosopher of signs John Poinsot held that, “no matter how perfect, a concept [...] always retains a distinction, therefore, between the thing signified and itself signifying.” Poinsot is touted by his present-day advocates as a realist, but I believe that, judged by realist standards, his requirement of minimal dissimilarity backfires. Poinsot thinks that, in analyzing the sign, we should stop before a full merger between sign-vehicle and object is reached. Peirce, by contrast, saw good reason to push the analysis all the way down to one isolated quality. Because such a qualitative merger can lend support to realism, I favour Peirce’s stance.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
Archival date: 2015-06-16
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
401 ( #17,218 of 65,538 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
17 ( #40,824 of 65,538 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.