The Problem of the Essential Icon

American Philosophical Quarterly 45 (3):207-232 (2008)
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Charles Peirce famously divided all signs into icons, indices and symbols. The past few decades have seen mainstream analytic philosophy broaden its traditional focus on symbols to recognise the so-called essential indexical. Can the moral now be extended to icons? Is there an “essential icon”? And if so, what exactly would be essential about it? It is argued that there is and it consists in logical form. Danielle Macbeth’s radical new “expressivist” interpretation of Frege’s logic and Charles Peirce’s existential graphs are mobilized in support of this claim.

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Cathy Legg
Deakin University


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