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Interpretation of Nature: Peirce’s Theory of Interpretation

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image of Contemporary Pragmatism

In his theory of interpretation, Peirce’s attention is drawn to the work of “mind,” especially its appropriation of signs. Mind interprets nature by using signs in every form of inquiry. Based on his three categories, Peirce defines interpretation as a determinate process of interpretations of interpretations. Communicative process thus means, instead of just being determined as an interpretant by an object, that the interpreter is determined by a “communicative effort.” In the communicative effort, for Peirce, temporal unit is the necessary condition of meaning. In other words, in order to mean something, the communicative effort has to be performed in a continuum from a past to a future. Concealed possibilities can be actualized when the continuum is “broken,” genuinely divided. Peirce truly acknowledges that the possibility can be actualized when it is broken into parts.Secondary AbstractThe main purpose of this paper is to investigate Charles S. Peirce’s theory of interpretation, with special regard to the theory of determination. Peirce fleshes out his theory of interpretation out of the three categories that perpetually turn up in Peirce’s intellectual career. Based on the three categories, Peirce defines interpretation as a determinate process of interpretations. Communicative process thus means, instead of just being determined as an interpretant by an object, the determinative process by which the interpreter is determined. In order to mean something, for Peirce, the communicative effort has to be performed in a continuum from a past to a future. For instance, the possibility of communication between computers and human beings can be explained by aid of Whitehead’s concept of “flat loci” as well as Peirce’s theory of interpretation. A flat locus is essentially a spatial region that represents the finite arrangement of ones and zeroes. A computer turns what it “sees” (the visual information to which it is exposed) into ones and zeroes according to mereo-topological schemata. Peirce truly acknowledged that possibilities can be actualized when the continuum is “broken,” genuinely divided.

Affiliations: 1: Visiting Professor, Sejong University, 209 Neungdong-ro, Gunja-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, South Korea tclee@sejong.ac.kr; humantadpole@gmail.com

10.1163/18758185-01501001
/content/journals/10.1163/18758185-01501001
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1. Auxier Randall E,. and Hernstein Gary L. Quantum of Explanation: Whitehead’s Radical Empiricism . New York: Routledge, 2017.
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9. Pluhar Werner S., trans., Kant Immanuel. Critique of Judgment . Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1987.
10. Whitehead Alfred N., Process and Reality . New York: The Free Press, 1978.
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2018-02-22
2018-09-22

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