A Human Domain

Holloway, Ralph L. Jr. 1992 [1969]. Culture: A Human Domain. Current Anthropology 33(1): 47-64.

Briefly, I suggest that culture, in addition to being "...that complex whole ... shared by man as a member of society," is also the imposition of arbitrary form upon the environment. These two attributes are specific and unique to human behavior, and they can be identified by the appearance of stone tools in the archaelogical record. While these attributes are based upon behavior common to mammals and particularly delevoped in the primates, their adumbration in man is an emergent phenomenon, a difference in kind as well as degree. (Holloway 1992: 47)
Animals do shape their environment, but not as greatly as humans do. There are no big cities for giraffes, as far as I am aware.
I do not know how to differentiate Australopithecus from Homo erectus (or sapiens) or even from apes in terms of self-identification, awareness, evaluation, or reference on any basis other than logical necessityp Symbols (abstract and arbitrary, "significant" in the sense of Mead 1934) would appear essential for carrying off the total psychobiological reorganization which Hallowell has so aptly described. While these are undoubtedly lacking in non-human primates, I see no way to prove that an ape lacks self-this or that. (Holloway 1992: 49)
I think similar caution should be waged against self-notions if they are used normatively as a moral whip with which to lash at people who are different. E.g. "He has no self-respect" - Aight, how do you know?
Perhaps Harris has been richly rewarded in discovering that motor actions (that is, all that can be observed) are serial and hierarchical in organization. (What guides these actions and hhow the "strategies" are organized experientially is never analyzed.) I do not feel similarly rewarded. Harris says that most anthropologists believe that insects are driven by instincts while human behavior is learned, and he points out that insects are capable of learning. Surely the learning that occurs in humans is something more than the learning of insects; but for Harris, the differences are only "a matter of degree and do not justify the Aristotelian either/or approach" (p. 174). Primate field studies are cited as a further example, since primates also learn. (Holloway 1992: 49)
This is a richly endowed passage. I am not yet aware of insect learning but the suggestion itself draws the carpet from underneath the "only humans are capable of learning" argument. Furthermore I like the term "motor actions" because this hints towards the Russian designation of "motor communication," that is, "communication by means of motor action" - very much the same as "body motion communication." For a more thorough discussion the etymology of "motor" should be looked up.
Munn (1955) and Hallowell (1959, 1960) have tried to face this issue forthright by differentiating between intrinsic and extrinsic symbolization. [joonealune märkus täpsustab:] Extrinsic symbolization refers to observable symbol-use, such as language, whereas intrinsic symbolization refers to the internal organization of experience, available to the observer only by inferenc. (Holloway 1992: 49)
Ma olen ikkagi lapsik, sest iga kord kui ma kohtan oma lugemistes mõnda sellenimelist teadlast, siis ma turtsatan natuke naerda. Siinne Munn on siiski minu teemas, sest tema The evolution and growth of human behavior (1955) eristab intrinsic/extrinsic sfääre sarnaselt Halli ja McLuhani eristusega.
The "invention" of symbolization, or the capacity to stucture the environment arbitrarily (non-iconically), is this the initial-kick (Maruama 1963) which starts the process moving in the mutual-causal interplay between cultural and biological sectors of human evolution, e.g., expansion of brain, tool compexity, manual texterity, social structure based on cohesion, communication. This interaction between the propensity to structure the environment arbitrarily and the feedback from the environment to the organism is an emergent process, a process different in kind from anything that preceded it. Capacities such as intelligence, the ability to place distance in time and space between the reception of a stimulus and a consequence or action, motor skills and sensory acuity, memory (both in terms of complexity of content and long-term storage), affection, motivation toward exploration and learning, are different only in degree from those of other primates and, indeed, other mammals. It is when these are integrated with the unique attribute of arbitrary production (symbolization) and imposition that man qua cultural man appears. (Holloway 1992: 51)
Cultural man lives not in the house of language but in the city of Thirdness.
Symbols systems are social and material control, and surely social control was a key element in hominid evolution, given that co-operation and elemental social groupings meant selection for different dimensions of affect-impulse control, cegnition, perceptual sensitivity, play, hostility, and communication. Arbitrary symbols enforce consensus of perceptions, which not only allows members to communicate about the same objects in terms of space and time (as in hunting) but also makes it possible for social relationships to be standardized and manipulated through symbols. It means that idiosyncracies are smoothed out and perceived within classes of behavior. By enforcing perceptual invariance, symbols also enforce social behavioral constancy, and enforcing social behavioral constancy is a prerequisite to different task-role sectors in a differentiated social group adapting not only to the outside environment but to its own membership. (Holloway 1992: 58)
Symbolization (especially language) as a means of social control also makes sense in a Peircean perspective, as Thirdness is the dimension of laws and habits.
Symbol systems are rules about the world; they standardize perceptual selection by enforcing actions to objects and relationships perceived andd symbolized. The transmission of these rules requires stable and predictable relationships of interpersonal perception and, ultimately, rules of conduct. This can only be half of the story, however, because any such formulation must alse provide an explanation of the generation of conflict. Thi dialectical argument is appropriate here, because symbol systems are enforced on animal natures resplendent in sheer egoism, and surely much of social structure represents behavioral-organic responses to the invention andd social processes of symbolization. Imposing form generates also its opposite, variability and resistance. (Holloway 1992: 58)
Ain't that the truth. For conduct there is counter-conduct, for culture there is counter-culture, for society there is antisociality, for order there is chaos.
Anthropology is a pseudoscience with a pseudolanguage, and is bristling with pseudoproblems. Holloway appears to be wrestling with one such pseudoproblem, the demarcation of intellectual territory. (by A. W. R. McCrae from Entebbe, Uganda; pp. 61)
Dude... Get the sand out of your vagina. Gheesh...

Geertz, Cliffort 1957. Ritual and Social Change: A Javanese Example. American Anthropologist 59(1): 32-54.

Stemming originally from Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1947) and Robertson-Smith's Lectures on the Religion of the Semites (1894), the sociological approach (or, as the British anthropologists prefer to call it, the social anthropological approach) emphasizes the manner in which belief and particularly ritual reinforce the traditional social ties between individuals; it stresses the way in which the social structure of a group is strenghtened and perpetuated through the ritualistic or mythic symbolization of the underlying social values upon which it rests. (Geertz 1957: 32)
I fully expect this function of ritual and myths to be an important part of the military training of defence forces. What else are parades and drills than rituals and the idea that the state deserves to be defended than a myth.
It is the thesis of this paper that one of the major reasons for the inability of functional theory to cope with change lies it its failure to treat sociological and cultural processes on equal terms; almost inevitably one of the two is either ignored or is sacrificed to become but a simple reflex, a "mirror image," of the other. Either culture is regarded as wholly derivative from the forms of secial organization - the approach characteristic of the British structuralists as well as many American sociologists; or the forms of social organization are regarded as behavioral embodiments of cultural patterns - the approach of Malinowski and many American anthropologists. In either case, the lesser term tends to drop out as a dynamic factor and we are left either with an omnibus concept of culture ("that complex whole...") or else with a completely comprehensive concept of social structure... (Geertz 1957: 33)
This sounds very familiar, but is anchored here in the critique of functionalist thinking.
One of the more useful ways - but for from the only one - of distinguishing between culture and social system is to see the former as an ordered system of meaning and of symbols, in terms of which social interaction takes place; and to see the latter as the pattern of social interaction itself (Parsons and Shils 1951). On the one level there is the framework of beliefs, expressive symbols, and values in terms of which individuals define their world, express their feelings, and make their judgments; on the other level there is the ongoing process of interactive behavior, whose persistent form we call social structure. Culture is the fabric of meaninf in terms of which human beings interpret their experience and guide their action; social structure is the form that action takes, the actually existing network of social relations. Culture and social structure are then but different abstractions from the same phenomena. The one considers social action in respect to its meaning for those who carry it out, the other considers it in terms of its contribution to the functioning of some social system. (Geertz 1957: 33-34)
Pretty neat, but seems to be lacking dynamics. I take issue with culture being an "ordered" system. Same goes for social interaction. Both are more "emergent," arising out of randomness mixed with prior experience.
For the townsman, the distinction between santri and abangan becomes even sharper, for it emerges as his primary point of social referece; it becomes a symbol of his social identity, rather than a mere contrast in belief. The sort of friends he will have, the sort of organizations he will join, the sort of political leadership he will follow, the sort of person he or his son will marry, will all be strongly influenced by the side of this ideological bifurcation which he adopts as his own. (Geertz 1957: 37)
This kind of ideological bifurcation may happen almost everywhere in cases of clearly distinguishing oppositions (e.g. republicans vs. democrats; keskerakond vs. reformierakond, convervative vs. progressive, etc.) Just yesterday I happened to overhear the TV news and there was a story about Teletorn (some sort of tower in Tallinn) now accessible on the outer limits. That is, there's now an option of signing a responsibility waver, hooking yourself up on a cable and walking on the edges high above the ground. I was caught by surprise by a woman being interviewed who began her statement with "I'm a conservative" and followed by "so I don't really think this should be allowed." I was surprised because I had no idea how these two should be related. If you're a conservative then you oppose anything new? How do you live like that?Clearly this is a woman who views conservativism as a lifestyle instead of a political ideology.
Masjumi's enemies accuse it of pressing for an intolerant, medievalist theocracy in which abagans and non-Moslems will be persecuted and forced to follow exactly the precripts of the Moslem law, while Masjumi's leaders claim that Islam is intrinsically tolerant and that they only desire a government explecitly based on the Moslem creed, one whose laws will be in consonance with the teachings of the Koran and Hadith. (Geertz 1957: 38)
This seems to be an universal case that public representatives of Islam praise it as a tolerant and non-violent religion and the actual deeds of faithful Moslem men are intolerant and violent. Then again silmakirjalikkus seems to be inherent in most religions. E.g. that same news-show announced that in Russia "homosexual propaganda" is outlawed in order to protect the feelings of old-believers (Orthodox Christians). That is, some feelings are more worthy of defence than others.
...a saddening incident, but a ritually muted one. (Geertz 1957: 41)
This generalization could probably fit for funerals in countless culturs.
With this as background, it is not surprising that when I arrived at Karman's house about eight o'clock, I found two separate clusters of sullen men squatting disconsolately on either side of the yard, a nervous group of whispering women sitting idly inside the house near the still clothed body, and a general air of doubt and uneasines in place of the usual quiet busyness of slametan preparing, body washing and guest greeting. The abangans were grouped near the house where Karman was crouched, staring blankly off into space, and where Sudjoku and Sastro, the town Chairman and Secretary of Permai (the only nonresidents of the Kampong present) sat on chairs, looking vaguely out of place. The santris were crowded together under the narrow shadow of a coconut palm about thirty yards away, chatting quietly to one another about everything but the problem at hand. The almost motionless scene suggested an unlooked-for intermission in a familiar drama, as when a motion picture stops in the mid-action. (Geertz 1957: 42)
Very vivid comparison.

Liszka, Jakob 1981. Peirce and Jakobson: Towards a Structuralist Reconstruction of Peirce. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 17: 41-61.

As Henning Andersen writes, "One of the most fertile ideas in modern linguistics has been the insight that different levels of language structure embody identical organizing principles." This idea of isomorphism, as related to the study of linguistics, has its origins in the work of Jakobson who, in 1929, formulated it in terms of the notion of "correlation":
Characteristic of the basic and unique trend of current Russian science is that the correlativity between single series is not thought in causal terms, the one series is not derived from the other; the basic picture with which science operates is a system of correlative series, a structure to be viewed immanently and endowed with its own inner laws.
As opposed to the mechanistic interpretation of linguistic phenomena, where linguistic facts are causally attributed to psychological or physiological phenomena, the isomorphic solution argues that the system of rules of a language is seen as an image of a physio-neurological system of rules, and not a resultant of such processes. Jakobson intimates in other places that it is also isomorphic to the genetic code. (Liszka 1981: 42)
Of course Jakobson is the source from whom Lotman borrowed his notion of "isomorphism" (very prevalent in for example "On the Semiosphere").
The philosophical consequences of isomorphism can be, strangely enough, found in Levi-Strauss, through the Kantian formulation of that principle, makes the comparison to Peirce easier. Levi-Strauss acknowledged his dept to Jakobson, and at the same time adheres to an isomorphism even more pronounced than Jakobson's. He argues for not only an isomorphism between language and neurological systems, but also between myth and other cultural formations, perception, the genetic code, as well as ecological systems. (Liszka 1981: 44)
Indeed isomorphism/synechism is what places (Kant?,) Peirce, Jakobson, Levi-Strauss and Lotman (presumably in this chronological order) in one camp.
Unlike Kant's "Copernican turn", which guarantees that objects must conform to our knowledge because all such knowledge involves the understanding, which has its rules prior to objects being given to the mind, Levi-Strauss argues that objects would conform to our knowledge simply because mind is of the same matter as tho object. That is to say, there exists an isomorphism between the order of the mind, language, perception, on the one hand, and the order of the world, on the other. (Liszka 1981: 44)
I'm not sure if this is a view I would appropriate myself, but it certainly is interesting.
However, since cognition and consciousness are not a source of constitutive synthesis in Peirce, his categories ar enothing equivalent to Kant's categories of the understanding; for Kant it is the latter which serve as the pure concepts necessary for the articulation of that theory of constitution. "The" categories in Peirce are actually said in many ways, depending on the particular investigative discipline. There are the logical categories, monad, dyad, triad; the phenomenological categories, ficstness, secondness, thirdness; the metaphysical categories, quality, fact, law; the semiotic categories, sign, object, interpretant. Although this points out a plurality of categories, it also emphasizes the identity in the difference; for each set is derived from a particular discipline and although there exists a difference between them (cp 1.452), each serves to reflect and comprehend the other. Firstness is analogous to quality which is analogous to monadic relations which is analogous to the sign: "A Sign or Representamen, is a First which stands in such a genuine triadic relation to a Second, called its Object, as to be capable of determining a Third, called its Interpretant, to assume the same triadic relation to its Object in which it stands itself to the same Object" (2.274). (Liszka 1981: 51)
Of course Secondness or "bumping into" the world or energetic reaction to it, is existential Object.
Although cognitive semiosis is the most exemplary and of the highest sort, nonetheless, not all semioses are cognitive nor found in consciousness (5.485-492); asthough all semioses are cognizable, not all occur within cognition. For this reason, the principle of unity in semiosis, i.e., the interpretant, does not have its ground in cognition or consciousness. "Consciousness is something used to signify the I think, or unity in thought; but the unity is nothing but consistency, or the recognition of it. (Liszka 1981: 54)
This made me thin that if Thirdness is "I think" then Firstness is "I feel" and Secondness is either "I do" or, to be more exact "I act and/or react."
Using this as a model, Jakobson argues that "the concurrence of simultaneous entities and the concatenation of successive entities are the two ways in which we speakers combine linguistic constituents" (II, 242). (Liszka 1981: 57)
I should differentiate between concourse and concurrence. Not sure yet, how.

Randviir, Anti 1998. Sign as an Object of Social Semiotics: Evolution of Cartographic Semiosis. Sign Systems Studies 26: 392-416.

Therefore, a solution may lie in the statement that 'cultural semiotics' and "social semiotics' are distinguishable only emotionally or connotatively; the difference being merely in the stress laid upon the treatment of the object. However, this ma also be expressed by a conditional contrast - while cultural semiotics sets its object into the light of the context of cultural tradition, sociosemiotics looks at a cultural object within social dynamics (for the latter, see e.g. Riggins 1994: 111). We can also say that cultural semiotics deals with the object 'as a structure', treating relations between objects as structural, too. Hence, one can state that this point of view is ontological, whereas for sociosemiotics, objects and relations between them are not ontological but processual and semiosic as the latter (semiosis) conjoins the semiotics of the sign and the semiotics of the code. So one could even conclude that cultural semiotics focuses on meaning, whereas social semiotics pays attention to signification (in the sense of making something meaningful). The latter would include both the 'composing" of a signifier and the evaluative stating of it in the way it influences everyday (or: habitual) behavior. (Randviir 1998: 393)
Culture and society is here distinguished by means of semiotic metalanguage. Very fine distinctions which won't exactly hold up when one treats meaning and significations as homonyms. I rather prefer a Parsonian-Geertzian distinction, that society is what people do in interaction and culture is what the think about their doings. But this is also a rather crude distinction. Ah, the problems that survive definition.
In connection with the symbol as a means of construing a model, we have to refer to the treatment of model by E. T. Hall, who asserts the function of the model for an artist (the authors of the maps viewed here were definitely artists, too) to be an instrument for filling gaps in visual memory. For this reason a model is a pseudoreality (compare with Merrell's treatment of 'semiotic reality', see e.g. Merrell 1992: 39-40, 44-45) created in the course of communication (see Hall 1981: 12). For Hall this is connected with the 'screening function of culture' (Hall 1981: 85). Taking this treatment into account, symbol, as an information carrier, has hence quite an ambivalent constitution, comprising of information condensotion on the one hand, and on the other 'postponing' the decoding of information (as a 'minus device'). This kind of possible mutation of information in messages, or even shelving or exclusion of it from a message, is avoided by 'internal contexting' (Hall 1981: 117) on the level of the individual. Such possible deviations are automatically corrected according to a situational frame. The creation of the frame is, in turn, no doubt relative to differences in sign situations, primarily of course with so to speak, limits of the sign. (Randviir 1998: 406)
Very fertile for unifying modelling, reality, sensory gating, cognitive overload and concursivity, or perception of nonverbal behaviour. Most of the article discusses specifics of sign categories in relation with representations in cartography, very familiar from Radviir's doctoral dissertation.

Mills, C. Wright 1940. Situated Actions and Vocabularies of Motive. American Sociological Review 5(6): 904-913.

The major reorientation of recent theory and observation in sociology of language emerged with the overthrow of the Wundtian notion that language has as its function the "expression" of prior elements within the individual. The postulate underlying modern study of language is the simple one that we must approach linguistic behavior, not by referring it to private states in individuals, but by observing its social function of coordinating diverse actions. Rather than expressing something which is prior and in the person, language is takes by other persons as an indicator of future actions. (Mills 1940: 904)
I vaguely remember Birdwhistell discussing something similar about kinesics: that the objective of kinesic study is not to infer "expressions of emotion" (as Darwin and Ekman did), but rather to observe body motion in its social functioning (interaction management). "Indicator of future actions" is a good notion, as body motions are primarily indicators of this kind: they predict the immediate flow of interaction. E.g. a small group discusses something and the mood drops visibly, predicting that the discussion will soon dissipate and the group will disperse. Or, a person indicates with his hands (the "come here" motion) and thus predicts what the target will do nex (s/he will come).
The generic situation in which imputation and avowal of motives arise, involve, first, the social conduct or the (stated) programs of languaged creatures, i.e., programs and actions oriented with reference to the actions and talk of others; second, the avowal and imputation of motives is concomitant with the speech form known as the "question." Situations back of questions typically involve alternative or unexpected programs or actions which phases analytically denotes "crises." The question is distinguished in that it usually elicits another verbal action, not a motor response. The question is an element in conversation. (Mills 1940: 905)
I like the notion of "languaged creatures," because it compliments "the naked ape" in that the naked ape is also a languaged creature. "A motor response" is (aside from a title, also) how nonverbal behaviour was termed before "nonverbal communication" became a valid object of study. Also, after Birdwhistell motor actions do belong to conversations, bodily behaviour is a substrate/base/fundament of conversations (e.g. face-to-face interaction).
Motives are imputed or avewod as answers to questions interrupting acts or programs. Motives are words. Generally, te what do they refer? They do not denote any elements "in" individuals. They stand for anticipated situational consequences off questioned conduct. Intention or purpose (stated as a "program") is awareness of anticipated consequences; motives are names for consequential situations, and surrogates for actions leading to them. (Mills 1940: 905)
In the first instance one could argue that the statement "Matives are words." is an expression of "linguistic imperialism." In the second instance I like the definition of intetion of purpose as "awareness of anticipated consequences" because this brings intention closer to "strategies," the outcome of which is intended to be "effective" (one has a strategy in order to win).
In a societal situation, implicit in the names for consequences is the social dimension of matives. Through such vocabularies, types of societal controls operate. Also, the terms in which the question is asked often contain both alternatives: "Love or Duty?", "Business or Pleasure?" Institutionally different situations have different vocabularies of motive appropriate to their respective behaviors. (Mills 1940: 906)
For once a concrete (non-discourse-theoretical, non-philosophical) example of how language is a means of social control: institutions do hove different vocabularies of motives: the university's are bound to be different from the army's.
When an agent vocalizes or imputes motives, he is not trying to describe his experienced social action. He is not merely stating "reasons." He is influencing others - and himself. Often he is finding new "reasons" which will mediate action. This, we need not treat an action as discrepant from "its" verbalization, for in many cases, the verbalization is a new act. Is such cases, there is not a discrepancy between act and "its" verbalization, but a difference between two disparate actions, motor-social and verbal. (Mills 1940: 907)
This seems to anticipate Austin's speech act theory. It is also important for distinguishing "concurrence" and "concourse."
It is significant that since the Socratic period many "theories of motivation" have been linked with ethical and religious terminologies. Motive is that in man which leads him to do good or evil. Under the aegis of religious institutions, men use vocabularies of moral motives: they call acts and programs "good" and "bad," and impute these qualities to the soul. Such lingual behavior is part of the process of social control. Institutional practices and their vocabularies of motives exercise control over delimited rances of possible situations. One could make a typal catalog of religious motives from widely read religious texts, and test its explanatory power in various denominations and sects. (Mills 1940: 913)
Cf. moral absolutism.

Rochberg-Halton, Eugene 1982. Situation, Structure, and the Context of Meaning. The Sociological Quarterly 23(4): 455-467.

For years neglected as a central sociological concorn, the question of meaning has emerged with a vengeance and now is demanding some kind of answer from those who would further social theory. Two of the approaches at the forefront of contemporary interest, symbolic interactionism and structuralism, claim that meaning forms the very basis of secioty, not instincts or genetics, materialist economics, or asocial psychological laws; and that the foundation of meaning is the sign or symbol. These appreaches by and large reject the idea that social science is a search for empirical causal "facts," and in quite different ways they argue that "values" are what we are really after - that "significance" binds society together. One persistent problem in these and other interpretative approaches is the locus of meaning: whether it is to be found in existential and unique "situations" or in a deep-rooted system or code, i.e., a "structure." By comparing and contrasting some foundational concepts, such as the nature of the sign, and then exploring recent developments in symbolic interactionism and structuralism, I hope to evaluate critically their strengths and weaknesses in the context of an emerging semiatic sociology. (Rochberg-Halton 1982: 455)
I don't think meaning has a concrete locus. Considering the large variety of semiosises, it seems quite impossible that process or structure could singurarly account for meaningfulness. It is rather an intermingling of process and structure with a whole gamut of aspects, some of which we may not even be aware of yet.
The term symbolic interactionism was formulated by Herbert Blumer (1969: 1) to reflect the milieu of social theory developed primarily at thi University of Chicago in the early part of the century. Blumer himself cites the pragmatists William James, John Dewey, and George Herbert Mead, a number of Chicago sociologists including W. I. Thomas, Robert E. Park, Florian Znaniecki, Robert Redfield, and Louis Wirth, and also Charles Horton Cooley and James Mark Baldwin as among those who significantly contributed to the foundations of symbolic interactionism. (Rochberg-Halton 1982: 455)
I should look these names up some day. I have an incling that Znaniecki was the anthropologist who studied Polish immigrants in Chicago, but I'm not sure.
The arbitrary nature of the sign, Saussure continues, "explains in turn why the secial fact alone can create a linguistic system. The community is necessary if values that owe their existence solely to usage and general acceptance are to be set up; by himself the individual is incapable of fixing a single value" (p. 113) Saussure argued for one of the basic tenets of semiology, structuralism, and poststructuralism: that the system or structure and not the individual person or instance constitutes meaning. (Rochberg-Halton 1982: 458)
But this is wrong. By himself the individual is capable of creating endless meaning. It is when this meaning has to be communicated to others that the individual meets semiotic resistance.
Though Saussure's approach seems to argue against one strain of nominalism (the tendency that led to British empiricism and resulted in "naive realism" and Carnap's logical positivism, see Carnap, 1967), it can be argued that Saussure retains a basically nominalistic theory of meaning, one that claims to reside on the nominal side of mind rather than on the physicalistic side of "body," and which retains the nominalistic tendency to dichotomize thought and things, system and instance, social and individual, fact and value. (Rochberg-Halton 1982: 459)
This is why Saussurean semiology is of little value for my study of nonverbal communication; the body seems to be irrelevant for Saussureans.
The interpretant is not limited to arbitrary concepts in the Peircean scheme but may include nonconceptual emotions or physical action. Interpretants are not solely examples of arbitrary conventions but have as their aim the growth of reasonableness through the future interpretants they will determine. Reasonableness, in Peirce's view, is real rather than arbitrary or nominal. (Rochberg-Halton 1982: 459)
Here Firstness is nonconceptual emotion, Secondness is physical action and Thirdness is arbitrary concept. An original idea for combining these Peirce's phenomenological categories with the modelling systems theory of the Tartu-Moscow School: All three modelling systems belong to Thirdness (although I see no reason why Firstness and Secondness couldn't be elaborated in a similar manner), but express a sub-categorizaton. Primary modelling system (natural language) would be the Firstness or the mere knowledge of existing words (you know that there is something called "propriety" but you are not sure what it means; you only have a quality). Secondary modelling system (literature, poetry, other verbal art and expression) would be the Secondness or usage of words to create existing texts as tokens. Tertiary modelling system (culture as such) would be the Thirdness of "the universe of the mind" wherein words and texts are habitually understood as types. This would also be congruous with Peirce's contention that Secondness contains Firstness, and Thirdness contains both Secondness and Firstness. Uitmõte: kirjuta 100-leheküljeline "[Towards?] A Semiophrenic Theory of Concursivity" mis käsitleks põgusalt 50t probleemi "kehakeel [düstoopia]kirjanduses" teemal, pühendades igale probleemile täpselt 2 lehekülge. Siis gutenbergipojastada ja ongi le bakatöö tehtud.
A symbol is an embryonic reality [a title] endowed with power o growth into the very truth, the very entelechy of reality. This appears mystical and mysterious simply because we insist on remaining blind to what is plain, that there can be no reality which has not the life of a symbol.
In this way the Peircean view of signs leads to a very different view of tradition and social conventions than that given by Saussure and consistently followed by structuralists and poststructuralists, who stress arbitrariness. Though Peirce admits the arbitrariness of traditions and social conventions, he also admits the role of experience, the brute factuality of the world in time, as also shaping and informing traditions. In the Peircean view traditions are neither solely arbitrary deep structures with no purpose or inherent quality of their own nor, as some symbolic interactionists might argue, reducible to the whims of individuals is specific situations. Traditions are the source of the common sense, general habits forged through the experiences of generations, and in practical life far superior as the relatively unquestioned basis for orientation than the mere arbitrariness of reason. (Rochberg-Halton 1982: 461)
Reminiscent of Eco's discussion of the seme as an inchoate text. In this sense a symbol is an inchoate reality.
Peirce' Dewey, and Mead, although sharing Durkheim's insight that sociality is fundamental to representation, argued that the individuality of a person (and even the biological body) is a social outcome and not an a priori given, and that every sign (or sign act) has its own quality which is involved in the sign's significance to a greater or lesser degree, and which constitute a genuinely different mode of signification from that of purely conventional accounts (Rochberg-Halton, 1982b). (Rochberg-Halton 1982: 465)
This position is equally tempting and repulsive. Individuality may or may not be a social construction. I feel it too early to be conclusive.
Mead's "conversation of gestures" (derived from Wundt) [1], although retaining the idea that signification is a communicative dialogue [2], holds that the generality of gestural communication is found in the gestures themselves, i.e., in their instances or what Peirce termed their "indexicality," [3] and that this level of signs is not limited to human intelligence [4]. (Rochberg-Halton 1982: 465)
1 - good to know; 2 - sounds like Bakhtin's dialogism, still in this sense meaning is not absolutely social because signification can in this sense arise from self-communication as well; 3 - because gestures are existential and embedded in a situation or context; 4 - the case of conversation of gestures between dogs.
In looking at Blumer's formulation of symbolic interactionism, however, there does seem to be room for criticism of his interpretation of Mead. Blumer attacks reductionism in social theory, arguing that societies and human beings cannot be explained alone by "social factors" (which would include structuralism) or by "psychological factors," rather, human societies are "composed of individuals who have selves (1969: 83), and that "group action takes the form of a fitting together of individual lines of action" (1969: 82). Blumer's language is excessively individualistic, making it sound as if one can be an individual apart from a self, as if society is a mere aggregate of individual choices rather than itself a kind of large self that can determine "individual lines of action" (the point made so well by structuralists). (Rochberg-Halton 1982: 470-471)
Has this author not heard of microsociology? I agree with Blumer's "individualistic" approach.
The introduction of the realistic roots of pragmatism to the sociological community marks an important turn in the questioning of the roots of symbolic interactionism, yet one in my opinion marred by Lewis and Smith's nominalistic interpretation of realism. Perhaps the clearest example of their positivistic and nominalistic interpretation of Mead (which would reduce the context of situation to an epiphenomenon, "in name only") is found in their remarks (1980:130) that
Ultimately, the meaning of a significant symbol must be grounded in the nonhuman world of pure resistance. We previously discussed the same point in connection with Peirce's theory of signs. The ultimate meanings of concepts must be located in some nonmental and nonlinguistic reality if we are to escape the infinite regress of verbal definitions of definitions of definitions, ad infinitum. ... Mental objects must be referred to worlds that are not mental.
Lewis and Smith do not realize that although Peirce and Mead agree that the physical is involved in the symbolic (e.g., "indexicality" or the "conversation of gestures"), the symbolic is not reducible to a nonsymbolic foundation. In contrast to Lewis and Smith, Peirce's argument for reality is based on an "infinite regress": all hypotheses must be capable of explanation because science does not admit the inexplicable. "Pure resistance" explains nothing qua pure resistance, hence cannot provide an acceptabl hypothesis for the foundation of meaning. (Rochberg-Halton 1982: 472)
I believe that "some nonmental and nonlinguistic reality" is indeed necessary for meaning. Semiosis is the domain of living organisms and living organisms consist of "real stuff," organs and organelles. But I digress, "nominalism," "realism," "positivism" and "epiphenomenalism," - when used in the same passage as explanatory devices rather than labels for discourses - get confusing for me. It's like the author is too lazy to even try to make his argument clear and relies on these philosophical terms as if every reader should be extremely knowledgeable about the history of philosophy and automatically understand what is meant without explicitly explaining what is meant. This is an unattractive language game for me. E.g. when the author says that "What will be needed to counter both mentalistic subjectivism and positivistic subjectivism in symbolic interactionism..." (ibid.) then I have no clue what these italicized combinations signify. This is just philosophese, which is even worse than sociologese.
  • Perinbanayagam, R. S. 1974. The definition of the situation: An analysis of the ethnomethodological and dramaturgical view. Sociological Quarterly 15: 521-541.
  • Weber, M. 1981. Some categaries of interpretive sociology. Translated b Edith E. Graber. The Sociological Quarterly 22: 151-180.


Post a Comment