Symbols, Signs, and Signals

Ducasse, C. J. 1939. Symbols, Signs, and Signals. The Journal of Symbolic Logic 4(2): 41-52.

Our attempts to gain this perspective may well begin with the trite remark that nothing is intrinsically a symbol, but that anything is a symbol if and only if it symbolizes. Moreover, the relation called symbolizing is not a dyadic but rather a tetradic relation. That is, in order for something A to be a symbol of something B, there must be in addition C, a mind trained in a specific way, and D, a certain manner in which that mind is occupied at the time. (Ducasse 1939: 41)
These are Peirce's representamen (A), object (B), and interpretant (D) alongside with Morris's interpreter (C).
To reach a positive account of the nature of symbolization, it will be useful to turn our attention for a moment to a certain truly basic kind of mental event which - in accordance, I believe, with ordinary usage - I shall call Interpretation and define as follows: Interpretation is the kind of mental event consisting in this, that consciousness of something causes us to become conscious of something else. That which we are "conscious of" sometimes is and sometimes is not itself a state of consciousness, but this does not affect the definition of interpretive activity in general. (Ducasse 1939: 42)
Cf. Peirce: a sign stands for something other than itself. Also, here one can be conscious of being conscious (a state of consciousness). Is this metacognition?
But of course the individual changes and states of things which enter into several cases of causation may happen to exhibit resemblances, each to other - that is, fall into kinds - and if so we shall then be able to say that a change of kind C occurring in a state of kind S of something of kind T, causes regularly in it a change of kind E. That is, we shall then have not only causation, but a causal law. (Ducasse 1939: 42)
Compare this to Nauta (1972: 28). Also, it adds something to my approach to regulators - regulation - regulative function - regularity.
But if we substitute in it regularity of causation for causality simply, we then have something I shall call semeiotic interpretation, which is what we are really concerned with in most of the cases when we talk about interpretation. And because semeiotic interpretation is a case of regularity of causation, we shall in any case of it find not only that four terms are involved, but also that they are of the following kinds, which I shall call respectively:
  1. The interpreter, namely, the set of mental habits possessed by the person concerned. These constitute the kind of mind he has.
  2. The context of interpretation, namely, the kinds of things of which at a given time he is conscious, whether clearly or unclearly.
  3. The interpretandum, namely, a kind of change supervening in the context of interpretation and thus functioning as cause.
  4. The interpretans, namely, another kind of change immediately following it and thus functioning as effect.
(Ducasse 1939: 42-43)
This is more complex and thorough than anticipated. Could I advance my theory of regulators/effect by considering these four kinds?
It seems to me that a sign is a semeiotic interpretandum which is in addition opinative; that is, it begets opinion: what it causes us to think of is always a proposition, and it always causes us to believe, or to incline to believe, the proposition it makes us think of. (Ducasse 1939: 43)
The dictionary defines opinative as the exact opposite: "obstinate in holding opinions" (refusing to hold opinions).
For example, to say that the approach of black clouds is a sign of rain is to say that perceiving or being otherwise informed that black clouds are approaching, regularly causes us to think of rain occurring soon, and in addition regularly causes in us some degree of positive inclination to believe that rain will occur soon - provided, of course, that our mental context at the time does not consist of intense preoccupation with concerns other than meteorological. (Ducasse 1939: 43)
It seems that Ducasse is trying to approach both Peirce's habit and interpretant (as Morris's "disposition to respond") without actually using these terms.
By "discursive" entities I propose to mean any entities fulfilling the following conditions:
  1. They are entities susceptible of being readily "uttered," whether vocally, graphically, or otherwise; that is, they are such that the perceptible existence of cases of them can in ordinary cicumstances be caused by the mere wish.
  2. They are entities recognizable as the same in the various utterances of them.
  3. They are entities of which cases occur only as results of human utterance. That is, cases of them are always man-caused, artifactual; never, or virtually never, caused by Nature independently of the activity of a human body. (Ducasse 1939: 44)
I wish the French thinkers (Foucault, Benveniste, Althusser) were as clear-minded in their definitions of discourse.
Discursive and non-discursive interpretanda. Symbols and signs, evidently, may be either discursive or non-discursive, either verbal or, as we may say, "real," if for the purposes of this paper we agree to mean by "real" simply "non-discursive." For example, a cloud shaped more or less like a human head would be for us a real or non-discursive symbol of a human head; whereas the words "human head" would be a verbal or discursive symbol of a human head for us. (Ducasse 1939: 44)
For my purposes "real" is remarkably inadequate. Ducasse apparently was not yet aware of the term "nonverbal", and had to use "non-discursive", a term that S. K. Langer (due to chronology) probably borrowed from Ducasse.
Of course, the person to whom the signal is addressed may be the utterer himself as existing at a later time. (Ducasse 1939: 44)
This is Peirce-Morrisian self-communication.
The exceptions would be constituted by such a case as that of [...] a person who writes something which he does not intend either to read later or to have others read, but which he writes solely because the process of writing helps him to reflect. (Ducasse 1939: 45)
This "autocommunication" is an exception because it is not a case of "signalling". This is the same reason Morris excludes post-language symbols from the realm of language. All in all it's exactly what I have done for a long while now. The blogs I wrote for myself only I still haven't read.
A technical term is a discursive symbol which acquires its meaning as the result of a stipulation, i.e., of an explicit convention made or accepted by us to fit the term to be an instrument of precision for symbolizing. In consequence, a technical term is very often at the same time an esoteric term - one, namely, which is used and understood by only a limited group of persons and constitutes a part of what we call the jargon, or lingo, or cant, of their particular field of endeavor. But a jargon term is not automatically also technical, for many jargon terms do not owe their meaning to an explicitly stated convention and lack the precision which seldom arises otherwise. (Ducasse 1939: 45)
Recently I was having a conversation about Morris with a familiar ecologist while on smoke-break on the dorm balcony. I was doing my best to explain Morris by either avoiding his neologisms or stipulating (defining) them on the spot so that my conversation partner could grasp what I meant. Then a young (first-year) semiotician over-heard us and joined in without asking permission, dominated the conversation with his own naive ponderings and among other stupidities (such as ascribing all nonverbal communication to the realm of indexes) failed to avoid the esoteric jargon of semiotics (e.g. "index"). My partner stated that she didn't catch any of that and left. Frustrated, I left too without uttering a word to the intruder. The moral of the story is: just because you study semiotics doesn't mean you have the licence to step into any conversation about semiotics.
[...] since both interpretanda and their meanings may be either verbal or real, i.e., either discursive or non-discursive, cases of interpretation will necessarily be of one or another of four kinds, which we may conveniently describe as, respectively,
  1. reo-verbal interpretation,
  2. reo-verbal interpretation,
  3. verbo-real interpretation,
  4. verbo-verbal interpretation.
(Ducasse 1939: 46-47)
Oh wow. This seems like a more thorough account of Jakobson's scheme of translation. Only that the two actors here are "verbal" and "nonverbal".
Concerning the first of these I shall on this occasion say nothing. The second, however, namely, reo-verbal interpretation, is the activity which would commonly be called formulating, or as we might also say, ciphering, or coding. It is what occurs when consciousness of a non-discursive entity couses us in accordance with a rule to become conscious of a certain discursive entity. (Ducasse 1939: 47)
I would call this "description" or ever concourse - verbal interpretation of nonverbal phenomena.
But no less important than formulating is the converse operation, viz., verba-real interpretation. The word in common use which best describes its nature in general is deciphering. But when the discursive symbols or signs deciphered happen to be written rather than spoken, the operation is called more particularly reading. (Ducasse 1939: 47)
In Jakobsons account, this is intersemiotic translation. Ever the association with "reading" makes sense insofar as by reading verbal signs one translates them into nonverbal mental imagery or neural signals.
Now, of what nature are these various operations? Counting, as already pointed out, is a species of reo-verbal interpretation. It is, namely, a passage from a fact in Nature (here consisting of a certain set of bricks) to a certain word, namely, to the numerals which, by stipulation, is the name of a certain set of numerals. The general kind of operation of which counting is a case is the one we earlier proposed to call the formulating, or ciphering, or coding of a fact in Nature. (Ducasse 1939: 49)
Although this is a common-sense example, it is somewhat limited to exemplify the other forms of interpretation.

Wild, John 1947. An Introduction to the Phenomenology of Signs. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 8(2): 217-233.

All knowledge, in fact, would seem to involve the interpretation of signs and symbols. So far as this is true, epistemology itself would seem to rest fundamentally on a theory of signs. (Wild 1947: 217)
A semiophrenic epistemology? I do agree with interpretation of signs being involved in "all knowledge" because knowledge of nonverbal phenomena is implied.
But as Ducasse has pointed out, the term "takes account of," which Morris uses in a behavioristic sense, is far too vague for specific application to the sign situation. If the term is thus broadened so as to cover not only noetic apprehension but physical behavior as well, Morris' definition will apply to many instances of intrumental causation which certainly are not sign situations.
Imagine, for example, three billiard balls, A, B, and C. A and B are at rest and in contact. C then collides with B, and A moves. If the term "takes account of" covers "behavior or motion because of," then this situation will fall under Morris' conception of a semiotic situation. A moves (takes account of) C in virtue of the presence of motion in B. B is then a sign of C for A. This absurd conclusion results from Morris' attempt to omit the noetic factor which is essential to semiosis. A sign is not something physically present, exercising efficient causation. It is something noetically present, leading the interpreter noetically to take account of something other than itself. (Wild 1947: 218)
define:noetic - of or relating to mental activity or the intellect.
In his later book, Morris seems to answer this objection by restricting semiosis to "goal-seeking behavior," and by attempting to identify it with the influence of sensory cues on animal action. (Wild 1947: 218)
This is a clever move because billiard balls don't have goals. But restricting semiosis to goal-seeking behaviour only implies exclusion of a whole gamut of unconscious, automatic or nonpurposive semiosis.
All behavior is concrete, individual, and directed towards an individual object. Nevertheless most of the intelligible signs of discourse have universal significata. Furthermore, there are signs of fictitious entities, such as centaurs and mermaids, which have no designata at all. (Wild 1947: 220)
An inadequate distinction between indexes (concrete behaviour) and symbols (general concepts).
A language sign "is producible by organisms and has for these organisms a common signification regardless of which organism produces it." Morris calls such signs comsigns, and refers to the work of George H. Mead in attempting to defend a behavioristic account of their origin and nature. On this view, language arises from the peculiar fact that the sounds of one organism are "heard by that organism as they are heard by other organisms." Thus one can learn to respond to his own sounds as another. Finally "the sound would then have the same significatum to A and B whether produced by A or B, and so would have become a comsign." Unfortunately this conclusion does not follow for, similarity is not equivalent to sameness. (Wild 1947: 220)
Shooting Morris down due to a technicality.
The cue to action is not a sign at all. It leads to an activation, not an interpretation, either individual or universal. The natural sign, which leads the mind to an individual designatum is not the linguistic sign of a universal significatum. These distinctions are revealed by an examination of the actual phenomena. They are slurred over by Morris' behavioral analysis which ignores the crucial distinction between similarity of response and sameness of response. Time after time, Morris identifies the two without explanatory comment. Thus he says "it is because of the fact that similar interpretants are aroused ... that wae can say that the sounds uttered have the same signification to both of them." This inference simply does not follow. Between two similar, individual responses differing in many respects and two concepts signifying the very same, there is an unbridged chasm. (Wild 1947: 221)
That's because Morris's behavioristic semiotics was meant to apply to both animals and men and you can't really ask an animal: "Do these similar responses have the same signification for you?"
According to Ducasse also, the sign situation necessarily requires an interpreter. The sign relation is not independent of the mind, but essentially psychological in character. Without an actual interpreter, there can be no such thing as a sign. "Interpretation is a kind of mental events consisting in this, that consciousness of something causes us to become conscious of something else." (Wild 1947: 222)
I'm not sure if modern biosemioticians would concur. Is the interpreter the same as the semiotic subject? Doen Uexküll's tic have a mind?
It is not true that smoke is a sign of fire even when no one happens to be interpreting it as such? There are also other aspects of Mr. Ducasse's theory which seem open to question.
For example, he says that a sign proper begets an opinion or leads us to assert a proposition, whereas a symbol merely leads the mind to think of something else without asserting any proposition. This concept of a sign seems dubious. (Wild 1947: 222)
A semiotic formulation of the age-old tree-falling-in-the-woods question and I, too, find the opinativeness of signs dubious. Drawing on Daniel Kulp (1934), I'd rather view opinions as "rationalizations" of acts, beliefs, attitudes and judgments. In a very broad sense, opinions are metasigns.
The reminder functions only by acting on us to make us think of something else. It either reminds us in functioning in this way, or it does not. But a sign really signifies its signatum irrespective of its effect on us. Hence we can miscornstrue or misinterpret signs. But there is no such thing as being misreminded by a reminder. It either reminds us or it does not. (Wild 1947: 224)
Sure there is! Try to read your own juvenalia! You'll find yourself remembering something vaguely, but may have a hard time pinpointing your own thoughts. There are also false memories - you are sure that something has really occurred to you but later come to realize that this is just a story told to you about you by others and you took it uncritically. Furthermore, if we consider that every remembering is simultaneously re-creating a memory, then every act of reminding is an act of misreminding. Also, the sign-growth self-communication of Peirce and re-coding autocommunication of Lotman both imply a modification of something remembered.
The smoke which is a sign of fire, the squeak of a chipmunk, and the word, all the other signs recognized by Morris and Ducasse, are something else besides signs. Smoke is not only a sign of fire. It is also physical vapor in the air. The squeak is physical sound, and the written word is ink on paper. Their signifying function is incidental to their physical being. But a concept does nothing but signify. If it does not refer to something else other than itself, it is not a concept. It is essentially a sign, a sign par excellence. (Wild 1947: 226)
I'm not sure if the argumentation here is sound or not but I do like the bit about the signifying function of physical stuff being incidental because it comes very close to my own haphazard notion of "epiphenomenal signs". Namely, a large portion of what we call "nonverbal communication" is incidental in this way, or even more because while ink on paper is purposely put there as written words, behaviour may be unintentional.
Hence we must conclude that it is not necessary for a sign to obtrude itself upon our consciousness as a separate entity. Indeed, the most effective signs are precisely those which call the least attention to themselves in exercising their referential function. This is illustrated by the process of learning the signs of a foreign tongue. The more we are forced to pay attention to the signs as such and to their syntax, the less is our mastery of the language. Anything that leads the knowing faculty to something other than itself is a sign. The more inconspicuously and vicariously a thing does this, the more it is a sign. The most perfect sign is a concept which is literally nothing but a sign and which almost entirely vanishes in exercising its signifying function. The failure of Morris and Ducasse to recognizve concepts as signs must, therefore, be viewed as a serious defect in their schemes of classification. (Wild 1947: 226)
This is a familiar example but I now realize that the relation is similar (or same?) between (A) knowing "body language" and intentionally interpreting incidental behaviour and (B) having intuitive knowledge of nonverbal behaviour and exercising interpretation without conscious effort. Eesti keeles on see eristus eriti mugav: kehakeele mõistatamine (A) ja käitumise mõistmine (B).
In the second place, there is a strange neglect of the vital distniction between natural signs, like smoke, and the symptoms of disease, which occur in nature independent of human usage and decree, and arbitrary signs, like words, which are imposed by man. But neither system finds any place for natural signs. Morris recognizes three basic categories: indexical, iconic, and characterizing signs. But smoke, for example, is not an indexical sign nor a characterizing sin which exercise their referential functions only through the mediation of animal responses. Smoke is a sign of fire whether or not any organism happens to respond, and may be recognized as such by any man, whatever words or characterizing symbols he may happen to use in referring to it. Neither is smoke an icon or image of fire. It is not even similar. Natural signs do not coincide with any of the three basic categories recognized by Ducasse, symbols, signs, and signals, for symbols and signs are defined as mental events, and signals are a kind of "deliberate utterances." This omission is no doubt traceable to that common causal or subjectivistic view of the sign relation on which we have already commented. This leads them to regard all signs as arbitrarily imposed by usage and habit, and hence blinds them to the important category of natural sign. (Wild 1947: 226-227)
I disagree and I'm beginning to think that these thinkers were abandoned after the 1950s because Peirce's work came to light and in his account smoke is an index of fire, although not merely an index, but one of the manifold categories Peirce has veiled in neologisms. Morris had a behavioristic agenda, which is perhaps the best part of his project - it is false to presume that his semiotic is the end-all be-all of general semiotics.
A sign is anything capable of manifesting something other than itself as an object to the knowing faculty. (Wild 1947: 229)
What is the knowing faculty? Another semiotic black box?
All signifying is knowing, but all knowing is not signifying. Thus nonexistent entities, like mermaids and centaurs, may be known or represented, but not signified. (Wild 1947: 229)
No. Unicorns can be signified but not denoted.
The sign only begins to specify the object, and leads the mind formally or noetically to the signatum which competes the spicification. (Wild 1947: 230)
This I like. Mainly because "ambiguous concourses" only "begin to specify" a form of bodily behaviour and it is up to "the knowing faculty" to find an incidental significatum. How does one sit in a gentlemantly manner? Our mental images may be similar but probably not the same.
It is true that some sudden events, like a noise or a flash, may exercise efficient causation on us, and bring some sign to our attention, but paying attention to a sign is one thing, interpreting it is another. The act of interpretation is a noetic act whose efficient causes lie primarily within the mind. These cats are formally (not efficient) specified by the sign in a mobile, vicarious manner, and signatum in a final, terminative manner. Neither of these acts efficiently on the mind to bring something new into existence. Neither of these is efficiently projected by the mind into being. The sign relation is an object of knowledge, not an efficient cause of knowledge. (Wild 1947: 230)
To put it crudely: your attention is first drawn to some words on the screen or paper and then you read and/or interpret them (verbal); or someone's facial expression drawn your attention and then you begin figuring out what it may mean or what may have caused it (nonverbal).
Real relations exist in the nature of things. When one of the related entities is more knowable to us than the other, and, therefore, dissimilar to it, the former is a sign of the satter. Thus the temperature reading on the thermometer, which we can more easily know, is a sign of the disease which we cannot so easily know, and the smoke of the fire, which we can more easily see, is a sign of the fire which we cannot so easily see. These signs exercise their signifying function whether or not anyone interprets or misinterprets them. Wherever there are real relations between dissimilar entities there are signs. (Wild 1947: 230-231)
Why does this remind me of Epicurus?
An image which is not of something is ipso facto not an image. (Wild 1947: 232)
Read: abstract art is not art.
Arbitrary signs fall into two distinct divisions, signs proper, which indictae some reality through the mediation of a concept, and signals, which also indicate some purposive act to be performed by the recipient. Thus a signpost and a demonstrative gesture are signs. They indicate some object to be known, not some act to be done. But a traffic light and a cry for help are signals. They not only signify an object, but an act to be performed by the recipient. (Wild 1947: 232)
Thus "a demonstrative gesture" is not included in not "a truncated act" in Mead's sense?

Ducasse, C. J. 1942. Some Comments on C. W. Morris's Foundation of the Theory of Signs. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 3(1): 43-52.

It is immediately to be noted, however, that Morris's example and his characterization of a sign dont match. Whereas he states explicitly that I stands for the interpretant - namely, in the example, the hunting behavior - he actually in the characterization makes I stand instead for the interpret<er, namely, the dog. That it stands there for the dog becomes evident if we explicate the characterization in terms of the example, as follows: The sound S is a sign of chipmunks D for I (that is, obviously, for a dog, not for the hunting behavior) to the degree that I (viz., the dog) takes account of chipmunks D (that is, behaves in the manner B called chipmunk-hunting) in virtue of the presence of S. Accordingly, if Morris's characterization of a sign is to fit his example, it must be amended to read: S is a sign of D for (an interpreter) I to the degree that, in virtue of the presence of S, I behaves in a manner B which would be appropriate to the presence of D. (Ducasse 1942: 43)
Somehow the interpretant or "disposition to respond" has become a sign- or behavior-family ("mode of behavior").
Not only, as just pointed out, does he at some places confuse interpretant with interpreter - that is confuse a mode of behavior with an organism capable of it - but elsewhere he says that "the interpretant of a sign is the habit in virtue of which the sign-vehicle can be said to designate certain kinds of objects or situations." But this is to confuse an interpretant, which is a mode of behavior, between a given sign-vehicle and a certain mode of behavior; for a habit has essentially, irreducibly, the "if... then..." form. An interpreter could be defined, as I have myself proposed elsewhere, as a set or system of habits; but an interpretant is always the response only - e.g., the hunting behavior - which functions as the "then" in the "if... then..." scheme that defines the habit itself. (Ducasse 1942: 44)
It seems that John Dewey (1946) based his criticism of Morris on Ducasse. But why does the habit irreducibly have an "if... then..." form? I do like the contention that the interpreter (or self) is a set, system (or bundle) of habits, because that is the impression one can get from both Peirce and Lotman, but the notion of habit is too... algorhythmic (?) here.
[...] even as amended, that characterization is obviously inadequate unless "behavior" is construed in it broadly enough to include not only bodily responses, whether operatory, orientative, or emotional, but also certain other responses which all persons other than radical behaviorists would call mental not bodily responses - for example, those consisting in the supervention of images, ideas, feelings, or desires, or of attitudes such as belief, disbelief, etc. (Ducasse 1942: 44)
Ducasse seemed to miss the point that Morris tried to overcome the mind/body chasm through the notion of behavior.
[...] a person's purposes are directly knowable only by him, through introspection. Other persons can know them, if at all, only indirectly and later, through more or less precarious inferences from his verbal behavior, or from his operatory behavior if he attempts to realize them by means of bodily movements. (Ducasse 1942: 46)
Huh, "operatory behavior" is perhaps the oddest synonym for nonverbal, kinesic, motor, or bodily behaviour.
But in a man too, some mode of overt behavior - let us call it B - appropriate to his purposes and beliefs concerning chipmunks, is likely to be caused by his hearing of the squeak. Under normal circumstances, orientation at least of his eyes, and perhaps also of some of his operatory mechanisms (e.g., that used for extending food towards the place from which the squeak emanates) will be a part of the behavior B caused in him by the squeak. (Ducasse 1942: 47)
Operatory mechanisms? It sounds just as odd as talking about the face and hands as nonverbal articulators.
When, for instance, we point and say "nothing is there," neither the pointing nor the word "there" is a sign of anything in the sense of "sign" described by Morris, in which the squeak is a sign of a chipmunk. To say that the pointing is in this sense a sign of a certain place would mean that in response to the pointing we behave in the manner which, for our purposes and under the circumstances, would be appropriate specifically to the place itself which is pointed to. (Ducasse 1942: 48)
Stupid technicalities.
This entails that an "indexical sign," as such, has no designatum. What it essentially has is an indicatum; and an indicatum is not a kind of designatum. That a "where" is not any sort of a "what" is a fact often overlooked but of truly basic importance for the theory of knowledge. (Ducasse 1942: 49)
Add indicatum to the long list of equally useless terms like significatum, denotatum, implicatum, discriminatum, signatum, evocatum and regulatum. Bo-dum-tss-tum.
The second reason why a pointing cannot be the sign of a place is that, with regard to a place, the question whether one is caused to believe that it exists, or the question whether it exists, is absurd. For to exist" is to occupy some place and what occupies a place cannot itself be a place. (Ducasse 1942: 49)
We may then say that syntactics is to be defined not as the study of the relation of signs to other signs (nor of symbols to other symbols) but as the study of the relations simply of discursive entities to other discursive entities, in so far as these relations are generated by stipulated rules of formation and transformation. (Ducasse 1942: 51)
I have an inkling that Ducasse doesn't really "get" Morris's critique of the liberal use of the term "language". He seems to reduce syntactics to "metatextualism", a move that excludes nonverbal behaviour from semiotic consideration. It is beginning to seem that Ducasse was also infected with the germ of logocentrism (or, in a more Ducasse-ian parlance, a verbo-verbal disposition).
[...] no clear meaning remains specified for the term "pragmatics" when it is defined, as he defines it, as the study of the relations of signs to their interpreters. The term is apparently chosen to the end of absorbing, as a branch of semeiology, discussions of the relations between an organism and its biological and social environment, as by Dewey and Mead. But then, for this purpose, the term has to apply to not one but several rather heterogeneous things, and the definition Morris gives of it is therefore systematic only in appearance. (Ducasse 1942: 51)
With this criticism I can concur. Pragmatics (as defined by Morris) eludes me still.
Utterance, of course, need not be vocal, but may equally be graphic, gestural, or other; and the other person may be even one's own future self. (Ducasse 1942: 52)
Another iteration of Mead-Morrisian self-communication (or self-talk), but not Peircean, I presume, because "thought" is not considered (or maybe it is included under "other"?).
The study of signals may appropriately be called semaphorics, and may be defined as dealing with the relations between utterers and interpreters of signals, in so far as these relations arise out of their status as such utterers and interpreters. (Ducasse 1942: 52)
No-one calls this semaphorics. Only Don Schneider seems to think that this, as a field separate from semiotics, is useful.
The remaining branch of semeiology to be distinguished is the study of rei-real interpretation; that is, of interpretation in cases where neither the interpretand nor the interpretant is a discursive entity. If we allow ourselves in this connection to take the word "word" in a broad sense making it synonymous with "discursive entity," then rei-real interpretation may be described as "alectic" or "alogic," i.e., wordless. Accordingly, to distinguish from syntactics, semantics, and semaphorics, the branch of semeiology which studies alectic interpretation, we may call it for short alectics. The term, however, is of course by itself too broad, and must be understood as tacitly restricted by the agreement that a branch of semeiology is what it is being employed to name. (Ducasse 1942: 52)
If you want you could call my nonverbalism alectics but I see no reason why one should want this. (Also, my nonverbalism includes "concursivics" or reo-verbal interpretation.)

Ducasse, C. J. 1947. Some Comments on Professor Wild's Criticisms of My Views on Semiosis. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 8(2): 234-238.

That there is between smoke and fire, or between the tiger's foot-print and the tiger's passage, the relation of effect to cause is accepted by both Wild and me; also that this relation is independent of actual or hypothetical participacion by an interpreting mind; and also that that relation is not itself that of sign to signified. What he is contending is apparently then that in addition to that relation, there is between smoke and fire also another relation, equally independent of actual or hypothetical participation by an interpreting mind, and that that other relation is that of sign to signified. (Ducasse 1947: 234)
This is way too convoluted. I guess the first relation is that between the representamen (foot-print) and object (tiger's foot) and the other relation in between... Well, I have no idea.
Thus, actual participation of a mind is an intrinsic element in the definition of "being actually a sign of"; and hypothetical participation of a mind is an intrinsic element in the definition of "being potentially a sign of." In the light of this fact, it is then evident that Wild's statement that "smoke is a sign of fire even when no one happens to be interpreting it as such" is true if "is a sign" is taken in the sense of "is potentially a sign"; but is false if taken in the sense of "is actually a sign"; and this notwithstanding that in either case "sign" is taken to mean real sign - valid sign. (Ducasse 1947: 235-236)
Wow this is some trivial quibble. At best one could arrive at the conclusion that there are actual and potential signs. But then again I have no idea what the heuristic value of this distinction could be. The sphere of potential signs seems immeasurable.
In the instance of the German propaganda, which Wild thinks I would have to say was a sign that Germany was winning the war, the situation is this:
The statement made to the Germans did couse them to believe that Germany was winning the war; i.e., those statements were interpreted by them as signs that Germany was winning. But, because the objective connectedness, which is one of the conditions necessary to anything being a real sign, did not exist between the statements and the events that were occurring (i.e., the statements were false) the statements were not really signs of victory, but only mistakenly interpreted as signs of it. (Ducasse 1947: 236)
"Real" is an awkward word and "real sign" would never survive as a term. This quibble would not exist is Ducassse and Wild had just stuck to Morris's signification and denotation ("real sign").


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