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Reading Fiordo


Fiordo, Richard 1978a. Kenneth Burke's Semiotic. Semiotica 23(1): 53-75.

Although articles, books, theses, and dissertations have been written on various aspects of the contribution of Kenneth Burke, nothing to date has been written on the semiotic of Burke. Works produced on Burke have focused on the rhetorical, critical, and dramatistic dimensions of his literary contributions. Some of the works on Burke, however, touch on his semiotic, but only obliquely. That is, an author writing on Burke might concern himself with Burke's theory of language, concept of identification, or notion of symbolic action. While any detailed discussion of Burke is apt to lead an author to encounter Burke's semiotic more or less indirectly, the discussion presented in this paper aims to encounter Burke's semiotic directly. (Fiordo 1978a: 53)
Quite commendable. I've been aware of Burke for a long time, but terms like "grammar" and "rhetoric" have kept me away from actually cracking his books. Will this paper change my mind?
As a symbol-using animal, man has symbolic forms, especially linguistic forms, and the cultural values implicit in the symbolic forms built into him. That is, man is not only symbol-using, but he is also symbol-used. Symbols infiltrate his being. Having this symbol-using nature, man inspirits nature with symbols of his own making and choosing. Thus, man's reality takes on a verbal quality. His language defines reality, for reality in itself is undefined. (Fiordo 1978a: 54)
This reminds me of Ernst Cassiser, another author whom I have not in fact read (much like Burke, at least not beyond a single paper). Their definition of human is so similar in fact, that an essay has been written about this very similarity.
Furthermore, man is incognizant of the degree to which his reality has this verbal flow to it. Burke points out:
Take away our books, and what little do we know about history, biography, even something so "down to earth" as the relative position of seas and continents? What is our "reality" for today (beyond the paper-this line of our own particular lives) but all this clutter of symbols about the past combined, with whatever things we know mainly through maps, magazines, newspapers, and the like about the present? [...] And however important to us is the tiny sliver of reality each of us has experienced firsthand, the whole overall "picture" is but a construct of our symbol systems. [...] And doubtless that's one reason why, though man is typically the symbol-using animal, he clings to a kind of naive verbal realism that refused to realize the full extent of the role played by symbolicity in his notions of reality. (1966a: 5)
In order to emphasize the extent to which symbols constitute man's reality, Burke adds that "ninety-nine percent, at least, of our reality is symbolic; the remainder is just a little line or string of personal experience". Hence, man's reality is almost totally pervaded with symbolism. (Fiordo 1978a: 54)
Nice metaphor. Communization would in this sense constitute an instance of paper-thin lines of particular lives intersecting. Note also that "symbols about the past", combined with "whatever things we know [...] about the present", and possibly "symbols about the future" would make for an interesting addition to the time-orientation discussion (involving Peirce, Jakobson, Laver, and Kampf).
As the inventor of the negative, man becomes the inventor of a peculiarly linguistic resource which he adds to the nonverbal or other-than-verbal dimension of reality. That is, the negative forms a "linguistic counterpart to the positive state of the nonverbal" and it grows out of the "relationship between the verbal and nonverbal realms" (Heath 1971: 78). For example, to ask for the opposite of being is to obtain the answer of non-being or nothingness, neither of which has a positive physical exemplar. Non-being is a negative language form and so is necessarily sheerly verbal. (Fiordo 1978a: 55)
This is the idea of nonverbal being incapable of expressing negation or non-being taken to the absolute extreme. I'd hold to a more "continous" view, since in the vocalization aspect, at least, language (use) is also positive. (In this sense phatic communication sensu La Barre is exactly the positive form of language.)
Through the negative, Burke demonstrates the need to 'discount" statements. Individuals must be aware, due to the ambiguity of language, that a statement about something implies all that the statement does not include. (Heath 1971: 85) (Fiordo 1978a: 56)
Add this to the long list of reflections on the weakly constitutive aspect (I really need a better label for it, and I think I found it in Ruesch & Bateson 1951, but I need to re-type the notes for it and they are many). My favourite such weakly constitutive aspect is E. R. Clay's: while sitting in my dorm room in front of my laptop I am not climbing the Alps.
Man is separated from his natural condition as a result of his symbolicity. That is, man's symbolicity permits him to create instruments through which he divides himself from his natural condition. In short, "men are not only in nature. The cultural accretions made possible by the language motive becomes a 'second nature' [...]" (Burke 1969a: 33) with them. Burke mentions a report in a newspaper concerning a breakdown of New York's lighting equipment. The report suggested that something so "natural as dark roadways at night was weirdly 'unnatural'" in the "second nature of the city" (Burke 1966a: 13). (Fiordo 1978a: 56)
In this sense it might be an interesting thought experiment to view the virtual environment of internet as man's third nature. (It might be an experiment with Peirce's phenomenological categories, e.g. man's Third nature.)
Man is only capable of making tools, but he is also capable of making tools for making tools. Similarly, man makes not only the tool of language, but he also makes language to make language, such as the language of symbolic logic. More narrowly, man creates definitions, and he creates definitions to make definitions, as when he creates the definition of the term 'not good' to make the definition of 'evil'. Any such use of words about words, as with dictionary definitions as well as the above examples, constitute the reflexive dimension of symbolism (Burke 1966a: 14). (Fiordo 1978a: 56-57)
I.e. metalanguage and metalingual operations (Jakobson), or metacommunication about codification (Ruesch & Bateson). "Reflexivity" is exactly the term I need to replace "introversive semiosis" in the Jakobsonian "duplex structure" approach to sign-functions.
With language, man divides from his animality and joins with his symbolicity. Hence, man seeks symbols of sexual release and symbols of satiation of hunger. Generally speaking, man becomes more concerned with what is meant by symbols of experience than with experience per se. (Fiordo 1978a: 57)
I don't see why this has to preclude nonlinguistic signs. In other words, in my opinion man is also more concerned with fantasy and imagination than with direct experience.
What the hierarchy implies, therefore, is not only order or rank but also the attitudes associated with the order or rank. Hierarchies imply rank order, and in so doing imply the attitudes and evaluations culturally invested in the hierarchies. (Fiordo 1978a: 58)
Charles Morris's examination of "the role symbol of the policeman" (in Grinker ed. 1956) is a good demonstration of this.
Burke adds that through the perfection principle man tries to get the world to be a particular pattern or form parallel to a perfect one existing in his mind. He also claims:
The principle of perfection is central to the nature of language as motive. The mere desire to name something by its "proper" name, or to speak a language in its distinctive ways is intrinsically "perfectionist". [...] The principle of perfection [...] figures in other notable ways as regards the genius of symbolism. A given terminology contains various implications, and there is a corresponding "perfectionist" tendency for men to attempt carrying out those implications. [...] There is a kind of "terministic compulsion" to carry out the implications of one's terminology [...] (Burke 1966a: 16-19)
In brief, Burke's entelechian principle explains why "individuals strive to fully realize the implications of any terministic, motivational, or philosophical system" (Heath 1971: 85). (Fiordo 1978a: 58)
Deep stuff. Makes me think of a kind of "nominalistic tendency" palpable in, for example, researchers studying what their name refers to; my favourite example being Marie Poland Fish's study titled Sonic Fishes of the Pacific (1948), where it is only surprising perhaps that it's not Sonic Fishes of the Polish Coast.
Other, and more commonplace examples, are the athlete trying to throw the perfect pitch or punch, the criminal trying to enact the perfect crime, and the student trying to write the perfect paper. Each agent tries to fulfill the perfectionist implications of the terminology he is working with. Thus, being a 'student' or 'fighter', or whatever, entails the terministic consequences of being them; that is, being the forenamed means facing up to the consequences of being them. (Fiordo 1978a: 58)
I see, "terministic screens" play on the word double meaning of terminal: a) the end or extremity of something; and b) prediction of slow, incurable death. In my case I really should reflect on the terministic consequences of being a semiotician.
Burke next experimentally affirms that things are the signs of words and traces through the implications of this proposition. He proposes that
language be viewed, not directly in terms of a word-thing relationship but roundabout, by thinking of speech as the "entitling" of complex nonverbal situations (somewhat as the title of a novel does not really name one object, but sums up the vast complexity of elements that compose the novel, giving it its character, essence, or general drift). (1966a: 361)
(Fiordo 1978a: 59)
Relevant for my theory of concourse (which, too, I need to rename). The line of thinking here parallels that of words labeling nonverbal phenomena (which may indeed involve a complex of nonverbal situations - I'm especially taken by the term complex in the noun form, since this is exactly the label I use in my concursive readings whenever the nonverbal situation cannot be boiled down to a single label).
Expanding on his notion of entitlement, Burke utilizes an analogy of an author entitling the chapters of his book and the book itself to communicate the meaning he has for his concept of entitlement. He explains:
Insofar as the work is properly formed, and insofar as your titles are accurate, they mark off a succession of essences. Each title would sum up the overall trend or spirit informing or infusing the range of details that are included under this head. And as we progressed from parts of chapters, to chapters, to groups of chapters, and so finally to an ultimate title of titles, we would have in effect a set of terms ever-widening in scope, until we got to the all-inclusive title that was technically the "god-term" for the whole congeries of words in their one particular order. (Burke 1966a: 370)
(Fiordo 1978a: 60)
I see this drama playing out frequently in terminological work. It's how I arrived at "phatics", for example, which subsumes communization, metacommunication, phatic communication, etc.
Also implicit in the notion of entitlement is the fact that a situation is summarized and entitled by an agent. Since the agent acts upon a situation by summarizing and entitling it, a transactional relation holds between the agent and the phenomenon through the agency of the title of which the phenomenon is a sign. Thus, the word dog means an entitling summarizing the transactional relationship between an agent or symbol-user and a situation or phenomenon in which the phenomenon of dog is signified by the word dog. (Fiordo 1978a: 62)
Implications for transcommunication: what if the projected AI in that equation will begin summarizing parts-of-speech in an artificial metalanguage? How much of it will be intertelligible to us humans?
Hence, terminology screens man from nonverbal reality. In screening him from a one-to-one correspondence with reality, it magnifies those areas of reality that the particular terms being used direct his attention to. (Fiordo 1978a: 62)
The linguistic component in sensory gating. (e.g. repeatedly uttering the word "keys" when one has lost his keys in order to direct his attention automatically to the item by activating background processes of object-detection in the brain.)
Third, Burke contends that "even if a terminology is a reflection of reality, its very nature as a terminology compells it to be a selection of reality. And to the extent that it is a selection of reality, the terminology must function also as a deflection of reality." The kind of deflection to which Burke refers concerns simply the fact that "any nomenclature necessarily directs the attention into some channels rather than others" (Burke 1966a: 45-46). (Fiordo 1978a: 63)
A linguistic component to the hodological (metaphorical, really) approach to channels. The terminology of sieving and serendipity could very well be complemented with the terminology of reflection, selection, and deflection. (In fact, since sieving implies something similar to terministic screens, I wouldn't be surprised if Kockelman had relied on Burke in some measure.)
As for the term reduction, Burke specified three kinds of reduction. The first is the reduction of the nonverbal to the verbal (or abstractions or generalizations of some sort or another). For example, the word manking neglects an infinite number of differences among humans in order to stress certain common properties which they possess. The many differences among humans are reduced to the term manking. (Fiordo 1978a: 64)
Indeed something quintessentially semiotic. I think I've read about this process in terms of condensation, but I'm not sure. It may touch upon cue reduction (and fixation), which is yet another topic (like sensory gating) that's quintessentially semiotic, but for which I have an odd, accidental label.
Since language is a species of action, Burke's methodology for analyzing language emphasizes action, rather than definition, information, or labelling. Burke seeks to determine what words do with man as well as what man does with words (Heath 1971: 66-67). (Fiordo 1978a: 65)
Approaching Malinowskian grounds. Since Burke also used the concept of context of situation, I wouldn't be all that surprised if he was familiar with Malinowski's work. But then again I recall him writing about Malinowski's phatic communion in the mid-1970s as if it were the first time he read him.
The distinctions of motion and action can be applied to actual words in the following manner. The word osmosis is a motion term, whereas the word ratiocinate is an action word. A word like breathe can be a motion or action term, contingent upon the context. For example, a person breathes (motion) in his sleep, and he also breathes (action) for fresh air in the morning. The distinction between motion and action terms are thus helpful in analyzing actual discourse to determine which dimension of meaning is intended. (Fiordo 1978a: 66)
Ratiocinate. That damn word. To reason, to carry on a process of reasoning. Verbal derivative of ratio, reason. Past participle of ratiocinari, to reckon, calculate, conclude. I think I finally found it in William Hamilton's lectures:: "Of the terms by which this process is denominated, Reasoning is a modification from the French raisonner, (and this a derivation from the Latin ratio), and corresponds to ratiocinatio, which has indeed been immediately transferred into our language under the form ratiocination. Ratiocination denotes properly the process, but improperly, also the product of reasoning; Ratiocinium marks exclusively the product." (Hamilton 1866: 278)
The third realm deals with words about words. Here is the realm of dictionaries, grammar, etymology, philology, literary criticism, rhetoric, poetics, dialectics - all what Burke would like to think of as the discipline of "Logology" (Burke 1961: 14). (Fiordo 1978a: 68)
Or what we would call metalanguage. Logo-logy basically amounts to the same indeed.
Burke entitles the ultimate god-term the "Title of Titles" because of its potential of "rising to ever and ever higher orders of generalization" (1961: 25). In other words, explanatory terms require generalized terms that summarize them; these in turn require generalizations, and so on, until one arrives at an overall term, a summarizing term, a "Title of Titles", in which al lexplanation is implicit (Burke 1943). An example of an ultimate term or Title of Titles might be the god-term capitalism among one people or socialism among another group of people. (Fiordo 1978a: 71)
The god-term in this sense, especially due to the illustrations of "capitalism" and "socialism", might be comparable to Morris's universal signs, and perhaps to Laclau's empty signifiers.
These five terms (act, scene, agent, agency, purpose) have been labeled the dramatistic pentad. [...] The pattern is incipiently a hexad when viewed in connection with the different but complementary analysis of attitude (as an ambiguous term for incipient action).
The pentad is Burke's paradigm for the study of signs. (Fiordo 1978a: 72)
Incipient: in an initial stage, beginning to happen or develop. Thus "attitude" is inflicted with the same quality of inchoateness as "affect".

Fiordo, Richard 1990. From sincerity to mendacity in personal rhetoric: A discrete look at continuous feelings. Semiotica 80(1): 89-107.

In another variation on Hayakawa's advice, Pearson reminds us that we do not 'communicate in a vacuum', but rather in a context. Context influences the 'levels of formality, the amount of preparation, the places that communication can occur, the topics which are appropriate, and the purposes it serves' (Pearson 1985: 17). In short, context and effects give us clues to meaning: sincere or mendacious. (Fiordo 1990: 90)
Relevant for phatics. Communization conditions the level of formality (by leveraging it) and the amount of necessary preparation (by negating its necessity), etc.
As for sincerity, I mean the quality of being in reality what something appears to be, of being genuine rather than feigned, of being truthful rather than dishonest, or of being free from hypocrisy. By mendacity, I mean the quality of being false, of telling untruths, or of lying (Webster 1984). (Fiordo 1990: 90)
An aspect of self-disclosure and intimacy?
My underlying concern in this paper is with personal rhetoric - specifically, rhetorical discourse that discloses personal thoughts, observations, actions, and feelings in degrees of sincerity. My interest in the rhetorical expression of personal thoughts, observations, actions, and feelings manifests itself with reference to sincerity. (Fiordo 1990: 90)
It certainly sounds like the content of phatic communion.
Given the psychological triad of cognition, psychomotor, and emotion (Martin 1983: 31), the classification of an instance of personal rhetoric according to its position on an S-M scale with reference to each dimension of the psychological triad has limits. To consider some rhetorical item as sincere or mendacious on the triune psychological dimensions means judging whether the cognitive disclosure leaned toward sincerity or mendacity, if it leaned at all; it means judging whether the psychomotor disclosure leaned one way or the other, if at all; and it means judging whether the emotional disclosure leaned one way or the other, if at all. (Fiordo 1990: 91)
"Psychomotor" is an odd equivalent of behaviour or action dimension. I know that "motor mimicry" is a relic of older physiology, and that Russians use "motor" for labeling body movement, but I've never met it in this classical triad. But then again the middle one is the most problematic - in the 19th Century (e.g. Alexander Bain) is was treated under "Volition", and even Peirce uses "energy".
Morris contributes a valuable criterion for judging the sincerity of a message through his notion of an expressive sign. A sign can be classified as expressive when 'the fact of its production is itself a sign to its interpreter of something about the producer of the sign'. (Fiordo 1990: 92-93)
The payoff. Morris's definition of the expressive sign is comparable to the phatic sign, specifically in the sense of "willingness to communicate" attributed to it in the cognitive approach to phatic interpretation (i.e. the pragmatic Relevance Theory of Žegarac and Clark).
Furthermore, the 'expressiveness is not a part of the signification of the sign in question but rather the signification of [...] a sign which consists in the fact that a sign is produced'. Concretely, people who talk oftentimes in the language of physics signal their 'interest in certain things rather than others' - in this case, physics (1946: 68). Likewise, people who frequently talk about dieting, sex, health, exercise, ailments, mental strife, teenagers, and so on function through such takl as expressive signs of thoughts, deeds, and feelings highly relevant to them in a favorable to unfavorable manner. 'The expressiveness of signs', according to Morris, 'is thus an additional property of signs over and beyond their sifgnification' (1946: 68). In rhetorical discourse, that we talk about something tells us as much as what we say about something (Fiordo 1977). (Fiordo 1990: 93)
Once again, the expressive and the phatic have an overlap.
For this paper, the contextual and effects criteria will be considered as part of the scaling for the discourse being perceived as a sincere or mendacious expression of the author's feelings on some matter. Since perceived sincerity (which may in fact be mendacity) seduces us into bogus friendships, dangerous loves, bankrupt partnerships, and sad marriages, the importance of knowing (more precisely, having grounds to have confidence) that others or ourselves are earnest may be tantamount to survival, happiness, and prosperity. As an effort to increase our confidence that the closing of 'sincerely yours' in some specific discourse expresses a nearly literal truth about feelings rather than a perfunctory aspect of protocol, several texts will be analyzed with the S-M scale in mind. (Fiordo 1990: 95)
Oh snap, we just got really phatic! A phatic utterance is exactly a perfunctory aspect of protocol, "perfunctory" meaning minimum of effort or reflection.
Or we may know ourselves and our feelings, be willing and fearless about expressing such feelings, yet be incapable of doing so at all or of doing so with aesthetic impact - that is, free of rampant cliche. Poets and rhetors may have a greater potential to communicate with sincerity, if they wish to do so; yet they may not choose to do so. (Fiordo 1990: 95)
Aesthetic impact is here understood as the opposite of cliche, that is, novelty, innovation, creativity.
Perhaps the latter is the more common group within humanity, stuck within the nauseous confines of hackneyed, babuistic, and psittaceous expressions. (Fiordo 1990: 95)
Psittaceous is "parrot-like", which I knew. But "babuism" is new for me - and I can't find a thorough explanation in any online dictionary besides it being derogatorily related to "Indian gentlemen" (e.g. the practices of Hindus who had only a slight English education, "babu" being a Hindi title equal to "Sir"). And "hackneyed" is just overused or trite.
Apart from the frequent occurrence of mendacity in the forms (sometimes approaching fiction) known as research grant applications, sabbatical leave proposals, grade justifications, television shows, annual review letters, textbooks, rejection as well as acceptance letters, letters of recommendation, policy statements, committee decisions, and the like - apart from these, mendacious rhetoric can be met with daily in editorials, commentaries, public relations announcements, news releases, letters to the editor, advertisements, poems, and similar rhetorical phenomena in our culture. Daily dealings with colleagues are also ripe with mendacity. In short, the list is too long. And as Big Daddy, Tartuffe, and numerous others from the literary gospels would suggest, to be sincere is an existential struggle. (Fiordo 1990: 103)
In one paragraph the whole of academia is lit up.
Yet, because a truth betrayed is significant to us, distinguishing sincerity from mendacity is crucial to us. The people who insincerely tell us our painting or poem is lovely, our appearance is breathtaking, our absence is missed, and the like may have immediate value to us as mendacious sweet flatterers. When we need honest and reliable reactions, however, we are likely to seek out the most sincere in our humble ranks. (Fiordo 1990: 103)
Phatic exchanges are rife with mendacity.

Fiordo, Richard 2009. Symbolic Mediation of Experience, Communication, and General Semantics: In Praise of Clearing Mediated Clouds. ETC: A Review of General Semantics 142-161.

In modern societies, communication media, mass and high-tech or personal and low-tech, provide a means for nearly endless content to be transacted among human beings through pertaps infinite symbol systems. If ecology deals with organisms interacting with environments, media ecology deals with humans interacting through diverse symbolically mediated environments with high-tech, low-tech, mass, or personal media. A mediated environment may be the norm for human interaction in societies incorporating mass and computer mediated communication. Just as there can be crises in the ecology, there can be crises in the media ecology. Hopefully, both crises can be monitored. (Fiordo 2009: 142)
"Transacted" is here used in the sense in which we means "transcommunication" (i.e. communicative transactions through computer media, rather than transactions of the service encounter type).
In related terms, Postman (1979) views the printed word, the alphabet, and television images as "environments - like language itself, symbolic environments - within which we discover, fashion, and express or humanity in particular ways" (p. 186). (Fiordo 2009: 143)
The current issue of Networked Knowledge on "affective media" focuses on some of the humane aspect found in such environments.
Telecommunication and computer-mediated technologies are advancing rapidly (Barnes, 2003). Media may become our ecology more than nature, and illusions of reality may replace reality. In Tokyo and Nagasaki, travelers view enormous electronic video units in public places covering topics from pop singers to tender shots of shoreline or grazing wildlife. Symbolized reality, not the reality itself, is available through media. (Fiordo 2009: 144)
Score for the "Third nature" proposed somewhere above.
In fact, journalism involves being truthful to its readers and being truthful involves providing verified or verifiable content (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2001: 6). To fail to ground public statements in what is true and observed is to devolve from journalism to fiction or propaganda. (Fiordo 2009: 144)
That's a pretty bold statement, considering how journalists nowadays exclaim that objectivity in journalism is an unachievable or unrealistic goal to begin with. E.g. ""Objectivity" is a silly thing to strive for."
Although human life is symbolically mediated with or without mass media, with mass media permeating our ecology, littel is left to so-called direct experience. Kenneth Burke (1973) made the point in person that our symbol-free zones as humans might constitute one percent of our experience. However, Burke never declared that we cannot minimize or eliminate electronic and other forms of mediated communication. He knew too much about the lives of the mystical, the reclusive, and the imprisoned to make such a statement (Burke, 1968). To block ourselves from mass mediated realities poses a difficult but attainable goal. Indeed, even to aspire to mass media minimalism poses a challenge. Mass media content leaks into our lives like outside air into homes that cannot be hermetically sealed. (Fiordo 2009: 146)
With new technologies this is increasingly so. Although I would hold that it is still possible to become a recluse in this new landscape. One only needs to unplug and move somewhere where there aren't (m)any self-luminous screens.
Where an empirical semiotics overlaps with general semantics, we may have a common ground for understanding through the senses (or extensions of the senses) available through technologies. In the current North American media mix, broadcasters reiterate stories on global warming with the admonishment that human society is bringing on its own woes. Most of us have not walked on the polar caps, nor presumably have most of those broadcasting the stories. We rely on (1) mediated reports from scientists as carriedin learned journals, (2) on mass media reporters, or (3) on a challenging blend of both views. Media professionals vary tremendously in the sincerity of their efforts to make sense. Note well that media professionals are not under assault here. The integrity of some journalists is exemplary. What they declare may, given counterevidence, be critically assessed and should be (Cohen, 1995). Truth as reported need not follow from the sincerity of the reporter. Media consumers must watch for errors. (Fiordo 2009: 147)
2009 was really a different time. By now we experience the weather becoming weirder and weirder more directly, for example by having what used to be April weather in December. This discussion touches upon the topic of "images of climate change" (Ballantyne et al. 2016).
Applied to language, many of our English words used in daily lives are remnants from a comparatively unscientific time (Bois, 1969, pp. 43-45). As we become conscious of the limitations of our pre-scientific inherited language and make reasonable adjustments to it, we live intelligently with its distortions as we do when we know the Mercator projection distorts Earth's geography. (Fiordo 2009: 150)
A problem to overcome with the work of definition. E.g. Morris's attempt to surpass the unscientific term, "meaning".

Fiordo, Richard 2011. Contributions to General Semantics from Charles Morris: An Abstract. ETC: A Review of General Semantics 68(2): 156-177.

"When I asked Einstein whether he could generalize his theory of relativity to metaphysics," noted Charles Morris to me in a face-to-face interview on August 18, 1973, "Einstein reminded me he was but a physicst" (Fiordo, 1973). (Fiordo 2011: 156)
Morris interviewed Einstein, and Fiordo interviewed Morris. Kinda reminds me of Kiwa's recent Facebook post, that he has now shaken the hand of a man who shook the hand of Yuri Gagarin.
Metaphysics begins at the outer limits of science; it boldly extends science in the form of physics, behaviorism, etc., into areas where no methodological science could venture, namely, metaphysics. Morris integrates empirical and behavioral dimensions in his semiotic philosophy. Although a number of rhetorical (Burke, 1966; Toulmin, 1958; Foucault, 1980) and semiotic (Eco, 1976; Ogden & Richards, 1923; Leeds-Hurwitz, 1993; Barthes, 1968; Derrida, 1988; Sebeok, 1976) theorists have written on matters relevant to general semantics, Morris's philosophy, particularly his semiotic, constitutes the focus in this study because of its scientific inclination toward extensionality and sanity. (Fiordo 2011: 158)
The behavioral dimension is manifest in his "behaviorism", but I'm not sure where Morris's empiricism is, because my favourite illustrations in Signs, Language, and Behavior are basically anecdotes.
Because of spatial limits, much of Morris' sophisticated thought has to be reduced and simplified - hopefully not beyond recognition by other scholars of Morris. General semantics and the philosophy of Morris are too complex and sophisticated to be confined to this relatively short paper. (Fiordo 2011: 158)
Neither am I aware of any other scholars of Morris. At least not active ones. In fact, now that I search EBSCO, between 2010 and current year, you can find this paper, an encyclopedia entry about Charles Morris by Susan Petrilli, and... more papers by Petrilli that at least mention Morris. I take it, then that Susan Petrilli is a scholar of Morris.
In a panoramic sense, through the phrase objective relativism, Morris entitled his philosophy to the best of his ability, yet declared that he entitled it due to pressure from scholars and students. He would rather not have named his philosophy (Fiordo, 1977). While Morris does not provide a precise definition, he explains the title in his writings. After considering the terms perspectivism and contextualism, he settled on objective relativism to name a pluralistic philosophy that links itself "in close relation to the results and the methods of science" (Morris, 1948, pp. 129-130). (Fiordo 2011: 159)
I am not all that surprised. His interests were varied, so it would have been perhaps even improper to subsume all of his work under a singular title.
If the individual became a part of a new situation and perspectives, new features of this person's personality would emerge. For example, if a woman from a small town in North Dakota entered Fordham University in New York City, aspects of her personality will influence her reactions within this university community, and aspects of her personality will surface because of her "interactions with others in the university." With every other social situation she experiences, "this process wil continue" and likewise for "every other person with whom the [woman] interacts in the small town or in the university" (Morris, 1970b, pp. 129-130). (Fiordo 2011: 160)
The looking glass self, with updated phraseology.
Fallibilism is a critical doctrine adhered to by Morris, Charles Sanders Peirce, John Dewey, and other pragmatists (Morris, 1934; Morris, 1970a; Morris, 1970b). With some risk, since it is intended to be critical of all positions including its own, it might be seen as functioning like pancritical rationalism (Bartley, 1990). Of course, because, pancritical rationalism is a term made possible through high-level abstracting, it should be understood cautiosly here in a context close to its etymological meaning of "being critical, potentially, of everything." Since fallibilism constitutes the perspective that any claim to information and knotledge may be faulty, inquiry must incorporate detachment. From a pragmatic point of view, although possible, it is not likely that an entire system of beliefs will fail all at once. Usually, one or several premises or facts may be challenged at a time and may sustain the rigor of a critical assault. However, of the beliefs challenged, while one may disintegrate under scritiny, others may survive criticism. (Fiordo 2011: 163)
That "inquiry must incorporate detachment" is the feature I find most relevant in this. I like to imagine that my blogging-type academic research comes with a tint of detachment, because I'm not obligated to claim anything as my own - all quotes are cited, and even my own reactions are transitory, meant as anchors for finding relevant quotes later on, and understanding my reason for including the quote.
After reflection over a number of years, believing that the technique and the technology were still not where they needed to be to map cognitive space and activity, Morris took refuge once again in his hardcore base in a behavioral semiotic. While he yearned to map the psychological interior, he concluded that the scientific technology was not yet there to do so validly and reliably. For the time being, human researchers would have to be patient until a technology for probing mental imagery exists. Philosophical speculation on what is going on in the "black box" (or human mind) would be all that is currently possible. (Fiordo 2011: 166)
And we're still patiently waiting for the BRAIN project to bear fruits.
As one example, if a congregation is pleased with the sermons of an evangelist, a behavioral semiotic tries to locate or invent behavioral measures of the congregation's appreciation: attendance at sermons, donations, recorded endorsements of the evangelist, purchase of religious tapes, etc. A behavioral semiotic, in general semantic terms, contributes to the attainment of low levels of abstraction without denying the potential value of high levels of abstraction. As another example, without knowing another's language, to say that person is Spanish, "Que te diviertas!" (Have fun!), and to get a reply in Spanish like "Por que no?" (Why not?) means the signs meant something to that message receiver. Although there are other inferences that can be drawn, a blank stare with no feedback wight mean the words were not understood because there was no verbal behavior resulting from the verbal stimulus. Human organisms interact with, act on, and relate to physical, semiotic, and verbal environments. (Fiordo 2011: 168)
I am reminded of Austin's phatic acts, e.g. uttering words in a foreign language that one assumes mean something.
When an individual visits Oslo the most and Kathmandu the least, preferential behavior for Oslo emerges also through frequency. Instead of talking about value at a high level of abstraction, value becomes grounded in behavior that demonstrates a preference for one choice over another. (Fiordo 2011: 169)
Likewise I sense a possible connection with phaticity in the sense that in phatic communication the semantic content is "a high level of abstraction" perhaps even out of reach, but the relatively low level of abstraction, focusing on the fact of communication itself, is more palpable.
When special functions of language are required, special forms of discourse are necessary. Humanity evolved specialized forms of discourse from the general language - the specialized discourse being used to perform special tasks as efficiently as possible (Fiordo, 1977; Morris, 1955). Korzybski's (2000) view that ordinary language needs special linguistic and punctuation improvements propounds similar warnings and makes similar pronouncements. The special language described and endorsed by Morris and Korzybski suggest sublanguages or languages purposefully restricted to a special area - such as, science, poetry, or HCI (human-computer interaction). (Fiordo 2011: 170)
Much like Jakobson, who attributed different linguistic functions to different subcodes of language.
Appraisive-valuative discourse is associated with poetry and poetic language. Embodying metaphor, this type of discourse acknowledges the designative mode but employs words that are primarily appraisive in mode (Fiordo, 1977, p. 107) and strives to accord preferential status to the "discourse itself rather than to what is designated." The emphasis in this specilaized use of language manifests itself in the poetic or specifically in poetry, where the interest of persons in this way signs are utilized may become "the prominent interest - so much so that such persons may wish to limit poetic discourse to appraisive discourse which aims to induce approval of the discourse itself" (Morris, 1955, pp. 136-137). (Fiordo 2011: 173)
It really is like reading Roman Jakobson. And I have my own "conspiracy theory" of why that may be so, involving Morris travelling to Poland during his 1934 sabbatical and maybe meeting Jan Mukarovsky at a conference in Germany. (I've yet to trace this lead further than downloading the conference report.)

Fiordo, Richard 2012. General Semantics, Science, and Medicine: A Quality Approach. ETC: A Review of General Semantics 69(4): 364-381.

Morris (1938) and other learned scholars tried to unify the sciences. To a degree, through a project that culminated in a series of volumes entitled the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, they succeeded in propounding this noble effort. In calling attention to features common to the natural and social sciences, some unification occurred by covering such topics as probability, logic, and semiotics - all of which play a role in the cumulative and progressive nature of the diverse disciplines of science. Overall, the project's reach exceeded its grasp. While the effort enjoyed headway, it did not succeed in its stupendous objective. (Fiordo 2012: 366)
I thought that the Unified Science movement came to a halt due to political reasons. At least Anti Randviir ("On spatiality in Tartu-Moscow cultural semiotics", 2007: 149) writes that TMS was "one of the first cases of transdisciplinarity in the modern era after the (politically and militarily forced) slow death of the movement towards the Unified Science in the beginning of the 20th century."
Much traditional and conventional advice on making assumptions borders on being inane. The prescription to make no assumptions is impractical and unworkable. This clichéd and profane adage needs to be repaired: "When you make assumptions, you make an ass of you and me." As Kodish and Kodish (2001) admonish, no one "can live free of assumptions, premises, inferences, generalizations, etc." (p. 32). However, they also argue that when people "become aware of how assumptions can lead them astray they may decide not to make assumptions." Yet, human beings cannot not assume: "Human behavior is driven by assumptions." Consequences, subsequently, follow assumptions (Levinson, 2007). (Fiordo 2012: 367)
Concerning cultural techniques, phaticity falls in the category of an assumption before being explicated by some term or other (be it small talk, or phatic talk, or whatever).
Allness refers to the human inabality to ever "say all there is to say about anything - at least not logically" (DeVito, 2011). When a communicator assumes that everything that can be said has been said, that person misevaluates the situation and commits the fallacy of allness. Acknowledging allness is especially relevant since it allows communicators to "recognize that there is more to learn, more to see, and more to hear." All cannot be said, practically speaking. Allness helps people recognize complexity. General semantics recommends an antidote to allness. To avoid allness, it is wise to "end each statement, sometimes verbally but always mentally, with an 'etc.' (et cetera) - a reminder that there is more to learn, know, and say: that every statement is inevitably incomplete" (p. 130). (Fiordo 2012: 369)
Huh. So this allness we keep hearing about in all these papers in actually pretty close to fallibilism. The "inevitable incomplete[ness]" of statements is pretty much at the heart of Peirce's semiosis - with rarely anything being final.
Hayakawa (1990) explained that judgments involve snarls and purrs through words and symbols about a communicator's expression of approval or disapproval of people, objects, or events. Judgments express the attitude and evaluation of the source of a message to some occurrence. A judgment involves the use of words that snarl or purr at someone or something. A snarl would express, of course, a negative appraisal while a purr would express, of course, a positive appraisal. (Fiordo 2012: 370-371)
This is one of the expressive functions outlined by Ogden and Richards, which is markedly different from Jakobson's emotive function, since it's not as much about the sender's emotional state as it is exactly about attitude towards the referent (people, objects, or events).
From a practical point of view in the here and now, it seems like folly to rediscover what already has volumes of research written and recorded on it and decades of research established and growing. (Fiordo 2012: 377)
This is pretty much the situation in "phatic studies": volumes of research has been written and recorded, and decades of research established and growing, but the problem is that much of this research is disjointed, with various researchers operating with different conceptions of phaticity, almost all seemingly ignorant that similar work is being conducted in other, perhaps unconnected, fields. What we aim to do is akin to the unified science motive of bringing researchers, or if not people themselves then at least their ideas, conceptions, definitions, and results, together. Because as it stands it looks like every newcomer "discovers" phatic communication all new, unaware that there are (by my current count) at least 300 publications on the subject (in actual fact there may be thousands, but 300 I've managed to find and download thus far).
In psychiatry, the fact of homosexuality was classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a disease until a vote, not scientific research, removed its classification as a disease. (Fiordo 2012: 378)
This may be a decisive (political) issue, but what I've heard is that it was removed from DSM exactly because there wasn't any scientific proof that it is a disease.

Fiordo, Richard 2013. Midlevel Abstracting: An Undeserved Zone of General Semantics. ETC: A Review of General Semantics 70(2): 82-110.

[...] Abraham Lincoln recollects that "when a mere child, I used to get irritated where anyone talked to me in a way I could not understand." Although Lincoln never "got angry at anything else," as he puts it, a failure to understand "always disturbed my temper; and has ever since." He recalls going to his "little bedroom, after hearing the neighbors talk of an evening with my father, and spending no small part of the night [...] trying to make out what was the exact meaning of some of their, to me, dark sayings." Lincoln adds that he could not sleep when "I got on such a hunt for an idea until I had caught it." He concludes by saying this hunt for an idea "was a kind of passion with me, and it has stuck by me" (p. 42).
In his plain brilliance, Lincoln captures the interest of this study in general semantics - an attempt to identify and elaborate the notion of midlevel abstracting. (Fiordo 2013: 82)
Curiously, Austin's "phatic acts" are midlevel between phonetic and rhetic, and concern "saying something", although it's not yet clear (or rhematic, in Peircean terms) what is being said.
The one significant feature to be emphasized here involves a consciousness of the process of abstraction. Moving between lower and higher levels of abstraction consciously produces in humanity the opportunities to operate sanely instead of pathologically. Without "consciousness of abstracting," human beings run pathological risks. When abstracting becomes a conscious effort, human language use becomes "fundamentally changed in a beneficial way" (p. 37). (Fiordo 2013: 83)
I tend to fall in the Sapirian camp of considering consciousness of semiotic processes a hindrance rather than a necessity.
Two book titles can provide immediate examples of the unproblematic utility, generally speaking, of midlevel abstraction: Sensible Thinking for Turbulent Times (Levinson, 2006) and Misunderstanding the Internet (Curran, Fenton, and Freedman, 2012). Both titles make midlevel abstraction sense without burdening the interpreter with unnecessary details. Of course, reading the books would allow the specific details to become apparent. (Fiordo 2013: 87)
Cool titles. But I have a feeling as if midlevel abstracting in this sense concerns the almost-but-not-really metaphorical use of language evident in the titles of contemporary authors. I.e. compared to the low-level titles of the 1970s, like "A comparison of the distributional and sequential structures of interaction in high and low consensus groups" (Saine * Bock 1973), contemporary authors tend to create titles with something "almost poetic" followed by a subtitle of keywords, e.g. "The New Russian Vocative: Synchrony, Diachrony, Typology" (Andersen 2012), or, to take a more edgy example: "Hearing What We See: Censoring "Nigga," Vernaculars, and African Agentic Subjects" (Nguyen 2013).
Gauged by Hayakawa's (1990; 1940) ladder of abstraction, midlevel abstracting would typically occur between low-level terms like "Roxy the Bull Terrier at 101 Lombard Street in San Francisco, California is ill" and high-level terms like "Sentient beings suffer." Midlevel terms tend to be in the range of terms like dog, animal, pet, exense, and so on. (Fiordo 2013: 87-88)
Okay, well, that makes sense. But then again it's culturally relative. Maybe "sentient beings suffer" is a low-level abstraction for a Buddhist monk?
Because illusions of understanding may result through midlevel language, midlevel language must be challenged repeatedly for problematic referents - referents that masquerade as shared meanings when they are not. Distinguishing problematic from unproblematic assumptions about terms having shared meaning must be proactive in any semantic situation (Morris, 1964; Fiordo, 2011). (Fiordo 2013: 88)
This is a problem we have with "phatic". It's intuitive enough to grasp when given illustrations, but when applied in theoretical models it tends to clutter with idiosyncracies.
To reaffirm the difficulty of proceeding with dead-level abstracting, imagine a hundred page book written in discourse exclusively at high-level or low-level of abstraction. The punishment to the reader would be severe, yet the reader would likely identify that one level of discourse was too vague and the other too particular for extended reading. Both extremes of discourse would likely become obstacles to their own comprehension and acceptance. (Fiordo 2013: 89)
That's actually I intend to do at some point. I have an alter ego who theorizes artificial intelligence, and she does this by picking up the most obtuse jargon from abstracts of philosophy papers, and writes basically an artistic text comprised of sentences that are on such a high level of abstraction that not a single sentence can be fully understood without googling and carefully considering each and every term. #plagiosystems
The midlevel discourse relies heavily on context and creates an impression of oneness and clarity between sender and receiver, especially when the language used is actually too abstract to warrant a confidence in the specificty of the language used. To add to the complication of midlevel language use, one can read or listen to it at length without becoming disturbed since it appears to be the norm in much discourse from politics, religion, journalism, education, and social life. (Fiordo 2013: 90)
An aspect to add to the linguistic treatment of communization. (Specifically this concerns the very general "linguistic community" issue.)
Also, a clever speaker of, say, Spanish might check an English speaker's capacity in Spanish by asking the Anglophone to answer a leading queston posed in Spanish. For example, to ask, "Come esta?" in Spanish translates into English as "How are you?" To see whether a suitable response follows, if the English speaker responds with legitimate bafflement, the Spanish questioner might determine that the Anglophone does not comprehend Spanish. If the person questioned responds in Spanish, the questioner confirms the listener has some knowledge of Spanish. (Fiordo 2013: 92)
Exactly the phatic function of greetings, according to Malinowski. If you elucidate the language spoken by a stranger you can decide whether you can communicate, and furthermore, perhaps by diction or accent, you can decide whether you want to communicate.
The assumption that the language a source uses has a shared meaning with the interpreter must be challenged almost constantly until sufficiently clear referents are established and misunderstanding is reduced or eliminated (Richards, 1936) - that is, until there is a commonness of meaning, a meeting of the minds, communication (Morris, 1964; Fiordo, 1977). As a newsflash from the ancient Greek past, Plato holds that there is unity and there is division (Taylor, 1960). If a false unity of meaning between two communicators is suspected, the discourse critic must deconstruct or destroy - that is, divide from - the phoniness of oneness. (Fiordo 2013: 95-96)
Unity and division, or communization and differentiation. Note that if communication is a meeting of the minds then phatic communion is a meeting of persons (in purely social discourse).
The terminological facade of a common meaning has to be challenged to disambiguate interpreter differences. If not substantiated, the fantasy of necessarily shared meanings among receivers has to be destroyed. (Fiordo 2013: 104)
Again, this is the case with "phatic", which seems to have a unitary denotation on the surface but actual uses show a marked variation in signification.

Fiordo, Richard 1978b. League's Projection. Semiotica 24(3): 371-379.

The reader who is interested in Eastern and Western thought and who is interested in psycholinguistics, semantics, linguistics, communication, psychology, therapy, religion, or philosophy will find a wealth of information in Richard League's insightful book entitled Psycholinguistic Matrices (1977). League presents the bold and daring thesis that the mind and universe are parallel, and he offers precies, scientific support for this thesis and its corollaries through statistical testing and analysis. Dr. League details a microscopic view of a macroscopic subject - psycholinguistic matrices. (Fiordo 1978b: 371)
I read this book on the third month into my first semester in semiotics, and compared to the books I was reading at the time (I read a lot in that November) I found it excruciatingly boring. But I've met discussion of it elsewhere as well, and this is the second time that I'm thinking about giving it another spin.
League feels that a new reconciliation is beginning to take place between science and the arts, and that consciousness is the bold new unifying conception. Consciousness, League believes, is a concept capable of exciting in us both the courage and the hope of reuniting the interests of the creative scientist and artist (pp. 136-137). Since the symbol is the center of consciousness and is the medium for the evolution of its higher manifestations in the universe, the symbol takes on the same crucial type of importance to League as it does to Charles Morris (1964), George Mead (1934), and Charles Peirce (1958). (Fiordo 1978b: 371-372)
I'm not sure if science and art have ever been in that disjointed, at least in semiotics (considering, for example, that many 19th century semioticians - especially in central and eastern Europe - were simultaneously aestheticians).
Defining language as "a method for the diffusion of culturally shared experience between and among the members of the linguistic group" (p. 23), League adds that language also helps to organize and transmit the thought of unique and creative thinkers to people everywhere. The communication of the unique thoughts to the mass of humanity affects billions of lives through release of the physical and psychic forces of the universe (pp. 23-24). (Fiordo 1978b: 373)
Oh snap, this is a good observation for playing around with the concepts of communication and communization. Also, consider Ruesch/Bates on the assumption that the unique cannot be communicated (only that which repeats, can), which is a corollary to the discussion on private signs.
Furthermore, League holds that "as reflected in the inner cosmos of man (the microcosm), linguistic symbolism is profoundly iconic with the outer universe (the macrocosm)" (p. 23). Pointing to Herocleitos of Ephesos as a thinker deeply concerned with the underlying identity of apparent opposites - in this case, the "profound bipolar oneness of the inner and outer universes" (or consciousness and the outer universe) - League emphasizes that the latest scientific discoveries continue to support this hypothesis (p. 23). (Fiordo 1978b: 373)
Something that philosophers even today are drawn to (even Joe is currently playing around with such stuff). To me it reminds of Charles Scherrington, whose paper on proprioception I feel I should re-read.
In this first chapter, the author sketches the highlights of the thought of George Mead, Charles Morris, and Charles Osgood. Describing Mead's significant symbol as a "sign that elicits the same meaning or disposition in the interpreter that it has in the individual making the sign", League reminds us that Mead maintained that the human mind, the individual self, and human society evolved simultaneously and integrally with the significant symbol (p. 24). (Fiordo 1978b: 373)
Or, as Joe puts it, "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny". For my purposes the "disposition" that is being elicited has profound implications for a theory of communization. Specifically, that dispositions may be pre-existing (or pre-conditioned, rather).
A general hypothesis permits the researcher to test "both ends and the middle and whatever is in between"; a testable hypothesis prevents the development of beautiful yet inscrutable paradigms; an improbable hypothesis emerges from an original and creative insight (p. 38). (Fiordo 1978b: 374)
Almost exactly the words that I have used to critique some "Frenchy" semioticians who are loquacious but whose words signify nothing. I have a feeling that "beautiful yet inscrutable" is a phrase that may follow me much like Langer's "more hope and fanfare than actual achievement".
In discussing cross-linguistic satiation, League distinguishes two types of bilingual people: a compound bilingual person, who learns two languages simultaneously in the same environment, and a coordinate bilingual person, who learns two languages at different times in separate environments (p. 49). (Fiordo 1978b: 375)
Possible synonyms for treating synchronic and diachronic metacommunication.

Fiordo, Richard 1986. Tales from the Smokehouse: A rhetorical inquiry into erotic didactics. Semiotica 60(1): 1-28.

As far as Morris is concerned, his philosophy of objective relativism allows us to examine the personnae from the Tales in terms of the 'perspectives (or systems) of which he was and is a member' (Morris 1970b: 129) as well as the potentially 'new features' which would 'emerge' if thi sperson entered into a novel system (1970b: 130). In short, we will cover the problem that whatever a person is in one system - cultural or whatever - affects what that person is in another system (1970b: 128-129). In short, the right moral act is 'neither subjective caprice nor a timeless essence' because 'its universality is a social universality' (Morris 1934c: xxxiii). (Fiordo 1986: 4)
The emergent self.
With reference to the 'basic components of human valuing' as symbolized, Morris lists dependence, dominance, and detachment. (Fiordo 1986: 4)
Are these comparable to Ruesch's approach, preservation, and detachment?
Dependence involves 'easy compliance with the world'. A person depends on and is receptive to the physical and social world, from which this person 'wishes sustenance, wishes a dependable world'. Dominance includes the need to have 'a controllable world, a world in which effort is efficacious'. The value is for' power over persons and things, the excitement of overcoming'. And detachment deals with 'movement away from excessive external stimulation' and 'toward the inner [person]'. It values 'awareness of oneself', the 'world at a distance', and living with 'heightened consciousness' (Morris 1956: 27-28). (Fiordo 1986: 4-5)
I think a comparison might actually be possible, if "compliance" and "efficacy of effort" are moulded to suit co-operation rather than dominance.
The stories are clearly within didactics in that they instruct us in one direction rather than another. (Fiordo 1986: 5)
A somewhat loose definition of didactics.
According to Morris, incitive discourse aims to 'direct behavior into definite channels'; it does not aim 'merely to give information or to determine the preferential status of something or other' (Morris 1955: 102). (Fiordo 1986: 7)
Now I have to consult "incitive" in Morris's typology, because it sounds a bit like what Kockelman and some others are writing about these days. In other words, it concerns the conjunction between phatic+conative, or "hodology" in general.
He once saw his oldest daughter naked in the 'cool waters of the lake'. Realizing she was ready for a man, Nababajou decided that 'truly no man deserves her more than I' (1976: 22). (Fiordo 1986: 11)
The mindset of a one Donald Trump.
After this brief pleasure, due to continued tortuous dreams, Short Arrow became 'small and tired all the time' (1976: 45) and made 'both of them unhappy and frustrated'. He saves their relationship when, 'in desperation', he seeks the advice of Red Stones, the medicine man, and tells him that 'no matter how great a man's power is it soon wears out when in contact with a woman'. (Fiordo 1986: 16)
That's sexist, yo!

Fiordo, Richard 1989. The semiotic SEA of questioning. Semiotica 73(1): 25-41.

The acronym SEA derives from the words suggestion, expectation, and assumption - features inherent in the formulation of any particular question in any inter vivos context. The terms are borrowed from Richardson et al.'s (1965) classic text on interviewing and questioning becaues of their descriptive power over the traditional terms. Questions that suggest, expect, and assume much would be termed high SEA questions rather than loaded questions; questions that suggest, expect, and assume little would be termed low SEA questions rather than direct questions. Figuratively, when questions are in high SEA, someone is in deep water. Direct, leading, and loaded questions can be translated imprecisely into and interchanged imprecisely with low, medium, and high SEA questions. (Fiordo 1989: 26)
Thus far makes sense. I wonder if SEA is in any way comparable to Ruesch's response, cue, and reward.
In Plato's Apology (in Tredennick 1959: 55), Socrates asks Meletus, 'Is it not true that wicked people have a bad effect upon those with whom they are in the closest contact, and that good people have a good effect?' and 'Is there anyone who prefers to be harmed rather than benefited by his associates?' (Fiordo 1989: 27)
I recall a social psychological study about how being around intelligent people may rub off on you. The company you keep, as it turns out, does have an effect on you. Not all that surprising to common sense, but there may be interesting research on the subject to look into.
Whether analyzing or generating interrogative discourse, the means offered in this paper are but heuristic and operational. Lacking the formal sophistication of symbolic logic as well as the invariability of its context, the discourse of interrogatives in action may forever reside in murky waters. Discourse in action poses problems. To researchers willing to draw eclectically and pragmatically, when possible, from areas such as theoretical linguistics and theoretical semiotics, these problems can become challenges, in spite of the untidy milieu of the practice of discourse. (Fiordo 1989: 39)
I didn't get much out of this paper, but at least some of these expressions seem neat.

Fiordo, Richard 1991. Time-binding and Native people: A semiotic interpretation. Semiotica 84(3): 253-273.

General semanticists use the term time-binding to refer to our human capacity and activity of employing signs, language, and symbols to unite or reunite with ways and ideas from our human past. According to Lee (1941), time-binding marks our peculiar human feature. He explains that we can draw from the past in and through the present to prepare for the future. This is possible due to the power symbolization gives us. Through symbolization the skills and wisdom of civilization can be recorded and preserved. In short, our experience can be 'accumulated, worked over, magnified, and transmitted' (Lee 1941: 4). Through time-binding, the present adds something to the work of the past. With the present come 'new possibilities, new searchings, new ways of looking, new experimenting' (1941: 5). In other words, through time-binding, humanity improves and progresses from the past (Korzybski 1921: 186). We get by with a little help from our friends from the past - our ancestors. (Fiordo 1991: 253)
So, essentially what Rank (1984) calls "vertical bonding". Since I noticed "time-binding" in Ruesch & Bateson's table of levels of abstraction, I looked it up: both Irving Lee's Language Habits In Human Affairs (1941) and Alfred Korzybski's Manhood of Humanity (1921) are available on archive.org
To grasp this in a context of propaganda, Jacques Ellul's views on propaganda are enlightening. He argues that propaganda has a 'concern with effectiveness'. Effectiveness is the supreme law of propaganda: 'ineffective propaganda is no propaganda' (Ellul 1973: x). Goebells said we talk only to obtain a certain effect; F. C. Bartlett adds that propaganda does not aim at increasingly political understanding, but at obtaining results through action. And Lasswell held that war propaganda attempted to win with a minimum of physical damage. (Fiordo 1991: 254)
It would appear that propaganda has the same relationship to effectiveness that information has to news (e.g. information that is not news is no information). As to Goebbels's statement, it's about as misinformed as Boaz arguing that we talk only to exchange ideas. Both have a limited view of the functions of communication.
Dependence refers to an interpreter's desire to be receptive to and dependent on the physical and social environment. Dominance indicates an interpreter's desire to control the physical and social environment. And detachment refers to an interpreter's desire to stand aloof from a frequently overstimulating physical and social environment (Morris 1956: 36-37). Hopefully, this sketch of the methodology of interpretation will suffice. (Fiordo 1991: 257)
In this sense Ruesch's approach is aimed towards dependence.
This interpretation of our scarce harmony with the absolute is akin to what the 'Romans called intuitio which means the ability to look into the intangible source behind the tangible surface' (Winkler, in Morey 1970: 51). (Fiordo 1991: 261)
That's odd. Peirce (1868: 103; fn) writes that "the word intuitus first occurs as a technical term in St. Anselm's Monologium." - that is, around the year 1075. Wikipedia on the other hand says that the Latin term inteuri translates as "consider", and "intuit" is a middle English word, "to contemplate". Even Wiktionary says that intuitio is a Medieval Latin word meaning "a looing at, immediate cognition", from Latin intueri ("to look at, consider"). In effect, intuition is "looking into". The part about looking into the intangible source behind a tangible surface seems like St. Anselm's theological addition.
Signs prevail; semiotic seeds grow everywhere, and the semiotic harvest is abundant. (Fiordo 1991: 268)
This high-level abstraction seems like as good a place to end as any.

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