Interpretation of Nature: Peirce’s Theory of Interpretation

In: Contemporary Pragmatism

In his theory of interpretation, Peirce’s attention is drawn to the work of “mind,” especially its appropriation of signs. Mind interprets nature by using signs in every form of inquiry. Based on his three categories, Peirce defines interpretation as a determinate process of interpretations of interpretations. Communicative process thus means, instead of just being determined as an interpretant by an object, that the interpreter is determined by a “communicative effort.” In the communicative effort, for Peirce, temporal unit is the necessary condition of meaning. In other words, in order to mean something, the communicative effort has to be performed in a continuum from a past to a future. Concealed possibilities can be actualized when the continuum is “broken,” genuinely divided. Peirce truly acknowledges that the possibility can be actualized when it is broken into parts.

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