Rhematic symbols

According to Peirce‘s extended typology of signs, there are three classes of symbols called rhemes, dicents and arguments. A symbol is a general type  and its object can only be general. But symbols can also be interpreted as “qualities” or “events”.

peirce6There are many examples of rhematic symbols. In natural languages, the onomatopoetic words are good examples of symbolic analogical signs. They are dependent on the properties (e.g. phonetic, prosodic) interpreted as shared by signs and objects. For Peirce, “many words, though strictly symbols, are so far iconic that they are apt to determine iconic interpretants, or as we say, call up lively images” (NEM 4: 243).

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João Queiroz

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