Skip to content
Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton June 1, 2012

Indexical Reference to Absent Objects

Donna West
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies


Tracking the use of index from early ages to later childhood reveals that indexical signs evolve from those in physical contiguity with their objects (spatially and temporally) to indexes which are used apart from the presence of their objects. An analysis of how recognition of the continued substance of objects, despite their absence, and direct reference to absent objects by means of indexical signs, constitutes a bridge from adherence to an existential relationship between index and object, to a loosening of that connection. Such analyses draw upon pre-linguistic cognitive studies, such as Baldwin and Saylo’s current work, as well as Bühlens deictic continuum. Finally, it is argued that Peirce's concept of index is not unlike Jakobson's-although Peirce and Jakobson require contiguity between index and object, such contiguity need not be both spatial and temporal

Published Online: 2012-6-1
Published in Print: 2012-6-1

© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston