Peirce and the logic of image


Peirce divided hypoicons into images, diagrams, and metaphors. For diagrams, he developed a logical theory of graphs: many-dimensional linguistic expressions analyzing meaning by virtue of iconicity of logical form. He neglected the logic of images as well as metaphors, however. Metaphors relate to non-standard meanings that combine complex diagrammatic representations. Images are elementary constituents of qualitative space. I will argue that the interpretation of images corresponds to the interpretation of non-logical vocabularies. This raises the question of whether images are also linguistic, in other words whether the simple qualities they partake of are the simple qualities of some propositional content. I will argue that Peirce favored a picture theory of language that takes images to interpret elementary characters of objects that constitute propositions. He did not ascribe images with properties of propositions, as that would have rendered them non-hypoiconic signs.

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The official journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, founded in 1969 as one of the first scholarly journals in the field, Semiotica features articles reporting results of research in all branches of semiotic studies, in-depth reviews of selected current literature in the field, and occasional guest editorials and reports. The journal also publishes occasional Special Issues devoted to topics of particular interest.