Peirce and the triadic sign concept

Peirce and the triadic sign concept

In this book, the evaluation of and criteria for the matter of toys or “the object” with which one can play, is defined and described on the basis of transferred and revised theoretical criteria.

Where, e.g. the literary researcher evaluates relative to “text, story, interpretation”, the toy researcher must evaluate relative to “object (implicitly understood as a toy), story, interpretation”.



With reference to Peirce, the tripartite nature of toys will be outlined in several sections of the book because toys and play are to be understood as a sign, in addition to being a symbol which is interpreted.

It is thus the sign, not the toy itself, which is the basic unit for study of play with it! The sign is information about the toy and information is subject to interpretation and is the same as a sign.

As earlier mentioned (see the triadic spheres of research within metaphysics and the account of the play triad), toys or an object/a case (physical or intangible) which are used in play can also be interpreted with the triadic method. Peirce’s (1902) definition of a sign is as follows:

“A sign, or Representamen, is a First which stands in such a genuine triadic relation to a Second, called its Object, as to be capable of determining a Third, called its Interpretant, to assume the same triadic relation to its Object in which it stands itself to the same Object.”

In other words, a sign is a triadic relation between three phenomena.

Firstly, there is the primary sign, which is the sign’s bearer or its appearance/form without reference to its meaning.

Next is the object or the case or story (material or non-material, physical or intangible) to which the primary sign refers.

Then there is the interpretant (that which is interpreted by the interpreter), which is the person’s or the system’s interpretation which expresses that the primary sign relates to its object or case.



As both signs and play are symbolic, I take the liberty in my description of the sign triad to include firstness, secondness and thirdness play.

It is, however, imperative to note that the play triad has absolutely nothing to do with Peirce’s sign theory. It is similarly imperative to emphasise that the sign’s (the triadic sign concept’s) three fundamental instances are not ontological and cannot be positioned in any of the three universal categories in the way I have “played with them” in order to construct the concept “play triad”.

A general sign triad looks like this:



As the figure shows, each instance is subdivided into two instances, an internal and an external: object/toy, dynamic/immediate object and the dynamic/immediate interpretant.



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