Brain, Behaviour and Extensionalism

patty pattyNO at
Wed Apr 14 09:37:27 EST 2004

David Longley wrote:
> In article <5fso70tum87hn3ojir4mdk290v6g8gjt9a at>, JXStern 
> <JXSternChangeX2R at> writes
>> On Tue, 13 Apr 2004 22:20:16 GMT, lesterDELzick at
>> (Lester Zick) wrote:
>>>> Frankly, I'm not sure that I mentioned any of these three.  I want to
>>>> agree with Peirce, but I'm a bit leary of "signs" as requiring more
>>>> intentionality than I want to admit.  That is, I want to derive
>>>> intentionality, not assume it.  I think that is the modern challenge.
>>>> OTOH, with the proper revisionist interpretations, there is a lot to
>>>> learn from the last 2500 years' work in semiotics.  Maybe.
>>> I haven't read the website yet but if we take the approach you suggest
>>> the only way to derive the signs is through analysis of the agent and
>>> the mechanics associated with that agent.
>> Yes!
>> Exactly!
>> I'm not saying it's easy, or even that I can outline the entire
>> process, only that something like that has to be the case.
> "signs"... "mechanics associated with that agent"............ Just how 
> much Pavlov, Watson, Skinner, Hull etc have you studied (never mind 
> Quine and the rest of the empiricists).

Well the "mechanics associated with that agent" might be something like 
The Rescorla-Wagner Model of Classical Conditioning - see
there is a Java program to play with ... also Sniffy the Virtual Rat
Semiotics is just the art of seeing the relation between marks, agents 
like the above running whatever mechanics, and objects.  Is there 
something to the dance of these signs ... how they interact ... the 
texture the history of their interactions produces.  The sign relation 
gives us a tool to talk about the texture of the dance without caring 
about the internal mechanics of the associated agents.  For example, 
note how, since we are on the Internet here, the texture of our 
interaction can be quite different than it would be were we just 
writting letters and sending them snail-mail.  For one thing the marks 
above between <> are to be clicked upon, other servers and programs will 
be interacted with ... they are not just marks to be interperted by the 
agent inside your heads ... other agents with other mechanics have 
joined the dance.


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