20221020183651 ⭐ preliminaries for an immanent semiotics

Preliminaries for an immanent semiotics

¶1. As already said in the transcendental semiotic, semiotics’ first, necessary condition for-us is thought. Only beginning here can we proceed to derive signs as a universal principle of which thought is an instance. Therefore, if we conduct semiotic work immanently, we must conduct it thoughtfully. By this, I mean that an immanent semiotic will proceed by considering its objects in their thinkability. This only means that, everywhere, a sign relation will simultaneously be a thought relation between thought-content-object. Thus, the declaration of any interpretant-representamen-object relation will simultaneously be a subjective declaration, since it proceeds from my own relations to my thought. These occur, as said in the transcendental semiotic, in-themselves as thoughts’ relation to itself (ie. my distance from the thought I had in the past, at the appearance of the object) and for-themselves as thoughts’ relation to their objects (ie. that thought had in the past about which I now declare).

¶2. This stands as an analytic, necessary derivation of self-reflexivity for any semiotic work. Indeed, one cannot “do” semiotics about an object except as they think them, for semiotics begins with thoughts. And there is no thought about which one can think which does not have its origin either in himself or some other person. Therefore, if semiotics is to be conducted Immanently at all, it must account for its origin point, namely, the concrete-historical person producing the account. No immanent semiotics can be a semiotics, I declare, without its self-reflection. Only a quasi-semiotics will result otherwise, one in which the origin point of the signs’ declaration is both obscured and deformed. This renders the believability and truth-bearing power of the declaration untenable, for it has foregone the transcendental conditions for semiotics, namely, thought which, Immanently considered, must be self-reflexive.

¶3. Now, whereas the transcendental semiotic derived the possibility of any possible semiotics, it’s necessary conditions, and thereby gave the accretion of such possibility into actuality, it’s sufficient conditions, immanent semiotics does neither. Rather, transcendental semiotics is the theory for the practice of immanent semiotics. Immanent semiotics, of course, has its own transcendental aspect, which was just described in sections ¶1. and ¶2. With these in view, immanent semiotics can now proceed immanently, that is, as a direct contact with its objects.

¶4. Immanent semiotics is, in one sense, an immanent critique in Adorno’s sense. It is, then, a Hegelian project of empirically assessing an object’s essence for its conceptual fruition. Does the transcendental essence match the appearance? What does the appearance indicate about this essence? How does the essence occlude the being of the thing? How does the essence pretend a concept it does not fulfill? These are the basic critical questions of an immanent critique. They proceed in enumeration as follows:

  1. What is the being of the object?
  2. What is its essence?
  3. What is its concept?
  4. How does its essence appear?
  5. How does this appearance become essential?
  6. What does the essence comport, truly or falsely?
  7. How does the truth/falsity of the essential comportment “confess” the being of the object?

These questions aim at revealing the total “content” of the object as consciousness experienced it. As semiotic, however, these questions begin with (4.), namely, the appearance of essence. Indeed, because essence must appear (cf. Hegel), it is here that the transcendental conditions of semiotics are immanently concretized in the aesthetic realm as a “this” in front of me.

¶5. Thus, the immanent semiotics proceeds upon the premise “this individual object appears.” Let this be called IS1. And because, per the transcendental semiotic, appearance is historical, IS1 immediately collapses into a historical premise IS2: “this individual object succeeded another, which it is not.” Hereby the distinctness criterion of transcendental semiotics is used. This, however, results in the question as to both whether IS2 holds true and, if it does, how it does. Such a question is the interrogation into the essence of the appearance - what is it that makes it distinct from that which is beyond it, namely, that which it is not? We answer this question first by looking to IS3, “this individual object is succeeded by another, which it is not.” Again, whether and how this is true is posed. We proceed hypothetico-deductively, assuming as our null hypothesis that the distinctness criterion holds good. Hereby we proceed to argue ad absurdum for the contrary - if the null hypothesis did not hold, what would be the consequence? Inevitably we must find the counterfactual to the null absurd, so that the null hypothesis holds. This negative work must be complemented by a positive work, which is to be pragmatic. That is, we demonstrate the transcendental efficacy of the object considered as individual. More will be said on this below.

Enumerating the 3 premises for the departure of an immanent semiotic investigation:

  1. This individual object appears.
  2. This individual object appears after another individual object, which it is not.
  3. Another individual object appears after this individual object, which it is not.

¶6. The prima facie criterion for individuality is mere presence. That is, it is the intentional content of the object as thought can experience it. Following the transcendental semiotic, therefore, we begin self-reflexively with the stipulation of a thought-content-object triad, IS4, such that my own experience of the thought, in its discreteness from prior thoughts is the criterion for the discreteness of the object, hypothetically. Again, this hypothesis must be demonstrates, both positively and negative. Now, the demonstration of IS4 proceeds as IS1, namely, through premises IS5 and IS6 to the succession of thought and its own being succeeded as before. Each thought is considered as a judgment, either copulative (SaeioP) or functional (S(O)).

  1. I experience the object as an individual thought with a unique content.
  2. This thought and its content succeed another individual thought with a unique content.
  3. This thought and its content are succeeded by another individual thought with a unique content.

¶7. Now, upon giving the 3 thoughts corresponding to the 3 objects, I must proceed to show both how the thoughts cannot be thought otherwise than as individual and that their being individual affords me a pragmatic consequence. For, if individuality is proven contra absurdum but not pragmatically, it is a mere formalism without content. The pragmatic moment of the demonstration fills individuality with content, so that the analysis is valuable, namely, as something which can be acted on. Anything professing pragmatism which fails such a criterion does, of course, fail the pragmatic maxim. The negative proof proceeds triply. First, I must show that the thought rightly judges of the object by showing that its contrary judgment is false. This I demonstrate as is convenient. Second, I must show that the judgment cannot be accounted for by succeeding or preceding judgments. Third, I must show that these judgments do their own work requiring their own demonstrations by rallying examples of the individual thought.

  1. The contrary of the individual thought is false.
  2. The succeeding and preceding thoughts are unique.
  3. The individual thought is induced out of examples.

¶8. Now, with the three thoughts in hand demonstrated negatively as individuals, my positive-pragmatic demonstration occurs triply. First, the consideration of the 3 thoughts must itself adduce a sign of a state of affairs, a reasoning to a hypothetical state (abduction). That this hypothesis can be given is the first pragmatic justification of the three thoughts as individuals. Then, second, the succession and its relations as an abduced hypothesis must be shown in other such successions. This, then, is comparative case studying, or proof by way of example (induction). Third, the consideration of the abduction and induction must be shown to warrant deductive consequences.

  1. Abduction of the thoughts to general hypothesis by their being considered as a sign thereof.
  2. Inductive proof of the abduced hypothesis.
  3. Deductive demonstration of the fecundity of the hypothesis.

¶9. Now, with the thoughts’ presence shown to cohere in a viable hypothesis, the object’s presence can be shown as such. Such work entails, first, couching the hypothesis in a relevant literature. Second, showing how and where the literature anticipates the hypothesis. Third, revealing how the hypothesis is immanent to the essence of the object which initially appeared. This work constitutes the explication of our understanding of both the object and the textual whole in which it was given to us.

  1. Literary citation.
  2. Which anticipates the hypothesis.
  3. And thereby reveals the essence of the object.

¶10. The final moment of a semiotic analysis concerns the judgment of the object’s essence in relation to its being and concept. To recap, IS1-6 gave the justificatory conditions for the object’s being considered as a sign. Thereafter, with demonstration of the negative viability of the contrary tought (IS7-9), the positive viability of the thought (IS10-12), the viability of the object-as-sign (IS13-15) all in hand, the object can be speculated on with respect to the hypothesis given. This proceeds first as a speculation on the being of the thing object in general, according to the hypothesis. Second, the appearance is recapitulated as an instance of that being, thereby displaying the essential character of the being as itself beyond itself. Finally, this essence is judged in regards to the hypothesis, instantiating the essence as either a good or bad candidate for the normative upshots of that hypothesis. Thus, if a character is an instance of a hypothetical cynicism in the text, the character is considered “morally” insofar as her actions and their consequences provide relevant guidance under a cynical hypothesis.

  1. Speculation on the object’s being.
  2. Recapitulation of the object’s essence.
  3. dialectical judgment as to the essence’s good/bad presentation of the being’s concept.

The final moment is decisive, as it simultaneously reads the object under the posited hypothesis and self-reflexively judges as to both the efficacy of the hypothesis by providing such a reading. The final moment here, therefore, immanently critiques both the object and its condition, the text, for their simultaneity. That is, the individual object must represent the general hypothesis, and the general hypothesis must be instantiated in the individual. This unity of the part and the whole is finally teased apart in 18.

¶11. A transcendental moment to this immanent semiosis may be given as a final concretion of the positive viability of the thought, it’s object, and its hypothetical account thereof. This final pragmatic moment is only the thought given in a maximal wholeness as its triadic consequences, given by Aristotle as (1) productivity (2) theoretical import and (3) practicality. Productivity is the aim of the whole semiosis and, as such, it is only recapitulated here. Theoretical import is given as a hermeneutic maxim. Practical import is given as a moral maxim.

  1. Productive efficacy - understanding.
  2. Theoretical efficacy - hermeneutics.
  3. Practical efficacy - moral action.

summary of the immanent-semiotic procedure:

  1. empirical object appearance (IS1-3)
  2. phenomenological-semiotic reduction (IS4-6)
  3. negative proof of reduction by contradiction (IS7-9)
  4. positive proof of reduction by pragmatic abduction (IS10-12)
  5. situation of the proof in the essence of the object (IS13-15)
  6. immanent judgment as to the truth of the object (“for-itself”) (IS16-18)
  7. transcendental judgment as to the truth of the object (“for-humanity”) (IS19-21)

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