Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Complexe significable

Bains asks "Who was Gregory of Rimini and why would Deleuze refer to this almost totally ignored thinker" (The Primacy of Semiosis, p. 32). What is meant by the complexe significable, and how does this contribute to a logic of sense?

[F]or Gregory the object (or "conclusion") of a proposition is not self-reflexive. One's attention is not on the act of concluding, but goes directly to the meaning of the conclusion. What is designated is what is signified, and this is neither the extra-mental thing nor the act of thinking the conclusion. Ockham, however, reduces the direct intellectation of the prepositional act to a reflexive form of intellectation. Gregory understands "objectively" what Ockham understands subjectively, For Ockham, it is the proposition itself that is known–it does not lead directly to something other than itself ("only propositions are known"). For Gregory, the object of a proposition is what the proposition signifies–that is, its "total complex signified"–and the intellect gives its attention to this directly, not self-reflexively.

In Difference and Repitition (DR, 156), Deleuze gives a brief account of Gregory's complex theme as "sense": "It is distinguished from the proposition itself because it relates to the object as though it were its logical attribute, its 'statable' or 'expressible.' It is the complex theme of the proposition, and, as such, the first term of knowledge." Sense is extra-propositional.

(p. 36, endnotes omitted, my typography)

Bains clarifies a bit further:

Now what is the being of the complexe significabile, or the signified of the proposition? It is not a physical thing, but it is nonetheless aliquid (something) that is more than a psychological act. It has the being of an "object," esse objectivum, which constitutes, for Duns Scotus, the being of the known in the knower; and it will be Poinsot who shows how this esse objectivum can be understood in a relational rather that an entitive sense–as an interface of pure relation, rather than an obstacle or impenetrable screen between mind and matter. It is what Deleuze and Guattari will call the "outside" of thought, which is not the external world but rather that from which the opposition external/internal can even arise.

(p. 37)

See also Logic and the Sachverhalt by Barry Smith.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 10:12 AM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the'independent scholar' you're reading is 'Bains' (without the e) - but I don't think he'd really care.
And where is all this stuff going anway?

December 06, 2006 8:12 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Sorry, I'll fix that pronto.

I don't know where it's all going. This is difficult terrain for me. I'm really feeling my lack of background in philosophy at this point. I don't know if I could provide a decent example of a complexe significable and really think it through for myself. Well, I reckon I could.... Maybe I just don't have an axe to grind against propositional logic. If I understood the claims being made more clearly--and I'm starting too, but it's not easy--then maybe I'd feel like I had a dog in the fight. so to speak. At present though it still feels a little abstact to me.

In general reading is an adventure for me and also an ascesis--well, maybe therapy is a better word lately. I'm making a conscious effort to improve my reading skills, and to think clearly about what I read rather than get carried away or totally distracted by some other line of thought. I'm having mixed success. Anyway, that kind of exercise doesn't always make for the most effective blogging--but I'll be working on that too. Ultimately what I want is to experience things more fully.

So, I wonder, where do you think all this stuff is going? Did you see Smith's paper as coming from out in left field, or did the argument seem familiar to you?

December 06, 2006 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's easy in hindsight to say something - but it wasn't so clear to me in the writing of it - altho I had a strong intuition that there was something worth pursuing.
You can't cover everthing at one sitting - if ever!

Where's it all going? - I think the chpter on Deely/Poinsot and then Umwelten start to make it less 'abstract'.

In a few words the story moves from a discussion of the ontology of relations to Poinsot's novel claim that signs are relations.

The partic status of relations allows for a semiotic and epistemology (if you like) that escapes from representationalism or the 'skin encapsulated ego' to use Bateson's term.

Your inciteful point about the 'to' of the sign is valuable.

Peirce included the term person in one definition becos he was fearful of never been understood (his 'sop to Cerebus' as he explained in a letter to Lady Welsby, I think) -

In other places the 'interpretant' (or proper significate outcome) need not be a mental idea. It could be 'energetic' like the pulsing of the jellyfish (according to Uexkull). It is also Peirce, who almost starting from scratch, without knowledge of Poinsot, moves from the 'being' to the 'becoming' of signs

I didn't go into detail on Peirce's interpretant. Deely gives the 'best' account in his 'New Beginnings'.

Deely also seeks to develop Peirce's 'grand vision'' that the 'Whole universe is perfused with signs', by giving an account of a different kind of causality (extrinsic specificative is I think the mind numbing term he uses). He extends semiosis to the plant level 'phytosemiosis' and a 'virtual' semiosis.

Others will claim that the tick , or oysters, or jellyfish are simply involved in dyadic causal reactions - not triadic semiosis.

For example, Mario Crocco will say that the tick does not 'wait' for a passing mammal - it is effectively a living machine. For these folk an interpretant would have to have a 'brain' or rather a 'dielectric' organ - thus the impt. of electroneurobiology....and a clarification of the difference btwn mindful and mindless living beings. Questions which have, to put it mildly, considerable relevance today. One ínteresting development is the proposition that persons can have postmortal existence. They do not pre-exist their circumstancing to a partic. brain and body but they were not brought into being by it....and once 'eclosed' just keep on going (cos they're not 'in' time) - just as our 'memories' are not in time - or inscribed somewhere in the brain
But I seem to have gone way to far - relations do have this problem (smile)

Some of these issues surface in the book -partic with the discussion of Heidegger - and of course all this needs developing - but to develop it elegantly requires asking the right kinds of questions - which you are very good at.

Things can get quite interesting - for example we could have 'non-living persons (with an artificial substrate - Mario registered a patent at the British patent office in the early 80's) but a tadpole isn't a person - altho at a certain part of its lifecycle it is (frog).
I won't ramble on in this little box.
Where was it going? - to show that the question of relations and it's relevance to semiosis remains v. revelant to philosophy today and has had a crucial influence on the hist of philosophy.

I am no medievalist, and I no nothing of propositional logic (nor desire to) so I don't have an axe to grind - but it is not without interest that Peirce and Deleuze and Heigegger (and Deleuze's most visible doctoral student Eric Alliez all refer to Scotus and would have probably referred to Poinsot if they had known of him - but his work died 'stillborn on the press' largely for reasons of cultural and geo isolation.....
Anyway, enough of this - gotta brush my teeth

December 08, 2006 8:04 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

I wanted to delve deeper into Peirce's interpretant because I knew it wasn't always a mental idea that was meant, but I don't feel I have enough primary sources handy to really get into it. I'm looking forward to your chapter on Umwelten, which I'll get into tomorrow.

December 08, 2006 8:37 PM  

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