0031 Look to Reality: A Journal of Philosophical Discourse.
Visit the website.
Donate to its flourishing.
Read the works.
Take a course.
0032 Most challenging of all, hire a budding scholar to compare and contrast Kemple’s article “Signs and Reality”, in the journal, Reality, and Razie Mah’s Comments on Brian Kemple’s Essay (2020) “Signs and Reality”.
0027 Comments on Brian Kemple’s Essay (2020) “Signs and Reality”, available at smashwords, includes a story of a rot consuming the Age of Ideas, the third age of understanding. Modernism is frozen in its gaze upon a thing, an innocent thing. Certain modern elites hunger to financialize and harvest such innocence. Call it what you will. The yearning goes by many names.
In time, the rot will run its course.
Modernism will fail.
However, in this theodrama, the premodern Thomism of the Latin Age, the second age of understanding, may transubstantiate into the postmodern Thomism of the Age of Triadic Relations, the fourth age of understanding. Deely predicts it. Kemple aims to manifest it. Signs are real, just like things.
0028 This is not the only fissure to appear in the scholastic mirror of the world.
Shall I elaborate?
0029 Smashwords contains an entire series of commentaries devoted to the question, “Is Aristotle’s hylomorphism an expression of Peirce’s category of secondness?“
Another series is devoted to empirio-schematics, starting with Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) “Natural Philosophy” and Comments on Nicholas Berdyaev’s Book (1939) “Spirit and Reality”.
Several commentaries in the series, Reverberations of the Fall, expand on Aquinas’s breakthrough concept of original justice.
0030 These series are not anomalies. They are features of what happens when Thomists take seriously the very topic that they struggle to avoid.
0020 Comments on Brian Kemple’s Essay (2020) “Signs and Reality” tells a story and suggests associations between Kemple’s… er…. Aquinas’s terminology and the category-based nested form.
First, three kinds of sign-objects correspond to three actualities in a three-level interscope.
Second, three sign-relations couple the levels, so that each object may serve as both a sign-vehicle and sign-object. The only sign that does not serve as both a sign-vehicle and sign-object is the interventional sign.
0021 Here is a picture.
0022 The interventional sign couples the perspective and content levels.
The specifying sign couples the content and situation levels.
The exemplar sign couples the situation and perspective levels.
0023 Kemple specifically mentions three types of signs. These correspond to the character of the sign-vehicle for the interventional sign.
These types are nature, custom and stipulation.
These three types associate to periods in human evolution.
0024 The first two are discussed in Comments on Chris Sinha’s Essay (2018) “Praxis, Symbol and Language”. See this blog for the middle of May, 2021.
Early in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, natural events serve as sign-vehicles for interventional signs. Since hominins adapt into the niche of triadic relations, the sign-objects of the interventional sign, sensations and feelings, turn into sign-vehicles for specifying signs.
Later in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in,linguistic manual-brachial word-gestures serve as sign vehicles for interventional signs. The sign-objects decode the interventional signs according to custom. Specifying signs are trained by timeless traditions. Exemplar signs cannot be articulated using hand talk, yet they involve crucial adaptations, because the exemplar sign-object manifests as a commitment.
0025 Finally, after the first singularity, in our current Lebenswelt, the exemplar sign is able to be symbolized by speech-alone talk.
This turns out to be most problematic, since speech-alone allows the interventional sign-vehicle to be stipulated. Comments on Brian Kemple’s Essay (2020) “Signs and Reality” tells a story about a stipulation. The story also tells about concupiscence.
0026 The sign-object of the exemplar sign occupies the same position in the three-level interscope as the sign-vehicle of the interventional sign. This is significant. Thomas Aquinas’s theology of original sin conducts itself precisely along the circuit depicted above, as discussed in Comments on Daniel Houck’s Book (2020) “Aquinas, Original Sin and the Challenge of Evolution”.
0016 Comments on Brian Kemple’s Essay (2020) “Signs and Reality”, available on the smashwords website, examines Kemple’s work using the category-based nested form and the three-level interscope.
0017 Kemple presents three actualities: species impressa, species expressa and species intelligibilis from various texts by Aquinas.
These fit into a three-level interscope in the following fashion.
0018 Of course, one may contest these associations.
But, how else would these terms fit into the empty slots of a three-level interscope?
Perhaps, I could put in the word “normal context” for the normal context3 for all three levels and “potential” for the potential1 of all three levels.
But, that would not change the overall picture.
0019 Even more curious, these three actualities serve as sign-objects and sign-vehicles in sign-relations. There are three sign-relations in this figure. So each actuality may serve as both a sign-vehicle and a sign-object.
The interventional sign couples the perspective and content levels.
The specifying sign couples the content and situation levels.The exemplar sign couples the situation and perspective levels.
0009 Now, I regard Kemple’s article “Signs and Reality”, in the journal, Reality, and Razie Mah’s Comments on Brian Kemple’s Essay (2020) “Signs and Reality” (available at the smashwords website).
Is there a crack in the mirror of the scholastic world, as it reflects on res (thing)?
Things are real.
So are sign relations.
If so, are sign relations things?
0010 If sign relations are real, then the consequences of their realness cannot be denied.
This if-then statement applies to biology.
Are sign-relations so real that they are able to support a niche, into which some hapless creature may adapt? A niche is the potential of an actuality independent of the adapting genus. Could sign-relations, or triadic relations in general, be so real as to constitute a niche?
Consider the masterwork, The Human Niche.
0011 There are more consequences.
If sign relations are real, then a cultural change in the natural-sign character of talk may account for a rapid, inexorable alteration of a Lebenswelt. Does such a transition explain why our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in?
Consider the masterwork, An Archaeology of the Fall.
0012 Finally, if our current Lebenswelt turns the evolutionary progression upside down, elevating stipulation over custom and custom over nature, then how do we validate our spoken words? If the meaning, presence and message underlying a spoken word is stipulated, upon what thing do we staple our stipulation? How about this: If we construct an artifact, then that artifact should validate our stipulation. The artifact validates what we stipulate it to be.
What can go wrong with that?
Consider the masterwork, How to Define the Word “Religion”.
0005 Matthew Minerd Ph.D. pens a commentary that follows Brian Kemple’s essay.
Thomists currently exhibit an attitude when it comes to semiotic things.
0006 He notes (more or less), “For contemporary scholastics, the domain of cognition-dependent reality generally is a kind of terra non-considerata. Real being is ens naturae and is separate from the domains of knowledge, technical craft and moral freedom. These are entia rationis (mind-dependent beings) that, honestly, belong in the shadow.”
0007 How so?
The shadow is not the causalities inherent in ens rationis.
The shadow is the awfulness of the topic.
Look at the shadow side of the domains that Minerd mentions: ignorance (shadow of knowledge), incompetence (shadow of technical craft) and depravity (shadow of moral freedom).
It is worthy of financial support by people of good will.
Reality is the only journal, to date, closing the gap between Thomistic philosophy and Peircean semiotics.
Brian Kemple Ph.D. is the editor of Reality.
0002 He is also the last graduate student of the late John Deely (1942-2017), of fond memory.
0003 The essay at hand appears in 2020, volume 1, and covers pages 76-123.
The full title is “Signs and Reality: An Advocation for Semiotic Realism”.
0004 The issue is captured on page 115.
Kemple writes (more or less), “If we are to have a living, thriving realism, it must be a realism capable of dealing with the entirety of the real; not only the reality that we engage directly through our senses, but the reality we experience perceptually and intellectually as well, a reality comprising the relations and especially the sign-relations that constitute so much of our experience.”
0019 Second, I look at the confounding of the sovereign and institution levels of the society tier, implicit in Josh Hammer’s opinion piece, and intrinsic to BG(il)L corporate media’s use of the word, “expert”, in reference to a federal bureaucrat.
0020 The following two-level interscope portrays the first two levels of the society tier. The interscope for the society tieris developed in the masterwork, How To Define the Word “Religion”, available at smashwords.
0021 Here is a diagram.
0022 According to the first paragraph of Josh Hammer’s opinion piece, bureaucrats exercise federal power2b within the “bowels” of the administrative state3bC. They do so by filling in legislative ambiguities and authorizations2bC. Bureaucratic decrees2bC establish the order1bC that vague legislation2bC mandates.
0023 How do federal bureaucrats develop their rule-based protocols?
They follow their “guts”… I mean… their “experts”.
0024 Of course, the metaphors of bowels and guts point to digestion. Digestion nourishes the body. What body? The administrative state?
0025 So, I ask, “What if the administrative state is a body?”
Well, the body is animated by a soul.
What is the soul of the administrative state?
0026 Well, why do the legislators pass vague laws2bC that authorize federal bureaucracies to do what they deem appropriate in order1bC to achieve certain organizational objectives2aC?
They do so on the basis of righteousness1aC.
0027 Does this imply that the Congress confounds the potential for order1bC with the potential for righteousness1aC?
Yes, for the past century, Congress establishes institutions3a within the federal government3bC on the basis of righteousness1aC, leaving the (federal) institutions themselves3aC to fill in the details of the authorizations2bC.
0028 This confounding constitutes one of two types of religion. Infrasovereign religions are institutions3aC arising out of righteousness1aC and bounded by the necessity of order1bC. Sovereign religions are institutions3aC that require (and exercise) sovereign power3bC in order to implement their organizational objectives2aC.
The other type of religion is suprasovereign3cC.
0029 While Josh Hammer’s point concerns the manipulative use of the word, “expert”, to refer to a federal bureaucrat, there is a deeper current in his opinion. Vaguely-wordedlegislation authorizing bureaucracies to fill in the details2bCconfounds order1bC and righteousness1aC and constitutes the formation of a sovereign religion3aC. Such legislation2bCviolates the first amendment of the Constitution, forbidding the federal government from establishing a religion.
0012 From the prior blog, I construct the following Greimas square.
0013 Each word is a placeholder in a system of differences. Clearly, the word, “expert”, is not the same as the word, “bureaucrat”. But, the words are entangled, and therefore, the distinction is subject to manipulation.
0014 What are the key relational features of this distinction?
0015 The first contrast involves rules (A:B contrast in 1 and 2).
The expert knows the rules. The expert does not make the rules. The expert is rule-bound.
The bureaucrat makes and enforces rules. The bureaucrat is rule-following.
Hammer reinforces this contrast by saying that the vast majority of rules governing the everyday lives of Americans are made behind closed doors, by federal bureaucrats. This governance fulfills the vision of progressive President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924, President 1913-1921). The administrative state has grown for over a century.
0016 The second pair of contradictions (A2 to B1 and B2 to A1) involves performance and discourse.
Expert discourse is bound to subject-matter. The expert knows the rules of the subject-matter. Personal and organizational circumstances are not supposed to influence the expert’s advice. The expert is supposed to be objective (and, ideally, suprasubjective).
Administrative discourse is bound to rule-making and rule-enforcing. The bureaucrat engages in ministerial operations. Bureaucrats tend to be subjective, while pretending to be objective, and intersubjective, while feigning to be suprasubjective. Hammer highlights these points by saying that bureaucrats disdain give-and-take political wranglingand prefer the ministrations of an enlightened clerisy.
0017 What does this imply?
The use of the word, “expert”, by the federal government, for a person in its employ, is misleading.
The word, “bureaucrat”, is not misleading.
0018 Does the slogan, “Trust the experts”, sound as convincing as “Trust the bureaucrats.”?
Here is a good example of deception through the manipulative use of spoken words.