Mats Bergman
University of Helsinki
This article examines Peirce's semiotic philosophy and its development in the light of his characterisations of "representationism" and "presentationism". In his definitions of these positions, Peirce overtly pits the representationists, who treat percepts as representatives, against the presentationists, according to whom percepts do not stand for hidden realities. The article shows that Peirce's early writings—in particular the essay "On the Doctrine of Immediate Perception" and certain key texts from the period 1868–9—advocate an inferentialist approach clearly associated with representationism. However, although Peirce continues to deny the cognitive import of first impressions throughout his philosophical career, the new view of perception that emerges in the early 1900s indicates a significant move in the direction of a presentationist point of view, a development partly corresponding to changes in his theory of categories. The strongest evidence for this reading is found in Peirce's contention that the percept is not a sign. The discussion concludes with considerations of possible objections and alternatives to the proposed interpretation in addition to some reflections on the consequences and relevance of Peirce's turn toward presentationism.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1353/csp.2007.0009
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 72,634
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Putnam and the Relativist Menace.Richard Rorty - 1993 - Journal of Philosophy 90 (9):443-461.
9 The Development of Peirce's Theory of Signs.T. L. Short - 2004 - In C. J. Misak (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Peirce. Cambridge University Press. pp. 214.
A Misunderstanding of Peirce's Phenomenology.Joseph Ransdell - 1978 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 38 (4):550-553.
The Direct Contextual Realism Theory of Perception.John R. Shook - 2003 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 17 (4):245-258.
On Some Philosophical Accounts of Perception.George S. Pappas - 2003 - In Journal of Philosophical Research. Charlottesville: Philosophy Documentation Center. pp. 71-82.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Realism Without Representationalism.Henrik Rydenfelt - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):2901-2918.
Emotional Interpretants and Ethical Inquiry.Henrik Rydenfelt - 2015 - Sign Systems Studies 43 (4):501-517.

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Extra Qualia Problem: Synaesthesia and Representationism.A. Wager - 1999 - Philosophical Psychology 12 (3):263-281.
Peirce's Clarifications of Continuity.Jérôme Havenel - 2008 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 44 (1):pp. 86-133.
Bodily Sensations as an Obstacle for Representationism.Ned Block - 2005 - In Murat Aydede (ed.), Pain: New Essays on its Nature and the Methodology of its Study. Cambridge Ma: Bradford Book/Mit Press. pp. 137-142.
Peirce's Semiotic Approach to Mind.Vincent Michael Colapietro - 1983 - Dissertation, Marquette University
Prospects For Peircean Epistemic Infinitism.Scott F. Aikin - 2009 - Contemporary Pragmatism 6 (2):71-87.
The Scope of Semiosis in Peirce's Philosophy.Felicia Ellen Kruse - 1989 - Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University
Peirce's Early Concept of Reality: A Study in His Early Metaphysics.Chi-Chun Chiu - 1994 - Dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo
Charles S. Peirce and the Medieval Doctrine of Consequentiae.Francesco Bellucci - 2016 - History and Philosophy of Logic 37 (3):244-268.


Added to PP index

Total views
84 ( #141,587 of 2,533,691 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #199,170 of 2,533,691 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes