Semiotica 2011 (186):333-346 (2011)

Sun-Joo Shin
Yale University
Many do not doubt that Peirce's Existential Graphs are diagrammatic, as opposed to symbolic. However, when we are pressured to draw a distinction between the two different forms of representation, we find ourselves at a loss and our intuition quite vague. In this paper, I locate fundamental differences between two logically equivalent systems, Peirce's Alpha system and propositional languages. Suppose we have only two sentential connectives, ¬ and ^. In spite of its truth-functional completeness, we don't want to use this language for the translation of English sentences or as a deductive calculus. We would adopt this language only when we intend to develop logical theories. That is, it is convenient to have fewer connectives for a meta-theory, but not for practical use. So, there seems to be a trade-off between a language with fewer connectives and a language with more connectives. This view has been accepted without question. In this paper, I will argue that this trade-off is limited to linear symbolic systems and that we could have a diagrammatic system with fewer operations but no need to suffer from problems like those of a sentential language with fewer connectives. How is that possible? A comparison between Peirce's Alpha system and a propositional language is presented to answer this question. The case study identifies the following unique property of a non-linear diagrammatic system as a main source of the discrepancy between two different types of representation: One and the same diagram can be read off in more than one way by carving it up in many ways, but without ambiguity
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DOI 10.1515/semi.2011.059
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References found in this work BETA

Semantics for Existential Graphs.Eric M. Hammer - 1998 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 27 (5):489-503.
Peirce's Graphs—The Continuity Interpretation.J. Jay Zeman - 1968 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 4 (3):144 - 154.

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Citations of this work BETA

An Application of Peircean Triadic Logic: Modelling Vagueness.Asim Raza, Asim D. Bakhshi & Basit Koshul - 2019 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 28 (3):389-426.

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