THERE – Theory and Empiricism of Religious Evolution: Foundation of a Research Program

5. Communication-Theoretical Foundation of Systems Theory and the Theory of Evolution

To avoid any confusion that the interpretation of the relationship between representamen and object is a sign external subject, which uses the sign, Peirce coined the neologism ‘interpretant’. Human individuals are also made up of signs and—as an ascription in communication—nothing but a sign, and interpretants are not made up of human individuals. Peirce speaks “deliberately of ‘interpretant’ and not of the (human) interpreter” (Baltzer 1994, 360). Therefore the following applies: “Whatever process determines reference qualifies as an interpretant” (Deacon 1997, 63). Charles W. Morris (1938, 3) makes a clear distinction between the interpretant and the interpreter, whom he defines as a fourth factor of semiosis.

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