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Innis

P h il o s o p h y
cont i n ue d f ro m f ron t fla p

to present debates about the “biasing” of “ This is a work of rst-rate scholarship and deep-cutting philosophy,
Making sense of the world around us is a
perception by language and technics, Innis also replete with important insights and fruitful suggestions. The author brings
into sharp focus, above all else, language and what he calls (following process involving both semiotic and material
seeks to provide a methodological model of Ernst Cassirer) technics by drawing upon diverse traditions—principally Robert E. Innis

Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense
mediation—the use of signs and sign systems
how complementary analytical resources from the pragmatism of Peirce and Dewey, the phenomenology of Husserl,
Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty, the work of Cassirer and Langer in the (preeminently language) and various kinds of
American pragmatist and various European
philosophy of symbolism, and that of Bühler and others in linguistics. He tools (technics). As we use them, we experience
traditions can be deployed fruitfully in the shows how these and related phenomena (for example, perception, action,
them subjectively as extensions of our bodily

Language, Perception, Technics
pursuit of new insights into the phenomenon agency, and consciousness) are at once fully embodied and irreducibly
symbolic. His explorations of linguistic and other forms of sense ought to selves and objectively as instruments for

Pragmatism
of meaning-making. be of interest to a wide audience.”
accessing the world with which we interact.
—Vincent Colapietro, Penn State University
Emphasizing this bipolar nature of language

Robert E. Innis is Professor of Philosophy at and technics, understood as intertwined
American and European Philosophy Series
the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Other books in the series
and the “forms of sense,” Robert Innis studies the

multiple ways in which they are rooted in and

Forms of Sense
The Primal Roots of American Philosophy: transform human perceptual structures in both
Pragmatism, Phenomenology, and Native American Thought their individual and social dimensions.
by Bruce Wilshire

The book foregrounds and is organized around
The Purest of Bastards
Works of Mourning, Art, and Affirmation in the Thought of Jacques the notion of “semiotic embodiment.” Language
Derrida Language, Perception, Technics and technics are viewed as “probes” upon which
by David Farrell Krell
we rely, in which we are embodied, and that

themselves embody and structure our primary
You Must Change Your Life
Poetry, Philosophy, and the Birth of Sense modes of encountering the world. While

by John T. Lysaker making an important substantive contribution

The Pennsylvania State University Press Penn
ISBN 0-271-02223-X
S tat e co ntinu ed o n b a ck fl a p
University Park, Pennsylvania
www.psupress.org
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Innis Front Matter 9/26/02 11:24 PM Page i

Pragmatism
and the
Forms of Sense

Innis Front Matter 9/26/02 11:24 PM Page ii

General Editors: CHARLES E. SCOTT and JOHN J. STUHR
Associate Editor: SUSAN M. SCHOENBOHM
Devoted to the contemporary development of American and European philosophy in the
pragmatic and Continental traditions, AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN PHILOSOPHY
gives expression to uniquely American thought that deepens and advances these traditions
and that arises from their mutual encounters. The series will focus on new interpretations
of philosophers and philosophical movements within these traditions, original contribu-
tions to European or American thought, and issues that arise through the mutual influence
of American and European philosophers.

Editorial Advisory Board

MITCHELL ABOULAFIA, University of Colorado • BETTINA BERGO, Worcester
Polytechnic Institute • ROBERT BERNASCONI, University of Memphis • JUDITH
BUTLER, University of California at Berkeley • EDWARD CASEY, SUNY at Stony Brook
• VINCENT COLAPIETRO, The Pennsylvania State University • DAN CONWAY, The
Pennsylvania State University • SIMON CRITCHLEY, University of Essex • FRANÇOISE
DASTUR, Université de Paris XII • PAUL DAVIES, University of Sussex • MIGUEL DE
BEISTEGUI, University of Warwick • GÜNTER FIGAL, Universität Tübingen (Eber-
hard-Karls-Universität) • RUSSELL GOODMAN, University of New Mexico • DAVID
HOY, Cowell College • DOMINIQUE JANICAUD, Université de Nice • MARK
JOHNSON, University of Oregon • DAVID FARRELL KRELL, DePaul University •
JOHN LACHS, Vanderbilt University • LADELLE MCWHORTER, University of Rich-
mond • KRZYSZTOF MICHALSKI, Boston University • JEAN-LUC NANCY, Uni-
versité de Strasbourg 11 (Université des Sciences Humaines) • KELLY OLIVER, SUNY
at Stony Brook • STEFAN GEORGIEV POPOV, University of Sofia • SANDRA
ROSENTHAL, Loyola University • HANS RUIN, Stockholm University • DENNIS
SCHMIDT, Villanova University • CHARLENE SEIGFRIED, Purdue University LAEB
• SHANNON SULLIVAN, The Pennsylvania State University • JOHN SALLIS, The
Pennsylvania State University • RICHARD SHUSTERMAN, Temple University •
KENNETH STIKKERS, Southern Illinois University • GIANTERESIO VATTIMO,
Università degli Studi di Torino • FRANCO VOLPI, Università degli Studi di Padova
• DAVID WOOD, Vanderbilt University
David Farrell Krell, The Purest of Bastards: Works of Mourning, Art, and Affirmation in
the Thought of Jacques Derrida
Bruce Wilshire, The Primal Roots of American Philosophy: Pragmatism, Phenomenology,
and Native American Thought
John T. Lysaker, You Must Change Your Life: Poetry, Pholosophy, and the Birth of Sense

Innis Front Matter 9/26/02 11:24 PM Page iii

Robert E. Innis

Pragmatism
and the
Forms of Sense
Language, Perception, Technics

The Pennsylvania State University Press
University Park, Pennsylvania

Innis Front Matter 9/26/02 11:24 PM Page iv

Library of Congress Cataloguing-in-Publication Data

Innis, Robert E.
Pragmatism and the forms of sense : language, perception, technics /
Robert E. Innis.
p. cm. — (American and European philosophy)
Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index.
ISBN 0-271-02223-X
1. Meaning (Philosophy). 2. Language and
languages—Philosophy. 3. Technology—Philosophy.
4. Perception (Philosophy). 5. Pragmatism. 6. Semiotics.
I. Title. II. Series.

B840 .I56 2002
121'.68—dc21 2002012189

Copyright © 2002 The Pennsylvania State University
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America
Published by The Pennsylvania State University Press,
University Park, PA 16802-1003

It is the policy of The Pennsylvania State University Press to use acid-free
paper for the first printing of all clothbound books. Publications on uncoated
stock satisfy the minimum requirements of American National Standard for
Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials,
ANSI Z39.48–1992.

and the ‘Information Revolution’ 203 References 239 Index 253 . Semiotics.Innis Front Matter 9/26/02 11:24 PM Page v Contents Preface vii Introduction: Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense 1 Part One: Framing Language 1 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 19 2 From Indication to Predication: On Fields and Situations 51 3 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn: Lessons from Giovanni Vailati 99 Part Two: The Senses of Technics 4 Technics and the Bias of Perception: The Tacit Logic of Embodied Meanings 131 5 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 167 6 Form and Technics: Nature.

Innis Front Matter 9/26/02 11:24 PM Page vi .

I have tried to indicate helpful parallel. albeit nonexplicitly. The pre- sent book. more formal than phenomenological. 1994). and contrasting materials on many of the themes and issues.Innis Front Matter 9/26/02 11:24 PM Page vii Preface This book continues the types of investigations into the forms of meaning- making undertaken in my Consciousness and the Play of Signs (Blooming- ton: Indiana University Press. Its deepest commitments. The present book explores the bond between perception and semiosis more concretely by foregrounding language and technics as paradigmatic and indispensable embodied forms of sense-giving and sense-reading. The books are complementary and independent ‘rotations’ of their themes yet are grounded in the same set of interlocked concerns. brings into dialogue and exploits the con- ceptual resources of quite different intellectual traditions. and ‘semiosis. like its predecessor. even on the perceptual level. are to the centrality of the prag- matist tradition’s rethinking of how to go about things in philosophy and to the philosophical relevance of a rather sober and appropriately configured and nuanced semiotics. There the main goal was to explore how the play of signification defined our fundamental modes of being-in- the-world and of giving structure to our experience.’ understood quite generally as the pro- duction and interpretation of signs. also like its predecessor’s. It is anchored in and exemplified by a deep bond between ‘perception. I argued in that book that the ‘play’ of signs is not a ‘free’ play. which occurs. in that sense. Combining descriptive and conceptual procedures. The literature on the topics treated in this book represents a kind of Mount Everest of scholarship. a dis- play of references that ultimately distracts from the discussion at hand by . Its focus was. but I have also wanted to avoid what the Italians call citazionismo.’ rooted in the actively striving body of an inquiring organism. supporting. Consciousness and the Play of Signs was most concerned with supplying a comprehensive way of thinking about the frames of meaning-making quite generally.

” is based upon my essay “Giovanni Vailati: Pragmatism and the Analysis of Meaning.” origi- nally appeared as “Peirce and Polanyi: Perceptual Consciousness and the Structures of Meaning. who offered me the chance to try out these intertwined sets of ideas and have.” which originally appeared in Differentia 3–4:177–98 (1990). Udo L. the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. 2:117–55. 289–99.” in Bühler-Studien. The Peirce Seminar. and the International Association for Semi- otic Studies have been fruitful venues for the critical development of ideas. supplementations. Achim Eschbach (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. the American Association for Italian Studies.” in The Peirce Seminar Papers: Essays in Semiotic Analysis. “Technics and the Bias of Perception: The Tacit Logic of Embodied Meanings. 1989). in the case of published materials. 1984). ed. both in my courses and in research. granted permission to reuse them here. expanded. and intellectual dues-paying that the main focus of the matter at hand becomes irretrievably blurred. “From Indication to Predication: On Fields and Situations. appeals for support.Innis Front Matter 9/26/02 11:24 PM Page viii viii Preface embroiling it in such a labyrinth of qualifications.” which originally appeared in Semiotik: Interdisziplinäre und historische Aspekte. including my stu- dents. It incorporates as an appendix materi- als from my article “Articulation as Emendation: Philipp Wegener’s Anti- formalist Theory of Language. I have attempted to keep the melodic lines of the argument clear. but they are themselves of sufficient number that I have adopted a policy of sober prudence when I was uncertain whether added qualifications. core portions of the chapters of this book have appeared (or been heard) elsewhere in preliminary and sometimes radically different forms.” originally appeared as “Bühler und Gardiner: Von der Indikation zur Prädikation. the American Semiotic Society. or critical attack were called for. “On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning. and thematically connected for incorporation into this book. Chapter 2. Chapter 4. the German Phenomenological Society. the German Semiotic Society. 1999). As a result. Figge (Bochum: Brockmeyer. “Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn: Lessons from Giovanni Vailati. ed. Chapter 3. Michael Shapiro and Michael Haley (New York: Berghahn Books. 4:531–61. I have been concerned with the topics of this book for a long time. Chapter 1. The basis documents upon which the present discussion builds have been substantially reconfigured. I want to thank all those.” is a greatly expanded and reconfigured version of . ed.

fuses. I want to acknowledge the generosity of the University of Massachusetts Lowell for granting me sabbatical leave just when the fat really went into the fire. and expands two essays. October 1999. “Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology. Chapter 5.’” draws upon. and expands two essays. “Cassirer’s Soft Edge. Semiotics. “Form and Technics: Nature.’” originally given as a lecture at the meeting of the International Association for Semiotic Studies.” also from Phänomenologische Forschungen 20:69–90 (1987). “Dewey’s Aesthetic Theory and the Critique of Technology.” draws upon. and the ‘Information Revolution.” which originally appeared in Phänomenologi- sche Forschungen 15:7–42 (1983). fuses. and “Form and Technics: Nature. Lowell. but without the subtitle. I am grateful to John Stuhr and Vincent Colapietro for substantial and edifying comments on an early version of this book. and “Aesthetic Rationality as Social Norm. that originally appeared in Philosophy and Social Criticism 11 (1): 67–89 (1984). Chapter 6.Innis Front Matter 9/26/02 11:24 PM Page ix Preface ix an essay of the same title. Semiotics.” which originally appeared in the Semiotic Review of Books 10 (1): 10–12 (January 1999). Finally. was flexible in making travel plans in order to accommodate unforeseeable bursts of work on the final drafts of the manuscript. My wife. Massachusetts . Marianne. Dresden. and the ‘Informa- tion Revolution.

Innis Front Matter 9/26/02 11:24 PM Page x .

’ On the other hand. as a whole. musical notation system.’ or ‘bipolar. it clearly has opened a new ‘access structure’ to the world. like the language we use or the bicycle we are riding. paint brush. bicycle.’ It intersects with ‘us’—the subjective pole. violin. it has seemingly become part of our body or our per- ceptual system. It has extended us toward the world in a new way.’ or ‘bidirectional. we discover on reflection. dentist’s drill. fountain pen. It appears. bifocals. to have become ‘transpar- ent. given us a new power of being. our field of consciousness. written script. and so forth—has experienced the strange shift of feeling that occurs when we realize that we have ‘fused’ in some ways with the probe.Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 1 Introduction Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense Anyone who has ever used a ‘probe’ or ‘instrument’ of any sort—knitting needle. hammer. algebraic formula. is ‘Janus-faced. knowing. The probe. the users of the . On the one hand. micro- scope. and acting.

all thought dwells in its subsidiaries. religiously. subsidiary. we subsidiarily ‘attend from’ probes. affectively. the probe likewise also gives a new ‘quality’ or ‘affective feel’ or ‘affective tone’ to the world. examined in many formats under the rubric of ‘tacit integrations’ and of ‘indwelling’ this felt shift and its epistemologi- cal and practical implications. is intrinsically relational. Dewey asserted in a remarkable formulation that. Dewey claimed that “without reference to the absent.Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 2 2 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense probe.’ whether perceptu- ally.’ nothing is a tool. This new quality often is only uncovered by contrast. On Polanyian terms. The same point is made by Heidegger’s famous analysis of the broken hammer in a much discussed section of Being and Time. It gives a new ‘quality’ or ‘affective feel’ or ‘affective tone’ to our experiencing that John Dewey made a focal point of his thought. In a central chapter of his Experience and Nature John Dewey argued that the systematic use of language and tools is the mark of human men- tality ([1925] 1988a. Michael Polanyi. who feel it as an integral part of our existence—and it points away from us toward the ‘world’—the objective pole that it puts us in contact with. It has a from-to structure” (Polanyi 1966. they would be the ultimate embodied roots with which human thinking is fraught. in a comment reminiscent of Heidegger. Hence thinking is not only necessarily intentional. motorically. what had become a commonplace topic—the problem of embodiment— in the tradition of phenomenological analysis stemming from Heidegger and extended by Merleau-Ponty (and later by Don Ihde and a host of oth- ers). according to Dewey. predictive. and . x). . with different means. Polanyi claimed. . This from-to structure. the philosopher-scientist and author of the master- work Personal Knowledge. A tool. Indeed. understood in the most general sense as ‘vectors. in all its forms: “[A]ll thought contains components of which we are subsidiarily aware in the focal content of our thinking. theoretically. being “the . is a universal feature of consciousness and the essentially integrative process of meaning-making with which it is identified. as Brentano has taught: it is also necessarily fraught with the roots that it embodies. aesthetically. as if they were parts of our body. He reconstituted. In Polanyi’s formulation. By reason of its bipolarity.’ while we.” As for language. or ‘transcendence. focally ‘attend to’ whatever they allow us directly to ‘grasp. taking off from some fertile clues from Gestalt psychology’s thematization of the figure/ground and parts/whole relationships. 133). anticipatory. when the course of expe- riencing is interrupted and has to be reconstructed. by an integrative act.

of all our mean- ingful encounters with the world. that is. my translation). prior to and embodied in our use of lan- guage and tools quite generally. that “all spiri- tual mastery of reality is bound to this double act of ‘grasping’ (Fassen): the conceptual grasp (Begreifen) of reality in linguistic-theoretical thought (Denken) and its material grasp (Erfassen) through the medium of effec- tive action (Wirken). through signs and sign systems. for Dewey (and also for Whitehead) the ground floor. from ‘American’ and ‘European’ philosophical traditions that are rarely in con- versation with one another. They study the nature. processes. and bring into relation. Both tools and language make. the chapters of this book focus on the ‘probal’ nature of language and technics as embodied in. and impli- cations of this phenomenon from a variety of points of view. is a qualitative matrix. primarily but not exclusively. the conceptual as well as the technical process of giving-form to something (Formgebung)” (Cassirer 1930. and material mediation. 52. scope.Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 3 Introduction 3 tool of tools.’ Indeed. through tools. . These are taken. perception. and as embodied forms of. the absent present. Cassirer affirmed. and perception in shaping and forming the various individual and social ‘matrices of mean- ing’ in which human beings make sense of themselves and their worlds. This position on language and tools Dewey was able to sustain without the slightest temptation to a universalistic logocentrism. Semiotic mediation. so to speak. They use and validate the heuristic fertility and conceptual power of a novel mix of ana- lytical frameworks. technics. in a remarkable parallel to Dewey’s way of putting the matter. Dewey’s essen- tially ‘pragmatic’ position is matched by Ernst Cassirer’s key ‘semiotic’ insight into the nature of ‘tools’ quite generally: they exemplify the uni- versal spiritual power and need for ‘mediation’ for human dealing with the world. a field of ‘tones’ and ‘affects’ that ‘color’ every activity and every object. the work of thinkers who stand rather outside the list of ‘usual suspects’ who come to mind when ‘European’ philosophy is brought into dialogue with a putatively distinctively ‘American’ way of philosophizing about issues of common concern. which would reduce all significance or meaning to the dimension of language. in multiple ways. to. We attend from them for attending to something. machines. They exploit for our specific purposes.” it is. in the deepest sense. In this case the common concern is the reciprocating roles of language. with lan- guage standing indispensably in the middle. go together. “the cherishing mother of all sig- nificance” (146). Taking their lead from these claims. or to some exu- berant glorification of the ‘technical’ or ‘instrumental.

G. Further. if such they be.Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 4 4 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense Language and technics are treated in this book as twin ‘forms of sense. consequently.’ paired up with Peirce. The various chapters of this book attempt. was the defining matrix of meaning. But. “Framing Language. A reader perusing the chapters in Part One of this book.” might initially be puzzled to see. Readers accustomed to pigeonholing positions and philosophical schools and traditions will quickly notice some rather unfamiliar faces and voices around the table. and mold the very channels in which our body-based perceptual systems grow and develop. into which we have extended ourselves. actional. Language and technics are alike in not just shaping but also growing out of their perceptual. Whitehead. by means of what Justus Buchler called a method of ‘rota- tion. who figure in varying degrees prominently in the following discussions. at best. are easily enough ‘placed.’ even if not uniformly appreciated in the ways I try to show. in Chapter 1. They have their ‘roots’ in the skill-equipped body of an incarnate human being. S. a variety of linguistic and technological embodiments.’ to throw new light quite generally on how the forms of meaning- making consciousness define. not perception. Karl Büh- ler. at least in Anglo-American philosophy? We will see in Chapter 2 that they have extraordinary pertinence in buttress- ing and enriching from the linguistic point of view any genuinely prag- . and upon which we must fatefully rely. They are also ‘forms of sense’ in that they shape. N. and social roots. they share a deep commitment to the paradigmatic role of perceptual consciousness in defining the structures of meaning. C. whose central philosophical contention was that ‘semiosis. Neither lan- guage nor technics. vast weblike systems of meaning-making in which we dwell. Michael Polanyi. form. qua tale. marginalized or relegated to footnotes. and A. have been allowed to crash the intellectual party. the proponent of tacit knowing and of the ‘primacy of percep- tion. An exam- ination of their work will show us that language is always fraught with the perceptual roots that it embodies. including linguistic mean- ing. But what about the rest of the cast of characters who take part in this philosophical play? The dialogue. with which they become inextricably intertwined. I think. H. as well as are defined by. Peirce. Mead. what can a pragmatist and philosophically oriented semiotic analysis of language learn from a reflec- tion on the work of three language theorists—Philipp Wegener.’ that is.’ the production and interpretation of signs. in fact. They may want to know why these interlopers. John Dewey. can be edifying for all. and Alan Gardiner—whose writings have been. is an autonomous system.

represents. or embodiment. technology.’ must not restrict itself to the ‘problems of philosophers.’ with which Vailati was familiar. that there is a Deweyan ‘philosophy of technology. inquiry. Peirce and Vailati.Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 5 Introduction 5 matist attempt to understand our ‘life in language’ as ‘action in a situation’ or ‘action in a linguistic field’ and not just as a free play of signifiers—a position they share with Mead’s deep and nuanced social interactionist project and with Dewey’s own approach to language. and throw sufficiently powerful light on. perception-based schema for studying the ‘spaces’ in which technical ‘form-giving’ takes place.’ or at least a Deweyan take on technology. but by no means monopolistic. the ‘from-to’ structure that grounds a general notion of meaning (and already explored with respect to language in Part One) allows us to develop a distinctively configured.” raise similar types of questions about the scope and nature of technological embodiment as a form of sense. and democracy cannot be separated.’ The chapters in Part Two. Moreover. is proof positive that a properly for- mulated pragmatism is just as ‘language analytic’ as the most die-hard language analyst could wish. whose work is an important illustration of the penetration of pragmatism into a non-American cultural milieu. we will see in Chapter 3. in fact. and not just a neo-pragmatist fad. It shows that such form-giving is first and foremost a productive process of tacit integrations that gives rise to artifacts with emergent properties. a remarkable instance of how ‘the linguistic dimension’ or ‘linguistic turn’ is an integral part of the inner trajectory of ‘paleo-pragmatism. “The Senses of Technics. including the artifacts that we ourselves are. Gio- vanni Vailati. as ‘criticism of criticisms. in ‘technical’ extensions of ourselves? As a matter of fact. Vailati. the problem of the ‘biasing’ of perception by our indwelling. In this way. And Vailati’s activist rejection of ‘mere’ philosophy parallels Dewey’s own contention that philosophy. Moreover. Can Polanyi’s supposed universal from-to structure of consciousness be applied to. has been powerfully and convinc- ingly argued especially by Larry Hickman (1990. had the same sci- entific and logical education before turning to philosophical and semiotic inquiries. 2001). an Italian thinker who died (in 1909) four years before Peirce and one year before James. Hickman has rooted his analysis for the most part in a serious reflection on the impli- cations of Dewey’s notion that there is a universal ‘pattern of inquiry’ and that progress in technology and progress in democracy are inextricably tied together through common foundation on this inquirential structure. .

But. is to have seen that all ‘form-giving’ is either embodied semiosis or defined by the frames in which semiosis takes place. there are both implicit and explicit dimensions of ‘technics’ in Cassirer’s great philosophical and semiotic project that complement as well as extend the ways of thinking about technology represented by Polanyi’s tacit model and Dewey’s pragmatist aesthetics. not only Whiteheadian categories that bear on the ‘civilization of experience’ (Hall 1973) but also key concepts taken from the critical aesthetics of Adrian Stokes and the anthropological aesthetics of André Leroi- Gourhan. which is clearly and most extensively delineated in Dewey’s Art as Experience. Semiosis as the production of meaning productively schematizes the types of spaces in which material production itself occurs. The argument of this book.Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 6 6 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense While I am in full agreement with this position. An Essay on Man (1944). proceeds in the following way. but would scarcely connect him with an analysis of technology or technics. to be brought into dialogue with. as well as Peirce’s. in fact. S. and novel exemplification. Moreover. . Cassirer’s semiotics tells us. These latter deepen and thicken Cassirer’s work just as he deepens and thickens theirs. but not restricted to. Chapter 1 takes up the problem of what lessons for ‘framing language’ we can learn from the paradigmatic role perceptual consciousness and perceptual meaning play in the thought of C. and not just descriptively. The focus here on ‘aesthetic rationality as social norm’ opens a pragmatist theory of technical embodiment. differentiation. This chapter studies some of the profound implications that result from tracing the birth of meaning—including. which Richard Shusterman (2000) has been so perspicuously developing. consequently. Peirce and Michael Polanyi. might think of him as a philosopher of culture or of the semiotics of culture. readers of Ernst Cassirer’s great trilogy on the ‘philosophy of symbolic forms’ or his later reconstructive summary. is itself the production of meaning—or production within the matrices of meaning-making. to categorial enrich- ment. Cassirer’s great merit. Material production. about ‘technology as experience’ from an aes- thetic point of view? Doing so allows Dewey’s pragmatist aesthetics. and reinforced and enriched by. what if nevertheless the best (though not necessarily the only) application of Dewey’s thought to the analysis of technology is really through his aesthetics? What if his focusing on ‘art as experience’ gives us an opening to think normatively.

with different analytical instruments. Alan Gardiner. But in one sense all signs and sign systems are also embedded in perceptual fields. and 6. These fields and ‘situations’—a term familiar from Dewey—frame lan- guage just as much as language frames them. There is no ‘runaway language’ any more than there is a ‘runaway technology. Bühler and Gardiner. with his notion. and social situations and fields in which it is found. Although they make clear. Language as meaning-giving. and Philipp Wegener.’ in a sense to be determined. that each sign type has its own qualitative dis- tinctness and ‘feel.’ and Polanyi. the complexities attendant upon and the point of distinguishing between . This is a theme that is foregrounded in Chapters 4. behavioral. paradoxically. cannot be studied apart from the total per- ceptual. Language is thought of as a ‘tool’ for use within and for disambiguating situations and as a system of actions. which Dewey clearly recognized.’ Our indwelling in language is made possible by specific types of abstractive acts.’ Chapter 2 argues for the heuristic fertility and philosophical relevance of the cognate language theories of Karl Bühler. Perception for both Peirce and Polanyi takes place in signs and by means of signs. Their mutual affirmation of the ‘nonautonomy’ of language connects their positions.Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 7 Introduction 7 linguistic meaning—to its perceptual roots. is not to be seen as a first and relatively impoverished step in cognitive processes that is surpassed by later steps. makes possible. on language’s perceptual roots. which focus on ‘the senses of technics. 5. throw new light on a number of central issues for ‘framing language’: how to thematize the fun- damental relations making up the speech act.’ help us see the ‘biasing’ or ‘torquing’ of perception by our embodiment not just in different Peircean ‘speculative’ instruments but in all our exosomatic organs or extensions. the premises and implications of a specific way of thinking about the constitution of the linguistic sign. At the same time. Their approaches to language foreground the semantic and social dimensions. with his notion of ‘indwelling. which language also. both Peirce. for them the problem of the genesis and structure of meaning is intimately connected with the problem of communication and communicative action. This chapter shows that for both Peirce and Polanyi ‘perception. however. to the main themes of Chapter 1. Like Mead and Dewey especially. both acknowledging Wegener’s pathbreaking studies. they show. and points ahead to themes of the following chapter. that not all ‘semiosic happenings’ or ‘meaning events’ are ‘perceivings’ in any restricted sense. It is not an autonomous play of signifiers over which we have no control.

Their treatment of these topics reveals in a rather startling manner the philosophical implications and bite of their attempts to thematize key aspects of the language animal and the remark- able tool it avails itself of to articulate itself and its world. and the concern with a comparative analysis. Giovanni Vailati is a faithful interpreter. according to Vailati. strengthens. both semantic and syntactic.Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 8 8 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense word-meanings and things-meant. our means of expression continues. how to model metaphor. at crucial points. And he shows us how we can assimilate it to a semiotic analysis of perception and its embodied forms. presenter. Vailati’s language-critical approach to language led him to develop his own version of a ‘rhetoric of suspicion’ that is rather different from the vapid neo-pragmatist position and procedures. both individual and social. an aggressively antifoundationalist philosophical program that had distinctive consequences for his approach to language. and their dependence upon. and deepens the theme of . (An appendix to this chapter discusses the ‘proto-pragmatic’ and ‘proto-semiotic’ work of Philipp Wegener.) Chapter 3 rehabilitates a practically forgotten voice—outside Italy—in the great pragmatist movement of reflection on the matrices of meaning. Vailati’s affirmation of the fusion of our intellectual powers with. the role of gen- erative metaphors in inquiry and self-reflection. This applies especially to phi- losophy itself. a common source for both Bühler and Gardiner and still an important resource for us. For pragmatism entails. Vailati developed. of natural and artificial sign systems. and the pred- icational matrix of the sentence. the combination of the descriptive and the con- structive dimensions in the inventory of language forms. This chapter selects and foregrounds the distinctive features of Vailati’s prag- matist project and confronts it. a central theme of this book. Vailati was deeply impressed by Peirce’s prag- matic (pragmaticistic) analysis of meaning and by its connection with the development of the experimental sciences on the one hand and of mathe- matical or formal logic on the other. a kind of radical conceptual surgery while admitting an open-ended development of theories and explanatory concepts sufficiently flexible and creative to deal with an ever-changing and evolving experience.’ At the same time. with its principal inter- sections with and links to Peirce’s and Dewey’s philosophical analyses: the revolutionary importance of modern ‘experimental’ science for modeling the mind-world relation. exemplified in the ‘grammar of algebra. as Susanne Langer also saw. as did all the prag- matist thinkers. Central is his recognition of the role of implicit definition or definition by abstrac- tion in our ways of talking about the world. and extender of the principal Peircean theses.

I show in this chapter that the ‘bias of perception. semantic. advances a new ‘rota- tion’ of the theme of semiotic embodiment. of comprehensive entities. too. along with his pivotal semiotic and aesthetic distinction between ‘indica- tion’ and ‘symbolization. of techno- logical production—so much so that “esthetic effects belong intrinsically to their medium” (197). Exosomatic organs.’ is based on the universality of the indwelling relationship and in the capacity of human beings to subordinate a set of subsidiarily intended particulars to the ‘achieving.Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 9 Introduction 9 ‘semiotic embodiment’ central to this book and shows the open-ended nature of the pragmatist project in philosophy. ontological). This is the subject of Chapter 5.’ as Polanyi put it. by extension. “A medium as distinct from raw material is always a mode of language and thus of expression and communication. which we will have looked at in the context of language in Chapter 1. just as language forms.” Dewey ([1934] 1987.’ their own trajectories. phenomenal. in effect. has. We become so fused with them that we cannot avoid being subjected to their operational conditions. a theory of embodiment in which the human senses are individualized and specialized by our ‘pouring of our- selves’ into media of all sorts. the system of ‘tools’ that ‘mediate’ quite generally between humankind and nature. This chapter studies the results. Chapter 4. art. are extensions of our ‘bodies. for discerning how our ‘indwelling’ in exosomatic organs of a ‘technical’ nature is also a form of meaning-making. The Polanyian differentiation of varieties of the from-to relation (functional. a form of sense.’ It also raises the ‘normative’ question of ‘taking the measure’ of this embodied meaning-making. one of three that make up Part Two. as all-pervasive as language. as already indicated.’ They have their own tacit and mate- rial ‘logics. Dewey. occurs beyond the conscious and explicit control of the perceiver and is. both positive and negative. Media are “means that are incorporated in the outcome” of any act of expression—and. It follows up and extends the analytical power of Polanyi’s model of tacit knowing. consequently.’ gives us a powerful ‘analytical engine.’ This chapter. and lan- guage is grounded in the fact that they are shaping processes. 287) writes. These shap- ing processes and their shaped products have their own rhythms and their own logics with their own ‘qualitative feels. complements and confirms the Polanyian exploration of the ‘biasing’ of . if we follow Polanyi’s lead. The parallel between technology.’ the reason ‘why we attend to the things to which we attend. This process. of placing primarily the grid of Dewey’s pragmatist aesthetic theory over the phenomenon of technology—that is.

into the conversation and shows how the issue of ‘aesthetic rationality as social norm’ is a theme common to Dewey and a group of other thinkers. 1999). But. focusing especially on the domains of ‘nature’ and ‘information technologies. This essay uses Cassirer’s semiotic framework to thematize the fundamental ways in which ‘technics’ builds worlds. Furthermore. Perception and affectively . as shown in different ways in the intervening chapters. 1999). comprising perception. in which he extended and applied the mature semiotic framework developed in his three-volume masterwork.’ To that effect. Polanyi’s perception-based and Dewey’s aesthetics-based analyses and critiques of technologically constituted forms of sense are completed or complemented by Ernst Cassirer’s semiotic-based project. is a perma- nent feature of human being-in-the-world. It takes its point of departure from his (still untranslated) 1930 essay. The discussion of Cassirer completes the ‘arc’ from the examination of the ‘perceptual. it brings other voices. 1925. the subject of Chapter 6. and others will be subjected to a critical reading in light of Cassirer’s comprehensive and nuanced theory of signs. inscribes—a pattern of intelligibility upon the world. lan- guage. the work of Paul Levinson (1988. Albert Borgmann (1992.’ ‘affective. embodiment in general. and semiotic embodiment especially. which is remarkably consistent. David Rothenberg (1993). The semiotic trajectory charted in Cassirer’s essay and in his other writings is precisely a movement from the concrete to the abstract. The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms (1923. from the realm of ‘sensible signs’ to the putative ‘disembodi- ment’ that occurs in the production of ‘mindful artifacts’ and ‘abstract’ technologies. It actively projects—indeed.Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 10 10 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense perception by technics but also illustrates the centrality of the concept of ‘quality’ in a semiotically informed pragmatism. and brings it into dia- logue with some powerful and exemplary attempts to interpret and to ‘take the measure of’ technics. 1997. The result is ‘stamped forms’ of every sort: from chipped stone to the ‘automatic’ processes of modern computing systems. David Bolter and Richard Grusin (1999). “Form und Technik” (Form and technics). and technics.’ and ‘qualitative’ matrices of world-building and meaning-making in previous chapters to the establishment of distinc- tively ‘semiotic’ frames of the form-worlds. as indicated. Technics is for Cassirer a distinctive ‘way of world-making’ and a multileveled ‘sym- bolic form’ in its own right. Chapter 6 explores and develops Cassirer’s analyti- cal framework. 1929). J.

Mead. semiotic and nonsemiotic factors in language’s diverse meaning-making powers and dimensions. Thus. and technics and the proper conceptual tools for understanding their complex relations that has driven the at times polyphonic investiga- tions presented in this book. and modes of . are by no means unique (see Bartley 1985 for the Bühler con- nection). It is dedicated to a development of new aspects of the pragmatist tradition and to a broadening and enrichment of the discussion on the philosophical side of semiotics.’ Furthermore. The semiotic approach to language that emerges is admittedly a rather sober sort. lacking the rhetor- ical gyrations and pyrotechnics of much of the structuralist and post- structuralist traditions and the hermetic and inbred character of parts of the Anglo-American tradition. and Giovanni Vailati are meant to show how rich the resources of rather differently configured ‘takes’ on language can be for the semiotic dimension in pragmatism. and meaning- making organism is ‘put into play’ by its embodiment in systems of lan- guage and systems of technics. Bühler. the book has a twin focus in another sense—besides the obvious focus on language and technics. as I fully affirm in Chapter 1. In this sense the chapters in Part One. “The Senses of Technics”—principally Polanyi. It is the ‘interplay’ between perception. Vailati—are linked together by. potentiating. form-giving. The great stream of commentaries on Wittgenstein has flowed to a great extent without any recognition that perhaps many of his primary insights. a common theme: the interplay of formal and informal. They help us ‘frame’ language (and language theory) in an epistemologically and semiotically sophisticated way and show just how it functions as a ‘form of sense. Philipp Wegener.Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 11 Introduction 11 charged perceptual meanings spiral out into and permeate linguistic and technical forms. The inquiring. “Framing Language.” on the language theories of Karl Bühler. They in their turn spiral ‘down’ into perception. All the thinkers whose work is mined in various ways in the first part of this book—Dewey. Peirce. Gardiner. and Cassirer but also a rather large group of pertinent but relatively neglected thinkers such as Adrian Stokes and André Leroi-Gourhan—give us the tools for getting a descriptive and normative handle on many new aspects of. and distorting it. Alan Gardiner. the range of thinkers whose work is mined in Part Two of the book. Polanyi. and throw a powerful light on. language. Dewey. shaping. Wegener. which all too often absorbs everything into an admittedly very powerful Peircean scheme. explicit and tacit. while certainly important and even essential.

within the framework of Peirce’s theory of signs. perceptual. aesthetic. Relying progressively on the work of Polanyi. Dewey. incorporate. admittedly in a different rhetorical mode. I want to show the descriptive and critical power of certain types of conceptual frameworks and systems of distinctions. it will be seen. just as reflection on them is sociohistorically structured.’ I have wanted in each of the chap- ters to show the continuing relevance of certain approaches to topics (not just or even purely philosophical) that vex us now. Running parallel to the method of rotation is. a method of ‘retrieval and continuation. Meaning-making. not all of them traditionally ‘philosophical. involving what Hans-Georg Gadamer in his hermeneu- tics called a ‘fusion of horizons. technical. As a result. are ‘language animals. Human beings. And these fields cannot be understood purely formally. and the claim of what. and Cassirer to uncover the perceptual. the chapters indicate the broad scope and cultural implications of the types of philosophical investigations that take with equal seriousness both the ‘primacy’ of perception and action. is situated in an open set of intersecting and labile fields: affective. the conceptual resources brought into relation in this book represent permanently valuable—even paradigmatic—contributions to our topics. and semiotic contours of ‘technics’ allows us to integrate. the book constantly ‘spikes out’ to a wide range of supporting or parallel posi- tions. is a kind of critical reconstruction and application. the ‘transformations’ of the sensorium attendant upon our embodiment in exosomatic organs or artifacts of a more ‘material’ nature. The organizing aim that links all the studies together is to indicate just where present theoretical options and concerns could be enriched by attending more closely to the resources and approaches discussed and exploited here. defined us as living . linguistic. it has been said. which is central to pragmatism in its many forms.” Aristotle. In short. and situate a range of materials that enrich what has become a wide and multivoiced discussion of the power and role of technics in shaping the human life-world in all its dimensions. They are sociohistori- cally structured. therefore. that there is no ‘greatest upper bound’ to meaning-making. consequently. has been called ‘unlimited semio- sis. My aim is to speak with the various positions about the interlocked set of themes that run like threads through the fabric of the book. in a famous formulation. The method.Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 12 12 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense describing.’ Taken together. called us “those animals that divide their voice. aesthetic.’ A particular way of doing philosophy also emerges from and has informed the various chapters: historical retrieval with systematic and theoretical intent.’ that is.’ Homer.

under which I include also ‘machines’ and the harnessing of natural ‘processes’ (combustion. Articulation is.’ Tools. This process of dividing the voice brings with it two other divisions. and even rev- olutionary transformations. of its ‘space. epitomized in the human hand. it could be said that paralleling our dividing of the ‘voice’ in our roles as language animals. as it turns out. It appears to have no greatest upper bound. indeed. not just the self-concept but the self itself— arises from and is carried along by a process of division or differentiation. the operative and thematic divi- sion of the mind or self that is ‘supported’ by these powers and systems. on the one side. B. social. The Discovery of the Mind (1953). giving it not just concepts but an ‘object’ to apply itself to—that is. as a paradigmatic tool. articulation.’ ‘extension. a body ‘outside’ the body. The ‘dividing’ of the world takes place in great part in terms of our language-defined or language-informed systems of intersubjective. It proceeds as a self-ramifying process of significations growing out of previous significa- tions.’ and ‘compensation. the power of the ‘rational’ word and all that this entailed in terms of the power to set things in relation or in order. The power of articula- tion is. that is. to do. a coming to consciousness of oneself as a speaking being. our very selves. We become so intertwined with these systems that they take on the appearance of being ‘the world itself. a process of formulation of categories and concepts.’ These three ‘divi- sions’ are inextricably connected: the division of our articulatory powers and the systems of signs that carry them. The power of articulation is the power of self-articulation. also the power of building an objective world of things and their relations. As Bruno Snell showed in his classic. on the other side. It creates the very pos- sibility of systematic self-reflection. Humans not only treat the body. the mind itself—and. and R. there is a corresponding ‘dividing’ of our bodies and our minds in the development of skills and the forma- tion of habits of action. the ‘logic’ of any particular form of tool-use spawning further articulations. using its own self-ramifying process of differentiation. Their use of tools is not ran- dom or ad hoc. and the division of the ‘objective’ world in terms of the ‘meanings’ that the systems of signs enable us to ‘access’ or create. for . These ‘extensions’ of the body divide the body.’ which has come under ‘the power of the word. Human beings are also tool-using animals. Indeed. They construct an ‘exosomatic’ body.Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 13 Introduction 13 beings having the power of logos.’ Arnold Gehlen specified the moments of this great process of ‘organ-projection’ as ‘substitution. not just the body’s work but also the mind’s. Onians in his equally classic Origins of European Thought (1951).

Although the book’s argument is primarily conceptual and is most con- cerned to develop new sets of categories. I will indicate in the course of the discussions points of intersection and differences in conceptual schemes and weightings. however. which makes them appear in a new way. every position entails a counterposition. distinc- tions. the proper way of ‘taking’ them. I am more arguing for than arguing against. descriptive. But. I am exploring. I have had recourse to a wide and at times rather unorthodox range of examples that both have engaged me and have paradigmatically manifested the point of the distinctions put forth in the book. the analytical. categories. I am not so much concerned to show who is wrong as to show what types of philosophical approaches are right. the tool ‘torques’ us as it ‘torques’ the world. and on the side of the world. In this sense the book has a double-bladed approach to its topics and themes. But my goal is constructive. and normative power of a set of overlapping and mutually reinforcing ways of thinking about our embodiment in language and technics as forms of sense. Readers can easily supply their own examples. are rooted in the matrix of the lived body and also constitute an external matrix for the body to find its ‘place. I am concerned to delineate the meanings of the facts. as will become clear in the sequel. it proceeds at all times with a close eye to illuminating examples and possibilities of interpretive appli- cation.’ This ‘intertwining’ of body and system of exosomatic ‘instruments’ introduces a variety of systems of biases into the human life-world. The ‘upper blade’ is a blade of concepts. which is ‘worked up’ by the tool. As a result. This occurs on both sides of the ‘tool’: on the side of the tool user. or fermentation). I am not concerned. Rather. to find out some detail that might be unknown. The ‘lower blade’ consists of exemplifying instances. who is embodied in the tool. since what I am primarily interested in are frame- works of interpretation. and relations that makes significant cuts into the subject matter with which it deals. Wittgensteinian perspicuous representations. then. It ‘inscribes’ itself upon the body of the user as it inscribes itself upon the body of the world. and attempting to justify. not polemical. . to estab- lish new facts. What I am arguing for is. To be sure. In short. that indicate the scope and range of application of my conceptual tools—indeed. I am well aware that there is a large literature on all the themes mooted in this book and also on most of the figures who have functioned as con- ceptual resources.Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 14 14 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense example. the types of issues and problems that the conceptual resources adduced in this book can illu- minate or put into a new pattern. what I consider to be pivotal forms of sense about the forms of sense.

Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 15 Introduction 15 So. by thinking about language and technics with the combined pragmatist and semiotic conceptual resources presented in this book? . our guiding question is: What can we learn about the forms of sense. about meaning and the roots with which it is fraught.

Innis Introduction 9/24/02 9:46 PM Page 16 .

Innis Part 1 9/24/02 9:47 PM Page 17 PA R T O N E Framing Language .

Innis Part 1 9/24/02 9:47 PM Page 18 .

relying on the conceptual resources not just of Peirce. See also Parker 1998 and Hausman 1993 for nuanced and grounded accounts of perception. where Peirce is brought into dialogue. where the embodied subject first encounters the world. and others. throughout. encompasses all of mental life. Cassirer. . Bühler. Polanyi. stimulating discussions of the issue of perception and its rela- tion to semiosis. within the context of Peirce’s philosophical framework and the reference materials cited there. Corrington 1993 has. even at the lower threshold of perception. A more extensive treatment of this theme. or sign-action and sign-inter- pretation.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 19 1 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 1. with James. Between Perception and Semiosis Peircean sign theory contends that semiosis. will be found in Innis 1994b and 1988b. and Büh- ler.1 1. but of Dewey. Husserl. albeit in German.

5). culminating in the world of pure rela- tions characteristic of mathematics and mathematical physics. Cassirer charts in great detail and with systematic vigor the ‘semiotic grammars’ of expression. for Peirce. which has theoretical roots in a branch of general linguistics. with key elements derived from medieval scholasticism. Ernst Cassirer. is wedded to a realist epistemology. Indeed. A fortiori. culminating in the ‘uttering’ of a perceptual judg- ment. 219–22) engages this issue under the rubric of “extra-semiotic” enti- ties. although it is a realism of a very special sort. Neverthe- less.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 20 20 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense Peirce’s central idea. including the primary stratum of perception. also think of Jacques Derrida’s poststructuralist project or of Josef Simon’s parallel ‘philosophy of the sign’ (Simon 1995). . perceptual processes. remarked. as developed over a lifetime. is a sign resulting from inference” (Peirce [1868] 1992c. on reading such texts. is a representation of some object by one’s present self . is that “the content of consciousness. what Elmar Holenstein wrote about the significance of structuralism. and pure signification as permanent dimen- sions of semiosic consciousness. representation. the use of the sign represents a basic tendency and form of thought itself” (1957.2 2. formulated at the very beginning of his intellectual journey and remaining active in his thought at its very end. 53). Kelly Parker (1998. that “the ‘sign’ is never a merely accidental and outward garment of the thought. Parker claims that Peirce in fact held a form of “extreme semiotic realism” (220). independently of Peirce though for cognate reasons. Although we might. then. 57). Peirce’s sign theory. for Cassirer. Perception. the entire phenomenal manifestation of mind. as for Peirce. He writes: Peirce’s theory of perceptual judgment requires the hypothesis of an independent exter- nal world.’ and there is no ‘reality’ accessible outside the play of signs. but . Arguing against David Savan’s characterization of Peirce as a “mild” semiotic idealist. with their critiques of all pretenses to get ‘outside’ of signs. writing sixty years later in the masterful third volume of his Philosophy of Symbolic Forms. applies quite generally to a semiotically oriented epistemology and theory of perception within which any language theory must be situated: they “draw our attention to the root-like attachment of the world’s subjective constitution to sign systems” (Holenstein 1976. already are sign processes. even on the perceptual level. . all access to the world is through signs and ‘meaning. Each dimension is defined by a progres- sive ‘dematerialization’ of signs and sign systems and a distancing from the perceptual and intuitive world. giving rise to and conditioning those further ‘meanings’ or diversified and multileveled streams of ‘interpretant signs’ that make up the course of life.

The pons asinorum of a semiotic epistemology that escapes what Dewey called “intellectual lockjaw” is found in this complex of issues. Their characters would not be known until that mythical moment. but the process is indeed describable in semiotic terms.439). both models and exemplifies fundamental aspects of the field of consciousness as such within which language and all sign sys- tems function. that perception. I flip a light switch and experience a loud pop and darkness rather than the expected bright light. but they must be something independent of their representation: existence has the special characteristic ‘of being absolutely determinate’ (CP 6. The following discussion proceeds in full awareness of the alternatives and their implications. Now what gets represented in a perceptual judgment often comes without any warning. I will be concerned more the- matically with paleo-pragmatism’s linguistic turn in Chapter 3. our knowledge of these characters very well might be radically mistaken” (221). Parker does not think that when Savan argues that “Peirce’s alleged ‘mild semiotic idealism’ makes the characters (though not the existence) of the extra-semiotic world depend on the sign-system” (221). Parker thinks that on Peircean principles we have to “embrace the metaphysical hypothesis that there is indeed a system of individual enduring things. acritical process. and make their presence known in unexpected intrusions into the semiotic flow of cognition” (220). albeit differently formulated. I have no control over the process by which I represent these phenomena to myself. I have tried to show more extensively how to mediate between these at times razor-sharp or subtle alternatives in Innis 1994b. he argues. Until the end of semiosis and the realization of a per- fect symbol. as a tacit. which interprets the object as a perceived event: ‘In a perceptual judgment the mind professes to tell the mind’s future self what the character of the pre- sent percept is’ (CP 7. 140–93) helpfully speaks of Peirce’s “evo- lutionary realism” and clearly foregrounds the relations between Peirce’s pragmaticism and his semiotic (57–93). which exist independently of semiosis. is depen- dent on the fact that “some parts of this world may not be incorporated into any sign until the end of semiosis. Polanyi has definitively shown. where the aesthetic dimension is also brought into the discussion. we have enough of a qualification to ensure the “truth” of the perceptual judgment. which. though I am not happy with the putative need to pin on Peirce a label that is too closely wedded to traditional attempts to construct a theory of knowl- edge. (220) The problem is clearly presented and raises the question of just how we are to think of ‘what exists independently’ of semiosis.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 21 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 21 In spite of a quite different starting point and conceptual apparatus. I have explored this notion at length in chapter 4 of Innis 1994b. in my opinion.630). 3. Polanyi’s account adds new features to the Peircean model and unfolds some of its implications in novel and more explicit ways. Hausman (1993. and enters the stream of cognition contrary to all expecta- tion.3 It is one of the deepest common insights. con- nected through dyadic reactions. Michael Polanyi has given under the rubric of ‘tacit knowing’ a comple- mentary ‘realist’ and ‘inferential’ account of perception and of the struc- ture and genesis of perceptual meaning that intersects at key points with Peircean sign theory. A properly focused philosophical semiotics perhaps will explode the whole list of alterna- tives. of the Peircean and Polanyian positions that ‘perception’ is to one’s future self. Evolutionary realism is brought into dialogue with analytic philosophy’s ver- sion of the linguistic turn in the final chapter of Hausman’s book. . These extra-semiotic individuals are the dynamical object of my perceptual judgment.

the structures discerned in perception are both extended into the systems of expressions and define the basic parameters of our dwelling in and use of them. Polanyi’s account of perception is embedded in his comprehensive attempt to develop an account of the ‘tacit logic of consciousness.’ based on a logic of tacit inference. 145). While admitting a certain ‘primacy of perception. “the logic of language itself—the way language is used—remains tacit. 160). In fact. Little of our mind lives in our natural body. Indeed.’ “All human thought comes into existence by grasping the meaning and mas- tering the use of language. While. Personal Knowledge (1958). In one sense. to be sure.’ broadly understood. This thoroughgoing inferential focus he shares with Peirce.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 22 22 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense both an instance and an exemplar of semiosis or meaning-making. they nevertheless do not con- stitute an autonomous ‘layer’ of meaning or sense applied like a veneer to a perceptual field that otherwise remains the same. Polanyi is thus able to affirm a kind of continuity from ‘perception. in Merleau-Ponty’s words. and many essays. “the contingent arrangement by which materials begin to have meaning in our presence.’ Polanyi also seemingly paradoxically affirms the centrality or pivotal nature of language and other meaning-carrying systems as vehicles of the distinctively human ‘world-building’ process of ‘articulation. Nevertheless. though many of its main theses were already foreshadowed in his indis- pensable classic. 206–7). language and other formal systems involve a kind of ‘break’ with perception. for both of them perception—or the perceptual stratum—is the matrix and condition of all ‘later’ or ‘higher’ semiosic events such as lan- guage and art. a truly human intellect dwells in us only when our lips shape words and our eyes read print” (Polanyi [1962] 1969e. Not only does speech have “the fundamental structure of all meaningful uses of . intelligibility in the nascent state” (1983. His last work. Peirce and Polanyi offer us powerful analytical tools for ‘placing’ the emergence of meaning and for under- standing. tried to show this in detail. it is easy to see that the structure of tacit knowing contains a general theory of meaning which applies also to language” (Polanyi [1964] 1969c. appropriately entitled Meaning (1975). which drive the expanding spiral of semioses and the con- struction of those webs of signs by means of which we ‘articulate’ both ourselves and our worlds and are enabled to double back on ourselves and control and evaluate our conduct. for Polanyi. to the highest reaches of formalization. It is precisely in the essentially tension-filled cooperation between the ‘tacit’ and the ‘explicit’ that mental growth and the cognitive mapping of the world is effected.

a major point of connection between his work and Polanyi’s. Polanyi ‘reads’ language in terms of perception. and what types of categories. primarily on the paradigmatic role perceptual con- sciousness and perceptual meaning plays in their thought and will try to indicate. as we shall see. which is itself ‘read’ in terms of meaning. occupies a fundamental role in Peirce’s epistemology” (1985. by a formalism. the introduction of novelty in a chain of rea- soning. which normally is aided. . 151) and that such a theory must be “phenomenologically plausible” (155). where perception is assimilated to abductive or ampliative inference. In the space of a single chapter I cannot undertake a comprehensive and detailed comparison of the work of Peirce and Polanyi. . observations. and. Abductive inference shades into perceptual judgment without any sharp line of demarcation between them. are the essential descriptive features of Peirce’s theory. or. We thus have a kind of Polanyian analogue to the Peircean notion of semiotic closure. are to be regarded as an extreme case of abductive inferences. as already indicated. 181). 2. Peirce on the Perceptual Matrix Christopher Hookway has rightly noted that “the theory of perception . but this structure is perspicuously and exemplarily present in perception. the perceptual judgments. our first premisses. we will see that a reflection on the structures and processes of perception and the generation of perceptual meaning reveals permanent and eminently accessible truths about the most funda- mental features of the production and appropriation of meaning quite generally and upon the work specific to language and other expression systems. then. What. that is. Rather than ‘read’ perception in terms of language. What can we learn from Peirce and Polanyi about perceptual meaning and its structures? Rather than see ‘perception’ as a first and relatively impoverished step in cognitional processes that is ‘surpassed’ by ‘later’ steps. I will focus. from which they differ in . schematically and allusively. is formulated in the following text. and distinctions does he adduce? The pivot of Peirce’s account of perception. some of the profound implications that result from tracing the birth of meaning—including linguistic mean- ing—to its perceptual roots. in other words.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 23 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 23 consciousness in animals and men” (Polanyi [1967] 1969d. indeed supported.

First. . .4 In this sense Peirce develops a ‘holistic’ approach to perception that restores to us. on Peircean principles.’ to speak in Deweyan language. It is an act of insight. It shows how the whole history of a life may be mediately present in the latest infinitesimal cognition. ‘interrupted’ and imbalanced by altersense and set into ‘intentional motion’ by reason of our being put into a ‘situation of perplexity. The infinitesimal account shows that in fact these are two sides of the same coin.g..Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 24 24 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense being absolutely beyond criticism. As Martin Heidegger. in the appearances of things. Rather we hear the storm 4. the commonsense world of perception and avoids the psycholo- gist’s fallacy to which talk of ‘sense-data’ and ‘primitive givens’ is subject. was reading Peirce in German shortly before his death). first and foremost conscious of is not a somat- ically mediated and atomistically presented sensory array as such but the patterns. 5. has laconically noted: We never really first perceive a throng of sensations. (Peirce 1958 [hereafter CP. The abductive suggestion comes to us in a flash. But what we are. . Vincent Colapietro (1989) has given a fine and sensitive treatment of how to think about the self in Peircean terms. 125). orders. nev- ertheless.181) What induces for Peirce the abductive inference or perceptual judg- ment? We find ourselves inserted into a world through our bodies and accessing the world through a dynamically oriented sensory system that is impinged upon in multiple ways. with many references to unpublished manuscripts. Kelly Parker (1998. It is true that the different elements of the hypothesis were in our minds before. tones and noises. a thinker seemingly far from Peirce (but who. but it is the idea of putting together what we had never before dreamed of putting together which flashes the new suggestion before our contempla- tion. writes: With this account of consciousness. although of an extremely fallible insight. . the notion that ideas and perceptions are individual atomic data is destroyed by Peirce’s insistence that the act of cognition or perception is an infinitesimal part of a continuous thought process. with great sophisti- cation. cited by volume and paragraph number]. speaking of Peirce’ account of consciousness as a sequence of infinitesimal cognitions. and structures in it. Peirce eliminated several of the major flaws that attend prevalent accounts of the continuity of the self. and to the faculty that unifies the whole history of a life. e. Sec- ond. an implicit ambiguity in the term ‘consciousness’ has been cleared up: ‘conscious- ness’ is commonly taken to refer both to immediate awareness in the present.

Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 25 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 25 whistling in the chimney.e. as human beings we begin and develop our cognitive engage- ment with the world normally from within. We hear the door shut in the house and never hear acoustical sensations or even mere sounds. indeed models. 26) In her helpful and provocative Charles Peirce’s Pragmatic Pluralism San- dra Rosenthal remarks that “what we ordinarily perceive.” which are the starting points of inquiry as it unfolds in its articulate phases: linguis- tically. At the same time. and self-moving organism needs to disaggregate the global manifold. potentiated. by lan- guage and other expression systems. and by learning to avail our- selves of. between the image of synthesis. The reliance on the category of synthesis stems from his Kantian background. crystallized. i. patterns. scientifically. listen abstractly. it finds itself living in an already linguistically prestructured world where ‘cuts’ have already been made in the ‘sea of indeterminacy’ within which we live. and this process. or grasp the ‘fittingness’ of. a system of already accomplished cuts and their relational contexts. Much closer to us than all sensations are the things themselves. in being appropriated to or caught up in its sur- rounding language and other expression systems.’ indeed what Peirce called the “parish of percepts. while the emphasis on segmentation arises from multiple sources. and the image of segmentation. mathematically.. especially James but also from Peirce’s deep-seated synechism or commitment to the metaphysical ultimacy of continuity. Peirce accepted from James the notion that the inquiring. divert our ear from them. with rather different effect. resembles. marked by continuity. we hear the Mercedes in immediate distinction from the Volkswagen. On the Peircean position. the more explicit and differentiated process of hypothesis formation or abductive inference. perplexed. Perception for Peirce is the work of . Peirce’s account of perception oscillates. 55). the traditional cuts and to make further modified cuts. and induced. aesthetically. Perceptual judgments are first cuts that are stabilized. Within the ‘cut world’ we find it necessary both to ‘realize’ for ourselves. we hear the three-motored plane. of the production of a novel unity and focus within experience. what instigates action in the ongoing course of experience. that it finds itself not so much over against as within. and orders are the ‘percepts. These objects. are not appearances but appearing objects” (1994. In order to hear a bare sound we have to listen away from things. whether exemplified in the recog- nition of types and qualitative unities or in the application of a term. (1975.

as the making known or the appearing of the perceptual object. its tapering writing point. since I can determine by feel that the pencil is made of wood. But the ability to hold this ‘de-fined’ unit together is. corresponding to the concept. For Peirce.132. Peirce writes that “to predi- cate a concept of a real or imaginary object is equivalent to declaring that a certain operation. however. The recog- nition of the objectivity of the percept. Let us take a simple illustration. adding to the visual features now tactile and motor elements. if performed upon that object would . separated off—that is. explicitly conscious of synthesizing the features of the perceived pencil into a unity: its linearity.’ Now. is the inter- .’ In Jamesian terms it is a thematic unity within a field that itself fades off into an indefinite margin. however. Thus. its hexagonal shape. on Peircean terms. be followed by a definite general description” (CP 6. by being able to reach out and take up the pencil and to write with it. I determine my percept as veridical. a synthesis that proceeds by distinguishing the object from all other objects in the field such that I can ‘re-cognize’ it. with internal structures. . is manifested in both the continuity and law- ful sequence of the modes in which the object. and that the imple- mentation of its balance by its being long enough to fit in one’s hand is matched by the ‘expected’ weight of the pencil when it is taken up and inserted into the writing task at hand. the metal band holding the green eraser. segmented—from the field where it has its own ‘place. The percept. Unity-in-diversity or wholes composed of ‘parts’ must be ‘held together’ or must have been ‘brought together’ by some ‘act’ or ‘process. ‘Being a pencil’ is rooted in the felt unity of the percept. manifests itself in our future experience. 29). but also in our intrinsically hazardous ‘practical’ commitment of ourselves to comport ourselves toward it in confident and lawlike ways. Perception. ‘percepts’ on the Peircean position are the interpretant- signs in and by means of which physical objects are known. covered with glossy paint. .Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 26 26 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense synthesis because the perceptual field is characterized by the appearing of unities or ordered wholes that are themselves complexes. I am not. see Rosenthal 1994. its veridical character and its power to reveal its object. as conceived. the ‘logical status’ of a perceptual judgment is defined by these two experiential or pragmatic marks. contains implicitly or commits us to a description. and ‘it is a pen- cil’ is our linguistic expression of the perceptual judgment. It is a distinct unit in the global perceptual field. effected in the perceptual judgment. While writing at my desk I ‘see’ my pencil with the green eraser or at least that part of it that is not covered by a book.

and an anticipation that the per- cept will continue to reveal the perceptual object in the future. the formulation of a ‘type’ that allows us to recognize ‘tokens. in this sense is ‘opera- tive. For Peirce the percept is the interpretant of a preceding set of percep- tual ‘signs’ that may or may not be consciously accessible. or coalesces in.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 27 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 27 pretant sign of the object. involves reliance on pregiven perceptual categories that are carried over into the percept. In such cases we experience a shift over which we have no control. a point that Polanyi also makes. the perceptual field. antecept. for Peirce. what is undergone is the continuous process of encountering already synthesized complexes or internally differentiated unities in the continuous flow of experiencings. in this sense. and ponecept” (CP 7.’ the formation of unities in the life-world without the cognitive elaborations and explicit positings of a thematically objectifying ego.’ But. or the meaning of. 36). antecipuum. There is a dialectic of remembered percept and anticipated percept within the formation of the present percept. the habitual and acritical nature of perceptual processes cloaks the gene- sis of original sense when a novel unity is constituted in.’ but not ‘thematic. in any attempts to ‘think it away’ or to misuse it.’ resembling in many ways Husserl’s account of ‘passive genesis. This meaning must be prior to the very possibility of denotable instances” (Rosenthal 1994. though not in such terms. a kind of anteception. and hence an instance of thirdness. which marks it as a kind of thing or type and that opposes us. Rosenthal writes that the “percep- tual meaning is an organization of characters by which one intends the meaning of an object as that to which essential properties must apply and to which nonessential properties may or may not apply. Perception is for Peirce something that is first and foremost ‘under- gone. and ponecipuum are “the direct and uncontrollable interpretations of percept. as a secondness. As Peirce puts it. Of course. We find ourselves caught up in a series of ‘events’ or ‘outcomes’ that involve no explicit conscious control but that nevertheless bear witness to a functioning spontaneity. a sense of things coming together that we then ‘recog- nize’ as having happened.’ Now we find out what the premises leading to the abductively arrived-at perceptual meaning are or . indeed. The percept is.’ to be sure. a kind of poneception. and these two types of applicability are built into the very sense of. per- cipuum. and is defined by its distinctive ‘quality’ or firstness. the concepts by which we delineate a world of perceptual objects. It is an ‘open’ meaning. The case of perceiving a ‘pencil. Perception.648). paradoxically. the meaning of the preceding signs as well as the conclusion of a set of pos- sibly and often inaccessible premises.

moreover. This reflection is demanded by the very norms of coherent or consistent action or con- duct. Peirce claims that the eruption of meaning in the perceptual field is a “subconscious process” not subject to logical analysis (CP 5. be reflected on or criticized. . The inferential process involves typification and a kind of abduc- tively effected ‘migration of properties’ from object to object in a continuous process that we are forced. and must. This would make nonsense of his critical commonsensism or prag- matic realism that Peter Skagestad (1981) discusses with such insight and acumen. does not have to make separate acts of infer- ence. 329) in mental action. Peirce thinks. arises from the “time-binding” operation that is the very course of life itself. Hookway and Parker make this notion the guiding idea in their discussions of Peirce’s theory of perception and its epistemological implications. and that by a process which I am utterly unable to control and consequently am unable to criticize” (CP 5.” and “the fact is that it is not necessary to go beyond ordinary observations of common life to find a variety of different ways in which perception is interpretative” (CP 5.157). The per- cept wherein the perceived object becomes known. to call interpreta- tion. making up the percipuum. the judgment can. involving as it does the judgment of the ‘fit’ between a concept and an individual instance. Peirce writes that the very abductive nature of the perceptual judgment confers on it “characters that are proper to interpretations. Although there is a certain amount of “arbitrary spontaneity” ([1892] 1992b. because it is subconscious and so not amenable to logical criticism.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 28 28 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense must have been by attending to what we de facto perceive.185). for the division of the experiential manifold into qualitative unities also establishes law-governed reactive relations between the perceiver and the perceptual objects themselves.184). always is by reason of the presence of secondness or the ‘outward clash’ in all cases of veridical perception. 47) habits of all sorts. Thus arise “self-analyzing” (Rosenthal 1994. which it. But. When Peirce speaks of the acritical nature of the inferential process of perception. at any rate. Polanyi will argue that this process involves at every step the personal and tacit appraisal of the knower. “this process of forming the perceptual judgment. which is the configured unity of the percept-perceptual judgment structure. Here is point of deep affinity between Peirce and Nietzsche. Indeed. he does not mean that the result of the process cannot be crit- icized.185). the ultimate logical interpretants. we nevertheless experience a fundamentally stable world. once made. but performs its act in one continuous process” (CP 5. It may be that the perceptual judgment is “a judgment absolutely forced upon my acceptance. as the ratio- nal purport of the interpreting sign.

148 n. as skeletonized as possible” (CP 2. Rosenthal has importantly drawn attention to the fact that “this prim- itive synthesis” (1994. 33). is in our minds habitually.. P2. The suggesting object. but this. secondness. “icons have to be used in all thinking” (Peirce 1976. activity. This is accomplished “through the formation in the imagination of some sort of diagrammatic. as Peirce has noted. What makes it unconscious is that “it is not recognized as an inference. has the same predicates. M. . 29) we can see why a reflection upon “the logic of perceptual awareness” (51) can reveal the contours of consciousness as such and allow us to affirm an essential continuity between ‘perceptual consciousness’ and the so-called higher forms. “All cognition for Peirce involves the perceptual in the sense that it logically involves an iconic presentation of the cognized object” (46).64–65). Peirce contends. 60) effected in the perceptual judgment is a defin- ing element in all cognition. S. would not of itself make the inference unconscious. iconic representation .Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 29 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 29 In the context of discussing James’s analysis of perception as uncon- scious but ampliative inference in his Principles of Psychology Peirce schematizes the form of perceptual abduction as follows: A well-recognized kind of object. etc. that is. Hence. P3. etc. and rule” (1994. and it allows us to recognize and even con- struct future instances of a concept. Perceptual consciousness avails itself of schemata because no percept is absolutely precise or identical with the perceptual object qua tale. he thinks. If. . 56). icons. 136 n. P2.21). involve “elements of first- ness. though it also . 4. P1. indistinctly recognized. Polanyi draws attention to this characteristic when he notes that “the conditions in which discovery usually occurs and the general way of its happening cer- tainly show it to be a process of emergence rather than a feat of operative action” (1964. for. A schema allows us to grasp or represent the organizing structures of the object without affirming a coincidence between the appearing and the appeared. the conclusion is accepted without our knowing how” (CP 8. Peirce notes that the mathematician uses the schematizing power of “diagrammatical reasoning” to introduce novelty into the deductive process. and thirdness. has for its ordinary predicates P1. The first premise.778). S is of the same kind M. as Rosenthal contends. And Rosenthal notes that the “shading of scientific abductions into everyday perceptual claims is a continuity not of content organized but of method of organization” (1994. func- tioning as schemata in cognitional processes. or image. P3.

as Rosenthal puts it. He will then be tempted to introduce a new symbol to condense this expression into a single form and so continue the work on a new basis. injecting a new letter on to the paper. Miller has devoted nuanced and historically sophisticated studies to this topic. as Rosenthal puts it. by means of its variability and flexibility the perception of new relationships. The mathematician’s use of schemata is paradigmatic for knowing quite generally and for perception in particular. In his deeply unsettling article. Miller has seen the vast implications of an internally differentiated notion of imagination and followed up its exemplary instances in insightful and well-documented case studies. new figures to construct and name through suspecting a priori their properties. 263–324. 24) and facilitating. is that schematic structures ulti- mately have to be understood. however. More often he will be struck by the idea of new expressions to condense. depends upon experimentation with individual schemata. turning up again and again with embarrassing insistence. ([1973] 1985. Theorematic reasoning. or a rela- tion. 187–315. with the establishing of a new semantic field which will be the support of the new actant and so free the mental movement from the obses- sional presences which impede it. which. as Rosenthal says. while juggling with this new mate- rial. Arthur I. that is.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 30 30 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense involves visual and muscular imagery. René Thom put the matter in the following way: While exploring a new theory. the mathematician sometimes sees an expression. “From the Icon to the Symbol” (1973). . 290) This ability to “suspect a priori.5 The key point. not as a “generaliza- tion of imagined instances but as a product of a predictive rule” (1994. without being for all that a picture or copy. and even making necessary. To introduce a new symbol. As a con- struct it allows us freely to vary the modes in which the object appears. 24). and 1996. are “specially constructed” for the purpose. a point also made by Einstein and many others. is embodied in schematic structures upon which we can experiment and is present at the very heart of perceptual consciousness.” an essential property of expression sys- tems. 5. giving us. promotes a kind of tearing away. which characterizes mathematics. See especially Miller 1984. In one sense the percept is a dia- gram of its object. “a predictive rule generative of the action- image matrix of a schematic structure” (1994. This simple procedure may sometimes lead to success.

” Peirce’s notion here anticipates the later work of Mark Johnson (1987. 26) cites a passage (ms 31 293. 32). as distinct from theorematic reasoning taking place in a technical formalism. developed this insight.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 31 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 31 The diagrammatic reasoning of the mathematician. Peirce held that in corollarial reasoning taking place in lan- guage. which is on the one side an object capable of being observed.233). in great and illuminating detail. Words indeed carry the ‘aspects’ of things. Peirce writes: “The Diagram remains in the field of perception or ‘imagination’ and so the Iconic Diagram and its ini- tial Symbolic interpretant taken together constitute what we shall not too much wrench Kant’s term in calling a schema. but prior to words we have living habits and living dispositions to sort or order experience in certain ways. enabling it to derive novel theorems. On this position. a dynamics that in turn reflects a semiotic . which mediate between concepts and percepts and function as essential conditions for the rise and development of linguistic meaning. perception likewise must be understood as embodied in and relying on equivalent formal structures that are in no way ‘inner’ in any Cartesian or Lockean sense. while on the other side it is a general. Giovanni Vailati. p. Rosenthal (1994. that is. functions as both model and extension of the perceptual process itself. Lakoff and Johnson. Rosenthal remarks that “the series of possible schemata for the application of a con- cept to experience is ‘fixed’ prior to the imposition of linguistic structure” (1994. Moreover. Series of percepts that aspectually ‘make present’ the perceived objects in the utterings of perceptual judgments are ‘linked’ by shared schematic structures that mediate between the conceptually articulated percept and the perceptual object or domain. which relies on external systems of expressions. “the very words serve as schemata” (CP 4. While mathematical reasoning depends upon the thematic invention of an appropriate formalism that functions as a necessary support and scaffolding for the reasoning process. 14) that bears upon the problem of how meaning is constructed in perception. the most creative of the Italian pragmatists. linguistic structures would ‘build upon’ as well as depend upon and incorporate “the dynamics of lived experience at its most rudimentary level. heuris- tic devices that further the introduction of novel patterns and relations. They are formed in the abductive process of making sense of experience by the development of habits and by the essential ‘openness’ of habit as ultimate logical interpre- tant. including the vast and intricate sys- tems of metaphors within which we articulate our fundamental relations to the world. we will see. 1999) on image-schemata.

for example. in a Peirce text that she cites.’6 If any of the notions noted above have phenomenological plausibility. . we are forced to agree with Rosenthal that “the difference between the perceptual and the conceptual is not a difference in kind but a difference in the proportions of sensory content and relational structure” (1994. see Rosen- thal 1994. 159 n. 26). p. behavior. Cassirer 1944. as a further step in their collaboration. a central and complicated Peircean position (Rosenthal 1994. many of Lakoff and Johnson’s ‘findings’ were clearly anticipated by the thinkers treated in the first part of this book. In general. 130–36. But at no point are we free of mediating semiotic structures. even at times polemical. are absolutely precise” (CP 6.” My own studies here could be seen as adding to their discussion voices that perhaps have not played the role they could have. but it does indicate the cen- trality of the problems they are foregrounding and the presence in the philosophical tradition of resources other than the ones they use to investigate the nature and scope of embodiment. Hence. Even at the farthest limits of abstraction. 46). I noted earlier. 35). means when she writes that “mean- ing beneath the level of language” employs schemata. 111). paraphrasing Peirce. Perceptual schemata exemplify the “universalizing aspect of sense” and “the indeterminateness of meaning” quite generally. Lakoff and Johnson (1999) have now given. While I am by no means comfortable with their puzzling coziness with a reductionistic form of ‘cognitive science. survey of what is at stake here. Peirce had claimed that “no concepts. This is one of Polanyi’s central notions. Cassirer makes the same point abundantly (see. not even those of mathematics. 4.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 32 32 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense structure operative at its most fundamental level. Mark Johnson.496. instan- tiated in living habits of interpretation. Peirce also asserts that “meaning enters into language by determining it” (ms 1105. for a compen- dious discussion of materials he developed at length elsewhere). The significance of the logic of language lies in the fact that it grounds itself in those most rudi- mentary semiotic structures by which humans experience a world of appearing objects. a full and opinionated. which are taken up into the ‘mind. This is by no means a criticism. remains for Peirce the matrix of 6. for. not in the absolute presence or absence of either. traces it to the image-schemata rooted in the fundamental invariant fea- tures of our bodily existence. Rosenthal 1994. which he will trace not to the operative force of schemata as such but to the ever-present tacit component that underlies and is potentiated by articulation in all its forms. This is what Rosenthal.’ they do at any rate chart the confluence of issues and currents that have led to a thoroughgoing reflec- tion on “the embodied mind and its challenge to Western thought. while at the conceptual pole we have a predominance of relational structure. an examination of such epistemic foundations should lay bare the basis for the logic of linguistic structure” (27). At the perceptual pole we have a predominance of sensory content.

yet into which we can clearly see but a little way.547). 31). Semiosic happenings are experienced as ‘e-vents. 27). a point that Dewey resolutely foregrounded in his organism-based theory of inquiry but that. abductive. These disposi- tional habits are creative. 44–69). Meaning exists within purpose and within purposeful behavior. structure. After the impulse ceases they commence to sink downwards” (CP 7. “I think of consciousness as a bottom- less lake. in fact. They generate structure by in fact synthesizing sen- sory cues and reactions by ‘making sense of them. is absolutely central to Peirce’s semiotic account of the self’s development of autonomy and inwardness (see Innis 1994b. to isolate the determining signs that are included in the interpreting sign. It is an image that ‘exhibits’ the experienced quality of the flow of perceptual consciousness. and thirdness: feeling core or sensuous content. energetic.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 33 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 33 the patterns of relations that make up conceptual meaning (Rosenthal 1994. secondness. though the mark . They do more than “unify three preexistent elements—sensory cues. firstness. We can attempt. as Vincent Colapietro showed (1989. and certain influences will give certain kinds of those objects an upward impulse which may be intense enough and continue long enough to bring them into the upper visible layer. it also captures something essential about the very flow of conscious life in general. Rosenthal also rightly.’ But. and logical interpretants. first and fore- most. Such a metaphorical charac- terization captures something essential about perceptual consciousness in particular. for perception is precisely the deter- mining of those both accessible and inaccessible streams of signs that are only recognized as signs in the result. ampliative. and uncontroversially. differently proportioned. this making sense is not a feat of operative action. but I think that. and resultant structure” (Rosenthal 1994.” that is.’ as ‘out-comes’ wherein the interpreting subject is put into ‘intentional movement’ by processes over which he or she has no control. in perceptual meaning and in the dispositional habits that constitute it. The experience of meaning quite generally is exemplified in the appearing of perceptual meaning. 99–118). Peirce pinpoints this feature when he speaks of consciousness as a bot- tomless lake. But in this water there are countless objects at different depths. notes that conceptual meaning “must include within itself the emotional. through abstraction and through systematic reflection. but they are not always retrievable in a satisfactory manner. But it is clear that this threefold structure is also there. and thus make them determinate. acts. pattern of reaction. It is an event that carries us away. whose waters seem transparent.

of which perception is a fundamental layer or stratum. 128). as everybody knows. analo- gously. then. Thinking. are found in all consciousness” (128–29). first of all by making it problematic on a different logical level and by allowing it to become self- critical in a new way by trying to fix and to make explicit the actual per- ceptual signs we are interpreting and whose meaning is the perceptual object itself. For while we might experience a kind of self-organizing activity within the perceptual flow. Take the following passages. and in this sense ‘perception’ is ineradica- bly wedded to bodily existence in all its modalities. Polanyi also makes much of this. is a “congruence in the succession of sensations that flow through the mind. and the brutes use signs. The melodic line is the mediate object. We experience both the succession and the melodic line. Now the intellectual control of thinking takes place by thinking about thought. as Dewey ([1896] 1998c) argued. To do so is manifestly a second step in the use of language” (CP 5. Which melody? That is the melody as taken. But per- haps they rarely think of them as signs.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 34 34 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense of human life in signs is to bring more and more of the operative signs that control conduct into awareness. thought “is a thread of melody running through the succession of our sensations” (129).” and. the process of perception is still acritical in that it involves a performative commitment on the part of the perceiver.” Peirce dis- tinguishes between separate notes in a piece of music and the air or melody. what we are immediately con- scious of and what we are mediately conscious of. the essential continuity of the perceptual continuum demands a ‘re-marking’ . But even if we speak of all the ‘premises’ of the abductive perceptual inference as being accessible to consciousness. are the total state of the inquiring organism. which Peirce never repudiated (see Innis 1988a). for while in one sense the configuration of ‘sensations’ organizes itself according to the laws of the association of ideas. The perceived melody. and is itself controllable. which also rely on a powerful metaphor to model our consciousness of an object. “These two sorts of objects.534). Speaking of “two sorts of elements of consciousness. Peirce writes. the “orderliness in the succession of sounds” ([1878] 1992a. These signs. the to-be-organized. It would seem to follow that the advent of language effects a shift in perception. is “a kind of conduct. and the organized must be distinguished. All thinking is by signs. The orderliness is not ‘immediately given’ but is what results from a medi- ation. the organizing. the succession of sounds the immedi- ate object.

and the percept itself. Peirce writes that “the perceptive judgment. in fact. Speaking of such a phenomenon as the Schroeder stair. By “the same sensa- tions” Peirce does not mean discrete sense-impressions or sense-data but the flow of experiencing.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 35 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 35 on the part of the perceiver. gives us the look of things by binding the configured elements together.183). which is analo- gous to the famous ‘Necker’ cube so beloved of cognitive psychologists. Peirce illustrates another feature of perceptual processes: a kind of expe- rienced shift that ‘changes the look’ of the perceived object and can. thus connect- ing abductions and perceptions. order. as well as a fortiori perceptual abduction. although Peirce’s description perhaps reduces the degree of automatism in the process a bit too much. so Peirce thinks. be brought under conscious control. how it ‘looks. seems to keep shifting from one general aspect to the other and back again” (CP 5.184). emerging as it does in the field of consciousness as something with a distinctive quality. This “general aspect” refers to a phenomenal quality that defines the object. in effect. out of which coalesce objects.’ to perform. I think that Peirce’s model of perceptual consciousness is in full agreement with James’s model of consciousness as being related to experience as a ‘sculptor’ is related to a block of stone. one would expect that the percept would be entirely free from any characters that are proper to interpretations” (5. But. grounding. each part having its own air. regularities. so various systems of relationship of succession subsist together between the same sensations” ([1878] 1992a. what seems like an oxymoron: an analytical synthesis. a polyphonic notion of perceptual experience and the ‘pragmatic pluralism’ argued for by Sandra Rosenthal. the flow of experienced vectors. both exemplifies the fundamental dimensions of semiosis and is clarified by advertence to the principal division of signs that lies at the heart of Peircean semiotics. “If the percept or perceptual judgment were of a nature entirely unrelated to abduction. The melodic threads of experience are multiple.’ A percept. The Jamesian ‘free water of consciousness’ flows around objects as ‘ob-stacles’ and in flowing around them ‘de-fines’ them as what they are. Indeed. I would like to note a peculiarity of Peirce’s choice of descrip- tive language in such a case. Peirce writes that “just as a piece of music may be written in parts. patterns. in short. . The point is to ‘free the form. This forming of a classification of the object as [x] is contained in the perceptual judgment itself. then. the percept is thoroughly imbued with interpretation. resolving the ‘puzzling look of things’ by forming an interpre- tation that makes sense of them. Perception. 129).

It has. indexes. not by being separable from it but by individualizing the per- ceptual object. It is discovered by the veridical ‘cuttings’ of the con- . of sym-ballein. The binding is the result of the perceiver’s work of mediation.’ for in his view “thirdness pours in on us through every avenue of sense” (CP 5. When I say. locations. But thirdness for Peirce is ‘in’ the percipuum. is rightly modeled along these lines. not imposed on it ‘from the outside. Any schema must have a feeling element if concepts are to be applicable to experience. indexical. in every case. experienced as continuous. How are the parts related to the whole and to the perceiver ‘uttering’ the perceptual judgment? The presence of parts in a configuration ‘indicates’ the con- figuration. The percep- tual field itself. The reason is that the properties crite- rially displayed by the percept must themselves be apprehended as con- tinuously instantiated by the perceived object. a distinctive ‘feel’ and is known in and by this feeling. for his part. “That is a yellow pencil. dimensions.” I am referring to something standing over against me that can ‘react’ with me and to me and that is characterized by just these properties. 32). allow us to identify and to reidentify objects in the flow of experiencing and to bind them together in the unified manifold that has a distinctive feel.’ grounding the ‘out- ward clash’ and in so doing introducing what Hookway calls a “brute unintelligible element into our experience” (170). the division of signs into icons. Indexicality is intrinsic to the perceptual judg- ment. the complex must have parts. 158). and symbols. which I can point out and which. show themselves to be pointing something out. The unity of feeling is a feeling of unity. in being pointed out. the qualitative character of “structured complexity” (159). . as qualitative unity and as making known the perceptual object. which ‘interprets’ it. of synthesis.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 36 36 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense that is. a notion that perhaps must be taken with a grain of salt. for objects are defined in terms of continuity of reactions. as structured. with its systems of objects-in-relation. as I have discussed in a broad comparative context else- where (Innis 1994b). It is. comments: “Differences in the subject matter of the percept are . has an iconic or qualitatively defined core. But I think it best to speak of iconic. calling this “feeling core” that is “there” in experience “the logically or epistemically final basis and ultimate referent for all cognitive activity” (1994. the percept. or rather is. giving it and its object a peculiar ‘thereness. .158). and symbolic aspects or elements of the percept. Indexes are ‘marks’ that. reflected in systematic differences in its qualitative character” (1985. Nevertheless. Hookway. as Rosenthal rightly notes. The sensory core of the percept is a qualitative type. Further.

takes direct aim at nominalism and all its implications. have become richly symbolic. Gestalt psychology claims that it is precisely the original segregation of circumscribed wholes which makes it possible for the sensory world to appear so utterly imbued with meaning to the adult. Peircean sign theory.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 37 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 37 tinuum of experience that ‘replicate. denied.” Köhler wrote. which he thought had startling implications not only for the analysis of scientific knowing but for knowing quite generally (see Innis 1992b). while nevertheless they have existed as units before any of these further acts were added. Already at the level of perception. Gestalt the- ory. and perhaps even correct these Peircean analyses and emphases. ([1947] 1959. 82) . “It exhibits. then. amplify. articulation and clearness. and are now known to have certain practical uses. implementing a semiotic realism. 85). Gestalt psychology holds [that] sensory units have acquired names. “definite segregated units or contexts in all degrees of complexity. its dependent properties are deter- mined by this position” (Köhler 1938. it usually enters into segregated wholes. given the place of a part in the context. the self-gener- ating cuttings of ‘forms’ and morphological structures of greater or lesser stability out of nature itself.” Moreover. for. in the gradual entrance into the sensory field. meaning follows the lines drawn by natural organization. confirm. From Gestalt to Meaning Polanyi’s mature epistemological model is based on an expansion and transformation of some central observations of Gestalt theory. I want now to indicate where central elements in Polanyi’s work inter- sect with. in full conso- nance with Peircean pragmatism. In his classic presentation Gestalt Psychology Köhler formulates his main point in a manner that bears directly upon the present topic of discussion. 3. these units “show properties belonging to them as contexts or systems [and] the parts of such units or contexts exhibit dependent properties in the sense that.’ in Thomian fashion. that the world was primarily given to us as an indifferent mosaic or an indifferent continuum. represented for example by Wolfgang Köhler.

130). Polanyi saw that in such variegated instances as the development of motoric skills. and so forth. a process called ‘destructive analysis’ by Polanyi.’ We know from experience that in the performance of motoric skills we can paralyze the action as a whole if we concentrate on the constituent actions in themselves. This joint apprehension gives rise to the ‘segregated wholes’ that Köhler referred to in the preceding passage.’ Take the development. What are being coordinated are sets of proprioceptively appre- hended actions and movements. This incipient ‘from-to’ structure. Polanyi’s goal was to delineate the structures and implications of this joint apprehension by establishing and developing a pivotal distinction that marks one of his most fertile contributions to philosophy: that between focal and sub- sidiary awareness. at the center of one’s attention. We have to rely on the actions and feelings. use them in an instrumental manner. a process of ‘integration’ wherein the particular move- ments. If these particulars are observed separately. becomes the structural key to Polanyi’s whole epistemology and the source of its immense heuristic fertility. they form no pattern or tune (1958. the construc- tion of a medical diagnosis. As Polanyi put it in terms of conscious functions. Now. symptoms. accessible kinesthetically and (to speak in phenomenological terms) prethematically. Since to learn a skill is a cognitive achievement. articulate clues while we attend to (are focally aware of) what they ‘mean. are brought into a unity: the completed perfor- mance itself as a ‘comprehensive entity’ or Buchlerian ‘natural complex. rather than the task at hand. This bringing to bear is. a point gestured at by Peirce in his melodic analogy. first. commit ourselves ‘acritically’ to them. to think of skills as paradigmatic . we see a common pattern: we attend from (are subsidiarily aware of) a field of movements. the formulation of a hypothesis. of motoric skills.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 38 38 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense Polanyi conceived of his project as a transformation of a classic theme of Gestalt psychology: the particulars of a pattern or a musical tune have to be jointly apprehended. we must ‘attend from’ these particulars while ‘attending to’ what we are doing. the grasp of visual patterns. It is a well- known fact of everyday experience that a motoric achievement such as walking a tightrope or performing on the parallel bars is a feat of coordi- nation. espied in numerous other instances. which play a central role in Polanyi’s thought and which help to ground his “structural analogy between knowledge and skill” (Polanyi [1961] 1969b. keeping them. the feat of coordination involves bringing these movements to bear upon the performance that one has in mind and that lies at the focus of our attention. 55–57). Polanyi noted. visual particulars.

using it as an instrument. and this act is the result of a distinctive fusion of perceiver and instrument. a similar structure. geometrical figures. for instance. characteristics of the insect or flower function as a not completely specifiable and complex set of clues on which we have to rely in order to recognize—in an act iso- morphic with Peircean abduction—the face. on an object or comprehensive entity. ‘deduce’ the object by an act of explicit inference from explicitly formulated premises. zu—an in-order-to—structure. through an act of ‘integration.’ we can then be said to be attend- ing from the pressures and impacts made by the probe on our body to what these pressures and impacts mean. However. We do not.’ We perform an abductive act. ‘from’ the features ‘to’ the face or the mood. Indwelling and embodiment . A probe is first of all an object external to our body. as Heidegger saw clearly and continued to emphasize. is the use of a probe by a blind man or. In Polanyi’s reckoning. and we can feel it as external to us by attending to the pressure of it on our hand. Just as we can bring an action to a halt by turn- ing our attention to its constituent particulars. but also the ‘facies’ of diseases and of species of insects and flowers—man- ifests. by a sur- geon or dentist. from one isolated item to another and from their collection. . Rather. Skills control conduct. or flower. for example. in summative fashion. and so forth. so focusing our attention on the particulars of visual wholes such as those mentioned above. but easily extended to line drawings. an um . disease. we do not use the probe in order to feel it.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 39 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 39 outcomes of cognitive strivings is already to shift the focus of the theory of knowledge. according to Polanyi. It has. with appropriate modifications. we attend. will cause them to disintegrate as phenomenal unities. which Polanyi characterizes as indwelling or embodiment. When we no longer directly and objectively feel the probe in our hands and fingers but ourselves feel what the probe is itself touching so that we come to know this object both ‘directly’ and ‘mediately. Knowing-how precedes and grounds knowing-that. in the same fashion as we rely on our consciousness of our bodily movements for achieving a coherent action in the construction of a skill. go. mood. We do not focus on the fea- tures in themselves but rely on them. . the various features of the face. A third paradigmatic example. but to feel by means of it. on Polanyi’s view. Here we have an illustration of another important aspect of this from-to structure. insect. That is. we have to bring these pressures and impacts to bear on a focus. The recognition of a physiognomy—a face or its moods. symptoms of the disease. as necessary and sufficient conditions. exploited also by Merleau-Ponty.

of the rules or laws that we are obeying in performing an action.’ ‘unspecifiable. disturbing. . as maxims that have to be applied in the concrete consciousness of the knower.’7 This tacit character is especially obvious in such cases as bicycle riding. a kind of knowledge that is. which is permeated by a humane. though skeptical pragmatism.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 40 40 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense will become central to a Polanyian analysis not just of language but also of technological meaning-making. Now. is the result of a massive preconceptual act of integration. as Polanyi put it. the actual.’ ‘inarticulate. which can only be done by practice and initiation. operative topographic knowledge of the human body possessed by a surgeon is itself inarticulate. a feat of imagination built up over the course of long dealing with the three-dimensional internal structure of the human body. Polanyi distin- guished four ways of schematizing the from-to relation of parts to 7. Likewise. we must say that the surgeon must attend from these discrete items to their integrating center. Upon the basis of considerations such as the foregoing. a preference for the ‘seminary mind’ over the ‘laboratory mind.’ which Peirce was committed to opposing. Articulate formal statements—which may indeed be possible and certainly desirable—are meant only to guide us into the realm itself. and what we can say about this knowledge is in itself inadequate to transmit it. a kind of knowledge that we cannot put (fully) into words. to function. No sum of direct. This knowl- edge. Polanyi notes. Ben-Ami Scharfstein (1993) has treated the varieties of ways that ‘words fail’ in a star- tling.’ ‘unformalizable. Therefore. Rather. book. indeed. where we are not aware. or achieve. he will have no ‘praxical’ grasp of the structure itself. speaking. Under the rubric of ‘ineffability’ he has marshaled an absorbing array of instances in which articulation ‘breaks.’ Scharfstein’s book is a kind of natural history of semantic failure—which builds on recognizably achieved successes. walking. in performing these integrative acts—and others like them— Polanyi thinks that we either rely on or come into possession of. Otherwise. ‘tacit. in short. although it may rely on detailed and complex articulate mapping of the human body. swimming. Polanyi contends. How we manage to ‘cope’ epistemologically with defective articulation is tackled in Scharfstein 1989. both the bicycle rider and the surgeon are in possession of tacit knowledge. except after long and difficult analyses of something that we do easily. The differentiation between ‘theoreti- cal’ and ‘practical’ surgery that characterized the medieval medical faculty is an epistemological monstrosity or at least curiosity. explicit knowledge or awareness of the discrete parts will gen- erate the three-dimensional—relational—Gestalt that is the image of the human body.

“the clues offered by processes within our body. even if we cannot capture them in words. this does not stop us from trying to display them. This phenomenal char- acter corresponds to Peirce’s notion that a perceptual whole has a qualita- tive character that gives it its distinctive unity and feel. I can only gesture. in being defined by their relation toward some- thing else. so that they are actually only known by our becoming aware of a perceptual object. the duck-rabbit that so exercised Wittgenstein. we find that the subsidiary particulars undergo a change of appearance.’ in a uni- versal sense of that term. while we disregard the connections. toothache are each sui generis and indescribable. but which Polanyi makes thematic.8 Third. Again. and we 8. this implies that it participates in sustaining the whole.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 41 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 41 wholes. “When something is seen as subsidiary to a whole. They are the proximal terms from which we attend to the distal terms into which they are integrated or to which they ‘point. 44). and other multistable phenomena illus- trate the shift of appearance attendant upon different integrations of par- ticulars. parts of which are strewn through- out the present discussion. Red. visual illusions such as the Necker cube. Epistemologically their role is to guide us. sour. Polanyi asserts that the subsidiary clues upon which we rely are known in the appearing of a whole.’ Their role is distinctively ‘instrumental. .” Of course. of which we become aware in terms of things perceived outside. in its own suchness. indeed. the functional aspect emphasizes quite generally the specific role all subsidiary (subsidiarily attended from) particulars play as vectors. to move us. that is all there is to be said about them. Second. may be completely unconscious” (1958. For example. while attending from them in attending to their focal unity. I have explored this topic in more detail in Innis 1999. from the phenomenal point of view they are different particulars in each case. They are not restricted to any domain. Dewey saw the centrality of Peirce’s theory of quality for philosophic method. at the rich implications of this schema. and this topic will recur persistently in the course of our discussions. phenom- enal. Indeed. which is implicit in the Peirce texts cited earlier concerning our apprehension of a melody. In themselves. semantic. while remaining physically identical. What is that point of view? It is that in which we attend to each part as it appears in itself. the operative core of his cognitional model: functional.419) writes: “There is a point of view from which the whole universe of phenomena appears to be made up of nothing but sensible qualities. ever so briefly. Polanyi combines the functional and phenomenal structures into a general semantic structure. and ontological. Peirce (CP 1. to ‘bias’ us toward a term or focus. and. as ‘indicators’ of a focus upon which they bear. What these particulars are is known in the configurations. First.

In Personal Knowledge. Fourth. We may describe the kind of meaning which a context possesses in itself as existential. for example. we may identify it with the understanding of the comprehensive . In this sense pure mathematics has an existential meaning. in general. within the whole” (1958.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 42 42 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense may now regard this function as its meaning. Remembering the various uses of a stick. since they are ordered contexts. representative meaning. the notion that an object is an ordered context implies for Polanyi that objects quite generally exemplify ‘emergence. For example. a ‘reading. while admitting that wholes are mean- ings. In this Polanyi and Peirce are also in full agreement. while a mathematical theory in physics has a denotative meaning. the construing of a poem or letter. whether contrived or natural. and so on. or the perceiving of a painting. where there is order. Perceptual objects are existential or phys- iognostic meanings.’ The ‘denotative’ is a specification of the lat- ter (see. that objects have ontologically and conceptually distinct levels. 58) In other writings Polanyi calls these two types of meanings the ‘physiog- nostic’ and the ‘teleognostic. 129–30). but contrived order usually also conveys a message. So. have existential meaning. the ‘meaning’ of the impacts on our hands when using a probe or cane is the term of an interpretive act.’ as is the deci- phering of a script. more generally. “Since tacit knowing establishes a meaningful relation between two terms. Such a distinction will also bear upon the types of meanings defining technological embodiment structures. to distinguish it especially from denotative or. we can easily see that anything that functions effectively within an accredited context has a meaning in that context and that any such context will itself be appreciated as meaningful. Polanyi distinguished between two kinds of wholes and two kinds of meanings: an explicit sign/object whole and the kinds of wholes exempli- fied by physiognomies. and patterns. for pointing. there is meaning.’ that is. 58). tunes. Polanyi writes: The distinction between two kinds of awarenesses allows us to readily acknowledge these two kinds of wholes and the two kinds of meaning. for exploring or for hitting. All kinds of order. The meaning of music is mainly existential. Polanyi [1961] 1969b. that of a portrait more or less representative. (1958. They are the ‘meanings’ of these partic- ulars. Objects are not their constituent particulars.

con- ceptual. Perceptual meanings arise from the integration of sensory cues. Here again. the designations of which form a rational vocabulary” (114). Aesthetic meanings arise from the ‘thickening’ of the expressive means or sign-configurations. complementing Peirce. constituting a language. In itself this integrative power is inarticulate.’ By relying on the distinction between focal and subsidiary awareness and classifying meanings on the basis of the kinds of subsidiaries inte- grated into a whole. Polanyi shares with Peirce a thoroughly realist claim concerning the relation of words and conceptual schemes and accordingly an adamant rejection of conventionalism and nominalism. as with Peirce. we can develop a powerful and differentiated model of meaning. and symbolic. affective. 193). first and foremost traces “the strange fact that language means something” to the “exercises of an integrative power” ([1967] 1969d. is a specific correlation of being and meaning. Conceptual meanings arise in the great feat of ‘articulation’ achieved by ‘language’ in the broad sense of that term that includes all ‘external’ systems of repre- sentation. composed of focal and subsidiary awareness and tacit integrating acts of conscious- ness. How do these elements in Polanyi’s epistemology apply to the prob- lem of the continuities between perceptual and linguistic meaning? Polanyi. we must admit that these have a denotative meaning which is not inherent in a fixed context of things or . and we can say. derived from a ‘logic of consciousness. for Polanyi. motoric. As Polanyi puts it in Personal Knowledge. Motoric meanings arise from the integration of bodily movements and actions. accordingly.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 43 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 43 entity which these two terms jointly constitute. such as perceptual. Thus. Different types of subsidiaries give rise to different types of meanings or ordered contexts. These unformalized powers constitute our “facul- ties for recognizing real entities. that we comprehend the entity by relying on our awareness of its particulars for attending to their joint meaning” (Polanyi 1966. the proximal term represents the particulars of this entity. “When we come to a deliberately chosen system of signs. formal. Representative meaning-systems both mediate to us tacitly apprehended meanings and rely upon a tacit component. encompassing bodily and practical skills of all sorts. The fundamental structure of consciousness is. “a symbolic formalism is itself but an embodiment of our antecedent unfor- malized powers” (131). 13). an assertion of meaning in the most basic stratum of consciousness and a widening of the very notion of an object. even though the medium within which it is operating is maximally artic- ulate. Affective meanings arise from the integration of feelings. aesthetic meanings.

the use of such a word is taken to designate a class to which we attribute a substantial character” (1958. generals—general structures—are real and are ‘mapped’ in our language-systems. are also constitutive of what is perceived. It brings into focus rather differently weighted. . with language playing a ‘subsidiary. focusing on pressure and the wearing down of materials rather than the reciprocating motion of a joint. we perform and accredit our performance of an act of generalization and . . to take two homely examples. . which formulate a form of perceiving. features of the experi- ential unit. both ‘knuckle fat’ and ‘elbow grease’ bear upon or bring into focus a ‘center’ to which we attend. When he speaks of “our power for comprehending a text and the things to . Indeed. . Both expressions really ‘fit’ the experienced configurations. ‘Articulation’ and ‘perception’ are joined here in an inseparable fashion. On this position. with which Peircean semiotics is in general agreement. these lin- guistic schemata. for “the focus of all articulation is conceptual. correspondingly. could not be known as such independently of the language-generated medi- ating system. ‘Knuckle fat’ in fact belongs not to the conceptual system car- ried by English but to (at least) the Danish conceptual system. but really existing.’ role. like probes. with language playing only a subsidiary part in this focus” (101). our knowledge of things denoted by words will have been largely acquired by experience. Polanyi is also well aware. we can see that on Polanyian principles the perceiver attends from rather different “allegedly recurrent features” (112) to the whole upon which the sub- sidiaries bear. This “act of generalization” bears upon a really existing configuration. . . although he does not use the Peircean ter- minology but refers instead to his own notion of a ‘tacit triad. [That is.] the words will have acquired their meaning by previously designating such experience” (92).Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 44 44 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense actions” (91). 80). Polanyi writes that “words convey nothing except by a previously acquired meaning. however. In line with Peirce’s notion that the perceptual judgment is aspectual. . in a comment that calls to mind Peirce’s notion of collateral experience.’ indeed Peircean ‘schematic. But while subsidiary. Linguistic schemata are subsidiarily apprehended and.’ of the tri- adic nature of meaning and of the sign-object-interpretant relation. which. become assimilated to us and become parts of our intentional existence. . Polanyi claims that “every time we use a word for denoting something. The focus is perceived as because it is conceived as and vice versa. As expressions. . It seems to me that we can rightly say that ‘knuckle fat’ and ‘elbow grease’ schematize experience and that we attend from the schematizing linguistic expressions to the object-meant.

which will be more closed to the degree that the domains referred to by the vocabulary are formalized or to the degree to which the language is no longer in common use. fundamentally . relying on. in the sense of postulating that these subjects are all consti- tuted of comparatively few recurrent features. adjec- tives. The text is an ordered context that generates other ordered contexts upon which it ‘really’ bears. in terms of which we attend subsidiarily both to the text and to objects indicated by the text” (92). 100). . verbs. . Intrasystematically. 148). to which the nouns. but to fore- ground a feature of the feat of articulation intrinsic to his theory of tacit knowing. The conception in question is the focus of our attention. In this sense Polanyi has formulated in a different way the role of both corollarial and theorematic thinking in the work of ‘articulation. As Dewey remarked. the constellation of grammatical and semantic relations constitutes a closed universe. in the sign-bearing and meaning- bearing marks. he does so. would have been obscured. which is not something tangible but is “the conception evoked by the text. conceptual innovations do take place when the vocabulary is either enlarged or inter- nally modified to make way for new concepts. that is. Extrasystematically. verbs and adverbs refer” (1958.’ which he richly elaborates in his masterful chapter “Articulation” in Per- sonal Knowledge. adjectives. with extensive discussion. which is precisely Peirce’s and Thom’s point and a deep lesson to learn from George Polya’s work on heuristics. within a conception which is the meaning of the text” (1958. Language is a heuristic aid in stabilizing these contexts in the flux of perception and increases our mental power over experience. of heuristics and the logic of problem solving. our focal attention is on its meaning or sense. Just as there is a logical gap between perceptual clues and what they mean. so there is a logical gap between a text and the objects ‘indicated’ by it. . meaning is self-moving from case to case ([1925] 1988a. not to foreground the triad. verbal speculation and verbal confrontations can reveal unexpected affinities between disparate realms that. among others. as significant. In the latter case. thus appears to constitute a theory of all subjects that can be talked about. Dwelling in a text. 80). and adverbs. without the linguistic sifting and rearranging. But the realism is not a naive realism. The realist thrust of language is rooted in the realist nature of perception. the work of Polya. Peirce would agree with the following pas- sage from Polanyi: “A particular vocabulary of nouns. Since the linguistic speculation is. Polanyi’s and Peirce’s realistic theories of perception constrain any attempt to look upon language as ‘merely’ conventional.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 45 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 45 which the text refers.

classification is rooted in mental powers we acknowledge and accredit by using our language confidently. 95). All we can do is. whether we are concerned with learning a natural language or being initiated into a technical. which parallels the acritical nature of perception and perceptual commitment as such. The criterion. and decide whether we still want to describe our- selves and our world according to the idiom’s exigencies. with- out the cognate conclusion that languages are fully closed or hermetically sealed. Indeed. just as it may also produce pieces of mere sophistry” (Polanyi 1958. talking about it and affirming it to be so and so. Later it is possible. draw out our evidence and commit our- selves on its basis. Our formally declared beliefs can be held to be true in the last resort only because of our logically anterior acceptance of a par- ticular set of terms. to grasp the “recurrent features” spoken of in the preceding passage. The intrinsic selectivity of language. Initially. is ourselves and our sense of rightness and correctness. This is the fiduciary compo- nent in Polanyi’s theory of knowledge that is his analogue to Peirce’s affirmation of the life-enhancing role of instinct.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 46 46 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense conceptual. “Our most deeply ingrained convictions are determined by the idiom in which we interpret our experience and in terms of which we erect our articulate systems. There is no external. in the last analysis. amplifying the primary articulation of the world on the perceptual level. its grasp and foregrounding of pertinent features. perhaps. modification. automatic procedure. albeit aided by linguistic probes. is based upon our veridical powers. In other words. arrived . our first movement is to pour ourselves into it and use it. Polanyi argues for a certain form of the linguistic relativity thesis. specialized language. distinguishing substance from sophistry. it “may therefore reveal an inexhaustible fund of true knowl- edge and new substantial problems. our acceptance of these terms is not just acritical but uncritical. Further. of course. and in the same fundamental vein. But in no case can we get a look at the ‘world’ as it really is apart from our means of con- struing it: that is. Polanyi foregrounds the acritical nature of our very appropriation of a language. because of the very capacity of language to turn back on itself and examine its own content. “Different languages are alternative conclusions. Indeed. languages are systems of hypotheses that ‘bind’ the expe- riential world. from which all our references to reality are con- structed” (1958. to reexamine the terms. submit them to critical review and. as Peirce also noted. just as we pour ourselves into any probe or instrument or set of movements. for Polanyi and for Peirce. 287). rooted in percep- tion. orga- nize their implications.

strictly speaking. but accept- ing Polanyi’s great tool analogy does not. . is not to fall under the objection leveled by Gadamer that we are not related to lan- guage the way we are related to tools. exemplified in the fusion of perceiver and probe or rider and bicycle. even while the tacit dimen- sion supports it. .Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 47 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 47 at by the secular gropings of different groups of people at different peri- ods of history. Likewise for Peirce. once learned. Vincent Potter . requires the same kind of connoisseurship as the naturalist must have for identifying speci- mens of plants or animals. . then denotation is an art or a skill. Thus the art of speaking precisely. A stainless- steel probe does a very different type of work than a cast-iron probe. predefining for us access to the world. though it obvi- ously cannot be reduced to perception as such. They sustain alternative conceptual frameworks. as we do in talking about things. resembles the delicate discrimination practised by the expert taxonomist” (81). and that it is out there ahead of us. 112).) Gadamer is right in affirming that we cannot shed language. Polanyi writes of the “curiously insubstantial character of the joint meaning ascribed to a group of objects by a general term.’ as Polanyi. featureless. (See Innis 1988a for a Polanyian reading of Bühler. 168). and we select appropriate materials for the probe in light of the task at hand. The focus in terms of which we are aware of the members of a class appears vague and almost empty” ([1962] 1969e. is identical in structure with perceptual processes. Bühler. do. there- fore. The very material character of the probe defines what can be mediated by means of it. “To classify things in terms of features for which we have names. It supports the tacit dimension. On Polanyian terms. Language for Polanyi is constitutive. for example. by applying a rich vocabulary exactly. imply an ‘instrumental’ position on language. Vagueness for Peirce is not a sign of weakness. all concepts have an essential (appropriately under- stood) vagueness. we are embodied in our languages and symbolic systems just as really as we are embodied in external tools and instruments. even while it is dependent upon its tacit underpinnings and supports. but only by reason of the lack of other suitable materials. inter- preting all things that can be talked about in terms of somewhat different allegedly recurrent features” (Polanyi 1958. potentiating it. as do all images. general conceptions are abstract. Compared with optical illusions or stereoscopic images. In general. A hard-maple probe may be preferred to a pine probe. but of richness. The use of an articulate instrument. If such is the case. which can be taken up and put down at will. to affirm the ‘tool charac- ter of language. The vagueness of any concept. and Dewey.

10 Perception for both of them takes place in signs and by means of 9. simultaneously aware of both the recurrent features and the qualitative distinctiveness of the indi- vidual object.’ (See also on this Orange 1984. some of them ordinary. which are as ‘aspectual’ and ‘open’ as lan- guage itself is. 93–98). If all interpretant signs were precise. knowledge could not grow. The first task is accomplished by a semiotics-based philosophy. is rooted in the vagueness of perception and imagination. . however. 10. which he finds himself forced to defend without being certain that it ultimately hits the mark. is to show how advertence to the great schema of the classification of signs works itself out and is instantiated in language and to compare the semiotic powers of all sign systems to one another. We are. The second task is accomplished by a philosophy-informed general and comparative semiotics. His approach is sober. the virtuality of meaning. The task for a Peircean philosophy of language qua tale. It is clear that these two tasks are inextricably intertwined. For Peirce. Rather different ways of seeing Peirce’s implications for language theory are found in Shapiro 1991 and Keller 1998. brings the personal judgment of the language user into play and guarantees a term’s semantic plenitude. 4. then. see also Liszka 1996. set of comments on Peirce.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 48 48 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense points out in many places (Potter 1996. The very temporal nature of knowledge and the fact that no state of affairs repeats itself exactly and hence that its individualizing traits enter into our con- crete knowledge of it leave open the possibility of modifying the term or applying it to a new instance. insightful. foregrounded by Potter and others. others extraordinary. with which I am not concerned here. just as perception is. while exemplifying semi- osis and functioning as its primary stratum. in fact. 283. but is not identical to. Raposa 1989. I have tried to indicate directions and options in the introductory essays to the classic texts collected in Innis 1985 and throughout Innis 1994b. and Corrington 1993. but so are percepts and images. 284) has a brief. but highly pertinent. sensible. Jappy 1999. The vagueness of theological lan- guage. as in the sense of mastery of a skill. Itko- nen (1991. not based on language. Language is subject. Embodiment in Language It is clear that for Peirce and Polanyi perception. not only is language intrinsically vague. Scharfstein (1993) tries to trace the sense of semantic plenitude back to analogous types of experience. as in aesthetic intuition and creation and putative instances of mystical union. Peirce’s theory of signs (semeiotic) is meant to be entirely general. chaps. is embedded in wider semiotic happenings that I have only been able to hint at in the course of this chap- ter. and drawn toward a modest reductionism.)9 Vagueness for Peirce is connected with. as exemplified in Peirce’s analysis of theological language and his development of a ‘theosemiotic. to general semiotic conditions and constraints. 10–12.

They have. is an essential condition of accessing the object to begin with. But it is clear that for neither of them are all semiosic hap- penings perceivings. the evolution of external sign systems necessitates that they be perceptually accessible in order to be used. each sign type must have its own qualitative distinctness and through its stream of interpre- tants makes its object present in a way proper to itself. an ‘echo’ effect. to come to terms with the objective world. The comprehensive references accompanying these papers will lead the interested reader in all necessary directions. uncertain. But the probe. with its distinction between focal and subsidiary awareness and its notions of indwelling and embodiment. in The Tacit Dimension (1966. He learns rather to form the concepts of those objects. speaks of the ‘probal’ nature of language. fluctuating percep- tions and his dim feelings begin to assume a new shape. as Don Ihde pointed out. and Pape 1999 offer theoret- ically valuable explorations of Peircean themes dealing with language. Since. Henceforth the child stands on firmer ground. to embody ourselves in a language—or in fact in any sign system— is to interiorize it and make it part of our mental existence. a focus of thought. His vague. Without the help of the name every new advance made in Short 1999. Réthoré 1999. Thelin 1999. They all stem from the 1997 Peirce Seminar at Duke University. 7). Nevertheless. These instruments obtain a kind of ‘transparency’ by being made extensions of our embodied sensory systems. bearing on these issues. he is pinpointing the fact that just as we pro- ject ourselves out to the end of the probe. . and thus language. and it is here that Polanyi’s analytical model. so we project ourselves into language and through it to the world. Polanyi’s notion of indwelling helps us see the ‘biasing’ of perception by our embodiment in different Peircean speculative instruments. even with the image of the blind man’s stick. on Peircean principles. Haley 1999. When Polanyi. is extremely helpful. which is not known or even knowable without it. This echo effect is defined by the tacit background or field of subsidiarily appre- hended sign configurations that make the object known in a variety of ways. Itkonen 1999. They may be said to crystallize around the name as a fixed center. By learning to name things a child does not simply add a list of artificial signs to his previous knowledge of ready-made empirical objects. Cassirer has a remarkable passage.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 49 On the Perceptual Roots of Linguistic Meaning 49 signs. passing through it to the object. In that sense. and in one sense all signs and sign systems are signs embedded in perception.

Cassirer asserts that “[o]ur perceptions. It has a from-to structure” (1966.402 n. and is involved by. 3). as well as its actional matrix.Innis Chapter 1 9/24/02 9:49 PM Page 50 50 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense the process of objectification would always run the risk of being lost again in the next moment. taken as a whole. which I will have reason to cite again further on in different contexts: “All thought contains components of which we are subsidiarily aware in the focal con- tent of our thinking. is per- ception embodied in language. As Polanyi pointed out in a passage in The Tacit Dimension. The first names of which a child makes conscious use may be compared to a stick by the aid of which a blind man gropes his way. . 54). therefore. speaking of the shaping and molding of the objective world by speech activity. each increase of a man’s infor- mation involves. the experience of thinking. as if they were parts of our body. and all thought dwells in its subsidiaries. men and words reciprocally educate each other. involving deep existential and cognitive commitments. And language. becomes the gateway to a new world. Peirce. as Brentano has taught: it is also necessarily fraught with the roots it embodies. for his part. language is embodied in perception. is dependent upon its ‘symbolic’ (semiotic) carriers in which it is embodied. writes that “since man can think only by means of words or other external symbols . in fact.538) and since “prag- maticism makes thinking to consist in the living inferential metaboly of symbols whose purport lies in conditional general resolutions to act” (5. a corresponding increase of a word’s information” ([1868] 1992c. x). Hence thinking is not only necessarily inten- tional. and concepts have coalesced with the terms and speech forms of our mother tongue” (133). intuitions. Not only. then. 132) Indeed. . Since for Peirce “experience can only mean the total cognitive result of living” (CP 7. This is a fateful process. (1944. .

is more than an exercise in the history of ideas or an act of historical piety. the convergence alone of Bühler’s and Gar- diner’s two valuable and classic projects and their bearing on a common . it throws powerful and sober light on some at times neglected central premises and results of an adequate approach to language. Karl Bühler’s 1934 synthetic mas- terpiece. however. Theory of Language (hereafter TL). The Theory of Speech and Language (hereafter TSL). Elements from their work can add some new twists to philosophical reflections on lan- guage that are consonant with or based upon pragmatist principles. with pragmatist eyes. Inde- pendent of their relevance to supporting and supplementing a pragmatist take on language.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 51 2 From Indication to Predication On Fields and Situations To read together. and Alan Gardiner’s 1932 treatise. Rather.

2 The semantic and social approaches of Bühler and Gardiner to lan- guage are resolutely in the pragmatist vein. as befitted his varied intellectual back- ground and training in medicine. They furnish clear support. . 141). who was nurtured within the great scientific and humanistic tradition of the German university system. both Bühler and Gardiner rejected as fundamentally misguided the thesis. It can be considered as a rather long scholarly footnote. 2. must not labor under the domination of formal logic (TSL.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 52 52 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense range of topics and issues are surprising. sometimes connected with later developments of the Saussurian tradition. a pure system of signifiers to be studied apart from the total perceptual. Bühler. and psychology. which.). behavioral. He was in fact a world-famous Egyptologist. a polymath of the first order. philosophy. Emphasizing at every turn that mental and personal categories and intrinsic references to the powers of socially con- stituted subjectivity are indispensable for and pervasive in language the- ory. or psychology. The problem of the genesis and structure of meaning is intimately connected with the problem of communication and communicative action. for Dewey’s assertion that “to understand is to anticipate together. Syntax. for his part. Gardiner. Gardiner writes. although he had made a deep study of Saussure’s Course in General Lin- guistics. that in relation to his own work it was “the most interesting attempt in which a similar project is consistently carried out” (TL. that language is autonomous. to misunderstand is to set up action at cross pur- poses” ([1925] 1988a. 77 ff. is not first and foremost an instrument of monologic thought but a means of social cooperation and interaction. I am attaching as an appendix to this chapter a short article on Wegener (Innis 1989. and psy- chological categories and analyses. as is well known. has had a profound influence on twen- tieth-century thought. as it was for Dewey.1 An important link between them is a common debt to the pioneering work of Philipp Wegener.” writes Bühler (TL. “Lingua docet logicam. whose development of the notion of a ‘situation’ is of prime importance. and social situation in which it is found and which is best thematized according to the categories of formal logic or of an abstract algebra (see Leroy 1967. 22). . 289–99) rather than trying to embed its content into the body of the text. 212). . Language for them. from out- side of technical philosophy. To fail to understand is to fail to come into agreement in action. 1. . lacked professional training either in general linguistics. semiotic. published at his insistence two years before Theory of Language. a topic that recurs time and again throughout their work. In order not to make a dense discussion even denser. wrote about Gardiner’s book. Bühler’s language theory involved a highly differentiated combination of philosophical. 244). phi- losophy.

Two comprehensive collections indicate the range of Bühler’s language theory and its matrices: the two volumes of Bühler-Studien (Eschbach 1984a) and Karl Bühler’s Theory of Lan- guage (Eschbach 1988a).3 With these I will not be concerned. pragmatist or not. 4. 1994b.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 53 From Indication to Predication 53 The historical and philosophical trajectories of these works. Sleeper (1986) foregrounds the linguistic dimension in Dewey and makes many helpful critical comparisons with other thinkers. He writes: “The conventional wisdom fails to recognize that Dewey was working out a full-scale theory of dis- course. or buttress the linguistic dimension in a broadly conceived ‘classical’ version of pragmatism. 1988b. These topics reveal in a rather startling manner the philo- sophical implications and bite of their attempts to thematize key aspects of the language animal and the remarkable tool it avails itself of to articu- late the world. The linguistic dimension in pragmatism and its relation to philosophy’s ‘linguistic turn’ in the twentieth century constitute a complex and much disputed topic. where they inter- sect with.4 I will deal with five core issues that are central to any language theory of no matter what philosophical provenance. 1984b. Rosenthal (1986) provides helpful synthetic comments. that Dewey was already maintaining that ‘meaning’ is ‘primarily a property . 1998a. (3) the relations between words and meanings. These books contain extensive bibliographies of literature in many lan- guages. 194–225) has confronted Peirce’s “evolutionary realism” with the linguistic turn. 1982. Situating the Speech Act: Between the Organon-Model and the Four-Factor Theory The famous pivot of Bühler’s language theory is his organon-model of a speech act or speech event. 1988a. 1986b. We have paid scant attention to Dewey’s carefully worked out semiotic and the bearing of that semiotic on his semantic theory. supplement. and (5) the predicational matrix of the sentence. My goal is to keep an eye directly on the pivotal concepts and distinctions of their language theories and to note. We are aware. See especially Innis 1980. Hausman (1993. particu- larly Bühler’s. 1. (2) premises and implications of the constitution of the linguistic sign. but that are especially supportive of a gen- eral pragmatist orientation: (1) how to thematize the fundamental rela- tions making up the speech act. It finds an exact parallel 3. a philosophy of language. 1992a. of the sort required for understanding how the symbols we use relate to the world in which we use them. (4) how to model metaphor. 1985. are checkered. when appropriate. the main lines of which have by now been quite extensively studied. I have also treated the issues of this chapter in a number of previous publications. It is perhaps the most well-known and heuris- tically fertile of his theoretical accomplishments. as Quine has remarked.

arising out of a perceptual surplus of one of the members.’ These works will lead one directly back to the foundational texts. As Bühler pointed out in section A of “The Axiomatization of the Language Sciences” (1933). Abse’s own contribution to this volume. 24 and 25 n). 237). perhaps even more than Saussure’s Course the chief influence on his work—he dedicated the book to Wegener—the observation that “the purpose of speech is always to influ- ence the will or the perception of someone in a way which the speaker considers to be of importance” (Grundfragen 67. Gardiner. is the proper theme of language theory. Untersuchungen über die Grundfragen des Sprach- lebens (hereafter Grundfragen). had taken from Philipp Wegener’s 1885 work. see TSL. which clearly has some prefigurements in the animal realm.’ Joas 1997 and Cook 1993 should be consulted for sympathetic and nuanced accounts of Mead’s work as a whole. Myers (1986. Bird 1986 has helpful comparative comments on James’s treat- ment of ‘meaning.’ Stevens 1974 remains one of the most lucid accounts of James’s reflections on ‘the foundations of meaning. “Language Disorder in Mental Dis- ease. the act of speech. for the use of the ‘tool’ or ‘instrument’ model for words). Language effects. But first and foremost “it compels one individual to take the standpoint of other indi- viduals and to see and inquire from a standpoint that is not strictly per- sonal but is common to them as participants or ‘parties’ in a conjoint undertaking” (52). in his conception. arises when the cooperative or coordinative activity of a group needs a diacritikon. 111–293. 5. and from his own independent reflections (see TL. 54. Page references are to the Eng- lish translation. 256–62) synthesizes James’s take on the relation between language and meaning.5 Indeed. for his part. . the explication of which. Tiles (1988) and Burke (1994) follow the thread of language through Dewey’s work. which Dewey also foregrounded. but is well worth consulting. that language signs are fundamentally instruments or tools by which a speaker gets a listener or addressee to grasp or attend to objects and states of affairs or effects a change in his behavior (see also TSL. Bühler had taken from Plato’s Cratylus.’ while Wittgenstein ‘still held his copy theory of language’” (5). The original function of language as a medium of communication lies at the heart even of Dewey’s Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938) and is fully in agreement with Mead’s symbolic interactionism. of behavior.” unfortunately lies outside the scope of the present discussion. Wegener’s entire book appeared in Abse 1971. 51).Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 54 54 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense in Gardiner’s four-factor theory of a speech act. on Dewey’s position. the “transformation of the biological into the intellectual and the potentially logical” ([1938] 1986. the key idea. includ- ing the place of language in it. to steer either the behavior or the perception of the members of the group. Rosen- thal and Bourgeois (1991) devote a chapter to ‘the life of language. Mead’s reflections on lan- guage are embedded in his general reflections on the genesis and nature of symbolization.

the listener to whom the act of speech is directed. to attain its goal or to realize its purpose. which also had a strong influence upon Bühler. he did think that his semiotically grounded and related two-field theory—based on the distinction between deixis and symbolization as two radically different modi of signification—was a real advance. a topic on which I am not able to pass a grounded judgment. indeed functionally insuperable. with its radical. While Bühler granted that the doctrine of linguistic fields was not something new in itself. that is to say accessible to one another in either a material or a spiritual sense” (TSL.” Gardiner writes. parallels the Kantian distinction between intuition and con- cept. insofar as its original goal and target is the listener.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 55 From Indication to Predication 55 self-seeking and altruism were “the human attributes from which speech obtains its driving force” (TSL. 68). “The general conditions of speech. a point repeatedly stressed by Wegener throughout his groundbreaking studies. as Gardiner put it.’” for in light of the intrin- sically social orientation of speech. components of a Peircean account of language as a distinctive form of semiosis. This distinction. 49). It should be noted that Dewey also specified egocentrism versus participation as the pole defining possible sharing of a situation. Wegener’s standpoint. and the objects or states of affairs upon which the linguis- tic signs bear. To explain a complete act of speech. Deixis and symbolization are also indispensable. like my own. the linguistic signs mediating between the partners in the semi- otic exchange. “a listener’s comprehension is based primarily upon the situ- ation in which he finds himself. which also guided Ernst Cassirer’s analysis of language in the first volume of his Philosophy of Symbolic Forms. using a pregiven set of socially constituted and produced signs. and not conflatable. Bühler read- ily admitted. just as Gardiner. following Wegener. for an act of speech. “all four factors must be in the same situation. Now. insisted upon the indis- pensability of shared situations for the success of any speech act. distinction between “perceptual pointing and presenting”—the deictic field—and “abstraction and the conceptual grasp of the world” (TL. Bühler and Gardiner delineated four inextricably connected elements or factors: the speaker and his intentions and purposes. consequently. v)—the symbolic field. this provides the foundation for all his His goal is to draw out the implications of Wegener’s work for analytic theory. This material or spiritual accessibility is Gardiner’s anal- ogon to Bühler’s two-field theory of language. is dominated by the notion of the importance of the ‘situation. “remain the same at all times and all places. .

The original role these terms play in language games is to identify some- thing by a fusion of their conceptual content and the actual presence of the ‘object’ referred to. 54). majestic. to the speaker. I. namely. 127). his two fields are “the two sources that in every case contribute to the precise interpretation of utter- ances” (TL. following Wegener’s lead. and the general context. that—would be bereft of sense without the initial spatial and tempo- ral bond—a Peircean existential connection—between speaker and hearer. Whatever else this ‘I’ is. then. The web of meaning is itself a web of fields and contexts. It makes up. is something external to the individual linguistic signs them- selves.6 Now. 329). “Take the affirmation He was a very stately man. For any linguistic sign to succeed in its communicative function. for Bühler. involving a ‘spiritual’ connection between speaker and hearer. which Bühler even called a Gewebe. Now. indeed of 6. while social and objective. Syntactic and semantic structures constitute and generate the contextual field. Bühler and Gardiner argued. is modified to an appreciable extent” (TSL. this. thematized by Heidegger as fore-having. As Bühler showed at length in the second part of Theory of Lan- guage. This is the situation of presence. so to speak. is another matter. . that it must be embedded either in a ‘situation’ or a ‘field’ shared by the interlocutors. which as intu- itive is determined through deixis in all its forms and which involves some sort of material or existential connection between the speaker and hearer. you. 149). or imposing. The deictic field. and the thing said. though not alto- gether different. the ‘syntactic’ or syntagmatic or semantic matrix in which symbols are to be ordered. No philosophy of language worthy of the name can ignore this existential condition. paralleling Gardiner’s decision to say that “concrete speech is noth- ing more than another name for ‘text’” (TSL. which corresponds to the lived fore-structure of the linguistic subject. including the linguistic subject.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 56 56 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense deductions” (TSL. it is clear that the field or the situation. Substitute dignified. and fore- grasping. in an analysis still not adverted to in philosophical accounts of ‘indexical terms. memories with which ethical and aesthetic judgments are inextricably mixed. and it is within this situation that the fundamentally diacritical function of language. in Gardiner’s terminology. there. In this region of speech words are paramount and there are no real synonyms. ‘I’ refers.’ the originary use of deictic terms—here. fore-seeing. or web. by the physical quality of the voice itself. the situation (in Bühler’s sense). is the primary home of these terms. Indeed. Around the word stately cluster mem- ories and valuations of various and peculiar kinds. first of all a social field. the basis situation for semiotic exchange. prior to any philosophy of the subject.

the linguistic situation. “verbal con- text [that is. moreover. is that a linguistic utterance is funda- mentally a diacritical act that segments a shared mental or social space— or time—and asserts. a crucial factor in understand- ing the differentiation of subject and predicate and the root of Gardiner’s exploitation of Wegener’s notion of a predicational nexus as the key to the . though there are sure points of entry in his own language theory for such a distinction. and the situation of imagina- tion are not exactly the same. first becomes clear. but together with gesture and tone of voice is the princi- pal means of showing the situation” (51). and a fortiori of Gardiner’s. in the first case deictically.’ while overlapping. and to bring it under intellectual control. This. even isomorphism. intersects with his extensive treatment of elocu- tional form. to give it sense. something new. of course.’ the basis situation. that is. the linguistically defined deictic and symbolic fields] is not in itself a situation. and what Bühler calls demonstratio ad oculos.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 57 From Indication to Predication 57 all sign use. is a central Deweyan and Meadian point. The central focus of Wegener’s language theory. But this novelty must not be looked for merely or exclusively within the linguis- tic signs themselves and their conceptual contents. The ‘situation of common knowledge’ and the ‘linguistic situation’ encompass what Gardiner calls ‘spiritual accessibility’: the necessity of a shared language or framework or participation in a common code or form of life. Deixis is a matter of referring. it is the situation that “alone can effectuate the ref- erence of a word” (TSL. There is a parallel. Gardiner spends very little time on Bühler’s fundamental distinction between the deictic field and the symbolic field. 60). the indexical pointing out of something that lies within the shared visual field. as Bühler’s chief distinctions. As Gar- diner sees the matter. either in intent or in effect. We must look in the direction the signs are pointing. itself considered as the bearer of a common field of meanings that are the shared conceptual instruments used to focus upon the world. between Gardiner’s ‘situation of presence. though there is a sharp distinction between ‘situation’ and ‘thing-meant’ (82). are not identical categories. ‘Situations’ and ‘fields. As Gardiner puts it. The emphasis on gesture and tone of voice. But Gardiner’s further distinctions between the situation of common knowledge. Elocutional form plays a role in the differentiation of the tri- chotomy of semantic functions that Bühler’s organon-model is meant to display and ground. They also refer to all those shared items of knowledge that make it possible to converse without spelling everything out. for the situation is not a factor of speech “but the setting in which speech can alone become effective” (49).

In one way the triangle encloses less than the circle (thus illustrating the principle of abstractive rele- vance). In another way it goes beyond the circle to indicate that what is given to the senses always receives an apperceptive com- plement. and the metalingual) in his famous essay “Linguistics and Poetics” (in Innis 1985). the situation of common knowledge. The ‘situation of imagination’ overlaps Bühler’s demonstratio am Phantasma or ‘imagination-oriented deixis. a big chunk of Wittgensteinian insights on language as belonging to and being conditioned by forms of life. Bühler explains the diagram shown in Figure 1 in the following fashion: The circle in the middle symbolizes the concrete acoustic phe- nomenon. a symptom (Anzeichen. Here we have. systematic. expressive. One of the most philosophically rich points of Bühler’s and Gardiner’s approaches is a clear.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 58 58 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense sentence. The schema does much more than relate the various semantic functions to their funda- ments. and nonmystifying account of the fun- damental radical trichotomy of linguistic and semantic functions that form the matrix of a fully human speech event. Three variable factors in it go to give it the rank of a sign in three different manners. Bühler presented a now famous schema for visualizing the structure of a total linguistic action and for illustrating the necessity of at least a trichotomy of semantic functions. Gardiner’s situation of imagination in fact comprises—as in his example He must have known that his speculations would end badly— all four situations at once: the situation of the utterance. indi- . developed in rather sub- lime philosophical innocence. The sides of the inscribed triangle sym- bolize these three factors. and appellative functions the poetic. the linguistic situation. It is a symbol by virtue of its coordi- nation to objects and states of affairs. as Bühler’s is. as we shall see. It also illuminates the role of diacritical abstraction in the very constitution of the linguistic sign.’ but it is not thematized within the framework of a theory of language-defined deictic fields. This schema later became the starting point of Roman Jakobson’s poten- tiation into six (adding to Bühler’s representational. the phatic. These four situations manifest the complexity of the linguistic subject in a straightforward way and take aim at accounts of language that ignore all those surrounding factors that enable it to do its work. and the situation of imagi- nation as a kind of mental precondition for the imaginative projection of the modally qualified assertion. The parallel lines symbolize the semantic functions of the (complex) language sign.

which are limned and grounded here. and a signal by virtue of its appeal to the hearer. it is an index. for his part. 28) The representational. 2). whose inner states it expresses. words. and things are invariably interacting. a linguistic sign can also reveal. the expressive. That is. are identical to those distinguished by Gardiner. 1 cium: index) by virtue of its dependence on the sender. “All four factors of speaker. also offers a diagram (Fig. Just what semantic relation or function is operative in any particular utterance must be estab- lished inferentially by the hearer upon the basis of a multiplicity of clues. so that any . The three general types of utterances or classes of linguistic action are not mutually exclusive. Gardiner. whose inner or outer behaviour it directs as do other com- municative signs. a position that parallels Bühler’s contention that the speech-action is a unity and that the various functions ascribed to it are abstract moments read off from it.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 59 From Indication to Predication 59 objects and states of affairs representation symbol m sign pto al sym sender receiver on app essi eal e xpr Fig. (TL. or even seven if we accept Karl Popper’s notion that the ‘argumentative function’ is a separate one). in Peirce’s terms. for in addition to being directed to the perception or to the behavior of the addressee. Gardiner notes that they tend to merge into one another. the interiority and subjectivity of the speaker. and the appellative (or conative) functions of language. listener. spontaneously or intentionally. One speech event can accomplish all three functions at the same time (indeed all six.

have a complex and philosophically illuminating constitution for Bühler and Gardiner. and Gardiner on the act/event character of parole. of Wittgensteinian and non-Wittgensteinian orientation. As Gardiner puts it. The Constitution of the Linguistic Sign Signs themselves. or Janus. at fundamentally the same results. Indeed. as Jakobson saw. because of the mechanization of speech. the Saussurian image of the two-faced. which make up a vast stock of articulatory and sense- giving possibilities. These insights are strong reminders of the complexity of a speech event and a safeguard against attempts to interpret language as a free-floating chain of signifiers. the production and exchange of which in various modal- ities effect a linguistic action. 190). even if.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 60 60 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense type of sentence cannot fail to possess. the intersubjective exchange of signs to mediate in a speech situation an intelligible content. though not exclusive. Contemporary work on text theory bears this out. must always be taken into account in determining sentence-quality. as for Saussure. at least in rudimentary form. They also took rather different stances toward Saus- sure’s cardinal distinction between langue and parole. meaning. but without capitu- lating to associationism. In the terms of speech-act theory. they are concerned with locutionary acts. “the listener is seldom aware that he has been engaged in any such logical process” (199). the pre- dominant. I noted that while Bühler and Gardiner both recognized a multiplicity of linguistic functions and that while their work is open to expansion through the differentiation of further functions. Bühler focused on the socially produced ideality aspect of langue. by differ- ent means. or sense concerning objects and states of affairs. focus of their own analyses was the rep- resentational function. character of words. arrived. both of whom accepted in their own ways. the domain of langue. Word-signs and the rules of their syntactic combination and intonation constitute for them. using an image also used by Bühler . the transsubjective region or system of commonalty that can be incorporated into dictionaries and lexica and systematized in books of grammar. and the lis- tener’s interpretation is always a matter of reasoning” (199). “the total situa- tion. also the characteristics of the other types” (TSL. joining together speaker and addressee. including the nature of the thing referred to by the words. Certain strands of ordinary-language philosophy. 2.

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UTTERANCES
Sentences

SPEAKER LISTENER
(1) Exclamations demands calling for

information action
(3) Questions (4) Requests

THINGS
(2) Statements

Fig. 2

and that has now become rather common, words are like coins (TSL,
120), instituted to effect the exchange of ideas and the mutual communi-
cation of wishes, desires, commands, inquiries, and so forth, and as such
they constitute a vast virtual domain of sense. The virtuality of meaning
is, as is well known, a central notion in Peircean semiotics. The actual
domain of sense-giving, however, is the utterance (see Voloshinov 1973),
which Gardiner, under the rubric of the sentence, classified as the primary
unit of speech or parole and which Bühler, in his axiomatization of the
principles of linguistic research, showed to be the essential second com-
ponent in his two-class model of universal representational instruments,
composed of lexical units of sense organized in a field of relations consti-
tuting the sentential and syntactic structures, although Bühler also con-
ceived of utterances as actions (Handlungen), a key notion in his language
theory as a whole.
It is a common thesis of both Bühler and Gardiner, arrived at rather
differently, however, that linguistic signs as socially objective unities and
as complete units of sense and the primary units of articulate meaning
exist only in and through the consciousness of the speakers of any partic-
ular language—as a real possession of consciousness—while the material
tokens of the signs, embodied in particular sets of articulate sounds,
merely remind us, as Gardiner puts it, of the words themselves as psychi-
cal entities, which exist as types. Both Peirce and Saussure made similar
points, which is of more than cursory philosophical interest. These types,
so writes Gardiner, are crystallizations of effective communicative
exchanges that have taken on stable external forms and that can, indeed

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62 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense

must, be recognized on the basis of diacritical marks even if, as is normally
the case, we are unable to specify formally and explicitly the criteria we
are using to distinguish such units. Not only are meanings normally
‘transparent,’ the carriers of meaning also are. Phonological analysis, as
Voloshinov also argued, is not an intrinsic component of everyday lin-
guistic exchange. Nevertheless, as Bühler showed definitively, these crys-
tallized, though not reified, structures are grasped by, and rest upon, a
peculiar act of abstraction, and a word or linguistic structure for him, just
as for Gardiner, cannot be identified with its material realization. As
Bühler insisted in Theory of Language, “whenever something is a sign, it
is only abstract factors by virtue of which the concrete thing functions
‘as’ a sign” (40), a position echoed in his seminal essay “Phonetik und
Phonologie,” with its central idea of the principle of abstractive relevance,
one of the pivotal notions of his language theory. “In the case of meaning-
bearing signs things are such that the sensible thing, this perceptually
accessible something existing here and now, does not have to enter into its
semantic function with the whole fullness of its concrete properties.
Rather is it the case that only this or that abstract moment is relevant for
its calling to function as a sign. Put in simple words, that is the principle
of abstractive relevance” (Bühler 1931, 38; my translation).
Gardiner can write that “it is only inaccurately, though by a sort of
necessary inaccuracy, that the name of ‘words’ is given to the articulate
sounds which pass between speaker and listener. There is no more funda-
mental truth in the entire theory of speech” (TSL, 69). Although Gardiner
was relatively innocent of phonology, which numerous philosophers
influenced by the Saussurian trajectory (Merleau-Ponty and Derrida
come most readily to mind) have adverted to and exploited, taking it as an
accepted fact that sign-users can perform the necessary diacrisis, in prac-
tice he recognized, though he did not try to indicate its philosophical bite,
the crucial distinction between phones and phonemes. He noted that
because psychical life—the locus of meaning—is “completely inalienable”
and because the “impossibility of transferring thought is absolute and
insurmountable,” it is only by an inference, that is, an abductive leap,
from his own thought that the listener can conclude that the speaker has
been thinking of the same thing, “for what passes in speech between the
two persons concerned is mere sound, bereft of all sense. . . . It follows
that the physical results of articulate speech, not possessing the side of
meaning, cannot be actual words” (69). The “articulate sounds appear to
be physical, audible, copies of one aspect of their psychical originals” (70).

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From Indication to Predication 63

These psychical originals are “something relatively permanent, wide-
spread, and capable of being possessed in common by a multitude of indi-
viduals”; that is, they make up a common stock, and hence “words
transcend, and are altogether less evanescent entities than, the sounds
which issue from a speaker’s mouth and vanish into nothingness soon
after they have reached the listener’s ear” (TSL, 70). Here Gardiner is reit-
erating the type/token thesis that underlies general semiotic theory (see
Eco 1976, 178–88) and appropriating Saussure’s idea of a sign—as a social
convention with a fundamentally psychic reality—for his own use. Thus,
while phonology and an attendant theory of abstraction based on it
played a central role in Bühler’s work—“The phenomenon of abstraction
takes a key position in sematology, one to which we shall repeatedly have
to return” (TL, 45)—Gardiner was satisfied with rather cursory allusions
to the factor of ‘selective attention,’ “another, more equivocal name” for
which is “‘abstraction’” (TSL, 48 n, with a reference to Th. Ribot’s L’évo-
lution des idées générales). Still, in the “Retrospect 1951” he referred to
the fact that “had I been able to carry out my project of a second volume,
I should have supplemented my conception of an ‘area of meaning’—to
be taken up below—with that of an ‘area of sound.’ Within the latter all
the identifiable variations would have been grouped, the recognized ‘best’
pronunciation occupying the centre, while pronunciations which did not
allow of the word’s identification would have been banished outside the
periphery” (TSL, 338). Although this text refers, in the first instance, to
the diacritical function of phonemes, Gardiner’s extensive discussion of
elocutional form—accent, emphasis, rhythm, speed of articulation, high-
low pitch, and so forth—shows him to be well aware of what later
research called suprasegmental phonemes. Bühler had also seen that,
within specific cases in which the diacritical functions of phonemes have
been extinguished but where the situation is clear—that is, in certain cases
of the empractical use of language—“some complex of characteristics or a
single feature suffices to identify them” (TL, 285; see TSL, 203 ff.),
though, to be sure, “the social calling of the acoustic images in intersub-
jective exchange categorically requires a certain degree of uniformity”
(TL, 286). Otherwise there would be no diacrisis.
Accordingly, Bühler had distinguished two radically different types of
sense-bearing moments in the linguistic sign—internal to the linguistic
sign itself—phonemic and Gestalt moments. The grasp of these manifests
two very different powers of subjectivity: the power of diacritical abstrac-
tion and the power of Gestalt apprehension. Words, on Bühler’s account,

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64 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense

have both a Klanggesicht (an acoustic face) and a phonematische Signale-
ment (set of descriptive phonemic features). These two characteristics are
social facts, guaranteeing with some other determinants what Gardiner
called the locutional and elocutional (we might say ‘expressive’) forms of
an utterance. The locutional form—of a word at least—is fundamentally
dependent upon its phonemic markers, but is also carried, when the situ-
ation makes this form of recognition impossible, by tonal or Gestalt
moments and by inferences from the situation or linguistic context. Inas-
much as, Gardiner says, “intonation has . . . priority everywhere over
syntax” (TSL, 161)—indeed even over word-form, as, for example, in the
expression the bóy king, where boy, when accented, functions adjectivally
even though it is a noun—Gardiner also thought that the Klanggesicht of
a word and of a whole utterance could carry the essential semantic weight.
Especially in his discussion of commands and exclamations Gardiner has
given a good analysis of just how elocutional form constitutes the seman-
tic core of a word or linguistic string. Although this problem lies outside
the explicit scope of this chapter, it should be noted that Dewey also rec-
ognized this ‘musical element,’ not just in language but also in art.
Neither Bühler nor Gardiner inordinately magnified and extended the
Saussurian thesis that langue is composed of a system of differences (Saus-
sure 1986, 120), which have no substantial reality in themselves, being
defined by mutual oppositions, a theme popular with later structuralist
currents and that was also explored at length and illuminatingly by Mer-
leau-Ponty (see Merleau-Ponty 1964c, 3–83). Bühler’s organon-model of
language, and Gardiner’s idea concerning the essentially instrumental
character of words, demand that the diacritical moments be coded,
socially constituted—hence objective and intersubjective—elements in
which the linguistic sign-users participate. Bühler assimilated them to
species, as thematized in the Scholastic tradition, but eschewed ontologi-
cal aspects of the species problematic. The ideality of the abstract elements,
which function as a social bond, is socially produced and historically vari-
able. It is valid only for specific periods of time and for specific groups
who are constituted by their use of the same elements and the same code.
Bühler was more interested in the implications of the radical and paradig-
matic distinction between phonetics and phonology for concept forma-
tion and for modeling acts of abstraction than in doing concrete
phonological work himself. Phonology pointed directly to the perceptual
powers of the linguistic subject and to his abilities to discriminate amidst
an ever-changing flow of sound phenomena stable units of sense, much as,

Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 65

From Indication to Predication 65

to speak in Gardinerian terms, a botanist or a taxonomist recognizes
species and classes of animals and plants amidst an ever changing proces-
sion of distinct and different individuals. As Bühler wrote: “Phonemes
belong to the class of marks, features, criteria, notae; they are phonetic
marks in the sound image of the word and correspond to the features of
the things, which have always been known in logic and were called prop-
erties, in Latin ‘notae’” (TL, 278).
Now, for Bühler, “it is more important to recognize how phonological
analysis has newly been reworked to become a procedure that shows
promise of becoming exemplary for a broad range of tasks in the analysis of
intersubjective processes, and that it leads to a new concept of elements”
(TL, 275). Our grasp of words as units of sense (Sinneinheiten) parallels in
a remarkable fashion our apprehension of meaning-spaces and object
domains upon which words, as distinctive units, bear. There is a sort of
structural isomorphism between the expression plane and the content plane
in Bühler, a position that is implicit in Gardiner but explicit in Bühler.
Showing the heuristic fertility of phonology is one of Bühler’s major
contributions.

If linguists and theoreticians of language today feel renewed
courage to intervene on their own terms in the epoch-making strife
among the best thinkers on the problem of abstraction, they can
adduce good reasons for doing so. If one is able to divert the eye of
the theorist of abstraction from the things that are named to the
naming character of the naming words, to the acoustic structures
themselves, one will gain new opportunities to shed light on the
problem. There is a simple reason for this: these structures are not
just found ready-made, but are produced by the epistemic subject.
They are produced by every speaker of a language precisely so
that his interlocutors can recognize each as this or that phonetic
structure and distinguish it from others. That is the great opportu-
nity for those who want to attack the problem of abstraction anew
in their capacity as linguists, using the constitutive facts of phonol-
ogy. (TL, 288)

Indeed, the essentially mentalistic, though also essentially social, ori-
entation of Bühler’s and Gardiner’s language theories, which is even
limned in their discussion of the fundamentally psychic nature of the lin-
guistic sign, becomes especially clear in their theories of word-meanings,

I throw at the listener’s head the entire residue of all its previous applications. Indeed. the specifications coming either from the extralinguistic situations. 35). 36). “in uttering a word. a Bühlerian context.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 66 66 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense between which there are not only remarkable parallels but also insights of critical importance for a pragmatist reflection on the epistemological problem of how language bears upon experience. which now has become commonplace in light of the Wittgensteinian revolution and for which Bühler has an equivalent: that words are bearers of meaning-areas rather than bearers of strictly defined Platonic forms or essences. including the situations of common knowledge. and others distinctly central” (37). nontechnical language they have no area in common. Bühler had also noted: “When it becomes manifest that our knowl- edge is ordered in spheres. “every word is a heritage from the past. 3. how could I do other- wise?” (TSL. When now I utter such a word. towel . Indeed. the Bühlerian Umfelder (sur- rounding fields). In his discussion of the appearance of ‘meaning-spheres’ both in perception and in lan- guage. horse excludes cow as “off the map” (TSL. a very different interpretation will be given to the verb help than if the same words are heard at a tea-party” (35). “If the words Help yourselves! are heard in a sermon. the speaker necessar- ily offers to the listener the whole range of its meaning” (35). Gardiner pointed out that “we can perhaps best picture to our- selves the meaning of a word such as horse by considering it as a territory or area over which the various possibilities of correct application are mapped out. Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics. in which the word is found. since in everyday. some rather near the borderline. that is. and has derived its meaning from application to a countless number of particulars differing among themselves either much or little. the domain of application of the ordering sign. and Wittgenstein’s deep reflections on language. in a way that binds Dewey’s pragmatism. Words and Meanings A pragmatist approach to language would accept one of Gardiner’s central and most important theses. is somehow delimited. as Gardiner notes. this indicates in general that there are many cases in which words are used when the extension of a concept. and not the content” (TL. As Gardiner put it. “within the legitimate range of the word-meaning horse the various things meant will be differently grouped. Accordingly.” While. Prancing steeds. or from the synsemantical environment. 221).

there is an increased feeling of strain—note the subjective reference—since “in terms of our map. In it. Essence is for him the “distilled import of existence” (Dewey [1925] 1988a. as formulated in language. 251). a point that lies at the heart of Dewey’s and Wittgenstein’s projects. but has to be identified by the lis- 7. 144).Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 67 From Indication to Predication 67 horses. that is. the means of inference and extensive transfer. As we move from toy horses through gymnasium horses to towel horses. the meaning of a thing is the sense it makes” (144). however. “the thing-meant is itself never shown. Neither Bühler nor Gardiner.and softcover books. “Word-meanings possess nothing of that self-consistency and homogeneity which are char- acteristic of ‘ideas. a concept that has no sharp boundaries and bears remarkable similarities. . It is.’ “The meaning of a word is not identical with an ‘idea’ in the Platonic sense” (44). Dewey engages the essentialistic doctrine of primary linguistic meaning in a severe critique of essences as freestand- ing objects. for example. held to any naive realist mirror conception of knowledge. If we try. perhaps even predominantly. why should the notion that knowledge is the most important mode of its modification and the only organ of its guidance be a priori obnoxious? . The most important Bühlerian analogue to a Gardinerian meaning-area is perhaps the notion of a synchytic concept. and “the speaker always creates a considerable propor- tion of the things-meant as he proceeds with his speech” (252). to pin down pre- cisely the range of objects to which the word-meaning book can apply— notebooks. If knowing be a change in a reality. . magazines. interpretive and hermeneutical. Dewey writes in a cognate passage in “Does Reality Possess Practical Character?”: If one believes that the world itself is in transformation. even manuscripts—we see a continuous interweaving of charac- teristics and properties but no strict Platonic ‘essence. are the result of long and toil- some search on the part of philosophers” (44). and object of esthetic intuition. to the ideas developed so fruitfully by Wittgenstein as “family resemblances.” Our words remain in currency even when the objects to which they apply have become maximally differentiated and multiply formed by the advance of culture.7 In fact. its intellectual voucher.’ Ideas. at once a reproductive and a creative activ- ity” (TSL. if attainable at all. perhaps not at all acci- dental. in fact. bound volumes of magazines. and gymnasium horses all fall within the domain of application. then the more . which is much opposed by the pragmatist approach. feeling and understanding are one. whose tasks vis-à-vis meanings are not merely legislative but also. the “significant thing about it. hard. these applications grow increasingly peripheral” (37). “Speech is. but certainly not all lie close to the center of the semantic space.

A veritable transformation and reconfiguration of direct experience is the result of the arrival of articulation and of the selective attention built into the construction of articulate units of sense. so elusive. “Frequently the word cannot be dismissed without serious injury to. the more transparent. .8 Quoting Husserl’s Logical Investigations to the effect that “the expression denotes (names) the object through its meaning” (LI ii. Even in abstract statements. “of great importance for the theory of speech is the fact. Any abstraction. The word-meaning can only describe what is meant—not be it. 55). . it is. Gardiner captures. we have the tool figuring as a nec- essary and inseparable part of the manufactured goods. . and the word-meaning is adjectival. . Frege’s pivotal distinction between Sinn and Bedeutung (with which Husserl was eminently familiar). Gardiner puts a special weight on the fact that it is by reason of its dependence on the richness of the thing-meant that also the scope of the linguistic indications of it must be restricted. A word-meaning may crystallize in our minds a thought which has long eluded expression. For example. though not terminolog- ically. can hardly be held in mind unless the word denoting it persists as its outward and perceptible sign. that the presence of the word itself is necessary if the thing is to be focused at all. however. no matter how closely welded together the two may be. Here. then. who had a technical philosophical education. knowing reveals this change. If words are always instrumental. This crystallization is. or even total loss of. then the knowledge which treats them as if they were some- thing of which knowledge is a kodak fixation is just the kind of knowledge which refracts and perverts them. but that thought is substantival in nature. 125. Nevertheless. which Cassirer made the focal point of his own approach to language. 49). that the verbal formulation of all but the simplest things itself involves an alteration of them.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 68 68 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense tener on the basis of the word-meanings submitted to him for that pur- pose. . . . Here one could profitably return to Polanyi’s profound reflections on the tacit matrix of articulation. . the map is not the territory but an abstraction. a metabasis eis allo genos. it is not quite apt to con- nect crystallization with the alteration of something preexisting the effort at articulation. the word-meaning can never be identical with the thing-meant. already noted. And if all existences are in transition. something that rarely occurs in Bühler. . in effect. ([1908] 1998a. as he put it. Gardiner’s formulations are insightful even if perhaps a little misleading for the epistemologically naive. the vital features of the thing spoken about. in fact. the more adequate. a crystallization as it were” (TSL. . 126) 8. though there are occasional epis- temological crudities in Gardiner’s formulation of the issues. however. 54–55). . The fact of word-consciousness does not contradict the instrumental character of speech which I have been at such pains to demonstrate” (TSL. . The fact of the matter is that many of the things about which one speaks are so intangible. some- times at least they are instruments of a very exceptional kind. Since.” the end result being that the listener grasps in his “mind’s eye the real article intended” (34). .

though neither for him nor for Gardiner does language. . . The apprehension of experience through articulate units of sense. As an orientation implement that becomes manifest in verbal intercourse. we will see. Thus Bühler can say concerning the fusion and interpene- tration of language and experience: The linguistic fixation and formulation of the perceived states of affairs is prepared and rooted in the processes that we usually call perceptions and which we tend to distinguish from the ‘following’ formulation in language in a manner that is rather more sharply defined than the facts of the matter permit. Bühler’s peculiar focus remained bound to the paradig- matic and heuristic role of phonology. the very heart of Cassirer’s account of language as symbolic form and ‘information technology’ par excellence. have any simplistically conceived iconic or mimetic relation to experience itself. . Die Krise der Psychologie. being structurally under the law of mediation.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 69 From Indication to Predication 69 which had used the conceptual resources supplied by Bühler and Gar- diner (Polanyi 1958. . taken together. Bühler had 9. human language potentiates the performance of the often unformulated natural signals and symptoms that we gather from things and com- municative partners through perception. embodied in material carriers of meaning. The linguistic sign itself is not just actively constituted by an act of abstraction.9 (TL. is also illuminatingly thema- tized by Bühler by recourse to the model of perceptual apprehension. and accordingly they emphasized rather different factors. In his earliest book- length semiotically oriented work. 252) Bühler and Gardiner were concerned with rather different aspects of the structure of symbolization. This is also. constitute the meaning-space of the linguistic sign. 69–131). The diacritically important phonic elements in the linguistic sign are analogous to the defining marks or notae appre- hended in the classification of perceptual types and to the semantic prop- erties or markers that. but its purpose is to allow both the speaker and addressee alike to perform an act of abstraction with respect to the object domain itself. This theme is discussed with detail and nuance in Bühler’s Die Krise der Psychologie within the framework of a semiotic model of perception and lies at the heart of the formal fea- tures of sense-giving and sense-reading established in my Consciousness and the Play of Signs. while Gardiner persistently brought the necessity of application to the fore.

This idea is given visual form in a schema presented in Theory of Lan- guage (see Fig. but only its socially constituted and shared relevant moments. . that are apprehended as signif- icant. It is not the flatus vocis itself. 81). it is up to the language user to select out those criterial characteristics that ground the application. The word-meaning and the word-form must be conceived as casting jets of light upon the thing as intended by the speaker. the application of any linguistic sign to experience will demand acts of selective attention. that are intended by the word-sign through its selective and abstracting conceptual focus. . as I have already noted. 149). represented on the left side of diagram. Because of the absolute nonidentity of all individual objects in the world. The point. 3 Hence. 3). Gardiner puts the matter this way: “When a word is applied in speech. since the language user must determine the appropriateness and scope of an application. has been well made by Polanyi in his chapter on ‘articulation. to characterize the thing-meant. one particular tract of its area of meaning becomes protruded. . resembles the delicate discrimination practised by the expert taxonomist” (1958. this analogy and the complex relation between sign and meaning which is derived from it is ever to be found in the most complex variations in all sense-filled experiences” (33). of abstraction. . sym- bolized by the shaded part.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 70 70 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense insisted on “the clearly recognizable and never mistaken duality of phonic image and word-meaning . “Either the word expresses the class of . revealing its true characters as so intended or meant” (TSL. . as we do in talking about things. Gardiner thematizes two different ways of determining the relation of word-meaning to the thing-meant. Fig. . Thus the art of speaking precisely. and it is not the total object but only the relevant moments. requires the same kind of connoisseurship as the naturalist must have for identifying speci- mens of plants and animals. as it were. symbolized by the shaded part.’ which is dependent on both Büh- ler’s and Gardiner’s books: “To classify things in terms of features for which we have names. by apply- ing a rich vocabulary exactly.

This is an idea of general epistemological import. “for the class is an assemblage of things united by virtue of a common attribute.” a reaction that qualifies—as an adjective does— the thing-meant. “the meanings of words often cover applications between which it is impossible to discover any point of resemblance. something Bühler does in the semiotic mode. including. which may be known in other ways. 37). . a requirement thematized by Polanyi under the principles of poverty and iterability. and it seems that the rather more extensive discussion of meaning-areas in Gardiner can be fruitfully supplemented by Bühler’s systematic exploitation of the phonological model and in this way saved from a charge of nominalism. and these dis- tinctions can be thought of substantivally if it should be necessary.” as in the application of the word file to the “stiff. 38). A word’s class-name character comes from the fact that its nature requires it to be “utilizable over and over again in many different contexts and situations” (TSL.” although. The properly adjectival character of not just every word but also of every utterance. Indeed. belonging to a participatory theory of knowledge. In the last analysis these two ways of looking upon words are the same. Gardiner gave no account of how we may conceive of the processes by which classes are themselves generated. 39). pointed wires on which docu- ments are run for keeping and also to the front-rank men followed by other men in a line straight behind them” (43). Resem- blance here—as Nelson Goodman and Max Black also noted—is due to a peculiar abstractive act that focuses merely upon the factor of linearity. Gardiner insists—polemicizing against Bühler— exclamations (118–19. “there is no reason why that attribute should not take the complex form ‘being of the type A or B or C or D’” (43–44). 315–19). something that surely overspills the classes of “men in line” and “docu- ments in order. as Gardiner says in a passage reminiscent of one of Wittgen- stein’s most discussed points. or else it qualifies the thing-meant in the manner that a predicative adjective might qualify it” (TSL. Gardiner’s claim is well taken even if the example perhaps leaves something to be desired. and in this sense “every word without exception is a class- name” (37). a key to Gardiner’s insistence on the centrality of predi- cation.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 71 From Indication to Predication 71 the thing-meant. arises from the fact that “a word expresses the speaker’s reaction to the thing spoken about.” and perhaps it would be better to say here that resem- blance is imposed or constructed rather than merely passively read out of the things-meant. The so-called “‘parts of speech’ are really distinctions in the ways in which the things meant by words are presented to the speaker” (TSL.

In line with Bühler’s and Gardiner’s essentially instrumental and pragmatist con- ception of word-signs. as do most general linguistic theorists. “Word-form is the name of 10. that is. can be combined in other than customary ways and can be applied to new situations (128). with Bühler and Gardiner a common and indeed rather straightforward insistence upon the creative. Due to Gardiner’s failure to finish his second volume. words are predicates. In line with his general thesis of the primacy of feelings and feeling-qualities in linguistic matters (86)—they are “of paramount importance” (86)—Gardiner can insist that which feeling-qualities are diacritical is a matter to be determined by each language’s historically developed structure and by the situation of the utterance itself. a word discloses “its own individual feel and associa- tions” (90). but something in between. 51). words are the unities of speech. words are of more general use than sentences in that they are practical and unlimitedly combinable. ‘form-meaning’ as a second kind of meaning. selective. 91). 297)—are only hinted at in Gardiner’s work. . so to speak.10 The chief characteristics of words for Bühler—that they have a phonematic structure and are capable of being related in fields (TL. we do not use a chronometer to meet an appointment for tea. a detailed comparison between him and Bühler on this topic is not possible. words are like “beams of light” (TSL.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 72 72 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense There is. Different demands of con- sciousness—and of social life—elicit different criteria of linguistic appre- hension and application. abstractive aspect of the linguistic apprehension of experience. his situation theory does still allow us to see a Gardinerian analogue to Bühler’s more highly differentiated and developed field the- ory. then. words are indications of the thing-meant. converge upon the sentence as. . such semiotic tools are particular sorts of lenses or filters that are themselves adaptable and functional. fluctuating as the conditions for making oneself understood and for effecting one’s understanding shift and change. each at a somewhat different angle” (TSL. Gardiner recognized. Gardiner uses many different images and concepts to characterize words: words are class-names. While I have already noted the limited extent of Gardiner’s awareness of phonology. and likewise. words are psychical entities. for Bühler. a sentence. Now. As Gardiner put it. which was to be devoted to the theory of the word. The point of intersection concerns Gardiner’s notion that words—as the paradigmatic socially constituted units of language—when joined together into a unified utterance. . in addition to the root-meaning or radical meaning of a word. the normal use of language in everyday intercourse is neither magical nor scientific. with its “own separate applications and lines of development” (92) which it brings to its place in the sentence. Indeed. “planes .

a word. On Bühler’s account we know which types of items from the lex- icon can fill in the blanks in the sentence. This is the ultimate foundation of Gardiner’s opposition to using formal logic as a model for syntax (212).Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 73 From Indication to Predication 73 a special kind of meaning which attaches to words over and above their radical meaning” (130). however. then. because the words that consti- tute the core of the utterance have certain field-values or syntactic valences. a fact that Bühler traced back to our prethematic awareness of syntactic schemata in the generation of utterances (TL. and. or any symbol—I am thinking of Bühler’s distinction between a word and a formant. as we will see. the notion of a synsemanti- cal Umfeld that would specify word-categories as in ——— man hit the ———. is a fact of language. The field of a deictic word is perceptual. is conceptual. . in radically curtailed form in a situation) or symphysically (that is. while inner word-form is a kind of varying overmeaning (TSL. or Begriffszeichen is a specific way of making an abstraction. and for the modern theory of signs. too. a truth whose import is still not fully recognized in the language sciences. not of speech” (134). in Bühler’s sense. opening up certain empty places (Leerstellen) (TL. For both Bühler and Gardiner. In these cases the surrounding nonverbal situation supplies the conditions for understanding the term and functions as complement to the linguistic utterance itself. in semantic matters. does not treat this issue explicitly. attached like a label to a ware) (TL. word. for example. it is “function. further. and. This position is paralleled later in Gardiner’s work by the further contention that sentence-form. 173). a case ending—opens up a field of possible envi- ronments and expectations and feelings of use and meaning. is a fact of language. behavioral. 253). which are nevertheless illuminating as they stand. since it is a species of pointing to something ‘accessible’ to speaker and addressee. “felt inner word-form is decisive” (131). 153). which demand to be filled. the exceptions being when a symbol-sign is used empractically (that is. Gardiner did not thematize directly. The field of a symbol-word. or imaginative. for it is for the most part a synsemantical field. not form. 154). which makes a set of words into a sentence” (184). Since Gar- diner. The form of a word. Thus we are confronted with “a fact of high grammatical importance. Their nonfulfillment leaves us with a feeling of incompletion. Indeed. we must be satisfied with the hints given above. like its meaning. But. syntax always predominates over word-form. Thus. a symbol. not of speech (184). “intona- tion has a similar priority everywhere over syntax” (161).

Bühler’s discussion is rooted once again in his perceptual analogy. in the domain of word-meaning. Now. While Gardiner’s discussion proceeds against the background of his pivotal dis- tinction between speech and language. 4. namely. not a disharmony. or.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 74 74 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense of segmenting the experiential and the conceptual fields. as in the previously cited the boy king or in the expressions but me no buts and if me no ifs. Ricoeur. “the chief point wherein metaphor resembles incongruent word-function is the sense of blending. 165). meaning-area. The one ingredient of the mixture is derived from speech and from the thing- meant. which arises from it. as Gardiner puts it in a passage remi- niscent of Black. of mixture. These accounts illustrate in more detailed fashion just how they conceive of word-meanings and their selective and creative functions. Beardsley. both Bühler and Gardiner have rather differently focused but complementary accounts of metaphor. where there is a constant shifting from one syntactic domain to another. 78) with their own established usage. and others. however. since the feeling excited is that of enrichment rather than the contrary. Thus. Notes on Metaphor Metaphor. in Gardiner’s terminology. the other from language and from established semantic usage” (165). 226–47). those which ‘define’ it adequately for present purposes over against other types of objects. much the same part as incongruent word-function in the domain of word-form” (TSL. involving as it does a vast range of possible applications (see Eco 1976. While I have noted the parallelism between Bühler’s notion of a meaning-scope and Gardiner’s notion of a meaning-area and emphasized their essentially open texture. Just as objects are complex entities. see Eco 1979b. a position paralleling Bühler’s transformation of Hermann Paul’s characterization of metaphor- . so likewise the semantic struc- ture of a word—and of an utterance—is itself complex. for Gardiner. It creates a specific focus on experience by selecting and encapsulating in articulate form certain important properties and characteristics of the object. in a sense rather different from that of Friedrich Waismann (see Waismann 1965. metaphor as well as incongruent word-function can be described as “speech obsessed by language” (165). “plays. that is. This leads to drastic and ‘incongruent’ expressions. 125–29). the desire to say something new and different within a system of pregiven categories (Eco’s “Swedish stall-bars”. its semic markers generating a complicated semantic space.

At any rate. in the last analysis. as her whitening way aloft she took. or. For Gardiner metaphor is “a phenomenon of language belonging midway between a word as used figuratively by an individual speaker and a word of stereo- typed meaning from which imagery once present has completely van- ished. even if we really do not know how we do it. as George Lakoff and Mark Johnson have shown. spontaneous metaphor and artistic. making it visible. less abstract. less concrete.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 75 From Indication to Predication 75 ical expression as arising out of an Ausdrucksnot (expressive need) and issuing into an Ausdrucksdrastik (drastic form of expression). 167). Although Gardiner was perforce ignorant of later work in metaphor. of.’ Gardiner noted that the distinction between natural. Gardiner cites a particularly amusing instance of the latter. in Gardiner’s terminology. so to speak. “adopted as a deliberate means of enhancing the inter- est of a sentence” (167). The two extremes are separated by any number of intermediate stages” (168). more pictorial” (TSL. like Goodman. in fact. from Siegfried Sassoon. he thinks) obtaining. no exceptional way in which meaning appears. less vivid. Lakoff 1987). and then the originally creative act of speech has become language—“speech is the sole generator of language” (110)—and the metaphor becomes ‘dead. contrived metaphor is hard to maintain. viewing the . as Gardiner put it in a passage that could be found in Jakobson. I thought she had a pre-dynastic look. Though Gardiner does not the- matize the psychological processes of grasping similarities. he did see that. that not all metaphor is of this type. In Gardiner’s conception the common type of metaphor is made when “something which is more remote.” Often. for example. In turn. Johnson 1987. the reverse relation sometimes (but rarely. also noted that metaphor as such is no Sondererscheinung. Still. Bühler at least intimates that they are grounded in our powers of abstractive seeing. 1999. once we become aware of what metaphor does. deep philological scrutiny is needed to detect the presence of imagery and linguistic schemata (see Lakoff and Johnson 1980. Gardiner adds. 166). is referred to in terms of something similar which is more familiar. metaphor is at least the seeing of one thing in terms of another. it can be. on the moon: “But. each new expression ultimately becomes assimilated to the system through habituation—it joins the set of socially shared semantic rules for bringing the manifold of experience into a unity. due to our lack of knowledge of the historical antecedents of the metaphorical expression. but necessarily permeates all concept formation and dis- course. however. though Bühler. that it frequently takes place unbeknown to its employer” (TSL. “metaphor is so natural a phenomenon.

If a word or a language system is a socially constituted filter on experience. A look at our lexicon makes us see just how pervasive this double-filter effect is. to the best of my knowledge. we have the semantic analogon to the dif- ference effect in binocular vision. exemplified. though it is clear that his head cannot literally be a hammer. in Bühler’s marvelous expression ein Salonlöwe (a parlor-room lion). Bühler saw that the widespread notion that a metaphor involves understanding one thing in terms of another is true enough. with internal modifications that are due to the particular properties of his head. then. that are twisted and formed in the act of speech to enable us to grasp a novel. Thus. If. though.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 76 76 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense thing-meant through a figurative presentation that functions as a filter or lense taken from another domain of experience. the pivot of Bühler’s analysis of this paradigmatic form of sense-giving is the use of a model that has later become widespread. a filter that has its own max- imally differentiated internal patterns that we project onto and into expe- rience in order to make it intelligible and to bring it under control. no mat- ter how ‘hard’ it is. but rather than have an explicit comparison. in line with con- temporary work. I call someone a hammer head. governs just what semantic properties can be trans- ferred from one object-realm to another or how the two spheres are to be held in relation. According to Bühler’s model. involving. The Gardinerian thing-meant. which have by now been discredited as fundamental features of metaphor. and perhaps unique. Obviously. the fusing of two meaning-spaces and thus the understanding of an object or state of affairs in terms of multiple foci. Gardiner’s account of metaphor is more akin to the fusion theory than to any theories of substitution or rhetorical decora- tion. While the dialectic of speech and language informs Gardiner’s theory of metaphor. I am not aware of Black’s acknowledging it. In this sense. I see his head through the semantic space or meaning-sphere of a hammer. When the two spheres are brought together. the ‘hard’-headedness of the person or his stubbornness. which he graphically illustrated as in Figure 4. to say that metaphor is pervasive and . as for Gardiner. thing- meant. Bühler tried to explicate this idea by recourse to an extremely illuminating model of a double-lattice structure. a metaphor would be a double-filter. though selectively. formulation is addition (255). prin- cipally in the work of Max Black. for example. I predicate hammerness of his head. Its chief peculiarity is to insist upon the pregiven system of semantic units. what we have is a synthesis of two or more semantic spaces each of which in non- metaphorical uses has its own spheres of application. constituting language.

Harré 1970). say. In addition to establishing just what Bühler could have taken. 4 necessary in our conceptual schemes is not to say that aesthetic or con- scious. with philosophical acumen and in psychological detail. Since experience is always changing and new constellations of objects and states of affairs are constantly arising. . we will perforce always be seeing something in terms of something else. The experiential scope and import of Bühler’s and Stählin’s work is given a clear and precise treatment. she has examined. is pervasive (see Ortony 1993. stipulative metaphor. Schon 1963. It is its emergent character and not any merely negatively oriented ‘selective attention’ that gives us the surplus of 11. a process that can become exceed- ingly complex indeed and is. in fact. a key to mentality’s intrinsically cre- ative and open nature. the roots of parts of Bühler’s account in the work of Wilhelm Stählin in particular. Lakoff and Johnson 1980. Since we grasp the unknown on the basis of the known. neither preexisting in the language system (language) nor reducible to its constituents. Bühler’s binocular model of metaphorical expression—based upon psychological considerations skirted by Gardiner. we will always need new modes of classifying and understanding them. we might say that metaphor parallels Gestalt perception’s Übersummativität (the emergent property of being more than an additive sum) and the Untersummativität (the property of leaving out what is irrelevant) that seems to be a consequence of percep- tion’s fundamental diacrisis. of models. The two previously noted conditions of Ausdrucksnot and Ausdrucksdrastik guarantee that metaphor will remain a live factor in all speech.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 77 From Indication to Predication 77 Fig. and actually did take. Hesse 1966. Heike Hülzer-Vogt (1989) has produced a fine study that corrects some of my earlier historical comments on the sources of Bühler’s theory of metaphor.11 Without ascribing the use of the terms directly to Bühler or rooting them both in von Ehrenfels’s work. in the form. from von Ehrenfels. systematic. in spite of his empha- sis on feeling and subjective factors—has obviously close but not clearly defined affinities with Gestalt theory and the theory of perception. Bühler’s approach has the great advantage of showing that the semantic effect of a metaphorical expression is an emer- gent quality.

the public character of the common places (loci communes). in his essay “The Semantics of Metaphor” (Eco 1979b). the realm of lan- guage. including the interiority of the speaker. In the end. Dewey encapsulates the issue quite generally in his laconic for- mulation: “Meanings are self-moving to new cases. Only selected semantic markers from the vari- ous semantic spaces are synthesized in the novel expression. They have rich and full bibliographies and are philosophically sensitive and historically aware. what is involved in tracing the embedding of these semantic units in a vast social semantic field. In 12. 148). . Umberto Eco has tried to show. in Gardiner and Saussure’s sense. Metaphor. anticipate as well as bear insightfully upon key themes in later discussions that have revolutionized and revitalized the topic of metaphor. because the metaphor—and all words—is a way of making an abstraction. 282). in their own ways. But a detailed analysis of his argument would take me too far afield from my discussion of the intersections between Gardiner’s and Bühler’s work. predefines certain selective affini- ties between the semantic units. which for him characterizes the essential declarative act of speech. At the same time. is a pervasive phenomenon in language—and in lan- guage-informed perception—and bears witness to the selectivity and con- stituting power of the subjectivity of the speaker. in this process all nonapplicable and nontransferable qualities—semantic markers—from the two or more semantic spaces that are being fused in the metaphor drop away.12 5. It is clear. Gardiner devotes considerable time to elucidating what he calls the predicational nexus. giving rise to statements that are—both for him and for Bühler—the most pur- posive of all utterances.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 78 78 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense sense and insight that is resident in the metaphor. Further reflections on metaphor from a semiotic perspective can take off from Gumpel 1984 and Johansen 1993. I think. both living and dead. that their two accounts are not only complementary but. Sentences and the Predicational Nexus In addition to concurring in effect with Bühler’s differentiation of the irre- ducible sense-constituting modi of indication and symbolization. conditions force a chastening of this spontaneous tendency” ([1925] 1988a. At the same time. The predicational nexus is effected in the declarative use of language. since they do not merely mirror or reflect exter- nal circumstances (TSL. which are apprehended by the keen linguistic consciousness.

47–65. rather. Reflecting upon the sentence. etc. not form. Gardiner thought. Nor are complete linguistic strings lying behind the. as we have already seen.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 79 From Indication to Predication 79 the specific reality of the sentence—which is the unit of speech and “voli- tional throughout” (240)—Gardiner sees not only the ultimate ground for distinguishing between language and speech but also the essentially dia- critical function of speech.13 In such a case the writer (or internal monologist) is both speaker and addressee together. a sentence is always embedded in a preformed situation of communica- tion. in living speech. which are. and so forth [110]). in this Dewey coincides with the essential theses of the Russian Voloshinov (1973). in Gardiner’s still traditional for- mulation. not parts of language (which are. from the formal point of view. a position derived from Wegener once again. For Gardiner. expression. a notion Gardiner shared with Bühler. Now. which makes a set of words into a sentence” (184). His theory of the sentence is focused accordingly on the permanent and structural factors in the sentence. Thus there is not. which are parts of speech. constructions which are pulled down and their materials dispersed as soon as their particular purpose [i. by no means the same. Even private speech-actions are derivates from the social matrix. 90). A thread running through Dewey’s Experience and Nature (1925) is that inner experience is produced by language. Strangely enough. Both Gardiner’s overriding mentalism and his insistence upon the primacy of the social matrix in language theory become clear in his contention that the sentence is an “irrefutable reality” known from its 13. noun. it is “function. “sentences are like ad hoc constructions run up for a particular ceremony. While Bühler admitted that “the sentence is obviously more than and different from an aggregate of words” (TL.e. as first shown by Wegener. any necessity to generate complete linguistic strings. As a speech-action. See further Innis 1985. adjective. . by dialogue. however. the purpose of sentences being to set unities of meaning into a field of relations. truncated linguistic expression. also reveals the key to the distinction between subject and predicate..] has been served” (TSL. and it reveals the further distinction between grammatical subject and predicate and logical subject and predicate. Soliloquy is derivative colloquy. representation. “A field must be opened up wherever and with whatever means a well-constructed and articulated representation is supposed to arise as a language work” (182). appeal. 256) and that a sentence arises out of an act of synthesis rather than out of an act of segmentation proper. his approach to sentences is oriented primarily toward illustrating the objective nature of a language work (Sprachwerk) and its attendant field.

Thus. the ultimate about-which to which the predicate is applied (268). and it constitutes the novel diacritical focus of the sentence. though clearly not identical. as do Wilhelm Wundt and Hermann Paul in their opposition of analysis and synthesis as the generative key to the structural principle of the sentence. of course. as a matter of fact. and. the sensations and imagery. It is. while the subject is the ultimate thing-meant. the meaning is a rule. once we abandon the Aristotelian identification of grammatical subject with logical 14. to social coordination” (Dewey [1925] 1988a. or. 12). a traffic signal has as proximate meaning the controlling of movement. the diacrisis. Not only was Wegener the first to emphasize the importance of the ‘situation. 150). a standardized habit of social interac- tion. by means of noise. For example. Now. Gardiner argues. Sentences are forms of actions. to speak in more general semiotic terms. . as I have been emphasizing. Dewey says.’ but he also thereby determined. The ultimate meaning is the consequent security of social movements. That purpose. distinction between meaning as prox- imate and meaning as ultimate. rather surreptitiously. literally underlying it. Wegener had already noted in his Untersuchungen that a sentence could be divided into that part which was basically subsidiary to the point at issue. which seems to be without a subject. into Büh- ler’s sentence theory. “independent of the psychical landscape. Hence they can be replaced.14 Bühler had noted that in sentences such as Es regnet am Bodensee (It is raining on Lake Constance). It has as ultimate meaning “the total consequent system of social behavior. it is the proximate thing-meant—expressed in the predi- cate—that comes to the fore (259). in predication. in which individuals are subjected. in Peircean and Deweyan terms. Gardiner’s theory of the sentence is thus a praxeolog- ical theory. and that part which introduced something new into the exchange of signs. Wegener also enters. Even the gesture of silence can perform the necessary diacrisis empractically. of the policeman and others concerned. Dewey has a related. This proximate thing-meant is what is said about something.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 80 80 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense “feel” (95). is defined by the semantic intention behind the utterance and is inferred by the addressee from the words and from the situation. constituting the sentence-quality. A policeman’s proximate meaning is the coordination of movements of persons and vehicles.’ “The satisfactoriness perceived in any sentence is due to the recognition of its perfect relevance and purposiveness” (98). when the situation is clear and shared between the partners in the exchange of signs. by gestures. Gardiner’s theory of the sentence is basically a gloss on Wegener. something that performed. the true reason for the dichotomy of the traditional distinction between ‘subject’ and ‘predicate’ (TSL. its distinctive ‘quality. But it is not on that account a timeless spiritual ghost nor pale logical subsistence divorced from events” (149). it is easy to see.

Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 81 From Indication to Predication 81 subject. Words are situated in the sym- bolic field. Goodwin translation modified). The pivot of Bühler’s theory of the sentence is the thesis that a Vollsatz (a full sentence) “displays a closed and fully-occupied symbol field. for Gardiner the statement-form—Bühler’s representational form—gives a satisfying sense of completeness (TSL. obviously. 302). That is the foundation upon which the purely grammatical theory of the sen- tence must be built” (TL. of elocu- tionary form. For Gardiner the controversy between Wundt and Paul concerning the origin of the sentence in an originary analysis or synthesis does not offer a true alternative (TSL. While. occupying places in it. “Sentence field and words are two different things. which are the results of prior acts of segmentation. the basic criterion of quantity as well as quality of a sentence is subjective. Gardiner took from Wegener the insight that the positions of subject and object in the declarative sentence are subject to two opposing tendencies: emotional and intellectual. 366. while the intellectual ten- dency leads to the pre-position of the logical subject. of course. however. difference between the two sentence-theories is Gardiner’s implacable opposition to making a closed and fully occupied symbol field the differentiating criterion of the sentence. In the development of the representational form of expression there has occurred a stabilization of expressive form con- ducive to the thematization of intellectual content. to hold to the essential and insuperable distinction between the sentence field and words. while the ultimate thing-meant. in the last analysis. Here form and function coin- cide necessarily (322–23). we can see the theme of the sentence bordering on the deep issue of the genesis of articulation itself. of the cutting of the experiential continuum. Once again. a point of general philosophical interest. The . Goodwin translation modified). A sentence is obviously the result of an act that puts together or synthesizes in a novel focus preexisting units of sense. Bühler’s concern. the logical predicate—is Es regnet. that the proximate thing-meant—in Gardiner’s terms. that by reason of the primacy of elocutionary form over both syntax and word-form it often is only the actual articulation of the sen- tence that allows us to define what the logical predicate and subject are. The emotional tendency leads to the pre-position of the logical predicate. which is always congruent. 241–52). The root of this contention is. the so-called log- ical subject—which fills out the empty space corresponding to the ques- tion “Where [does it rain]?”—is am Bodensee. a matter. they also adopt and assimilate field signs” (299. though certainly not the only. The chief. everywhere present in his language theory as well as in Gardiner’s. It must be noted.

a sort of oxymoron. is a predicate. the grammatical predicate . there is no strictly formal way of identifying the logical subject and predicate. In the last analysis Gardiner wanted to emphasize the essentially pre- dicative nature of all speech and. a theme not really present in Bühler’s work. A sentence. trans- formed by being inserted into a field. to wit. a position discussed quite insightfully by Susanne Langer in her Philosophy in a New Key. First. also. accordingly. upon Bühler and Wegener (Langer 1942. the nature and the- oretical status of the one-word sentence. it is clear that a Sachverhalt or a perceptual content is in the process of articulation dif- ferentiated by the complex internal relations signaled by the units orga- nized in the sentence itself. every word. 136–43). sense is not a mere additive sum of the component lexical senses. which. Gardiner makes central to his language theory what. qualifications. every word. every sentence is itself a predicate. or propositional. is also a power engine of analysis. in grammatically structured sentences with subject and predicate. with extensive reliance. is a peripheral issue. illustrated paradigmatically in the periodic sentence. In explaining the emergence of the ‘word’ as an entity distinct from the ‘sentence. as a class term—including exclamations—is a predicate.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 82 82 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense emergent semantic quality of the sentence points to this irreducible fact. in fact. distinguished five kinds of predicate. 21). The rise of the sentence. and other subsidiary components whose function is to help bring into focus and to ‘situate’ the primary component of the sentence. as he puts it. In Wegener’s conception the subject is called the exposition. At the same time. Perhaps from this rather prosaic standpoint we can see just how difficult psychoanalytic discourse is and how the ‘situation of analysis’ makes extraordinary articulatory and hermeneutical demands on its agents. is constituted by the increased presence of additions.’ Gardiner thought that “Wegener’s theory of exposition by successive correctives is evidently of the highest importance” (TSL. Second. for Bühler. for the sentential. by the succes- sive addition of intelligible determinations. Fourth. this being left up to the interpretive powers of the linguistic subject. 124). Third. namely. zergliedert. “serves to make the situation clear so that the logical predicate becomes intelligible” (Grundfragen. They have been. so conceived. which is the diacritical focus of novelty in the speech act. as Bühler would put it. the logical predicate. existing in a shared field with other subjects. The original putatively unitary or global apprehension of sense or structure is laid out. following upon preced- ing words in a linguistic string. Still.

. 293). three cat- egories: grammatical subject and predicate and logical predicate. Their clearest point of intersection with philos- ophy lies in the special nature of their overarching mentalism. As Gardiner puts it. must be taken with a grain of salt. how Büh- ler’s and Gardiner’s attempts to thematize language as a form of sense bear closely upon some of the most central concerns of the philosophy of language and of general semiotic theory. “speech .Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 83 From Indication to Predication 83 says something about the grammatical subject. though admittedly making no direct contribution to it” (TSL. albeit socially coded and embodied subjectivity. Conclusion: Intersections and Continuations I have tried to show. 341). and per- haps most important from Gardiner’s point of view. While a shared world makes pos- sible a highly laconic and abbreviated form of speech. as Gardiner saw it. 6. Here is another aspect of the great difficulties of psychoanalytic interactions and of the hermeneutical encounters with foreign texts and cultures. Language is intrinsically a social form of sense. Fifth. This explains the brevity of communicative exchange between intimates and the necessity of exposi- tion among those not bound together in a common framework. The degree of shared knowledge and experience between the partners in the exchange of signs determines the nature and extent of the exposition that serves as the support for the essentially dia- critical function of the logical predicate. As Bühler put it. and finally. “any given word in a sentence may be used predicatively or in the sense of a logical predicate” (TSL. is always of the nature of a reaction” to a preexisting and generally shared situation or field (253). While Bühler admitted his close affinities to Cassirer and to Husserl—with constant side-references to Plato and Aristotle—Gardiner was basically satisfied with asserting that “linguistic theory constitutes the necessary prolegomena to philosophy. 335). then. A theory of speech needs. “‘sense in itself. in a passage to which Gardiner would agree (see TSL. with side-glances at pragmatist parallels.’ abstracting from a language community for which it is . . a position that. it is the function of a wide and elaborate exposition to create that vast realm of common references wherein the proper predicate can be located or to sketch the background against which it can be seen. The essentially qualifying and diacritical and responsive character of speech here comes most clearly to the fore. their con- stant recourse to the powers of subjectivity. in light of his work on the conditions of meaning.

’ which are “indispensable links” in a linguistically sophisticated theory of mind (344). The elements of such a theory are immanent in Gardiner’s development of the need for application. 126). Neither Bühler nor Gardiner. “this sense is no essential characteristic of the sense-bearing structures. The things and events in the world carry only so much sense for the experiencing subject as he is able. Thelin. and so forth. though there are more than just hints in Bühler toward a semiotic (or even socio-semio-biological) theory of mind in general and of perception in particular (see Sebeok 1979. In his “Retro- spect 1951” Gardiner. how- ever. a point made by certain psychoanalytic thinkers. but a moment resulting from an operation of giving validity which is similar to the giving of value to paper currency” (131). Of spe- cial interest is his insight into the intertwining of the biological and the social. 344). spoke of the need for a theory of mind for linguistic theory and opined that “I still cannot believe that the method of introspection is completely defunct” (TSL. points directly to the linguistic subject and his mental operations. Indeed.15 For them. by which Gardiner meant ‘sensation. felt the need to hypothesize deep structures or to construct models of processes underlying linguistic activity. say. 273). as for the pragmatists. the mind does not so much lie behind or under linguistic structures and events as within them. At any rate. we saw. Bühler’s insis- tence upon synthesis and his constant references to the fertility of Cassirer’s 15. A linguistically apt theory of mind has a need for “inner life” terms. Bühler’s main thesis. seconded by everything Gardiner wrote.’ in abstraction from an economic context in which it functions in exchange” ([1927] 2000. This activity of sense-positing. Bühler’s reliance upon the par- adigmatic importance of phonology. 2001). signs and substances belong to two different domains of reality and to two different sciences (TL. as he put it.’ and ‘purpose. all of which oppose a merely formal approach to linguistic phenomena. would be a no less realizable concept than.’ ‘perception. for inferential processes.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 84 84 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense valid. with its attendant emphases on processes of abstraction and diacritical apprehension. to extract from them or to pour into them. Thelin (2001) goes a long way in setting out the parameters of just such a project. but in either case we are dealing with an operation of positing” (132). for selective atten- tion. functions as the pivot separating the science of signs from the sciences of material events. either rightly or wrongly. . polemicizing against Bloomfieldian behaviorism. ‘money in itself. for. is: “It is impossible to constitute the concept of sense without appeal to goals and to subject-relatedness.

along with Wittgenstein. I would like to note that D. 172)—while Bühler’s account of the empracti- cal use of language anticipates quite clearly later work in speech-act the- ory. who discusses in some detail the con- nections between Bühler and Wittgenstein. via Bühler’s notion of a synchytic concept (taken from von Kries). W. which really deals not no so much with speech acts as sinnverleihende Akte (the sense-bestowing acts of Husserlian phenomenology) as with speech-actions (Handlungen). English-language readers can still profitably consult W. I have discussed the success of the venture in Innis 1994a. among other things. These definitive essays give massive bibliographical information and a full discussion of relations between Bühler and Wittgenstein and of their common intellectual matrices. The extensive parallels between Bühler’s work and Gardiner’s and that of others. Clarke Jr.17 Bühler also entered essentially into Karl Popper’s epistemological development primarily through his objective— that is. and results can be inte- grated with later developments. his cri- tique of the formal theory of meaning. nonindividualistic—approach (centering on representation and the 16. with Wittgenstein. Bühler’s relations with Wittgenstein have been studied by Eschbach (1984. perhaps more than Bühler (whose seminar Wittgenstein attended). S. beyond them toward a linguistically guided model of mind. . with the aid of Bühler and Gardiner. By insisting upon the primacy of public criteria. the insistence upon forms of life and shared situations as indispensable con- ditions of sense and meaning. While I leave that task to others. categories. It would be an interesting exercise to confront the main lines of Bühler’s and Gardiner’s analyses with some of the classic materials found in such analytically oriented anthologies as Martinich 2001 and Harnish 1994. that the Platonic “discourse of the soul with itself” has resulted from an internalizing of an original social exchange of signs. I have only been able to hint at in the course of this chapter. and his recognition of family resemblances all parallel Wittgenstein’s chief interpretive categories and procedures. the critique of deixis as the chief linguistic and semantic act and. and how their procedures.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 85 From Indication to Predication 85 work point to the centrality of Schöpfungsakte (creative acts) that ground the genesis and interpretation of meaning. an originary Miteinandersprechen (see Lohmann 1965). Bartley III (1985). has edited a provocative anthology (Clarke 1990) that does confront semiotics with analytic philosophy. 1988).16 Gardiner shared. Here we have stimuli to think. 17. that language is a social action first of all. for example. upon the open character of concepts and family resemblances—Bühler speaks of the “fundamental openness of the linguistic rendering of objects and states of affairs” (TL. Gardiner also saw. The Bühlerian connection with Wittgenstein touches upon. His delineation of meaning-areas.

which is the condition of the possibility of understanding such compounds as Backstein (brick. not facts. What I have striven to envisage is speech as an organized functional whole. in his own fashion. added a fourth function. “[T]he quarry I have been pursuing is theory. My purpose has not been to engage in a constant Gleichseherei but to study in some detail the philosophical and semiotic import of some critical and essential points of intersection between the two cognate language theories of Bühler and Gardiner. Popper also used Bühler’s framework. falls beyond the powers of a merely formal theory of mean- ing. with which their books are filled. where he acknowledges the definitive influence of Bühler. with some help from others. Backhuhn (roast chicken). within the framework of his theory of the tacit dimension. There are other parallels that cannot be pursued here. These passages express the inner motivations of their work. chap. The importance of such an undertaking has been strikingly put in the last paragraph of his book. were the ultimate source of sense (see Innis 1994b. a baked stone).Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 86 86 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense organon-model) and his differentiation of the trichotomy of semantic functions. with whom he studied. chaps. I want to cite it here. Polanyi. that specific powers of integra- tion and apprehension had to underlie our production and recognition of linguistic forms and that these powers. 3). Peircean collateral knowledge). the argumentative. As Gardiner put it in the conclu- sion to his book. First. I have already noted. 76–78. These processes are exemplified in Büh- ler’s insistence upon a nonlinguistic Sachwissen (material knowledge. to be sure. which he considered the basis of all critical thought (see Popper 1976. 326). as both conclusion and exhortation. Backpulver (baking powder). Polanyi also saw. and exceptional details have been none of my concern” (TSL. to reconstitute the massive detail of their work. irreducible to formal operations. the passage from Gardiner: . along with a parallel passage from Bühler. and I have been able to give only the barest of exam- ples. of course. to which Popper. just as Bühler did. 73–74. It has been impossible. that is. the interpretation of which. the exploration of the processes of mutual adjustment of word-meanings to things-meant. on his thought). as I noted before. 12 and 13). Backofen (baking oven). was also influenced by Gardiner and Bühler. to oppose physicalism both in linguistic theory and in the philoso- phy of mind (see Popper 1963. and in the magnificent chapter on ‘articulation’ in Personal Knowledge he continued. relying on our ‘baking’ knowledge.

man has learnt to instruct his own. wrote: If one has had nothing to do with anything but language one’s whole life long. When something is obscure.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 87 From Indication to Predication 87 One unforeseen result has emerged with increasing insistency. In his effort to influence the mind of others. in fact. Thought is. It is the purposiveness of speech. And so. so close to us as our own breath. by reciprocal action. It is no exaggeration to say that the history of speech is also the history of human under- standing. He is. but which can only enhance the interests of its problems. Whilst elaborating a sentence. for his part. presupposed by speech. which the habit of speech has inculcated and has taught us to regard as desirable in itself. purposeful effort is employed to reduce it to verbal form. and hence also a fellow- learner. and purpose to call attention to specific things. Notwithstanding the checkered historical trajectories of the two master- . 390) The tasks Bühler and Gardiner set themselves in their fertile master- pieces was exactly to provoke that sense of wonder and to uncover that veil of familiarity over language. always a fellow-listener. to become displayed ever more conspicuously in its original etymological sense of human purpose or intention—purpose to influence a lis- tener in a particular way. we realize our enrichment and become aware that our intellectual power has increased. and meaning has tended. which properly speaking does not belong to the subject matter of my book. Out of these two purposes has been born a third. 326–27) Bühler. (TL. but the habit of speech has given us lessons in thinking. thought and speech have developed hand in hand. . . To speak is to convey meaning. in the course of my exposition. . and when this has been done. (TSL. From this necessity arises the possibility of employing lan- guage as the instrument of silent thought. it has become too much a mat- ter of course. one sometimes loses the ability to wonder at what language is capable of performing. the speaker does not com- pletely divest himself of the receptive listening attitude which alternates so regularly and easily with his creative role as speaker. I refer to the purpose of comprehension. no doubt.

which actually consists of two books: Language Disorder in Mental Disease. of Wegener’s ground- breaking studies. upon which the foregoing chapter is based). contains substantial. The Neglected Wegener Scholars often bury the past in a footnote or allusion. but built the superstructure of his own model of language on its basis. In the course of studying the points of intersection between Bühler’s language theory and that of a British colleague. In the English- speaking world this book has remained practically unknown and in fact does not even appear under its own name. . I came across the name of Philipp Wegener. by D. though rather low-keyed. I found that Gardiner not only dedicated his book to Wegener. an extended psychoanalytically oriented essay on some Wegenerian implications. whose Theory of Speech and Lan- guage (1932) is a wonderful but sadly neglected book (see Innis 1984a. whom he had never met and who was by then long deceased.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 88 88 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense works and their historically marginal role in philosophical reflections upon language. in light of Saussure and Husserl especially. by unknown hands. but is included in a book enti- tled Speech and Reason. References were always to Wegener’s book Untersuchungen über die Grundfragen des Sprachlebens. with a profound con- ceptual matrix within which a language theory that is adequate to its object can and should be constructed. with whom Langer had studied during her period at the University of Vienna and whose masterwork. role in Langer’s chapter on ‘language. and a translation of Wegener’s volume. Wilfred Abse. and perhaps even living body. whose thought played a pivotal. Many years ago. some of it putatively revolutionary. fresh. APPENDIX TO CHAPTER 2 Articulation as Emendation: Philipp Wegener’s Antiformalist Theory of Language 1. and only when we turn to the contents of the grave itself do we sometimes find a warm. even if sometimes cryptic. Sir Alan Gardiner. first published in 1885. references to Wegener.’ That same chap- ter was also heavily dependent on the writings of Karl Bühler. in fact. under the title The Life of Speech. when I first read Susanne Langer’s classic Philosophy in a New Key (1942). Sprachtheorie (1934). considering his own work. taken together they furnish us even after sixty years of later research. to be an expan- sion.

but rather is determined by their relationships to a whole set of ‘extralinguistic fac- tors. is that Wegener’s language theory is practically at every turn directed against the notion of language as an abstract self-enclosed formal calculus. (2) the retention in memory of not just past linguistic utterances (the psychological foundation of anaphora) but also past—recent or distant— events. whose ‘material’ or ‘spiritual’ needs are primary in determining the tra- jectories and structures of the linguistic action. 272). “based on human intercourse.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 89 From Indication to Predication 89 Although Wegener was definitely presemiotic in his orientation and in no way a forerunner of a general theory of signs. A praxeological instrument first of all. Now. What is distinctive about Wegener’s language theory? What is the heuristic value of his approach to language and to language theory? What is still living and what is dead in his model? 2. spoken language is a species of social action. a point taken up and given extensive development by Gar- diner and Bühler. upon egoistical and sympathetic feelings” (Abse and Wegener 1971. his book is nevertheless a substantial contribution to that part of semiotics that is concerned with constructing a proper approach to language. fundamentally of Saussurian and French provenance. 272). oriented predominantly toward “mental mapping of the world” and determined by a (relatively) autonomous play of signifiers. such retention grounding or conditioning the evolution of tenses. (3) the structure of consciousness as a historically. The extralinguistic factors that.” a task he assimilated to “scientific grammar” (Abse and Wegener 1971. indicated already in the title. to succeed as a social action any linguistic utterance has to be subject to certain conditions— modern day: rules—and one of Wegener’s main claims on our attention is his insistence upon the necessity of a shared “situation” between speaker and listener. for Wegener’s goal was to discover “the basic relationships and laws from which the individual phe- nomena are produced.’ including the states of consciousness and knowledge systems of the linguistic subject. . according to Wegener. make up the situ- ational field are (1) the shared perceptual field. and is aimed at modifying or directing the consciousnesses of the hearers or listeners. The Situational Matrix of Speech The first point I want to emphasize. socially. common to speaker and lis- tener. occupationally. The sense of any linguistic utterance is not borne directly by the words themselves and their syntactic forms. a temptation to which one strand of semiotics. has been inclined.

“He takes the wood in order to make a fire. the essential act of speech. for it is presupposed—it is the shared frame—that the lecture as an event stands at the forefront of consciousness and that it is precisely it that is being referred to and having something predicated of it.” just as. if we today hear someone say. and (4) the cultural context. not rub pieces of it together. interests. All termini techici of this sort appeal to the interest structures of consciousness. to use another example. Wegener distinguishes a situation of percep- tion. as Wegener pointed out. “That was a beautiful/magnificent spectacle/lecture. “Beautiful!” or “Magnificent!” you know that I am refer- ring to what we have just witnessed and that it is equivalent to saying. 125–29).” you know that this is the equivalent of saying. we have here either another instance of the situation of perception or the new situation of remembrance. “The wine is excellent. Like- wise. such as a lecture. “Linden. and orientations. and a cul- tural situation—a fourfold situational matrix (Abse and Wegener 1971.” If we have just drunk a glass of wine together and I say. Hence. “the boards were freshly painted today” means one thing to an average person and quite another thing to an actor who thinks of “the boards” as (metaphorically) signifying the world. If during or after some spectacle.” we understand that he is going to ignite the wood with a flame. This understanding is derived from the “situation of consciousness” as a kind of “world knowledge.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 90 90 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense or otherwise prestructured field of meanings. including what lies immediately present in the shared field of consciousness. 133–40).” It is the situation of perception. The purpose of any utterance for Wegener is to differentiate and to determine through predication any one of the semantically and referen- tially determining situations. a situation of consciousness.” How they are to be taken—what they refer to or that they refer at all—is determined by the objects themselves perceived in a common field before our eyes. “This tree is a linden. If we are standing in front of a tree and I say. “Excellent.” you know that this is the equivalent of saying. The cultural situation. the word “freedom” uttered in Berlin in 1809 did not have the same meaning as when uttered in Paris in 1848.” Depending on when we say it in real physical time. These situations in effect function as grounds . Again. that fulfills and gives precision to the meaning of “linden” and of “excellent. determines just what the term can mean. in this case the global semantic field (see Eco 1976. takes place. Each of these factors makes up a situation within which and over against which predication. I say. a situation of remembrance.

is the incompleteness of the linguistic expression and its inability in itself to determine its sense completely. linguistically mediated—“situ- ations. though not exclusively. This matrix constitutes the shared and recognized. The supple- mentary conditions of sense in the index field were contained in aspects and features of the immediately accessible perceptual world. in that its meaning is intrinsically connected with and refers. both syntactic and semantic. corresponding to the irreducible distinction between pointing. of course.” 4. The supplementary conditions of sense in the symbol field were contained in the surrounding “empty slots” (Leerstellen). The linguistic utterance is. The parallel with Wittgenstein is almost too obvi- ous to mention. to some component within it. semiotic and existential bond between the partners in the exchange of signs. in . The Primacy of Predication One of Wegener’s key insights is that when the situation is completely transparent to the partners in the linguistic exchange. which gave “fulfillment” to the linguistic markers. This incompleteness had to be made up for by other “field factors. The main point. Wegener’s “supplementation” of the sense of the lin- guistic utterance through the situation is the same as the Bühlerian con- tribution of the surrounding field. although even Gardiner referred to his own theory as a “situation theory.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 91 From Indication to Predication 91 to the predicate’s figure. embedded in a matrix of action and pre- understood meanings and intentions that we do not have to (and perhaps even cannot) articulate. only the predicative part of the utterance is expressed or needs to be expressed. Relation to Bühler’s Field Theory Wegener’s “situation theory of language” is a “field theory.” Thus we can see Wegener’s work as a true antecedent of both Bühler’s and Gardiner’s field theories. The principal difference is that Wegener calls certain psychological conditions of linguistic understand- ing—things such as remembrance and the whole cultural context. or deixis.” in Bühler’s sense. about the situ- ation. even if unthematized. 3. which is predominantly.” In light of modern semantic theory we would call them circum- stantial and contextual determinants of meaning. and symbolizing in concepts. although. in one sense. that defined the structure of the linguistic utterance.” that is. with- out which the meaning could not be determined by the listener. Bühler had distinguished two radically different fields. Wegener’s whole image of language use is what Bühler called “empractic. albeit creatively and not just reproductively. the index field and the symbol field.

not by its form. We simply have no need to articulate for ourselves the subject of our inner speech. The engine of language for Wegener is predication. This is the reason why Wegener can say that all elements of speech are originally sentences. a much greater effort is needed to reconstruct hermeneutically their meaning. only needs to be expressed when the presupposed domain is ambiguous and the empractical use of the speech alone cannot suffice. of Jacques Derrida and his followers. A sentence. This process of raising the situation to linguistic form is what Wegener calls “exposition.” not at all corresponding to sentence structure or propositions.” The “subject” of a sentence. that is. These are always set over against the complicated situational background. . as well as within the situation itself. A sentence. they often only have to hint in the briefest of ways in order to make their meaning abun- dantly clear. for whom even the absence of an utterance in a situation is the equivalent of a sentence. When the situation is not known or is not shared. as Williams James pointed out. Indeed. not in the sense of joining an S with a P. the actual linguistic structure begins to take on amazingly complicated forms. but in the sense of objec- tifying in linguistic forms novel information and meanings. friends converse together. is a predicate of a situation. is defined by its function. on the other hand. encapsulating and communi- cating some selective focus on it. now. however. which is essentially fragmentary and “agrammatical. 322–23). although it is clear that the “differential theory of meaning” developed by Wegener is rather far from the notion of meaning as difference that marks the Saus- surian tradition and that. Perhaps. When. hence. as in our encounter with past ages through their texts and monuments. on Wegener’s account. The actual evolution of language. we also have here an important clue to the schematic character of much inner speech. it is the effector of a “difference” between it and the situation. a subject with a predicate. what it is about. as Vygotsky ([1934] 1986) has shown. Something similar is also the case with all other uses of language intersubjectively in shared situations.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 92 92 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense the gradual evolution of speech. for it is present immediately to us. which is the ultimate existential and semantic matrix for the emergence and expres- sion of meaning. a position exploited at length by Gardiner (TSL. from the psycholinguistic point of view. is from empractic predication to the gradual raising of the situation itself to lin- guistic expression. These demand more or less explication or articulation depending on the comprehensiveness of the knowledge shared by the interlocutors.

the predominant function in human language. which led and leads to a “separation” from immediate contexts. giving rise to demonstrative pronouns and all sorts of intralinguistic referring devices. Instead of being predicates of the situation to which they are inextricably bound. func- tioning as such in the index field. a point. which Wegener argued with a wealth of examples. to perform the same function and delineating also the gradual building-up of the world of syntactic forms.” supplemented. relatively compact utterance into even more signifying units. Segmentation and Emendation How. either by making explicit what was implicit or not shared or by breaking the prior. rooted in anaphora quite generally. is a bearer or semiotic distillate of meaning or sense independently of the immediately perceived referential context of its use. The gradual segmentation and encapsulation of the world in linguistic forms. did language ever attain the capacity to detach itself from a primary reference to a perceptual situation. This is. But not all perceptually referential expressions were demonstratives. as a semantic and relatively autonomous structure. but a word. to be sure. to be sure. nor is deixis. in the other sign systems. according to Wegener. the speaker must add to the utterance. A defective and hence incomplete utterance must always be “emended. words are able to formulate the intelligible unities and relations that make up the situation. point- ing.” The motive and matrix for this increased complexification. When the listener indicates failure to understand. to many sources. Büh- ler took themes such as these.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 93 From Indication to Predication 93 5. derives from language’s essential objectifying and abstracting power and function. with previous predications themselves passing into the status of “subjects. with the routes of reference or systematic connection running either to novel units in the various “situational fields” or to parts of the linguistic expression itself. are first of all failures of attempted linguistic understandings. Bühler’s Zeigfeld. with which Bühler begins his “Axiomatik der Sprachwissenschaften” (see Innis 1982) and which specifies the point of origin of signs in social life? For Wegener all words were originally predicates referring to the perceptual field and were embedded in immediate perceptual and actional contexts. in his Sprachtheorie. . failures traceable. where it functions as a perceptual and actional diacriticon. in whole or in part. the way demonstratives get their original meaning. Articulation proceeds through increasingly more complex predications. according to Wegener. I would like to note. comparing anaphora in the linguistic realm with attempts.

Wegener has no formal definition of word or sentence. that delimits what a word can mean in any instance of the linguistic exchange of signs. more specifically. While the global semantic field is the ultimate exposition or subject that is the ground against which the figure of the predicate stands forth. The process of articulation by emendation is then for Wegener the source of the distinction. for a linguistic expression is a selective activation of just those “avail- able thoughts” that bear upon the situation. the embodiment of a “general configuration of consciousness” (195). which is the primary linguistic unit. A word is always a predicative placeholder in a sentential structure. and we make these distinctions only because we have to. and words have emerged later as autonomous units. always evoke their place for us in stable forms. more immediately it is the actual situation and sentential structure. The formal bound- aries between words and sentences are permeable. This selec- tion activates certain aspects of the global semantic field. and not just a constituting Husserlian consciousness. therefore. The reference to the “sum of all thoughts” brings into focus the psychologistic and sociological framework of Wegener’s language the- ory. The meaning of a word has grown from its use in immediate perceptual and actional situations to its stabilization as a bearer of abstract content detached from immediate situations. by now sta- bilized and codified in linguistic theory.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 94 94 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense 6. In light of his fundamental princi- ples he did not feel the need to supply any. though obviously not from situa- tions as such. functioning as the subject for the expression’s role as a predicate. on the field and communicative matrix in which the expression is found. . Which parts are selected depends. and what is the connec- tion with the problem of the uniformity and nonuniformity of word meaning and with the theme of metaphorical predication? Meaning for Wegener is both the “sum of all thoughts” (Abse and Wegener 1971. of course. This matrix is also defined by the interest structures of speakers and hearers. 156) and the abstract “generic configuration” (196). determines for Wegener the meaning of a word. however. while others remain under the threshold of consciousness (159). by their life situations and existential structures. These forms are actually the products of a large his- torical process of articulation through emendation. These now. Anything can function as a sentence. and what is the relation of word to sentence? What does he mean by “con- gruent” and “incongruent” functions of words. Word-Meanings and the Nature of Sentences What. between words and sentences.

(b) the arrangement of actually associated thoughts (connotations in Hjelmslev’s and Eco’s sense). It is the constant adjustment of word-meaning to the thing-meant that brings into operation the subjectivity of the language . through our inferential labor. upon which we must perforce rely. as Husserl and Bühler clearly saw. But they are not rigid. The word ‘lion’ opens up a different semantic space for the hunter. able to be substantiated everywhere. The use of a word in commu- nicative context relies upon some ‘identity’ of the meaning. which he preeminently was. Each novel use gives it a new. into a coherent focus. outside of which the word has no meaning. but Wegener treats it as fact. The “abstract generic configuration.’ as Gardiner thematized it in his language theory. chap. and the emotional tone conveyed by the material and rhetorical characters of the linguistic expression. typified. 5. a position also defended by Gadamer (1960) in his hermeneutical theory. These fac- tors become stabilized. But the articulation of “parts of a group of thoughts” (Abse and Wegener 1971. to a mere physical object. and (c) the type and intensity of the feelings that mem- ory has accumulated from the associated thoughts. and codified in social intercourse.’ but it is clear that the ‘thing-meant. This principle is valid quite generally. is not reducible to that. Underlying the word-meaning. allows each per- son to identify the ‘same object.” which must always be determined by processes of application. 159) that is effected by a word or sen- tence can only come to fruition in an actual communication when we realize—another one of Wegener’s key theses—that “our exact speech comprehension is based upon inferences” (271) and that we must. Now. integrate the clues. if not radically dif- ferent. the thing-meant. as befits. a philologist. As Polanyi (1958. “Articulation”) and many others have argued. perhaps. which is the basis of its sociality. and does not develop any generic hypotheses concerning its emergence. and the child attending a zoo.” a notion that recalls Langer’s distinction between a concept and a conception. the employment of no word is exactly congru- ent with previous uses. the substantial meaning of words is differenti- ated with respect to (a) the completeness of associated thoughts. What are the clues? They are the word-meaning as a general configuration of conscious- ness. the naturalist.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 95 From Indication to Predication 95 On Wegener’s account. which might not be what is expressed congruently in the actual linguistic form. this distilled ideal and social sense gives the word its “congruent function. has to be some sort of actual selective apprehension of a subject domain. that is. semantic context. however.

a theme also central to Bühler’s and Gardiner’s language theories. For example. ‘having’ a headache. our under- standing of the differences between ‘having’ a house. as has been argued.” This is the operative principle of metaphor.” or Sachwissen. which itself in fact becomes the prime analogon for those processes by which we constantly adjust pregiven semantic units to an ever changing field of experience. object. Here arises “incongruent function. This fundamental princi- ple of Wegener’s language theory is argued in his long discussion of actio. must also be construed by the reader. or Handlung. of the lin- guistic subject. 237). and activity (232). ‘having’ a book. ‘having’ an illness. 43–53). for Wegener metaphor is a purely linguistic phenomenon but once again appeals to our extralin- guistic knowledge of what is meant. 7. which. and ‘having’ black hair.” For Wegener “the necessary prerequisite for all reduction is that the logical subject and the logical predicate do not completely agree with each other.” Wegener writes. Indeed. is perhaps the chief category of Indo-European languages. see also Innis 1982. the conditions of understand- ing speech in the Sachwissen of the listener. which relies on our understanding of the thing-meant in order to adjust the various spheres of meaning that are fused to one another (see TL. and what does this contribute to our understanding of the conditions of sense in the theory-of-commu- nication part of semiotics as opposed to the theory-of-signification part? “Understanding. ‘making’ mistakes.” we proceed by a process of “continued correction” consisting in a connecting and mutually adjusting of subject. The words themselves do not indicate this” (212). 342–56. When we try to understand the “communica- tion of an action.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 96 96 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense user. that the predicate does not completely coincide with its function” (Abse and Wegener 1971. “The way of connecting and relating the subject to the verb. 161). the same applies even more to metaphor. ‘having’ a sharp mind. Here is the important intersection with Wegener’s further attempt to specify the conditions of language comprehension in the “material knowledge. “is deduced from points of refer- ence in general” (Abse and Wegener 1971. Preconditions of Linguistic Understanding How does Wegener specify. When we use a word in a novel con- text or novel circumstance. and the verb to the object. ‘making’ a . more exactly. we perform an act of “reduction. making what is incongruent congruent. or between ‘making’ a journey. If the application of every word involves “simul- taneous correction and rectification” (162). both as utterer and as addressee.

1984b. and ‘making’ leaps is not rooted in strictly linguistic knowledge.Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 97 From Indication to Predication 97 table. Conclusion: From Perception to Predication Although Wegener does not chart with systematic intent the movement from perception to predication. Just as perception always takes place over against a ground. 1984a. The way of connecting them has to be known by him. categories.’ we have “to supplement this special type of activ- ity from the character of the point of reference and further from the pur- pose: for example. the book. 1986b). quite astutely. In considerations such as these he approaches very clearly the role of an image-field as a semantic schema. this is the innermost trajectory of his work. “the content of an activity has to be construed by the listener in that he connects certain points of reference of the activ- ity. 1986a. Likewise. singling out something as a novel focus. 257). 8. so the act of speech takes place over against a situation that it qualifies through the diacritical function of predication. Wegener concludes. he did point out. but was rather philologically ori- ented. the cover. that in the course of experiencing actions in the social world we build up personal perceptual forms. ‘to put’ the book upon the table. in such examples as ‘to put’ the saddle on the horse. The specific ‘havings’ and ‘makings’ always involve some “background knowledge” (231). mental patterns for movement in space that func- tion as templates. and ‘to put’ the rug upon the floor. how we have to grasp the saddle. how to spread out the cover. schemata. How are they known? Many of them are known because we have “pictures” (Bilder) of the activity inscribed in our consciousness. They are not given to him” (234). Although Wegener’s approach did not have much psychological detail. how we have to fasten the saddle so that the rider can use it. a type of knowledge that is not specifically linguistically coded (see Hörmann and Innis 1986. In such cases as these. Wegener argues that we have “action models” (268) that enable us to fill in the blanks in accounts that are meagerly endowed with specific indi- cations. Once again we come upon the nonformal and nonlinguistic conditions of meaning that are rooted in properly experiential factors (see Innis 1982. all of which use ‘to put. estab- lished spatial patterns. so that the cover fulfills its purpose” (237). This movement is governed at every step by the informal interpretive acts . 159–63). and image-sets that structure our understanding of descriptions and accounts (Abse and Wegener 1971. how high and with how much force we must lift these things.

Innis Chapter 2 9/24/02 9:50 PM Page 98 98 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense of the subject. I have merely tried here in shorthand fashion to show the distinctiveness of his approach and why reading him is not a merely historical act of recollection but a confrontation with some of the deepest and most controversial problems of language theory itself. . There are many points of intersection and overlap between Wegener’s work and contem- porary language theories. It is by focusing on the various roles this interpreting sub- ject takes on in the life of speech that we can come to see the novelty and substantiality of Wegener’s language theory and its present relevance in the face of attempts to ignore the very real truths he has to teach us about the limits of the formal theory of language and meaning.

In his culturally situated and engaged work. so different in tone and method from Croce’s idealism and antiscientism. Yet. we find reflected and developed. Vailati’s philosophical orientation did not derive directly from the Italian humanist tradition or from the Idealist traditions of German transcendental philosophy. at the age of forty-six. encompassing both modern and classical languages. Rather. Vailati was professionally trained in physics and mathematics and had been . most of the great problems and themes that have come to the fore in twentieth-century philosophy and semiotics. in spite of his remarkable linguistic skills. silenced a distinctive and original voice not just in Italian philosophy but also in the early development of an ‘international’ moment in the pragmatist project.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 99 3 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn Lessons from Giovanni Vailati Giovanni Vailati’s premature death in 1909. ultimately within a broadly pragmatistic frame.

Lady Welby. Already in 1916 appeared. particularly the natural sciences. appearing in differ- ent ways in the principal classic figures.2 1. the interest of the Vienna Circle. S. displays a range of concern. See the literature referred to in note 4 of the previous chapter. Out of it emerged a set of heuristically fertile insights and proposals that anticipated and insight- fully bore not only upon many later discussions and problems of a ‘reformed’ theory of knowledge but also upon our present attempts to think about pragmatism’s contribution to philosophy’s linguistic turn. H.e. a substantial selection of which can be found in his Epistolario. like Peirce’s. and Giovanni Vacca. critical. dis- plays an extraordinary range of contacts. and reference that bears witness to a philosophical culture of the highest caliber. edited by Giorgio Lanaro (Vailati 1971). 2. This makes finding an appropriate mode of citing him complicated. Into his work—as well as into Peirce’s and Dewey’s. and many others. which includes almost all his pub- lished work (the Scritti has 213 entries). as paradigmatic cognitive forms. His correspondence. in formulating the methodology of verification and a criterion of meaningful (i. 1923. including exchanges with Vil- fredo Pareto. especially the history of mechanics and the history of mathematics. Mario Calderoni. and science by Ramsey and Wittgenstein” (332–33). Franz Brentano. Umberto Ricci. the cognitive use of) language. the volume Gli strumenti . in his classic Meaning and Context: A Critical History of Pragmatism (1981). the mathemat- ical. edited by his colleagues and friends Mario Calderoni. specifically the turn toward the analysis of meaning and language that was one of its central foci. with which it has an intimate theoretical as well as historical connection—flowed many of the chief problems and concerns of the whole history of philosophy and of the sciences. Vailati has been frequently anthologized. with Carabba di Lanciano. and analytical investigations of language. most of all by a long immersion in and preoccupation with the history and methods of the exact sciences.. Vailati’s posthumously collected Scritti (Vailati 1911). read- ing.1 Vailati’s philosophical project was nourished. His work is likewise deeply marked and motivated by a recognition of the revolutionary importance of pragmatism. logic.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 100 100 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense Giuseppe Peano’s assistant at the University of Turin before becoming a teacher of mathematics in secondary schools. Benedetto Croce. Ernst Mach. said of Vailati that “his work displays a meeting of intellectual currents that were to determine the later character of modern philosophy: Peirce’s pragma- tism and his interest in signs and the analysis of concepts. Thayer.

intersect with the conceptual resources and their weighting supplied by Vailati. “the power of the human mind is revealed in the results to which it attains by means of the use of logic and its principal instruments: deduction and the analysis of lan- guage” (1986. 1988c). Ferruccio Rossi-Landi published a collection. one of Vailati’s closest collaborators. as Metodo e ricerca (Vailati 1976). The Rossi-Landi and Lanaro edi- tions have important bibliographical information concerning the secondary literature. and sense-critical point of view. Mario Calderoni. con- taining eight essays. Such a choice of topics is confirmed by Maria De Rose’s assertion that. with the same publisher. which have been examined in an extensive scholarly literature. As counterpoint to Vailati’s contribution to these topics I will continue my pattern of indicating en passant and in abbreviated form some places where other versions of paleo-pragmatism. edited by M. 59). Finally. It will be cited in the text as SF. with important introductory materials and notes. Likewise De Rose (1986) gives a good account of the secondary literature. and a “Ricordo di Giovanni Vailati” by Luigi Einaudi in Epistolario. and constructive point of view. is devoted to the journal Leonardo and contains eight essays by Vailati. edited by Mario Calderoni. on Vailati. linguistic. in three volumes. and in 1918. for Vailati. Quaranta and introduced by L. commenting on the Vailati-Peirce relation. Unless otherwise noted. Vailati’s form of pragma- tism offers us some “autonomous and original formulations. 24). 37 n. we now have a new edition. edited by Giovanni Papini. edited by Giorgio Lanaro. which is perhaps still the most accessible and handy. mainly in Italian. De Rose (1986) offers a compact and helpful overview and guide to the scope of Vailati’s pragmatism. . appeared Il pragmatismo. An important biographical sketch will be found in Scritti (Vailati 1911). pragmatically oriented analysis of modern science from an epistemological. even in those rare cases where a translated article from the first decade of the twentieth century exists. All translations are my own. with Calderoni’s preface and edited by Biagio Loré. 1988b. Geymonat: i: Scritti di filosofia. as Vailati understood it. of the Scritti. and his pragmatic exploration of language from a critical. ii: Scritti di scienza. i–xxix (by his cousin Orazio Premoli). argued that while there clearly are evident analogies between the two. iii: Scritti di scienze umane (Vailati 1988a.” One of these is his distinction between the meaning of an assertion in terms of della conoscenza.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 101 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn 101 The highly selective and programmatic discussion in this chapter is lim- ited to the themes of Vailati’s percipient. had further specified the two fundamental assumptions of Vailati’s type of pragmatism: (1) the priority of the problem of meaning of assertions and (2) the criterion of prevision for the classification of assertions in terms of truth or falsity (see De Rose 1986. This weighting is not a mere mirroring of already existent pragmatism. all page references in the present essay are to the Lanaro 1980 volume. These two volumes have now been reissued. This was followed by the volume Scritti filosofici (Vailati 1980). edited and introduced by Delia Castelnuovo Frigessi (1960). Giovanni Vailati: Il metodo della filosofia (Vailati 1967). The first volume of La cultura italiana del ’900 attraverso le riviste. In an important footnote De Rose. analyt- ical. xix–xxvi.

however. before the overpowering presences of Croce and Gentile took their toll upon the diversity of Italian philosophical culture. and the use of the premises as foundations for the increase of certitude that would result from the deduction of sets of conclusions from them. Like Dewey. Both processes—the strictly formal one of geometry and the more informal one of rhetoric—were. Calderoni.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 102 102 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense envisioned future consequences and the utility or usefulness of meaning- ful assertions relative to the contexts in which the assertions are made (38 n. which were either epistemically or pragmatically more certain and necessary. subject to derailment due 3. 88 n. The overarching inter- pretive matrix is Vailati’s pragmatism. When Aristotle. . Vailati was aiming at a kind of “reconstruction in philosophy. I have accordingly tried in my presentation to offer something more than a menu but clearly less than a full meal.” De Rose writes that for Vailati philosophy was to lose the image traditionally ascribed to it (9). For Vailati philosophy has not just traditionally proceeded in close contact with the special sciences but must do so if it is to be true to its task of fundamental conceptual analy- sis. 59). Between Deduction and Abduction The core of Vailati’s analysis and evaluation of the significance of modern science. 59–92). lies in his thesis that the rise of the modern mathematical natural sciences effected a pivotal inner change in the ideal and nature of deduction as a means of knowing. then.3 What permanent philosophical lessons. considered the nature and scope of deduction. 52) points out that Vailati and Dewey share a kind of meliorism. he had in mind for the most part deduction in geometrical demonstrations or in rhetorical argumentations. One of the major differences between the views of Vailati and his colleagues and those of Croce and his colleagues derives from opposing views on the relation of philosophy to the special sciences. both epistemologically and politically. the inner bond that connects him with that epochal movement in American philosophy and with the rela- tively short-lived Italian continuation and development of pragmatism in the work of Papini. What geometry and rhetoric had in common was their focus upon a privileged set of premises or axioms. A properly conceived deductive method transmitted certitude from premises to con- clusions. the topic of his spellbinding essay “The Deductive Method as Instrument of Research” (SF. Vailati contended. De Rose (1986. can Vailati’s version of paleo-pragmatism still teach us? 1. and others who collaborated on the Flo- rentine journal Leonardo during those fateful years in the first decade of this century.

in a different mode. which were putatively derived elsewhere (SF. It was the overuse of this method as a support of dogmatism and traditionalism that caused Bacon (and much later. was rather the means for the “explanation and anticipation of experience” (SF. an abductive function. but his goal was not cer- titude. In cases of conflict with alter- native conclusions resulting from other deductive processes. in fact. 1982.4 Galilean physics. The distinctiveness of the classical view of deduction as a form of infer- ence. foregrounded the generative and dynamic processes of abduction. the only form of inference. . did not wholeheartedly adopt the Baconian ideal. that is. Deduction for him. 65). 74). through inferential processes. Dewey) to attack the deductive method—as practiced in this form. This was ultimately the root of the classical reliance upon the ‘argument from authority. of course. They were to be taken as given.’ or ‘ordinary language. for the purpose of confronting them with some fact known 4. as embedded in ‘the common language. See on this whole issue Bonfantini 1987. It performs.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 103 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn 103 to the illusions deriving from the imperfections of “ordinary language” (linguaggio ordinario). with its maniacal ‘quest for certainty’—as aprioris- tic and to oppose to it the ideal of a science based on induction and prac- tical experiment. 1992). however. for whom deduction was first and foremost a “good conductor” (buona conduttrice) of evidence and certitude. theories to their ultimate conse- quences. Vailati pointed out.’ were authoritative. our own premises. that gave rise to genuine novelties. Galileo proceeded deductively. according to him. by means of deduction. taking. Deduction was to help us avoid these illusions and to facilitate (facilitare) reasoning processes through long chains. which still remains one of the most sensitive and insightful accounts of abduction and its scope and importance. while deduction itself would show. Peirce.’ potentiated to an incredible degree by the Scholastics. or from what Vailati also called “the common lan- guage” (il linguaggio comune) (62). what conclusions were in agreement with them. was exemplified in the privileged role played by the premises. To be sure. Vailati attempted to encapsulate the radical difference exemplified in the working-out of Galilean methods in a stu- pendous and rhetorically involved passage: The mental processes that make up the most essential part of the modern methods of explanation and of scientific research. in addition to its concern with certitude. This theme was taken up and devel- oped by Ferruccio Rossi-Landi (1980) and Paolo Facchi (1975.

as it were. The dislike of deduction in all the cases in which it is of no use to prove something of which one was first in doubt. (SF. but pretending that the agreement. . . appear to be com- pletely foreign to the spirit of those first [scientific] investigators. increasing in a certain way the points of contact between each theory and the facts from which it can await a confirmation or a contradic- tion. . with its pro- vocative reading of the historical dimensions of this quest. This is also the well- known and central theme of Dewey’s Quest for Certainty. in the movement from the haphazard interrogation of nature to the provocation of nature. . necessary for drawing out accurately the consequences of hypotheses or principles less intuitive and less solid than those of geometry.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 104 104 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense or eventually knowable to be incompatible with them. to subjecting it and the inquirer to risks. It consists in “the disposition . that is. 67). Vailati offers us another ringing pas- sage. the lack of abnegation. no one of which is possible without the help of deduction. and I would say. a meravigliarsi a proposito) (SF. the lack of patience. which delineates further the ‘abductive dimension’ operating in sci- entific explanation: . to be amazed on purpose” (l’attitudine . the inability to avail one- self of it as a means to secure us against too hasty generalization. among the phenomena being compared. not being satisfied with vague analogies. the maximum use of every known law to see up to what point it suffices to give an account of all the particulars that are encountered in the facts in which its action is manifested and to establish what unexplained residuum it still leaves open to our further investigations. the com- bining of more laws for the purpose of using them in the analysis of a complicated single phenomenon—all of these operations. that between the old methods and those to which are due the instances of rapid progress of the physical sciences in the last three centuries. 71–72) Such is Vailati’s delineation of what has come to be known as the hypo- thetical-deductive method. Later in his groundbreaking essay. laying oneself open to the risk of obtaining as a unique result of one’s own efforts the conviction of having started from poorly grounded suppositions and of having to redo the same work by taking a different point of departure. is verified down to the most minute particulars accessible to our senses or to the control of instruments and mea- surements—these are so many characters or marks that are con- nected to the same difference indicated above.

with one glance and with one single act of the mind. (SF. the relations. and the connections among the phe- nomena that we are investigating are explained to our intellect just as the topographical particularities of a region are offered to the view of one who contemplates them from a high point. What he shared with Mach. Deduction multiplies in this way our abilities to perceive order. the consideration of which would demand a quite large number operations and of distinct intellectual efforts. bk. the conditions . it puts us in a position to discern the one in the midst of the many (to en pollois oron) and to discover with the eyes of the mind the immutable poles around which turn the chaos and the perpetual comings and goings of phenomena and of sensations. by means of purely mental operations and independently of any direct examination of the concrete facts to which they refer. a variety and mul- tiplicity of facts. was a profound appreciation of the role of “simplifying ideal- izations”—themselves derived from abduction—in the construction of scientific theories: The ease with which such simplifications lend themselves to bring- ing us to new conclusions. permits us to embrace. constant laws in the midst of the tumultuous succession of facts and events. to other more general laws or facts that constitutes what we call scientific explanation. or. With its aid we manage to locate ourselves at a point of view from which the analogies. and the absolute uselessness of any appeal to these to guarantee the correctness of the deductions themselves. 7). leads us sometimes to lose from view the fact that requisite investi- gations must precede the application of the results obtained to real cases in order to establish whether. 87) Vailati thought of science in realist terms. or of a law. uniformity. Deduction. and it is important to note how the advantages inhering in this process do not depend at all on the circumstances that the facts or the laws upon which a given explanation is grounded are presented to our mind as more familiar or more evident in themselves than those that we are explaining by means of them. by means of them. however. to say the same thing with an expression from Plato (Republic.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 105 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn 105 It is this reduction of a fact. in spite of his not infrequent admiring references to Mach’s epistemology. applied in such a way as a means of explanation.

iv. The Peircean central contention. Vailati contended. The operations constitute procedural means for dealing with subject matters that are inherent in inquiry itself as irretrievably concrete. logic develops as “a functional instrument for reaching the very heart of the inquiry” (1986. as it is for Vailati. chap. From an examination of the significance of the rise of mechanics. “The Origins and the Fundamental Idea of Pragmatism. 91) The modern scientific process of ‘deduction. is that the value (valore) or meaning (significato) of an assertion is to be found in the “practical” consequences (SF. that is. by means of them. and coordination of ideas are marks of scientific and theoretical quality. Vailati was no positivist either in his account of science or in his analysis of meaning and language. For Dewey logic is not autonomous. that is. Mathemat- ics. Dewey specifies mathematical reasoning as always open to the possi- bility of an indefinitely extensive existential reference ([1938] 1986. whether. In this. that there is an intrinsic aesthetic character to mechanics that turns theory-construction in this domain into a kind of “scientific poem” (58).Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 106 106 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense are truly present that the theory supposes. he was in good company. But the peculiarity of Vailati’s develop- 5. (SF. 237) entailed by it and by its constituent terms. Further. 55). that concepts are fundamentally instrumental in nature (SF. De Rose points out that for Vailati it is the increasing abstraction of math- ematical logic that is important and that Vailati saw an affinity between mathematics and artistic creation. pt. Vailati gives a faithful and clear account of this pragmatic maxim in his later essay. develops by means of a change in the context of inquiry. 56). . involves a mutual adjustment of theoretical idealization.” published in Rivista di psicologia applicata in 1909 (in SF. xx). which for him was of fundamen- tal epistemological importance. According to De Rose there is a significant difference between Vailati and Dewey with respect to their conceptions of logic. and the demands of experience itself. Vailati was deeply impressed by Peirce’s pragmatic analysis of meaning and by its connection with the development of the experimental sciences on the one hand and of mathematical logic on the other. on Vailati’s reading. It is the operations of transformation of subject matters that are the key to Dewey’s conception of logic. as De Rose sees it. of course.’ as Vailati understands the term. the influence of all those causes the theory has not taken into account is then really and truly able to be ignored. so that coherence. chains of deductions. 331–46).5 The drive toward simplicity and economy that Vailati ascribes to the science of mechanics is really the drive toward system and is not to be thought of in strictly Machian terms. that an intellectual combat of ideas takes place not just between thinkers but within each thinker (57). much as Dewey did. written in conjunction with his friend Calderoni. symmetry. For Dewey.

since in the last analysis all the constituents of the theoretical system will be bound together in a mutually self-implicatory way. moti- vated by a willingness to fall into error for the sake of truth. the pursuit of objec- tive knowledge. he will either understand as . in short. There Peirce contended that his experience had led him to believe that every physicist.” where the provisional character of premises and postulates is meshed with their heuristic fertility. sacrificed in parts in order to save the theory as a whole. you will find that what- ever assertion you may make to him. These are familiar—and still highly con- tentious—theses. In this con- ception of science. and lines of inference is to be compared to a constitutional or democratic regime where the postulates are temporarily placed in charge to perform certain functions in the public interest. and axioms of a theory are treated as propositions like other propositions. perhaps. . in this case. The distinction between premises and conclusions. and. or ideally constructed upon a basis of observation. [W]hen you have found. scientific knowing. . conclusions. on this view.’ It consists of a vast web of theses and hypotheses that have been developed from sets of simplifying idealizations and whose practical (conceptual) consequences have been elaborated in the greatest detail by complicated chains of inference. For Vailati. is not based on impregnable intuitions or insights. while clearly. a privileged form of knowing. and every chemist. It follows no ‘a priori’ method for the ‘fixation of belief. the typical experimentalist. 220–22). while ide- ally confronted with experience as a whole. by reason of its proven historical successes. is merely functional or pragmatic. every master in any department of experimental science. . nevertheless must be put to the test in individual cases and. As Vailati put it in his review of Duhem’s Aim and Structure of Physical Theory (SF. that is. a theory is “an ensemble of hypotheses” (un insieme di ipotesi) (222) that. A theory as a concatenated network of premises. Vailati’s antifoundationalism is intrinsically connected with his prag- matism.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 107 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn 107 ment of a philosophy of science (and ultimately of a philosophy of lan- guage) within the confines of a definitely fallibilistic pragmatic epistemol- ogy is that for him the premises. with no divine right. Science is a systematized form of risk taking. Vailati was agreeing with Peirce’s characterization of the “experimental mind” at the beginning of his essay “What Pragmatism Is. postulates. has had his mind molded by his life in the laboratory to a degree that is little suspected.

The key words of a theory. The very things that we call instruments of observation.’ ‘inertia.). inasmuch as they are means of inducing or constraining bodies to produce some effects that would not be produced spontaneously and whose production depends on certain operations that we per- form on them (moving. move us further and further away from commonsense properties. is his assertion that the development of modern mechanics and mathematical logic entails the recognition of the central role of implicit definition or what he calls definition by abstraction in our ways of talking about and symbolizing the world. as they become increasingly technical. an experience of a given description will result. immersing. instead. can be charac- terized as true and proper instruments of experimentation in the strictest sense of the word. which also looks forward to Vailati’s valuable analysis of language. 731) These operations.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 108 108 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense meaning that if a given prescription for an experiment ever can be and ever is carried out in act. of course.’ and so forth. 331–33) Vailati had written in 1906 several passages that are almost a gloss on this Peircean assertion. Vailati writes: Precisely one of the most general characteristics of scientific progress is the tendency to substitute for classifications based on external resemblances or differences that are more immediately apparent than the objects or processes studied other classifications referring. or else he will see no sense at all in what you say. such as ‘mass. In his essay “Uno zoologo pragmatista” he spoke clearly of the active intervention of an observer. (731) A further aspect of this matter. touching. The main point to be learned is: we cannot assign a meaning to isolated words. etc. They are not independent. using two common ‘observation tools’ as his examples. beginning with the most simple ones such as the scale and the thermometer. (Peirce [1905] 1998. (1911.’ ‘force. freestanding contents of abstracted or abstractable intel- . are defined within the contexts of systems of sentences or assertions. to resemblances or differences that become man- ifest only when they are subjected to determinate operations and are forced to act or react in artificially produced circumstances.

This is for Vailati a matter of finding a criterion for sense or meaning (significato). 279) Indeed. each taken by itself” (SF. constitutes a problem just as insoluble and absurd as trying to determine the movement or the position of a body without putting it in relation to other bodies or points of reference. Vailati writes: “It is necessary then to admit that a theory. but rather than this being a license to inflate concepts and theories to no end. “It is a matter . or a collection of hypotheses. . connections. . that contribute to its constitution—in the same way that a phrase can have a determinate sense without that being the case for all the words of which it is composed. Vailati unequivocally acknowledged the primacy of context. in an explicit or an implicit mode. echoing Peirce. A proposition is always more or less a member. To determine the sense or to judge the truth of a proposition without connecting it. intends to affirm will be produced or would be produced. just as a term is part of a phrase or of a proposi- tion. as the fol- lowing stimulating passage from his article “On Some Aspects of the Contemporary Philosophical Movement in Italy” from 1907 shows. 222).Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 109 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn 109 ligibilities but elements within a complex system or field of differences. Vailati thought that many of philosophy’s own central words also cannot be ‘defined’ directly. can have a meaning even when we cannot properly attribute one to the individual parts. both individual and social. however. pragmatism entails a kind of radical surgery while admitting all the time an open-ended development of theo- ries and explanatory concepts sufficiently flexible and creative to deal with an ever-changing and evolving experience. (SF. with it. a part of a theo- retical organism. or affirmations. 331–46): “[T]he sole means to determine and to clarify the sense of an assertion consists in indicating what particular experiences one. to a sys- tem of other propositions. given certain circumstances” (331).6 These experiences. in the following way in his essay “The Origins and Fundamental Idea of Prag- matism” (SF. 325–30) and “Pragmatism and the Different Ways of Not Saying Anything” (347–57). These are themes developed in his essays “Language as Obstacle to the Elimination of Illusory Contrasts” (SF. of establishing a criterion for the validity of our reasoning and our thinking. and of indicating the forms of expression in which all our reasoning processes must be susceptible to . are by 6. The pragmatic maxim was formulated by Vailati. and contrasts.

(De Rose [1986. for example. and in which our beliefs must be susceptible to enunciation if they are to have any meaning” (SF. One of these is Gyula Pikler.7 These systems of ‘previsions’ are contained in our beliefs and in translation if they are valid. Rossi-Landi notes that Vailati showed the greatest admiration for his ideas and used them in his discussions of prag- matism. 7. 335). read and interpreted by us in a process analogous to that with which we manage to read and to interpret any other species of ‘signs’. which can come to us independently or which we can provoke by our voluntary actions. in a certain sense. Vailati was especially interested in Pikler’s Psychology of Belief in Objective Existence. to see the genius or the stupid- ity of a person when we read something they have written.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 110 110 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense no means merely subjective or merely intended. the forms. . Assertions refer essentially to “anticipations or previsions [previsioni] of all sorts” (SF. the forms. Vailati shows in an illuminating and ‘semiotically torqued’ analysis of some points from Berkeley’s Theory of Vision. 346). Vailati accepts this ‘semiotic’ analysis as equivalent to a ‘pragmatic’ analy- sis. showed how our visual sensations are. and distance of objects would be seen by us in the same way that we see their color. on this account. applies even to the beliefs about present facts or to facts that have already occurred: In his Theory of Vision—which is really a true and authentic the- ory of ‘prevision’—Berkeley. the dimensions of the objects that we see are not ‘seen’ by us but ‘foreseen. a Hungarian psychologist and philosopher who wrote in English and German as well as Hungarian. 28] even says that we are actually seeing a movement from scire est posse to scire est praescire. The existence or nonexistence of an intelligible or cognizable thing for us boils down to the possible existence of conceptually determinate or determinable experiences (SF. in the real sense of the term. position. by themselves. the distances. One of the benefits of reading Vailati is to follow his citation path and to come upon for- gotten or at least neglected authors. 336). in opposition to the current opinion according to which the size. (SF. 335) Berkeley’s esse est percipi really means esse est posse percipi (SF. and this. 336). and that the distances. simply inca- pable of furnishing us immediately with such types of information. per- ception and semiosis are reciprocal. That is. furnish us. The whole point of the maxim is to make assertions more objective by subjecting them to a set of constraints and controls.’ or inferred by the symp- toms or signs of them with which our visual sensations.) At any rate. the dimensions are. we can be said.

is found ‘in act’ but also of what is found ‘in potency’. 2. or in terms of “previsioni. as he put it in a nice piece of hyperbole in a letter to his cousin Orazio Premoli. 8. See especially Vailati’s essays “Sull’arte d’interrogare” (On the art of asking questions) (SF. Self-deception is possible. Language for him. pointing out the wide range of consequences that flow from accepting the pragmatic axiom and seeing how we can assimilate it to a semiotic analysis of perception. Lady Welby. a faithful interpreter and presenter of the Peircean theses. While this is an admittedly ironic fusion of various theoretical positions. consonant with Peirce’s notion that we must not fall prey to false doubt or pretend to doubt with our heads what we do not doubt in our hearts.8 This brings him into close prox- imity to Nietzsche. The Linguistic Dimension in Vailati’s Work Vailati never ceased to occupy himself in divers ways with language as a philosophical problem.” in the sense of analytic philosophy. “contains in resumé all that which the other histories hold of interest: the linguist is related to the historian as the archaeologist is related to the stamp collector” (Vailati 1971. the powers ascribed to human beings are ‘virtual. a topic Peirce never ceased to deal with in great detail on his own (see Innis 1994b. See Jha 2002.” whether we are dealing with how a given thing ‘appears’ to us at a certain time or with the expression of a present sensation. which I will discuss in detail later. at a given moment. in Vailati’s opinion. It seems that we have here a use of “dis- positional concepts. as in many other places. For Pikler—and Vailati agrees—the “existence” of material objects and their properties is established by the same means that we use to establish the exis- tence of our attitudes or cognitions or our memories. On the one hand. 204–9). to the one as well as to the other applies Pikler’s statement that ‘the “would be” of presentation is the “is” of objec- tive existence’” (345). chap. Even the analysis of our own immediate con- sciousness is in virtual terms for Vailati. and Mill in the construction of a pragmatic epistemology. . Hume. a momentary state of mind (SF. the work of Berkeley. because our dispositions and beliefs can be in opposition to our actual actions. Polanyi also had contact with Pikler. Hence. and Chapter 1 of this book).Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 111 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn 111 our patterns of conduct and do not have to be actualized or made explicit except in cases when our beliefs or patterns of action are interrupted or we fall into doubt. Vailati is here. 26).’ and not necessarily actual. Dispositions are “programs of action” (345): “The ‘inner’ world no less than the ‘outer’ world is made up not only of what. 344). Pikler’s analysis completes. 8. “Un manuale per bugiardi” (A handbook for liars) (292–99). This is. 2. on Vailati’s terms. the upshot of Vailati’s discussion is that objects are permanent possibili- ties of sensations or experiences. Peirce. his approach was informed through and through by the rhetoric of suspicion (and the suspicion of rhetoric). This valuation led to a dual approach to language. of course. and Wittgenstein in particular. and “Il linguaggio come ostacolo alla eliminazione di contrasti illusori” (Language as obstacle to the elimination of illu- sory contrasts) (325–30).

1999. the logical operation par excellence. as his object of analysis. Taking deduction (il dedurre). what they are. however. “The Tropes of Logic” (“I tropi della logica”). Answering in the affirmative to the first question. and (3) ascending/descending (salire/scendere). Johnson 1987). . if so. philosophical reflection on language had also a descriptive and a constructive task: to perform a phenomenological inventory of our language forms and concepts and to delineate the vari- ous logical grammars of our expressive means. 195–203) is not only a piece of substantive language-analytical philosophizing in its own right. to which the conclusion is attached by a 9. and by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in recent years in their provocative ongoing discussions of the ubiquity of metaphor and of metaphorical constructions of ‘the mind’ (Lakoff and Johnson 1980. but it also points ahead to and compares favorably with the type of analyses undertaken much later by Wittgenstein and others within the tradition of analytic philosophy. On the other hand. reveal the ultimate conditions of linguistic mean- ing (and nonmeaning). or root metaphors. This makes up a kind of Wittgensteinian/Peircean dimension. of this paradigmatic ‘mental process’: (1) support or prop (appoggio/sostegno). I prefer to refer to it under the title that foregrounds the metaphorical or ‘figured-speech’ dimension. Vailati asks whether de facto we conceptualize it accord- ing to diverse images.9 which. with a semantic orientation.” which. This paper appeared in English translation under the title “On Material Representations of Deductive Processes” (Vailati 1908).” But. in the syntactic mode. “The Tropes of Logic” (SF. on the classical view.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 112 112 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense Vailati’s approach. Philosophy was to put us on our guard against pseudo-distinctions and pseudo-abstractions and show us ‘how to make our ideas clear. or sys- tem of aspects. Vailati distin- guishes three root metaphors. deals with metaphors of mental processes. and “The Grammar of Algebra. I want to focus first on the latter task. and. as exemplified in two substantial and fresh essays.’ that is. The first group of metaphors—connected with a foundationalist com- mitment—focuses on the classical role of deduction as “a means of making our knowledge certain. since it clearly bears upon current discussions. examines the structure of algebra from the linguistic point of view. (2) containing/including (contenere/includere). certitude is dependent on the certitude of the premises. which are traced by Vailati to pragmatic con- ditions. image-schemata. each of which represents one aspect. is Socratic rather than Nietzschean or Freudian or Marxist.

so to speak. the view of science proposed by Peirce (see Delaney 1993) and worked out by Dewey in his . is for Vailati much more like an explication (spiegazione) than a demonstration (dimostrazione) in modern scientific systems. to be sure. Deduction. with respect to their bearing on experience. Greek science. At the same time. and so forth. Vailati seems once again to imply that deduction itself. it was the completed process. hangs from them. that the Greeks most admired. deduction was a process. Plato’s praise of geometry. the aim of modern science is understanding.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 113 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn 113 thread (filo) of argument. Premises and conclusion are rather joined together by “mutual attraction. On this account. as it functions within the realm of the idealizing physical sciences and in modern mathematical logic.” mutual dependency. in spite of Aristotle’s own contributions to rhetoric and what is now called ‘informal logic. Vailati likens the process of deduction—note the Wittgensteinian image—to a group joined together by a rope (SF. It literally ‘depends’ on the premises. Here Vailati parallels exactly. it was thought. axioms. and geometry shared the same ideal of deductive systems and gave cognitive priority to the system of premises. or postulates from which the process of deduction started out (the theme of “The Deductive Method as Instrument of Research”).’ Greek thought was obsessed with the problem of foundations. 4). is more a means of discovering just what a theory or set of hypotheses means. The validity of the premises and their mutual coherence came either from their self-evidence or from the fact that in the carrying-out of inferential processes they did not give rise to contradictory conclusions. Hence. from premises to conclusions. Certitude is transmitted in a straight line. but play their role within a constitutional or democratic realm. or could imply. the cultural influence of Euclid’s ele- ments. 199). where. than a device for ensuring the certitude of a process of reasoning or finding a rock-solid base. and hence a development in time. however. because the premises and axioms have no per- manently privileged status. the ideal of the human mind was most exemplified. especially in deductive systems. as exemplified in a unified set of properly related propositions. the image-schemata of ‘support’ or ‘prop’ define a meaning-space of premises as the ‘base’ or ‘foundation’ upon which the conclusions ‘rest’ or against which they ‘lean. not certainty. we saw. While. logic. it seems to me. Going beyond his pragmatist claim that induction is “a reasoning process without foundations” (374 n.’ Vailati points out that this image does not correspond to the new view of deduction as it has been revealed in the rise of modern mechanics and in modern mathematical logic.

in an enlightening way. of what is implicit in them. Vailati points out that we are first of all led to think of deduction as the extraction from premises of what they already contain. we have a radical shift in image-schemata and turn toward a pragmatist picture of the conditions of inference quite generally. Vailati. This shift in the metaphor illustrates. role to play in the development and organization of knowledge. by means of the theory. not excluding. it is under- stood. Deduction. happens to the cognitive status of the conclusion if it is already ‘in’ the premises? How is a conclusion ‘in’ its premises? Aristotle tried to answer this ques- tion by recourse to an analogy based on the contrast between form and matter. is likened to a sculptor’s release of a figure from a block of marble. contemplation. the greater and deeper cultural shift in the cog- nitive role of deduction: from the explication of what is already there to an instrument for seeing.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 114 114 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense Quest for Certainty and Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. that is. on this account. that of leading to the quest for acquiring new knowledge” (SF. Deduction must be likened to a conscription (coscrizione) rather than to a census (censimento) (SF. we might ask. . in fact. for his part. in itself. Vailati has a view of deduction as active and contrasts it with (in his view) other purely or predominantly passive operations of observation. By relying upon this schematization. what would otherwise be inaccessible (the lens metaphor) or for penetrating (the dagger metaphor) to the inside. It is in this light that we are to understand Vailati’s comment about “the task of deduction as the organizing activity of our knowledge in view of the attainment of determinate ends. so under- stood within this image-schema. Hence. the analogy. by pointing out that the deductive process. Deduction on this reckoning is a cognitive move- ment from the implicit to the explicit. So. found in the pair “to contain/to include. should be compared rather to the pro- duction of a lens (lente) or a dagger (pugnale). 200). which Lakoff and Johnson have exten- sively analyzed. 201). explicating the conclusion that is deduced from them. an illustration of the cre- ative role of metaphors in modeling mental processes. abduc- tive. deduction has a properly heuristic. he points out. For Vailati theories are organisms whose parts are mutually dependent and tied together by intelligible bonds discerned by inferential processes that could begin at any place in the organism.” represents conclusions as materially implied by premises or of the premises as contained in the con- clusion. The second group of operative metaphors or image-schemata of deduc- tion. or registration of the data of experience or of intuition. This is. But what. modifies. in his view.

See also Jha 2002 for nuanced treatment. and 1958. Indeed. where the fundamental principles of the various sciences are likened to the letters of the alphabet. It is this shifting nature of the premises and of the concepts that reveals just how indebted Vailati is to his study of the history of science. in the one case. 201–2). This is obviously an admittedly muffled echo of the image-schema of the por- phyrian ‘tree’ and of other image-schemata. on what premises one accepts or. Simplicity and complexity. encompasses both deduction and definition. as when we add a differentia specifica to a genus. Vailati argues that whether a proposition is demonstrable or a con- cept definable depends. 85–90. This is. even ‘analytical’ or ‘reductive’ analogy. the weight of the treatment of which it is a part. paradoxically. See Michael Polanyi’s stimulating discussion of the nature of premises in Polanyi 1964. . in the other case. the Leibnizian ideal that likens truth to numbers. he points out. even the elements out of which the conclusions are composed. on what other concepts one supposes as given (202). 202). as. To this ideal as a monolithic norm—Vailati nevertheless had a deep appreciation of Leibniz—Vailati opposes an essentially pragmatic one. are extremely relative. It is in effect a chemical. going fur- ther. 201). however. 160–71. The ‘whole’ would. atomic. The ‘ladder’ of inference and of 10. The latter is often represented as consisting in the ascent from particular intuitions to more general concepts under which the particulars fall (SF. be already ‘contained’ in its parts. in fact. 203). indecomposable. In Vailati’s view. the weakness of the chemical image-schema or root metaphor is that it exaggerates the role of simple truths over against com- plex truths and creates the supreme ideal of scientific research as the deter- mination of truths absolutely primordial. perhaps one of which could be called the ‘canopy’ or ‘umbrella’ image-schema.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 115 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn 115 But there is even more to Vailati’s critical and ultimately destructive analysis of the implications of the container image. in fact.10 The third group of metaphors. depend- ing on the goal of the affirmation. and so forth (SF. where it is uttered. and is latent even in Euclid’s Ele- ments and in Plato’s Theatetus (206–8). based on the image-schema of ascend- ing/descending. “fit to generate all the others by means of their different groupings” (SF. Vailati points out that metaphors of groups two and three share the notion that deduction involves passing from the general to the particular—a descent—and that in fact the upshot of definition can also at times be considered to be a move- ment from a more general notion to a particular notion (SF. Such an image inclines us to think of premises as simpler than the conclusions.

Vailati’s antidogmatism is displayed in his analysis and use of the notion of point of view. 3) Your valuation of the practical and speculative importance of raising language from the irrational and instinctive to the rational and volitional plane. 203). ‘Point of view’ is clearly connected with his analysis of scope and utility. 4) I would subordinately object to the word ‘Significs’: it could. which he calls a ‘metaphor’ in a letter to Giovanni Papini (1971. comparing the vision-based light-metaphor of “illumina- tion” (rischiaramento). it is clear. Vailati’s comments on her What Is Meaning? which he conveyed to her (in English) in a letter of 18 March 1903: I have read it with much interest and with almost general agreement. 2) Your warning against the tendency of pedantry and school-learning to discour- age the development of linguistic resources. Vailati’s is a clear precursor of later work. he notes. by the inhibitions of those spontaneous variations that are the necessary condition of organic growth. 12. “as when one speaks of heights from which one dominates a given region”—glossed by Vailati. though Vailati himself strongly prefers and thinks in terms of organism or web image-schema or metaphor. Among them I do reckon: 1) Your insisting on the need for a critique of imagery. especially so far as it concerns what seem to me to be the most vital points of your contention.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 116 116 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense definition is clearly bidirectional. with that of “going up” (salire). Moreover. in which it is con- sidered as a means or a contrivance for the performance of determined functions (rep- resentative. with relative advantages and disadvantages. many different heights. which Vailati glosses with the German Erklärung. communicational. this time in English. Which ‘rung’ on the ladder or which ‘slope’ we want to operate from is a pragmatic—perhaps rhetorical or even political—matter. in light of Peirce’s correspondence with Lady Welby. are heuristically fertile and permanently valid contributions to the hermeneutics of knowledge and illustrate the power of a pragmat- ically oriented linguistic phenomenology to contribute to an analysis of mental processes. 354).12 11. rooted in motoricity. Vailati’s correspondence shows this quite clearly. which has already been appropriated to . I would like especially to note. which by no means supersedes his percipient and historically informed investigations. as it seems to me. inferential.11 These exemplary analyses of the language of the mind. be replaced by Semiotics. for a testing of analogies and metaphors (especially when ‘unconsciously’ or ‘semiunconsciously’ used. could be true for agronomists and not for pharmacists. of those root metaphors that prestructure not only our pictures of ourselves but also the procedures we use to structure our world and to set cognitional goals for ourselves. A chemical datum. as it is always the case in the current or vulgar ones). as “a commanding view” (SF.) and for the attainment of given ends. with some advantage. There are. Vailati points out that the latter has the advantage of foregrounding not only seeing but commanding and power. etc.

iv. 143) . signs of predication and of interrogation. algebra. and comparison of sign systems of every sort. The Grammar of Algebra The principal focus of Vailati’s philosophical work was. for it is through the concepts carried by languages that human beings gain control over their world and enter into cooperative arrangements in social life. conjunctions. and has given a precursory treatment of. such as the ideographic. or in the order of signs. (Vailati 1971. prepositions. is also advantageous as an instrument of research the very same meaning by no less an authority than that of Locke (Essay. tell us? The foundation of the comparison is that while sign systems. which. while engaging in a kind of competi- tion with natural languages. in the case of algebra. Still. the language of algebra. Vailati notes. While the analysis exemplified in “The Tropes of Logic” is resolutely semantic in orientation and in method. does or can an analysis of algebra. twofold: an essentially pragmatic analysis of the significance of modern scientific methods and an analysis. music. classification. however. also pragmatic. from the ‘grammatical’ or ‘language’ point of view. 304–24). as well as other ideographic systems.’ The semantic orientation. steering and evaluating both their technical and their ethical actions with respect to what Dewey called ‘ends in view. and so forth. is by no means all-encompassing. Besides its formal advantage as a means of expression. is not to be restricted to its remarkable brevity and to the precision of its system of notation with respect to numbers or to quantities. their elements perform the same functions. resort to various expedients and have a spe- cial character all their own. What. nevertheless the groundbreaking essay “The Grammar of Algebra” (“La grammatica dell’algebra”) offers us one example of a precise and illuminating comparative account of the syntactic structures of algebra and natural languages (SF. that bypass phonetic representations may not have ‘words’ in the strict sense of the term. as we have seen. These second types of writing systems use alterations in the form. The core of his approach to language was fundamen- tally semantic. whose principal goal is the description. 21 in fine). according to Vailati. The two analyses are inex- tricably intertwined. to perform the analogous functions of nat- ural languages realized by inflexions. of the importance of language for philosophical reflection as a whole. issues dear to general semiotics. In it Vailati touches upon.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 117 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn 117 3.

with which they have in common the further factor that they can be translated into verbal form. and so forth to make phrases and propositions.” “beside. unlike the signs of arithmetic and music— which Vailati groups together as ‘nomenclatures’ rather than languages and whose tasks are the description and decomposition into their ele- ments of given groups of sensations or of complex actions—algebra and its semiotic partner. without joining it to other words in a syntactic matrix. which ‘mean’ noth- ing without the addition of other words (SF. in the course of his analysis. had to be set in order.” “after. indexes. . another object” and so forth (309–10). on Peirce’s understanding. What Vailati called “relative nouns” (nomi relativi) have a “transitive” character.” and so forth always open up what Karl Bühler. or of a lin- guistic situation. analogous to the transitive charac- ter of verbs. Merely mentioning the name of an object. verbs. 305). we saw in Chap- ter 2. Vailati points out.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 118 118 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense and of proof (SF. 307). which have to be filled by other linguistic units. Look at Vailati’s examples. in Wegener’s and Gardiner’s sense. “So-and-so is the enemy of such and such” or “this object is higher than another object” can be translated into “one person hates another person” or “a certain object surpasses. called Leerstellen. Vailati. This is extremely clear in the case of prepositions. to do their work. existentially connected with their meanings. wherein the single linguistic units. Vailati agrees with Max Müller’s thesis that “language begins where the interjec- tions end” (307). They are first and foremost. refers explicitly to Peirce’s theory of relations. The first point of comparison between the grammar of algebra and the grammar of language focuses on the parts of speech (SF.’ ‘maestro. can enunciate true and authentic propositions (that is. or goes beyond. is crucial for the joining of names. propositions with objective reference) and deduce their consequences (306). Vailati was very clearly aware of the necessity of a syntactic field.’ ‘donor’. and so forth (bivalent: ‘to teach. or empty slots. that is.” “greater than. But. This syntactic bond.” “following upon” (309).” “fellow countryman. is insufficient to determine what we intend to say. Interjections are “full” of meaning in themselves and have no specifically syntactic bond with other interjections. although the examples are perhaps not as felicitous as one would like: bivalent. “above. 308). In plurivalent verbs. chemical notation. Thus. There are nouns and adjectives that also demand comple- ments in order to signify: “contemporary. trivalent. in Bühler’s sense. though not exclusively. adjectives.’ ‘to buy’ [310]). trivalent: ‘to sell.

The axiom “two quantities equal to a third are equal to one . Vailati subjects algebra to a grammatical analysis. helped by the important device of parentheses (SF. But.). then A is a “fellow citizen” of C. 311–13). Vailati points out. the prepositions perform the role of con- necting organs.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 119 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn 119 which are multiply transitive. This. their only defining property. etc. “Spedite plico seg- retario” (Send the packet to the secretary) is clear by reason of the seman- tic content of the words. and thus are able to express relations between many numbers. and so forth.” The verbal signs of algebra (=. The transitive-verb character of algebraic signs is not. According to Vailati. and without them we have only algebraic expressions. but the same point is valid. A is a “fellow citizen” of B and B is a “fellow citizen” of C. is not the case with “creditor. The signs of equality or inequality are the equivalents of transitive verbs. Using the points of reference above as the basis of his analytical notions. the increasing number of ‘valences’ governing the relation of verbs and complements would lead to ambiguities if there did not appear on the scene prepositions (or inflec- tions) corresponding to the diverse ‘cases’ of nouns. “the distance between one point and another” (la distanza tra un punto e un altro). a – b (the difference between a and b) are of the same structure as the linguistic expressions “the impact of one body on another” (l’urto di un corpo con un altro). “the denigration of one person by another” (il disprezzo di una persona per un’altra). to stick to Vailati’s Italian example once again. however. This is also a Peircean insight. subtraction. with the help of the signs of operations (addition. Of course. in the equivalent cases of “dico male di Tizio a Caio” or “dico male a Caio di Tizio” (I am maligning Titius to Caius). >) have this property. for example.). <. a × b (the product of a and b). exer- cise not just the functions of bivalent verbs but also those of any number of valences. the assertion signs of equality and inequality. 314ff. however. the first point to note about the special grammat- ical and syntactical characters of the language of algebra is the absence of intransitive verbs (SF. Vailati proposes. So. To use Vailati’s Italian example. 311). etc. To be sure. not propositions. Telegraphic speech (addresses. which function as ‘relative nouns’ or relational expressions. the dropping of the prepositions would make the sentences completely ambiguous (310–11). They have the property of “syllogistic tran- sitivity” (SF. financial statements. Such algebraic expressions as a + b (the sum of a and b).) dispenses with them. If. Order alone is not sufficient. English uses prepositions in this example in a different way.

indeed extensive. for example. and proportional relations. to have something galore (averne a iosa). or to saunter (andare a zonzo).” Proportions. Examples cited by Vailati: to judge according to a certain standard (giudicare a una data stregua). to go into rapture (andare in solluchero). 315). respectively. terms are defined by their use in expressions or propositions and are not freestanding units. Vailati points out. which has been extended to cover and to subject to algebraic treatment nonmathematical or nonnu- merical relations (SF.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 120 120 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense another” is the fundamental principle of algebra. Vailati points out that language often expresses the relation of two objects to one another by specifying the diverse points of view in which they are equal or unequal (SF. areas are defined implicitly. at first sight.” two buildings equal “in height. area ABC = area DEF. for Vailati. Transitivity and commutativity clearly do not always go together. use the accusative and the ablative. But it is clear that it is the great. implications far outside the realm of algebra and . Another example: the exchange value of something is defined in relational rather than absolute terms. Algebra also.” Where we—in English and Italian. to loaf. by “definition by abstractions. So. as in “two such magnitudes have the same [proportional] relation [to one another] as two others” or “the relation of two quantities is equal to (or greater or lesser than) the relation of two other quantities. at once (di primo acchito). such expressions as sine a = sine b. 320) This inability (or nonnecessity) to define explicitly what one is talking about has.” two climates equal “in health. however. Divisibility. In definition by abstraction. 316–17). or to loiter. While sine functions are defined explicitly. does not share this property. and also in the definition of perpendicularity or parallelism.” Greek and Latin. use of implicit definition in algebra and mathemat- ics that distinguishes it so clearly from ordinary language (SF. though in the case of the definition of equality they do. the other is perpendicular to it. Two persons can be equal “in stature. then. If one line is perpendicular to another. Likewise in the class of a line that is parallel to another line. say—use the preposition “in. That one number is divisible by another does not mean that the other is also divisible by the first (SF. 317–18). avails itself of implicit definitions. exemplify implicit definitions (SF. are the alge- braic equivalents of such sentences as “the stature of person so-and-so is equivalent to the stature of some other person” (317).” Vailati refers to the Greek use of logos— translated by him as rapporto—in Euclid. 318–19)—at least using the simple arithmetic conditions that Vailati obviously has in mind.

through. and for disjunction (“or”). Algebra uses the aforementioned means—the transitive verbal forms of =. 323. paradigmatic examples. of which language is only one. the term to be defined is perhaps best grasped or taught through direct observation of the facts or the rela- tions it is being used to express. the study of ‘arti- ficial signs’ merits just as much attention as the study of the signs of ‘nat- ural’ languages that have been adapted to different ends and sharpened by many voluntary and individual factors. x.).” “substance. Vailati closes his essay with some further reflections on the pedagogi- cal implications of what he has tried to do. with which Vailati was much concerned. system (of systems). the way of cutting short the interminable discussions on such issues as “time. just as in nat- ural language. one of the main tasks of a comprehensive semiotics and fully consonant with Peirce’s mature position. Both should be grounded in exercises of interpreta- tion and conversation. 321ff. for conjunction (“and”).Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 121 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn 121 mathematics. for example. This was Wittgenstein’s point exactly. coin of the realm in symbolic logic.” and the “infinite” (SF. algebra. 322–23). which perform. of course. with our ‘speculative instruments’ of all sorts. both being concerned. which are. Natural lan- guage uses conjunctions. and >. Here is. with logical chasteness.” In addition to consequence. nouns represented by numbers and variables. see the extremely important works of Tufte [1990] and Bunn [1981]). Vailati clearly saw that one of the tasks of a systematic philosophy of language was to study the “various systems of ideographic notations used in modern science. that is. with respect to propositions. has need of only one conjunctive sign to express consequence. the point is really to form chains of expressions in order to express systems of relations of dependence or independence. in Vailati’s view. a real chance for mutually . he holds. The emphasis on explicit def- inition in both the teaching of languages and the teaching of algebra. in various ways and with various degrees of detail. operation signs (+. While the decomposition of concepts by means of a specifi- cation of their elements has a certain usefulness in pedagogical situations. not to speak of the representational procedures used by geography and the diagrams used by statistics” (SF. <. This is also. however.” “space. it needs three other signs: for negation (“not”). In his opinion. in kinematics. too (SF. But unlike natural languages. Philosophy and semiotics have a deep and permanent bond. albeit universally relevant. is deleterious. But in algebra. /)—to express isolated propositions. –. represented by the word “therefore. of course. in chemistry. in geometry. This is. Vailati thinks. what prepositions do with respect to nouns.

the centrality of historical researches to the development of scientific theories. Third. Vailati considers such theories as “organisms that live. while discovery shows us a path to follow” (45). imprecise. is the rule in algebra. which systematize a set of elements that correspond to the linguistic ele- ments of nouns. from the pedagogical side. in Vailati’s opin- ion. As a study of relations it proceeds best by paradigmatic example. in this essay. Fourth. pragmatism and mathematical logic share a concern for “particular interpretations” or concrete examples. Vailati has produced a piece of comparative general semiotics and a piece of pedagogical advice at the same time. by exemplification.” in Wittgenstein’s sense. Thus. Hence. the meaning—of every assertion to be “something inti- mately connected with the task that one can or one desires to make of it for deducing or constructing determinate consequences or groups of con- sequences” (237). as well as in many others. for they are most successful when they rely not on explicit definitions but on the strategy of forcing the “seeing of con- nections. are nour- ished. both acknowledge. whose conclusions can be summarized in the following five important points of intersection between the two intellectual concerns. and prepositions. Even theories that have been surpassed still retain heuristic fer- tility. in the great prolusion to his course on the history of mechanics. 237–43). facts being understood here not in positivistic terms. algebra and the teaching of language have much in common. In fact. “every error shows us a rock to avoid. or mysterious alliance. clearly within reason in light of Peirce’s approbation of the vague. conjunctions. and their preoccupation with reducing or decompos- ing every assertion to its most simple terms: those that refer directly to facts or to the connections between facts” (238). Vailati has clearly shown that algebra has a grammar and a syntax. Implicit definition. a “mutual repugnance to what is vague. the lit- erary and the scientific. procreate. Vailati says. A further exemplification of this type of analysis is found in his essay “Pragmatism and Mathematical Logic” (SF. or definition by abstraction.” much as “those figures in a film. Vailati speaks of “that secret correspondence. Bridging such domains was one of Vailati’s prime intellectual goals. First. developing and being transformed naturally and logically the one into the other” (240). generic. fight. 53). Par- ticular facts (fatti particolari) are needed for abstract theories (De Rosa 1986. between ‘the extremes of theoretical activity’ (between intuition . they share. they intersect in considering the value—indeed. Second.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 122 122 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense beneficial exchange between the two putatively separate domains. transitive verbs.

to Vailati’s critique of language. The epistemological import of the turn to formalisms is clear. Here is a “logical socialism” of a type rather differ- ent from Peirce’s. Vailati anticipated. many of Vailati’s essays and reviews belong to the critique of language and to the problem- space of the rhetoric of suspicion. while at the same time Vailati eschewed at the deepest level any attachment to a mere formalism. ‘organ- isms. of blocks to their movements” (243).” There was consequently a social imperative.13 Vailati’s analysis of this theme. Finally. or at least a social dimension. While the analysis found in “The Tropes of Logic” is a kind of linguistic phenomenology and that found in “The Grammar of Algebra” belongs to comparative semiotics. . which runs through his work from start to finish.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 123 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn 123 of the particular and the impulse to abstract and generalize)” (242). the elimination of redun- dancy. Philosophy and the Rhetoric of Suspicion By foregrounding “the unconscious subjection of thought to language in the various fields of intellectual activity” (SF. Vailati contended that “one of the greater fruits of the progress in developing logical symbolism is that of unveiling the defects of ordinary language by showing in what direction it would be necessary to look in order to bet- ter it and to heal it [sanarlo]” (1971. 4. much later work in the most important parts of the language-analytic tradition. in Vailati’s opinion.’ “whose efficacy and power are strictly connected with their agility. Here the development of a logical sym- bolism has a central role to play. is illuminated quite clearly by an analogy with which he begins 13. Vailati adds in a parenthetical clause: “precisely in the way socialism reveals the defects of the present social order. by how well it helps us avoid (become con- scious of) the abuses of language and supplies us with the means to rem- edy our linguistic blind spots. means. to tie in with the analysis of the grammar of algebra. in spirit and in content. with the absence of encumbrances. The value of any philosophical thought is to be measured. 117). Theories are instruments for Vailati. Vailati speaks of the “adiposal degeneration of theories” that are dangerous to the degree that they are useful more to “inflate than to nour- ish the mind” (243). there is the shared concern with the ideal of maximal conciseness and maximal rapidity of expression. the foregrounding of which is certainly. Writing to Giovanni Vacca. on Vailati’s view. 174). not the least of pragmatism’s achievements.

against the obstacles embedded in traditional language—distinc- tions between natural and violent movement. and rights. its distinctively “Socratic” char- acter. at least in this respect. belonged to that tradi- tional network or “rete” inherited by Galileo. for example. otherwise it runs the risk of losing all its efficacy and of ending up damaging. Just as we are born into a society we have not created and are subjected to its rules. between intrinsically good and intrinsically bad conductors of heat. 328) 14. (SF. We saw Polanyi mak- ing this point in Chapter 1. Vailati notes that Galileo had to fight. was necessary for him to create the new science of mechan- ics. with all their conceptual baggage. Both science itself and philosophy were to perform this task. so to say. The “common language” and the “ordinary language” (327) contained also the results of past theoretical decisions. the normal and noninterrupted activity of the organs of secretion. 325–30). In fact. in the Greeks.14 This is evident in the following pregnant and visionary—not to say ‘previsionary’—text. 118). those who passively undergo its influence. which had to be reformed. “They were firmly convinced that the art of leading astray through words. between naturally heavy and naturally light bodies. and so forth (326). the critical function of philosophy arises at this point and gives to Vailati’s work on language. as well as makes possible. rather than helping. obligations.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 124 124 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense his “Language as Obstacle to the Elimination of Illusory Contrasts” (SF. our field or power of expression. just as much as the art of not being led astray. That part especially of philosophy that has as its object the analy- sis and criticism of the fundamental concepts and criteria of know- ing and acting demands to be. rethought in every succeeding generation. between terrestrial and celestial phenomena. for the life of the body. the freeing from which. between essentially hot and essentially cold bodies. These distinctions. The processes that lead to the elimination of the distinctions that are gradually coming to be recognized as superfluous or unjustifiable are no less necessary for the healthy development of scientific and philosophical thought than is. Vailati thought. was able to be learned as one learns arithmetic or geometry or any science whatsoever” (SF. at least partially. . so our assimilation of a lan- guage as a system of distinctions and classifications strictly limits. The sociocritical and pedagogical thrust of Vailati’s exercises in linguistic self-reflection and appropriation of self-reflecting instruments was already prelimned.

Another part of Vailati’s effort. This is necessary in order to do justice to the reality coming to articulation in the language. philosophy often arrives at. 347–57). the transformation of the law of inertia into a conventional axiom). and stays with. however. (4) those that take for an explanation propositions that merely reformulate other propositions (opium facit dormire quia habet virtutem dormitivam—Comte’s ‘metaphysical explanations’). its task of reflecting upon the logical grammars of our various means of expression. Language for Vailati can also “spin its wheels” and “go on holiday. are not only resolved in philosophy but also generated. Vailati did not think that philosophy as such would pass away once it had resolved or dissolved the knots in our understanding that linguistic problems or scientific problems have produced. In his essay “Pragmatism and the Various Ways of Not Saying Any- thing” (SF. Philo- sophical practice is both eliminative and edifying. For the descriptive role of philosophy. which otherwise might be cloaked by a defective articulation. in this respect. .Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 125 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn 125 This is truly an ‘eliminative’ conception of philosophy. show the affinity between Vailati’s inner motivation and the trajectory instantiated in Wittgenstein’s work. Terms such as “to cut in the void” (tagliare nel vuoto) (SF. is never repudiated by Vailati. It is truly a “language-critical essay. what appears to be paradoxes from the point of view of popular opinion. but unlike cer- tain strands of analytic philosophy. then. Vailati illustrates the nature and scope of his sense- critical pragmatism. (2) those that have become “false by defini- tion”.” One part of Vailati’s philosophical effort is to determine just when this is so. Indeed. philosophy would be oriented to diminishing distinctions. is to “make dis- tinctions increase” (fare aumentare le distinzioni). or spostamento. to opening a space wherein real sense can be expressed and controlled. to clearing the linguistic thicket. remains a critical pragmatist with a semiotic slant. Distinc- tions. so that the various knots and entanglements of our intellect in language can be cut and unloosed. who. 213) and “shifting” (Vailati’s own English word). In this essay Vailati classifies four types of propositions as “not saying anything”: (1) those that have become “true by definition” (as when originally synthetic propositions have been transformed into ana- lytic propositions: for example. In this therapeutic function.” paralleling in the pragmatist vein many of analytic philosophy’s procedures as well as its tone. (3) those that have been constructed within a “process of general- ization” whose role as a means for given logical or practical ends has been forgotten.

95). that the philosophical paradoxes apparently most incompatible with the postulate of plain common sense are precisely those that present themselves as negations of the reality of some distinctions that are considered self-evident: the distinctions. that is. or one just seg- ments the field. In his essay “The Attack on Distinctions” (SF. exemplifies this category and avails itself of this procedure. Vailati specifies three types of procedures for generating and resolving distinctions and tries to show that the ‘attack’ often does not abolish a distinction but establishes it in a different context and framework. such. “to explain the fact.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 126 126 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense Vailati had noted in his essay “Some Observations Concerning the Problems of Words in the History of Science and of Culture” that insol- uble questions often have their roots in a skewed linguistic formulation. attend closely to when the questions we consider as insoluble “owe their character as such to some fundamental vice or weakness in our mode of formulating them. or the definition of ‘mind’ in terms of the alternative between formal and informal operations. This approach. as in the distinction between appearance or phenomenon and the real or essence or noumenon. Perhaps one could also adduce here the so-called mind-body problem. with a different theo- retical bite. Vailati would have a semiotic pragmatism. only succeeds in putting in better light the distinct properties. 210–19). The second approach contends that the properties that are supposed to be distinct are possessed by both classes or by neither of them. as happened in the case of those who criticized the notion of cause. The discussion of determinism and contingency. Such is also the distinction between . The first approach holds that there is no precise line of demarcation between the groups of facts presumed to be distinct and that one passes from the one to the other by means of intermediate stages or gradations. for example. or between justice and utility” (192). distinctions are actually multiplied. or to the fact of their being fictitious questions. Sometimes the line of demarcation is shifted (spostamento delle dis- tinzioni). for example. Vailati notes. with sufficient historically informed reflection. or one adds a second line of demarcation to it. or even the distinction between God and the world. And in his essay “The Role of Paradoxes in Philosophy. between voluntary and involuntary actions. Vailati points out. But in this case.” Vailati held that it is possible. as a philosophical practice. that to the ensemble of words with which we express them there does not correspond any assignably determinate sense” (SF. between reality and illusion. which is extremely worthy of note.

is “the critical analysis of the most general and abstract notions. as practiced by Vailati.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 127 Paleo-Pragmatism’s Linguistic Turn 127 egoism and altruism. the use of which is the indispensable condition of every type of intellectual activity” (SF. linguistic phenomenology.” A word’s capacity to be defined does not give it a more definite sense than one than cannot be defined. univer- sals. just as a city can be both “east” and “west. comparative . which pursues the path of differences. however. both linguistic and nonlinguistic. so much as to be unable to assign any other thing that would be more known and of which we could avail ourselves in order to define it” (SF. in one of its dimensions. our spade simply being. 189). and the traditional philosophical task of finding general concepts. Its focus is a reflection upon cognitive methods. that is. the absolute. which only makes sense when we specify the spatiotemporal references within which the uniform rectilinear movement of a body occurs. We do not always need the authority of systems of definitions. The third procedure for attempting to abolish distinctions is exempli- fied in the erroneous “[interpretation of] a phrase that expresses a relation among many objects as if it had to have a meaning for each one of them taken separately” (SF. or at least the ‘generic traits’ of existence. philosophy is caught between the two poles of generating and abolishing distinctions. which was Dewey’s concern. So. that we do not know a thing sufficiently. semiotically. Philosophy. Inability to define a word does not necessarily mean ignorance on our part. The same number can be both. any more than the application of the term “antecedent” or “successor” to numbers is an absolute ascription. 108). is an activity. both a Socratic and an anti-Socratic thrust. Philosophy. “we know it too much. a determination of the con- ditions of sense. a clarification of concepts. turned. There is in Vailati. Vailati’s work encom- passes historical epistemology. Discussions about the differences between quantity and quality also belong here. Vailati says.” Here Vailati is calling attention to the essentially relational nature of ‘articulation’ and of the language systems that support it and in which it is embodied. Another example is the law of inertia in mechanics. it is clear. 215). for Vailati. In this sense it is a linguistic exercise that straddles the fence between the Scholas- tic maxim of distingue frequenter. which he sees as a kind of “intellectual infantilism. Rather. Vailati criticizes. as for Peirce and Dewey. especially. generating new mental habits. Inertia in itself does not exist. bridging the sciences and the humanities. the mania to define (mania definitoria). that forms and cultivates the critical powers of the person engaged in it.

Rejecting the road of oracular and monological philosophy. that makes Vailati’s work a model for us as well as a permanent source of insight. Paolo Facchi concludes his Ele- menti del significare linguistico (1992) by concurring with Rossi-Landi that one can “go to school with Vailati with no suspicion whatsoever” (242). And it is this com- prehensiveness. whose interdisciplinary interests and political concerns likewise mirror Vailati’s deep commitments. . and a sense-critical pragmatic analysis. both theoretically and practically. Vailati embedded philosophy in the web of cultural discourse as a whole.15 15. with which it intersected.Innis Chapter 3 9/24/02 9:52 PM Page 128 128 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense semiotics.’ Vailati writes: “The invention of new modes of formulating and of expressing that which is already known [is] to be regarded sometimes as no less important to the advancement of the sciences as the acquisition of new knowledge of fact or the discovery of new laws” (SF. Facchi’s 1992 work is permeated by Vailati’s spirit. as was the work of Rossi-Landi. combined with an authentic modesty about philosophy’s powers. 115). at just about every point. This modesty is exemplified in a passage in the great ‘prolusion.

Innis Part 2 9/24/02 9:55 PM Page 129 PA R T T W O The Senses of Technics .

Innis Part 2 9/24/02 9:55 PM Page 130 .

It is rooted in the general human production of ‘exosomatic organs’ of all types.’ in all its forms and all its func- tions. These range from stone chisels through alphabets to violins. Organ-Projection as Precarious and Stable Technology or. Such found and shaped forms mediate in complex and multiple ways between the human body and the nature to which it is ineluctably bound. following the more nuanced and open-textured usage of Lewis Mumford ([1934] 1963). telescopes. independent of historical period or social matrix.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 131 4 Technics and the Bias of Perception The Tacit Logic of Embodied Meanings 1. is also a distinctive form of embodied meaning-making or sense-giving. The various systems of intertwined and mutually rein- forcing exosomatic organs make up an ‘artificial body’ that supervenes . and par- ticle accelerators. ‘technics.

493).’ He saw it as the key to the historical formation of self-consciousness. Leder 1990. 1989). 1985b. which serve as the instruments of production for sus- taining their life. A. writing from the point of view of ‘economics as a life science. Charles Taylor. 1999) have shown how this natural equipment. he is in fact . Does not the history of the productive organs of man in society. of organs that are the material basis of every particular organiza- tion of society. the formation of the organs of plants and animals. makes a microscopic examination. both individually and socially. 1985a. Merleau-Ponty (1962. rather neglected bioeconomic reflections.’ understood as a process of self-realization and self-knowledge—themes most famously transmuted in their own ways by Feuerbach and Marx. Damasio 1994. When the workingman accepts a wage of forty dollars for his weekly labor. Daly also saw support of Marx’s contention—and of his own non-Marxist position—in a spectacular passage from Lotka. is central to the work of the great dialectical thinkers. for example.e. When the sick man consults the physician. who. deserve equal attention?” (Marx 1976. has its own somatic ‘logic’ and formal structures. Lotka (1956). 1983) and others (Zaner 1971. Lotka writes: The most singular feature of the artificial extensions of our natural body is that they are shared in common by a number of individu- als. we will say. the theoretical biologist and population theorist. the lived body. These can be potentiated (think of sound-making) or perhaps destroyed (think of ampli- fiers at rock concerts) by the accretion of exosomatic structures. in his Grundlinien einer Philosophie der Technik (1978). for philosophers. Herman Daly. Ernst Kapp. was one of the first to speak of the anthropological peculiarity of ‘organ-projection. In his Elements of Mathematical Biology. in a sequence of stimulating and engaging works (1975.’ has drawn our attention to a passage from Marx’s Capital that bears upon this issue: “Darwin has directed attention to the history of natural technology. of course. the patient is vir- tually hiring a pair of high power eyes. This general notion of exosomatic organs. J.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 132 132 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense upon and penetrates the ‘natural equipment’ with which we are endowed at birth. you are hiring the use of an ear to listen to your friend’s voice five or ten miles distant. also placed the notion of exosomatic organs at the heart of his wide-ranging and. When you drop a nickel into a telephone box. i. has insight- fully and convincingly foregrounded and extended Herder’s and Hegel’s insistence upon objectification and expression as ultimately semiotic con- ditions of ‘humanization.

Marx (1976. e.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 133 Technics and the Bias of Perception 133 paying his employers an undetermined amount for the privilege of using his machines as artificial members to manufacture mar- ketable wares. A hammer. . Arnold Gehlen (1980. a new field of projected actions from stone-breaking to upholstery and on to cranial or orthopedic surgery. 1988) has pointed out that these productive organs. it has in a most real way bound men together into one body: so very real and material is the bond that society might aptly be described as one huge multiple Siamese twin. compensate for the relative softness of human tissue and bone. is startling in its analytical scope. these extensions. be it chariot or SUV. extend.. and other properties. since the control over certain portions of this common body is unevenly distributed among the separate individuals. see. per- form a number of functions that make up for the radical instability or plas- ticity of the human instinctual endowment. for example. 243–44) Writing from a decidedly non-Marxist position. but also on the quality of his tools. drills.g. flexibility. by reason of its weight.1 A wheeled vehicle. On the other hand. (1956. It opens a new motor-space. holding them [in] a species of refined slav- ery. potentiations. and though neither of the two parties concerned may be clearly conscious of the fact. and varying dimensions. such as knives. extends the power of the hands for pounding. Exosomatic organs—including under this term (following Dewey and Mead) also ‘institutional’ or socially operative and sanctioned habitual-action structures—substitute for. it is often resented in a more or less vague way by the one less favored. substitutes for the feet 1. On the one hand. 369. hammers. and transformations of the human bodily equipment. Its hardness and durability. Tools of the same kind. The modern development of artificial aids to our organs and faculties has exerted two opposing influences. and compensate for the natural powers of the human body (Gehlen 1980. 1). chap. The positive point. certain of them may be said in a measure to own parts of the bodies of others. 460–61) notes: The productivity of labour depends not only on the proficiency of the worker. gimlets. which both Hegel and Marx clearly and unequivo- cally foregrounded. cited in Daly 1980.

Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 134 134 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense as instrument of locomotion. 2. which allows full play to each special tool only in the hands of a specific kind of worker. The direction taken by this change of form is determined by the particular difficulties put in the worker’s way by the unchanged form of the old tool. and the same tool may serve various pur- poses in a single process. They define. it has been argued. each sense modality can be analyzed from the point of view of its exosomatic extensions. . which consists of a combination of simple instruments. compensation. or extension (as well as distortion. the ultimate grounds of the historical variability of etc. The manufacturing period simplifies. extension. Systems of exosomatic organs.2 A stringed instrument—a lute. may be employed in different processes. the list being truly endless— can be analyzed under the threefold rubric of compensation. computers.. telephones. the historical materialist claim runs. The three functions are clearly seen in the blind person’s use of a cane or the astronomer’s use of a radio telescope. In fact. which implies an appeal to a normative ‘anthropological’ model) varies as we pass from sense to sense. a piano— extends the bodily powers of producing sound. adapted to each particular application—and by the specialization of these instruments. improves and multiplies the implements of labour by adapting them to the exclusive and special functions of each kind of worker. glasses. A singularly stimulating and insightful account appears in Schivelbusch 1986. It is an exemplar of how to think about the dimensionalities of “industrialized consciousness” and com- plements the broad-based cultural studies of Kern 1983 and Harvey 1989. and each partial operation acquires in the hands of the worker a suitable form peculiar to it. compensates for its limited range. All exosomatic organs—microscopes. alterations become necessary in the tools which pre- viously served more than one purpose. have their own ‘tra- jectories’—dynamic logics or vectorial paths. It thus creates at the same time one of the material conditions for the existence of machinery. Just as Gaston Bachelard (1971) thought that each sense had its own ‘imaginary. air- planes. Manufacture is characterized by the differentiation of the instruments of labour—a differentiation whereby tools of a given sort acquire fixed shapes. a violin. The predominance of substi- tution. and not only is each one adapted to a particular process. But as soon as the different operations of a labour process are disconnected from each other. In Birming- ham alone 500 varieties of hammer are produced.’ so each sense has its own potential ‘exosomatic organ-space. and substitutes for it where it would not be adequate or even appropriate on its own. It extends the range of distances a person is able to traverse and compensates for the limited speed a person can main- tain on his or her own.’ which exists as both an objective and a subjective ‘fact’ in the world. printing presses. and substitution. but several varieties often serve exclusively for the different operations in the same process. weaving machines. This was Marshall McLuhan’s generative insight and organiz- ing category in Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964).

to the orientation of ‘enframing’ (das Gestell) and to “ordering as the supposed single way of revealing. microbiologist. on Nietzsche’s reckoning.” A cognate.’ Technological man. Analyses of these technological transforma- tions of perception. like death. “in the midst of objectlessness is nothing but the orderer of the standing-reserve” (Heidegger 1977b. which can be positively or negatively evaluated. It entails not just a loss of world(s). 186). our violation of nature with the help of machines and the heedless ingenuity of technicians and engineers. For Lawrence. is hubris” (cited in Sypher 1968. 1977) has studied some of its profound psychic and social consequences.’ This leads. “Our whole attitude toward nature. in the case of modern technology. of course. to a shift in world-project. its sui generis character and distinctive conceptual underpinnings and framework. Heidegger writes. identified with the self-assertive and certainty- seeking Cartesian philosophical framework and the attendant rise of a deep-rooted will to power immanent in modern science.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 135 Technics and the Bias of Perception 135 consciousness and the forms of perception and apprehension. part of the desensitization accompanying the rise of ‘mediating’ and ‘facilitating’ technologies. complaint derives from D.’ ‘Objectlessness’ also involves a reduction of the qualitative richness of objects and their power to set up or found a world. Lawrence. On the negative side. for example. . It is. the Heideggerian story goes. The moment man learned to abstract. loss of the sense of the body was one of the prime symptoms of the decay of vitality in the modern world. H. was refer- ring when he bemoaned the “atrophy of sense perceptions brought about by . one of the main messages of Heidegger’s “Origin of the Work of Art. cutting fur- rows in both us and the world. Michel Foucault (1967. . wrote.” Modern man. 138–39). is subject to a pecu- liar sort of ‘objectlessness. often highlight the fundamental novelty of specifically modern technological praxis. essayist. Nietzsche. no matter what their ideological derivation. often in direct conversation with Nietzsche. but a loss of the sense of worlding. Lawrence writes: “The idea and the engine came between man and all things. and ecologist. 307–8). The result is a rad- ical reduction in truth’s modes of appearing. connected with the fateful rise to ascendancy of an ultimately Platonizing ‘mathematization’ and ‘calcula- bility. but not identical. who is often taken as a guide in these matters. It was to one aspect of this process that René Dubos. He found that all things were related to certain laws. The roots of this hubris were traced by Heidegger. both a praxical and an intellectual hubris. such as the insane asylum and the modern prison. This becomes the criterion of the ‘really real. he began to make engines that would do the work of his body” (cited in Sypher 1968. .

in a book of great analytical acuity. 334–44. 217–52) presented a set of contentious theses concerning the nature of a “sense perception that has been changed by technology” (242). form. extending Dewey’s analytical framework and actual existential practice influenced by his involvement in the Alexander technique. Rotating the issues and frames of references even more. that modern nihilistic movements have been perhaps ‘somatically motivated’ to destroy the very foundations of a society that has set itself up on the pillars of advanced technological practices. a painful one” (de Nicolás 1976. 164. that “our technology has provided us with the most controversial ‘body’ in the history of human- ity” and that “there is little doubt that our present embodiment is.” The spreading lack of perceptiveness to natural shape. 135). Richard Shusterman has generalized this issue.” a decay traceable to ignoring on a social scale the “natural biological rhythms. 113. the shrinking of the range of perception to a ‘monodimension. which has many echoes in the work of Horkheimer. 231). Antonio de Nicolás. echoing Polanyi’s own analysis of the root defect of the modern ‘critical’ mind. The manner in which human sense perception is organized. 155. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 136 136 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense present-day existence. 137–39). And now. is determined not only by nature but by historical cir- cumstances as well” (222). In his justly famous essay. the mode of human sense per- ception changes with humanity’s entire mode of existence. by proposing a ‘somaesthetics’ (Shusterman 2000. is traced by him to “the distorted sociotechnological philosophy” that runs slipshod over the “biological and psychological limits to man’s adaptability. and Jackson 1998. and others of the Frankfurt . Don Ihde (1979. Hence.” which are “real biological necessities. along with more contemporarily oriented writers such as Wilhelm Reich. can argue. esp. 93–100) has even connected the issue of ‘somatic motivation’ and ‘somatic decay’ with the effects of rock music. see Rockefeller 1991. is his contention that “during long periods of humanity.” Walter Benjamin (1969. Gregory Bateson. esp. and contour. rooted in his own idiosyncratic Marxism. for the most part.’ in Don Ihde’s phrase. he further claims. in a ground- breaking and heuristically fertile essay. Adorno. on both the critical and the constructive side. Rock music without the high technology in which it is embedded withers. and Morris Berman. the medium in which it is accomplished.” It is these limits that “should determine the frontiers of tech- nological change” (Dubos 1968. It is so painful. 262–83. The heart of Benjamin’s argument.

rotates—the issues from the point of view of Dewey’s pragmatist aesthetics. My guiding question is: what types of categories and methods are we to use. 35). The ambivalent ‘splitting’ effect of technology upon the senses is fur- ther paralleled by what McLuhan. Indeed. All these factors and issues to which I have been alluding are intended to frame the set of problems to which I want to address myself in this and the next two chapters. and so forth. and historical circumstances of modern sense perception: the loss of ‘aura. I would like instead in this chapter. to draw attention to essential. the readiness of the tech- nologically fragmented and split consciousness to accept violence and fas- cist forms of compensation for a world torn apart through technology. This extension and dila- tion have the effect of “setting up new ratios among all the senses” and thus of disturbing cultural ecology’s “reasonably stable base in the human sensorium” itself. Benjamin. upon our embodiment in ‘technological’ extensions of ourselves? I do not intend to pass in systematic review the extensive set of analyt- ical categories and historical instantiations that have been adduced by a long line of distinguished thinkers to explain these transformations. Here Dubos’s biological approach and McLuhan’s cultural-critical approach are in full agreement.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 137 Technics and the Bias of Perception 137 School. medium. “the dominance of one sense is the formula for hypnosis” (73). within the framework of his own socioepistemological project. if we want to thematize and evaluate with sufficient rad- icality the transformations of perceptual structures attendant upon tech- nics. Although I must necessarily restrict myself to alluding to parallels and selected points of intersection with other positions and . The next chapter studies—that is. My concern is different.’ the disappearance of the technical apparatus through the rise of (transparent) technologies of the image. yet relatively undervalued aspects of this problem. to be followed by a chapter devoted to a semiotic rotation and extension of the same themes. no Marxist theorist. relying on the work of Ernst Cassirer. and to what types of paradigmatic examples should we appeal. proceeded to discuss what was particularly novel about the man- ner. on McLuhan’s reckoning. admittedly within a very inadequately thematized epistemological theory and in connection with an inordinate amount of hype. by means of some specific categories derived from Polanyi’s conception of a ‘tacit logic’ of consciousness and the theory of meaning built on it and by means of some key and at times rhetorically contentious instances. the new relations between the visual and the haptic. called the “extension of the sensorium by technological dilation” (McLuhan 1964.

3 2. passes through Heidegger’s profound. though ambiguous.’ This is the fundamen- tal relational bond between the ‘self. Habermasian accounts. of course. critique in Being and Time of Husserl’s putatively latent Cartesian con- 3. with the economic matrices of such embodiment relations.’ or ‘inquiring organism’ and the ‘world’ of objects and states of affairs. This was also. but with no dogmatic intent.’ Phenomenologically oriented analyses have followed a line that starts from Husserl’s original ‘cognitionally’ oriented thematization of consciousness fundamentally. following the phenomenological tradition.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 138 138 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense theses. A pivotal distinction in phenomenological analyses has been the puta- tive essential difference between our perception of ‘things’ and ‘objects’ (I leave other ‘subjects’ out of the discussion here) and our perception and use of ‘tools’ or ‘instruments. The generative insight of material embodiment and its consequences has. Structures of the Intentional Arc Inspired by Polanyi’s model of consciousness and of tacit knowing. let us take a closer and different look at what. been graphically charted in central chapters of the first vol- ume of Das Kapital. At any rate. practical-communicative. here in this chapter. I am of the opinion that Lewis Mumford’s work is still a valuable source of both histor- ical and critical insights. His Technics and Civilization is both richly documented and full of humane and critical observations. I hope to be able to show certain things in a new light and to sup- plement a number of the standard and by now classic discussions to which I allude en passant. as we will see. in visual terms. though not exclusively. The affinities with some of the main themes of historical mate- rialism are intended. . Dewey’s pragmatist procedure especially in Experience and Nature and Art as Experience (see also Eldridge 1998). I am not directly concerned. though formulated in quite different terms. My explicit discussion is concerned only marginally with ‘critical theory’ in this format. Phenomenological analy- ses of the intentional arc focus upon the ‘lived structures’ of the experien- tial field. though. con- tinuing the Frankfurt School’s emphasis on various constitutive rational- ities. Don Ihde has called the ‘intentional arc.’ ‘subject. Dewey engages them in his ‘aesthetic’ approach. expressive-emancipatory (see Ras- mussen 1990). but I am unconvinced that Marx’s categorial scheme can do exclusive or complete justice to both the analysis and the evaluation of the relations attendant upon our pro- duction and embodiment in exosomatic organs qua tale. have thematized the putative hierarchy of cognitive interests that mark different cognitive stances or modes of engagement: instrumental- technical.

While a carpenter’s or any skilled craftsman’s relation to tools exemplifies this phenomenon. The ‘parts’ of wholes. in fact. nonexplicit. 9–25) and in the intertwining of ‘eye and mind’ and of ‘vision and being’ in painting quite generally (Merleau-Ponty 1964c. is that we sub- sidiarily attend from them while we focally attend to what they ‘mean’ or to what they are ‘aiming’ at. This ‘in-order-to structure’ of the ‘tool’ makes it possible for us to project ourselves through it in such a fashion that the tool seemingly becomes transparent. perceiving. It is ‘situated’ or ‘placed’ within a field of ‘references’ or ‘assignments’ that both make it possible and are defined by. tools as parts of tool-use situations. a surgeon’s to complex surgical apparatus.’ It is not a ‘mere’ thing. is the ‘recession’ of the tool from the focus of consciousness and attention. Paradigm cases of embodied consciousness for Merleau- Ponty are found not just in the blind man and his cane but also in Cézanne’s ‘somatic’ hesitation in front of both his canvas and his subject (Merleau-Ponty 1964b. Heidegger’s well-known and fruitful existential analysis of an ‘imple- ment’ (Zeug) in Being and Time showed it to be an essentially orientational structure. ‘belong to’ the wholes. movements as parts of skills. be indissolubly bound. so do a musical performer’s relation to musical instruments. or knowing. on the ‘other side’ of the subject-object cut. perceptual. or even con- stitute. The ‘function’ of the particulars is to point away from themselves and toward their integrating focus. or cognitive act oriented toward an ‘object’ or an ‘achievement’ cannot be brought to term do we become the- matically or focally aware of it or of the practical. Only when a tool breaks down or malfunctions or when a practical. and culminates in Merleau- Ponty’s classic multifaceted exploration of the phenomena of embodied consciousness. This is. the way the particulars or constituent components of a skill. with which they can. They are indexical. Polanyi’s great insight.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 139 Technics and the Bias of Perception 139 frontational model. nevertheless. its ‘operational space. Our contact with it becomes nonthematic. a painter’s to brushes and spatulas. or conceptual . nonobjective. the source of a profound conceptual reform. in the sense of their being existentially con- nected with their objects. or the defining features or marks of a nontool perceptual object. become transparent in skillful doing. perceptual. its ontological reality consisting in its ‘being-ordered-to. diaphanous. 159–90). a critique based on his pivotal but ultimately inade- quate distinction between the readiness-to-hand of a tool or implement and the presence-to-hand of a ‘mere’ object.’ A consequence of not considering the tool as something we experience as an ‘object’ over against us.

and all thought dwells in its subsidiaries. Recall now in a new context the fol- lowing pregnant and previously cited passage from his Tacit Dimension: “All thought contains components of which we are subsidiarily aware in the focal content of our thinking.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 140 140 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense (semiotic) clues upon which we are relying. whether practical or theoret- ical. The motility of the self-moving body constitutes the generative matrix of the pluriform ‘intentional threads’ that define the human situation in the world. A second text. perceptual. It has a from-to structure” (Polanyi 1967. Personal Knowledge. x). or what Polanyi called ‘destructive. or in the actional or perceptual context. unpacks what is latent in the first. part of the felt structure of our embodied subjectivities. The extension of ‘thinking’ to technical action is not only legitimate but necessary. Recourse to the model of skills throws powerful light on the structures and implications of technical or technological embodiment. Skillful knowing and doing is per- formed by subordinating a set of particulars. for he ascribes to knowledge quite generally the structure of a skill. and conceptual ‘cues’ exist outside the direct line of consciousness on our ‘side’ of the subject-object cut. These ‘roots’ are also embodied forms of technics and technology. through reflective. as Brentano has taught: it is also necessarily fraught with the roots that it embodies. as if they were parts of our body. Now. They become. Hence thinking is not only necessarily intentional. which I have already schematized in Chapter 1 when discussing the per- ceptual roots of linguistic meaning. as clues or tools. Clues and tools are things used as such and not observed . It limns the bearing of Polanyi’s cogni- tional model on our problem.’ analysis. an action that requires skill. just as for Dewey action was a form— perhaps the form—of thinking. taken from his earlier masterwork. But normally both the tool and the practical. Nevertheless. as we will see. we can obvi- ously disrupt. We may then be said to become ‘subsidiarily aware’ of these particulars within our ‘focal awareness’ of the coherent entity that we achieve. to the shaping of a skillful achievement. or in the conceptual framework and its array of signs. This point is made with the greatest clarity within the phenomenological tradition by Merleau-Ponty. for whom motility is the most basic form of intentionality. Polanyi too puts the body at the center of his epistemology. in short. our existential immersion in the tool’s operational field. Polanyi writes: I regard knowing as an active comprehension of the things known. For thinking is for Polanyi also a form of action.

They are made to function as extensions of our bod- ily equipment and this involves a certain change in our own being. acritical acts of integration and synthesis.’ shift. This is what happens in all cases of ‘embodiment’ in exosomatic organs. is transformed by technological ‘exten- sion. transformations of both poles of experi- ence—the noetic and noematic—when experience.’ 5. Consciousness. (Polanyi 1958. practical or cognitive. Acts of comprehension are to this extent irreversible.’ Noetically. therefore. the noetic texture of an act of perception. the very mode of attending to an object or field of expe- rience. But I think that the distinctions made in the Polanyi texts bear with especially illuminating precision on this phenomenon and intersect with more specifically ‘pragmatist’ approaches. We should expect. has an ineluctable from- to structure. too) of the perceptual act and the parameters within which the perceptual object can be ‘given. and also non-critical. Noematically. 4. the types of objects. arise through tacit. This structure is rooted in the different functions of focal and subsidiary awareness in our grasp of coherent entities or wholes.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 141 Technics and the Bias of Perception 141 in themselves. Phenomenology has insistently brought our attention to the essentially ‘bipolar’ character of experience and has devoted itself to thematizing in detail the varieties of what Husserl called noetic-noematic correlations. the field of awareness. For we cannot possess any fixed framework within which the reshaping of our hitherto fixed framework could be crit- ically tested. involving an existen- tial commitment of the subject or self.’ a participation by the skillful knower or doer in his or her com- plex ‘objects. the varieties of objective structures. 3. Coherent entities. the antecedent ‘space’ (and time. the forms of appearances—and not just the forms of appearing—also shift. All skillful knowing and doing is or involves an ‘indwelling. This participatory structure involves a process of ‘intentional self-change’ that is not under the full control of the agent. or ‘perception’ in the broad way I am using this term. vii) The key points I want to emphasize and extend are as follows: 1. . 2. with which we will be more extensively and thematically concerned in the next chapter.

57–58). Polanyi is in full accord with Dewey’s key thesis that meanings are had before they are cognized. which occurs ‘acritically. Polanyi’s model of cognitive or.’ just as the originative perceptual judgment that founds our access to the perceived world occurs acritically. Even the objects of the natural landscape come to be ‘apperceived’ in terms of the spatial relations characteristic of objects the design of which is due to mechanical modes of production: buildings. Into an experience saturated with these values. In line with the ‘instrumental character’ of all sub- sidiaries and their assimilation to our bodies. which exist as the attended-from particulars of the objects being perceived. as directed intentional or cognitional lines of force. If we schematize the general types of wholes by the fields of subsidiaries . ‘inclining’ the subject in a felt way in preferential directions. colors. The fundamental operation of conscious- ness is the constitution. Part at least of the change of attitude of the last score of years to ‘modernistic’ figures of painting is the result of this change. more generally and more aptly. 342) In Polanyian terms. as Peirce strongly affirmed. fur- nishings. wares. In coming into contact with new shapes. textures. and so forth that mark the noematic realm of objects. Dewey writes: The habits of the eye as a medium of perception are being slowly altered in being accustomed to the shapes that are typical of indus- trial products and to the objects that belong to urban as distinct from rural life. the greensward. they also function as dynamic vectors. even in spite of himself and against his will. the forms associated with a rural environ- ment. of sense-filled unities. The running brook. objects having their own internal functional adaptations will fit in a way that yields aesthetic results. The colors and planes to which the organism habit- ually responds develop new material for interest. since all interactions are by no means ‘cog- nitive’ in any traditional sense. from a pragma- tist perspective.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 142 142 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense In his Art as Experience Dewey spoke of this noetic-noematic duality in a way that overlaps with and exemplifies quite clearly. through tacit acts of integration. ([1934] 1987. the transformation of the noetic-noematic relation sketched by Dewey occurs through a new habituation. the subject or inquiring organism comes to dwell in radically new and different sets of subsidiary particulars. are losing their place as the primary material of experience. ‘intentional’ interaction. what Polanyi called coherent entities or wholes (see 1958. planes.

even on the perceptual level. however. instrument. perceiving. con- ceiving. Heidegger characterized it as Vorhabe.” some of which in addition bear upon something else. Modern cognitional theory and the profound hermeneutical work of Heidegger and Gadamer have shown us how ‘relevance’ has a ‘fore-structure. is first and foremost “an ordered con- text. are like two sides of a coin. in terms of the tacit ‘logic’ of consciousness as delineated by Polanyi. fusing with and restructuring the acts of conscious- ness or awareness themselves. He calls the first form an instance of an ‘embodiment relation’ and the second an instance of a ‘hermeneutic relation. think that the two relations. These wholes are built into consciousness through a process of ‘typification’ or ‘habituation. perceptual. Dewey’s distinc- tions between ‘instrumental’ and ‘consummatory’ meanings.’ In con- trast to Ihde. in Polanyi’s understanding. we can clearly see how we can dis- tinguish various types of wholes or meanings according to whether the subsidiaries are motoric. I. 160–71). A whole. however. valuing. As a result. Don Ihde has distinguished between forms of technically and techno- logically structured perception in which a tool. conceptual. In this way Polanyi was able to distinguish between ‘existential’ and ‘representative’ meanings in a way analogous to. whether perceptual or otherwise—enters primarily into the noetic pole. fusing with the objects. and so forth. or enters into the noematic pole. Embodiment and interpretation are inextricably intertwined. is first and foremost an existentially material and not just conceptual structure. if not identical with.’ which Dewey hinted at in the passage above. or machine— technologies of all sorts.’ This fore-structure. feeling. or ‘fore-having. in the case of technologically embod- ied consciousness. in multiple modalities that are founded upon the “inter- nal functional adaptations” of systems of objects. where meaning-making is . affective. This point is also made by Patrick Heelan in his Space- Perception and the Philosophy of Science (1983).Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 143 Technics and the Bias of Perception 143 and the emergent foci built upon them. there get built up stable frameworks of moving. The phenomenon to which Dewey is referring is on Polanyian terms nothing less than the tacit setting-up of a new system of relevance by which units are selected and discriminated in the experiential field and new harmonies (and disharmonies) are constituted in the lived forms of intending. rather than see the two relations as relatively dis- tinct.’ an extension of our cognitional embodiment in conceptual premises that Polanyi (and Gadamer) made a centerpiece of his theory of knowing and account of science (1958.’ We are embodied in material premises that make up our ‘roots.

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‘pushed down’ to the root structures of perception. In Heelan’s works
natural science as a “hermeneutics of instrumentation” is shown, with
nuance and methodological sophistication, to be rooted in certain corpo-
real conditions of scientific praxis. The ‘semantic’ or ‘hermeneutical’
aspect of instrumental embodiment is confirmed by J. Z. Young. Speaking
of the word ‘atom’ or ‘electron,’ he noted that “it has no meaning except
as used by people who know the experiments by which it is revealed. . . .
It is important to realize that great changes in ways of ordinary human
speaking and acting are bound up with the adoption of new instruments”
(Young 1960, 111).
Indeed, the ‘ontological reality’ of an atom or an electron, as well as the
semantic conditions of our sense of ‘atom’ or ‘electron,’ are ultimately
embedded in the consciousness of the perceiver who has the requisite skill
and know-how to ‘read’ the instruments being used to determine the real-
ity of the object domain. In fact, the identity of the two procedures is one
of the pivots of Polanyi’s philosophy of science: explicit and methodologi-
cally conscious science, which is clearly interpretive, is rooted in an ulti-
mately praxical, tacit, inarticulate, skillful matrix, which is a primitive ‘form
of sense’ and of ‘sense-reading.’ This is also the epistemological point of
Kuhn’s famous work. The well-known transposition of feeling or of felt
qualities that takes place in the use of such things as probes and dentists’
drills (Polanyi, we saw in Chapter 1, affirmed a ‘probal’ nature of language)
is clearly ‘hermeneutical’ or ‘interpretive.’ Merleau-Ponty had pointed it
out, and Polanyi, within the framework of his model of ‘tacit knowing,’ had
observed that a blind person and a dentist and a native speaker begin to feel
their instruments as belonging both to their bodies and to their experiential
fields. They experience these ‘media’ as essential factors of their bipolar
intentional existence. It is through the cane or probe, transformed by the
perceiver’s power to project himself or herself out to the ends thereof, func-
tioning as perceptual channels, that the agent encounters, that is, both
comes into contact with and ‘grasps,’ the world of objects. This point is,
from the pragmatist point of view, once again illustrated in a passage from
Dewey’s Art as Experience, where, although the discussion concerns art
explicitly, the idea is applicable to ‘technics’ quite generally: “Every work of
art [and likewise every tool, machine, or instrument—REI] has a particular
medium by which, among other things, the qualitative pervasive whole is
carried. In every experience we touch the world through some particular
tentacle; we carry on our intercourse with it, it comes home to us, through
a specialized organ” (Dewey [1934] 1987, 195).

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Technics and the Bias of Perception 145

To use Polanyi’s terms, the perceiver ‘attends from’ or appropriates
subsidiarily or tacitly the ‘clues’ from the impact of the probe on his
hand—or from the ‘orienting elements’ of the particular, exosomatic ten-
tacle, no matter what the sense—while he ‘attends to’ what they ‘mean.’
This from-to structure, which Polanyi showed marks all meaningful uses
of consciousness from motoric skills to scientific practice, accounts in
epistemologically ultimate terms for both the ‘recession’ of the tool in
favor of its ‘object’ or ‘field of application’ and for the ‘felt,’ nonfocal
structuring of the embodied noetic pole. In its experienced reality, the
world at the ‘end’ of the cane or tool, or exosomatic organ quite generally,
is then conditioned for the agent by, for example, the material reality of
the cane, by its rigidity, its weight, its intrinsic texture.
Dewey calls this experienced distinctiveness ‘quality,’ affirming with
Peirce that ‘firstness’ is “the given permeating total quality of anything
experienced” (Dewey [1935] 1998b, 200). As Dewey puts it, in full recog-
nition of the bipolarity of intentional existence, “considered in itself, qual-
ity is that which totally and intimately pervades a phenomenon or
experience, rendering it just the one experience which it is” (205). But
experience is not to be assimilated tout court to the cognitive. Dewey is
insistent that “quality belongs to the domain of the occurrences of any sin-
gle and total experience wholly irrespective of any cognitive or reflective
reference” (207). As he further says, “existence itself is qualitative, not
merely quantitative, is marked by stress and strain, and by continuities”
(209). These qualities are ‘carried’ by the media in which we are embodied,
each of which has a distinctive ‘feel.’ This universality of mediation does
not necessarily involve a ‘distancing’ of subject and world. It is quality that
connects us feelingly to the world. “The world in which we immediately
live, that in which we strive, succeed, and are defeated, is pre-eminently a
qualitative world. What we act for, suffer, and enjoy are things in their
qualitative determinations” (Dewey 1931a, 93). Indeed, it is clear just how
qualitatively thick the embodiment in exosomatic organs is and must be.
Any exosomatic organ is ‘probe’—in the generalized sense, as developed
by McLuhan—and ‘filter.’ The two aspects are joined indissolubly.
As probe, an exosomatic organ constitutes a peculiar form of ‘contact’
between self and world. As filter, it constitutes a peculiar kind of ‘sorter.’ In
this probing-sorting encounter through instruments, we can see what Ihde
has called a dialectic of ‘amplification’ (McLuhan’s ‘dilation’) and ‘reduc-
tion’ (Dubos’s ‘atrophy’). Specifically instrumental auxiliaries of percep-
tion, which are assimilated to the systems of senses themselves, can either

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146 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense

magnify the unaided sense-organ or bodily power or they can reduce—
through a kind of negative abstraction—the complex polymorphy of sense
perception and of the body’s action-field, which is its ‘natural’ as well as
‘culturally induced’ state, to a single mode of perception. But modes of
perception, understood as ‘ways of worldmaking’ are many. Nelson
Goodman’s specification in Ways of Worldmaking of five operations
attendant upon symbol-schemes and symbol-systems furnishes supple-
mentary elaboration of what is happening. There he delineates, with no
claim to completeness, five operations of (1) composition and decompo-
sition, (2) weighting, (3) ordering, (4) deleting and supplementing, and (5)
deformation. Goodman’s ‘symbolic constructionism’ can be taken over
into the analysis of the material, affective, perceptual sorting procedures
of technics, as Marx Wartofsky and Robert Cohen so perspicuously con-
tended in their editorial preface to the third edition of Goodman’s Struc-
ture of Appearance (1977, vii–viii).
As Lewis Mumford put it in his classic Art and Technics, “a photograph,
accurate and realistic, is an abstraction from the multidimensional object it
interprets” (1952, 94). Indeed, in Mumford’s view, “the abstract office per-
formed by the realist painter’s eye could also be performed by a simple
apparatus that would throw the light rays from the outside world upon a
chemically sensitized surface” (91–92). This ‘abstract office’ in itself is
clearly not, nor does it have to be, the distinctively aesthetic office, which,
from a pragmatist perspective, is irretrievably linked to qualitative presen-
tation. The aesthetic office has as its aim to give the object in its ‘how.’ But
Mumford’s point, which is by no means antiphotography, is that it was the
ultimate facility of the use of this photographic apparatus, combined with a
seeming ‘naturalness,’ that led to the ideology and social practice of what
has been called ‘pictorial vision’ (see Snyder 1974, 219–46): that is, the appli-
cation to natural vision of demands and criteria of a particular ideological
view of vision as incarnated in the technologies of monocular perspective
and its connection with the evolution of the camera obscura and then of our
own modern camera—which has now been further transformed into a dig-
ital instrument (see Crary 1991, 25–66). An idea of vision was combined
with, derived from, a practice of vision. In such a case the range of sub-
sidiary clues bearing upon a focus and the antecedent ‘set’ that induces a
particular preferential form for integrating (weighting and ordering) them
do not correspond to any necessity in the ‘natural’ order of things. Consid-
erations such as these lie behind McLuhan’s comments on ‘hypnosis,’
Dubos’s on ‘atrophy,’ Benjamin’s complaints about the breaking of the

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Technics and the Bias of Perception 147

(mythical) seamless web of perceptual traditions, and more specifically of
the isolating role of the camera and the at times pernicious ideology of pic-
torial vision that has, though not necessarily, been conflated with it.
Robert Romanyshyn throws penetrating light on the issue:

In the camera the origins of linear perspective vision have been
instrumentalized. The hegemony of the eye, the character of dis-
tance, the window aesthetic, the paralysis and anaesthetization of
the body, the sterilization of the world of all sensuous qualities
save what is visible and observable, are all incarnated in the camera.
We enact these attitudes and values, we continue these origins in
the use of this simple, popular, and quite harmless instrument. The
photograph reduplicates the world and in time even comes to dis-
place it, taking on the character of what is true and what is real.
Seeing is believing, we say, a maxim that was unimaginable prior to
the invention of linear perspective vision. And with the camera we
have further qualified this vision: not any seeing is believing, but
only that seeing which duplicates the neutrality and impartiality of
the camera eye. If it can be photographed it is real. If it cannot, like
the elusive monster of Loch Ness or aliens from outer space, then
its veracity is in doubt (1989, 63).

So, at least one perceptual bias—let us call it the bias of deformation—is
present in the camera.
Again, a dentist’s probe, certainly not a traditional instrument of
abstraction, can magnify the natural sensitivity of the finger, but it also
reduces the range of sensations that can be transmitted. It cannot effec-
tively transmit data of moisture or heat—unless one is using a probe
combined with a thermometer, something that would give us not the
experience of heat but a set of readings of a temperature, a different thing
altogether. A microscope, dependent upon one of the most fateful of all
inventions, glass, magnifies, by definition, the perceptivity of the eye,
while reducing the ‘space’ of the visual field to a finite, unmoving horizon.
To change the direction of vision, the telescope, for example, actually
made the moon farther away by reconfiguring our sense of distance. The
telescope set up new relations (ordering) within the eye-hand field, the
distortions of which, it has been argued, lie at the root of some of moder-
nity’s major technologically induced problems. (See further Panek 1998
for a more positive take on these matters.)

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148 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense

Romanyshyn has written that we got to the moon in 1969

by travelling the same road that Galileo traveled in 1609. We got
there primarily and essentially as spectators, since we landed on a
moon that was and had already been for a long time a spectacle, an
object of vision. Therefore, as close as we have been to the moon,
we remain in one sense quite far away. In the sense that we have
been there as a spectator we remain quite distant and detached
from the moon. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that Galileo’s
telescope did not in effect bring the moon closer. On the contrary,
it moved it further away. Superficially, of course, the telescope did
move it closer. But beneath this surface closeness the effect was to
distance the moon as an object for the telescopic eye. The tele-
scope, as one of the first technological instruments to transform
the world into a matter of light, did not therefore decrease dis-
tance, but created it. In effect it opened, enlarged, and expanded
the world, making it possible, and perhaps even necessary, to cross
that distance. In short we could and perhaps had to travel to the
moon in 1969 because it had gone so far away. . . . The moon of
technological vision is not the same moon which lighted the skies
before the invention of linear perspective vision. The moon as a
physical object in space is primarily and essentially a cultural
vision, and men and women of earlier ages lived in a different
world, and knew and saw a different moon. (1989, 73–74)

In modern instrumentally mediated science, we are not presented with
things ‘in the flesh’ unless we admit that their flesh cannot be separated
from the means by which we know them and that the instruments are
both continuous with and introduce a ‘break’ in the natural structures of
perception and in our definitions of ‘object’ and ‘real.’ I have discussed
the philosophical matrices of this matter at length in Consciousness and
the Play of Signs, and it has received extensive treatment from such diverse
points of view as represented by the work of Peter Galison (1997) and
Don Ihde (1998).4

4. A fascinating ‘musical’ take on instrumentation is to be found in Levenson 1994. It gives
a readable account of a vast range of examples that supplement the types of instances I have been
able to discuss in this chapter. It breaks down the divide between the arts and the sciences by
showing their deep affinities on both the mathematical and aesthetic levels.

’ ([1934] 1987. they become. mechanically tended by an operator. 167) In cases such as those I have been adducing. however. For that reason he’ll be absorbed and attentive to what he’s doing even though he doesn’t deliberately contrive this. which simultaneously change the nature of the material at hand. arts such as music. He’s making decisions as he goes along. Embodied Technics Can. When these movements carry over in dealings with physically external matters the organic push from within of an automatic art.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 149 Technics and the Bias of Perception 149 3. the movements of the individual body enter into all reshaping [includ- ing technological reshaping] of material. such as Zen and the Art of Archery (1971) and The Method of Zen (1974). He isn’t following any set of written instructions because the nature of the material at hand determines his thoughts and motions. by extension.’ or ‘cognitive’ in a limited sense. taken from his Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. (Pirsig 1974.’ ‘receptive. The material and his thoughts are changing together in a progression of changes until his mind’s at rest at the same time the material’s right. or the dance. In his Art as Experience Dewey has a passage bearing on the ‘bodying forth’ of art—and. poetry. extracted from authors with similar substantive agendas but very different rhetorical forms. but cognitively . we deepen and take some of these distinctions further? Consider the cases illustrated in the two following texts. of the ‘technological arts. Except in the case of work done by machines. 228) Compare the preceding passage with Robert Pirsig’s text. The craftsman isn’t ever following a single line of instruction. and David Sudnow’s exquisite Ways of the Hand (1978). in so far forth.’ ‘mirroring.’ What we can say is that the products of the technological arts become fine in the degree in which they carry over into themselves something of the spontaneity of the automatic arts [that is. This book parallels in many of its themes the well-known books by Eugen Herrigel. the foci are not ‘perceptual. whose media are not separable from the body and its expressive powers]. ‘fine.

in the forms we are dealing with. whether of use or of con- templation. though self-monitoring. This is a truly ambiguous phenomenon. a hacksaw. the point to be made here is that. cognitive—into novel foci or coherent entities: skills. the natural trajectories of embodiment relations that.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 150 150 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense and practically ‘productive. Shoshana Zuboff (1988) has explored this phenomenon in great detail in an insightful case study. even. perceptual. has described under the rubric of the tacit nature of skills. and Arnold Pacey (1999. perceptual objects. the exact step depending on the medium with which one is working. Expertise comes through apprenticeship. a chisel—cannot become expert through any amount of explicit knowledge or theory bearing on the use of these instru- ments. integration of subsidiarily apprehended particu- lars—motoric. The original skills have become embodied in arti- facts that often are not so much operated as monitored. a clarinet or violin. a file. following Polanyi’s profound anal- ogy of the logical structure of skills under all forms of mental and practi- cal achievements. concepts and symbolic artifacts of all sorts. affective. in its technologically (and aestheti- cally) relevant forms. Modern technology has to a great degree ‘distanced’ the human manip- ulation of the world by developing productive forms that contravene. just how much of the modern pro- . Now. Indeed. it challenges us to ask. Pirsig has also pointed to cer- tain perceptual characteristics of the ‘mechanic’s feel.’ This feel embodies a kind of knowledge that Polanyi. a person using a tool or an instrument—a probe. with experienced ‘workers’ we can de facto see a kind of harmony between them and their tools and machines. a kind of spontaneous reciprocity that resembles a dance. in fact.’ through exosomatic organs. through learning from a master. explicit science. 73–74). through a process of trial and error. has confirmed its importance and scope. looking at the process from a broad and humane historical perspective. is as much involved in ‘constructing’ as in construing. performances. Perception through ‘tools. Now.’ between making and moving. that ultimately comes to rest in a unified form of apprehension. Within the framework of his own inquiry into the relation of knowledge and values in a technically constituted world.’ There is a dialectical relationship between ‘material’ and ‘thoughts. within a tradition. through a process of radical substitution. akin to grop- ing or feeling one’s way in the dark. intent upon showing the praxical under- pinnings of articulate. which are paradigmatic forms of embodied knowledge. always have the structure of skills. without expecting a simple answer. both processes have to be thought of as the acritical. For example. a cane.

you tend to suffer with the machine. in possession of the kind of knowledge. The mechanic’s feel comes from a deep inner kinesthetic feeling for the elasticity of materials. unless you’re working with large mechanical forces. Other materials. so that when you thread porcelain fitting you’re very careful not to apply great pressures. more than rubber. It could be argued that the inner logic of a large part of the modern production process and its attendant activities makes impossible such a mutual accommodation between self . But a person with a mechanic’s feel knows when something’s tight and stops. With nuts and bolts you’re in the range of large mechanical forces and you should understand that within these ranges metals are elastic.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 151 Technics and the Bias of Perception 151 ductive apparatus in the broadest sense. It is. and different for lubricated bolts and for locknuts.’ in which the easy surface elasticity is taken up. and when you see someone working on a machine who doesn’t have it. have tremendous elasticity. A person without it goes right on past and strips the threads or breaks the assembly (1974. including symbolic production. like steel.’ in which all the elasticity is taken up. Then there’s ‘snug. The force required to reach these three points is different for each size of nut and bolt. with bearing on a wide range of issues attendant upon the division of labor. This is an extremely insightful phenomenological description. including symbol-workers. when taken generally. nevertheless not uniformly or extensively applic- able to the present relation of human beings to their tools. like ceramics. have very little. It should rather function as a norm and as a challenge. The forces are different for steel and for cast iron and brass and aluminum and plastics and ceramics. To what degree in the era of advanced industrialism at home and abroad is the ‘normal’ contemporary worker. Some materials. exemplified in the mechanic’s feel discussed by Pir- sig? Pirsig writes that this is something that is very obvious to those who know what it is. truly involves the ‘amplification’ of perception through embodiments in probal extensions of ourselves. When you take up a nut there’s a point called ‘finger- tight’ where there’s contact but no takeup of elasticity. in their specific domain. but in a range in which. the elasticity isn’t apparent. but hard to describe to those who don’t. Then there’s a range called ‘tight. 323–24).

’ This dis- tinction. It is perhaps best avoided. a term that unfortunately is not without its difficulties. It thus tends to eliminate the ‘kinesthetic’ component and substitute in its place a ‘nonsomatic’ cybernetic ideal. in José Ortega y Gassett’s terms (1941a). It is connected with the ‘splitting’ of the original ‘natural’ fusion of body and tool. who has argued that it is the crank that is perhaps the fateful key invention in the development of machines. is to a great degree contravened in practice. 116). for all its difficulty. func- tions. in one sense. a splitting that renders a technology of the tool as central factor in the exosomatically mediated intercourse with the world for the most part a thing of the past. does point to an extremely important socio- cultural fact. in assembly-line production or processing of standard units (even symbolic units). and rhythms ‘mime’—or should mime—at the deepest somatic level organic structures and rhythms. The material pivot of this shift may actually lie in the institutionalization of rotary as opposed to reciprocal motion in the primary interaction field whereby the human being ‘works up’ the world. It strives to displace somatic satisfaction. It belongs. This situation . While. is really based on the attempted and complexly motivated elimination of embodi- ment relations as exemplified in tool use—hence the point of Nietzsche’s and Lawrence’s complaint.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 152 152 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense and tools. we have here an ideal that. Looked at from the point of view of a philos- ophy of the body. Mod- ern civilization.’ the experienced ‘alienation’ of labor may neverthe- less have its major cause elsewhere.. This inner logic is in effect one of the ‘experiential’ sources of the modern-day ‘proletarianization’ or ‘alienation’ of consciousness. Instead. there is an increase in ‘efficiency’ and a reduction of ‘labor. I take this idea from Lynn White Jr. the crank is probably the most important single element in machine design. embodied in the immanent quality of an activity. There is even perhaps a deeper somatic root of the process of elimina- tion. to the ‘logic’ of machines. when we look at the matter critically.’ which we will consider in Chapter 6. I am thinking of a hidden aspect of the movement from an embodied logic of tools. According to White. by a social ‘phatic’ component of interpersonal solidarity in group cooperation or in the development of ‘virtual realities. this is scarcely adequate compensation. in fact. whose structures. It marks a veritable ‘somatic revolution’ in the intentional arc. to the technology of ‘craft’ but not of the ‘engineer. “next to the wheel. yet until the fifteenth century the history of the crank is a dismal record of inadequate vision of its potentialities” (1971. the historian of medieval technol- ogy. in spite of Lukács’s cultural-critical efforts.

even today razors are whetted rather than ground: we find rotary motion a bar to the greatest sensitiv- ity” (118). a person of the twentieth century would give it a continuous rotary motion. he thinks. He cites Jefferson to the effect that “the printers can never leave us in a state of perfect rest and union of opinion” (24). prior to the time of Louis the Pious. of course. of course. This accounts. White remarks that “seated before a quern with a single vertical handle. Music. Think. whereas reciprocating motion is the sole movement found in living things” (118). In one of those astounding comments that are buried alongside rather sober discussions and carry the seeds of a new focus on ‘hidden things. has its own bod- ily logic and trajectories and is. The elements of such a phenomenology of embodiment. of the imagery of Chaplin’s Modern Times. in terms of methods and categories. 79). to be ‘fleshed out’ by a social phenomenology of embodiment. too. would have to be taken from a wide variety of sources. with its reciprocating bow. the rotary powered press. and perhaps has contributed something of crucial somatic importance to the development of the West- ern form of the orchestra. 116). our tendons and muscles must relate themselves to the motion of the galaxies and elec- trons. for the fact that “crank motion does not come easy to us. an event. as Pacey insightfully points out (1999. From this inhuman adventure our race long recoiled” (1971. 118). based on strings. to the hurdy-gurdy.’ White notes that “continuous rotary motion is typical of inorganic matter. This makes intelligible the utter superiority of the violin. there was a different “sense of the appropriate motion.” White reports that Ernst Mach noticed that “infants find crank motion hard to learn. can . of world-historical importance for the inner constitution of the life-world. further. 17–38). an extremely fertile source of insight into the various dimensions of technology. in fact.” and adds that “despite the rotary grindstone. The predomi- nance of circular forms quite generally. I think. As a matter of fact.” one built around reciprocal motion. White’s deep claim is that “to use a crank. as defining the modern age. It is far from clear that one of the very early Middle Ages would have done so” (1971. The philosophical-anthropological and metaphysical upshot of White’s point needs. which defines the machine-space of our age—including.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 153 Technics and the Bias of Perception 153 was remedied when the compound crank was invented by an anonymous Flemish shipwright. Harold Innis remarked that “the Western community was atomized by the pulverizing effects of the application of machine industry to com- munication” (1951. Now it finds itself inextricably caught up in a rotary world.

space and so forth in a wide range of sources. at least in the West. We need. Mumford. for instance. has made much of the power of glass. has focused upon the theme of ‘exchange with displacement’ and pointed out within a nuanced framework the implica- tions for an account of our visual ‘artificial prostheses’ of the fateful invention of Alberti’s wire grid. As to perceptual schemata and their rootedness in exosomatic organs. transparent window and hence offered us a rather different foundation or motivation for the much dis- cussed grand analogy of assimilating paintings to windows ([1934] 1963. more gener- ally. in his Dimensionality of Signs. materials.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 154 154 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense also be clearly seen in many of the works of Fernand Léger. and Models (1981) a book of extraordinary importance for the philosophy of tech- nology (see Innis 1983).” The globe described by Ptolemy “is . 100). as a coordi- nate system for the ordering of sensations in perceptual space. and how to compensate for the distortion of the spherical surface when stretched out on a two-dimensional plane” (1975. to certain aspects of some key ‘exosomatic organs’ that have transformed the systems of material ‘filters’ through which the world is encountered or experienced on both the everyday and scientific levels. But there was an important antecedent to the wire grid marking Alberti’s theoreti- cal account of perspectival space. This wire grid. Samuel Edgerton Jr. “the three- dimensional model of the geocentric universe found on scholars’ desks down through the Renaissance. how “to project the coordinates of any geographical location in the world. that is. both for weal and woe (see zur Lippe 1984. Tools. 1988). a detailed study of the relations between preferential ‘somatic trajectories’ and ‘perceptual schemata’ that are organically a priori and those that due to human plas- ticity arise through historical actions. has indicated how Ptolemy figured out how to map a reticulated spherical surface onto a flat chart. with reference to light. in fact. James Bunn. Both are perceptual machines that demand as much construction as construing. I have already indicated that it seems clear that one can trace the strong— in the sense of both amplified and reduced powers—visualism of modern cultures. Edgerton notes that Ptolemy was actually describing how to draw a so-called armillary sphere. 124–31). antedated by 150 years Descartes’s adoption of a coordinate system for analyzing objects and events in geometrical or ‘real’ or ‘objective’ space. Here we have a kind of slippage as well as reciprocity between a three-dimensional and a two-dimensional model. to be used by painters in constructing a true visual analogue to spatial arrangements. though we should look for other parallels. 1987. which has given us the rectangular.

And in fact the 1275 Carta Pisana is the first portolan map to show a superimposed grid for reckoning distances. perspectival construction” (110). 113). It is clear that Ptolemy’s great advantage was the devising of the grid system. a Columbus. “represent a skeletal geometric key to the link between Quattrocento cartography and the paintings which gave birth to linear perspective” (95). This type of ‘grid’ map differed in its perceptual and actional consequences from the portolan maps used by sailors. “Such grids. From the moment the atlas appeared in Florence. It gave rise to a new psychological set by ‘objectifying’ space and spatial relations. . based on the grid system. touching. the portolan chart reflects the tactile perceptions—looking. chronometers) also been available at this time. that is.” Edgerton continues: “As this comparison demonstrates. and seems to have been laid out in the manner of an armillary sphere. “So far as the psychology of seeing is concerned. with ribs representing the longitudes and lat- itudes and with the oikumene painted on something stretched over its proper place in the open. Ptolemaic maps would have displaced portolan maps in seafarers’ use” (1975. awaiting the vision of a rest- less navigator. Their use—and the space projected by them—was pragmatic and actional.” Edgerton writes. Their unity was the unity of an intended action. 97). Had nautical instruments for determining longitude and latitude at sea (i. that the new maps. Here we see how perceptual technologies intersect with and condition whole realms of human action. of seeking a goal in ‘real’ space. and moving about—which characterized art not yet attuned to geometric abstraction.e. to pick it up. the gauntlet was down. “which reduced the traditional heterogeneity of the world’s sur- face to complete geometrical uniformity. limiting or potentiating their scope. Portolan charts were not meant to furnish a geometrical framework for comprehending the whole world. The device of longitudinal and latitudinal lines was a semiotic break- through. They were for ‘intellectual use’ and “thereby gave powerful impetus to the Renaissance rationalization of the world” (Edgerton 1975. were not portolan and were not intended for seafaring use. the coming of Ptolemy’s cartographic system to Florence in 1400 did to the psychology of map making exactly what linear perspective—arriving there about twenty-five years later—did to the psychology of looking at pictures.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 155 Technics and the Bias of Perception 155 apparently transparent. It carried a very different type of information and obeyed a very different logic. Edgerton remarks insightfully that comparing a Giotto painting such as Expulsion of Joachim from the Temple and a Petrus Vesconte portolan chart shows that both give a good approximation of angle and direction but not of distance.” The problem was.. of course.

reg- ulated by an inflexible coordinate framework of horizontals and verticals. . (1975. The spread of this perceptual technology confirmed what had already been practiced to a certain degree without the ideology of the perceptual grid. .Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 156 156 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense The Ptolemaic grid. patterned farmland (where the land was relatively flat). 159). Giovanni Cavalcanti mentions the use of an imaginary mathematical line to establish a boundary between Florence and Milan during the wars of the 1420s. twisted. But it was the rhetoric of geometrical projection that captured the imagination. Note. “posed an immediate mathematical unity. enlarged. Everything is comprehended under the geometric doctrine. cited in Edgerton 1975. ix. “pictorial representations of space in any given age are thus sym- bolic forms of this combined perceiving process” (1975. the use of ‘semiotic’ terminology in the following pas- sage from Edgerton: The power to render an abstract image of space in our minds. however. The movement from the portolan to the Ptolemaic map is consequently a movement from one type of sense-reading and sense-giving to another.” This measuring is. in one sense. and even bank accounting exemplify the intention to find uniform (combinable and measurable) units by means of which to probe the world (see Crosby 1997). we see that there is a rule for measuring . The town layouts of the Romans. curved or peeled from a sphere and flattened out. 115): “And thus the eye is the ruler and compass of distant regions and of longi- tudes and abstract lines. in a passage from his Istoria Fiorentine (vol. It is a change in the embodied constitution or creation of meaning. p. with the eye. a dis- . Cavalcanti writes. No matter how the grid-squared surface is shrunk. The continuity of the whole pic- ture remains clear so long as he can relate it to at least one undis- torted. 114) The grid inscribes itself into both the perceptual system and the world. therefore. Indeed. the Ptolemaic system “supplied to geography the same aesthetic principle of geometric harmony which Florentines demanded in all their art” (114). They come from us. 20. 1. We learn to see according to it.” allowing precise fixation of places far apart from one another. referring to the varieties of systems of space. is what makes any grid system of measurement so instantly meaningful. the human observer never loses his sense of how the parts of the surface articulate. warped. As Edgerton puts it. But there are no grid lines in nature. and with the aid of the arithmetic art. modular grid square.

It took a superhuman effort to break with this material premise in the construal of the visual world. Edgerton writes. has further explored what .Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 157 Technics and the Bias of Perception 157 tancing. 90). or a camera ottica. So the very notion of reticulation was mate- rially embodied—and reinforced—by both Ptolemy’s cartographic sys- tem for mapping the surface of a globe and Alberti’s material device for mapping the perceived world onto a plane surface. It is an internalized distancing. This ‘intuitive sense’ refers to the Polanyian ‘interiorization’ of a probe. one of the major dimensions of the ‘biasing of perception’ on both the individual and the social scales. Alberti exhorted his artist-readers to learn to see in terms of such grid coordinates in order that they develop an intuitive sense of proportion” (119). then the perspective configuration of the objects in such a picture will indeed approximate the way the objects would look in ‘reality. Technology as Symptom and Dream (1989).” This was a velo. it is clear enough that if one takes for granted that a picture should present itself as an illusionistic open window. that all pictures should be conceived in terms of windowlike frameworks—a notion which only the peo- ple of classical antiquity and those of the European Renaissance (and after) have ever entertained. It was a means for organizing the visible world itself into a geometric composition. For Alberti. becoming part of our material premise systems as well as part of the self-interpretation of what vision ought to be. “the grid-formed velo was not merely a device for transferring a scale drawing. or veil. with the viewer standing centrally before it. But structuring of space by the visualization of mathematical lines on a sphere was itself extended to another practical device for structuring perception and for making the “scale recapitulation of images even more assured. Edgerton comments: From the scientific standpoint. structured on evenly spaced grid coordinates. (6) Robert Romanyshyn. however. Further.’ This is not to say. geographical and perceptual space were also shaped by the extension of the eye by Alberti’s use of a Guckkasten. writing in his disturbing and brilliant work. which has now also been ascribed to Vermeer in his practice of painting (see Steadman 2001). a reticulated net of colored strings that was placed in front of objects to be painted “so that the parts of the things seen could be properly proportioned in a smaller picture” (Edgerton 1975.

(216. and finally register the breakdown of the body as anatomical object and the breakthrough of another bodily reality. consequences for later experience. and philosophical commitments. universal. a wire grid. aesthetic. which hang together by ‘hidden affinities. that the development of the camera. recon- struct the geometric landscape of linear perspective vision as a space of time. however.’ Polanyi gives us a general interpretive handle on them and pin- points just what is involved on the ‘micro’ level. objective. Edgerton 1975. reintroduce a sense of ver- tical depth or levels into the horizontal space of depth as spatial distance. Real space was projected as ideal. The parry and thrust in their discussions. with the intermix- ing of historical. Alberti’s wire grid. see further Schapiro 1997) We saw that it has been argued by many others.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 158 158 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense was involved in ‘turning’ perception away from this embodied form of vision to another. was already given in seemingly disconnected inventions. that is. and the development of a picture ‘frame’ are all both mater- ial and semiotic factors in the development of the world project of ‘enframing’—das Gestell—delineated. The canvases of these painters betray an end to the eye of distant vision. These themes have been studied extensively and in experiential detail in a vast literature almost too well known even to ges- ture toward. though not necessarily ruinous. I will cite four. combined with the doctrine of ‘true’ perspective. He writes with regard to impressionism: Of the many ways in which Impressionism indicates the break- down of a cultural-psychological dream of infinite distance and the breakthrough of another dream. a tool for making icons of perception. by the Heidegger- ian tradition. (See. of dream. Elkins 1994. with reference to science in partic- ular (which is usually blamed for intellectual reasons). . a pinhole lens. White 1987. the Cartesian-Galilean-Newtonian corpus.) But I think that the modern shift in method and in the conception of knowing that has been pinpointed by many histori- ans with reliance upon primarily philosophical and scientific materials. though in different contexts. geometrizing. and of imagery. led to a particular ide- ology of what ‘real’ space was and had to be. reveal the vast range of issues at stake. Damisch 1994. Glass. which was monocular and unmoving. has had ominous. Euclidian. which was first designed as a plaything and then as an aid for painters.

and its extensions in script and print. its reduction to ‘mere’ functions. we can see that the structures of embodiment relations used to explicate probes and canes. Analyses of it from this point of view usually limit themselves to the ‘instrumentalization’ of language in the technical era. becoming in the process transparent. “Sense-Giving and Sense- Reading” (in Polanyi 1969a. although both Ernst Kapp and Karl Bühler (in his organon- model of language) saw it as belonging as much to homo faber as to homo symbolicus. is by reason of its flexibility and reflexive structures the most distinctive of all exoso- matic organs. “Politics and the English Language. But. Bourdieu (1991). ‘stressful’—reality in its own right. subsidiarily or nonfocally aware of language’s material—phonic. to use the more powerful Polanyian categorial scheme. that when we learn to speak.” and the massive reflections by Foucault. one of the keys to the thorny and incredibly disputed topic of what has come to be known as ‘linguistic relativity. to repeat. Language. David Abrams (1996) has attempted to make a deep connection between our experience of nature and the rise of various forms of the phonetic alphabet. According to him these scripts rendered ‘the breath’ . but the attendant variations in the two cen- trally intended ‘primary foci’ have rather serious and different implica- tions for how we understand language to attach to the world and for the primary ‘modes’—modi—in which the world is ‘presenced. the material reality of the linguistic tools ‘recedes’ in favor of their commu- nicative and semantic function.’ Polanyi pointed out in his pivotal essay. which defines what can ‘come to presence’ or be effected in the meaning-field.’ For Polanyi they are the objects of a subsidiarily embodied focal awareness and are analogous to figures grasped as emerging out of a ground. to topics treated at length in Part One. rhythmic.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 159 Technics and the Bias of Perception 159 To return briefly. if we look closely enough. Not only is the echo focus—Peirce’s and Dewey’s ‘quali- tative feel’ of a sign-configuration—obviously auditory in spoken speech and visual in written speech. apply also to language with a vengeance and perhaps even hold. but in a different context. as in Anton Zijderveld’s book On Clichés (1979) or George Orwell’s earlier and now classic essay. itself rarely discussed specifically as a form of technics. Yet by reason of what Ihde called their ‘echo focus’ we are always. 181–207). however. and Habermas on the enabling and constraining matrices of communicative action. It is. and in his chapter on ‘articulation’ in his masterwork Personal Knowledge. as seen in Chapter 1. especially as assimilated to Polanyi’s categorial framework.

visible letters of the alphabet” (262).” Lan- guage. mental dimension originally opened by the alphabet—the ability to interact with our own signs in utter abstraction from our earthly surroundings—has today blossomed into a vast cognitive realm. clicking on the computer and slipping into cyberspace in order to network with other bodiless minds.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 160 160 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense visible and began the fateful separation of the embodied. Abrams sees grave consequences in our embodiment in such an exosomatic organ: The apparently autonomous. Yet our organic attunement to the local earth is thwarted by our ever- increasing intercourse with our own signs. exchanging infor- mation about gene sequences and military coups. this year. The “rational intellect so prized in the West. Human persons . composing presentations for the next board meeting while we sip our coffee or cappuccino. Transfixed by our tech- nologies. pondering the latest scenario for the origin of the universe as we absently fork food into our mouths. or at least the claim. . . (265–66) The argument. Our bodily rhythms. a horizonless expanse of virtual inter- actions and encounters. we do not notice that the chorus of frogs by the nearby stream has dwindled. Our reflective intellects inhabit a global field of information. our moods. which highlight a specifically ‘ecological’ dimension to our themes. His fundamental idea. can be “shown to rely upon the external. sound-suffused meaning-making organism from nature and its voices. we short-circuit the sensorial reciprocity between our .’ mental phenomena upon certain easily overlooked or taken-for-granted aspects of the surrounding. cycles of creativity and stillness. and that the song sparrows no longer return to the trees. are shaped by the places they inhabit. ‘conferencing’ to solve global environmental problems while oblivious to the moon rising above the rooftops. both individually and collectively. on his account. goes even deeper. paralleling the one I have been proposing. sensuous world. He formulates his central thesis and conclusion in the following passages. to a solitary voice. is “the subtle dependence of various ‘interior. Our nervous system synapsed to the terminal. sus- tained by the gestures and sounds of the animate landscape” (261).” he contends. and even our thoughts are readily engaged and influenced by the shifting patterns in the land. is taken as a “profoundly bodily phenomenon.

writing language back into the land. with all of its potency. earthly intelligence of our words. if such they be. Admitting that “the written word carries a pivotal magic. across Australia—defining states and provinces. carefully. Simon Schama (1995). and Edward Casey (1993. extends its dominion by drawing a grid of straight lines and right angles across the body of a continent—across North America. It enters into the very structures of per- ception. there can be no question of simply aban- doning literacy. 1993). E. we could so remain with them that they substitute for perception rather than extend and compensate for its lability and fleetingness. a world of textures. is that of taking up the written word. rather. and sounds other than those that we have engineered. Our craft is that of releasing the budded.” he wants to guard us from its consuming us independently of the very things it should be leading us toward. counties and countries with scant regard for the oral peoples that already live there. across Africa. Abrams looks forward to “a multiplicity of tech- nologically sophisticated. vernacular cultures tuned to the structure and . Walter (1988). (Abrams 1996. The alphabetized intellect stakes its claim to the earth by stak- ing it down. to grasp his central point: embodiment in alphabetic writ- ing is not an indifferent process. and the senses—once the crucial site of our engage- ment with the wild and animate earth—become mere adjuncts of an isolate and abstract mind bent on overcoming an organic real- ity that now seems disturbingly aloof and arbitrary. 273) No semiotic Luddite. 1997) have so fruit- fully and engagingly shown. We do not have to accept the more extreme parts of Abrams’s analysis. of turning away from all writing. as the classic works of Yi-fu Tuan (1977. Our task. V. 267) The “life of the land” becomes embodied in our perceptual systems and in our memories. (1996. free- ing them to respond to the speech of the things themselves—to the green uttering-forth of leaves from the spring branches.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 161 Technics and the Bias of Perception 161 breathing bodies and the bodily terrain. Caught up in the play of alphabetic signs. tastes. and patiently. Human awareness folds in upon itself. according to a calculative logic utterly oblivious to the life of the land. Abrams writes: For those of us who care for an earth not encompassed by machines.

” so Ong. as teaching us a peculiar type of logic. Ong writes: Philosophy and all the sciences and ‘arts’ (analytic studies of pro- cedures. Abrams shows “that all discourse. The perception of language must be wed- ded to the language of perception. I sub- mit.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 162 162 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense pulse of particular places” (272). I noted. Logic itself emerges from the technology of writ- ing. It also avoids the extremes of Jacques Derrida’s ‘grammatologically’ inspired critique of Western thought about and relation to language. This work stems from McLuhan’s tradition. which is to say they are produced not by the unaided human mind but by the mind making use of a technology that has been deeply interiorized. and hence remains bound. incorporated into mental processes themselves. a theme dear. of what I am referring to. it is clear that . Here is a challenge to think in a new way about the ‘ecological’ consequences of semiotic embodiment. is implicitly sensorial and bodily. consider the following text from Walter Ong’s Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (1982). to a world that is never exclusively human” (287 n. (172) Just as Walter Benjamin could speak of the camera’s teaching us “uncon- scious optics. should be seen as a central part of a history of our multidimensional semiotic embodiment. 36). such as Aristotle’s Art of Rhetoric) depend for their exis- tence on writing. it seems. Whatever we want to make of Ong’s notion that philosophy is itself some sort of technological product. also from the domain of language. and by extension print. The mind interacts with the material world around it more profoundly and creatively than has hitherto been thought. preliterate world was troubled by ‘sounds’ but the modern world by ‘thoughts. As a further illustration. should be reflectively aware of itself as a technological product—which is to say a special kind of very human product. Philosophy. His funda- mental reliance on Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of the signifying body is fully consonant with my reliance on Polanyi’s equally insightful elaboration of a tacit logic of consciousness. like the sensing body.’ could think of script. This long and complicated story. basing himself on Harold Innis’s comment that the ancient. even written discourse such as this. Dis- tancing himself from the logocentrism of central strands of philosophy. though it is rather more sober and balanced. to Jacques Der- rida and those influenced by him.

While both may ultimately be ‘dialogical.’ both paradoxically and paradigmatically present in Plato. . tacitly. a theorist of the history of vision and its embod- ied forms. appropriately modified. maybe it is not just a matter of a logic supervening upon writing. What Peirce called the ‘material quality’ of a sign and James Bunn its ‘dimensionality’ is intrinsic to its semiotic power and scope.’ they exemplify dialogue and argu- ment in quite different ways. Perhaps there is also a related difference between the philosophical form of the essay and that of the treatise. and nonexplicitly apper- ceived qualities of language.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 163 Technics and the Bias of Perception 163 ‘spoken’ philosophy and ‘written’ philosophy obey two rather different ‘logics. In a funny way words and their necessary linear syntactic order forbid us to describe objects and compel us to use very poor and inadequate lists of theoretical ingredients in the manner exemplified more con- cretely by the ordinary cook book recipes. William Ivins. . describes in effect the dual operation and structure of ‘technical’ embod- iment per se as a form of meaning-making. These qualities are present independently of the intentional sense given language by the speaker or writer. This is a point borne out in Valéry’s definition of poetry as “hesitation between sound and sense. .” Such a characterization. 226–53). perhaps a bit incautiously but nevertheless making a point well taken. has noted. . 63) Here we have not just an internalized technology of writing but the key to thematizing more generally the effects of the internalization of the material structures of any expressive medium as such. Fur- ther. But this is an issue for a rhetorical his- tory of philosophy. Rudolf Arnheim has also pointed out the specifically ‘semantic’ import of the prethematically. but also a matter of the attempted embedding of a plurality of rhetorical forms in writing that must be attended to. (Ivins [1953] 1969. that in our linguistic apprehension of the world the very linear order in which words have to be used results in a syntactical time order analysis of qualities that actually are simulta- neous and so intermingled and interrelated that no quality can be removed from one of the bundles of qualities we call objects with- out changing both it and all the other qualities. I would like to note that in the chapter “Words in Their Place” in his profound book Visual Thinking (1969. Foregrounding another aspect of the fateful constraints of language as a probe.

processes. as all-pervasive as our embodiment in language itself. .’ even if they are materially embodied sign sys- tems. This process. and each [technology] draws a magic circle round the people to which it belongs. One of Wilhelm von Humboldt’s paradigmatic texts on language could be appropriately applied to the problem and task at hand by substituting the word ‘technology’ wherever the word ‘language’ appears: “Man lives with his objects chiefly—in fact.’ in Harold Innis’s formulation of his own guiding question. translation modified). Here is the key to reading Mumford’s great 1934 work and its analysis of the material underpinning of technics. V. and containers. a circle from which there is no escape save by stepping out of it into another” (1972. occurs beyond the conscious and explicit control of the perceiver and is. Gordon Childe’s discussion of the nineteen pivots of human progress is still challenging when one thinks of the ‘perceptual spaces. Exosomatic organs. opened up by them (Childe 1951. in effect. and his schematization of the great ‘primary inventions’ and their ‘secondary’ offspring remain valid. I have tried to show. one may say exclusively—as [technology] presents them to him. By the same process whereby he spins [technology] out of his own being. he ensnares himself in it. their own trajectories. 180–88).5 The ‘bias of perception. as extensions of our bodies. His discussions of wood and glass are exquisite. have their own log- ics. is based on the universal structure of indwelling. in the capacity of the human subject to subordinate and to live in and through a set of subsidiarily intended particulars in order to achieve coherent entities or wholes.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 164 164 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense 4.’ in the sense I have been using this notion. but actually ‘praxical. I have only offered a heuristic device and some hints regarding the types of considerations one has to undertake to handle the vast problem of the utter inescapability of diverse impacts of technology upon lived 5. Of special importance is his delineation of the different ‘perceptual logics’ of materials. and we become so fused with them that we cannot avoid being subject to their operational conditions. or due to a false ideology. 39. Conclusion: Toward a Normative Dimension One of the implications of the preceding analyses is that the roots of mod- ern ‘technologically’ induced problems are not exclusively and perhaps not even primarily theoretical.’ I have tried to show how certain problems and issues are best clarified by pinpointing choices dealing with a material gearing into the world with ‘instruments. since his feelings and acting depend upon his perception. which he took from his teacher James Ten Broeke.’ the reason ‘why we attend to the things to which we attend.

in specific cases. throws a distinctive ‘normative’ light on this surface and on its depths. ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for us—a job that always appeals to some latent model—there is the analytical task of determining just what is happening to us and how it happens.Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 165 Technics and the Bias of Perception 165 structures. Pragmatist aesthetics. aesthetic. These particulars make up so many ‘intentional vector fields’—affective. Prior to the critical task of judging whether the transformations of the intentional arc are. praxical—within which we find ourselves. It is further confirmed by approaches that also extend ‘aes- thetic rationality’ to the whole perceived world. They all indicate the perilous nature of the tacit appropriation of subsidiary particulars. kinesthetic. . somatic. I have tried to show how certain ele- ments from one cognitional model can contribute to this project. Whether we are in fact enriched or diminished is best seen from a reconfigured ‘aesthetic’ point of view that does not glorify ‘art’ but extends the scope of the aesthetic over the whole surface of the perceived world. exemplified par excellence in Dewey’s Art as Experience. Each of the examples and problem texts I have adduced points in a certain direction. To this dimension of the ‘senses of technics’ we now turn. perceptual.

Innis Chapter 4 9/24/02 9:56 PM Page 166 .

with their breadth of scope and sensitive and humane tone.1 Dewey 1. Elements of a Pragmatist Aesthetics John Dewey’s pragmatist aesthetic theory. Exemplifications and concretions of Dewey’s ‘aesthetic’ view of the world of experience can be found in John McDermott’s two indispensable collections of essays (1976. My goal is not to try to duplicate his induplicable contributions. . developed most extensively but by no means exclusively in his seminal and percipient Art as Experi- ence.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 167 5 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 1. but to add some other voices to his discussion as confirmation that Deweyan concerns and sight lines are shared by many others and hence should be brought to the table. contains a rich set of analytical and critical tools for a specifically ‘aesthetic’ critique of technology and of the experiential consequences of our embodiment in systems of tools. implements. and materials. 1986).

seen from the perspective of his emerging philosophy of organism (Whitehead 1925).’ can be found in Briggs 1979. In England alone. the first century to undergo the traumatic shifts and upheavals attendant upon the ingression of large-scale technology into the social order as a whole. 262–83). Nevertheless. ranging from the widely divergent orientations and sensibilities of Marxist theo- ries to the nuanced and historically urbane investigations of Lewis Mum- ford. the first country to enucle- ate and to encounter both the principles and the effects of systematic technology. and Morris. Dewey’s approach. pushes meaning-making down to the deepest somatic and perceptual levels (Shusterman 2000. had produced a long string of thinkers. especially Wordsworth and Shelley. An extremely useful introduction to the concrete character of this process. with its configuration of categories and their rela- tive weightings. The nineteenth century. Ruskin. appropri- ately expanded and supported. continues. the landscape painters. it also offers us a model that by reason of its proper focus brings to light impor- tant philosophical principles for a pragmatist understanding of technol- ogy’s bearing. Dewey’s philosophical aesthetics offers us not only a peculiarly clear and heuristi- cally fertile model of an aesthetic theory rooted in experience. Dewey’s aesthetic ‘take’ on technology cannot supplant them. at least directly intersected with the problems and issues raised by the rise of industrial technology as perhaps the shaping factor in the modern world. As a 2. and in places goes beyond the mas- terworks of the aesthetically oriented critiques of technology. Admittedly. . parallels.2 White- head has given us a classic analysis of parts of this story. David Hall (1973. fully conscious of its technological dimensions. 104. a movement from ‘iron bridge’ to ‘crystal palace. and artists who wrestled with technology’s impact upon the lived structures of experi- ence and upon the primary life-world in which human beings carried out their day-to-day lives. in all its dimen- sions. such social critics as Carlyle. A pragmatist aesthetics. upon the field of experience as such. poets. the Romantic poets. if not principally motivated by. 217–23) has applied Whitehead’s mature categorial scheme to the project of the ‘civilization of experience’ quite generally. Constable holding primacy of place—I am naming only paradigmatic figures—registered in their different forms the disruptions of sensibility and consciousness induced by the great tidal wave of technology. as an experientially grounded form of meaning-making.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 168 168 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense was not the first to construct an aesthetic theory that. 171–80. He is one voice in a large conversation.

is an aesthetic. Aesthetic Analysis. . 162). and “the human process is aes- thetic in so far as it is outlined against the beckoning outwardness of the external world” (158). i. but rather neglected. for example. perception. who come from very different intellectual traditions. does harm to no one.e. As Prall put it in another work. . . not merely intellectual or political. continuous and various projection. technological embodiment. In his Stones of Rimini. 5). which Dewey confirms. The flux of life passes into objective forms that manifest. issue. “Thus the aesthetic realm. The American philosopher David Prall. and Value as Social Facts. in their production. “A reasonable order of living and of society would bend its energies toward making the surface of its own practical active world satisfactory to the perception that must in any case dwell on it for most of its waking hours. Art itself. David Prall. and materials. This position parallels that of Prague School semiotician Jan Mukařovský. the surface of the experienced world. which we have explored with Polanyi’s descriptive categories in the previous chapter. 285). is that “an unabashed aesthetic control . an English writer and critic of wide intellectual interests. and “if we wish to mark ourselves off as human and not merely natural. “projection . is for Stokes a “living emblem” of personal and corporate emotion. Stokes. norm. 41). Dewey can profitably be seen as speaking to the types of issues raised by such diverse thinkers as Adrian Stokes. the realm of aesthetic function.. what Stokes called an “emblematic tension” ([1932] 1978c. “the whole panorama presented to us through our senses. and value. For Stokes. Aesthetic Judgment. . The rational control of life’s surfaces. is the field of the aesthetic” (1936. is the distinguishing characteristic of man” ([1947] 1978b. raises also normative con- cerns at the most fundamental levels of the structures of experiencing. has a passage bearing directly upon this issue. 44). [It] attaches a most noble imaginative logic to sensation” ([1947] 1978b.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 169 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 169 result. in his classic. society would be living in a more rationally controlled environment” (1929. it is as aesthetic beings that we are best characterized” (31). and Jan Mukařovský. The upshot of Stokes’s analysis quite generally. as he put it in another book. wrote: “Still. If the forms of human relations and the interactions of individuals also partook of such grace and satisfactoriness to the discriminating view. as the pro- ductive process par excellence. . Norm. after an extensive meditation on the nature of the ‘expressive’ power of stone. who wrote in his Aesthetic Function. 172). . however. the question remains: how to interpret the modern environment and condition as the rationalized projection of ourselves” ([1934] 1978d.

Paralleling Hans-Georg Gadamer’s (1975.3 It is related to them. All citations from Dewey. 1–53) later hermeneutics-based critique of a separate ‘aesthetic dimen- sion. 1986. and is an important and many-sided agent of life practice” (1936. This polarity—between everydayness and idealization—runs throughout Dewey’s whole discussion. This process of idealization itself parallels the for- malist and structuralist procedures of ‘making strange. Normal processes of living are thematized by Dewey under the rubric of ‘transac- tion’ or ‘interaction’ between an organism and a field or matrix in which it is found.’ systematized with relation to other semiotic functions in Roman Jakobson’s ‘poetic func- tion’ (see Jakobson. 5–150. 2 and 3). he says in a striking image.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 170 170 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense is broadly distributed over the entire area of human affairs. Waugh. I will try to show. What he calls the ‘live creature’ in the early chapters of Art as Experience enters into a mutually defining set of relations with its envi- ronment. The light.’ Dewey at the same time thinks of aesthetic production and percep- tion as an idealization or foregrounding of qualities found in common experience (AE. approximately. speaking of “the barbaric country of the modern world” ([1947] 1978b. still lacks interpretation” (167). giving it its specific dialectical tension. 16). 96). 163)—what Lewis Mumford had called “the iron fare of industrialism” ([1934] 1963. if not identical to. chaps. They enable us to frame the issue of the ‘aesthetic rationality’ of our technologically produced occasions of experience in a fresh way. 205)—was of the opinion that “the spiritual import of the external world. in so far as it is qualified by the industrial revolution. unless otherwise noted. in much the way a mountain grows out of a plain (9). and Monville-Burston 1990. both biological and cultural (see Dewey [1938] 1986. Other citations will follow the usual format. This transaction or interaction—which for Dewey are technical terms with the same content. as intentionality or being-in- 3. are from the 1987 critical edition of his Art as Experience and will be abbreviated when necessary as AE in the text. 69–79). Stokes. While certainly not true as it stands—for we now have a vast literature—this claim still forces us to see whether we can cast some new light on this phenomenon. “normal processes of living” (AE. . 17). comes from Dewey’s pragmatist aesthetics and from supple- mentary conceptual tools from some rather ‘offbeat’ thinkers who stand outside the normal range of sources cited by philosophers when this topic is discussed. The cardinal thesis of Dewey’s pragmatist approach to aesthetic expe- rience specifically as aesthetic experience is that it is continuous with.

for there is an “inherent tendency of sense to expand” (129). one of the principal demands of a sentient being. Dewey’s model of experience. The biologi- cal organism. intellectual—which propels the organism through a constant set of transitions. which is Dewey’s pragmatist analogue to the temporality . Dewey writes in Art as Experience in full anti-Cartesian voice. This is particularly marked in the case of sense. It is entwined in a dialectic of need and demand vis-à-vis the environment. as Dewey himself does in the course of his various analyses. this ‘expansiveness’ can bias perception when a sense undergoes embodiment in a medium or instru- ment. is the event-ful ‘outcome’ of the linkage. 376. are revealed. The condi- tions of aesthetic experience grow out of these prior general conditions. as he himself noted—have technical significance. This model is already present in Dewey’s pathbreaking 1896 article “The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology” (in Hickman and Alexander 1998. It is not something that is ‘caused’ by it. nor is it contained within or carried by the organism as its ‘vehicle’ (see Johnson 1987. This dialectic of need and demand generates tension. not a transparency” (251).Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 171 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 171 the-world for the phenomenological tradition—is the ‘linkage’ of the organism to its surrounding world. Lakoff and Johnson 1999. When these conditions are brought to bear upon the production and perception of technological artifacts. ‘Experience. whose resolution in equilibrium is always tem- porary. 1–3) and Alexander 1987. which permeates not just Art as Experi- ence but all his work.’ one of the most loaded words in Dewey’s repertoire. sensory. the phase charac- ter of experience. rooted in Dewey’s dis- tinctive development of pragmatist insights. indispensable components of an aesthetic critique of technology. As we saw in the previous chapter. is a “force. which is welcomed as a “response of harmonious feeling” (20). involves the philosophical exploitation of an extended set of biological considerations that—while on the surface seem- ingly commonplace. 380–81). 217). The movement through experience involves “adaptation through expansion” (20). Equilibrium results from the attainment and recognition of order. The intertwining of organism with the world involves the expendi- ture of energy—motoric. 2: 3–10) and underlies and is developed in the chapter on the biological matrix of inquiry in his 1938 Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. a theme and form of expression with clear Whiteheadian overtones. Although the grasp of order tem- porarily integrates the organism with the environment. 341. 338. Now. which have been discussed clearly and with nuance in Jackson 1998 (chaps. for Dewey there are “general condi- tions without which an experience is not possible” (AE.

. Discord for Dewey is first revealed affectively or emotionally—the first signs. 2 and 4).4 Discord leads to ‘reflection. understood with James and Peirce as an emergent func- tion. mark off units in the con- tinuous flow of affect-laden experiencing. . Dewey points out that in the first stage of the interaction of the live creature with its environment. and on the other hand manifests and reveals the way in which the self is inwardly affected. consciousness is intermittent. but not thematically. of an impending or actual break in the ‘linkage. Paul Ricoeur writes in his Fallible Man (1965). an object—or any experiential unit—is only the semistable ‘focal culmination’ of the spiraling interactive circuit. with the further development of ‘consciousness. “action. chaps. feeling. and meaning are one” (AE. As Arnold Gehlen has charted in lugubrious detail in his Man in the Age of Technology (1980. “the sense of which haunts life like the sense of being founded on a rock” (23). “an intention and an affection coincide in the same experi- ence” (127). 22). and redisposi- tion.” So. a series of flashes of different intensities” (230). à la Locke and Hume and the whole sensationalist tradition (see Innis 1994b. .’ we encounter incipient thematization of the natural relations of experience. But it is a very strange intentionality which on the one hand designates qualities felt on things. on persons. experience on Dewey’s Peirce-derived view is permeated with qualities that operatively.’ which leads to desire for restoration of harmony. 1) cites a passage from his Experience and Nature (1925) that shows how complicated and nuanced his position is. . esp. rooted in life praxis. that “[f]eeling is . . . impulse and action characteristic of the live creature” (31). on the world. provoking and evoking premonitions of an ultimate underlying harmony. This qualitative synthesizing is not of discrete ideas and impressions. reinstituting. . in feeling. 5. Mind is a constant luminosity. Later. but on a higher level. it is this sense that has been shattered and cast to the winds by twentieth-century events. Dewey (AE. in the mode of feeling. set up between organism and environment. This is Dewey’s formu- lation of James’s striking image of the stream of consciousness as moving like the flights and perchings of a bird. . not a substance. without doubt intentional: it is feeling of ‘something’—the lovable. the hateful. Consciousness. chaps. 3. There he distinguishes between ‘mind’ and ‘con- sciousness’: “Mind denotes a whole system of meanings as they are embodied in the workings of organic life. As Dewey put it in a telling text: 4. esp. power of selection.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 172 172 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense of consciousness. . 2. Rather. 276 n.5 On the lived level. constantly introduces discord. It ‘qualifies’ both organism and world.’ Feeling is bipolar. 8). “the union of sense. need. which is situated in the phenomenologi- cal tradition but supports in a number of ways essential Deweyan pragmatist positions. adds regulation.

(AE. there it is. and see the Crater Lake with a feeling of “Well. Thus. almost frigid sunlight behind me. 197). (1974. it is a “field” that can never be expanded out to definite margins. At the lake we stop and mingle affably with the small crowd of tourists holding cameras and children yelling. are only focal points of a here and now in a whole which stretches out indefinitely. I have no resentment at all this. You point to something as having Quality and the Quality tends to go away. 197) This background is a “bounding horizon” that moves as we move (AE. But any experience. just a feeling that it’s all unreal and that the quality of the lake is smoth- ered by the fact that it’s so pointed to. Quality is what you see out of the corner of your eyes. and the almost motionless wind. 341) For Dewey. has an indefinite total setting. Things.” just as the pictures show. “Don’t go too close!” and see cars and campers with all different license plates. It is precisely to a central feature of this phenomenon that Robert Pirsig was referring in the following passage from his Zen and the Art of Motor- cycle Maintenance. the most ordinary. We suppose that experience has the same definite limits as the things with which it is concerned. which contrasts a thematic experience of Crater Lake in Oregon as an ‘object’ and a nonfocal experience of it that both grasps and is grasped by ‘quality’ on the margins.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 173 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 173 We unconsciously carry over [a] belief in the bounded character of all objects of experience (a belief founded ultimately in the practi- cal exigencies of our dealings with things) into our conception of experience itself. which themselves “shade into that indefinite expanse beyond which imag- ination calls the universe” (198). I watch the other tourists. objects. an experience is itself first and foremost a bipolar qualita- tive affect-laden whole that is attached to and revelatory of an object . and so I look at the lake below but feel the peculiar quality from the chill. This is the qualitative ‘background’ which is defined and made definitely conscious in particular objects and specified properties and qualities. “about every explicit and focal object there is a recession into the implicit which is not intellectually grasped” (198) but which functions as a frame qualitatively defined and revealed. all of whom seem to have out-of-place looks too.

Meaning arises when the funded structures . In the limiting case. which has been assimilated to and embodied in the organism in the form of habits. it presses forward” (24). Dewey’s account of the primary forms of experiencing and his critique of ‘epistemologism. Dewey writes. These rhythmically structured intervals effect in us a “heightened vitality” (25). of actio et passio. “in a world made after the pattern of ours. they result in a “complete interpenetration of self and the world of objects and events” (25). The essential function of art in all its various forms is to set up and exploit the full conditions for this interpenetration. epitomized in authentic dialogue.’ pivoting around the notion that meanings are had before they are cognized. are reminiscent of Heidegger’s antiepistemological project in Being and Time (see Guignon 1983). in all dimensions. Now. At any rate. 53). 23). art effects a synthe- sis of the three temporal ecstases by a creative fusion of elements: “The past absorbed into the present carries on.’ The normal essentially instrumental nature of everyday perception and experience fulfills. This is one of the many allusions to the type of phenomenon discussed by Gadamer under the rubric of the I-lessness of the hermeneutical experience. In adopting the past. one of the pivots of Dewey’s argument is that “the conception of conscious experience as a perceived relation between doing and undergoing enables us to understand the connection that art as pro- duction and perception and appreciation as enjoyment sustain to each other” (AE. which creates a “unity of sense and impulse” (28). This inter- penetration of self and world arises from letting the logic of the sense organs be carried to “full realization” through the organism’s participation in the structures of qualities. but with varying degrees of satisfaction and experienced harmony. perforce. the live creature gives to its experi- ence a funded character out of which the experience of meaning is derived (Dewey [1922] 1988b.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 174 174 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense domain and an environing world. ideally consonant with the biological demands of the organism. of undergoing and doing. taking the intrinsic orientation of experience along the trajectories to “focal culmination” (29). 13–62). Moreover. The linkage between the live creature and his world is characterized by a dialectic of activity and passivity. felt—relationship between what is done by the organism and what is undergone by it. moments of fulfillment punctuate experi- ence with rhythmically enjoyed intervals” (AE. This point will be important when we see what Dewey has to say about the production and perception of artifacts of the techno- logical ‘shaping arts. It results from the perceived—that is. By means of its essentially projective character. the conditions of experience.

.” it is possible to exploit the various possibilities of “an integrated complete experience” (AE. 6). once again. of arriving at the identical meaning of an aesthetic artifact. both production and perception have active and passive sides. continuity are all “instrumental to each other” (56–57). similar to Polanyi’s notion of intellectual and heuristic passions wherein intellectual dissatisfaction is exploited and cultivated for its own sake (Polanyi 1958. chap. . Dewey parallels Gadamer. do not lead to an experience but constitute one (91). chap. to focal culmination. reciprocity. to “an immediate sense of things in perception as belonging together or as jarring. ‘experiences’ come to term. (Here. “in every experi- ence there is form because there is dynamic organization. For Dewey. Dewey remarks. to experience as appreciative. “is created in the cre- ation of objects” (286). since. while opening up toward future possibilities. Nevertheless.) Now. as Dewey says. “the meaning is as inherent in imme- diate experience as is that of a flower garden” (89). In such an artifact. as reinforcing or as interfering” (see Sheriff 1994. For the art product as physical is not the art work that is experiential (see Innis 2001). Tilghman 1991). in . Dewey admits that there is no guarantee. and enjoying” (53). Much like Peirce and Wittgenstein. 62) through the creation of material objects that. Vital experience is fascinating. This is as much a description as a prescriptive challenge.” he writes. We do not pass through the artifact to something else on which it bears—semiosis in the mode of indication or representative meaning—but we dwell in it. perceiving. “The self. Experience becomes aesthetic for Dewey through the “clarified and intensified development of traits that belong to every normally complete experience” (AE. and indeed no possibility. Art will become an “escape from convention to perception” (158). cumulativeness. which only lives in the reconstructive experience of its perceivers. While “art denotes a process of doing or making” and “‘esthetic’ refers . Dewey appeals to a sense of ‘fitness’ in the aes- thetic artifact.” This is an “act of re[-]creation” comparable to that of the original producer (60). This sense of fitness is “controlling” reference to “immediately felt relations of order and fulfillment. and the perceiver is no mere passive mirror but is forced to “create his own experience. 5.” wherein anticipa- tion. drawing the live creature on in its relentless pursuit of felt harmonies. even if the experience is buried in convention.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 175 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 175 from the past encounter present immediacy and actuality. The artist embodies in himself or herself “the attitude of the perceiver while he works” (55). through embodiment in external media. 53). unlike scripts and abstract sign systems.

the smell of roasting coffee. the artifact arises through the twin processes of condensation and selection. Such unconsciously humanized intervals of day. “Packed Dirt. Such spots abound in small towns: the furtive break in the playground fence dignified into a thoroughfare. . . remind me of my childhood. as we dwell in our own body as an integrated whole. am always affected—reassured.” as Dewey sees the matter. Tuan cites a delectable passage from a John Updike short story. art bears wit- ness to. even if we are not thematically aware of it. of presiding fatherly presences. and systematically develops our innate “joy of perceiving the world” (134). This is the ‘vibrational’ foundational matrix of the ‘linkage’ between self and world. This system. the blurred path worn across a wedge of grass. Ohio Town. too humble and common to even have a name. 154). . It is a “modulation of the entire pervasive and unifying qualitative substratum” (159). David Kern. cited by Tuan [1977]. Then the passage: “Valentines in a drugstore window. Moreover. 1962). as it were. even. “And so the touch and heart make up their magpie hoard. and much of his aesthetic theory—and its application to an aesthetic critique of tech- nology—relies on his theory of rhythm. . experience upon itself to deepen and intensify its own qualities” (41). and qualitatively defined. linkage is itself only a part 6. the trough of dust underneath each swing . and the call to supper has a piercingly sweet eschatological ring. when one com- munes with dirt down among the legs. made proud—by the sight of bare earth that has been smoothed and packed firm by the passage of human feet. 142) Another example comes from Helen Santmyer’s novel Ohio Town (Columbus: Ohio State Uni- versity Press. (John Updike. before citing the Santmyer passage. as fair streets and singing towns and classic arcades” (Santmyer. sawdust on the butcher’s floor—there comes a time in middle age when even the critical mind is almost ready to admit that these are as good to have known and remembered . 145).6 Dewey argues that art organizes energies through rhythm. nostalgically pleased. cited in Tuan 1977. “is a universal scheme of existence” (AE. Tuan remarks. 16 December 1961.” New Yorker. where Updike makes a focal voice in the story say: I. 59. This organic. expresses itself in “abounding joy in intercourse with common things. 50. the anony- mous little mound of embankment polished by play and strewn with pebbles like the confetti aftermath of a wedding. Churchgoing. The earth is our playmate then. . reveals. . heedless of the calculating eyes and intelligence” (145). “Rhythm. a Traded Car.” Through thema- tizing the phases of objects and of our experience of objects. for in expressing itself—embodying itself—in artifacts the organism/self follows the ‘logic of interest’ (100) both of the external media in which it is embodying itself and of its underlying sen- sorimotor system. which embeds us in the world and hungers for expansion in the creative elaboration of sense-qualities.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 176 176 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense Polanyi’s sense. This indwelling “turns . Tuan (1977) has collected a fine set of examples of this phenomenon in his chapter “Inti- mate Experiences of Place” (136–48). a Dying Cat. . as a member of my animal species.

to the external world that is perceived as well as to the structure of the perceiving. which can also be telic. has its own intrinsic— normative—rhythms. “every clo- sure is an awakening and every awakening settles something. the idea of law is identical with the idea of harmony.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 177 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 177 of that vast “ordered variation of changes” which characterizes the uni- verse as a whole. which can or cannot be respected in any techno- logical extension. Dewey’s notion of rhythm is to be taken quite generally. something that C. as Dewey puts it. for the use of intervals is crucial in the work of art. Rhythm is found everywhere in human life and consciousness. inanimate and animate. 174). Natural science is a search for these rhythms. This state of affairs defines organization of energy” (174). so the phase structure of experience is marked not by recurring units but by recurring relationships (171) where both order and variation are operative. Variation constantly freshens existence. must be subject to intervallic punctuation that makes an experience stand out.” and so forth. Dewey can define rhythm on its most basic level as “rationality among qualities. but always within a matrix of dynamic order and ordering. “For- mulae for these rhythms constitute the canons of science” (154). where painting and natural science are shown to have gener- ated and discovered in many cases structurally isomorphic patterns. Rhythmic organization of energy not only is the goal of strictly aesthetic or artistic activity— whether active or passive—but is one of the conditions for experiencing as such on all its levels. Indeed. “esthetic rhythm is a matter of . both science and art have a quite general common interest in rhythms. In fact. as in the perceived fit- tingness of a tool to a task. Now. Just as experience. as well as its embodiment in various media. The shaping arts—and by extension the technological arts—potentiate this search for order through processes of production that lead to heightened perception wherein the artifact gives rise to “that sudden magic” (175) that generates a sense of inner revelation.” for in any case “some order is desired in the stir of existence” (AE. Inasmuch as perceiving is first and fore- most qualitatively defined. Waddington (1969) pointed out with startling clarity in his Behind Appearance. Every sense. the pulses in the flow of blood. the cycle of lunar changes. This potentiation brings moments of closure to human intercourse with the world. In the matter at hand. revelatory of an objective mood or tonality in the domain with which the self is linked. whose illustrations are to be found wherever there are “orders of different kinds of change”: “the ebb and flow of the tides. in order to be really an experience. It applies to both space and time. H.

and measure. be enacted however minutely in the body feeling it.’ perception is not to be defined apart from the objects it apprehends. 182). not natural objects given independently of human artifice. incorporates. It is through embodiment in media that the human senses—and the human body as a whole—are specialized and individualized (AE. by extension. in his Aesthetic Judg- ment. For production and perception are correlative. (1929. of technological production—so much so that “esthetic effects belong intrinsically to their medium” (201). and shapes the possibilities of the various senses. There must be not merely the sense content of sound or color or spatial form. . as for phenomenology as a whole. in the process of production. pointed out the scope and depth of rhythmic embodiment in a way eerily reminiscent of Whitehead’s notion of ‘causal efficacy.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 178 178 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense perception and therefore includes whatever is contributed by the self in the active process of perceiving” (167–68) and. and that this felt rhythm is necessarily that of nervous muscular activity itself. Prall. . rhythm. a point that is of decisive importance for Dewey’s comments on the intersection between technology and aesthetics. by extension. . but also the marking off by atten- tion of the rhythmical pattern itself.” on Dewey’s reckoning. is always ‘full. .’ If . at least in part. As produced objects. Media. Dewey clearly saw. and for full appreciation of its specific nature. are “means that are incor- porated in the outcome” of any act of expression—and. it must. Since. progressing in the given rhythmical pattern. for Dewey. has different potencies and is adapted to different ends (230). the feeling must be of this character presented to apprehension. 162). which can thus con- ceivably be apprehended by mind. art products—and technological products—set up an orga- nized and rhythmic release of perceptual energy (AE. as well as intensity. Each medium. Its rhythms are defined by the rhythms of the objects that inscribe themselves upon the field of expe- rience. not heard or seen. . within a Deweyan pragmatist position. because of the axiom of intentionality. All of which emphasizes the fact that rhythm as such is felt. a rhythm is to be felt at all. “The true artist sees and feels in . and so far as it is distinctly recognized as rhythmic character. 199). and tension. “A medium. Here the descriptive and the normative come together. consciousness. “as distinct from raw material is always a mode of language and thus of expression and communication” (291). It is embodiment in various media that extends. This process is characterized by symmetry. extensity.

The human quality of life is to be . connected with his theory of expres- sion. is the linkage of self to world. The artist is concerned with space-time. Stephen Kern (1983). this happens intentionally in deliberately pursued aesthetic perception. The principal difference between the artist and material world-builder and the physicist is that the former are thematically concerned with qualitative space-time. David Harvey (1989. While. a fact that makes the setting-up of artifacts in which our senses are. with no aesthetic intent. Dewey’s theory of embodiment. 207–326). It is the creation of consummatory experi- ences to which material objectification in all its forms is ultimately to lead and by which it is to be measured. perilous. Different systems of perceptual rhythms—visual. which initiates the intentional arc between self and world. somatic/balletic. or will be. tactile—are imposed and induced by different systems of artifacts that have their own logic. These become somatic ana- logues of the objectified perceptual form with which consciousness is entwined. as we saw in the last chapter. or indwelt space or place. is part of a network of identities leading to indefinite perceptual differentiation to the degree that con- sciousness is given over to the internal dynamics of the objective form. auditory. embodied all the more serious or. and symbol. to be sure. Just as originary impulsion. and just as the technologist. This matrix defines and informs perceptual experience. indeed his very motor dispositions. is in fundamental agreement with one of phenomenology’s key con- cepts. its happens willy-nilly in any act of experi- ence. so the transformation and transfig- uration of the impulsion through art—and through technology—leads to the systematic ‘working-up’ of the material world and media in which the trajectories of the intentional arc can be carried to completion and closure to constitute what Dewey calls a ‘consummatory experience’—as opposed to an instrumental experience. just as the physicist. in exten- sive detail.’ as the previous chapter showed us. their own ways of materially schematizing space and time. This ‘giving over. with felt directions and mutual approaches and retreatings of the differ- entiated matrix that is the work of art or the configured place or space. and Henri Lefebvre (1991) have given jaw-dropping accounts of these material and experien- tial schematizations that are fully consonant with and support. 201–323. as Dewey would put it. sign. nonexplicit process of assimilation. gesture. Every part of a work of art. leads to expression in movement.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 179 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 179 terms of his medium and the one who has learned to perceive aesthetically emulates the operation” (204) through subordinating his perception to the objective form and letting it reinforce his natural perceptual rhythms (103). a fundamentally tacit. 1996. Dewey’s pragmatist position.

pour ourselves into them. is grounded in the fact that both are shaping processes of production that give rise to artifacts. much as Walter Benjamin’s did. we can see how these organs substi- tute for.’ We embody our- selves in them. These shap- ing processes and the shaped products have their own rhythms and their own logics. One of Benjamin’s most program- matic statements. He also saw that technology itself had certain aesthetic implications. over the phenomena of material production of ‘utilities’ in the technological process?7 There is no need to extrapolate. Technology is. in fact. Campbell (1995). 2. combining instrumental and consummatory fea- tures. and problems often afflicting other formulations. the continual and progressive production of exosomatic organs by which the human body appropriates nature for its own uses and for the satisfaction of its needs. enunciated at the beginning of his “Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Once again. and Eldridge (1998) give differently weighted treatments of these other dimensions. Dewey is seen to have constructed nothing less than an aesthetic cri- tique of modern technology whose percipience and heuristic power matches. I have discussed Hickman 1990 in detail in Innis 1990. avoiding in the process dichotomies. Dewey himself has made the application. following Gehlen. His analyses oscillate between these two poles. oppositions. Hickman (1990. While I focus here on aesthetics. anticipates. Ryan (1995). When they are assembled and put into order.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 180 180 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense judged in light of how much it fosters this process. The parallel between technology and art. and even grounds earlier and later work. Dewey did not just see the possibility and necessity of an aesthetic critique of technology. whose groundlines I have just sketched. though Dewey does not put it in these terms. but his comments are strewn throughout Art as Experience and other writings.” bears directly upon Dewey’s key posi- 7. Dewey and Polanyi are in deep agreement about the ‘embod- ied logic’ of technological extensions of ourselves. which are rooted in his epistemological and political commitments. it must not be assumed that I am inadequately appreci- ating the other ‘dimensions’ of Dewey’s contribution to the analysis of technology. and extend the natural powers and sense organs of human beings as they exist in the ‘state of nature. which Dewey draws. make them essential ingredients in our lives. . Westbrook (1991). The Aesthetics of Technology What results do we obtain when we explicitly place the descriptive and normative grid of Dewey’s aesthetic theory. compensate for. 2001).

is determined not only by nature but by historical circum- stances as well” (Benjamin 1969. of course. with showing “the social transformations expressed by these changes in perception. But. perceptual side. Dewey was well aware that the distinction between objects of use and objects of beauty—as well as the frameworks for their respective production and evaluation—is social in origin. Most of Benjamin’s politico-aesthetic themes and most of his conclusions have their own parallels and deepen- ings in Dewey. Benjamin was most interested. and the expressive coexisted in inti- mate union. this union or disunion was in many cases the object of a Ruskinian “argument of the eye” (Hewison 1976). distinctive uniforms—were central factors in the decorative informing of everyday life. Although it is not possible to claim that we can reconstitute all of their work out of Dewey. Prior to the industrial mode of production. not built into the nature of things. The manner in which sense perception is organized. the argument was not conducted just on the receptive. 222). tools. many later issues raised by stu- dents of the technological biasing of perception such as Harold Innis. it is certainly possible to begin to situate it.” which he interpreted in his own idiosyncratic Marxist terms. 57–93). Technology in the strict sense deals with the production of ‘utilities’ to satisfy the prevailing system of needs. In its drive toward form and shape it was . Benjamin writes: “During long periods of history the mode of human sense perception changes with humanity’s entire mode of existence. This.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 181 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 181 tion. He would agree with the central themes and problems of Pierre Bourdieu (see Bourdieu 1984). the medium in which it is accomplished. was one of the dreams and the experienced nightmares of the great Victorian social and cultural critics. to be sure. Marshall McLuhan. The very material process of pro- duction itself was expressive. even more remarkably. connects it immediately with technological production. as well as the work of others. objects of use of all sorts—rugs. where the useful. Walter Ong. as Dewey puts it. with its predominant interest in mass consumerism and private profit understood in monetary terms. which are themselves a fusion of ‘natural’ and ‘social’ components. While. in light of his problem space. “[a]ll of the ‘shaping’ arts bend natural materials and forms of energy to serve some human desire” (AE. the decorative. which also lies at the heart of the neo-Crocean model of Luigi Pareyson’s stimulating Estetica: Teoria della formatività (1960. 41–55. Dewey’s characterization of art as pro- duction. pots. and other differently oriented theorists of the ‘media’—in a sense both cognate with and different from Dewey’s— are already present in Dewey. 234). To begin with.

Because of our bodily insertion into the world. or baskets. according to Dewey.8 8. which. it is clear that the “objects of industrial arts have form—that adapted to their special uses. as Siegfried Giedion has charted in detail in his Mechanization Takes Command (see esp. I do not think any one would suppose that the act of use is such as to be anesthetic” (266–67). 120). . 35–118. However. they so often are not in modern contexts.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 182 182 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense oriented toward effecting an expansion and integration of the producer’s powers and skills. as far as it is constituted by objects of use. a mode of production—and the products emerging from the process— falls below the organic standard defined by harmony and rhythm. 121). Modern industrial conditions have. form is liberated from limitation to a specialized end and serves also the purposes of an immediate and vital experience. the form is esthetic and not merely useful” (AE. There is no preestablished har- mony between the needs of the various senses. to be sure. are not definable in predominantly intellectual terms. the “master organ of the whole being” (223). whether they are rugs. provided the general conditions for having an experience are respected. consisted of things that are themselves contributory to a heightened consciousness of sight and touch. The “needs of the eye” (120). By their range of examples they are ideal initiations into what Erwin Strauss called the “primary world of the senses. there is nothing intrinsic to the industrial mode of production as such that blocks the expressive dimension both on the side of produc- tion and on that of perception. in Dewey’s view. . urns. which mediates to us more than any other sense “the sensuous surface of the world” (130). While not ‘philosophical’ in any ‘technical’ sense. These objects take on esthetic form. when the material is so arranged and adapted that it serves immediately the enrichment of the immediate experience of the one whose attentive perception is directed to it.” . See Ackerman 1990 and Tuan 1993. However. while aesthetic effect must be found directly in sense perception (AE. Adaptation to an end is often intellectually grasped. “If our environment. To the degree that such expressive rationality is failing. adaptation to an end— such as a comfortable and hygienically effective chair—does not neces- sarily issue into aesthetic effect. At the same time. for extremely pertinent inventories of these forms of harmony. forced apart in varying degrees these two dimensions of the pro- ductive and perceptual processes. it is ultimately the qualitative harmony between all the senses that is determinative. they are among the most pertinent confirmations of the correctness of Dewey’s pragmatist approach to lived experience.” Indeed. 258–510). “when .

It is a funnel for the total energy put forth. habits that have now penetrated to all strata of social life and to all the various dimensions of consciousness. system of production in which human emotion “repelled by the dreariness and indifference of things which a badly adjusted environment forces upon us . or . civic. splitting. is only the channel through which the total response takes place. just because a total organic resonance is deeply implicated in them. . 121–97. ear. by com- mon observation and philosophical vision. a phe- nomenon also noted by Walter Benjamin. The eye.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 183 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 183 It is not just the visual apparatus but the whole organism that interacts with the environment in all but routine action. which is marked most of all by frag- mentation. But inasmuch as “an object is perceived by a cumulative series of interactions” (223). which are now served forth in magnificent quantities by the mass-media and mass-entertainment industries (see Ewen 1988. on ‘Fordism’ and its consequences). “in normal experience. No vivid consciousness can be sustained when our habits are “formed in working on a moving belt in a speeded-up industry” (266. Colors are sumptuous and rich. The object is the organizing center brought to a focus through the integration of the var- ious qualitative vectors. esp. Some of Dewey’s most biting comments are directed at the aesthetic vulgarity of many of our modern edifices. radical syncopation of perceptual acts. the continuity of the total act of perceiving is one of the ele- ments most missing in modern life. and a symptom of deep disorder. Dewey had foreseen. and perceptual needs of the self and the objects with which the self interacts. the “continuity of the total act of perceiving must be maintained” (224). A color as seen is always qualified by implicit reactions of many organs. whether in domestic. otherwise put. motoric. Boorstin 1992. withdraws and feeds upon things of fantasy” (264). not its well- spring. or whatever. Hodge and Kress 1988). see Harvey 1989. . and even now expanded. (127) Or. The privatization of life attendant upon the industrial pur- veying of images and the ensuing vacuity of perception—its latching onto the most minimally qualitatively formed objects and products—are both responses to a felt lack of harmony between the deepest organic. as we have learned from Kern and Harvey and many others. a sensory quality is related to other qualities in such ways as to define an object” (AE. those of the sympathetic system as well as of touch. each having a varying and unequal perceptual weight. the psychic dissolution and endemic anomie that lay latent in the then predominant. Now. 129).

which space does not allow us to reproduce here. of envisioning architectural spaces in the mind and on paper. It makes people aware and take heed at different levels: at the level of having to make pragmatic decisions. and many others. Words contain and intensify feel- ing. Once achieved. 1986. This is especially so for those ‘practical artists. It can sharpen and enlarge consciousness. Perhaps one reason why animal emotions do not reach the intensity and duration of human ones is that animals have no language to hold emotions so that they can either grow or fes- ter. mind and body. . both in Dewey’s sense and in the sense developed by Robert Pirsig in his provoca- tive Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. How does it then influence human feeling and consciousness? The analogy of language throws light on the question. 216). and of committing one’s whole being.’ such as architects.” 10. Time. in words that parallel those of Lewis Mumford. I am referring to the following chapters here: “Nature.’ This lack of intelligible distribution ignores quality. 196–209). Now. Compare a representative passage from his Space and Place (1977).10 This sounds like nothing less than a critique of incipient American ‘urban sprawl’ and the emerging decay of the American inner city. 179–231.’ This is one of the most deleterious aspects of modern life for Dewey. Nostalgia.9 Architecture for him—as for Hegel. Although Le Corbusier might think that a building is a machine for 9. Dewey’s comments on architecture. Without architecture feelings about space must remain diffuse and fleeting (106–7). has the power to define and refine sensibility. which is so unworthy of the ‘fine civilization’ that we aspire to be. which could have been written by Dewey: Building is a complex activity. whose critical strictures on unimaginative boxlike structures and the disgraceful nature of civic architecture. whose thought is echoed everywhere in Dewey’s work—plays a paradigmatic role in the building of human life and is a prime source of information for our deciphering of a group’s imaginative vision of its common destiny (see Scruton 1979. Ian McHarg. Without words feeling reaches a momentary peak and quickly disappears. Dewey remarked. which I have already cited. Harries 1997). like language. whose urban sprawl is found in the devastating erection of abstractly computed and shoddily constructed ‘belt cities. whose relationship to place is mediated and defined by space as ‘property value. a phe- nomenon practically unknown in Europe. are impassioned and bitter. The built environment. too. and the City: An American Dilemma.” “Glass Without Feet: Dimensions of Urban Aesthetics. and Touch: Philosophical Dimensions of Urban Conscious- ness. that “extension sprawls and finally benumbs if it does not interact with place so as to assume intelligible distribution” (217). McDermott 1976. to the creation of a material form that captures an ideal. architectural form is an environment for man.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 184 184 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense industrial contexts (see AE index under ‘architecture’. can be supplemented by the work of Yi-Fu Tuan.” “Space. the “bustle and ado of modern life ren- der nicety of placing the feature most difficult for artists to achieve” (AE.

Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 185 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 185 living. They often come from sources too obscure to be identified in any conscious memorial way. with each putatively going its own way.” Indeed. Walter Benjamin was certain that the loss of aura characterized the work of art in the age of mechanical reproducibility. 127) that characterizes the live creature. so long as private profit. they can combine into a structure that has “visible grace” (119). “the destructiveness of war furnishes proof that society has not been mature enough to incorporate technology as its organ. to the scope of any artifact when we consider it from the point of view of its impact on the immediate quality of living. that technology has not been sufficiently developed to cope with the elemental forces of society” (Benjamin 1969. that one of the greatest strengths of . “The scope of a work of art is measured by the number and variety of elements coming from past experiences that are organically absorbed into the perception here and now. it cannot be built without thematic awareness of the “total organic resonance” (AE. to the degree that it is subject to the Deweyan conditions of ‘having an experience.’ 3. Cassirer traces these elemental forces down to their mythic roots. Form and shape and adaptation to an end do not have to fall apart. and thus they create the aura and penumbra in which the work of art swims” (128). which Benjamin pointed out in claiming that the rise of Fascism and the Futurists has shown that war is expected to “supply the artistic gratification of a sense perception that has been changed by technology. that which was due to its being “embedded in the fabric of tradition” (1969.” however. They give it its body and its suggestiveness.’ does not force a separation of form and utility. wherein the work of art lost its uniqueness. The negative aspects are found in the various dissociations of sensibility that let either a flattened or an over- inflated sensibility run amok. This scattering has both positive and negative aspects. 223). For Dewey the loss of aura is due to the leveling-out and gradual disappearance of the funded elements from past experience. 242). I think. Positive Technics It is in the characterization of the positive aspects of a “sense perception changed by technology. or a false reckoning of ‘costs. It is also these elemen- tal forces that are supposedly to be both satisfied and harmonized in and by a work of art or any artifact. It is the scattering of the number and variety of elements coming from past experience that modern industrial conditions have effected. What Dewey says about the scope of a work of art can be directly applied.

the movements of the indi- vidual body enter into all reshaping of material. among other things. in so far forth. something as it were of dancing and pantomime. In every experience we touch the world through some particular tentacle. now in a Deweyan. When these move- ments carry over in dealings with physically external matters the organic push from within of an automatic art. it comes home to us. Don lhde’s attempt. to lay a phenomenological grid over tech- nological phenomena. and help to define the ideal of technology as praxis. The craftsman isn’t ever following a single line of instruction. Each medium has its own efficacy and value. through a specialized organ” (AE.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 186 186 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense Dewey’s analysis paradoxically lies. Dewey writes: “Every work of art [likewise every tool.’ as understood by Dewey. 231–32) Read once again. poetry. the qualitative pervasive whole is carried. Except in the case of work done by machines. And it offers. context. The point of connection is in Dewey’s theory of the medium. they become. or the dance. not Polanyian. criteria for evaluating their import. besides. This idea is expanded in a pregnant passage that I want to cite in full in order to hang onto it some glosses and comparisons. which is one more reason for the subordination of technique to form. painting. arts like music. What we can say is that the products of the technological arts become fine in the degree in which they carry over into themselves something of the spontaneity of the automatic arts [that is. the two remarkable passages from Pirsig’s novel that explicate this point.’ Something of the rhythm of vital natural expres- sion. and writing stories. must go into carving. mechanically tended by an operator. (AE. machine. planning buildings. He’s making decisions as he goes along. For that reason he’ll be absorbed . For when we append some examples and conceptual supplementations to Dewey’s theoretical frame. where the focus is not on the ‘tacit dimension’ but on the ‘aesthetic dimension. or instrument—REI] has a particular medium by which. and making statues. They are worth attending to in this new context. for example. 199). ‘fine. we will see just how wide and deep his argument cuts. whose media are not separable from the body and its expressive powers]. we carry on our intercourse with it. dis- cussed in the previous chapter. This connects his affirmative theory of media and embodiment with. from a rather different point of view.

and when you see someone working on a machine who doesn’t have it. which simultaneously change the nature of the material at hand. A person without it goes right on past and strips the threads or breaks the assembly. Then there’s a range called ‘tight. the material’s being ‘right. have very little. The forces are dif- ferent for steel and for cast iron and brass and aluminum and plastics and ceramics.’ This is something that is very obvious to those who know what it is. The material and his thoughts are changing together in a pro- gression of changes until his mind’s at rest at the same time the material’s right. unless you’re working with large mechanical forces. (Pirsig 1974. Some materials. so that when you thread porcelain fitting you’re very careful not to apply great pressures. I have already noted.’ The same thought is expressed with reference to the ‘mechanic’s feel. have tremendous elasticity. . Other materials. 167) A Deweyan reader would foreground the notion of harmony. but hard to describe to those who don’t. more than rubber.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 187 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 187 and attentive to what he’s doing even though he doesn’t deliber- ately contrive this. But a person with a mechanic’s feel knows when some- thing’s tight and stops. The mechanic’s feel comes from a deep inner kinesthetic feeling for the elasticity of materials. however. the elasticity isn’t apparent. (Pirsig 1974. like ceramics. The force required to reach these three points is different for each size of nut and bolt. you tend to suffer with the machine. He isn’t following any set of written instructions because the nature of the material at hand determines his thoughts and motions. Then there’s ‘snug. With nuts and bolts you’re in the range of large mechanical forces and you should understand that within these ranges metals are elas- tic. When you take up a nut there’s a point called ‘fingertight’ where there’s contact but no takeup of elasticity.’ in which all the elasticity is taken up. 323–24) This is an extremely insightful as well as irenic interpretation of the relation of human beings and their tools. like steel. and different for lubricated bolts and for locknuts.’ in which the easy surface elasticity is taken up. His motions and his machine are in a kind of harmony. the mind’s being at rest. but in a range in which.

techniques. full of cultural import” ([1934] 1978d.” there has always existed “a ratio. Between carving and modeling. Now. consonant with Dewey’s own argument.’ originally a distinction between two approaches to visual art. Stokes claimed that ‘carving’ as a practical. What is the problem here? “These materials. tacit. intentional set toward matter was determined by an attempt to reveal “mass as final objectivity” ([1932] 1978c. the point I would like to make about this distinction. It is his contention that this has now. . bestow the widest application. in light of Dewey’s analysis. Nevertheless. and artifacts that make ‘carving values. Pirsig. 258). like a rose emerging from a bud. has delineated the ideal toward which a rightly ordered tech- nology should be heading and according to which it should be judged. . Modern scien- .” Stokes argues. . and qualitatively defined nature of technologi- cal embodiment. “have little emblem of their own” ([1934] 1978d. to gen- erate a “compact firmness” that would show the “ineradicable rooted- ness” of our lives in the “welling-up gradually” of stone (78). ‘Modeling. in the aftermath of the industrial revolution. 57). Stokes originally made the distinction to illuminate what he considered a pivotal shift in the fundamental modi of self-objectivation quite generally. . “terms on which we . praxical. throws further light on the problem of balance and the constitutive nature of the medium. specifically the gradual appearance—through scientific research.’ as Stokes is using the term. difficult or impossible to realize in practice or to apprehend in perception. continuous in its discontinuity. is. In carving. through digitalization—of materials.’ independent of their realization in any specific material substrate. has been upset through the displacement of ‘stone’ and its substitution by essentially ‘plastic’ materials.’ “Synthetic materials take the place of age-old products in which fantasy is deposited.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 188 188 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense that it could be argued that a large part of the modern industrial produc- tion process renders no longer possible such a mutual accommodation between self and tool. Adrian Stokes’s distinction between ‘modeling’ and ‘carving. as praxical intentional stances toward the world. which was made to ‘blossom’ through the builders’ activities. Stokes’s key thesis is that the whole balance between carving and mod- eling. . for its part. the form of any object is elicited from its ground by emerging from it. 188). It contains in capsule form a remarkable phenomenology of the fusion of a worker with his tools—and of the artist with his medium—and of the nonlogical. does not concern stone as such but materials. Stokes wrote. been upset. ‘indifferent’ toward the ‘quality’ of materials. They lack what Goethe called ‘significant roughness.

by manufacture. according to Stokes. is not the actual exis- tence or emergence of modeling values. molding. has been superseded. This abstraction. has been put a concern with mere plasticity and mere line.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 189 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 189 tific power of synthesis fashions a fundamentally new and plastic environ- ment. the deadly showing” (77). The aesthetic basis of Western civilization. however. but confirms Whitehead’s complaint that “the assumption of the bare valuelessness of mere matter led to a lack of rever- ence in the treatment of natural or artistic beauty” (1925. . which associates the consumption of food with the perception of hard. In its place. and a contraction of concrete appreciation” (197). a process of fashioning. but the modern attitude of ultimate perceptual indifference toward the material and the consequent loss of the “ideal of emotional externalization” ([1932] 1978c. 119) wherein things come to a stand (135). to outwardness” (76)? In the present age. in Stokes’s seemingly conservative argument. in the visual domain at least.’ Paralleling Dewey’s account of expression as the result of impulsion through experience wherein the self creates itself in the creation of objects. as is plastic or rubber-coated cloth used for children’s bibs. that is. was exemplified in ‘enhancing’ or ‘carving’ values. Stokes contends. but inhumanly to abstract is . 203). greasy surfaces. Whitehead argued—in full agreement with Dewey’s position—that the emergent value repre- sented in an aesthetic experience is “the measure of the individualisation . “For what else is civilization but a converting of formless power to organized show. (We can also say that synthetic materials as such are very poorly adapted to certain organic contexts. which certainly have their per- manent place in world-building. or at least outweighed. through a process of embodying itself in mate- rial media. consisting in a “development of particular abstractions. . both the results of what Stokes calls a process of ‘abstraction. or modeling.” for “stone architecture is prolonged but a moment by synthetic stone” (258). when taken to term in the rise of modern mathemat- ical science and its extension into the intentional orientation of industrial and science-based design.) This is not just. not only distorts the anthropologically based ‘ratio between man and his environment. 196). a trans- formation in materials but a pivotal shift in the perceptual and pragmatic intentionality structures of the technologically embodied sensorium. Stokes asks. Maintaining that there is “no groove of abstractions which is adequate for the comprehension of human life” (1925. there is “no concretion. What is novel. which.’ which Dewey is concerned to maintain and to cultivate.

was not apprehended as an ‘object’ but as an essentially orientational structure. or ‘imple- ment. our contact with it becoming prethematic. showed the tool or implement as existing ‘existen- tially’ on our side of the so-called subject-object cut or relation. is a process of concretion. zu structure of the tool was that the tool ‘receded’ in its objective reality as a thing. We saw in the preceding chapter how to think about the ‘tacit logic’ of embodiment. The experiential consequence of this um . was ‘out there. hence runs parallel to Stokes’s and Dewey’s and aims at opposing the two principal evils that block the real- ization of this goal: “the ignoration of the true relation of each organism to its environment. Only when the tool breaks down or malfunc- tions—or the material becomes recalcitrant—do we become aware of its own separate material reality wherein it emerges as a ‘mere’ object into the . There I pointed out. In the modern world. The prize at the goal is the enhancement of experience by consciousness and rationality” (1938. . Heidegger’s generative insight was that the Zeug. This is exem- plified first and foremost in the “drive toward aesthetic worth for its own sake” (119).’ upon which Dasein was relying. is the “ratio- nalization of consciousness. . . nonexplicit. the habit of ignoring the intrinsic worth of the environment which must be allowed its weight in any consideration of final ends” (1925. . as Whitehead’s analysis shows. that upon which it bore and which was the focus of the tool user’s consciousness or awareness. .Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 190 190 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense of the activity” of perceiving (200). which is really an ‘ais- thetic’ critique. . and not of ‘abstraction. a more powerful and nuanced way of thinking about the nature and scope of Heidegger’s putatively radical and fundamental distinction between presence-to-hand and readiness-to-hand as ways of relating to our envi- ronment. This is Dewey’s point exactly and is connected with the general problem of embodiment. its ontological reality consisting in its ‘being-ordered-to .’ projected away from him. Whitehead’s aesthetic critique.’ The goal of this process. 124). and . as Whitehead put it in his Modes of Thought. . diaphanous. in the Greek sense. paralleling Dewey’s ‘automatic arts’ as paradigms of the medium-form relation. . one recalls. preobjective. while its term.’ structure. an achievement that. however. in Whitehead’s framework. zu. or ‘in-order-to. 196). this is difficult to achieve.’ This um . following mainly Polanyi’s lead. We project ourselves through the tool to its term in such a fashion that the tool becomes trans- parent. For him “what is wanted is an appre- ciation of the infinite variety of vivid values achieved by the organism in its proper environment” (199).

than experiencing the object directly. 17). or an object-domain. he contends. its antecedent ‘space. putative nontechnologically embodied. to be used on metal. 162) has recog- nized this complex situation. But. McDermott. by the technological embodiment of perception. has taken the Heideggerian analysis of a Zeug and attempted to generalize it. which was .Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 191 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 191 focus of consciousness. and so forth. commenting on Bergson. 162). then. Noetically. If. we saw. by its physical reality as a filter. for example. noetically. it is clear. which is itself taken from Merleau- Ponty and is exploited to the hilt by Polanyi. which is worth citing in this context. of sense-giving. upon and echoing a key text from Polanyi. defines a different set of possible actions—a different action-space—than a two-man woodman’s saw. but experience always in terms of the world to which we are attending from our body” ([1967] 1969d. it defines a particular concrete mode of being-in-the-world and of intentionality. weight. that is. but they have a different feel. John McDermott (1976. is changed through our reliance on instruments. the world is mediated to us through a cane or a probe. Polanyi writes: “Our body is the ultimate instrument of all our external knowledge. both by the addition of certain reformed Husserlian categories and with some hints from Merleau-Ponty. had written that “the body. by its rigidity. the noetic texture of the act of perception. A hacksaw. But as long as it is functioning properly. In all our waking moments we are relying on our awareness of contacts of our body with things outside for attending to these things. an informing and selecting extension of our very being” (1976. ultimately. a rat-tailed file defines a rather different one. to use Ihde’s example. The nat- ural. whether intellectual or practical. While a hammer. straightforward noetic-noematic correlation that defines in Husserlian phenomenology the ‘intentional arc’ between subject and world—Dewey’s ‘interaction’ or ‘linkage’—is radically modified. not completely so but with a relative degree of opaqueness.’ is conditioned by the specific materiality of the cane or probe. that is. Experiencing through an instrument—through a medium—feels differently. in fact. with its various possibilities of activities and. reorganizing the bodily thrust and orientation to the projected task. Our own body is the only thing in the world which we nor- mally never experience as an object. Not only can all these do different things. material. relying. although all of them become in their own ways transparent through skillful praxis. becomes a probe. defines a particular mode of motoricity. Don Ihde. they are transparent in the way our bodies are transparent. the very texture of the act of per- ceiving an object.

Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 192 192 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense the predominant model in Husserl’s theory of perception. redefines our experience of space. 139–98). and so forth. McLuhan’s generative insight. Instruments of this sort isolate and differentiate the senses from one another. a sense can suffer an unnatural growth. the instrument does not lie on our side of the subject-object cut but on the object side. At the same time. In these latter cases. 72–123. In embodiment relations an instrumental auxiliary of perception can either magnify the powers of an unaided sense-organ or sense-power or can reduce the complex polymorphy of sense apprehension to a single mode. 1998. Face-to-face conversation makes a person present in a way radi- cally different from talking on the phone. the elec- tron microscope. revealing phenomena that are ontologically depen- dent upon the instrument for their cognitional apprehension. The example of a probe can become. While embodiment relations involve the assimila- tion of the instrument to the subject. the optical microscope and telescope. interpreted. the bubble chamber and nuclear accelerator. as happens in research in microphysics and in molecular biology. so that the instrument must be read. of course. he distinguishes between embodiment relations and hermeneutic relations. This was. 39–49. With varying degrees of emphasis in different works (see now esp. where the very ‘cognitive’ existence of the data being inves- tigated is dependent upon the instruments that constitute them as data. the object and the mediating instrument are fused together in the act of per- ception. If left to run its course unchecked by being brought into proximity with other senses and their technological embodiments. drill. saw. The phone only offers up clues. Ihde 1990. . our perception of exactly these characteristics in this modality of the object being dependent upon the tool or medium quite generally. which we have to integrate—both perceptu- ally and imaginally through memory—into the focus that is the person in absentia. size. and so forth. however. and thus increases the perceptive- ness and range of the eye. the model for a series of stud- ies involving the telephone. I also pointed out in the previous chapter that in the course of his analysis Ihde sees two rather different technologically mediated relations between perceiver and perceived. hermeneutic relations involve the assimilation of the instrument to the object. therefore. disrupting the ecological balance of the sensorium. for the richness of perceptual elements in the first case is reduced to a part of the person’s voice. A microscope or a telescope magnifies our senses. certain instruments not only magnify but transform. In fact. as in microphysics or in the use of the electron microscope. as in the transposition of feeling in the use of the probe. distance.

however. the creation of a special kind of cinematic or spectatorial con- sciousness that has followed upon the large-scale reliance upon. Dewey spoke of the reed. Panek 1998. that this visual bias derives from a very complex set of factors and not just from the use of scientific optical instruments. and drum as modifying the matter of song. Dewey’s thematization is completely compatible with and theoreti- cally just as powerful as Ihde’s attempt to understand the impact of tech- nology upon the structures of experiencing. Moreover. the production of cheap paper. is in danger of reifying visual phenomena both noet- ically and in the social world. as Whitehead saw and repeat- edly warned against. in fact. optical instruments in the modern world. The echo focus is apprehended. the development of charts and graphs for the study of motion and acceleration. the astronomical breakthroughs that made celestial mechanics the paradigm scientific discipline: such factors as these—all involving new perceptual organs or perceptual underpinnings— must be invoked to account for the historical rise of ocularity as a world- intentional project (see once again Crosby 1997. The invention of the technique of monocular perspective and the Albertian construction of a wire grid to aid in the making of pictures. pt. Ihde has noted (see 1998. string. which is subsidiarily experienced. in Polanyi’s sense. in Deweyan terms. the reduction that occurs in instrumentally mediated perception is always to a monodimen- sion. 7). too. Technologies of perception present on multiple levels new features. real novelties. the shift from oils to acrylics can make possible two qualitatively differently felt and apprehended paintings even if there is an attempt to paint exactly the ‘same thing. as a specific qualitative texture of the noetic act. I also pointed out in the previous chapter. of the piano’s role in . Crary 1991). setting up a true ‘technological bias of perception’ that in its own way is or can be creative. all instruments have an ‘echo focus’ and a ‘primary focus’ when they are incorporated into the intentional arc. which made bookkeeping and thus visual representation of abstract quantities possible.’ This is identical with Dewey’s contention that the aesthetic effect belongs essentially to the medium. new structures. and exploitation of. as does Dewey. while the primary focus lies at the center of attention. as Ihde puts it (1979. 4 passim) that modern science—perhaps perforce—has a marked optical or visual bias and. which belongs to the telos or intentional trajectory of the instru- ment. Ihde mentions. To take an example—which is not Ihde’s—from a rather different domain. the extensive work done on the camera obscura as a further aid to painting and to the development of the ideology of picturing vision.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 193 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 193 Now.

339–40).” The putative incoherence of our civilization has been produced by “new forces. perhaps cannot be.’ As Helmut Plessner and Arnold Gehlen have pointed out. of the cultural impact of print. his abil- ity to become practically everything. in fact. in a number of central cases. as I have noted.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 194 194 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense fixing our scale. the division of labor. nor do they constitute some sort of biological ‘essence. When we further combine the elements of Dewey’s work that I have passed in review and some other selected materials that I will now intro- duce. The ‘widespread disruption’ of modern civilization is the signifi- cant fact that explains what for Dewey is the central problem of modern life: the “absence of obvious organic connection of the arts with other forms of culture. The goal in technological production must be the organization of pro- duction and perception in such a way that vivid consciousness (AE.” and these forces are “so new that the attitudes belonging to them and the consequences issuing from them have not been incorporated into integral elements of experience” (AE. of the advent of print as modifying the ‘substance’ of lit- erature and the relation of ‘literary’ to ‘spoken’ language. aside from compelling an organization that did not previ- ously exist” (228). Dewey notes that “print has made for an enormous extension not merely in bulk but in qualitative variety and subtlety. and. These antecedent structures are not rigid. technology had to corre- spond to the general conditions of experience. a critique that. 266) can be sustained to the highest possible degree. and humanizing. Nothing Dewey says contravenes this thesis. A human. his own impulsions tend in the direction . As Dewey put it in a passage that reads like something from Marx’s 1844 manuscripts: Where the worker produces in different industrial conditions from those which prevail today. Indeed. such as Harold Innis. since these were rooted in basic organic structures. for it is a “reflection of dominant social institu- tions that have deeply affected both production and consumption or use” (266) that is. we have in hand essential and even novel components for a radical critique of technological praxis. The compartmentalized psychology that separates work from completeness of perceptual experi- ence must be overcome. But the foundation of his bitter and accusatory opinion of modern technology was that it led to anesthesia or to hypertrophy of the senses. man’s essence is his plasticity. is by no means exclusively negative. Dewey clearly saw in technology new possi- bilities of creating harmonies in the interaction of the live creature with his environment. in words that point forward to McLuhan and other theorists.

to some extent. form. Production of objects enjoyed in direct experience by those who possess. consisted of things that are themselves contributory to a heightened consciousness of sight and touch. as far as it is constituted by objects of use. The split is reinforced by the greater importance that now attaches to industry and to trade in the whole organization of society. although industrial design is not in itself aes- thetic. and rhythm.” Dewey continues. there are four fac- tors or planes operating. whether aesthetic or not. offers support for this contention. and production of goods is now mechanical. matter. The liberty of choice allowed to the craftsman who worked by hand has almost van- ished with the general use of the machine. This fact is probably the most important factor in the status of art in present civilization. and at the expense of quickened con- sciousness of what he is about. in a passage looking forward to the argument developed in Lewis Mumford’s Art and Technics: The mechanical stands at the pole opposite to that of the esthetic. Based on an anthropology of the senses. 344) André Leroi-Gourhan (1993). in the case of a tool—and I would also say of a production process quite generally—we can distinguish (1) the ideal mechanical function. he has pointed out in Gesture and Speech (269–399) that in the production of every artifact. (AE. has become a specialized matter apart from the general run of production. each of which must be adverted to and kept in balance: function. the capacity to produce useful commodities expressing individual values. At the same time. It seems to me absurd to suppose that preference for mechanically effective execution by means of completely smoothly running mental automatisms. writing out of a very different tradition. For example. (266–67) Not only does this passage echo Marx—without the baggage of alien- ation—but it echoes Ruskin’s great statement on the relationship between labor and art in his famous essay on the nature of Gothic in The Stones of Venice. “mass production by mechanical means has given the old separa- tion between the useful and fine a decidedly new turn.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 195 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 195 of creation of articles of use that satisfy his urge for experience as he works. And if our environment. (2) the material solutions . I do not think any one would suppose that the act of use is such as to be anesthetic. is ingrained in psychological struc- ture.

” between body-music and head-music (Ihde 1979. and lability of perceptual acts that mark the “extraordinarily labile” con- sciousness of modern man (Gehlen 1988.).’ Rhythm. abstractness. or instrumentally ori- ented or constituted. and (3) the ‘style’ that derives from the ethnic ‘figuration. practically. But in the modern world it is. in all the other forms of rhythms proper to the individual senses. For him mus- cular sensibility is the ultimate instrument of insertion into existence (309). in the ratio between the visual. Leroi-Gourhan has shown through his extensive anthropological investigations that rhythms permeate all the sense modalities. 313. It is indeed an ‘organic’ demand. auditory. We need to focus operatively. of the dynamics of perception itself and the ‘mechanisms’ that underlie it and drive it on. a physiological. Dewey claims. on the ‘ground elements’ out of which the modern figures of consciousness emerge. This. 174). or lack of opportunity. would one ever hope to get one’s scale of ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ rhythms? From an analysis. we have seen. in the greatest detail. I think. a thesis that parallels one aspect of the prim- itivization of consciousness described by Gehlen in Man in the Age of Technology. to keep these domains in some sort of dynamic equilibrium. these factors must always be kept in some equilib- rium. and a figurative. for the most part. the fourth factor. They are rooted as well. aesthetically. The modern period for him is characterized by a radical dissociation of—or attempt to dissociate—‘technique’ and ‘figura- tion. Where.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 196 196 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense that approximate to and derive from the current state of technics. 93–100). I think. whether cognitionally. to be sure. however. and in fact the ‘aesthetic’ logic of the senses has always striven to maintain this equilibrium. in his essay “From Bach to Rock. It could be argued that the radical syncopation. 309 ff. They are perhaps also rooted in a certain migration of the locus of rhythm from one part of the body to another. in “the hold of the lowest order of rhythm upon the uncultivated” (AE. rooted in move- ment. as what Prall quite generally called . translation emended) have their source in our inability. is also Dewey’s (as well as Whitehead’s and Prall’s) deepest conviction and insight. It is continued. as in Don Ihde’s distinction. and somatic domains that the major prob- lems lie. for they not only carry the rhythmic elements. but.’ breaking the cyclic unity of a threefold ‘esthetique’: a functional. This would come from a full-fledged phenomenology of the actual rhythmic intervals of everyday life as centered on their somatic base (see Young 1988). of all active behavior (Leroi-Gourhan 1993. In a total perceptual process or object. concerns in his conception the ultimate matrix.

the lines of which mirror in the visual domain its functions. time of year? What types of experiential possibilities and of experiential integrations and equilibria does such a complex offer? The visual impact is. but also the corresponding affective tones of their prehensions. with startling consequences for visual design. 215). from his Adventures of Ideas.” which make up the sensuous surface of the world. that is. a peculiar shift toward the auditory has occurred. which when at rest often makes little impression. Hagia Sophia. Roman baths. but not consistently. to a sailing ship. As he saw the matter. as opposed. has many comments on the distortions of experience attendant upon city life that contravene “natural biological rhythms” (1968. Could we not say the same thing about the rise of megalopolises such as New York and the cult of the skyscraper? What would New York (Stokes’s example is London) do to the sensorium if we removed from it the incessant movement and noise of a city that really does not respect the rhythmic structures of night and day or even. perceptually or symbolically—from modern forms of gigantism? Is it possible that the spread of technical gigantism as ideo- logical project is something new and not yet adequately studied from the experiential point of view? With respect to this Prall has argued that “the . Now. are projected outside as qualities in the world. “not only can the objects be prescribed. 155). in his book So Human an Animal. but this is due to the incredi- ble scale on which things are built. the “plastic interplay of noise and movement [that] gives some mean- ing to contemporary environment” ([1947] 1978b. in fact. citing Whitehead once again. It is. 167). especially in architecture. Coherent affective tones demand some sort of dynamic unity and inte- gration of the inner trajectories of the senses. In Whitehead’s words. “the true doctrine of sense perception is that the qualitative char- acters of affective tones inherent in the bodily functionings are trans- muted into the character of regions” (1933. in Inside Out Adrian Stokes has argued that a peculiar rela- tionship between noise and vision has arisen in the modern world. Stokes points out that it is the fusion of movement and sound that characterizes modern machinery. to be sure. And what about the cult of gigantism in building in premodern societies: Pantheon. René Dubos. and so forth? Do they differ essentially—that is.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 197 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 197 “units of sensuous content. But might this be just what has been obstructed in many cases under modern perceptual conditions? For example. they determine the “affective tones” that arise within the prehen- sion of concrete objects. This is the aesthetic experience so far as it is based on sense-perceptions” (216). overwhelming. for example.

Well. which is apprehended digitally. . but there is esthetic form only when the object having this external form fits into a larger experience” (AE. “every well-constructed object and machine has form. or at least the criteria that a viable and effective answer must satisfy. as have Yi-fu Tuan (1977. and its trans- formation into abstract designed space. 162). to concrete cases is a further intrinsically contentious task. Roger Scruton has made much of this point in his interesting and contentious Aesthetics of Architecture. and in four densely packed pages near the end of Art as Experience. 4.” he sketches the basic outlines of an answer. Walter (1988). arising from the diverse demands and constraints of practical reason in its efforts to make its world rational. in our account of the intrinsic nature of spatial forms and relations. Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space). Toward Aesthetic Rationality as Social Norm Is there any way out of the various dilemmas Dewey has presented us and any secure way toward the stabilization of the positive dimensions of our forms of embodiment in a technologically formed culture? The ele- ments of Dewey’s answer also run parallel to Mumford’s. First of all.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 198 198 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense point is simply that we cannot afford to neglect. operatively. and the material under- pinnings of the perceptual world undergo a profound change. 344). the figurative and functional fall apart. But I think it is in important ways inti- mately connected with the loss of concrete perceptual place. first of all. both personal and social. technology has become deter- . When a building becomes a ‘machine for living’ rather than a dwelling or a habitation. The size of objects as compared to the size of the human body is fundamen- tally important to their specific aesthetic character” (1929. 1993) and E. Applica- tion. a point of view determined by the size and structure of human bodies and the specific nature of their modes of sensation. and Karsten Harries (1997) has explored the topic of the ‘ethical’ function of architecture in deep detail. where do we draw the line? Have we really taken the matter of scale seriously into consideration? It is well-nigh impossible to answer such a question in the abstract. in the analog mode (as pre- sented in. for example. the matter of the human point of view. V. . in the chapter “Art and Civilization. and then—especially in America—the further transformation of this space into property value. . which is apprehended prethematically. Now.

the habits of the eye as a medium of perception are being slowly altered in being accustomed to the shapes that are typical of indus- trial products and to the objects that belong to urban as distinct from rural life. Even the objects of the natural landscape come to be ‘apperceived’ in terms of the spatial relations characteristic of objects the design of which is due to mechanical modes of production. (345) Here is another point of intersection between the analyses of Siegfried Giedion. The work of Marinetti and the Futurists. S. buildings. The trajectories of such objects and processes have. and Dewey’s work. in Dewey’s mind. not always been followed. the greensward. indicate the clear penetration of ‘machine’ forms and values into visual art. expressed in this case in the form of a statement of fact and of a hope— maybe even. fur- nishings. a demand. go against that union of form and function which are demanded by an aesthetically sensitive mechani- cal and industrial efficiency. though. as well as the perceptually shabby products of machine civilization. “There is something clean in the esthetic sense about a piece of machinery that has a logical structure that fits it for its work. and the polish of steel and copper that is essential to good performance is intrinsically pleasing in perception” (344). The running brook. in his Mechanization Takes Command. unfortunately.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 199 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 199 minative in constructing the matrix of this larger experience and in part to redefining its criteria and internal structures. are losing their place as the primary material of experience. Part at least of the change of attitude of the last score of years to ‘modernistic’ figures in painting is the result of this change. More important. the forms associated with a rural environ- ment. for instance. a theme developed with acute aesthetic sensitiveness by the renowned metallurgist C. Mumford 1952). Smith (1981). . That society’s ‘objects of desire’ have not always embodied principles of design that should inform whole perceptual systems is not surprising. but the relation between ‘design and society’ is extremely complicated and the results often unfore- seeable (see Forty 1986. objects having their own internal functional adaptations will fit in a way that yields esthetic results. The colors and planes to which the organism habit- ually responds develop new material for interest. in the last analysis. Into an experience saturated with these values. as well as many of the paintings by Léger. wares. The destruction of the natural beauties of the landscape and the rise of slums.

under the influence of modern industry.” which Dewey.” which alone will “seriously modify the content of experience into which creation of objects for use enters” (AE. 1980). Still. and since the surroundings which man has made.” The mass pro- duction of images. for example. the sight of immediate reality has become an orchid in the land of technology” (1969. The hunger of the organism for satisfaction through the eye is hardly less than its urgent impulsion for food. Or. “technology [is] the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it.” That such a hunger is not satisfied under present conditions is due to “forces at work that affect the mechanical means of production that are extraneous to the operation of machinery itself. “the equipment-free aspect of reality here has become the height of artifice. there is only too evidently a problem that is still unsolved.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 200 200 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense as Walter Benjamin saw very clearly and argued convincingly. such as Benjamin.” He calls for a “radical social alteration” that would change “the degree and kind of participation the worker has in the production and social dis- position of the wares he produces. have had effects not glimpsed by Dewey. in the words of Max Frisch (1959. But Dewey’s insistence on the determining character of the medium presents no obstacles to such an integration. “Since the organism hungers naturally for satisfaction in the material of experience. obliter- ates itself as artifice. 233). the psychic consequences of the internalization of technological schemata in con- sciousness have not been necessarily benign or conducive to forming those harmonies of ‘linkage’ between the self and its world that Dewey desired. their subjection to the material conditions of industri- alization. without mentioning Marx or socialism by name. The distinctive seductiveness of the image is that it hides its equipmental nature. afford less fulfillment and more repulsion than at any previous time. and Roland Barthes (1981). John Berger (1972. Dewey himself. 345). was in no way naive concerning the benign effects of technol- ogy. In the words of Benjamin. traces to the “economic system of production for private gain. Dewey pointedly adds: “And this modification of the nature of experience is the finally determining element in the esthetic quality of the experience of the things produced” (345–46) and will overcome the “old . as we have seen. Benjamin’s pervasion of reality by ‘the apparatus’ is exemplified most of all by the rise of optical technologies and the condi- tioning of our larger experience by freestanding images. 178). The film and the camera. Susan Sontag (1977). was an aspect of that larger field of experience which Dewey did not see and for the explication of which we have to go to other theorists.

” The way is through a revolution that affects “the imagination and emotions of man. The road to such an overcoming is through abolishing “oligarchical control from the outside of the processes and the products of work.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 201 Pragmatist Aesthetics as Critique of Technology 201 dualistic division between labor and leisure” (346) an echo. was Prall’s contention exactly. of Marx’s differently conceived—and rather confus- ing as Marx developed it—diatribe against the separation of manual from mental labor (see Sohn-Rethel 1978 and Pieper 1998).” and “the values that lead to pro- duction and intelligent enjoyment of art have to be incorporated into the system of social relationships. The goal and the criterion of a system of production must be the “esthetic quality in the experience that accompanies processes of production.” not oligarchical control for private gain. But the whole process. Indeed. those individuals are what they are in the content of their experiences because of the cultures in which they participate” (329). His work can and must be integrated. . In this way art will no longer be “the beauty parlor of civilization. a record and celebration of the life of a civilization. no doubt. must always be under the control of an overarching and uni- versal ideal.” There is. both of production and perception.” This. which is long from being filled. “nothing in the nature of machine production per se that is an insuperable obstacle in the way of workers’ consciousness of the meaning of what they do and enjoyment of the sat- isfaction of companionship and of useful work well done” (AE. For while it is produced and is enjoyed by individuals.” Such control is the “chief force in preventing the worker from having that inti- mate interest in what he does and makes that is an essential prerequisite of esthetic satisfaction. a means of promoting its development. 346). rooted in the anthropological conditions of experience poten- tiated by and exemplified in art. in fact. “esthetic experience is a manifestation. As Dewey put it in an elegant passage. and is also the ultimate judgment upon the quality of a civilization. we saw. generating in the process new objects of experience and new forms of experiencing. A truly comprehensive aesthetic critique of technology cannot be car- ried out by relying on Dewey alone. “art itself is not secure under modern conditions until the mass of men and women who do the useful work of the world have the opportunity to be free in conducting the processes of production and are richly endowed in capacity for enjoying the fruits of collective work” (346–47). unbeknownst to Dewey. This participation must be taken in the literal sense of the term: as embodiment in media by which the live creature interacts with and hence comes into contact with his environment. a high order indeed.

As we lose this sense of disclosure we are shedding that mode of functioning which is the soul” (1938. We have. with our practice of technology. The ideal of art gives us a sense of the possible. I think.” we might be able to create a technology that would contribute to effecting “in spite of all indifference and hostility of nature to human interests some congruity of nature with man. By following the lead of art through selection and organization of those “features that make any experience worth having as an experience” and that lead to “commensurate perception. A detailed confrontation of Dewey’s descriptive and normative model with present-day reality. It is the maintenance of this sense of disclosure quite generally that Dewey’s pragmatist aesthetics both asks of us and gives us the tools to accomplish. as a society. I have tried to indicate in the course of my discussion some points of intersection between Dewey and others as well as his bearing on some actual problems. with that vast constellation of other thinkers who have seen in the demands and developments of aesthetic con- sciousness a base from which to measure the interaction of man with the world through tools. 62). confirming in many ways the worst of Ruskin’s fears. “Our lives. 190).” without which life could not exist (AE. failed to keep con- stantly before our eyes Dewey’s question: “For what ideal can man hon- estly entertain save the idea of an environment in which all things conspire to the perfecting and sustaining of values occasionally and partially expe- rienced?” (AE.Innis Chapter 5 9/24/02 10:00 PM Page 202 202 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense as I have only schematically indicated. 190). and the design of our objects. that we are still in many cases on a very wrong course. instruments. even while present actuality forces us to admit that the prospects are not altogether favorable. “are passed in the experience of disclosure. would make us see. and media of all sorts.” Whitehead wrote. our organization of the workplace. .

which appeared over a six-year period from 1923 to 1929.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 203 6 Form and Technics Nature.1 These form-worlds 1. ‘Sig- nification’ is accordingly to be taken in a restricted technical sense as ‘pure’ signification. Of course. Semiosis and Technics Ernst Cassirer’s great trilogy. I am following the usage here of Ralph Manheim’s translation of Cassirer’s great trilogy.’ but I think what Cassirer has in mind is sufficiently clear from the context and hence relieves us of trying to come up with an even more confusing alternative. The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms. since this is the version that most English-language readers of this book will be consulting. . all sign-functions ‘signify. Semiotics. delineates and is based upon what he called the three ‘form-worlds’ or ‘sense-functions’ of ‘expression’ (Ausdruck). and the ‘Information Revolution’ 1. ‘represen- tation’ (Darstellung). as well as all his mature semiotic work. and ‘signification’ (Bedeutung).

are to be found in Paetzold 1993. references to the scholarly literature are kept to a minimum. Krois 1983 and 1987. 1994. but they do not take hold (greifen) of it in any material or mag- ical fashion. even though residually. Holzhey. to be sure. the image is not the imaged. Language and art for Cassirer exem- plify in clearest fashion this sense-function.3 ‘Signification’ is the stratum of sense-functions farthest Since this chapter attempts to make accessible and apply an unknown work of Cassirer and does not discuss his thought as a whole. should be consulted. meanings.’ in Cassirer’s use of the term. upon an intuitive (anschaulich) base. Both [perception and intuition] become ‘objective’ [gegenständlich] inasmuch as the energy of language succeeds in clarifying. its intended reality. something that . 3. ‘Repre- sentation. as should the collection of studies in Braun. In his Language and Myth Cassirer gave a condensed version of the thrust of the first two volumes of his trilogy. in ‘higher’ forms of religion and their distinctively ‘affective’ configurations. Note the scope and nuance of the following formulation. The word is not the thing. .2 They are continued.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 204 204 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense function as the ultimate frames or matrices of sense-giving and sense- reading. though it is clear that it must be properly situated in its scope and bearing and modes of appearing. and object are so indissolubly joined that the sign is taken to participate existentially in. at different levels of difficulty. 189). . and Orth 1988. Orth 1996 and Lofts 2000 engage Cassirer’s thought as a whole. Words and images. or have an ontological affinity with. is the sense-function where sign. and organizing the mute and undifferentiated chaos of simple subjective states of mind. Further accounts. ‘Expression. albeit in rather different ways. word-magic and mythic consciousness are prime exemplifications of this stratum or form of consciousness. and 1995 and Graeser 1994. doing the ‘work’ of representation. of being absorbed by the immediate impression and into the various needs. differentiating. which are by no means restricted to the explicit or thematic use of signs. For Cassirer.’ as Cassirer is using the term. These meanings are repeatable and recurring.’ Whereas mythical consciousness works within the dimension of ‘identity. They ‘grasp’ (begreifen) the world. and objects have moved to a higher level of ‘abstraction. A life in ‘meanings’ sup- plants the life of mere impulses. parallels to which can be found throughout the whole corpus of Cassirer’s works. Expression is the realm primarily of physiognomic and qualitatively defined meanings.’ representation introduces ‘difference. meaning. Bayer 2001 gives a commentary on Cassirer’s opus posthumum fourth volume on the metaphysics of symbolic forms. ‘articulate’ the world without being a part of it. It charts the formation of what Susanne Langer called the “magic circle” of “figurative ideas” and the emergence of a “discursive logic” limned in language.’ “The aim of repetition lies in identity—the aim of linguistic designation lies in dif- ference” (1953. is the sense-function where the relations between signs. . however. 2. The expres- sive matrix or dimension of thought is never repudiated by Cassirer.

Grundlinien einer Philosophie der Technik). These sense-functions correspond to an increasing ‘distance’ between the sign and the realities accessed through it. 269–302). with its distinctive aesthetic twist (Cassirer 1916. in Peirce’s terms. This semiotic triad generates the world-defining and socially effective ‘vortices of consciousness’ and frames the three fundamental ways a sign. gradually. through its meaning focus or. This meaning-space accesses. can never be left behind. however. which also has deep roots in the German humanist philosophical tradition. The concrete physical reality of the sign and its objects recedes. The semiotic ‘ascension’ of consciousness away from and through the concrete and intuitive toward the abstract ‘signification’ (Bedeutung) dimension is matched.” originally published in 1930. intuitive supports.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 205 Form and Technics 205 removed from normal sensory. a disappearing of its ‘material’ char- acter and ‘physical’ reality and underpinnings. so Cassirer thinks. 14–15) . Technics. on Cassirer’s account. By using his semiotic scheme. we saw in Chapter 4. and by stages. from the realm of ‘sensible signs’ to the putative ‘dis- embodiment’ that occurs in the production of ‘mindful artifacts’ and further in the production of ‘abstract’ technologies. It is exemplified in modern mathematical physics and the notation systems that make it possible (as well as the various systems of pure mathematics and symbolic logic). can relate us to ‘objects and states of affairs.’ (Cassirer 2000. by an inner movement in technics does not cling to the bare here-and-now. but which comes to be meant and understood as something identical with itself in countless life-moments and in the appropriation and use by countless different subjects. which. indeed constitutes. which rises above the multifariousness and diversity of momentary impressions. there emerges. a world of law-governed events that are defined by their relations to one another and not to our intuitional capacities. develops on multiple levels that correspond to the semiotic logic of these form-worlds. as developed in his 1877 work. By virtue of this identity of intention. “Form und Technik. Cassirer thought he could uncover the philosophical and cultural logic of the evolution of organ-projections (Ernst Kapp’s term. The movement marking the spiral of semiosis charted in Cassirer’s essay and in his other writings dealing with the cultural sciences is precisely a movement from the con- crete to the abstract. indeed. a determined ‘state. 62–139. an increasing ‘transparency’ of the sign. its interpretant.’ In a rather neglected essay. Cassirer uses his mature semiotic framework to thematize the fundamental ways in which ‘technics’ (Tech- nik) builds worlds.’ a ‘common cosmos.

by a progressive dematerialization of the body and its extensions in technics. An inner crisis is provoked by the advent of implements. of “more and more inter- mediary steps” (214). extending phase. It is in the differ- entiation of these conditions that the outward world first takes on determinate existence and articulation. This gives rise to “consciousness of the means indis- pensable for the attainment of a certain purpose” that effects knowledge of “inner” and “outer” as “links in a chain of causality. It actively projects. The progressive ‘dematerialization’ of the sign charted in Cassirer’s semi- otic phenomenology. indeed. But this consciousness. a pattern of intelligibility upon the world.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 206 206 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense from a mimetic. by . the interpolation.” This differentiation entails. as we will see with the cultivated obsessiveness of certain information technolo- gies. through an analogical. Cassirer asserts that “it is only from the intermediation of action that there results the articulation of being. The theme of tools (Werkzeuge) and implements had already been insightfully engaged by Cassirer within the context of an analysis of ‘mythic consciousness. rooted in mythic consciousness’s subjection of itself to a fundamental wish-world of magic and ritualistic acts.” The world of desire and the world of reality begin to be differentiated. comes at a price. “The one no longer intervenes directly in the other. through the intuition of the mediating object that is given in the implement [Werkzeug] there gradually develops a consciousness of medi- ated action” (1955. The result is ‘stamped forms’ of every sort.’ While ‘primitive man’ may have ascribed “an inde- pendent form of efficacy peculiar to them” to the simplest tools and even developed a veneration and kind of cult of “favored tools and implements” that is not without parallel in the ‘developed world’ of high technics. either in scale.” In a pragmatist mode. the two worlds have ceased to merge. in any project. on Cassirer’s view. or is constituted by. from chipped stone to the ‘auto- matic’ processes of modern computing systems. Technics is for Cassirer a distinctive ‘way of world- making’ and a multileveled ‘symbolic form’ in its own right. wherein every tool is to be seen as an externalization (Nachaussentreten) of the hand or other bodily organ (an insight due to Hegel and Kapp). speed. its abandonment of intuitive supports. 213). the organic limits of human being-in-the-world. to a purely abstract or ‘sym- bolic’ phase of technologies that transcend or supersede. inscribes. “The omnipotence of mere desire is ended: action is now subject to cer- tain objective conditions from which it cannot deviate. or inner form. is matched. according to Cassirer. participatory phase. but unnamed as such. nevertheless “the use of the implement as such constitutes a decisive turning point in the progress of spiritual self-consciousness.

whose strength they increase. When Cassirer goes on to distinguish between the mechanical function and the spiritual function of implements. mutually related and dependent elements” (215). he writes. as he sees it. a purely spiritual function which not only develops from the for- mer. to the instruments and apparatus of art and science. Kapp. Never does the implement serve simply for the mastery of an outside world which can be regarded as finished. which Aristotle thought of as the “organ of organs.’ which I have referred to in the two previous chapters. ideal form of this outside world. to weapons. it is necessary to avoid all isola- tion of functions. the spiritual. it is through the use of the implement that the image. saw. From these primitive implements the concept rises to the implements of the specialized trades. simply given ‘matter’. it issues rather from the mode and trend of the effect which man exerts on objects. 215). 215) It is in the context of such contentions that Cassirer has explicit recourse to the work of Kapp and to his pivotal concept of ‘organ-projection. (215) But there is a fine dialectical logic to this process.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 207 Form and Technics 207 virtue of which it is divided into separate. drill. Remarkably. in short to all the artifacts which serve any need belonging to the realm of mechani- cal technics.” was the model for “most artificial implements.” Cassirer summarizes Kapp’s argument in the following manner: Primitive hand tools—hammer. ax. knife. and hence another manifesta- tion of what the organ as such accomplishes and signifies. While we can follow the historical development of implements and their connection with “the natural articulation of the human body. Cassirer rightly reports. contended that primitive tools “are primarily an extension of the action which man exerts on things with his own organs and limbs” (1955. The paradigmatic role of the hand. to the mechanical function of the implement or tool there corresponds. but conditions it from the very first and is indissolubly cor- related with it.” the mechanisms that were “built . rather. to the machines of industry. hatchet. is created for man. and tongs—are in form and function mere continuations of the hand. (1955. The formation of this image and the articulation of its elements does not depend on mere passive sense impression or mere ‘receptivity’ of intuition. chisel.

does not think that Kapp’s lessons. while on the other hand. cited in Cassirer 1955. 216) Cassirer’s key insight into the nature of ‘tools.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 208 208 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense quite unconsciously after the organic model . of our attempts to understand ourselves on the model of what we have made. that man arrives at himself. Semiotic mediation. Such a survey of this outward field. . is that they exem- plify the universal spiritual power and need for mediation quite generally. a reflection and copy of his inwardness. . and processes. (Kapp 1877. Our artifacts and their logics become constitutive metaphors of our natures. it is so essentially and intimately related to man himself that in the creation of his hand he perceives something of his own being.’ then. which encompasses the totality of man’s instruments of culture. it becomes self-knowledge. . go together. end with this fundamental phenomenon. by a reversal of the process. Here Cassirer quotes a marvelous passage from Kapp that encapsulates the general point: [O]n the one hand every tool in the wider sense of the word is a means of increasing man’s sensory activity and as such his only possibility of passing beyond the immediate superficial perception of things. This is precisely the somatic side of the argument of Bolter’s fascinating book Turing’s Man (1984). and material media- tion. his world of ideas embodied in matter. can in turn serve. at his self-consciousness. which charts the anthro- pological significance of “defining technologies” in Western culture. as a means of explaining and understanding the human organism. Cassirer. is a self-confession of human nature. as a product of the activity of brain and hand. however. There is more to the “central and most profound significance of organ projection. through signs and sign systems. in short. Through the implements and artifacts which he builds man learns to understand the nature and structure of his own body” (Cas- sirer 1955. that is. 216). only through this knowledge” (1955. a part of himself. which he attempts to extend. . machines. 25 f. a fact which becomes evident only when we consider that here again a spiritual process runs parallel to man’s increasing knowledge of his own physical organization. . through tools. In this sense. .. and through the act of retrieving the copy from outside us and restoring it to our inwardness. 216). The formation of the outside world and the formation of self-consciousness are both mediated by the inven- tion of implements.

to proceed from this ‘possibility’ to the ‘reality. 26) Looking ‘away’ from (Absicht) the material reality of something (Bühler’s principle of abstractive relevance) is the precondition for looking ‘for- ward’ to (Voraussicht) something. In the final analysis they are nothing other than tools that we have fashioned for the solution of specific tasks and that must be continually refashioned. the conceptual grasp [Begreifen] of reality in linguistic-theoretical thought [Denken] and its material grasp [Erfassen] through the medium of effective . which must in some way be ‘anticipated’ in order to become effective in this man- ner. pro-jection toward the future. This basic feature emerges still more clearly when we turn from the practical to the theoretical sphere.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 209 Form and Technics 209 both types of mediation are equally ‘unnatural’ in the sense that they involve a differentiated movement away from ‘immediacy’ and ‘the nat- ural. parallel to the taking of something as a sign. like Peirce.’ and just as ‘open. This ‘idea’ of the future characterizes all human action. he looks to ‘possible’ needs. that is. “All spiritual mastery of reality is bound to this double act of ‘grasping’ [Fassen]. The ‘technical circle’ for humans is just as ‘closed. affirms ‘semiotic closure. then. for which he prepares the means of satisfaction in advance. The impulse does not originate only from the spur of the present but belongs also to the future. We must place something not yet existing before ourselves in ‘images’ in order. But Cassirer goes even further and affirms a kind of ‘technological’ (technical) closure. in a passage that has motivated the course of these studies. insofar as all our theoretical concepts bear within themselves an ‘instrumental’ character.’ They are “expressions of the spontaneity of the spirit” (Cassirer 1955. There exists no fundamental difference between the two. man must look beyond the sphere of immediate need. Instead of being moved immediately by an actual stimulus. whether through tools or through signs.’ as the ‘semiotic circle.’ there is no ‘outside’ to the play of signs. (2000. 217). for the mere ‘taking’ of something as a tool. involves the twin actions of Absicht and Voraussicht.’ from potency to act. The intent (Absicht) that the tool serves contains within itself a certain fore- sight (Voraus-Sicht). as Cassirer puts it.’ Cassirer writes: For in order to invent a tool as such. Consequently. Because Cassirer. In creating it he does not act from the impulse and necessity of the moment.

This centrality must be kept in mind in the following discussion.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 210 210 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense action [Wirken]. This spe- cial way is manifested in the sense of limits or constraints. the sphere of Peircean secondness. he sees the essence of humanity in activity and the production of form quite generally. even if many of the types of forms could only have been produced by a speaking and symbol-using animal (see his Frei- heit und Form). the conceptual as well as the technical process of giving-form to something [Formgebung]” ([1930] 1985a. to. historicized) and semioticized Kant- ian project. artifacts.’ away from the ‘wish. since language is the paradigm ‘information technology’ and indeed the ultimate matrix for all the other information technologies. he thinks. like the pragmatists.’ making up a com- plex relational field. 14).’ “Knowledge of the ‘I’ seems to be bound up in a very special way with the form of technical ‘doing’” (Cassirer [1930] 1985a. nota- tional and otherwise. For him humanity develops by ‘embodying’ itself—in the senses I have been developing in this book—in the twin systems of (a) thought-forms. attendant upon the turn to the ‘will. and the horizon of the ‘I’ differentiates itself from that of reality” (55). breaks in his work with all logocen- trism in spite of the centrality of language and dialogue in his philosoph- ical project. 27). but in the whole of this behavior. orient their behavior. This correlation. develop together. ‘Form’ and ‘technics. 71). it is integral to the critical and productive theory of culture that Cassirer is concerned to develop. in the whole of their bodily and animate-spiritual activities there first arises knowledge of both domains.’ Cassirer strongly affirms.’ “For human beings there does not exist from the beginning a firm representation of subject and object according to which they. . “For the intellectual tools that man has himself created are even more doubtful than his technical tools” (2000.e. not only are essentially linked but bind us in their charmed circles. For Cassirer’s Hegelianized (i. constraining ‘reality.. 52). so to say. Such an insight is deeply pragmatist in the spectrum of con- ceptual frameworks from Peirce to Mead. our very sense of self is correlative to our sense of an external. that is. carried by language and the other semiotic systems. it makes possible. Not only does the theory of language constitute “a necessary and integral fac- tor in the construction of a theory of knowledge” (Cassirer 2000. and of (b) material forms. effected by the ‘working’-up of matter and its transformation into tools. Instead. Cassirer. too. is espe- cially exemplified in the realm of technics and its sphere of ‘effective action. which are not always stable or secure but from which we cannot escape.’ The ‘I-pole’ and the ‘object-pole.

I will not go into the issue of how many symbolic forms there are. the twin actions of Absicht and Voraussicht. a point Hegel also made and that Marx exploited to the hilt. ‘as’ a tool—or ‘as’ a sign—involves.’ but I think the whole topic is best approached by looking at symbolic formations. Dewey explored this field of instrumen- talities in chapter 3 of Experience and Nature. and science. ceasing to be immersed in it. indeed to look upon the whole world poten- tially. as well as law and technics. with whom Cassirer had a prickly relationship (see Innis 1994b. There has been a lot of discussion of just what is and what is not a ‘symbolic form. into the sensorium as a whole.” which “characterizes all human knowledge. This new thought-form (Denkart) reveals the human formative power not only of ‘working up’ nature to satisfy immediate practical needs but of projecting systems of novel relations over it that are. incipiently. interlocked systems of vector- magnitudes—of relational complexes—that makes up the inner spaces and historical trajectories of the symbolic form of technics quite generally. language.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 211 Form and Technics 211 containers. pro-jection into the future. not essential. It introduces an ‘as’ structure. art. In a passage that reminds one of Heidegger. What is essential is the notion that symbolic formations are embodied in “the specific media that man has created in . This new way is in terms of an overarching instrumentality. But just as the complex system of language is caught in the dialectic of ‘proximity and distance. is the precondition for looking ‘forward’ to something. in my opinion.” Cassirer gives. and controlled processes of all sorts. The significance of the transition to the tool (Werkzeug) as mediating device resides in the fact that “the extension of effective action changes its qualitative sense [Sinn] and that it thereby creates the possibility of a new way of looking at the world” (Cassirer [1930] 1985a. They include myth. putting the emphasis on the productive aspects of semiosis as delineated by Cassirer and not breaking one’s head looking for some architecton- ically schematized ‘essence’ that is exemplified in different modalities. in different places. various listings of what are to be considered symbolic forms. Cas- sirer notes that a tool-defined object is determined as something only insofar as it is determined to something ([1930] 1985a. a point Dewey emphasized in many places (see chap. 64). 53). Any tool is grasped not as a whole composed of thing-properties (Dingbeschaffen- heiten) but as a whole composed of vector-magnitudes (Vektorgrössen). to repeat. Looking ‘away’ from the material reality of something. The actual enumeration is. The key fact for Cassirer is the “trait of mediation. This ‘turning’-of-sight-‘from’ makes possible ‘fore-’sight.’ so do the systems of tools both bring the world closer and set it at a dis- tance.4 4. To ‘take’ something. 157–61). It is precisely the elaboration of complex. a hermeneutic structure. more ‘abstract’ or even uni- versal. 4 of his Experience and Nature). as well as being distinc- tive and typical of human action.

Its goal is not the realization of happiness in this life but the realization of freedom. (I am thinking here of Bunn 1981. This constitutes the material ground of what Cassirer calls our ‘commu- nity of fate’ (Schicksalsgemeinschaft).) Accordingly.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 212 212 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense In all instances. though not neces- sarily ‘happiness. of that genuine autonomy that consists not in the technical mastery of man over nature but in man’s moral mastery over himself” (Cassirer 2000. there is simply no unmedi- ated access to ‘being’ or the ‘world. 104). Meaning or significance does not entail happiness (see Cassirer 2000.’ of labor and consumption (even of meanings and images in our ‘information age’) that marks the present-day social matrix in which technological systems operate. 90). and the play is not a ‘free’ play but a ‘bound’ play. however.’ whose objective weight and force more and more press upon the individual. a consequence of our having a ‘symbolic future. too) should be toward an ‘education’ (Bildung) of the will-to-work and the develop- ment of humanity’s deepest form-building power (Cassirer [1930] 1985a. mediated—sense-functions will ‘bias’ our access to the world.’5 order to separate himself from the world through them. 103–27). since for Cassirer. or ‘compul- sive circuit. . Such a community is (ideally) discursively constituted and oriented toward freedom. on Cassirer’s position. from the point of view of philosophical semiotics. Bound to the world through material-technical or technological systems. “Not blissful happiness but the ‘worthiness of happiness’ is what culture promises to man and what it alone can give him. each stratum of embodied—that is. 5. is putatively ‘outside’ the play of signs is accessed through signs. as I argued in Innis 1994b. This is manifested in freedom from the mere Triebwerk. which demands to be turned into a ‘community of will’ (Willensgemeinschaft). The citations could be multiplied.’ with seemingly no greatest upper bound. The inner trajectory of the technical process (and semiotic process. we are subject to their functional and semi- otic logics.’ This is for Cassirer a ‘lower’ and impossible goal in light of his modified acceptance of the ‘tragedy of culture. we are likewise subject to their functional and operative logics. From happiness exemplified in subjective gratification there is needed a movement to the open space of ethically considered possibilities. These biases are ineluctable.’ The dynamic closure effected by mediation in all its forms—semiotic and material-technical—is in fact a widening gyre of meaning-fields and function-fields that spiral ‘upward. 25). as for Peirce. and in this very separation bind himself all the closer to it” (Cassirer 2000. Even what. Bound to the world through specifically con- figured signs and sign systems. we have seen that the material features and dimensionalities of signs and tools are apprehended (not ‘focally’ but ‘sub- sidiarily.’ to use Polanyi’s terminology) and enter constitutively into the sign-object and tool-world relation.

which is “not a thing but a process” (49) and is absorbed in the present. containing elements of all the different kinds of sense experience—optical. This is the domain of a Hegelian ‘objective spirit. prior experience. The future become promise and imperative. a homogeneous space of geometrical and mathematical relations. acoustic. indeed a ‘prophetic’ future. Cassirer distinguishes (1) an organic space.’ This is the theoreti- cal idea of the future.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 213 Form and Technics 213 The ethical issues. the tripartite schema of expression. the ‘inside’ seeing itself ‘outside’ and the ‘outside’ defining and constituting what is ‘inside’ (Goethe). Time is likewise divided into three forms.’ which plays a central role in Cassirer’s thought as a whole—and also in Peirce’s. The ‘materialization’ of mind in signs and other exosomatic organs—both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’—is a veritable ‘realization’ or ‘embodiment’ of mind. to ‘survey’ it and hence construct a ‘sense’ of the past. or mediating structures. representation. which “implies a process of recognition and identifica- tion. and kinesthetic” (1944. an ideational process of a very complex sort” (50). Cassirer offers us both a semiotically derived analytical framework and elements of a normative standard by which we can attempt to ‘take the measure’ of technics. in the broad sense. (3) And there is a transcending of the intrinsic. Here arises a symbolic future. 43)—and (3) an abstract space. (2) a perceptual space. As to space. tactual. The reformed transcendental aesthetic outlined in the chap- ter “The Human World of Space and Time” in Cassirer’s Essay on Man (1944) involves differentiating—following. His semiotic theory. develops. culminating in a theory of cul- ture. are so important because technics in all forms shapes the very matrices of space and time in which we live and hence in which we both experience ourselves and select and carry out our projects.’ which allows human beings to reconstruct. whatsoever. a pragmatic space of action. though rather at a distance. “of a very complex nature. instinc- tual drive of organic life toward the future by the transforming of the immanent ‘pressingness’ of the future into an ‘ideal. transcending finite. and ‘media. and Dewey’s. It involves the construction of a general scheme of serial order. empirical life. Cassirer’s generative insight is that signs. that is. encompasses all media. through imag- inative recollection. making possible ‘sym- bolic memory. tools. since such a sense. a “prerequisite of all man’s higher cultural activities” (54). encompassing both semi- otic and material-technical systems. Royce’s.’ which are normally identified with information technologies . and signification— three spaces and times in which human culture. (2) There is the time of human memory. is exemplified in the lives and teachings of the great religious prophets. (1) There is an organic time.

This ‘making present’ involves a complex dialectical relationship between ‘proximity’ and ‘distance’ and between ‘resemblance’ and ‘convention. as Plato pointed out at philosophy’s very beginnings. with all their attendant problems of visualizability. 17).’ is defined by the superseding of ‘expressive’ and ‘intuitive’ sup- ports. the alphabet. and now computer-based technologies of both the graphical and linguistic sort—have an ‘expressive’ (or ‘phys- iognomic’) dimension. While for Cassirer ‘signification’ moves us away from the concrete intuitive-perceptual . to make something known besides themselves. They also have. the sensorium or perceptual field.’ Information technologies—writing. a qualitative ‘feel’ that defines a particular way of accessing the world. which is now chal- lenged by the new digital technologies of the image and their ability to create ‘virtual realities. figuring itself.’ At the limit their function is “reference rather than pres- ence” (Borgmann 1999. the telescope.’ It is the peculiar and paradoxical power of these signify- ing systems to effect a ‘turn’ toward the concrete and a ‘disconnect’ between a semiotic system and what it makes present. the book. The representational power of the camera—light writing itself. The paradigm cases are mathematics and mathematical physics. can and should be seen together as exemplifications of the universal spiritual power of. ‘significa- tion.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 214 214 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense in particular. This results from the ‘echo effect’ of all forms of embodiment. The telescope and the microscope shift the relationships between the first factors (proximity and distance). radio. papyrus and paper. and need for. mediation quite generally. television. in either new or potentiated ways. oils and pigments. both of themselves and of what they bear upon. a kind of substitution of external for internal memory. Writing involves. numerals. Their function is. but rather extend and strengthen. these ultimately ‘digital’ systems underlie the ‘abstract’ semiotic systems and all the information technologies built on them that generate the powers of ‘virtual realities’ and the range and scope of ‘simulation.’ The third Cassirerian sense-function.’ Pictographic writing and alpha- betic writing differ mainly in the weighting of the second factors (resem- blance and convention). a ‘representational’ dimension. the camera and photography. Their goal is pure ‘transparency. on a sensitive ground— is due. Paradoxically. within a Peircean frame. cartographical grid lines. as bearers of content. to the existential connection proper to indexicality and to its consequent ‘iconic’ fidelity. It is clear that all forms of semiotic and technical mediation participate to some degree or another in the three ‘sense-functions. But the telescope and the microscope do not first and foremost substitute for.

becomes of our sense of ‘reality’ and of ‘nature’ when we embody ourselves in ‘information technologies’? I would like to indicate. with a wealth of examples and in clear adherence to a Popperian fallibilistic ‘naturalized epistemology. return us to such a world—but the world is now the effect of the technologies and not something preexisting that is brought into view by reason of the sys- tem’s semiotic power. 127). In these books Levinson explores. then. that told pri- marily by McLuhan and Harold Innis. and others. Levinson has rightly seen that McLuhan has a fruitful notion of embodiment. upon the ultimate descriptive and normative categories for thinking about the ‘informa- tion revolution’ as an instance of embodiment in media. and Digital McLuhan (1999). He has also supplied some supplementary normative notions I will advert to in due course. Thinking About the Soft Edge of Information What. in light of Cassirer’s profound semiotic schema. 2. It recapitulates in a different format many of the themes in the two other principal works of Levinson. mark. 126) in which we are embodied.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 215 Form and Technics 215 world. the history of consciousness. for him. Harold Innis. by reason of its creativity and flexibility. an original and problematic ‘distancing’ from reality. Digital McLuhan is of more restricted interest for us in this chapter. indeed define. Mind at Large (1988). Levinson has attempted to chart the historical. but to reflect. but my goal is not to engage in a reconstruction of McLuhan as such. The rise of speech is assimilated to a “primitive technology” (Levinson 1988. with Cassirer-informed categories. which are thought of as so many “adventures in materialization” (Levinson 1988. on three arch and provocative works by information theorist Paul Levin- son. and social trajectories specifically of ‘information’ technolo- gies. 2). briefly and schematically. The Soft Edge (1997). The achievement of a first stage of abstraction by speech is called “the ini- tial technological act” (129). generating. systematic. 223). Spoken language constitutes the “essence of our species” (Levin- son 1997. how this would work out in concreto by focusing first. which exemplify a strong and distinctive approach to these issues. Levinson 6. The story and its logic follow. a multi- dimensional environment (Levinson 1988. It continues.6 Looking intently in the rearview mirror supplied by Marshall McLuhan. The focus principally on McLuhan’s heuristic value is certainly welcome. . based on signification. the new information technologies. with updated references.’ the putative inner logics of those types of specifically ‘mindful artifacts’ that have propelled the sequences of ‘information rev- olutions’ that.

fundamentally in nonlinear fashion. has developed further “into an art form its very subjectivity in the conception of the image” (47). challenged by photographic capturing of the objective world. The invention first of pri- marily alphabetic writing—a level of ‘abstraction’ above speech—is com- pared to a “volcano” or a “tsunami” (131). that “a medium cannot exist. without content” (98). and appropriated. photography. he asserts that it makes possible the very notion of “abstract or nonsensory knowledge” (208). that is. Alphabetic writing’s revolutionary poten- tiation by movable type and its permeation of the social world effect an even more radical shift in the sensorium. a process in fact begun with Euclid’s systematization of geometry. radio. 90). The evolution of information technologies. Technologies. 223). Levinson implicates it in the rise of monotheism. Seeing it as the “informational technology” par excel- lence. But the constant rise of “remedial technologies” (such as window shades!) to counteract the deleterious effects of other technologies (glass windows) is not exemplified primarily on the level of content but on that of mediat- ing power. 46) in that painting. accessed. and now the computer and its attendant electronic networks reconfigure in their own ways the temporal and spatial matrices in which the self is formed. Technologies. triumphs in one kind of propaganda or other” (156). There are pathologies of information tech- nologies (228)—Cassirer also spoke of the pathologies of symbolic con- . in real time. television. Radio. from immediacy. by reason of their reliance in different ways on various forms of abstraction. a movement away from the richness of aural/tactile space. can cause a “withering of reality” (38). Recognizing. photography even effects a “migration of subjectiv- ity” (Levinson 1997. televi- sion. Indeed. print as well as electronic. however. differentiating it and biasing it even more toward abstract visual space. can pervert the “rational factor” itself (Levinson 1988. Recording devices for sound and vision function as “cognitive refrigera- tors” (138). Levinson admits. in all its media offspring (126). Radio can evoke “the primitive passions of the tribe” (1997. The “upward spiral of vicariousness” that marks human cultural life continues on “two profound. furthermore. more or less simultaneous tracks”: (1) abstract thought and (2) technologies—away.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 216 216 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense rightly claims. Electro-chemical information tech- nologies such as the telephone. is not uniformly benign. and the network now known as the Internet generates a new type of community and new ways in which information is stored. let along thrive. Levinson admits with Jacques Ellul that “every device of communication. and the telephone make the spatially absent immediately present.

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sciousness (1957, 205–77). Acknowledging, in a Dewey-type formulation,
“the qualitative way that mental expression differs from technology to
technology” (Levinson 1988, 81), the central question becomes, “in what
ways does technologically extended perception distort or render unnat-
ural the realms it brings into human focus” (99)? While there are organi-
cally based “human sensory ratios” and technologies that more or less
“snugly fit the human perceptual array”—for example, radio, phono-
graph, and even telephone fit into the “human ecological niche of hearing-
without-seeing” (Levinson 1997, 99)—by reason of the tacit logic of
embodiment no technology leaves us untouched, and indeed there is no
guarantee that radically debilitating psychic and social consequences can
be in all cases avoided.
How can we bring Cassirer’s analytical apparatus to bear here?
Perhaps the focal issue in Levinson’s and similar accounts is the ‘split-
ting’ of the spatial and temporal dimensions of the sensorium accom-
panying the rise of alphabetic man. The major contrast is between the
plenitude and richness of the aural/tactile dimensions, with their proper-
ties of omnidirectionality, proximity, concreteness, and sensory thickness,
and the abstract, distancing, objectifying and potentiating nature of vision
and its embodiments and extensions in information technologies. Vision
is, at least in one of the predominant historical forms, the ‘abstract’ and
‘abstracting’ sensory modality par excellence. Its history, and its cultural
import, is wedded both to the ‘alphabet’ and to the consequent rise of
Euclidian geometry. It has introduced and reinforced novel ratios between
the senses, engendering, it has been argued (Francastel 1977; Heelan 1983),
a ‘carpentered environment,’ in more senses than one, that is by no means
in all cases the ‘normal’ or ecologically best for human intercourse with
the world.7
Now, while it is true that alphabetic and geometric ‘man’ has developed
complex systems of abstraction and objectification, to thematize these
systems fundamentally in terms of a contrast or dichotomy between
aural/tactile and ‘visual’ seems, on Cassirerian grounds, less than satisfac-
tory or ultimate. Cassirer’s schematization of the three ‘levels’ of sense-
functions and the correlative semiotically defined spaces and times in
which animal symbolicum lives offers a more powerful analytical frame-
work. Information technologies can and do develop on the three semiotic

7. Levinson is aware of Heelan’s valuable work, although he notes (1999, 45) that Heelan,
in his discussions, does not mention either McLuhan or his colleague Edmund Carpenter.

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218 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense

levels simultaneously, the expressive, the representational, and the signi-
fying. They do different kinds of work, depending on which dimensions
are foregrounded or ‘torqued’ and which dimensions are ‘suppressed,’ to
use James Bunn’s (1981) terminology. Information technologies quite
generally are complex combinations and weightings of these factors. They
inform, differentiate, and perhaps to varying degrees distort the spatial
and temporal matrices of action and the physiognomic face of the world
as a qualitatively configured expression field, the perceptual spaces and
times of the natural-world picture in which the world is ‘represented,’ and
the symbolic spaces and times of the theoretical worldview, accessed at a
high level of abstraction by what Levinson calls ‘process-extending’ infor-
mation technologies.
The contrast between aural/tactile space and visual space is neither
phenomenologically nor analytically ultimate. It is tied up with a prob-
lematic notion of ‘abstraction’ as applied to specific sensory channels or
combinations thereof. For some reason Levinson speaks of the move-
ment from the experiential level through speech and on to writing as
putting experience through the “double wringer of abstraction” (1988,
123). The metaphoric schema here implies a process of ‘squeezing out.’
But one of Cassirer’s most important lessons is that only through the
labor of abstraction do we have access to a stable world of objects gov-
erned by structures and laws. Even physiognomic perception, both of the
information technologies themselves and of the world experienced
through these technologies, is a feat of abstraction. ‘Abstraction’ is not by
definition diminishing; it is, rather, enriching. This is one of the main
lessons of semiotics. Information technologies are defined by their abili-
ties to perform different types of abstraction. Rather than look upon them
as fundamentally distortive and disruptive, which seems to me to be
infected with a kind of longing for immediacy, we should resolutely hold
fast to the ineluctable universality of mediation, fateful as it is.
Levinson’s project, deeply dependent upon McLuhan’s, is in many
ways an attempt to ‘make a case’ for the novel electronic information
technologies. Without denying their semiotic power and heuristic fertility,
I am not sure such an approach is fully coherent. On-line education and
courses, for example, of which Levinson is a radical proponent, do not in
every case live up to or avail themselves of the highly desirable “physical
substrates of in-person knowledge groups” (Levinson 1988, 207). Uni-
versal universities may be made possible electronically (210), but what
about the “loss of the myriad unnoticed, minor ways that shared physical

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presence acts as a stimulant to good thinking” (207), something that
marked the Socratic origins of Western philosophy, for example, or that is
a permanent feature of the rhetorical matrices of sign use and interpreta-
tion? And why is this presence ‘minor’? Indeed, the permanent presence
of print and of the logic of the alphabet in all informational media, which
Levinson affirms, seems to make the ‘on-line’ mode, with its claims to
immediacy, just as ‘abstract’ as other print-defined access to knowledge, if
not to wisdom. To be sure, inasmuch as all technologies, and technologi-
cal artifacts, are perceived, they have an expressive or physiognomic
dimension or qualitative ‘feel.’ To stick with information technologies, the
evolution of scripts as well as systems of numerals evokes forms of
immediate participation and identification. In addition to being repre-
sentational devices, they have a life of their own, fusing expressivity with
utility. The development of various hand-writing systems, including sys-
tems of Chinese calligraphy, and the design and promulgation of type-
faces are not under the strict control of efficient mediation of information
but also point toward a concern with what Cassirer calls Formschönheit,
the beauty of form. This entwinement of art and technics does not mean
that they are isomorphic, a point Lewis Mumford also made in his still
pertinent Art and Technics (1952). Beauty in the aesthetic sense, however,
is not the thematic goal of technics. This is, rather, efficient action. But in
the case of information technologies the perceptual matrices in all their
complexity and range of relevance are crucial, and thus there is a kind of
‘technical beauty.’ The felicitous or infelicitous ‘design’ of Web sites or
computer programs exemplifies the point quite clearly. Cassirer has a pas-
sage in “Form und Technik” that clarifies what is at stake.

If one can characterize the two extremes between which all the
development of culture moves as the world of expression and the
world of pure signification (Bedeutung), we can say that there is
attained in art, in a certain sense, the ideal point of equilibrium
between these two extremes. Technics, however, has in common
with theoretical knowledge, with which it is so closely related, the
fundamental feature that it repudiates more and more every
expressive element in order to raise itself up into a strictly ‘objec-
tive’ sphere of pure signification. (1930, 86).

This clearly puts embodiment structures and their perceptual matrices
into perilous play.

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220 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense

John Krois (1983 and 1987, esp. 198–208), reflecting on Cassirer, has
pointed out that modern technologies of all sorts, by reason of their
speed-up and rapid turnover and multidimensional causalities, have frag-
mented the ability to synthesize and integrate time. The three temporal
ecstases fall apart and no longer make up a dynamic structural unity.
Indeed, we have what Krois calls ‘tychastic’ time, a time of events that do
not hang together, a time that is constituted by a seemingly random, but
full, upsurge of events, with stretchings and retractions of time’s experi-
enced dimensionalities. Submergence in the organic time of the present
creates a sense of immediacy and fullness, but when it is mediated by
information technologies, especially electronic technologies, ‘proximal’
participation takes priority over the ‘distal,’ and the ability to construct a
general scheme of serial order, necessary for ‘symbolic’ memory, dimin-
ishes. One has access to the past, as data, but it so transcends our integra-
tive powers that it begins not to be surveyable or to hang together. The
rapidity of turnover of images and information, by transcending organic
limits, makes certain types of self-appropriation difficult, if not impossi-
ble. However, ‘organic limits’ are not easily specifiable, and one must be
wary of premature determination.
The thing Cassirer most feared in the world of sophisticated informa-
tion technologies—Levinson’s soft edge—was the paradoxical outbreak
and spread of mythic consciousness, which is revealed as a permanent
possibility of consciousness and meaning-making. In his Myth of the State
(1946b) Cassirer charts “the skilful use” of a new “technical tool” (277) to
which he ascribes a “catalytical effect.” In times of individual and collec-
tive peril, he notes, human beings turn to myth and magic, reinforced by
rituals (279). The “volcanic soil” of political life is always prepared to
explode with “demonic mythical powers” (280), exemplified in, but not
restricted to, the personification in a leader of the desire for order and
security. This leader (and his message), made available through all the
technical resources of the media, wields a kind of “social magic” (281).
But the spontaneous, and elaborate, turn to magic and myth, which
marked the early stages of humanity, is replaced in the modern world—in
the twentieth century—with a new technique of myth, which has become
“artificial things fabricated by very skilful and cunning artisans.” Think-
ing of the paradigm case of the rise of German fascism, Cassirer sees mil-
itary rearmament as “only the necessary consequence of the mental
rearmament brought about by the political myths” (282).

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Language itself, he notes, manifests a constant tension between the
“semantic” and the “magical” use of the word. The word-magic of early
humanity recurs in a kind of generalized media-magic of high technolog-
ical societies. Along with a transvaluation of ethical values goes a “trans-
formation of human speech” (Cassirer 1946b, 283), indeed, in Cassirer’s
evaluation, a degradation, a hyperventilating creation of and reliance upon
the emotional effects of speech and, moreover, their supplementation by
new rites and rituals. Although the “steering function” of language is a
permanent feature of social life, it is the pervasiveness and technological
sophistication—the insistent unavoidableness—of the exercise of this
function in a “high tide of new rituals” that technically sophisticated mass
democracies unwittingly ensure by means of media saturation. The effect
of this saturation is a lulling of the critical faculty, a diremption of the feel-
ing of being a unified personality, a loss of individual responsibility. The
social myth—whatever its content, including the message of augmented
consumption—gains sovereign control over the “masses.”
Modern political myths, Cassirer thinks, perhaps with some justifiable
rhetorical exaggeration, do not just demand or prohibit actions of a certain
kind. Their goal is to “change the men, in order to be able to regulate and
control their deeds.” “The political myths acted in the same way as a serpent
that tries to paralyze its victims before attacking them. Men fell victims to
them without any serious resistance. They were vanquished and subdued
before they had realized what actually happened” (Cassirer 1946b, 286).
While Cassirer was most concerned with the racial myths, whose cata-
strophic effects, both past and present, are undeniable, other myths, with dif-
ferent contents and horrible effects, have functioned according to the same
logic: the myth of the proletariat, of manifest destiny, of the moral superior-
ity of capitalism and the universalization of market relations to every sphere
of life. In these circumstances, Cassirer remarks, freedom, the sphere of free
actions, disappears. Freedom for him entails autonomy, the giving of a law to
itself by the moral subject. But moral subjects need the open space of imag-
ination, and it is this that the modern homo divinans politicus takes upon
himself to control and supply—and even enforce, though not necessarily
anymore through terror and physical force. “The politician becomes a sort
of public fortuneteller. Prophecy is an essential element in the new technique
of rulership. The most improbable or even impossible promises are made;
the millennium is predicted over and over again” (289). Parallels with certain
claims made for the ‘media revolution’ come readily to mind.

Modern ‘digital’ technologies. certain types of new technologies effect a countervailing centrifugal force. which may be used primarily for ‘aesthetic’ purposes. in favor or high prominence before the arrival of the medium in question. Philosophy alone—and semiotics alone—cannot destroy the ruling myths or their mediating structures. 290).” This tetrad. does it eclipse or obsolesce? What does the medium retrieve or pull back into center stage from the shadows of obsolescence? And what does the medium reverse or flip into when it has run its course or been developed to its fullest potential?” (1999. The idola fori charted by Bacon are. the consequences of technological embodiment quite generally. as Levinson points out and as we see from daily reports in the newspaper. “the most dangerous and enduring” (294). Levinson is certainly right to emphasize the scope and bite of McLuhan’s four laws or effects of media: amplification. and reversal. while he would certainly be willing to admit the legitimacy of such questions. obso- lescence. thus leading to a radical polycentrism. Cassirer. its social-psychological consequences may not be so benign. Philosophy must enter into combat with them. issuing us a warning and a chal- lenge to think through. Information technologies open different meaning- spaces. uncovering what should be the logic of the social world—founded on increasing freedom and autonomy—just as it uncovered. upon which they bear. are themselves made possible by notation systems . At the same time. is clearly pushing us forward with cog- nate but different analytical instruments. But. While this may be practically desirable. for Cassirer. “asks four questions about the impact and development of any medium: What aspect of society or human life does it enhance or amplify? What aspect.” many political myths—including the economic myth of the superiority of American-style capitalism—evoke the idea of a destiny that is inevitable. The omnipresence of these structures makes their centralization and control a danger to free political life. inexorable. and irrevocable (Cassirer 1946b. multiplying foci and sources. retrieval. and they are defined within the triadic structure of sense-functions that defines not just the type of ‘work’ vari- ous technologies perform but also the kind of semiotic work upon which they depend. These make up McLuhan’s “tetrad. from a comprehensive semiotic perspective with cultural-critical intent. This embodiment is isomorphic with and embedded in semiotic embodiment.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 222 222 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense Although we do not have to subscribe to a Spenglerian “astrology of history. 189). Messianic Marxism and messianic Americanism both became pliable instruments wielded by crafty political leaders. by finally eschewing magic. the logic of the natural world. in Levinson’s words.

The world of scientific and technical instrumentation. Peirce was of the opin- ion that all signs are mixtures of all three components. and sys- tems of technologically grounded metaphorical schemata constitute the iconic realm. and symboli- cally. iconically. ‘signification’ makes possible distinctive yoked forms of ‘expression’ and ‘representa- tion. as a heuristic frame. the ‘soft edge’ propounded by Levinson really encom- passes all systems of exosomatic organs wherein or whereby meaning and information are carried. even though true. is based on the same type of ‘as-structure’ as the system of tools. It is axiomatic on a Peircean position that information technologies. in weighted fashion and highly differentiated contexts. can function. while certainly having a deep iconic compo- nent. analyzed from a Peircean semiotic position. Its analysis and classification must be subject to a clearly formulated semiotic conceptual scheme or schemes. The ‘testing’ of technical plans—and all the apparatus necessary for this—exemplifies indexicality in acute fashion. involved a generative insight that was not dependent upon previously existing and highly sophisticated information technologies. inasmuch as they are sign-complexes. as Bunn clearly saw. So. The sym- bolic component.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 223 Form and Technics 223 that belong to the stratum of signification.’ even though their uses and their perceptual impacts may be eminently ‘concrete.’ But the invention of the alphabet and other systems of writing. They are free creations of mind. rooted in thirdness. by the rather differently focused Peircean classification of sign- types and the Peircean account of interpretants. assimilates. as befits the realm of thirdness. rooted in firstness and quality. science-based technics essentially depends are true ‘cognitive tools’ in which we dwell. tools. they have no intrin- sic connection with the object-domains and fields of application upon which they bear. if one so desired. diagrammatic systems. embodied in socially shared habits of interpretation. These can be interestingly and fruitfully brought to bear. the challenge becomes. signs. upon which modern. in determining the inner trajectories of information technologies. A conventional symbolism. Cassirer’s schematization could be enriched and extended. and models to one another. is fundamentally indexical. rooted in secondness. But. So. including computer software. In this sense. with their material substrata.’ The generative matrices of these technologies are highly ‘abstract. as from Cassirer’s . The development of image systems. since it involves a trail of existential connections between the system of instruments and the ‘objects and states of affairs’ upon which they bear and with which they put us in contact. The abstract notational sys- tems. indexically.

originally devised to describe and sort the ‘perfusion of signs’ in the universe. 3. albeit within a more general frame. if we take the material embodiments of semiosis and information technologies really seriously. and intellectual or logical interpretants. we can clearly see that information technologies (indeed. have to attend to all the types of interpretants and their inner contents that are generated in the active processes of world-construction. as well as its norm. energetic. A comprehensive phe- nomenology of information technologies in the Peircean mode would. also enables us to make cuts at the ‘significant joints’ in the continuum of tech- nics in general and of information technologies in particular. Peirce’s account of interpretants is quite complex. David Rothenberg in his disturbing Hand’s End: Technology and . therefore. the information user is to be seen as a multileveled percipient. If we find ourselves caught up in a play of technics that reduces our capacities for self-control and self-reflection. On the side of the ‘technical subject. These spaces are intertwined with one another and evolve in accordance with their respective logics. In this sense we are the affective.’ seen from a Peircean perspective. a topos or place. understood as the ‘proper significate effects’ of signs and sign systems. and conceptual fields in which the self-interpreting human organism tries to make sense of the world in which it is found and which it is constructing. for Peirce is “concrete reasonableness. actional. to determine the exact mix and relative weightings of semiotic factors in any technical complex. then we would have the Peircean analogue to Cassirer’s loss of freedom and autonomy. The ‘Nature’ of Information The ‘nature’ of information is the central question that Albert Borgmann deals with in his Holding on to Reality: The Nature of Information at the Turn of the Millennium (1999) and that vexes. and conceptual ‘out-comes’ of the mediating instruments in which we are embodied.” embodied in rational habits and exemplified in self-control and method- ical self-reflection. The goal of the process. defined by complex systems of affective. The Peircean semiotic schema. and this is not the place to go into niceties of interpretation. actional. Perhaps.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 224 224 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense position. the ‘soft edge’ is pretty hard after all. Restricting ourselves to the descriptive scheme just mentioned. which is one of the fateful consequences and possibilities of technics. all technologies) give rise to affec- tive.

As compared with the other animals man lives not merely in a broader reality. 24). or according to his immediate needs and desires. Cassirer would agree. From the theo- retical biologist von Uexküll he took the notion of a functional circle that defined the access structures of various organisms to their ‘worlds. and religion are parts of this universe. myth. Even here man does not live in a world of hard facts. there is no escape (25). He lives rather in the midst of imaginary emotions. so to speak. in mythical symbols or religious rites that he cannot see or know anything except by the interposition of this artificial medium. that each technological form. But Cassirer. in line with his critical philosophical position. He has so enveloped himself in linguistic forms. The human being. in a new dimension of reality” (24). whether thematically informa- tional or not.’ In this he is in full agreement with Peirce and Dewey.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 225 Form and Technics 225 the Limits of Nature (1993). humans have a symbolic system (Cassirer 1944. Cassirer arrived at this position not just from an extension of his deepest Kantian commitments. They supplement and extend. This “third link” to the world “transforms the whole of human life. All human progress in thought and experi- ence refines and strengthens this net. and once undergone. Cassirer’s heuristic frame by developing some critical categories and distinctions of semiotic import. whose cooperation and equilibrium ensure the continued existence of the organ- ism. now transformed into animal symbolicum. The move to the symbolic system is irreversible. man lives in a symbolic universe. No longer in a merely physical universe. His situation is the same in the theoretical as in the practical sphere. orients us toward ‘the real’ with a distinctive ‘feel. in . the tangled web of human experience. wherein animal reactions give rise to human responses. rejects all unified notions of ‘the real’ and. Lan- guage. No longer can man confront reality immediately.’ Sign-functions and sense-functions do not ‘dis- tance’ us from the real or from nature. They are the varied threads which weave the symbolic net. we have seen. but by no means contravene. face to face.’ While every organism has a receptor system and an effector system. he lives. art. in artistic images. Instead of dealing with the things themselves man is in a sense constantly conversing with himself. by extension. cannot but adopt the conditions of his own life. he cannot see it. for the very reason that they are our only means of accessing it. of ‘nature. Phys- ical reality seems to recede in proportion as man’s symbolic activ- ity advances. It is a reversal of the natural order. as it were.

and range of meanings within which we orient ourselves. But that they make up constraining as well as enabling conditions of world-building is a massive and undeniable fact. and significational powers of the various ‘sense-bearing’ frames. It also breaks the spell of the ideology of ‘media determinism.9 But it is clear that his evaluative criteria.8 (25) Different access structures. nature. we saw that the norm for Cassirer is ‘freedom. unavoidable result. Indeed. then. all form is stamped form. breaks the spell of a single. To imagine is to disperse to infinity the prospect of a single. which themselves interact and potentiate one another in a process called 8. inevitable outcome. would appeal to the balance between the inner logics of the expressive. as profound as that which attended the emergence of open-programmed life. To embody those imaginings into tangible technology is to greatly constrict that field of possibilities—for physical things are less easily wrought than ideas—but even a hand- ful of new technologies. in his fantasies and dreams. Reflecting on the reversal of determinism that began with life itself. I have discussed a recent and stimulating reconstruction and critique of the concept of nature in critical theory in Innis 1998b. So. from a Cassirerian point of view. we must repudiate all longing for some paradise of imme- diacy that will ‘take the measure’ of technics for the sake of some original ‘basically human’ condition. considered as a field of lived and vital projects.’ Technics in all its forms both ‘opens’ and ‘binds. Because. Levinson (1999. in illusions and disillusions. Cassirer does not use the Heidegger-inspired rhetoric of ‘enframing’ (Gestell) or the Frankfurt School–inspired rhetoric of ‘domination’ and ‘alienation’ that marks much contemporary discussion of technology and its impact on the life-world in general. Mediation in itself is potentiation.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 226 226 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense hopes and fears. . there is no unmediated access to reality or to nature. even just two. 9. not even through our bodies.’ But the inner telos of technics is to ‘liberate’ us from necessity and to increase the scope.’ No more than language itself is a ‘prison house’ are the varieties of embodied media necessarily ‘iron cages’ of instrumental rationality. not diminution. give different ‘senses’ to the real and to nature as a whole. on a Cassirerian position. representational. in the case of information technologies. Feenberg (1999) gives one of the most up-to-date exemplifications of how an analysis of technology from a position derived from Frankfurt School commitments would and should pro- ceed. Forms of consciousness evolve by developing novel forms of con- tent and novel frames for the contents. Such criteria are not merely formal. ‘media’ in common parlance. 201–2) writes: When that evolution gave rise to human intelligence. determinism suffered another reversal.

technological information. Borgmann distinguishes three types of information: (1) natural infor- mation. smoke. the progressive degeneration of images (including texts) when they are reproduced ‘by hand. As to technological information—based on the ‘bit’— Borgmann thinks that the great lesson to learn.” They are constantly in danger of “falling back into reality” (167). Cultural information centers on conventional signs—letters and texts.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 227 Form and Technics 227 by Bolter and Grusin (1999) ‘remediation. ambiguity. perspicuity. and letters can also be considered ‘technologies. the massive logic and data structures. “Natural information pivots on natural signs—clouds. as fundamentally digital. Borgmann writes. Borgmann notes that the use of the term ‘technologi- cal’ to describe a certain kind of information is meant to be taken in a special and restricted sense. which I take most strictly semiotic categories to be. and the rapid processing of technological information.’ the information they contain being undetachable from their material substrates.’ Independently of carrier— whether electrons. is a “marvel of permanence. But reme- diation is not a norm but a fact.’ The movement toward ‘abstract. fundamentally a descriptive category. lines and graphs.” since cairns. 57). tracks. even if they have nor- mative and critical implications.” while analog struc- tures are “as viscous as molasses and as difficult to manipulate. photons. notes and scores” (1999. ‘reality’ does . Borgmann’s main thesis is that the rise of ‘information’—in the technical sense of the term—is coincident with a decline of ‘meaning.’ Remediation refers to the interaction and dialectical relationships between various media. About the first two types of information. since in being copied they suffer irreversible damage. (2) cultural information. or quantum effects—the marks of technological information are “digital rigor. for Borgmann. tallies. giving us information as reality. of course. proteins. In general. Let us briefly and schematically explicate these distinctions. referring to “modern and in fact to the most recent technology of information.’ ‘digital’ technologies has weakened our ‘hold’ on the world by introducing kinds of fragility. then. giving us information about reality. and pliability. as becomes clear when we turn to Borgmann and Rothenberg especially. The model here is. clay tokens. in spite of counterclaims. and noise—not to mention nontransparency—that distort the fundamental features of balanced living and meaning-making. is that there is no “natural harmony between information and reality” that would “require us to confine and partition reality antecedently and artificially” (136). giv- ing us information for reality. and (3) technological information.” As such.

This is all the more serious when we find ourselves embroiled with technologies that function with what Bolter and Grusin call “the claim to immediacy of experience through the intense. makes possible a ‘re-presentation’ of prior intuitive and perception-based sign systems and their contents. political. almost hypnotic involvement of the user” (Bolter and Grusin 1999. perceptual.’ the ‘law-governed. If there were such a test. modeling. Although the types of technolog- ical information Borgmann is focusing upon are carried by sign structures and hence are subject to the general conditions of semiosis. This becomes painfully clear with just a cursory look at the analyses in Bolter and Grusin. is no enemy of mediation or of the digital.’ For a semiotic philosopher such as Cassirer the types of sign systems upon which ‘signi- fication. affective. This is the much needed and fine-tuned message of Borgmann’s earlier nuanced and historically sensitive Crossing the Post- modern Divide (1992). in the visual realm at least.’ The ‘information revolu- tion. But he is supremely aware that different types of information—and their atten- dant technologies—have different logics. motoric. social. and so forth. Borgmann.’ as a distinctive sense-function. The massive and uncritical move to ‘digital’ tech- nologies of the ‘new media’ type is for someone like Borgmann ambiguous at best. Their exam- ples. semiotic. rests are oriented toward the ‘abstract. 90). signs ‘copy’ reality—or at least answer to it. his major complaint is that there is a ‘loss of reference’ when technological infor- mation is taken as reality and becomes its substitute.’ to be sure. however. which was combined with a concern for content and for the . suffer from a serious ‘thinning’ of the signs’ palpability and consequently of their ‘poetic’ function (in Jakob- son’s sense).’ ‘the universal.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 228 228 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense not ‘copy’ signs. But. a distinc- tively Peircean position. it is precisely the attempt to build vast systems of expressions and representations normally rooted in the body- based intuitional and perceptual structures by means of fundamentally significational instruments that results in an essential ‘loss of information’ in the domains that are putatively being ‘replicated. The root of its pernicious- ness is. These logics must be kept in balance for a full human life. in spite of the mar- velous technical effects of the new information technologies and their real and insuperably important uses in such areas as computer-aided design. simulation. But it is precisely the hypnotic effect that is impov- erishing from the semiotic point of view. On Cassirerian terms. I wonder whether there should not be a semiotic and aesthetic ‘Turing Test’ for the new media. utterly pernicious at worst. a reduction of the polymorphousness of consciousness and its intentional bonds to the world. in effect.

Photo-realistic paintings reproduce. 19). effective bodily presence of media in our culture. the lasting value of his Myth of the State. photographs. is that of the ‘quality’ of meaning. 122). So . Painting from photographs. The mark of any medium—any information technology in general and the ‘technological information’ in particular that . apart from instrumental and ‘magical’ ends. hyperme- diacy becomes the representation of the desire for immediacy and unavoidably of the artist as the seeker after immediacy. whose blistering attack on the new media of mythmaking and political propa- ganda makes up. He must retain us in the realm of painting in order to represent the desire for immediacy. the social. perhaps we would be much less enam- ored of ‘merely technical effects’ and with the cult of immediacy. and com- puter applications are as ‘real’ as airplanes and buildings (Bolter and Grusin 1999. immediacy leads to hyper- mediacy. in their words. however. This oscillation is the key to understanding how a medium refashions its predecessors and other contemporary media. the logic of hypermediacy is to represent the desire for transparent immediacy by sublimating it. At the same time. the photo-realistic artist takes the photograph as real and attempts to copy it as closely as possible. Media have the same claim to reality as more tangible cultural artifacts. this process insists on the real.’ which is a lesson that we take from poststruc- turalist theory. Here as elsewhere. and the economic spheres. “an illusion of an illu- sion” (Bolter and Grusin 1999. Bolter and Grusin give an example of what I am talking about here. The semiotic point here. The process of remediation makes us aware that all media are at one level a ‘play of signs. films. though. not the photographs on which they are based. the aesthetic. between trans- parency and opacity” (19). Borgmann is certainly well aware of this—as was Cassirer. (122) Bolter and Grusin build their whole analysis on the fact that “new digital media oscillate between immediacy and hypermediacy. .Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 229 Form and Technics 229 conditions for full perceptual and imaginative activation. we saw. the promise of reform inevitably leads us to become aware of the new medium as a medium. . for he exhibits his paintings. Thus. not of its ‘technical’ sophistication. He is not willing to take us all the way. The networks that arise from these media technologies encompass the physical. by turning it into a fascination with the medium. Although each medium promises to reform its predecessors by offering a more immediate or authentic experience.

however. But. x). The fact is that each informa- tion technology has. iconization. including every tool. articulate. just as.’ the interpretants.’ In Polanyi’s words. and that all thought dwells in its subsidiaries. although it is clear that the code can prevent the realization of one’s merely arbitrary desires and that those who can write the code are ‘in the long run’ those who control the effects. since these modes are dimensions of all sign use qua tale. is this any different from the antecedent system of constraints that mark any semiotic medium? In all cases we attend from the medium to what it bears upon or brings to presence or constitutes. but now in a Cassirerian context. or symbolization. as I already have frequently noted. This by now familiar Polanyian notion makes all media ‘subsidiaries’ to the ‘focal wholes’ they make up or support (Polanyi 1958. no matter how technically sophisticated. from a semiotic point of view is problematic. does not validate or valorize that effect in any sense of that term. “This structure shows that all thought contains components of which we are subsidiarily aware in the focal content of our thinking. in any case. as if they were parts of our body.’ whether (to use Peircean terms) in the mode of indication. This. which is semiotically opaque to most users. nevertheless give rise to a peculiar ‘transparency effect.’ By this I mean that we can radically shift the outcomes of the instruments without concomitant somatic or intellectual input.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 230 230 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense Borgmann is concerned with—is the quality of the Peircean ‘proper signi- ficate effects. are normally mixed modes themselves. 1966). as allowing a nuanced notion of embodiment or of ‘indwelling. Modern digital technologies. because they reside on a formal. the development of oil-based pigments changed the ‘iconic’ structures of access to the visual world in terms of their ‘quali- tative feel’ and depth of perceptual meaning. which he derives from a reflection on the philosophical import of Gestalt theory. The new ‘technologies of information’ have changed the bases for the production of our access struc- tures. since ‘making pos- sible’ a semiotic effect. it is also necessarily fraught with the roots that it embodies. which. In the semiotic context they are so many ‘semiotic vectors’ pointing toward their ‘object. . for example. Hence thinking is not only necessarily intentional. and abstract base. We can certainly continue to follow Polanyi here in seeing the from- to relation.’ which is connected with the different degrees of pliability and recalcitrance of the medium. that the various semiotic systems bring forth in the society or community of interpreters. one might ask. read once again. It has a from-to structure” (Polanyi 1966. The from-pole comprises every- thing we can attend from as we attend to the world. as Brentano has taught. its own ‘feel.

from the formation (Bildung) of humanity. continues to live and be effective within it and to lead to ever new creations.’ who at the same time is a ‘semiotic subject. The former is passive.’ Indwelling and embodiment are extensions of the subject out toward and into the world. as such. that which is expressed linguistically. much of what he says applies quite straightforwardly and insightfully to information tech- nologies as such. One of his central theses is that “there are no grounds to expect that technology will learn to respect those problems which . and all its cultural forms.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 231 Form and Technics 231 model. or in plastic form. tools. the former leads only to changes. transmit his own individual skills that he has acquired in the course of life. where it inscribes its projects upon ‘nature’ as figures upon grounds. Rothenberg gives us some valuable analytical. Although Rothenberg’s concern. is technology quite generally. Where do we find the norm that will ‘measure’ and ‘limit’ them? Can ‘nature’ function as a ‘limit. Neverthe- less. Because of the universal- ity of embodiment. that which he places outside of himself in his work. a new body for itself which belongs jointly to all. or semiotic system whatsoever. They adhere to the physical ‘soma’ that is not transmittable. which also confirm and extend the types of semiotically based con- siderations presented in this chapter. is ‘embodied’ in language and art and endures through it. whereas the latter leads to enduring formations (Gestalt- ungen). is ‘indif- ferent’ or without effect on the percipient or ‘technological subject. The work is essentially nothing other than a human act that has solidified in order to become but it does not deny its origin in this consolidation. mankind has cre- ated. and the creative power from which it has emerged. 127) Among these new creations are all those attendant upon the informa- tion revolution. Cassirer writes: [I]n its speech. that which is represented graphically. which takes place in the sphere of organic becoming. Accordingly. for our evaluation of the ‘information’ revolution? Here. so to speak. The creative will. (2000. whether informational or not. This process of inscription is the construction of a new body for our- selves. as was Cassirer’s. It is this process that distinguishes the mere transfor- mation (Umbildung). the latter is active. and normative. no technology.’ in every sense of that term. its art. analogy. The individual human being cannot.

including those conveyed through the use of sensor gloves and so forth. independent of con- tent. who claims that “the most vivid expe- rience of virtual reality is the experience of leaving it” (cited in Rothen- berg 1993.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 232 232 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense elude quantification” (Rothenberg 1993. participation of the embodied subject are precisely those that intend to supplant the body as ultimate node of connections in the virtual world (157). returning to a more grounded and direct alternative” (156).’ and hence performs a specific kind of abstraction. “This may be the most telling comment on the future of computed worlds. It is paradoxical that the digital media that involve maximal. What types of things. But this “course of disembodiment. is ‘biased. technology is “humanity extended. indeed obses- sive. is haunted by the proviso that “the medium should never be the only mes- sage” (97).’ for example.” to use Eugene Gendlin’s term (Gendlin 1962). as he sees it. Rothenberg asserts that “the limit to what can be accomplished in virtuality is the same as the limit to what the mind can accomplish without the life of the body” (159). 193). 99). 156). But any technology only makes “specific parts of the world accessible” (198).” are “most poignant. elude quantification? Fundamentally. that is. is precisely what Cassirer decried in the outbreak of technically mediated propaganda that marked twentieth-century mass consciousness. Rothenberg comments. The realms of ‘virtual reality. those things and experi- ences rooted in the analog world and its intrinsic connection with the body and the field of lived experience and of “felt meaning. which I take to mean also that the ‘effect’ of a medium should never supplant its ‘content.” which paradoxically drives the new media. We will only accept the course of disembodiment if we are able to turn our back on it at will. when we can turn them off. and not a stable thing. In all cases. Rothenberg encapsulates his position in the following passage: “Tech- nology changes the meaning of nature as it continues to seek nature. which are paradigm cases of “digital extension. The virtualization of technique which begins with the wheel and ends with the computer successively brings the notion of tool away from direct contact with earth and towards complete imitation of the universe with the set laws of logic” (1993. In a comment that confirms Gendlin’s (and Dewey’s) pathbreaking analyses. Even “mimetic technologies” (39) still involve .’ The striving for effect. the hand’s end” (15). but because technology is a process.” as he puts it. there is no unified sense of ‘nature’ “apart from our continuously transforming attempts to learn it and build a world to our own liking” (157). Echoing the work of virtual-reality pioneer Jaron Lanier.

but they are not intended to ‘simulate’ what is better done by other sys- tems. to be sure.’ and ‘aesthetic’ ends. letters). allow us both to make bet- ter machines (hence. . or pure formal logic. . images. being a ‘cooler’ medium than perhaps McLuhan had thought. Indeed. is that the alphabet conveys abstraction so effectively that we lack the impetus to improve upon it in other media. modern science-based technologies) and to build other types of machines that extend our “ability to think and work abstractly” (38)—including perceptual and aesthetic thinking and work- ing. words still hold onto a firm piece of ground” (98).” he writes. image. in view of the centrality of abstraction in our lives. of course. “that more can be conveyed in a digital fluid realm than through set expressions in word.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 233 Form and Technics 233 abstraction. which have a scientific base rooted in chemistry and the physics of light. so there is nothing intrinsically ‘unnatural’ in these novel techniques. its progenitor. which conveys non-abstract emotional tone in the quality of the voice speaking the words. has so much of media evolution been iconic?” He responds to his own question in this way: The answer. And the alphabet is more abstract at its actual point of usage than current digital media—which although highly abstract on the programming level (the binary codes that can represent sounds. This is Cassirer’s level of signification. Rothenberg issues a challenge: “I am not certain. The issue is one of semiotic power and content. is but the alphabet writ large. or sound created by more traditional means” (156). often operates iconically on the usage level (as when we see pictures and hear sounds on the Internet). while an abstract technology par excel- lence. Print. Pure mathematics. And just as there is nothing more ‘natural’ in the use of tempera tech- niques or oil-based techniques than in the use of acrylic-based techniques. and so do all those iconic forms that exemplify the aesthetic domain. I would argue. The alphabet is more abstract than even speech. Levinson (1999.10 10. and in their use as significational technologies for ‘perceptual. eliciting deep commitment and participation.’ “The computer. in complete agreement with fundamental semiotic principles. with its intuitive and percep- tual thickness and involvement of the moving and self-sensing body.” writes Rothenberg. 53) asks. is nevertheless not able to take on tasks proper to other ‘logics. in another sense. . “Why. and no more” (142).’ ‘somatic. Language—the representational system par excellence for Cassirer—still remains effective even within the “most stringent of media” (98). Significational technologies—not ‘signifying’ technologies—have. is “that part of us into which we have extended our symbolized and constructed logic. as is the telegraph. . their own ‘semiotic’ power. Rothenberg notes. The computer. “as technologies shift and multiply around them.

Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 234 234 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense Cassirer’s valorization of the aesthetic dimension is extremely pertinent here and introduces. of melodies and rhythms. not mere sense-experience obsessed with the empirical properties of things. It is not a reversion to egocentrism or to a fanatical sense of power or control. Repudiating all attempts to totalize either the expressive or the represen- tational dimensions of art. The world of art is not a conceptualized world. 186). Art in this sense is a discovery of reality. It is not a world of mere colors.” More generally. he intuits their immediate appear- ance” (159) through a sympathetic and constructive vision. a way of objectifying the world in terms of meanings. In a certain sense all art may be said to be language. for Cassirer. 151). He is absorbed in the pure form of things. but a world of intuition and contemplation. we perceptualize it” (1979. a potentiation of autonomy and the abil- ity to relate oneself freely to the world. sounds. 158). and it is only by constructive acts that we can discover the beauty of natural things. wherever they may be found. and going beyond any restriction to natural things. but it is language in a very specific sense. a further nor- mative element. relying for the most part on Goethe. “the artistic eye is not a passive eye that receives and registers the impression of things. tactile qualities—but of shapes and designs. together with the centrality of abstraction to human thought and life. “in art we do not conceptualize the world. But. It is a constructive eye. “The artist ignores these qualities. bringing him closer to the central focus of Dewey’s work. a reasonable prediction based on a Darwinian evolution of media toward increasing consonance with human communica- tion would be that the alphabet’s place as the conductor of acoustic cyberspace is quite secure. . As Cassirer puts it: The sphere of art is a sphere of pure forms. Cassirer ultimately. For Cassirer. not of projecting one’s ego onto it for merely technical effects. Art as formative is the farthest from the obsessive as one could imagine. sees the key to art—and to the aesthetic understood as the liv- ingness of art in human experience—in “the power of form” (Cassirer 1979. as Cassirer insists. It is not a Given this uniquely high degree of abstraction of the alphabet.’ the self-loss that occurs in art is in fact an increase in selfhood. in addition to the notion of freedom. a liberation of experience from merely instrumental ends. “the sense of beauty is the susceptibility to the dynamic life of forms” (Cassirer 1944. It involves the intensification and deepen- ing of experience. Art is. While art is certainly ‘absorbing.

harmony and melody. as did most of McLuhan’s ideas about electronic media. the continuous and the discrete. and its first protest of the Industrial Revolution. now nearly two centuries ago. (156–57) It is problematic notions such as these that must be brought before the bar of a self-conscious aesthetics. Rothenberg is right in his demand that we need a “person-centered aesthetic” as the 11. The new information technologies must accord- ingly be brought constantly before this bar. It arose. If the Industrial Revolution had severed childhood from adulthood. all-around. from his view that the very process by which we perceive television—all-at-once. in contrast to the page-by-page specificity and distinctions and inherent aloofness of print—was an integrating. 145–72) discusses various aspects of the aesthetic implications of the new media. There is no ultimate need to choose between the analog and the digital. McLuhan was after something different. Levinson (1999. working at.11 The ‘nature’ upon which the information revolution bears and within which it is found is. He who does not understand these intuitive symbols. of spatial forms and patterns. He holds that the Internet “blurs the distinction between work and play” (156). involved. (186) Without claiming to be the last word—which it does not—such a passage at least emphasizes the deep personal participation of the perceiver in the life of forms in art and indicates that the formative power of art is oriented toward discovery of experiential possibilities in all their forms. it also had squeezed out the personal perfection of the handicraft from the mass pro- duction of the machine. in the last analysis. on his reading. something that encompassed not only the spontaneity of play and the seriousness of work—but the perfection of art. a higher level of abstraction. of shapes. who can not feel the life of colors. . and thereby the artist—has of course itself been around since at least the age of Romanticism. is secluded from the work of art—and by this he is not only deprived of aesthetic pleasure.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 235 Form and Technics 235 language of verbal symbols. artistic mode of experience. the concrete and the abstract. but he loses the approach to one of the deepest aspects of reality. dare one say it. The norm in all cases is the polymorphous development of the various sense-functions and sign- types that make up the fundamental world access structures for humans. that accessed through the dialec- tically and differentially related ‘transparent’ and ‘transformative’ tools emerging from human intentional projects. That idea—that the machine steps on the aesthetic. McLuhan’s notion that elec- tronic media reverse that process by reintegrating aspects of art into everyday life was something new. But the norm is full qualitative richness attendant upon the complex processes of artistic objectification. but of intuitive symbols. Indeed.

In a striking passage in The Logic of the Cultural Sciences Cassirer encapsulates the scope and existential import of our commitments to ‘tools’ of every sort in a way that supports and resonates with Rothen- berg’s deepest concerns: Through the use of tools man has set himself up as ruler over things. It has led not only to a heightened self-alienation but ultimately to a kind of self-loss of human existence. “Measurement. the louder the call. Each perfecting of the technological culture is. 201). this power has turned into no blessing for him but rather into a curse. of the meanings. unchal- lenged. then. Hence the yearn- ing for primitive. ‘Back to nature!’ (2000. in this respect a truly treacherous gift. Perhaps we can follow Cassirer here and see the real future of digital information technologies in the transformation and extension of the significational realm itself—in science. undeveloped. immediate existence must repeatedly break forth. The technology that man invented in order to subjugate the physical world has turned against him. it is. unbroken.” writes Rothenberg. Informa- tion technologies should help us get there and not divert us by. and Polanyi) that these technologies have distinctive expressive powers and feels and must be used with close attention to their operative logics.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 236 236 Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense norm for “the authentic human way-in-the-world” (1993. They open up different . The technologies founded on ‘measurement’ and those founded on lived order imposed on skill are not in radical opposition. However. These logics are not the same. to repeat. else it will frame only itself” (203). in Colling- wood’s terms. 27) In conclusion. Quantity needs to leave room for quality. confining themselves to the level of craft (albeit high abstract craft) and amusement while leaving the great imaginative powers. and not some external ‘nature’ functioning as a norm. has instead created countless arti- ficial needs. Dewey. rooted in the body and its perceptual structures. or diminished.’ in every sense of that term. and remains. The tool. and the more numerous the areas of life taken over by technology. We can learn from Cassirer (and from Peirce. the ‘quality. which appeared to provide the fulfillment of human needs. and mathematics—with only a subsidiary and tentatively exploratory role in the expressive and representational domains. technology. “need not be opposed to the qualities it opens up for us. that defines and constrains the normative and heuristic powers of the various information technologies.

“place is a location of mutual immanence. They are not immaterial at all. a unity of effective presences abiding together” (121). . is to uncover the “philosophical ground for understanding why the ratio- nalization of place in the modern world contributes to the disintegration of topistic unity” (131). which have material supports as much as our cities and neighborhoods have.’ His goal. he remarks that “Manchester taught me that the energies of place flow through its meanings” (12). Reflecting on his experiences in Manchester. Perception remains alive and vibrant—not a dead record of things—because phenomena live and vibrate. think. leaving no part of our sensorium untouched. A place is a matrix of energies. They not only change the feeling tones by means of which we are present to ourselves—Lyotard’s ‘tautegorical feelings’—they also fate- fully change the ways we inscribe meanings onto the world and onto our- selves. (131) On Walter’s reckoning.” which effectively prohibits “a group of effective presences dwelling together” (23). we can see just how fateful our commitment to the seemingly immaterial spaces are. but a place lives in its own way. Walter (1988) has explored. If we expand his analysis to the ‘spaces’ opened up by information technologies. The energy of phenomena moves people to feel. Walter writes: The totality of what people do. even in its technological forms. generating representations and causing changes in awareness. but bound to its body. “the structure of consciousness is a fabric of associations and disso- ciations” (170) that have distinctive valences. and imagine. the expressive nature of ‘places’ under the rubric of ‘topistics. The world of experience trembles with excitement” (170). its exosomatic body. England. Its form of experience occupies persons—the place locates experience in people. think.12 The fusion of this subject—ourselves. and the core of every phenomenon holds a kernel of expressive energy. Each change is a shift in our mental existence that. We not only have “tychastic time” but in a sense “tychastic space. that the self is not a disembodied self. is coincident with the fundamental structures of semiosis. The fundamental agreement with Cassirer becomes clear. in Walter’s central contention: “Our perceptions are inherently expressive. and opens a road to further investigation. and through its physique and morale shapes a reality which is unique to places— different from the reality of an object or a person. often with the aid of Cassirer. that is—with these exoso- matic organs is a fateful process. which intersects with Dewey’s acerbic comments on material misplacement. Walter develops a doctrine of “selective support” for world-building. namely. and feel in a specific location gives identity to a place. In his under- standing. Human experience makes a place.Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 237 Form and Technics 237 spaces wherein the embodied subject orients itself to and within the world. 12. act.

Innis Chapter 6 9/24/02 10:01 PM Page 238 .

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117–23 technological. characterized by Cassirer. 154–57 as language. 102–11 alphabet Abrams. 235 n. D. 149 Alberti. Dewey on. W. elements of. 8 architecture aesthetic Dewey on. 159–62 159–63 no semiotic Luddite. rationality as social norm. 234–35 algebra phase structure of. Ptolemy’s drawing of.. 219 affective tones.Innis Index 9/24/02 10:03 PM Page 253 Index abduction alienation. 234–35 aesthetics. 180 connection with work and play. 196 Arnheim. 161 abstraction as work of abstraction. 23–37 195 Vailati on relation to deduction. 195–96 Cassirer on. 169–70 art(s) scope of. perceptual. 234–35 Tuan on built environment. 121 photorealistic. 23–37 animal symbolicum. 70 apprenticeship. property of the alphabet. 102 effects belong to medium. 233 225 as selective attention. 198 Cassirer on. 186. 186 . 201 universal factors of.. 233 Bühler on principle of abstractive relevance. 114 field of. 217–18 analysis as instrument in technology. 169 automatic. 167–80 181 positive evaluation of technology. 182 n. 11 pushes meaning down. person-centered as norm. 165 Levinson on language and. 216 Abse. discussed by Whitehead. 25 Peirce on. analog. 150 Ackerman. 229 Vailati’s grammatical analysis of. and expertise. 169 not beauty parlor of civilization. 189–90 precedes normative task. nature and the alphabet. consequences of embodiment in. pragmatist connection with technological production. D.. inadequacy as analytical category. 184 n. 83. 197 fine. D. R. 169 armillary sphere. 235 154–55 physiological. 161 Levinson on. 198–202 163 realm of. 10 Dewey on. 215–17 as segmentation. 167–202 Aristotle.. 88 not an indifferent process. L. 183–84 characterized by Cassirer. 168 entwined with technics. and semantic qualities of words. 149. 176 contrasted with language. 149 surface. 235 62 apprehension of place. 178 on deduction.

. 153 role in Polanyi’s thought. 228–29 self-articulation. first portolan map with grid bias. 84 bipolarity ‘grasping’ reality. 206 semiotic schema. J. Calderoni. 231 semiosis and technics. 2 atomism. 66–74 aura. 139 role in Dewey’s thought.. A. 88–98 Borgmann... dia- gram of. on abduction.. 69. 136–37. 185 Bunn. 134 and philosophical tradition. 4. 186 Chaplin. V. 43 defining technologies. 147 Berman. 53–66. 208 Bourdieu. work of perception. 2 release perceptual energy. 221 fields. 110 Carta Pisana. 72 awareness. 196–97 soft edge of information. 203–37 fateful nature of. 147 Cassirer. See also consciousness language and perception. 137 words and meanings. 101. 147 carving. 144 probal nature of language. 212 aesthetic dimension. G. 176–78. 103 n. 141. E. 74–78 universal from-to structure. 4 in Wegener. M. 193 Berkeley. J. See also photography consequences of technology. 78–83 artifice and reality. as intentional orientation. 227–28. 149 Cavalcanti.. 131-65 lines. 49–50 body roots of political myths. 224–37 of embodiment in media. 60–66 subsidiary and language. 234–35 general notion of. 175 Bolter. 140–41. 102 180–81 camera. 224. 208 in Polanyi. 203–15 dematerialization of. sentences. M. 191 rence and Milan. from iron bridge to crystal palace. 53–60. 181 artist. 51–88 aura. 156 relationship to scale. 178 body-music. A. 2. 131–38 Bühler’s use of. C. 140 Childe... 69 focal and subsidiary. 141 nature and information. 137 embodies a bias. H. P. J. 20 matrix of rhythms. concerned with qualitative space-time.. 172 Bühler. 185 abstraction.. somatic hesitation... 196 art work. 68. 38 Dewey opposed to. C. 154 162 on changes in sense perception. 43–48 remediation. 136 camera ottica. loss of in mass society. 83–88 Benjamin. articulation. 157 Bergson. 203–5 enters into all shaping. 140 linguistic sign. 132 not the art work. 178. 155 of deformation.. 212 camera teaches unconscious optics. 191 camera obscura. 65 autonomy. 58–59 Bachelard. 3. 164 . pivots of human progress. M. 214. imagery of Modern Times.Innis Index 9/24/02 10:03 PM Page 254 254 Index art product(s) somatic logic of. W. exchange with displacement. 13 Bonfantini. 175 universal relevance of.. G. psychological Buchler. 3 foregrounded by phenomenology. 186 sign not external to thought. G. 220–22 cultural forms as humanity’s. used by Alberti.. model of. 179 168 n. on the imaginary. 229 artifacts. loss of. G. 188–89 embodied in camera. 215–24 matrix of skills.. on boundaries between Flo- not an object. D. 197–98 Cézanne.. Briggs. 2 organon-model of language. K. as model of the body. 43–48 metaphor. loss of.

172 language as form of action. 134 aesthetic rationality. 233 anti-essentialism. 79 n. 101.. craft. 186–87 digital. 209. 145 dimensionality.. M. 193 understanding as anticipating together. 67.Innis Index 9/24/02 10:03 PM Page 255 Index 255 closure deixis. 162 Colapietro. 56 semiotic and technical. 137 Calderoni. not transparency. 171 Polanyi on perceptual. Pirsig on. 209 as defining situation. 3. used not observed. 203–15 technics. qualitative apprehension of. 232 lens metaphor of. 78 mythic (Cassirer). 33 experience. 107 implicit. 198 Crater Lake. 114 disembodiment.. 144. 114 discord. 152–53 apprehension of space. 3 dilation. epochal significance of. 206. definition 127 by abstraction. 226 n. 127 135–36 . 145 semiotic structure of. 92. on atrophy of sense perceptions. 67 n. 108 Dubos. P. 183–85 consciousness change in perceptual habits. B. 185 spectatorial. 235 crank. 171 context. 217 in algebra. 102 n. 147 metaphors of. 204. 33 Descartes. 99. 171-72 distinguished from mind (Dewey). 114 distance. 167–80 organs. J. fostered by new media. 202 conscription. 198–202 computer. 106 n. function of exosomatic aesthetic model. 140–41 Derrida. 102 as amplification. 56 workers. and rise of intelligence. 172 container metaphor of. 2–3 intermittent series of flashes (Dewey). 54 n. 24. 140–41 Vailati on philosophy. 80 n. 40–43. of words.. 178 Peirce on perceptual. positive evaluation of. 5 and Marx. 95–96 architecture. 5 inner experience and language. 101. 114 discourse. 29. 162 dagger metaphor of. Dewey. 102 container metaphor. as language.. of human sensory ratios. M. Vailati on limitations of. 114–15 Whitehead overtones in. written bound to nature. not census. not substance. leads to reflection. G. reviewed by Vailati. 34–35 meaning as proximate and ultimate. 13 emergent function.. 194–95 corollarial reasoning. technological. 44 destructive analysis. 163 deduction disclosure. 5 clues. 102–11 head). R. paradoxes of. 31 diagrammatic reasoning.. 102 n. as functioning of the soul (White- relation to abduction. 8 Collingwood. ix. 52 subsidiary and focal. 172 language transforms biological. biological aspects of. philosophy as attack on (Vailati). 38.. 20. 55–58 Cassirer and Peirce on. art. 172 n. R. J. 172–73 perceptual.. 112–14 distinctions. 140 recognized by Bühler. 144. 230 Croce. 37–48 on quality. 31 craftsman. V. 206 meanings as self-moving. 23–37 open structure of experiencing. and amusement. 173 technologies. 108 distortion. 220–22 media. 236 aesthetic critique of technology. effected by technologies. 154 collateral experience. intrinsic to semiosis. 120–21 Duhem. 20. 14 myth and tools. as pure signifying technology. 141 language and tools. R. 194–95 musical analogy of. 54 from-to structure ineluctable. 19–50 organism force. 7 congruent function. 86 determinism. 212 De Rose. 142 bottomless lake. 167–202 compensation. 62.

37–48 Einstein.. A.. technical. 198 emendation. 95 horizonal structure of. as language engine. 136 shift of attendant upon embodiment. 172 material and semiotic. 196. 124 . G. 211 technical. 234–35 emergence. 131–65 becomes aesthetic. 47 as ‘outcome’ (Dewey). 216 Facchi. 41 logics and vectorial paths. 131–38 semantic aspect. 174 fusion. 3. 15 central to Cassirer. 53–60 energy. 237 freedom enframing. 179 95 dialectic of activity and passivity. 74... on technology. 145 functional aspect. 3. S. 173 Edgerton. Ihde on. 67. of places. 2–3 general conditions of (Dewey). 66. 30 expression. contrasted with the tacit. 77 four-factor theory of speech act. 164–65 fields. 172 linked to interpretation. 210–11 feeling-core of a percept. 204 Ellul. J. 174 doing and undergoing. 198 192 foresight. 1–4 in metaphor. G. 15 I-lessness of dialogue. 41–43 filter and probe. 171–73 Gadamer.. P. 162 feeling in language. contravening of. 85 as goal of technics. of experience of meaning. 173 function of words. 147 form(s) universal phenomenon. 171–72 Galileo. 41 organ-projection. as form of meaning-making. 1 perilous nature of. figurative aesthetic.. 14 from-to relations exosomatic organ(s) types of. as material process. 43 and world of art. 221 Eschbach. 134 phenomenal aspect. role of in book. 143 coinciding of intention and affection. with probes and instruments. 174 mediated by signs and tools. 173 Eco. symbolic. communication and propaganda. 55 relations. 193 qualitative background of. 83 deictic vs. congruent and incongruent. 51–98 recognized by Bühler and Gardiner. 115. 170. 175 phase structure of. 212 n. 173 fore-structure. as material. 78. 1–2 embedded in language and technics. consummatory vs. 213–14 family resemblances. implications of. and apprenticeship. 172 forms of sense.. 158 entails autonomy. 143 as meaning-making. 164 143 types of. 41–42 experience technological implications. 175 functional aesthetic. 150. instrumental. not conceptual. 103 embodiment on Vailati.. 42.. expertise. 131–38. 41 Gehlen on functions of. 128 n.Innis Index 9/24/02 10:03 PM Page 256 256 Index echo focus. 173 fundedness. 200 examples. A. 133 ontological aspect. 169–70 qualities in language.. 48–50 bipolar. 150 154–57 explicit. 72 painful. 120 Frisch. 1. 36 normative concerns. on Ptolemy’s achievement. discussed by Vailati. 230–31 Dewey on. vibrant with meaning. 17 Frege. defined. Jr. H. on Bühler and Wittgenstein. 196 bipolar (Dewey). 85 ecological consequences of. 68 Euclid. 163 fore-structures. U. 95 unbounded nature of (Dewey). as sense function. M. 171 parallel with Dewey. 6 language ahead of us.

95 Gestell. E. 196 metaphor. 37 164 role in Polanyi’s thought. E... A.. 28 -schemata. of worker and tools. in language. 143 sentences and predicational nexus. 61 on perception of things. 97 Gestalt human body. 172 hermeneutic relations. H. M. funded nature of. 155 used in all thinking. Hjelmslev. 138 gigantism. 226 situation of presence. 143 Gehlen. 56–57 in-order-to structure of tools. 54–55 tion. M.. 182 and Bühler. 56 scheme. 138 grid. 199 mass-media and mass-entertainment. 156 on echo effect.. 209 Ihde.. von. D. applies Whitehead’s categorial concrete speech as text. 77 moments in language.Innis Index 9/24/02 10:03 PM Page 257 Index 257 Gardiner..’ 170 material and conceptual. 149 plasticity of human being. H. Lakoff. E. on remediation. 24–25 words and meanings. J. 51–88 Hall. 87 n. See also Johnson. 83–87 Hausman. Ihde on. 158. 146 idealization.. 47 as self-analyzing interpretants. 36 generalization. on hermeneutics of instrumenta- purpose of speech. 4 linguistic situation. Edgerton on power of.. 226 approach modified by embodiment. W. 202 worldmaking. 193 Grusin. R. 192 Habermas. 174 vagueness of. 196 habit(s) modified by Deweyan analysis. felt meaning. 56 situation of imagination. 181 primitivization and lability of consciousness. 139 situation of common knowledge. 2 situation. 57 fore-structures. 168 constitution of linguistic sign. 183 . 63–64 Humboldt. 199 cognitional orientation. 88 Goethe. material and intuitive. E. 53 language and mental progress.. 78–83 Heidegger. L. S. 60–66 happiness. 23. technology and ways of ideal. 33 image. 212 four-factor theory of speech. 143. 37–43 Hülzer-Vogt. 32 transformation of the eye’s.. 39 speech and language. magic circle of language. 75. R. aesthetic grasping parallels ‘making strange. 150 indispensability of mental terms. 58 Gestell.. D. 197–98 connection with model of metaphor. 191 Giedion... 138 head-music and body-music. 57 head-music. 133 Herrigel. 135. 29–30 Giotto. 85 relation to Dewey. A. 68. 66–74 Vorhabe. 55–56 critique of Husserl’s Cartesianism. 20 Gendlin. 191–93 dispositional. 204 analysis of intentional arc. 37–43 Husserl. as lower goal of life.. von on inner and outer. 197 and Gardiner. as norm. G.. 53–60 harmony. 3. 29 Goodman.. as aesthetic. 13. J. 74–78 Heelan.. 228–29 embodiment relations and hermeneutic relations. primacy of wholes.. 232 Hookway. P. 44 Hörmann. C. 188 core of conceptual meaning. 95 196 Holenstein. 142. on Peirce’s linguistic turn. 213 icons on significant roughness. 49. 194 Hewison. C. N. 192 functions of exosomatic organs..

2 consciousness as flights and perchings. 62 summarized by Cassirer. 237 as abstraction device. 88 on mechanization of communication.. as skillful. mutual of world and subject.. as new vision. 142 consciousness as emergent function. 207 information knowing. 141. 141 impressionism. mechanical and spiritual. 144 depends on integrative power. 220 adventures in materialization. W. 2 in-order-to structure. 38 information technologies. 224 to be repudiated. 33 implement. 107–8 perform different types of abstraction. 32 n. 153 influenced by Wegener. 35 relevance to Peirce. Peirce on. 216 and leisure. acritical. 229 media matrices of. 138–48 functions of. 226 role in perception. 191–92 as embodied technics. See also tools types of. 201 pathologies of. 29. produced by language. 206 irreversibility. 49 Jefferson. structures of. 233 . 32 n. 216 container metaphor. Langer. 46 as access structures. 172 central Polanyian notion. 208 in language. 75. 162 magic circle of figurative ideas. 207 interpretation. cultural. 88 sounds and thoughts. 82. 32. 37. 112 inference container metaphor. 164 influenced by Bühler. in consciousness. 114 inner experience. J. 153 in a text. on printers. 75 industrialism. 95 biasing of perception. E. 28 on organ-projection. 102–11 Kapp.. 48–50 intentional arc. 163 index. 204 n. 66–74 instrument(s) acritical appropriation of. 43 relying on changes of perception. 58. 115 n. and art. 36 indication. 84 use of decisive. 58–59 Internet. 6. 182–83 parallel with Dewey. technological. on tychastic time. 172 defines all knowing and doing. 92 acritical felt process. 45 Jha. G. 33 functions of. Heidegger on.. of acts of comprehension. 222–23 labor electro-chemical. 35 in-order-to structure. W. 170 indwelling James. Innis. 230 free water of consciousness. 111. 25. 216 mental and manual. 158 Ivins. 230–31 Johnson. 175 Jakobson. 38–43 embodiment in.. 216 holds its ground. 51–98. 224 fostered by digital technologies. 114 abductive. 223–24 laboratory mind. language versus vision. 215–37 Krois. H. 1 Cassirer on. 227 Köhler. 6.. 2. 23–37 joy of perceiving. aesthetic effects of. S. perception as. T. 10 universal phenomenon. 79 n. 215 dependent upon pure signification. 13 distinction between concept and conception.Innis Index 9/24/02 10:03 PM Page 258 258 Index immediacy interpretants. 2. R. 139 language inscription. 159–63 integrations. 176 abductive and deductive compared (Vailati). 218 Lakoff. 201 Peircean perspective on. S. 190 introspection. M. 75. 29 tool as instrument of self-knowledge.. 140–41 natural. 204 n. 132 as ampliative. 112 recording devices. W. role in perception... 3 reading of as skillful.

D. 163 on history of productive organs. 12 Lotka. 1 role in multimedia. 43–48 linear perspective vision. 215–24 had before cognized. Innis on. and art. 199 153 . on universal aesthetic Mead. 52. 195 semantic and magical uses of. 9 circular forms in work. 45 logic. 43–48 synthetic. 154 McLuhan. 11 linguistic and perceptual.. 232 McDermott. Dewey on. constitution of. 215 n. aesthetic sense of. 172 self-moving. 3 not a pure play of signifiers. 143 discussed. 195–96 ‘I’ as result. 175 on work. F.. 222 immediate. 222 Leibniz. 42 linguistic relativity. 186. 22 Vailati and Dewey on. 218. Cassirer breaks with.. central Dewey concept. 49–50 Marx. 159 122–23 Lanier. J. 132 proper model of. musical history of science. 46–47 problem of criterion of. on urban aesthetic. 138 n. 235 n. 106 n. 6 leisure. 191 Le Corbusier. 22. 163 and hubris (Nietzsche). 7. 43 147 physiognostic. 153 mechanical vs. 52 relevance of categorial scheme. on leaving virtual reality. and art. 134 n. 221 materials as system of differences. 143 Levinson. 67 Mach. J. 135 magic circle of.. 1 Léger. 1 probal nature of. unlimited. 60–66 proximate and ultimate. 215. 43 on abstraction and the alphabet. 54 factors.Innis Index 9/24/02 10:03 PM Page 259 Index 259 linear order of versus vision. 49–50. 155 not a veneer. 199 four laws of media (tetrad). G. 195. 151–52 machines mechanization. 8 mathematical logic. 148 consummatory and instrumental. E. and pragmatism. 64 and craftsman’s thoughts (Pirsig). 210 meaning-making Lohmann. Lawrence. 64 Ptolemy’s achievement. 52 map(s) musical element in. 184 n. L. 151 as means of social cooperation. 215–16. 233 n. 106 tacit knowing as general theory of. 52 meaning(s) Levenson. M. G. 195 and Vailati. 233 mass production. 60 on tools.. 109 linguistic sign.. 159–62 portolan. 167 n. and perception. 80 live creature. 174 relation to McLuhan. representative. 149. play.. 199 as norm and challenge. 42 logocentrism. 210 Leroy. 105 mechanic’s feel. on laws and engines. 133 n. on artificial extensions of body. 149. H. play. 49. 154–57 and nature. 187 machinery. and labor. K. 85 situated in fields. A. 188 tool. 235 n. Romanyshyn on. 10 existential vs. 68 n.. 184 and Deweyan aesthetic critique. 12 132–33 meaning-spheres. transparency of. 201 on work. P. M. 69 on hammers. 42. 11 Leroi-Gourhan. T. H. machine forms in work. of communication. aesthetic. 135 on body as probe. J. likens truth to numbers. 115 Levinson’s use of. 149–51 tacit logic of. defined by subsidiaries. 66–67 synchytic concepts. 19–50.. as ordered contexts. 5 teleognostic. 164 Pirsig on..

13 microscope on-line education. 142 Bühler and Gardiner on. F. 153 going to. 229 technics as technical term. 220–22 defines rhythm. paradoxes. 118 Parker. 22 Nicolás. 186 Dewey on. created through tools. 150 as cultural vision. 2 iron fare of industrialism.. of this book logic and technology of writing. A. 139 needs. 219 on consciousness and infinitesimals. 232 embodied consciousness. Vailati on. 221 on photography. 172 Ortega y Gassett.. 58–59 as system of meanings. 135 metaphor(s) noetic-noematic correlations of ascending and descending. 136 motility basic form of intentionality. 181 Müller. 152–53 Papini. B. 111 phonological analogy.178 as matrix of technics. K. 165 light metaphor in Vailati. metaphors of. L. and vision. rotary vs. 147 rhythm. 170 passions. 175 . 148 on music and technology. 178–79. 53–60 distinguished from consciousness. 154 on Peirce’s semiotic realism. 220 defines aesthetic effect. connection with as form of embodiment. 214 parallels with technology. 12 philosophy as technological product. J. permanent possibility carries qualitative pervasive whole. 74–78 shift in embodiment structures. 141 container. I. 224–37 mental processes. follows analytical dimension. modeling. Vailati on. 148 paintings.. 208 instrumentation and science. G. aesthetic realm defined. 111–16 as norm.. 144 of.Innis Index 9/24/02 10:03 PM Page 260 260 Index media on material underpinnings of technics. R. as windows.. 126 169–70 Pareyson. artificial. 214 organization of energies. Mumford. 62 as source of information. W.. 202 as mode of language.. 24 n. 203–15 mind organon-model of language. 20 n. 162 retrieval and continuation. 5 magic. 236 meaning in nascent state. 28. 193 myth(s). 178 congruity with humankind. 131–38. 154 motion. 186 nature as means of expression. 231–36 Merleau-Ponty. 11 Mukarovsky. vii. 116 of mind. 215–37 on perceptual logic of technics. M. 5 organ-projection. 177 Miller.. J. dangers of political. 164 as information technologies. 227 blind man’s cane. reciprocating. on types of technology. 4 on glass. 30 n. intellectual and heuristic.. 131 mediation music tools and signs run together. as intentional orientation 152 Stokes on.. A. M. 164 n. 148 universal. 39 no unified sense of. A. 197 fusion theory of. L. 153 medium mythic consciousness. 111–16 Ong. 172 schema of. 162 rotation.. 140 Nietzsche. 188–89 moon Pacey. 146 real physical presences of. painful embodiment. 218 changes proximity and distance ratios. 116 n. 62. 102. 76–77 normative. 114–15 noise.. 4 Onians. 138. 64 on machines and hubris. method. 115–16 recognized by Dewey.

163 Potter. 176 n. 48–50 and semiosis. 14. 183 connection with work and art. 11 model of consciousness. 56. 68. 48–50 versus space. 83. 187 and Vailati. 19–50. 158 relation to Bühler and Gardiner. 186–87 sense of fitness. 223–24 instrumentalizes linear perspective vision. 15 book. 124 on aesthetic surface of experience. 210 219 on laboratory mind. on plasticity. 169 as technological product. 35 from Gestalt to meaning.. ‘I’ as result. 223–24 physiognomic dimension. 125 Polya. See also qualitative types in.. 172 147 division of signs. 146 and analysis of technics. 59 and method of rotation. as public fortune teller. 110 n. V... 36 indwelling. 36. K. Socratic nature of in Vailati. 123–28 pragmatism. 12 Popper. consciousness as emergent function. 27. 39 Plessner. 6 difference from conception. 39 on mind as sign. 74. 10 Pirsig. 28 Santmyer on. 20 pictures. 48 n. 148. 237 n. 67.Innis Index 9/24/02 10:03 PM Page 261 Index 261 Paul. 54. 216 abduction.. 32 . G. 100 photography Peirce.. 69–70 Peano. 85–86 needs rhetorical history. 198 function of whole organism. as sign process. semiotic realism. 194 primacy of. 235 n. 237 n. 1–15 and semiotics. 45 and method of retrieval and continuation. 221 as eliminative and edifying. 28. 4 relation to Bühler. 178 two logics: spoken and written. 59. 162 on rhythm and the body. 22 Polanyi. D. 154–59 skillful nature of knowing. 20. 20 n. 12 Theatetus. 176 n. S. 175 on mechanic’s feel. 212 physiognomic. 23–24 place and abstraction. R. 27 21 perspective reformulation of intentional arc. 43–48 as activity in Vailati. 124–25 precision. 121 Prall. 163 on scale and the body. 138–49 philosophical implications of. 6 embodied matrix of meaning.. H. M. and Polanyi and Vailati. as windows on perceptual matrix. 105 inherently expressive. 61 effects migration of subjectivity. 35 play lack of continuity of. as philosophical framework of pragmatist and semiotic tools. 140–41 philosophy on tacit logic of language. 12 acritical. 62–65. 157 and philosophy of language. 150–51. 2 on craftsman. vii. 19–50 of signs. C. 173 perception Pikler. 95. 81 phonology. 38 perceptual meaning as model and exemplar. G. 149–63 attack on distinctions. 100. 126–27 politician. 19–37.. 197–98 Vailati on task of. 27. 107 physiognomic perception. 86 as picturing the world. 149.. 35–36 matrix of expressive energies. 115 interpretive nature of. 32 Updike on. 101 quality grasped on the margins. 36 embodiment in language. embodiment role of signs in. 127 and technical embodiment. of technology. 183 Plato. instance of thirdness. 7 abductive. 131–65. 19–23. G. 80. 37–48 skillful. 23–37 historically determined. 23 in relation to painting. H. 48 as practice of rhetoric of suspicion.

52. 173 on separation from nature. 178 images. 30–31 . 43. 183 Dewey on.. 216 theorematic. 181 ultimate norm of meanings. 203–5 Gardiner’s account of. 176 proprioception. 67 Scharfstein. aesthetic. 49–50 somatic migration of. P. 216 Sachwissen. aesthetic. geometrical. 128 n. 176 Rothenberg. 4 bringing the moon closer. 196–97 projection. 1 rationality among qualities. 27. 48 n. 228–29 grammatical. 160 and indwelling. 43–48 logical. 224 of a medium. 39 higher and lower. 29–32. 2. 158 on the moon. 61. 111–17. 78–83 representation kinds of. 214 on camera and hegemony of vision. 143 work of contrived order. 123–28 of perceptual inference. 25. 60–83 predication in Cassirer. 7. 172 n. 232 of a place. 21 n. Dubos on. reduction. 28. 23–37 predicational nexus. R.. parallels linguistic. 221 proximity and distance Ricoeur. 176–78 probes. 38 ritual(s). 192 patterns in the land. rhetoric of. 78–83 premises in Vailati. 96. 196–97 as attended from. 164 role in metaphor. 27. 53 n. 10. 237 n. 42 primary focus. 86.. F. 63 and language. 232 universal scheme of existence. 195 radio. See also Johnson. 148 quality Rossi-Landi. in art.Innis Index 9/24/02 10:03 PM Page 262 262 Index predicate remediation. dual nature of feeling. 7 connection with Cassirer. 194 aesthetic. D. revolutionary aspect of. 39 permeate all sense modalities. 15 Dewey’s theory of. 147 dialectic of. 20. Lakoff. connection with telescope. 233 Peirce’s theory of. connection with mass and the body. H. 148. and striving for effect. 91–92 perceptual and linguistic. 110 n. 78–83 and predication. as social norm.. 172 on nature as norm. 8 on hand’s end. G. 12 Ruskin. 167–80 on Pikler and Vailati. 236–37 on Vailati. 74–78 Wegener’s account of. 211 on impressionism. 236 and argument of the eye. 57. 4 intensification of. 41 n. 148 Romanyshyn. 9 reality.. 31–32 relativity. 82–83 in metaphor. 115 n. 176 realism. 8. 78–83 Bühler and Gardiner on. 227. 45 Saussure. 82–83 bridges perception and language. on Ohio town. 67 n. 196 Janus-faced. 145 corrolarial. 177 privitization of life. 193 rhythm(s) print. 7 schema. 75 remedial technologies. 60. M. S. 40 n... See also collateral experience rationality. relation to quantity. technological. 232 permeates experience. 198–202 Santmyer. 167–202 Rosenthal. 145 natural. B. 144–45 on computer. 177 probal nature of language. 88–98 Polanyi’s conception of. 236–37 and Dewey. 156 of tools. 197 and embodiment. and media saturation. 231–36 Pirsig on. atrophy of senses. 174. practical character of. 152 propaganda. F. J. 34 in Wegener. 41 n. 39.

203–15 on aesthetic control. 203–5 somatic decay. 19–20 Polanyi on tacit nature of. through tools. 214 and technology. on Dewey’s philosophy of sign language. 83–87 somaesthetics. 61–63. 169 constitution of linguistic. 189 . 203–15 38 unlimited. social matrix of. 148 social nature of. 159–62 recognized by feel. 13 as viewpoint of book. 117–23 Snell. 175 Bühler and Gardiner on. bound up with technical doing. 103–4 makes the absent present. 136 basis of distinction between. 175 abstract visual. R... 140–41 semiotics. Cassirer on. 163 modern instrumentally mediated. 78–83 speech.Innis Index 9/24/02 10:03 PM Page 263 Index 263 science function as schemata. 213 splitting of by alphabet. on discovery of the mind.. 136 social matrix of. A. 82 inner.. 29–30 Galilean method. 4 comparative in Vailati. pure and pure signification. 13. E. 123 n. of information. 80 as opposed to language. 53 n. 1–15 soft edge. 53–60 self-alienation. 141 in Wegener. 89–98 self. 216 sensorium aural/tactile. Wegener on. logical. R. 30–33 embodied. created through embodiment. 73 Stokes. scope of. C. 171 really hard. 204–5 in Cassirer. 168 purposiveness of. 102–14 situation self. and technics. B. not under agent’s control. 65 model. 236 types of. 19 universal relevance of. See also Cassirer. 83–84 space sense of fitness. 19–23 structural analogy between knowledge and. structure all embodied mediations. 53–60 as abstraction devices. 204 as search for rhythms. 60–66 external world needs interpretation. 37–39. 216–18 McLuhan on. Gardiner on. as primitive technology. sense of. 177 paradox of. 169. 215–16 pushing meaning-making down. 82 and nature. 215–24 sense. See also language connection with synthesis. 137 Cassirer on types of. Vailati and. 56–58 self-change. 23–37 on externalization. 94 51–88 Shusterman. 65 as poem. 87 power engine of analysis. vii socialism. S. P. 143–44 Simon. 198 Bühler and Gardiner on. inherent tendency of to expand. 28 210 skills semiosis motoric. 140–41 and perception. J. 81 adjectival nature of. 170 function in perception. 198 sentences. 217–18 tychastic. 38 encompasses all of mental life. Sleeper. 3 ideal of Greek. Bühler and Gardiner on how to abstract nature of.. 113–14 material quality and semiotic power. 203–5 136 sense-giving. connected with rock music. 143–44. Skagestad. 84 sign(s) speech-act. 148 icons in perception. 71 emergent semantic quality of. 106 signification. 20 Vailati on nature of. 224 sense-functions somaesthetics. 13 sober. Peirce. nature of versus place..

in perception. 146 Vailati on nature of. on Vailati’s importance. 39 logic of consciousness. 131 stone-blossom. S... 131 used not observed.. J. 211 n. 219 transparency of. symbolic. 188–89 magic circle of. 107–11 symbolic forms. 69 thinking how many. and semiosis. analogical. J. 214 Stuhr. N. 230 as symbolic form. 182 n. grammatical and logical. 141 effects new thought-form. 8 technology on building as complex activity..Innis Index 9/24/02 10:03 PM Page 264 264 Index Stokes. 37–48 breakdown of. 139–40 complex of vector-magnitudes. 30 indispensable for thinking. (continued) economic system and aesthetics. 180–85 on touch and heart. 165 Thelin. 6 changes meaning of nature. 37–43 and rhythms. 164 noise and movement. 78–83 Ten Broeke. 40. 149 theory symbolic constructionism. 182 n. 191 and ways of worldmaking 75. 232–33 n. 14 131–65 recession of. 47–50 matrix of technological embodiment. 131–38 transaction. 220 synthesis. 197 mimetic. 200 modeling and carving. See also technology scope of concept of. thirdness. 13–14 and aesthetics. 25 tool(s) as integrative act. 140 effect if digital technologies. 34–35 distinction between intuitive and verbal. 230 tetrad. 2. 218 stone-blossom. 169 process-extending. 8 proximity and distance. 142 Thayer. 184 abstract.. 203–15 170–71 as source of bias. McLuhan’s four laws of media. 140–41 in-order-to structure.. primary form of sense. 1 as tacit process. Yi-Fu. 36 235 Thom. 176 n. 22. 188 telescope Strauss. 152 technics. 211 tacit connection with machines. 210 matrix of language. 85 tychastic. 4 as kind of conduct. symbolic. 148 subject. 205 and theoretical knowledge. 131–65 transparency subsidiary roots of. 13 acts give rise to coherent entities. 167–202. 205–6 on projection. 84 Sudnow. 190–91 nature of inference. 188 as technics. 50 time symbolism. 174 synchytic concept. R. 191 embodied meaning-making. significational. 219 of tools. 232 type/token distinction. 123 temporal ecstases. and defects of ordinary organic. 43–50 language as. 211 knowledge of skills. 114 technics. 10 aesthetics of. 222 instrumental character of. 100 perilous nature of embodiment in. 213 language. 164 subsidiaries. 34 symbol(s). D. ix and the moon. 140 as organ-projection. memorial. logical. 22 intellectual and technical. 63 . 23–37 bipolar. between organism and field. relation to as organism. 3. H. 146 Tuan. 4. 50 melodic character of. A. leading question. 211 of a sign.

150 . L. 85 n. 88–98 Gardiner’s use of. F. 122 rope metaphor. 88–98 Updike. 62. 96 use objects Welby. J.. 42 metaphors of mind. 96 Zijderveld. 200 and noise. 6 understanding.. V. 237 n.. 163 need for aesthetic satisfaction. Lady. 111–16 wholes. on packed earth. 211 images of in Gardiner. 159–63 Waddington. 85. 56. 144 Wegener. 111. 197 theological language as. 100 work of art. 189–90 Peirce and Polanyi on. 190 Vygotsky. J. Wittgenstein. 185 virtual reality. 100 123–28 and Bühler. 225 relation to Bühler. 54 n. 232 worker(s) vision distortions of oligarchical control.. 142 word vectors as class name. 4.. 142 form determined by feeling. 96–97 theory of language. 56 ments. scope of. 71 subsidiaries as. on adoption of new instru- web metaphor.. 47–48 on affective tones. P. linguistic. 72 n. E. 48 applied by Hall. 142–43 and Peirce’s theory of relations. 55. 99–128 body and causal efficacy.. 190 on grammar of algebra.. G. 143 process. 74 Walter. 201 contrasted with language. used by Alberti. 80. 157 work. 79. preconditions of. 37. new perceptual. Z. 89–91 preconditions of. 176 n. 116 n. A. L. 189–90 on Galileo. 17 point of view as metaphor. 111. 117–23 defined by fields of subsidiaries. 168 Vailati. 66. 182 White.. 102–11 on degradation of environment.. connection with play and art. Wegener on situation theory. 81 Waismann. H. 197 worldmaking. 12 Young. 163 and Vailati. 82. 10 vector fields. 57. von. C. S. goal of individualization Vorhabe. 73 vector-magnitudes in Cassirer. 117–23 on soul as sense of disclosure. J. Cassirer’s use of. A. 91 understanding. 113 Valéry. Jr.. 216 science. N. 58. types of intentional. 143 on philosophy and rhetoric of suspicion. use of camera ottica. 52.Innis Index 9/24/02 10:03 PM Page 265 Index 265 Uexküll. 124 on rationalization of consciousness. 116 n.. P.. See tool. aesthetic. V. poetry as hesitation between sound use of paradigmatic examples. 12 not necessarily aesthetic. 11 Vienna Circle. 11 fitness of aesthetic artifact.. 214 alphabetic. and Vailati. 146 nics.. 119 as ordered contexts. on space and place. 3. 70 worth. vague abstraction and concretion. J. 94–96 velo. 159 on primacy of predication. 178 on abduction and deduction. ways of. 157 words and meanings. 60. 235 n. 146 Voloshinov. on crank and rotary motion. on painting and natural Levinson on. 202 linguistic dimension of philosophy. 175 and Wittgenstein. 177 Wundt. L. 66–74 Vermeer. prior to industrialism. 8–9.. 92 writing. implement metaphor. exemplified in tech- pictorial. W. 91–93 Zuboff. 121 and sense. 112 values. N.. 181 152–53 Whitehead. 165 relation to sentences. 82 Zeug.

and that of Bühler and others in linguistics. —Vincent Colapietro. be of interest to a wide audience. Perception.org . Phenomenology. Technics and technics are viewed as “probes” upon which by David Farrell Krell we rely. While by John T. Innis Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense mediation—the use of signs and sign systems how complementary analytical resources from the pragmatism of Peirce and Dewey. Philosophy. and consciousness) are at once fully embodied and irreducibly symbolic. and Affirmation in the Thought of Jacques the notion of “semiotic embodiment. in which we are embodied. Pennsylvania www. and that themselves embody and structure our primary You Must Change Your Life Poetry. Perception. Innis is Professor of Philosophy at and technics. perception. Lysaker making an important substantive contribution The Pennsylvania State University Press Penn ISBN 0-271-02223-X S tat e co ntinu ed o n b a ck fl a p University Park. we experience traditions can be deployed fruitfully in the shows how these and related phenomena (for example.psupress.” Language Derrida Language. action.” Robert Innis studies the multiple ways in which they are rooted in and Forms of Sense The Primal Roots of American Philosophy: transform human perceptual structures in both Pragmatism.k. He tools (technics). by Bruce Wilshire The book foregrounds and is organized around The Purest of Bastards Works of Mourning. The author brings into sharp focus. Other books in the series and the “forms of sense. His explorations of linguistic and other forms of sense ought to selves and objectively as instruments for Pragmatism of meaning-making.K.!7IA2H1-acccdj!:t. Penn State University Emphasizing this bipolar nature of language Robert E. Making sense of the world around us is a perception by language and technics. the work of Cassirer and Langer in the (preeminently language) and various kinds of American pragmatist and various European philosophy of symbolism. above all else. language and what he calls (following process involving both semiotic and material seeks to provide a methodological model of Ernst Cassirer) technics by drawing upon diverse traditions—principally Robert E. and Native American Thought their individual and social dimensions. and the Birth of Sense modes of encountering the world. understood as intertwined American and European Philosophy Series the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. and Merleau-Ponty. Art.K. Innis P h il o s o p h y cont i n ue d f ro m f ron t fla p to present debates about the “biasing” of “ This is a work of rst-rate scholarship and deep-cutting philosophy. them subjectively as extensions of our bodily Language. As we use them. the phenomenology of Husserl. Innis also replete with important insights and fruitful suggestions. Heidegger.k P r e ss .” accessing the world with which we interact. Technics pursuit of new insights into the phenomenon agency.