Signs And Symbols:
An Analogical Theory Of Metaphysical Language
Randall Eugene Auxier
; 0665 EMORY UNIVERSITY
Advisor: DONALD PHILLIP VERENE
Source: DAI, 53, no. 05A, (1992): 1539
This dissertation takes as its central problem the several dilemmas associated with the metaphysical implications of meaning and reference, sign and object, symbol and thing symbolized. In recent times, this group of problems has been more passed over than wrestled with, more dismissed and ignored than answered. A practical solution is proposed herein which might be best termed an "heuristic" regarding the language employed in speaking of subjects metaphysical.
As an heuristic, the theory of analogy runs a middle course between logic and metaphor, concept and image, and offers a means of converting each into the terms of the other. Analogies admit of enough "logical structure" to permit the development of a theory of truth, which provides some measure of assurance about when and where the analogical transformations which the theory makes possible have in fact been carried out properly. Accordingly, such a theory of truth is also offered.
The analysis given in the first two parts of this three-part study are primarily historical. The difficulties surrounding signs and symbols, meaning and reference, etc., are here set out and clarified. The views of C. S. Peirce, Umberto Eco and W. V. Quine receive primary attention in part one, while those of Ernst Cassirer and Susanne Langer are treated in part two. The former group are discussed mainly with regard to the problems which arise in association with the capacity of a sign or word to "represent" an object. On the other side, the latter two thinkers each propound very detailed theories of symbology. Certain metaphysical problems haunt their theories of the symbol, however, and part two brings these out.
Part three contains the positive theory of analogy, including a new set of "analogical categories" and the analogical account of truth. Herein, Plato, Aristotle, A. N. Whitehead, Albert Einstein, and John Dewey are discussed in less detail than the five thinkers mentioned earlier. Among other things, an interpretation of the language of relativity physics is offered. Also, post-evolutionary metaphysics is compared and contrasted with traditional metaphysics as a means of working out the theory of analogy.
HISTORY OF SCIENCE
Accession No: AAG9224385