C-156. The L-transform

If languages are seen as L-transform technologies (C-155) – i.e., as L-protocols (e.g., with distinctive syntax and other features), as additions to name and word technologies, then their “stand apart” character has to be respected to obtain maximum leverage – by themselves and/or in concert with the R- and V-transform protocols (C-111,154).

To begin….

Consider language as what is said about (WISA); in relationship to what is talked about (WITA) and/or in relationship to what is called for (WICF: C-110). In both cases we are talking about needed functionality (C-144), about WISA is needed for. The familiar “word and thing” relationship puts the emphasis on symbol using (product) rather than symbol making (process). But consider why names, as for identification, needed to be supplemented by words, then by sentences, then by words with prefixes and suffixes, and so on.

(WITA may be WISA [e.g., “What does that word mean?”]. An observation becomes the observed, the focus of attention. It is in this sense, it seems, that Peirce sees “meaning” [of word, idea or event] as what the actor as observer sees as WICF. Hence the actor’s behavior re WICF gives the observed a, not necessarily its, meaning. [We have stipulated WICF as needed functionality. An observer, given the flawed human history re Grasping the Nature of Things, is not assured of Grasping all, or even an optimum portion, of WICF.] The concepts of “objectivity” and “subjectivity” miss a point here. In light of WICF, Realization, not just recognition, is material here.)

WISA re WITA is not just a point AT [aka denotation, code]; WISA is also a point OF (communicating) in consequence of WICF … notably for “transfer of information,” but also for Memory re later step making and taking. Something needs expression, perhaps to make points ABOUT WITA (e.g., using R- and/or V-protocols and/or L-protocols [e.g., verb conjugations, noun declensions).

Special V-languages have been developed to handle some, if not all, of WITA. The sciences have coined terms, some conceptual (especially in the social sciences), some theoretical constructs (in the “hard sciences” – although early practitioners therein [e.g., alchemists] were prone to use conceptual terms). But this hardly meets the functional needs of WISA when WICF lacks the technological assist that the R-transform could provide it – as in giving equal and interdependent emphasis to process and product.

It might be helpful here, initially, to picture a stool with three legs differing in length and strength. The stool is imbalanced. So too will be anyone using it to sit on, to stand on, or to work from.

The familiar triangle of word, thing and idea (e.g., Ogden and Richards) oversimplifies with its cross-sectional, conceptual (C-124) view. To wit: Thing => idea => word; then, word –thing (and the emphasis on symbol using – as though WISA-WITA were not in question, as if definition were not a serious problem).*

A more historical, (Course: C-139) transverse-section view of all the behavior with respect to WITA and WISA seems more appropriate.

WICF looks both directions: to WITA and then to WISA. And WICF (C-110) is needed functionality and exercised functionality, which is a lot – especially when needed functionality is not yet Realized**. Hence the developmental need for improvements in R-protocols (e.g., the introduction of R-words [App. XIX-XX; C-107,151]).

WICF WITA; WICF WISA; then, WISA =?= WITA. What can L-technology do for us that hasn’t been done – or has been done poorly? What new L-protocols might we and should we invent and adopt?

That WISA “=?=” WITA relationship is an important Tell. (“What does that mean?” But also: “What do you mean?” which evokes at least some of WICF – and broadens our Grasp of what “communication” is talking about.) The WICF primacy here makes evident the agency aspect of the R-entity (C-147) in the Course of human events. This R-entity needs a strong, balanced platform on which to base the making and taking of steps. Further development of WICF and WISA technologies seems clearly needed. Protocols of the R-transform, re WICF, and the L-transform, re WISA, along with the V-transform, all re WITA, can be brought together to produce such a platform … i.e., that platform which our BFEPS question has as its goal. Then we should be closer to replacing “WISA =?= WITA” and the presumptive “WISA - WITA” with the more fruitful “WISA WITA” … so that our strength lies in the triangle’s three “” linkages and not solely in the power of the corner pieces.

* Peirce introduces the concept of “interpretant” to replace “idea,” which seems more suggestive of R-entity and WICF. But a structural relationship is still pictured cross-sectionally, to the distress of process. (Viewed from the perspective of the R-word protocol, “interpretant” touches primarily on the product emanating from Realization, Noun-2, with the rest of the process – especially the initial needed functionality – unelaborated.) Pictured more structurally than functionally, following the BPO-biased path of diagnosing bE instead of RE (C-152), and focusing on the WISA-WITA relationship (e.g., Skinner’s agreement on usages) and/or on the logic of the WISA technology in use (e.g., Chomsky on parsing). But the central, historical thrust of needed functionality (C-144), which is to say WICF, argues an incompleteness of after-the-fact structural depictions. “Word-thing” vastly oversimplifies the ranges of both WISA (e.g., from silence and cry to poem) and WITA (e.g., from imagable to imaginable). Perhaps we should take “living language” more to heart, and begin to develop L-transform protocols more firmly rooted in needed functionality.

** The tabulation in C-88, with its gaping holes, illustrates how words and languages now in use fall short of fulfilling all the needed functionality for a strong Grasp of Realization and its roots in the Nature of Things [III]. The influence – and limited contribution – of the BPO-biased focus on particulars of bodies and their relationships is very evident [C-154].)

(c) 2016 R. F. Carter