Dyadic perspectivesEdit

The triangle ΔABC has three corners A, B, C, and three sides AB, AC, BC, each suggesting a dyadic relationship. Meanwhile, your concern may focus on just one dyadic relationship, while ignoring the other two, however vitally flowered with them, and however fatally flawed without them!

For example:

AB: "Signified and Signifier" (1916) by Ferdinand de Saussure
BC: Word and Object (1960) by Willard Quine
AC: Person and Object (1976) by Roderick Chisholm [1]


A: Signified, Person, or THOUGHT
B: Signifier, Word, or SYMBOL
C: Object, Thing, or REFERENT.

There have been at least two famous dyadic traditions or paradigms in the study of symbols:

  • Saussure's internalism or subjectivism focusing on the signified and the signifier (1916) as THOUGHT and SYMBOL, while ignoring REFERENT or the object C together with its relationships AC and BC. Walker Percy (1975) argues that the signified and the signifier are nothing but the response to the stimulus, hence the behaviorist perspective. See the chapter "The Delta Factor."
  • Quine's externalism or objectivism focusing on Word and Object (1960) as SYMBOL and REFERENT, while ignoring THOUGHT or the subject A together with its relationships AB and AC. The Wikipedia: Roderick Chisholm article includes a rejoinder (1976) to Quine's ignorance, which reads: "His masterwork was Person and Object, its title deliberately contrasting with W. V. O. Quine's Word and Object."
  • See also semantic externalism that may be ascribable to the seminal article "The Meaning of 'Meaning'" of Putnam, Hilary (1975). Mind, Language and Reality, Philosophical Papers Vol. 2, Cambridge University Press. [^] "Meanings just ain't in the head" is his externalist dictum. Donald Davidson argued for Putnam that semantic externalism constituted an "anti-subjectivist revolution" in philosophers' way of seeing the world. Perhaps more precisely, however, semantic externalism rooted in objectivism and positivism was rather an anti-subjectivist reaction to the sudden subjectivist, interpretivist revolution since the late 1970s that would firmly recognize that we certainly live in The Age of Uncertainty (1977), as timely recognized by an eminent economist John Galbraith. See also some revolutionary, epoch-making, sense-making theses, for instance, of 1975, as listed in the "References" chapter below. In this regard, Putnam was a reactionary, as it were!
  1. The title Person and Object (1976) was deliberately chosen as a rejoinder to Quine’s title Word and Object (1960).