Objective / Subjective




Subjective                           -                      Objective
Personal                              -                      Universal
Individual                           -                      Collective




There is something for Peirce that transcends the individual interpretation of the interpreter, and it is the transcendental idea of a community, a community as a transcendental principle. 

This principle is not transcendental in the Kantian sense, because it does not come before but after the semiosic process; it is not the structure of the human mind that produces the interpretation but the reality that the semiosis builds up. 

Anyway, from the moment in which the community is pulled to agree with a given interpretation, there is, if not an objective, at least an intersubjective meaning which acquires a privilege over any other possible interpretation spelled out without the agreement of the community. 

The thought or opinion that defines reality must therefore belong to a community of knowers, and this community must be structured and disciplined in accordance with supra-individual principles. 

The real is “the idea in which the community ultimately settles down”. “The opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is the real”.

“The real, then, is what, sooner or later, information and reasoning would finally result in, and which is therefore independent of the vagaries of me and you ... The very origin of the conception of reality shows that this conception essentially involves the notion of a community”.

There is community because there is no intuition in the Cartesian sense. The transcendental meaning is not there and cannot be grasped by an eidetic intuition: Derrida was correct in saying that the phenomenology of Peirce does not - like Husserl's - reveal a presence. But if the sign does not reveal the thing itself, the process of semiosis produces in the long run a socially shared notion of the thing that the community is engaged to take as if it were in itself true. The transcendental meaning is not at the origins of the process but must be postulated as a possible and transitory end of every process.

In the Peircean line of thought it can be asserted that any community of interpreters, in the course of their common inquiry about what kind of object the text they are reading is, can frequently reach (even though nondefinitively and in a fallible way) an agreement about it. 

[…] to reach an agreement about the nature of a given text does not mean either (a) that the interpreters must trace back to the original intention of its author or (b) that such a text must have a unique and final meaning. There are “open” texts that support multiple interpretations, and any common agreement about them ought to concern just their open nature and the textual strategies that make them work that way.

But, even though the interpreters cannot decide which interpretation is the privileged one, they can agree on the fact that certain interpretations are not contextually legitimated. Thus, even though using a text as a playground for implementing unlimited semiosis, they can agree that at certain moments the “play of amusement” can transitorily stop by producing a consensual judgement. 

[Umberto Eco]
The Limits of Interpretation, p. 40-42



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