The Word: An Essay on Seeing, Owning, and the Sacred
Author: Brion D.J.
Source: International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, Volume 14, Number 2, 2001 , pp. 179-197(19)
In the classical period of ancient Greece, Logos had a variety of meanings, most or all of which connoted one aspect or another of Heraclitus's conception of the term, ``the rational governing principle of the universe''. The triadic semiotics of Charles Sanders Peirce suggests that, through the linguistic sign, humans construct structures of meaning, which form the cognitive Worlds in which humans exist, the substantive content of consciousness, and which, as such, provide the explanation for the Cosmos. The three-term Peircean Sign becomes triadic, however, only in conjunction with Peirce's Ground, which provides particular substantive values that form the basis of constructing the meaningful World. Thus, it is possible, for example, to trace in the heterogeneity of judicial doctrine in United States law the alternative sets of values that are available; the function of World creation proceeds when the Ground is suffused with a particular value set. If Logos is conceptualized in terms of these value sets, then it can be understood in terms of ``the rational governing principle of the World.'' In this understanding, the substantive content of the Ground becomes equated with the Sacred. This conceptualization also provides an alternative way of understanding the opening of the Gospel of John in the Christian Bible and the concept of the Trinity in Christian doctrine in terms of the creative powers of humans through the Sign. The fact of this same creative power also provides a way of understanding the strong limitations in ancient Israel on pronouncing the Tetragrammaton.
Document Type: Regular paper
Publication date: 2001-01-01