I want to write some dissertation pages in the “Foundations” chapter, focusing on institutional innovation, primarily from reft:padgett_emergence_2012, reft:ostrom_understanding_2009, reft:north_understanding_2010, and reft:thornton_institutional_2012.
BUG: There is a bug in the GMU LaTex template that screws up the hyperlinks in the Table of Contents. The bug involves “List of Tables” and “List of Figures”, which aren’t labeled as “Chapters” or something like that.
BUG: There is a slight bug in the blog index templates, which cut off exerpts at a fixed character count, rather than at a white space character. This throws off markdown and references, if they appear.
UPDATE: fixed this 11/15 using the “truncate” filter in Liquid.
I probably won’t get to it today, but I want to capture an idea on how to model task-performance-through-affordances. I’ve had this idea for over a year, but it goes in and out of focus. My insight here is solid linkage to Peircian semiotics as an essential feature of the system.
Imagine an Explorer making a journey through a new land filled with challenges, difficulties, opportunities, and resources. There isn’t a fixed goal, but instead a general criteria for what “finishing” looks like.
Because of the difficulties, uncertainties, and challenges, the Explorer has little hope of completing a successful journey relying only on the resources and information she starts with. The key to the whole enterprise is to collect, combine, and utilize resources and information along the way. Each of these “on-the-fly” functional resources is an activated affordance, in the Gibsonian sense of affordance, but working in they symbolic/semiotic domain rather than the physical domain. Thus, the landscape+Explorer interrelations constitute the affordances of that system
Computationally, this is equivalent to composing programs dynamically, at run time, as a “side effect” of the “main” program, which is the act of taking the journey itself.
In Peircian semiotics, this translates to the triadic structure of a signification:
- Affordance as interface = Signifying element (a.k.a. “sign-vehicle”)
- “…the sign refined to those elements most crucial to its functioning as a signifier. Peirce uses numerous terms for the signifying element including “sign”, “representamen”, “representation”, and “ground”. Here we shall refer to that element of the sign responsible for signification as the “sign-vehicle”. Peirce’s Theory of Signs
- Action that is afforded = Object (a.k.a. “objective”)
- “[The object]… is perhaps best understood as the placing of constraints or conditions on succesful signification by the object, rather than the object causing or generating the sign.” Peirce’s Theory of Signs
- The program that executes the activated affordance = Interpretant
- “[The interpretant]… is the translation or development of the original sign. The idea is that the interpretant provides a translation of the sign, allowing us a more complex understanding of the sign’s object.”
- “Peirce believes the sign/interpretant relation to be one of determination: the sign determines an interpretant. Further, this determination is not determination in any causal sense, rather, the sign determines an interpretant by using certain features of the way the sign signifies its object to generate and shape our understanding.” Peirce’s Theory of Signs
- Example: “the way that smoke generates or determines an interpretant sign of its object, fire, is by focusing our attention upon the physical connection between smoke and fire.”
- Thus, the Interpretant is meaning-making – the point of it all – the value – the source of utility – the reason for being – how it makes a difference.