The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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MORRIS
241
Only objectives consciously sought after may be termed goals. Self-making and man-making require specific objectives in the world of people and things.
The goals of men may be advanced by the intelligent use of signs. And Morris's informative, valuative, incitive, and systemic uses of language make room for every possible purpose.
Informative language provides for "thinking"; valuative language, for "feeling"; and incitive language, for action. Thinking-feeling-doing. That's all there is. There is no more. But Morris provides yet a fourth use. This use he calls "systemic" Systemic language is that language which is used to organize the responses of an interpreter, whether that interpreter is the user or the recipient of signs.31
When Morris speaks of the uses of language, he is concerned with the purpose to which the signs are put. He is concerned, in other words, with the intention of the user. Are the signs used to inform a recipient? If so, they are informative signs. Are the signs used to induce an attitude response? If so, they are valuative signs. Are the signs used to elicit a specific action response? If so, they are incitive signs. Are the signs used to organize the responses of a recipient? If so, they are systemic signs.
When Morris speaks of ways of signifyingof modes of signifyinghe is concerned with hom to signify in order to achieve the purpose of the user of words. If his purpose is to inform others, he will normally select designators as the appropriate signs. If his purpose is to induce an atti-
31 The interpreter may foe the person who produces the signs or someone else toward whom he directs the signs. Obviously, we may interpret signs which we produce. We talk to the self, as it were. The term which I use in this context to refer to someone else toward whom a user directs signs is "recipient"