Peirce and the logic of image

Ahti Veikko Pietarinen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Peirce divided hypoicons into images, diagrams, and metaphors. For diagrams, he developed a logical theory of graphs: many-dimensional linguistic expressions analyzing meaning by virtue of iconicity of logical form. He neglected the logic of images as well as metaphors, however. Metaphors relate to nonstandard meanings that combine complex diagrammatic representations. Images are elementary constituents of qualitative space. I will argue that the interpretation of images corresponds to the interpretation of non-logical vocabularies. This raises the question of whether images are also linguistic, in other words whether the simple qualities they partake of are the simple qualities of some propositional content. I will argue that Peirce favored a picture theory of language that takes images to interpret elementary characters of objects that constitute propositions. He did not ascribe images with properties of propositions, as that would have rendered them non-hypoiconic signs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-261
Number of pages11
Issue number192
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

User-Defined Keywords

  • Diagrams
  • Existential graphs
  • Image
  • Language
  • Logic
  • Peirce
  • Picture theory


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