Volume 14, Issue 6 (2024)                   LRR 2024, 14(6): 339-371 | Back to browse issues page


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Hojatizadeh R. From Peircian Metaphor To Symbol: A Different Pattern In Interpreting The Signs Of The Language Of Mysticism. LRR 2024; 14 (6) :339-371
URL: http://lrr.modares.ac.ir/article-14-55192-en.html
Assistant prof, Persian language & literature department, University of Isfahan , r.hojatizadeh@ltr.ui.ac.ir
Abstract:   (3442 Views)
This article seeks to explicate the interpretive model of symbolic expressions, termed "the evolutionary-oriented pattern", relying on the semiotic foundations of Charles Sanders Peirce, an American pragmatist philosopher and semiotician. Inspired by the ideas of Robert Neville (1996), who initiated the adaptation of Peirce's framework to the realm of religious language, the article adopts a descriptive-critical approach. In the first section, it delves into defining the position of metaphor among various types of signs according to Peirce's classification. Subsequently, it discusses the structure and mechanism of interpreting symbolic expressions within the framework of two semiotic processes, and finally, it elucidates the formation of the semantic network of symbols-metaphors by combining both aforementioned processes. In this article, for the first time, two distinct processes in Peircean semiosis, namely, transcendental and non- transcendental processes, have been identified. The roles of each in creating a semantic chain among signs on one hand and between a sign and its interpretant on the other hand have been elucidated. Among the other achievements of this research are the introduction of conceptual frameworks such as interpretive aspect, semantic context, and the referential scope, each playing a role in the systematic interpretation of a sign.

1. Introduction
In the mystical worldview, existence and the world are considered a "symbolic system," involving a semiotic function, as words serve as signs to unfold the beauty and divine grace. Mystical teachings guide us to understand the signs and metaphysical manifestations. Language acts as an intermediary to reveal the truth of the existence and being of things and as Umberto Eco puts it, "truth is nothing but the disclosure of existence through the intermediary of language" (Eco, 2018, p.168). The notion that "language is the voice of existence" leads us from the theories of semiotic conventions to the rules of interpretation or hermeneutics. Mystics, through intuitive insights, discover symbols in their inner visions, manifesting in their imagination. Through these symbols, they find their "profound unity with things" and discover the truth of existence. In this context, language becomes an "unconscious metaphor" that makes us aware of the inner essence of things.

Research Questions
1.    What is Peirce's definition of metaphor?
2.    Is Peircean semiotics equipped with a transcendental function besides its non-transcendental function? if yes;
3.    What is the role of both transcendental and non-transcendental processes in the Interpretation?

2. Literature Review
Anderson (1984) is the first study that compiles Pierce's definition of metaphor through his scattered and ambiguous notes. Furthermore, it elucidates the distinction between metaphor and metonymy to better explain this concept. Colapietro and Olshewsky (1996), in the fifth chapter of their book, have gathered four significant articles on this subject. Among them is Houseman's article, which compares Pierce's perspective on metaphor with the interactive approach of Richards and Max Black's theory. Neville (1996) endeavors to adapt Peirce's semiotic model in the realm of religious signs, aiming to present a conceptual framework for how meaning and interpretation occur. Oehler (1987) explores the possibility of a transcendental interpretation of Peircean semiotics. By referring to the concept of transcendentalism in Kantian philosophy and highlighting the differences between Peirce's pragmatic and experiential philosophy, fundamentally, he does not accept such a possibility.

3. Metaphor and Semantic Networks
Now on, our discussion centers on the interpretive mechanism of metaphor as a crucial component of the language of mysticism. To achieve this, we must first highlight the distinction between two types of sign processes: the non-transcendental process and the transcendental one. Hwan Lee (2018, p.57) refers to non-transcendental sign processes as a horizontal process involving the pursuit of an "ultimate rational interpretation." This is achieved by following a probable interpretive path and relying on a guiding principle or rule, although reaching this final interpretation is consistently delayed.

4. Conclusion
Peircean semiotics provides us the opportunity to overcome many of the issues that have arisen from linguistic analysis within traditional structural or deconstructive semiotics. By defining metaphor from Peirce's perspective and his interpreters, and by identifying two distinct and complementary sign processes, namely non-transcendental and transcendental ones, it becomes evident that interpretations are always ready to return to the dynamics of interpretation and transform into another sign's interpretant. This is because, as Peirce states, a sign represents its interpretation from certain aspects.
However, the interpretive hermeneutics of metaphor and its "evolutionary-oriented pattern", through the aggregation and completion of sequential (temporal and simultaneous) interpretations, attempts to compensate for these semantic shortcomings, bringing the direct interpretant as close or aligned as possible to the dynamic and ultimate referent of the metaphor (the meaning of which is Allah). Yet, complete alignment with the meaning implies the cessation of the evolutionary process of the metaphor and the end of the interpretive journey, which is only possible with the conclusion of the ascending path to God (sufi's self-enrichment process). Therefore, each interpretation itself serves as another metaphorical sign, and one must navigate through it with the help of interpretation. In this context, paying attention to the interpretive aspect, the semantic context, and the interpretive scope are of crucial importance in delineating the systematic pattern of the cyclical process of accumulative-transcendental and reinterpreted-non-transcendental interpretations of the symbol.
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Article Type: مقالات علمی پژوهشی | Subject: Semiotics
Published: 2024/01/30

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