Immediate object (aspect)

From 1905 on, Peirce abandoned the term ground, probably replacing it by the immediate object. Roughly speaking, therefore, the immediate object is the Form of the dynamic object that the sign apprehends in order to transmit to the interpreter. However, the meanings of ground and immediate object do not coincide completely. The concept of ground enabled Peirce to explain how representation works in the human mind, but was useless to explain how the natural semiosis does not. The ground was born in the bulge of a mentalistic semiotic of a Peirce still tied in the web of the nominalism and Kantism. Although being a quality (cf. CP 1.551), the ground is always general and considered as present in the human mind. In this work, I will consider ground in the original sense applied by Peirce in the New List: as a kind of metaphor or “mental image” as we have already had the opportunity of discussing in the previous chapter. When it incorporates only Firstness and/or Secondness, the immediate object is the “ground” of a percept (cf. CP 4.539). When it incorporates an aspect of Thirdness, the immediate object can fairly be exchanged by the percipuum of the Perceptual Judgment or, in case the percept is a sign (a word, a symptom, an image, etc), by the ground of this very sign. We see, therefore, that the ground stands for the “signic semiosis” as the percipuum stands for the “perceptive semiosis”. In this later case, it is a Form created in the mind by the coalescence of a series of percepts and expressed by a metaphor. Nevertheless, both are expressions of the immediate object.