Four Theories of Things

This essay is about the relation between meaning and materiality. It offers careful and coherent, albeit non-canonical, readings of particular themes in Aristotle, Marx, Heidegger and Peirce. And it does this in order to draw together some classic understandings of value: use-value, in particular, but also exchange-value, truth-value, and moral value (and much else besides). Originating as a series of lecture notes offered to students interested in theoretical archeology, it culminates in a theory of embedded interpretants (as opposed to enminded, embodied, or entextualized interpretants), with an emphasis on semiotic grounds (as opposed to semiotic processes). It is meant to offer a relatively accessible summary, synthesis, and extension of four seemingly disparate, and often quite difficult, theorists.