An example of the social/normative character of representation:

What is the difference between a wooden sign a piece of wood?

It is how the sign is treated, not an intrinsic property of the wood that can be understood in isolation from social practices.


This can movitvate pragmatist understanding of consciousness as not a property of a brain-like thing but rather how a social community relates to such a thing. Or the meaning of what someone says not being private to the speaker but, rather, the best interpretation of what a community can give.


  • One can give an alternative, causal story for how the piece of wood became a sign, when a conscious being shaped it with a representation in mind. This allows an atomistic, materialist, asocial distinction between wood and a sign.