If the demise of Frank's institute and influence in the profession helps to explain the eventual dominance of the apolitical, professional agenda in philosophy of science, then some explanatory weight must be placed also on the decline of Charles Morris. As discussed in chapter 2, Morris staked his career on outlining a future science of semiotics that would synthesize the best aspects of logical empiricism and pragmatism and function as an organon for the development of a modern, democratic, and scientifically enlightened world culture. While Frank and the institute were declining, therefore, one might expect that Morris would have come to their aid. But Morris's own star had fallen. Because of his enthusiasm for blending Sheldon's somatotype theory with his philosophical research and the because of widely recognized problems with his major book Signs, Language, and Behavior (1946), Morris had less prestige in philosophy and admiration from his colleagues than he did in the 1930s.
Signs, Language, and Behavior
Morris's goal in Signs, Language, and Behavior was to establish a collection of terms for a future science of semiotic that would analyze sign processes in an objective, behavioristic manner. Examples include, obviously, “sign,” “behavior,” and “denotatum,” as well as other terms that Morris defines on their basis. These include “formator” and “formatum,” “pathic sign,” “descriptor,” “designator,” and “determinor.” One problem with the book was Morris's wooden, passive, and soporific style of writing. Morris's most aggressive critic, Arthur Bentley, could not help but poke fun in this regard:
Consider the following: “For something to be a sign to an organism … does not require that the organism signify that the something in question is a sign, for a sign can exist without there being a sign that it is a sign. […]