PEIRCE-L Digest for Saturday, December 14, 2002

NOTE: This record of what has been posted to PEIRCE-L
has been nodified by omission of redundant quotations in
the messages. both for legibility and to save space.
-- Joseph Ransdell, PEIRCE-L manager/owner]

1. RE: Peirce
2. Re: Reductions Among Relations
3. Sidney Hook Symposium
5. Logic Of Relatives
6. Re: Logic Of Relatives


Subject: RE: Peirce
From: Girrard Deledalle <
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2002 09:44:38 +0100
X-Message-Number: 1

To Mats Bergmann,
Dear Colleague,

You may also read Girard Deledalle : "Semeiotic and Linguistics - Peirce
and Jakobson" in Charles S. Peirce's Philosophy of Signs _ Essays in
Comparative Semiotics, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2000.


Girard Deledalle



Subject: Re: Reductions Among Relations
From: Jon Awbrey <
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2002 05:08:01 -0500
X-Message-Number: 2


RAR. Note 24


There are a number of very instructive observations that we might make
at this point. One of the most striking is that a composite relation
can be a very simple sort of relation, for all its being compounded
of other relations. Indeed, in our recent example, G o H is the
elementary relation 4:4, and yet it is evidently composed of the
2-adic relations G and H. What's more, there is nothing unique
about this decomposition, as many other pairs of factors would
be capable of producing the same result. What this tells us
is that the complexity of a 2-adic relation is not strongly
related to its properties under relational decomposition.
Thus, if are looking for a "structure theory" of 2-adic
relations that would identify irreducible primitives
the way that the structure theory of natural numbers
identifies prime numbers as its basis, it will have
to involve other sorts of considerations than just
the relational decomposition of 2-adic relations.

Jon Awbrey




Subject: Sidney Hook Symposium
From: "Peter Brawley" <
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2002 06:37:49 -0800
X-Message-Number: 3

North American listers may want to drop in on C-Span/BookTV coverage of the
Sidney Hook Symposium today (Sat) at 8am & 430pm




From: "Joseph Ransdell" <
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2002 15:40:46 -0600
X-Message-Number: 4

(VERSION 12-14-2002)

NOTE: This is the final and corrected version of this paper, prepared for
the proceedings volume for the Workshop on Computational Intelligence and
Semiotics, organized by Joco Queiroz and Ricardo Gudwin at Sco Paulo, Brazil
on October 8-9, 2002. (Some formatting lost in ASCII version)


Dept of Philosophy
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, Texas 79409 USA

ABSTRACT: The aim of the present paper is, first, to describe the
distinction of two types of computational intelligence research as Peter
Skagestad has distinguished them: Artificial Intelligence or "AI" and
Intelligence Augmentation or "IA"; then, second, to draw attention to a
special sort of IA research, namely, computer programming which aims at
supporting, augmenting, and perfecting the critical control of research
communication and publication. Skagestad has been especially concerned to
position Peirce as providing a theoretical basis for IA comparable to the
foundational position of Alan Turing in relation to AI, and he does this by
explaining what is implicit in Peirce's dictum that "all thought is in
signs," which he construes as meaning that all thought is materially
embodied, which he interprets as involving a recognition of the importance
of exosomatic embodiments of mind. In developing Skagestad's conception of
IA further in the direction indicated I also ground this in Peirce's dictum,
but I do so by making explicit a different (but complementary) implication
of it, namely, that all thought is dialogical. As an exemplary (but not
prototypical) case of IA of this special sort, I use the automated archive
and server system of primary publication created by the physicist Paul
Ginsparg at Los Alamos National Laboratory some 12 years ago, which is
presently in successful use in the fields of high energy theoretical physics
and several closely associated fields in physics, astronomy, and
mathematics. I argue that a proper understanding of the success of this
system, which can be regarded as an IA application, reveals it to be an
ideal implementation of computationally assisted primary (i.e. formal)
publication. However, the interesting cases for development of IA in this
area will be those that attempt to find out and design computational
assistance for the many varieties of communicational practices involved in
research activity that precede the stage of inquiry at which formal
assertion of putative findings occurs. Interest in these less formal and
rigorous types of communicational practices has yet to develop because they
must be understood in relationship to the formal publication practices, and
these latter have been so poorly understood that there has been no
conceptual framework available for investigating these other and equally
important practices as regards their rationale and needs.


Peter Skagestad -- philosopher and Peirce scholar -- identifies two distinct
programming visions that have animated research into computationally based
intelligence which he labels, respectively, as: "Artificial Intelligence"
or "AI" and "Intelligence Augmentation" or "IA".1 The aim of the present
paper is, first, to describe the distinction of these two types of
computational intelligence research for the benefit of those who might not
be accustomed to recognizing these as co-ordinate parts of it, and then,
second, to draw attention to a special sort of Intelligence Augmentation
(IA) research which seems to me to warrant special emphasis and description,
both because of its potential importance and because Skagestad's account of
the distinctive features of IA research does not seem to me to capture the
most salient characteristics of this special part of it, perhaps because it
may not have occurred to him that it is distinctive enough to require
special attention in order to be recognized for what it is.

AI research can be characterized roughly as computer programming which aims
at creating machines that can think as well or better than humans can think,
whereas IA research is computer programming which aims at providing a
computational basis for augmenting or increasing the effectiveness of human
thinking by assisting it, as distinct from attempting to replace it by a
machine simulation. The two can be regarded as being, in a general way,
complementary in application, and the term "computational intelligence
research" or "CI research" (as I will abbreviate it) can reasonably be
regarded as embracing both. The particular type of IA to which I wish to
draw attention here is computer programming which aims at supporting,
augmenting, and perfecting the critical control of research communication
and publication.

Although the philosophical work of Charles Peirce is relevant to AI as well
as to IA,2 Skagestad is especially concerned to position Peirce as providing
a theoretical basis for IA comparable to the foundational position of Alan
Turing as regards AI in virtue of the latter's conception of the Universal
Machine and of the so-called "Turing Test" for computer intelligence.
Skagestad positions Peirce in this way by explaining what is implicit in
Peirce's dictum that "all thought is in sign," construed as meaning that all
thought is materially embodied. In developing Skagestad's conception of IA
further in the direction indicated I also ground this in Peirce's dictum,
but I do so by making explicit a different (but complementary) implication
of the same Peircean dictum, namely, that all thought is dialogical.3 As an
exemplary (but not prototypical) case of IA of this special sort, I use the
archive and server system of primary publication created by the physicist
Paul Ginsparg at Los Alamos some ten years ago which is presently in use in
the fields of high energy theoretical physics and several closely associated
fields in physics, astronomy, and mathematics.


The present audience will require no reference to the literature on AI
research, but the basis for the IA movement in computational intelligence
research may not be equally familiar. The distinction is certainly implicit
in much of the speculative literature on computational intelligence in the
past few decades, but the overt recognition of these as two equally
important developments within the broader category of computational
intelligence programming seems to be relatively recent.4 As background for
the present paper I recommend three papers by Peter Skagestad on this topic
which are easily available on-line. Links to these papers are to be found
on the Peirce "ARISBE" website on the following web page:5

All three of these papers are relevant, but I will only be touching here on
a few of the points he makes in them, chiefly (though not exclusively) in
the paper of 1993. In these papers, Skagestad distinguishes between AI or
Artificial Intelligence and IA or Intelligence Augmentation as two
distinguishable types of programming goals that correspond to what he
regards as two distinct "computer revolutions", rooted in "two very
different notional machines", namely, Alan Turing's Universal Machine, as
described in his 1936 paper on computable numbers,6 and Vannevar Bush's
Memex, as described in a paper by Bush of 1945.7 Skagestad says:

Both the Turing machine and the Memex attempt to mechanize specific
functions of the human mind. What Turing tried to mechanize was computation
and, more generally, any reasoning process that can be represented by an
algorithm; what Bush tried to mechanize were the associative processes
through which the human memory works. ...

The Memex, which attempts to replicate human memory, and hence may be aid to
embody '"artificial memory", was not intended to rival the human mind [as AI
does] but to extend the reach of the mind by making records more quickly
available and by making the most helpful records available when needed. This
idea directly inspired the research program known as "intelligence
augmentation" (IA), which was formulated in 1962 by Douglas Engelbart with
explicit indebtedness to Bush, . . .
----------end quote

Skagestad remarks further that:

The Turing machine is the ancestor of the inference engine under the hood of
the personal computer . . . , while Bush's Memex is the ancestor of many of
those features we refer to, collectively, as the user interface.
-----------end quote

And he reminds us that:

In the sixties computers were huge, expensive machines usable only by an
initiated elite; the idea of turning these machines into personal
information-management tools that would be generally affordable and usable
without special training was advocated only by a fringe of visionaries and
was regarded as bizarre not only by the general public, but also by the
mainstream of the electronics industry. The second computer revolution
obviously could not have taken place without the first one preceding it, but
the first computer revolution could very easily have taken place without
being followed by the second one.
------------end quote

Phenomena of this complexity are often explainable, as regards their
origins, from more than one perspective. Real things have facets, and
multiple complementary perspectives on complex historical realities is
usually required in order to have a reasonably sophisticated account of them
overall. In this case the role of visionaries like Turing and Bush is
undoubtedly important, but there are other things to be said about the
origins of the conception(s) of the computer as well, and my guess is that,
as regards the origin of the conception of it as an instrument of personal
use in augmenting the ability to produce text, to work with documents in
various ways, and to communicate with others it originated, in part at
least, as an unintended by-product of work designed to satisfy the need to
document the programming involved in mainframe computing, the maintenance of
which required that records be kept both for one's own use as a programmer
and for the use of other programmers as well. This in turn required the
ability not only to record information but also to communicate it, which
could be facilitated by making use of the powers of the computer itself as
the instrument for doing such recording and transmitting.

It was by no means necessary to make such use of the computer for this
purpose, though, since the recording and communicating of programs and
programming notes could all have been done in ways previously used for
recording and communicating things like that, namely by writing them down on
sheets of paper either by hand or by use of a typewriter. But once the use
of the computer itself for such purposes was recognized as a possibility and
regularly practiced, it is not surprising that there would be a few people
here and there perceptive enough to grasp much broader and more exciting
visions of possible use, for the purpose of actualizing what Vannevar Bush
had envisioned in Memex, which was, among other things, the prototypical
vision for what later became the conception of hypertext linkage.

In any case, Skagestad himself draws three preliminary conclusions from his
historical account of the difference of the two visions:

First, the Turing machine and the Memex each provided an indispensable piece
of the technology that has become known as the personal computer, which we
may today opt to conceptualize either as a personal Turing machine or as a
computerized Memex;

Second, the two constructs are not rivals in the sense of offering
conflicting solutions to the same problem; Bush and Turing were attacking
entirely different problems, and so their respective solutions do not
directly conflict with each other; but:

Third, the two constructs embody different conceptions of the human mind in
general and of human-machine interaction in particular.
-------------end quote

He continues, saying:

Turing regarded the human being as essentially indistinguishable from a
machine; Bush regarded the human being as essentially a machine user, and
sought to construct symbol-manipulation machines that would be "thinking
machines" in the sense of machines to think with, not machines that think.
While Bush's vision has served as the inspiration for a vast industry that
is rapidly transforming our culture and society, Turing's vision has become
the governing paradigm of the research program known as artificial
intelligence (AI), and indeed for the entire interdisciplinary field known
as cognitive science. So pervasive is the influence of this paradigm that
one frequently hears it said that the computational model is the only
comprehensive and fully articulated model of the mind available. There is,
however, a different model of the mind available-one which, while not
articulated by Bush, is fully supportive of the research program Bush
initiated, the program today known as "intelligence augmentation" (IA). The
model I have in mind is one which was articulated in the nineteenth century
by Charles Peirce, and which has recently been advocated by James Fetzer as
the semiotic model of the mind.
--------------end quote

To summarize to this point, Skagestad's basic argument is to the effect
that computational intelligence research (CI research) has thus far worked
chiefly from two distinctive visions of what might be achieved -- AI
(Artificial Intelligence) and IA (Intelligence Augmentation) -- which are
capable of being regarded as complementary rather than exclusive
alternatives of CI development, but which may tend to be at odds with one
another because of the importantly different conceptions of mentality which
lie at their respective bases. Skagestad's primary aim thus far, though,
has not been to encourage research development in which they are capable of
being mutually supportive, though he is doubtless in favor of this, but
rather to make clear that the second paradigm for research into
computational intelligence is conceptually independent of the first, such
that what we refer to as if it were one thing, the computer, is in reality
two importantly different things at once: on the one hand, an
algorithm-embodying mechanism capable of mimicking mentality functionally to
an extent yet to be determined; on the other, an instrument for coordinating
factors variously involved in human intelligence insofar as these can be
supported mechanistically in such a way as to augment human intelligence

Skagestad regards the theoretical basis for the AI conception as lying in
Turing's conception of the Universal Machine, but he does not regard the
corresponding historical figure in Intelligence Augmentation, Vannevar Bush,
as providing the theoretical basis for the IA tradition generally. His view
is rather that although Peirce did not envision its actualization in the
concrete way Bush did in his conception of the Memex machine, Peirce's
philosophy does provide a theoretical basis for the IA tradition generally
in a way that Bush's more limited vision does not. Skagestad also recognizes
others whose conceptions are supportive of this theoretical basis as well,
most notably Karl Popper and his conception of the exosomatic evolutionary
development of mind, as is explained at some length in Skagestad's 1993
paper. But he regards Peirce's work, which was prior to Popper's, as being
theoretically more adequate.


I agree with Peter Skagestad both as regards the need to recognize that two
distinct research projects have actually been at work in the development of
computational intelligence technology, and as regards the claim that
Peirce's philosophy can provide a theoretical basis for the second kind of
computational intelligence project as well as contributing importantly to
the first. I take this basic agreement for granted here, but before going
ahead to explain the further aspect of the IA research tradition which
especially interests me, I should note first that I do not think that
Skagestad has succeeded thus far in identifying precisely enough what it is
that is fundamental in the IA tradition that runs from Bush through Douglas
Engelbart, J.L.C. Licklider (internet development), Ivan Sutherland
(computer graphics), Ted Nelson (hypertext), Alan Kay (interface design),
and other stellar figures up through Tim Berners-Lee, who both invented the
conception of the world wide web and at the same time established it as an
actual world wide hypertext system, beginning around 1989, and who still
continues with his development work on the so-called "semantic web".8 That
is, I do not find any place where Skagestad describes IA in a way that seems
to capture what the various facets of it to which he appeals in his account
have in common which would justify regarding this second controlling vision
as itself a single or unitary vision, though I believe there is indeed some
such unifying factor to be appealed to.

Thus Skagestad at times refers to IA as being based on the conception of
the personal computer, in contrast with the conception of the computer
exemplified in the kind of computing characteristic of mainframe computing.
This could perhaps be firmed up by identifying some trait or traits
essentially characteristic of personal computers that could be shown to
involve the rest by implication, but I do not find that this is done
satisfactorily. He also frequently mentions the problematics and purposes
of user interface design as of the first importance, and that, too, is
certainly to the point but also is not itself satisfactorily defined. In
using Bush's vision of the Memex machine as an historical basis, he is, in
effect, privileging the principles of hypertext as fundamental, and this
surely is of basic importance, too. But, again, I find no attempt on
Skagestad's part to demonstrate that these principles are somehow at the
bottom of it all. Networking is still another possible candidate which he
uses as illustrative of the second revolution in computing, but the general
idea at the basis of networking would have to be made clear and shown to be
conceptually basic relative to the other factors mentioned as characteristic
of IA research and this has not been done either.

My own hunch -- and it is little more than that, but it seems worth
mentioning in a suggestive spirit here -- is that the key to the identity of
what Skagestad characterizes as the IA tradition in computational research
lies in the conception of interactive computing, which he does indeed
recognize in passing but does not linger on. One reason for thinking this
might be the key factor is that the conception of the personal computer
seems to have developed historically in large part from the attempts of the
early hacker community at MIT to take advantage of the DEC machines that
came into competition with the IBM mainframes, as being more responsive to
the programmers' needs than the monoliths that preceded them. These needs
included the need to play -- the fountainhead of creativity in the
development of the computer generally, in my opinion -- and the games
devised were interactive ones involving the production of text to be
produced by the player and interpreted by the computer, and text produced by
the computer to be interpreted by the player, in a continual response and
counter-response which simulated human interactivity with things in one's
environment in the context of a structure of inquiry which gave sense to it
all. I am referring, of course, to the "adventure" games in particular,
which were games of discovery as based on clues provided by textual
descriptions of what items were to be found in the labyrinthine tunnels of
the "Colossal Cave" in which the adventurers found themselves.

With this, the paradigm of the computer as an algorithm-enacting machine
was implicitly displaced by quite another vision of what these things were
all about; for regardless of what was happening on the side of the
machine -- let us assume it was nothing but the use of algorithms in
application to data structures -- what was happening on the side of the game
player, who was an integral part of the overall interactive system, was not
algorithmic, with the result that the overall system of interaction could
not itself be understood simply as the orderly triggering of algorithms and
bore little overall resemblance to what the machine appeared to be in the
perception of the mainframe programmer, who was accustomed to thinking in
terms of the machine as dedicated to the enactment of purely deductive
routines operating on data supplied to it for purposes of drawing just such
deductive conclusions from it. Finding your way out of the Colossal Cave
required a lot of deduction, to be sure, but algorithmic deduction was not
the overall form of the activity of the interactive person-and-machine,
which, in effect, humanized the latter by informing it with human
spontaneity in the service of discovery.

Human and machine interactivity in the solution of problems arising in the
context of discovery is the point from which I would start, then, in
attempting to get a clear and unitary vision of the essence of what Peter
Skagestad regards as the second computer revolution and identifies with the
project of IA or Intelligence Augmentation.9 Skagestad might agree with me
on this -- I am not suggesting any disagreement here -- but as best I can
make out from what he does say in the articles mentioned, the starting point
for understanding IA philosophically for him has been rather with the idea
of the "exosomatic" location of mind in the material environment.

Let me explain now how this relates to the Peircean dictum that all thought
is in signs, which he regards -- rightly, in my opinion -- as the key
conception for understanding Peirce's semiotic as capable of providing a
theoretical basis for IA generally.


Peter Skagestad understands the dictum "All thought is in signs" to mean
that thought is not primarily a modification of consciousness, since
unconscious thought is quite possible in Peirce's view, but rather a matter
of behavior -- not, however, a matter of a thinker's behavior (which would
be a special case) but rather of the behavior of the publicly available
material media and artifacts in which thought resides as a dispositional
power. The power is signification, which is the power of the sign to
generate interpretants of itself. Thinking is semiosis, and semiosis is the
action of a sign. The sign actualizes itself as a sign in generating an
interpretant, which is itself a further sign of the same thing, which,
actualized as a sign, generates a further interpretant, and so on. As
Skagestad construes the import of this -- correctly, I believe -- the
development of thinking can take the form of development of the material
media of thinking, which means such things as the development of instruments
and media of expression, such as notational systems, or means and media of
inscription such as books and writing instruments, languages considered as
material entities like written inscriptions and sounds, physical instruments
of observation such as test tubes, microscopes, particle accelerators, and
so forth. The evolution of mind means that cognition is still developing,
not primarily in the nervous system and brain and not in some mysterious
kind of immaterial mind-stuff, but rather in the material instruments and
media of cognition. Thus Peirce says, for example:

A psychologist cuts out a lobe of my brain (nihil animale a me alienum puto)
and then, when I find I cannot express myself, he says, 'You see, your
faculty of language was localized in that lobe.' No doubt it was; and so, if
he had filched my inkstand, I should not have been able to continue my
discussion until I had got another. Yea, the very thoughts would not come to
me [emphasis added]. So my faculty of discussion is equally localized in my

Let me quote Skagestad's comment on this:

As is indicated by the emphasized sentence, Peirce is not making the
trivial point that without ink he would not be able to communicate his
thoughts. The point is, rather, that his thoughts come to him in and through
the act of writing, so that having writing implements is a condition for
having certain thoughts -- specifically those issuing from trains of thought
that are too long to be entertained in a human consciousness. This is
precisely the idea that, sixty years later, motivated Engelbart to devise
new technologies for writing so as to improve human thought processes, as
well as the idea that motivated Havelock's interpretation of Plato.

I am sure you can readily see the connection of this with the development of
computer graphics, the user interface, the use of the mouse, word
processing, hypertext, and so forth, which is what primarily interests Peter
Skagestad. The theoretical grounding of all of this in Peirce lies in his
locating of thought in the media of its expression, as expressed in the
dictum that "all thought is in signs."


With this as preface, then, let me explain something about my own interest
in Intelligence Augmentation as a Computational Intelligence project and
indicate how it relates to his interests. I agree with Peter Skagestad as
regards what has been said thus far, and my interests certainly include
those computational mechanisms that constitute and control the interface
both with document and data materials and with other persons, and which
include or enable the many powers of manipulation of text and graphics that
have been developed in recent years, that enable us to make and follow
hypertext links (i.e. to associate freely and to trace associations already
made), that enable us to exchange messages with others and communicate with
them in a number of different ways, and so forth. But there is a further
and equally valid interpretation of the dictum that "all thought is in
signs" which also has implications for computationally-based Intelligence
Augmentation, namely, that thought is dialogical -- hence communicational --
in form. If thought is to be found in signs, and is actualized in their
actual generation of interpretant-signs of themselves, then it is the flow
of discourse as asymmetric dialogically-structured interpretation calling
forth further interpretation that constitutes the flow or process of
thought, and the development of intelligence is at least in part a matter of
the development of critical control practices that conform to
communicational norms which make discourse more efficient and effective
relative to whatever ends it may have.

Since the discourse or communication in question is to be made more
effectively intelligent, it seems reasonable to start out by working with
communication as it occurs especially in processes of inquiry, where the
function of the norms of critical control is to make inquiry more successful
in the sort of results it specifically aims at. The ability to be
successful in this way is certainly an important part of what we regard as
intelligence and this is, of course, a natural place to begin for any
philosopher who has been influenced by the work of Charles Peirce and John
Dewey, as I have. Now, by far the most effective kinds of inquiry that have
been humanly devised are those that occur in research traditions of the sort
which began developing in antiquity as early as six or seven centuries B.C,
and have ramified and given birth to many further such traditions especially
during the past five or six centuries, which include both what we now call
the "sciences" and what we usually think of as "scholarly" traditions as
well. In these traditions research ability is embodied in practices,
habits, and skills of the inquirers which can be divided into two types: on
the one hand, there are what might be called the "material skills" of
inquiry which have developed in the given field, some of which will be
field-specific but of which many will be common to a number of such fields,
and some common to all. On the other hand, there are also what I will call
the "discursive skills" of inquiry, meaning by that the mastery of those
practices, habits, and skills of discussion and communicational interaction
that control the flow of discourse in the context of inquiry, according to
the communicational norms developed in the various research traditions
generally: I mean such special practices as asserting, suggesting,
questioning, making critical response and counter-response, raising
objections, elaboration of points made, etc. These skills have been
largely overlooked thus far, and I want to bring them particularly to your
attention here and try to convey some idea of why I think they are
important, in spite of being largely ignored as a distinctive type of IA
research at present.

The sort of Intelligence Augmentation I am chiefly concerned with, then, is
that which would be achieved by devising mechanisms and programs that would
increase the effectiveness of the communicational norms which encourage
successful inquiry as these have developed in research traditions whose
ancestral forms sometimes go back more than two and a half millennia ago,
and also those that would facilitate and inquiry into the norms themselves
for the purpose of identifying those the conformity to which would indeed
result in more successful inquiry. The project of development of any
computational devices that could be helpful in this would qualify as a
contribution to IA research of this special kind.

I should remark, though, that whether the focus on communication in inquiry
in particular will provide us with an adequate basis for understanding the
potentialities of IA programming designed especially to make communication
in general more intelligent is another matter. The approach via concern
with inquiry in particular is a natural place to begin but it might take us
only a certain distance, beyond which we will need to consider other and
importantly different types of communication as well if our aim is to
develop Intelligence Augmentation of this sort as extensively as we can. We
can leave that question aside here, but understanding something of the
potentialities and problematics of IA in this respect should at least
provide us with a more sophisticated understanding of the role of
communicational norms in intellectual life than we presently enjoy, and it
will also enables us to take extensive advantage of the philosophical work
of Charles Peirce -- himself a master of inquiry in a number of different
fields -- in developing analytical conceptions for this purpose.


The support for this in Peirce's philosophy is primarily in his theory of
inquiry, which is the general framework he relies upon in developing his
logic. Logic includes the development of notations and derivation
techniques for deduction, and the development of methodologies of induction
and abduction as well, but Peirce situates these traditional logical
concerns within the framework of inquiry conceived in such a way that it can
be regarded, for some purposes, as a general theory of assertion. However,
I am hesitant to call it that because it could be more misleading than
helpful to do so in view of the way speech act theory, which was pioneered
by Peirce, has been developed in the past century after his death, which has
taken an importantly different approach to understanding what assertion is
by minimizing the social aspect of the speech act as much as possible. This
is done by considering the role of the addressee of the act to be limited to
whatever is implicit in recognizing the given speech act as being the sort
of act it is. "Uptake" is the usual term for this sort of constitutive
acknowledgement of the speech act as being of this type or that, and by
focusing solely -- and usually with great brevity -- on that one aspect of
the involvement of the community in general in every act of serious
assertion the role that assertional acts in particular actually play in a
community of inquirers has been left largely unexplored and undeveloped.
This is not what Peirce had in mind in conceiving logic as a general theory
of assertion, however.

If you are already acquainted with Peirce's work you will know that he
prefaced his first systematic overview account of the logic of science with
a pair of essays -- "The Fixation of Belief" and "How to Make Our Ideas
Clear" -- which situate logic in the narrower sense in which it is taught in
logic classes within the general framework of a process of inquiry10 which
might roughly be described overall as follows: A particular inquiry which
occurs within an ongoing and enduring inquiry process is not to be regarded
as having an absolute moment in time when it first begins nor a moment in
time when it completely and definitively ends, but to be thought of rather
as coming into existence when the ongoing process has become informed by
two or more conflicting tendencies toward acceptance of something which has
resulted in a stalemate or conceptual impasse (aporia) of the sort we would
describe logically in terms of two or more contradicting assertions of
opinion at once. A given inquiry is constituted by the inability of the
inquirers to resolve a disagreement about what is to be accepted. This
disagreement will have come about as a result of the accumulation of
understanding up to that point, and the overall direction of inquiry is
given by the attempt to take such steps as are required to get past the
initial impasse or aporia in order to arrive at a shared and non-conflicting
acceptance of results or findings. This shared acceptance, if it occurs,
will enable further inquiry into the same subject-matter to proceed, using,
when relevant, whatever is then accepted as the basis for achieving still
further understanding of the subject-matter. The typical patterns of
agreement, disagreement, and research strategy this can involve have been
rather thoroughly explored as regards its logical import by both Peirce and
Dewey in particular and will not be of special concern to us here.

Now, to regard logic as a theory of assertion is to take a certain and
rather special perspective on the inquiry process,11 regarding it
particularly from the point of view of the individual inquirer considered as
motivated qua member of that research community by the aim of making a
contribution to the shared understanding of the subject-matter which has
already developed within the research tradition. The actual act of
assertion occurs, then, when the individual inquirer, having prepared
him/herself sufficiently to be willing to take the risk involved in doing
so, actually attempts to capture the attention of others in the research
field in such a way as to cause them to come to the same conclusion which he
or she has already come to and thus to contribute to the research tradition
by shaping it in the direction of an ultimately stable and shared
understanding of the subject-matter.

This is done by making a claim of a finding or -- if deemed important
enough -- a discovery, this being done by putting forth a research report.
The occurrence of such an act, when it is recognized for what it is, is the
intentional triggering of a complex set of non-terminating communicational
obligations and permissions that apply not merely to the researcher making
the claim but to everyone in the research tradition addressed by the


As we will see shortly, It is necessary to distinguish between assertions
made in a serious spirit and in a playful or at least nonserious spirit.
Initially, though, I focus upon serious assertion, both because it is easier
to characterize in a brief space than the many varieties of nonserious
assertion that typically occur in the course of inquiry --constituted by a
number of importantly and sometimes subtly different ways in which the force
of an assertion can be qualified or made conditional -- and because of the
unique role of serious assertion in the ongoing communicational interactions
that are continually structuring and restructuring the inquiry process
through the effect of conformity to the norms of permission and obligation
they involve. Regarded from a rather detached or esthetic perspective, the
course of inquiry in a lively research tradition exhibits what might fairly
be called a kind of choreography of conversation, though the participants do
not normally think of it in that way; and in the dance of research, acts of
serious assertion provide a kind of emphasis that has a unique organizing
effect on the process when it occurs.

For present purposes, let me characterize serious assertion as obtaining
whenever the person making the assertion takes full responsibility for
making a claim which, taken seriously by the others in the research
community, will put upon them the obligation to take what has been claimed
seriously enough to allow themselves to be persuaded to the conclusion which
the claimant has already come to, if the claimant has actually made the case
for it in the claim in a way that is found to be rationally persuasive.
(Found to be so by whom? By each member of the given research community
taken distributively, i.e. taken one by one, as distinct from the membership
regarded as a collectively constituted individual. The research community
is not to be regarded as a collective entity.13) Other obligations
involving both the claimant and the fellow researchers addressed by the
claim are involved in serious assertion as well.

For example, the claimant is required to be sincere about actually having
arrived at the conclusion him/herself; those addressed by the claim are
obligated to make known to the claimant and to the research community any
serious objections they have to the claim made in case they see a serious
flaw in it and think it important enough to warn others about; anyone
addressed by the claim -- i.e. any member of the research community -- is
permitted to respond appropriately to the claim in any other way they see
fit, insofar as it bears on the question of whether the claim should be
accepted; the person making the claim is required to include enough
information about the method of replication of results to enable it to be
tested according to the claimant's own specifications; the claimant is
expected to have some explanation in case an objection is made to the effect
that replication has been attempted but failed; and so on.

This describes what I have been calling "serious" assertion, and it
obviously plays a special role in the inquiry process because of the power
of a seriously made research claim, regarded as such by all concerned, to
affect the actual course of research in a given research community in virtue
of its ability to impose such obligations on those in the same community and
thus, at times at least, to compel the members of the community in general
to a common conclusion. This is, at least, what the claimant hopes to be
the ultimate effect of making such an assertion, though there is no way of
doing this that can have the regular effect of actually achieving such an
agreement. Indeed, the number of those that do succeed in that respect will
often be decidedly in the minority. There can be no such thing as an
algorithm for achieving research acceptance, and computational programming
which took that for its goal would be futile.14

Now, assertion of this sort is, of course, much the same as what is usually
referred to as "publication". But the word "publication" is often used in
reference to ways of making things public which does not entail or carry
with it the kinds of strong and definite norm-triggering associated with
research claims proper, so let us refer to the making of serious research
claims, in the sense just described, as acts of primary publication.
("Formal publication" would often be a contextually adequate synonym, and I
will sometimes use it as such here, but there are reasons why a distinctive
term of art for this is desirable, and there is a special motivation for
adopting the word "primary" for this purpose.15)


But the inquiry process is not simply a matter of being serious in this
sense, but also involves much -- indeed, far more -- communicational
activity of a preparatory sort which also affects its outcome importantly
but does so differently since what is said, not being asserted seriously in
that sense, does not trigger the same rigid and rigorous obligations as an
act of primary publication triggers. (This does not mean that it triggers
the applicability of no norms at all: all speech acts trigger some generally
recognized norms, and even the most playful of discourse in the context of
inquiry is norm-governed.) Seriousness or nonseriousness, in this special
sense, is not a matter of how anyone feels: people can, in a nonserious
way, argue about matters with great passion and intensity of conviction as
regards their opinion at that moment, but still be arguing nonseriously in
that it is understood by all concerned that what is being said is not to be
taken as invoking the application of the rigid and rigorous communicational
norms associated with what is identified as a serious claim to a research
finding. What makes assertion serious, in the relevant sense, is the de
facto recognition and acceptance of the intent that the special rules of
discourse that constitute the obligations and permissions attendant to a
serious research claim obtain, and this is not a matter of how anyone feels
but of the willingness to accept the application of the especially rigorous
communicational norms associated with such claims.16

As research traditions have developed across time, various kinds of
communicational practices have developed within them which in one way and
another qualify them as nonserious in the sense indicated: for example,
informal discussions of an occasional nature with research colleagues
casually encountered, including correspondence by mail; more or less loosely
structured group meetings of various kinds (which can range from local
discussion groups with more or less set topics and discussion agendas, to
international conferences, congresses, and the like); coordinated team
efforts as part of complex research projects such as are becoming
increasingly common in the hard sciences; messages and sometimes long and
complex threads of discussion posted to public forums and newsgroups; and
even self-communication, as when we are working out our ideas in momentary
isolation from others in the tradition with which we identify ourselves,
which can be regarded as limit cases of the social. And so forth.

I have no idea how many different sorts of communicational practices might
turn out to be worth recognizing, but they will obviously vary greatly as
regards the controlling norms governing what is regarded as
communicationally appropriate, depending on what the communication is
supposed to accomplish in contributing to the general aim of learning more
in breadth and depth about the subject-matter of the research tradition.
Sometimes people are in need of an opportunity to try out new ideas simply
in order to find out whether they are worth exploring further; sometimes
they are in need of exposing their thinking to others to get some rapid
critical feedback, negative or positive; sometimes ideas are being put forth
to lay some groundwork for establishing a possible future claim to priority
in discovery; sometimes certain things are being discussed simply because
the participants think their overall view of the research topics that
interest them are in need of vitalization by being set within in a different
context than usual; and so forth.

Which of these would be the most important as regards research aims? Are
the cases of serious assertion -- primary publication -- the most important?
The answer is surely that one cannot make such a judgment a priori and apart
from any actual context of concern, or apart from an understanding of the
extent to which the given research tradition is flourishing or is still in a
stage wherein it is not clear where it is going yet. Sometimes a primary
publication claim can be of the first importance, and they frequently are.
But a casual conversation in a hallway between a couple of unusually
talented researchers might well make a far greater difference to the future
of the given research tradition than any single act of publication does and
thus be more important in that sense. Primary publication has a unique role
in the process, which we will be considering further shortly, but
"importance" is not the right word for it. And this should be stressed
since there is a strong tendency not merely to overemphasize its importance,
but to put so much emphasis on it as to ignore the possible importance of
other communicational practices altogether, and thus to reduce one's
conception of what inquiry is to a misleading caricature.

Research is a kind of hunting activity, and to identify publication as the
most important thing in research communication is like saying that the most
important thing in the hunt is the coordinated attack on the prey at the
close of the hunt, which is no doubt true in some cases but cannot be said
to be generally true inasmuch as the complex process of hunting may well
involve activities preliminary to the climactic attempt to capture or kill
the prey (and be only loosely connected with it) which are actually far more
important in its success than the acts of actually attacking or capturing
it, which can sometimes be little more than pro forma.

In what follows I will be illustrating what I have in mind by Intelligence
Augmentation of this special type by reference to a concrete case of unusual
interest, namely, the automated publication system devised by the physicist
Paul Ginsparg for the benefit of his own research community (high energy
theoretical physics) and several others closely associated with it. The
special interest that attaches to it is due in part to the fact that
understanding it requires recognizing the need to distinguish between
serious assertion or primary publication and other kinds of communication
that occur in the course of research. It will be important to bear in mind
in understanding the case, then, that it not be interpreted as being used by
me as a paradigm of research communication in general. It is used rather
because of the way in which it illustrates the special role which primary
publication has come to play in research, and also because acquaintance with
how it has been received by people in various research communities who are
interested in the uses of the internet in scientific and scholarly
communication reveals the massive confusion that presently exists in the
general understanding of how critical control works in research
communication. This confusion is based largely on a misunderstanding of the
nature and function of peer review.


We turn now to the case of the automated archive and server system for
pre-print distribution of publication in high energy theoretical physics,
and in several related fields in physics, astronomy, and mathematics, which
was first developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory by the physicist
Paul Ginsparg some twelve years or so ago.17 The system was recently moved
to Cornell University when Ginsparg took a position there, and the official
name of it now is simply "arXiv" -- the "X" is a visual pun on the Greek
letter chi -- but I will refer to it here as "the Ginsparg system" in order
to keep the focus on the work of Ginsparg in setting it up, which is the
instance of IA application of special interest to us here. Since inquiry is
a form of learning, the success of which is an increase in the understanding
of things, anything which contributes to the efficiency and effectiveness of
inquiry is ipso facto an augmentation of intelligence. The interest in
Ginsparg's work does not lie, however, in any special sophistication or
novelty involved in the programming, considered simply as computer
programming, but rather in the way the programming was developed as a
material support for communication governed by certain controlling norms
believed to be conducive to the furtherance of inquiry in the fields it was
originally intended to serve. These norms are those just discussed above as
those governing what I have thus far referred to as "serious assertion" or
"primary publication". The Ginsparg system was obviously quite consciously
set up to be a venue serving this purpose and it has in fact done so ever

The way the system works is simple. If one wants to make a claim to a
research result to one's research peers in the field in question, one writes
up the claim being made and the basis for it, considered as a conclusion, in
the form commonly understood to be dictated by whatever would be required
for purposes of testing or replication, whether that involves an appeal to a
priori reasoning, as in the case of mathematical proof claims, or to
observational or experimental procedures. The generic form of all such
papers can be described quite specifically, if necessary, but there is no
need for our immediate purpose to say more than that there is nothing
unusual about the expectations of the people in the fields which use the
Ginsparg system as their medium of primary publication as regards the form
they expect such publications to take, which does not differ significantly
from the form which primary publication takes in any other research field,
most of which can be deduced from the fact that the researcher must make
clear what would be required for purposes of replication of results. The
archive is programmed to accept several special formats, such as postscript,
pdf, LateX, and HTML. It is left up to the person depositing the paper to
do the formatting and encoding required (or to arrange for having it done
properly). The act of depositing is understood by the research community
to whom it is addressed as intended as a serious assertion, i.e. as an act
of primary publication. and if it meets certain minimal conditions (e.g.
includes specifications for replicability of results) it may actually be
recognized as being such.18

In addition to the paper itself, one also prepares an accompanying
abstract, usually involving the use of topical key words, and one deposits
both paper and abstract in the archive. The abstract -- not the paper -- is
then automatically distributed by email to those users of the publication
system who have previously indicated, by a description of their own research
interests, that they are interested in reading all papers that might contain
material especially pertinent to their research concerns. (Since the
archive is divided up by fields and subfields, one might simply signify to
the machine that one is interested in any abstracts deposited that pertain
to one's field.) If a reader of the abstract decides that the paper it
describes might be of interest, then he or she can click on a link which
will cause the whole paper to be sent to them or downloaded by them. The
entire process of deposit, notification, and retrieval of papers is

If one disagrees with the claim made and it seems important enough to do so
formally, then one can deposit a reply to it in the same place that will
also be formally correct, as that is generally understood in the field in
question. Thus critical dialogical interchanges can occur in the system
which are of the same general type as those which might occur in a
traditional professional journal which permits "replies" as a normal part of
the publication process. But it is important to understand that the
arrangement is not conducive to the kind of informal discussion typical of,
say, a listserver based forum or an organized discussion group or among the
members of a special project team, or a "bulletin board" or "news" group
discussion, much less with the kind of discussion that might occur on a
real-time "chat" line. Inappropriate responses might well be made and
deposited in the archive -- there is nothing which precludes this -- but the
system is designed to discourage that by making it necessary to deposit an
abstract if one wants others in the field to know that one has made a reply.
This helps to insure in practice a kind of formality which is of the essence
of what I am calling "primary publication". Too much is at stake
professionally in what appears under such an understanding to make the
communicational mores of, say, an informal discussion group appropriate. In
the case of the Ginsparg archive and server system there is no "policing" to
insure this, as it has been found not to be necessary.


From a narrow point of view, the Ginsparg archive-and-server system is
nothing more than an automated form of a system of communication that had
already existed for decades in the research fields it serves, namely, the
practice of distributing copies of pre-prints to others in the field,
meaning by "pre-prints" papers embodying primary publication claims
distributed to research peers prior to their appearance as papers published
in the editorially controlled journals in the field, often prior to
submission to such media of publication, and sometimes not even destined to
be submitted. Pre-prints are not the same as drafts, though, since the term
"draft" implies a lack of polish and completeness that would be
inappropriate in something distributed as a pre-print. On the other hand,
something regardable as a pre-print can also be regarded as a revisable
version, and most pre-prints that are subsequently published in a journal
are probably going to be revised to some extent before they appear there,
even if only at the behest of the journal editor, who is often under
pressure to economize on the space occupied by the paper in the journal.

Before the establishment of the Ginsparg system at Los Alamos, pre-print
distribution usually meant distribution only to those well-enough connected
professionally to be on the mailing list for distribution of preprints by
those at the "leading edge" in the field, which of course tended to insure
that those on the distribution list would be strongly advantaged thereby in
their professional success as researchers. Thus there were actually two
distinct venues of primary publication in such fields: the pre-print
distribution system and the system of editorially controlled and
"peer-reviewed" professional journals, corresponding to the distinction
between well-connected and thus advantaged researchers and those
not-so-well-connected and thus not in position to participate in leading
edge research. The time delay involved in publication in the professional
journals usually means that, by the time those who depend on the journal
literature for understanding what is at the "leading edge" find out what is
happening there, the edge will already have moved on to other matters. Any
field which puts great stress on priority of discovery will tend to resort
to pre-print distribution as a means of primary publication unless there is
something that hinders it, and the domination of the direction of research
in many fields by those in the privileged position of being able to
participate in primary publication of this kind -- sometimes discussed in
terms of the domination of research by "invisible colleges"19 of the
communicationally privileged -- was a matter of growing concern in the
sciences by the time Ginsparg established his automated and unrestrictedly
accessible pre-print server system at Los Alamos.

Ginsparg and his associates seem to have been aware from the beginning that
something of potentially momentous importance had been accomplished by the
relatively simple act of installing the archive and server system on the
internet with a policy of unrestricted access to deposit and retrieval.
Judging from such discussion of this as I am acquainted with, the most
important thing for them seems to have been that in adopting this new system
they were making a transition from a system of publication which was
primarily serving the special interests of just those physicists who, like
themselves, happened to be in the advantaged "in-group", to a system
serving the needs of all physicists the world over who are capable of
accessing the internet, even if only at a minimum level of efficiency,
without limitations based on special qualification or collegial connections.
I will refer to this as the cosmopolitan motive in their idealism.

At the same time, though, they seem to have understood that something else
was being accomplished as well which had to do somehow with an exposi of the
peer review practices of the journals as being impertinent to the critical
control of leading edge research. Since it is part of the received and
conventional wisdom that peer review is the one thing that insures that
"standards of quality" will be recognized in research and in control of
publication, their typically contemptuous dismissal of it as impertinent was
construed by many people as dangerously subversive of science and
scholarship, especially in view of the fact that the scientific disciplines
from which it was emanating are high on the scale of professional prestige
and thus cannot simply be written off as complaints of the sort to be
expected from people who can't meet the supposedly high standards of peer
review. This can be regarded as the anti-authoritarian aspect of their
idealism, not because they explicitly construe it in that way but because it
is in fact a rejection of the authoritarian conception of the role of peer
review in research, and I think they have had some understanding of that
even though I find no attempt to think the concept of peer review through to
figure out what, exactly, is or is not happening in it and what the basis
for critical control actually is or should be.

Thus Ginsparg and his associates, who created and developed the publication
system, took a highly idealistic view of it for the reasons just indicated,
and this idealistic zeal initially took the form of claiming that what they
had accomplished at Los Alamos for their own fields can be accomplished
across the board in the sciences, and not only there but in research
traditions generally. Limitations of time and space do not permit a
description here of what has happened in the past few years as this
idealistic zeal met with increasingly hardened resistance, which finally
took the form of a deflationary rhetoric which has been highly successful,
at least temporarily, in inducing a kind of obscurantist confusion about the
Ginsparg publication system that has now largely silenced it as a reform
movement.20 This was achieved by invoking and promulgating a certain
important misunderstanding about the nature of peer review while at the same
time forbidding the discussion of peer review reform in the most influential
public forum devoted to the topic of free on-line scholarship. This
effectively reduced the apparent significance of the success of this system
of publication to a minimum by encouraging a refusal to recognize the
Ginsparg system as a system of primary publication.

When the existence of the Ginsparg system became widely known, beginning
some five or six years or so ago, it generated much "viewing with alarm",
and dire predictions about the inevitable decline in quality of research in
the fields using the system were common.21 It seems reasonably clear by
now, however, that this predicted decline has not occurred and these
pessimistic assessments seem to have given way generally to an admission,
sometimes grudging, that it does seem to be working for those fields for
which it was originally designed. On the other hand, it has also become
increasingly clear that there is no tendency yet toward general adoption of
it as a model for publication practices in the sciences generally, as
Ginsparg and some of his associates had once thought might occur, much less
toward emulation of it in scientific and scholarly research publication
generally. Consequently, the initial interest in it as a revolutionary new
internet-enabled publication system has now all but disappeared.

Indeed, as I remarked above, it is now commonly regarded as not being a
publication system at all, notwithstanding the fact that it has continued to
be the chief system for primary publication -- as defined here -- in those
fields which it was originally invented to serve. Yet the only value of it
for publication practices generally is now usually considered to lie in the
fact that it has provided the model for the development of internet archival
systems of a type which might be replicated at any number of different nodal
points on the internet -- university based archives of this type are now
being touted as ideal nodal replications of it -- the virtue of which is
that anything deposited at any such archive becomes ipso facto available as
a document in a single world-wide virtual database of such documents, which
can be searched and subjected generally to programs designed for purposes of
retrieval of material from it, for keeping track of what is there as any
master library must do, and for purposes of analysis of the documents it
contains in the interest of sorting them out and describing them according
to any number of different sets of criteria corresponding to various
interests which someone might have in them as publications with a history.
The value of this is indisputable, but it is not, in my opinion, the most
important thing to understand about the Ginsparg publication system.

Thus although the rhetorical disinformation about the system as a
publication system has had no effect on its use in the fields for which it
was originally designed, which still continue to flourish with the use of
it, it has effectively diverted attention from its idealistic aspect and the
potentialities for encouraging reform implicit in the automated system, and
the major significance of it has come to appear (quite misleadingly) to be
only that it is an example of how it is possible to make the transition from
paper-based journal publication to on-line publication without raising any
reform issues that might disturb the already prevailing systems of hegemony
exercised by the various institutions and cabals that control research by
supporting and controlling publication. With this, the significance of the
success of the Ginsparg archive for the development of what is potentially a
very important part of IA research has been obscured in such a way as to
amount to a kind of "dumbing down" of our understanding of the conditions of
success in scientific and scholarly research. To reverse this it is
necessary to insist upon the challenge which the Ginsparg system has posed
and continues to pose for peer review as that is presently understood.


I should emphasize that the view of peer review being proposed here is not
in opposition to regarding peer review as of fundamental importance in the
critical control of research. The view is rather that what has come to be
called "peer review" is not peer review proper but rather a crippled form of
it which is not only of limited value at best as a critical control
principle but is also a subversion of the peer principle that underlies the
practice of authentic peer review. Why? Because it treats peer review as a
system of elite control, which is directly contrary to the conception of a
peer. According to the view being presented here, the working of authentic
peer review is in fact best observed in action by studying the practices
exemplified paradigmatically by the Ginsparg system (or any equivalent
system) of primary publication.

When I first became interested in this issue, I thought it would be best
not to disturb the present usage of the term "peer review" as referring to
editorially commissioned pre-publication peer review, especially since the
early enthusiasts for the Ginsparg publication system typically regarded
peer review, in that sense, as of little real importance because leading
edge research seemed to have little use for it: by the time a paper appears
in a journal, the leading edge has moved on, and so the function of the
journal as a venue cannot be to control what appears at the leading edge in
the form of research claims. This is not to say that the editorially
controlled journal cannot be of service to those at the leading edge, but it
would have to be in virtue of the uses of retrospection, of getting clear on
what has been accomplished, as distinct from the accomplishing of it, which
does not require editorial validation based on peer review. Something like
this, at least, was and perhaps still is the view of the researchers
supporting the use of the Ginsparg publication system. The possibility that
the primary control function of peer review is precisely that of control at
the leading edge and that the unfiltered automated archive is actually where
authentic peer review is to be found does not seem to have occurred to the
physicists, however, any more than it occurred to the partisans of the
editorially controlled journals, who regard the journal as the natural home
of peer review and thus of the primary critical control factor in scientific
research. With this sort of agreement among the antagonists as regards what
peer review is -- namely, editorially commissioned pre-publication peer
assessment -- it seemed to me that it would be folly to challenge this, even
though I already believed that it involves a serious misconception, and the
best bet would be to leave that usage of the term "peer review" undisturbed.
After all, it was basically just a verbal matter -- or so I at first
supposed -- and perhaps no more, at bottom, than a quibble about usage.

But in this I was mistaken. What I did not yet realize was that it would
be in virtue of the exploitation of the physicists' rejection of peer
review -- as they understood it in common with their opponents -- as a
primary critical control factor that the supposedly dangerous radicalism of
the automated, unfiltered, and unrestrictedly accessible publication system
at Los Alamos would be neutralized and rendered innocuous as regards any
vested interests that might be threatened by the challenge to peer review as
presently understood. I have since realized, though, that since it is
respect for the peer principle that lies at the basis of the critical
control of research communication generally, this was a rhetorical mistake
that has enabled the success of those who deny the significance of the
success of the Ginsparg system by denying that it has the status which it
actually does have as a venue for primary publication. With this status
denied, what actually takes place in the Ginsparg system can be and now
commonly is in fact dismissed as being no different in kind from what
happens on any bulletin board, listserver based forum or discussion group,
chat line, or any other informal medium not regarded as important enough to
the hegemony of legitimacy claimed by the editorially controlled journal to
be a challenge to it.

What has been missing thus far in this is an understanding of the
conception of a peer which would explain why peer review, wherever located
in the process, can be taken for granted as the basic critical control
function in research. Yet for this very reason what is now commonly
regarded as its paradigmatic occurrence -- editorially commissioned
pre-publication peer review -- should be recognized as a false pretender,
since properly understood peer review is best exemplified at present by the
routine workings of the Ginsparg automated, unfiltered, unedited, and
unrestrictedly accessible archive and server system. Or so I will argue.
Why, then, is it thought important that the acceptance of research claims in
a given field be something that happens in consequence of peer assessment of
claims made?

A research peer is, of course, an equal. To be more exact, a peer is a
presumptive equal, not someone who has been demonstrated to be de facto
equal in this or that respect but rather someone who is regarded,
presumptively, as someone whose informed opinion about the subject-matter of
research is to be taken as seriously as one's own opinion is insofar as that
depends on the status of the researcher, as distinct from its dependence on
the justification provided by the researcher for the claim. A peer is
someone whose disagreement with one's own view requires to be explained and
should not simply be ignored, this being assumed prior to any examination of
what the reason for the disagreement may be; a non-peer is someone whose
opinion about the matter in question makes no difference to you, poses no
challenge to you either to explain the disagreement or to accept the fact
that you haven't made your case if you can't explain it. The question of
what gives a person peer status will not be addressed here. Its importance
is understood, but it is not possible to do justice to it here. Let it
suffice for present purposes to say that, in practice, what determines peer
status is the same thing that determines who it is that is being addressed
in the research claim.

This is one of many places where the concept of primary publication shows
itself to be of value. In primary publication, the researcher making the
claim is always addressing a more or less definitely envisioned research
community consisting of all persons who share the same serious concern with
the same subject-matter, the purpose of making the claim being to appeal to
such persons to recognize the validity of the research conclusion which one
has drawn and is putting forth as a conclusion which, one argues, should be
accepted henceforth as a premise or presupposition in their further thinking
about the subject-matter in question. In putting forth one's claim in the
form of a primary publication one is attempting to trigger a process
controlled by the complex set of obligations and permissions which I alluded
to and sketchily described above, in Sec. 7, which one hopes will eventuate
in the acceptance by those addressed of one's claim. Those addressed are
one's peers -- that is, being one's peer and being a member of the group
addressed is the same thing -- and thus all persons addressed are regarded
as being equal in the sense of being subject to these norms, the set of
which applies to the researcher making the claim as well since they are the
role-defining rules which the dialogue of publication is to conform to.

Peer review proper, then, is what occurs in the inquiry process when one
makes such a research claim and the research community addressed responds
according to the communicational norms that then obtain. All communication
that occurs within this normatively constituted dialogical space that
pertains to the claim at issue is peer review.


To get a clear understanding of what peer review is and why it is rightly
regarded as fundamental in the critical control of research, we have to
understand why it is thought important that the acceptance of research
claims in a given field be something that happens in consequence of peer
assessment of claims made . As remarked earlier, a peer is a presumptive
equal, not someone who has been demonstrated to be de facto equal in this
and that respect but rather someone who is regarded, presumptively, as one
whose informed opinion about the subject-matter at issue is important
enough -- because competent enough -- that any disagreement of one's own
opinion with that of the peer's opinion yields a situation in which both
opinions cannot be true but neither can be decisive in respect to which of
them is mistaken in virtue of one of them having superior status in such
matters. In other words, there is no relationship of authority among
peers -- unless we are talking about Animal Farm,22 where some peers are
recognized as being more peerish than others.

The concept of a peer appears in many different contexts in modern society.
A familiar example of the way peer status works can be illustrated by a case
where a physician is asked by a patient of another physician for a second
opinion. Physicians usually do not object to a patient's request for a
second opinion provided it is understood that both opinions are on par as
professional assessments in the sense that the second opinion is simply one
more opinion to be duly considered rather than a definitive or determining
opinion relative to the first: there is and can be no general presumption in
favor of one peer's opinions relative to another based on the status of the
physician. They are in that sense equal. This does not imply that one of
them cannot make a better case than the other, but that is something which
the patient has to judge for him/herself. In case the two opinions
conflict, the question of which to follow cannot be settled by turning to a
third physician who will settle the matter by telling the client which is
right: all that the third can do is to offer a third opinion, on par with
the other two, and if it agrees with one and not the other, there is still
no implication that the one agreed to by two of the three is the better
opinion in virtue of that. In other words, there is no authority status
recognized as obtaining among physicians, all of whom are on par -- are
peers -- in this sense. In general, there are no authorities among peers,
no superiors or inferiors. Recognition of peer status is a procedural
matter, not recognition of a matter of fact.

If this is so the question is, then, why the egalitarian conception of a
research peer should be regarded as a part of the normative rationale of
research, as it has in fact come to be conceived in modern times. Is this
due merely to a sympathetic extrapolation from a commitment to political
equality? Although this topic cannot be addressed here in depth and detail
and with the rigor it deserves, at least this much can be said, namely, that
the adoption of this normative conception in the practice of inquiry is
based on the underlying assumption that in perceptual interaction with the
subject-matter -- in experience of it, in other words -- the subject-matter
itself will compel us to a belief or conviction about itself, provided we
have made ourselves properly receptive to it conceptually and perceptually.
The assumption is that there must be a causal relationship between the
subject-matter of research and the researcher in which the researcher is
passive in the sense of receiving the action of the object, such that the
researcher's convictions are shaped by the subject-matter itself.

A common sense illustration: What color does a certain object have which is
presently outside of my range of vision? I take steps to observe it and
when I do this I see that it is red, let us say, and glaringly so: there is
just no doubt about it. I can think anything I want, but the object itself
insists upon impressing its redness on me, in that particular situation, at
least, whether I like it or not. Experience is what interaction with the
object impresses upon you; it is what you emerge from your encounter with
the object as having learned from it. Now, it is the empiricist principle
that requires recognition of the peer principle. Let me explain sketchily
how this works.

Real things are faceted in the sense that they are perceivable from
multiple complementary points of view, each of which is a facet or aspect of
the appearance of the same thing. As the perceiver varies in his or her
relationship to the object the shift in perspective or point of view reveals
other facets of the object, each of which must be taken duly into account
and reconciled with the rest as different facets or aspects of the same
thing. The reason we must respect others as our peers in inquiry into
things is that we cannot possibly build up an adequate general understanding
of our subject-matter in a research field without trusting the basic
competence of others in the field except where we have definite reason for
doubting it, provided we have some prima facie reason for supposing that
competence to exist. Otherwise our attention would have to be constantly
diverted into an investigation of the competence of each of our colleagues
rather than into the subject-matter. A peer is -- logically regarded --
equivalent to a respected perspective (or set of perspectives) on the
subject-matter, and to treat a peer as other than an equivalent of
oneself -- whether as a superior or as an inferior -- is to undermine and
derange the coordination of perspectives which is the constant task of the
ongoing science.23

Peirce describes the coordination of the perspectives of the individual
inquirers, which assumes an equal respect for each such perspective as
having its own role to play in providing the composite substance of the data
being reconciled in the coordination, in a striking passage in "How to Make
Our Ideas Clear":

One man may investigate the velocity of light by studying the transits of
Venus and the aberration of the stars; another by the oppositions of Mars
and the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites; a third by the method of Fizeau; a
fourth by that of Foucault; a fifth by the motions of the curves of
Lissajoux; a sixth, a seventh, an eighth, and a ninth, may follow the
different methods of comparing the measures of statical and dynamical
electricity. They may at first obtain different results, but, as each
perfects his method and his processes, the results are found to move
steadily together toward a destined center. So with all scientific research.
Different minds may set out with the most antagonistic views, but the
progress of investigation carries them by a force outside of themselves to
one and the same conclusion. (Collected Papers, 5.407)

The force outside of themselves as individuals is the manifestation of the
reality of the object as a causal agent, determining the understanding of
the community of inquirers by compelling the initially differing opinions of
individual inquirers in such a way as to contribute toward the accumulated
composite understanding in which, by theoretical coordination and
reconciliation, a shared and commonly perceived unitary subject-matter is
achieved. When only some members of a research community are actually
treated as having a right to provide input into the theoretical
reconciliation that is constantly being constructed in the ongoing course of
inquiry, the community of inquirers shrinks, in effect, to the size of those
so privileged, and the properties of the subject-matter that are effectively
being accessed and taken duly into account for purposes of arriving at an
understanding of the subject-matter are correspondingly diminished, and,
with this, the theoretical understanding being erected on that basis is
increasingly less determined by the real and therefore increasingly likely
to be merely fanciful as properties of it which might otherwise be made
available to the inquiring community are not experientially accessible. The
empiricist principle that the subject-matter must have its say-so in the
results arrived at, if the results are to be reliable, thus requires
acceptance of the peer principle in research.

Speaking generally, it is possible to produce an understanding of a higher
order of magnitude of intelligence in a research community or tradition than
is achievable at the level of the individual as such: it is as if each
person in the research community, each seeing something the others do not
perceive in exactly the same way, adds his or her individual perceptual
faculties and what they can yield to those of his or her peers, putting
him/herself in service to others in that way: the research community as such
has as many eyes and ears and individual minds as it has mutually trusted
members, and is incomparably more intelligent than any of its members
considered singly, provided its communicational practices enable its members
to work together in constructing a commonly accepted and reliable
theoretical understanding in which their individual contributions are
reconciled and coordinated.

This can be done, though, only on condition of there being basic
relationships of trust of the competence and honesty of others in the
research community being taken for granted, and this trust is in turn based
on attitudes of presumption toward one another which eliminate the need for
each person to be constantly verifying the reliability of the views of the
others. Try to imagine the case of a researcher in a research community
who supposed that the opinions of everybody else in the community of
inquirers should be assumed to be acceptable only after being verified or
corroborated by himself. Without a presumption of competence and integrity
on the part of others, on condition of recognizing -- presumptively -- each
of the others as peers, there is simply no community at all and no available
comprehensive view of the subject-matter. That condition of peer
recognition is actualized in the actualization of the norms governing the
communicational process, many of which will be found upon analysis -- or so
I would argue but can only suggest here -- to be based on the peer principle
in one way or another, which provide the framework of presumed obligations
and permissions that enable the coordination of opinion to obtain and to
sustain itself across time. Anything which augments the efficiency of
these norms of communicational conduct is ipso facto augmenting intelligence
and doing so, moreover, at a rate of magnitude of increase which cannot be
estimated in the abstract but which is manifestly so great at times that it
would be difficult if not impossible to exaggerate just how greatly human
intelligence is magnified through this sort of collaborative cooperation.


What Ginsparg accomplished with his automated archive and server system was
to establish a dialogical space within which peer review in its purest form
occurs. I don't mean in its perfected form, which is an ideal possibility
that will doubtless never be actualized, human limitation in all matters
being what it is, since it would require a research community that was
perfected in its ability and willingness to live up fully to such
extraordinarily rigorous requirements as one cannot reasonably expect to be
fully actualized. But the form is pure in virtue of the absence in it of
manipulation of the discourse -- and thus of the results of it in what is
eventually accepted or not accepted by the research community as valid
findings -- by a human mediator controlling its content or occurrence from
without by filtering it or otherwise shaping it in ways not available to a
peer participant in the process on par with the rest, functioning as such in
virtue of being under the constraints of the generally well-understood
communicational norms governing peer-to-peer relationships.

Contrast this -- peer review proper, peer review in its pure form -- with
what is at present misleadingly regarded as being peer review, assuming --
as is commonly assumed by its defenders -- that only editorially controlled
access to the claims of researchers should be permitted, insofar as that is

(1) When peer review proper is in effect, the researcher makes his or her
research claim by a direct appeal to his or her peers to take notice of it,
leaving it to the members of the research community addressed to live up to
their responsibility to take due note of one's claim insofar as it pertains
to what interests them as peers of the claimant. The providing of the
abstract is the formal method by which this is effected in the Ginsparg
system. In the case of "peer review" so-called as usually conceived and
practiced, though, the researcher making the claim is not permitted to make
the claim at all except insofar as the managing editor of the journal
decides to permit this occurrence, which is a right not available to a mere
peer or equal of the researcher making the claim, hence a violation
subversive of the peer review process in virtue of being a violation of its
normal workings as based in the peer principle.

Comment: Note that this assumes that the paper (the research claim) is not
being made available to the particular peer community addressed in some
other and concurrent way. If it is, then the editorial action is simply
impertinent to the peer review process as such, which is going on quite
apart from this particular editorial act, provided access is genuinely open.

(2) If the journal editor actually makes scrupulous use of a peer reviewer
or a panel of such reviewers in deciding on what is to be published in the
journal and what is and is not to be included in the published paper itself,
this is done by selecting what the editor deems to be a peer of the
claimant, typically without attempting to make sure that the claimant is
actually addressing the person the editor chooses to perform the function of
a peer. It is quite possible that an editor will now and again mistakenly
choose as a peer of the claimant someone who in fact lacks the concern for
the subject-matter and its problematics which is an essential condition of
being a peer reviewer relative to that claimant. In authentic peer review,
on the other hand, to the extent that any selection of participants in the
peer review process occurs at all, its participants are essentially
self-selective, insofar as it is possible for anyone to confidently engage
in the dialogue as an addressee whose pretensions to being such will be
honored by the other participants. Whether any given individual is actually
functioning as a peer in the authentic review process, though, is a matter
of fact that can be determined only empirically by careful interpretation of
the dialogical process to ascertain whether or not a given putative
contribution to the dialogue is actually functioning as such. Thus there is
actually no selection of participants by persons at all in the authentic
peer review process, the selection being a function of the ongoing course of
the dialogical process itself. In a sense the selection is made by the
research community itself, insofar as it is actualized in the discursive

Comment: Imagine a case where somebody not qualified to function as a peer
in a critical dialogical process that follows upon the making of a certain
research claim nevertheless attempts to do so. If the lack of qualification
does not show up in what is actually said by the interloper, identifiable as
such by those who are proper peers, then it may be because it is
inconsequential in that context and it is as if it never actually occurs,
just as in ordinary conversation when someone attempts to "butt in" and is
simply ignored by those already engaged. The words uttered simply fail to
engage. Of course, this can happen with something said by someone who is in
fact a qualified peer, too, but that is one of the natural imperfections of
a dialogical process. More importantly, it can also happen that the
interloper is not identified as being such and consequently ignored, as
would be proper in the case of a pseudo-peer, but rather is treated
mistakenly with the respect due to a peer and that person's supposed
contribution is given a status and weight it should not be accorded. This
can happen, certainly, but the reason why editorial intervention is
especially deleterious is that the prestige of the editor will tend to cause
the peer participants to take seriously supposed but fake peer contributions
which they might otherwise simply ignore as impertinent, giving weight to a
putative objection or corroboration from that source, say, which it simply
does not deserve to have accorded to it, this being done in a mistaken
effort to pay due respect to the editor, thus interfering with the normal
workings of the process which the rules of peer critical dialogue are
intended to promote.

(3) In editorially controlled peer review, the peer reviewers actually used
in the process are at best no more than a miniscule sampling of those who
would ideally be involved in any peer review process, hence their
contribution is given a weight by the editorial use of them which is
entirely disproportionate, given the number of peers actually available in
principle for review purposes. The rationale is, of course, that the editor
is to use his or her judgment in selecting the peer reviewers, which may be
no more than one but is never more than a handful, but with no commonly
understand basis for doing so other than the assumption that the editor is a
person of good judgment. There is no doubt but what many editors do in fact
have good judgment, and that their selection of reviewers can be counted on
to be reasonably just. But inasmuch as the opinion of the reviewers is
actually operative in the publication process only via the confidence the
editor places in them, and it is the editor who selects them to begin with,
there is no getting around the fact that this is an elitist system in which
the editors, who must themselves be peers of the readers of their journals,
are functioning as Orwellian peers, peers more peerish than the peers whom
they nominally serve. Such servants are really masters in disguise,
regardless of their quality as thinkers, and the support of the journal
system as the only legitimate mode of access of researchers to research in
their fields is authoritarian and radically opposed to the basic spirit of
modern research, which takes the peer principle as fundamental for reasons
explained above.

(4) In the crippled form of editorially commissioned peer review, the
function of communication is stripped of all logical force since the paper
is not even made available to the peer community until after it has been
adjudged to be sound. Thus there is no reason for interest in the question
of how inquiry is rendered intelligent by the development of norms of
communication or dialogue, and indeed there is in fact little interest in
such matters, which are regarded as pertaining only to questions concerning
the efficiency of the "delivery" of the "product" of inquiry. The study of
the rhetoric of inquiry -- the dialogical process by which acceptance is
encouraged or discouraged -- then becomes purely political in conception
since it pertains only to the practical uses of knowledge already produced,
and the institutions supporting research are naturally conceived as
factories whose improvement should take the form of maximizing productivity
through the use of whatever carrots and sticks are most efficient in
producing such results.

14. Lessons to be Learned from the Ginsparg Publication System

What is usually defended as peer review in publication is actually Orwellian
"peerhood" insofar as it actually functions as a critical control practice,
where a class of persons is systematically afforded a status in the
professional communicational process that positions them as functionally
authoritative while seemingly functioning as mere peers in service to their
peers. The privileged class in question is not, however, the class of
commissioned peer reviewers (who actually have little power in their own
right) but rather the class of managing editors in control of the various
media available as publication venues who commission peer reviewers and
decide what weight, if any, to put upon their opinion case by case in the
process of their own decision-making about acceptability, revisability, and
actual publication of research claims.

Although the approach taken here may suggest the contrary, this is not said
as a general negative criticism of the role of editors, whose selective and
organizing function in research is indispensable and who deserve far more
appreciation for their efforts than they commonly receive. It is merely that
we have regarded them thus far only as they are regarded from the misleading
perspective provided by those who mistakenly regard them as functioning
primarily to control the flow of research discourse from a position superior
to that of the researcher proper, which is a position thrust upon them
heretofore in consequence of the de facto impossibility of establishing
media of distribution that would make it possible to provide universal and
unrestricted access to research claims. That limitation no longer exists,
as was first recognized in practice by Ginsparg when he decided to establish
at Los Alamos the modified form of the pre-existing system of preprint
distribution. In consequence of this the editorial functions in physics in
general have undergone a rapid and continuing reform over the past decade or
so which suggests that the problem of the extending the peer principle in
such a way as to include the editorial function instead of setting the two
at odds with one another will first be addressed straightforwardly and
solved or resolved in a correspondingly straightforward way there before it
occurs elsewhere in the world of research. At present, though, apart from
developments there, the confusions about the critical control of research
that have been generated by the mistaken conception of peer review as being
paradigmatically exemplified by editorially commissioned peer review make it
all but impossible to perceive clearly what the authentic editorial function
in research communication actually is. But that will have to be addressed
in another study.

In any case, one of the things we can learn from reflecting upon the import
of the success of the Ginsparg publication system is that when a research
tradition has reached a mature state it does not require editorial
leadership at the leading edge of research in the field, and that,
conversely, when a research tradition is unable to make effective use of
such a system it may be because the need for editorial guidance at that
point in the research process is too great for the people in the field to
function effectively in the authority-free and highly austere and formal
communicational environment provided by the Ginsparg system of primary
publication. Of course there may be other reasons why a given research
field is incapable of making effective use of an authority-free primary
publication environment of this sort:

* For example, it might be that an "invisible college" of private pre-print
circulation of papers is in exclusive possession of the leading edge in a
given field and the appeal of their own self-interest as members of a
privileged class is simply too great for those so privileged to want to take
advantage of the opportunity to make the radically egalitarian move that
Ginsparg and his associates made in establishing their automated and
unrestrictedly available publication system at Los Alamos. There was surely
a gamble there, and there must have been a substantial number of physicists
among those who initially adopted the new system who were initially
resistant to the establishment of the open access pre-print server in the
belief that idealism is nice but the quality of work which would appear
there, under the conditions of unrestricted access, could only result in a
decline in the field. It seems reasonable to suppose that this will be the
case with at least some fields that probably could successfully adopt the
Ginsparg system now but lack enough boldness of leadership among the most
respected leading figures to make the transition from the protected
environment to which they are accustomed to one that they can only "view
with alarm".

* Or it might be that the field is one in which the funding arrangements are
such that much important research must be kept secret and primary
publication must be carefully and skillfully censored to insure that nothing
is discussed in it that could jeopardize the relationship with major funding
sources for the field because of unintended "security" violations, whether
they be commercial or governmental in character. The extensive -- and
increasing -- control of research by private interests as well as by
clandestine governmental funding of research for purposes of national
security is no doubt sufficient to explain why a number of fields cannot
possibly make use of such a system and must depend to a high degree on
editors in the role of censors.

* Or it might be that the field or subfield is too inchoate and unfocused
overall for a primary publication medium such as the Ginsparg system
provides to be regarded as being of much value as a venue. For such a
field, the automated archive could only be a collection of papers that might
or might not be of interest, but it would have too little rationale as a
collection to be of much interest since there would be no dialogical process
to which the collection would be functioning as a contribution. In that
case there would be little reason, if any, for regarding it as a system of
primary publication

There are perhaps other reasons as well, but these are enough to make it not
at all surprising that the Ginsparg publication system works well only for
those fields that are sufficiently matured to be able to make effective use
of it because the communicational practices that were already governing
those fields finds its arrangements congenial.

I suggest, though, that any serious study of the communicational practices
even of such successful fields as these will find that the communication
that occurs on the basis of such an austere and formal system is in fact but
a very small part of the research communication practices even in those
fields, and this is true a fortiori of the many research fields which have
yet to develop to a comparably sophisticated level. What makes the
Ginsparg system unusually interesting, then, is not that it presents a
paradigm of what research communication is all about, but rather that in
virtue of the success of their development of such a pure system of primary
publication, we are enabled both to see what authentic peer review is
actually like with an unusual clarity because of the simplicity of the
system and thus to understand what the principles underlying practices of
formal publication are, and also, in virtue of that, enabled to see as well
that if we want to understand how research communication in general works,
in the interest of developing and augmenting it, we have to set ourselves
the task of finding out what other sorts of communicational practices are
actually operative in the inquiry process in such fields and in other fields
as well, since we cannot reasonably suppose that the success even of such
highly developed research fields as these is due exclusively or chiefly to
their primary publication practices.

While I believe that a proper understanding of the success of the Ginsparg
system, which can be regarded as an IA application, reveals it to be an
ideal implementation of computationally assisted primary (i.e. formal)
publication, the most interesting prospects for development of IA in this
area lie in designing computational assistance for the many varieties of
communicational practices involved in research activity that precede the
stage of inquiry at which formal assertion of putative findings occurs.
Interest in these less formal and rigorous types of communicational
practices has yet to develop, however, because they must be understood in
relationship to formal publication practices, and these latter have been so
poorly understood to date that there has been no conceptual framework
available for investigating these other and equally important practices as
regards their rationale and needs. My discussion of this case has been
motivated by the aim of taking a first step in that direction by developing
some conceptions useful for understanding what has and has not been achieved
by Ginsparg in establishing that system successfully. The present account
is only intended to be suggestive of what a more rigorous and thorough-going
account of this will be like, which I hope to make available in the near
future. Critical feedback will of course be more than welcome.


1 Peter Skagestad, "The Mind's Machines: the Turing Machine, the Memex, and
the Personal Computer", Semiotica vol. 111, no. 3/4, 1996 , 217-243.

The same distinction is implicit in an earlier paper but is not drawn
explicitly as a distinction between AI and IA, as so labeled. See:
"Thinking with machines: Intelligence Augmentation, Evolutionary
Epistemology, and Semiotic", The Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems,
vol. 16, no. 2 (1993), 157-180.

Whether Skagestad was the first to distinguish explicitly between Artificial
Intelligence (AI) and Intelligence Augmentation (IA) in just these terms,
treating it as a formal distinction, I do not know. The distinction itself
can be said to have existed in some sense as far back as 1962 (if not
earlier) when the idea of computationally based intelligence augmentation
was first described as "intelligence augmentation" by Douglas Engelbart.
The explicit drawing and labeling of a distinction as a distinction to be
generally recognized thenceforth using a certain suggested label for it is
of more importance than one might think, for it establishes a certain formal
structure that can and often does function importantly thenceforth in the
systematic organization of ideas. In any case, Skagestad uses the AI/IA
distinction again in a later paper, "Peirce, Virtuality, and Semiotic", in
the Paideia Project on-line (1998), which is also available on-line:

2 Two major areas of AI in which extensive application has already been
found for Peirce's work are knowledge representation and abduction, for

3 Skagestad is quite aware that this is a further implication of the
dictum, but he does not make use of that in articulating the conception of
the IA programming paradigm.

4 In a message to the PEIRCE-L discussion forum (of 12-06-2002), Skagestad
suggests that the explicit recognition of the distinction, using the tags
"AI" and "IA", respectively, may be due to the computer scientist Frederic
Brooks, who is quoted by Howard Rheingold, in his Virtual Reality (1991, p.
37) as saying: "I believe the use of computer systems for intelligence
amplification is much more powerful today, and will be at any given point in
the future, than the use of computers for artificial intelligence (AI)....
In the AI community the objective is to replace the human mind by the
machine and its program and its database. In the IA community, the objective
is to build systems that amplify the human mind by providing it with
computer-based auxiliaries that do the things that the mind has trouble
doing." Note that Brooks speaks of "amplification" rather than
"augmentation", though the conception would seem to be much the same.

5 See Note 1 above for their individual URLs. See also Skagestad's
"Peirce's Inkstand as an External Embodiment of Mind", Transactions of the
Charles S. Peirce Society, Summer 1999, vol. XXXV, No. 3, pp. 551-561.

6 Turing, Alan M. (1965). "On Computable Numbers, With an Application to the
Entscheidungsproblem." In The Undecidable, Martin Davis (ed.), 116-154.
Hewlett, NY: Raven Press. Originally published in Proceedings of the London
Mathematical Society, 2nd Series, 42 (1936), 230-265.

7 Bush, Vannevar, As We May Think, in the Atlantic Monthly, 176(1) (1945);
reprinted in Nyce, James M. and Kahn, Paul (1991), eds. From Memex to
Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind's Machine (San Diego, CA: Academic
Press, Inc., 1991), 641-649. Available also at the Arisbe website:

8 The semantic web is the world wide web as augmented by programs providing
machine-readable descriptions of the resource material available as the
referential content of websites along with programs for processing this
material regarded as information in ways useful to users of the web.
Berners-Lee explains his larger vision of the web in an informative account
of the way the web actually developed both in concept and in implementation
in his Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the
World Wide Web, with Mark Fischetti (HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2000).

9 Note that I am referring to human-machine interaction, as distinct from
other types of input of information originating from some source external to
the machine. As usually conceived, artificial intelligence seems to be
distinguished by its concern with developing machines which have
"stand-alone" intelligence, in the sense that whatever intelligence the
machine has can be attributed to it without implicit reference to the
human-and-machine relationship in a way that would allow its intelligence it
exhibits to be regarded as due to the human with whom it is interacting.
For example, the ability of my home computer to beat me at Reversi almost
every time we play seems to be a clear case of AI, but not of IA.

10 The reference is to the six-paper series entitled "Illustrations of the
Logic of Science", published in 1877-78 in successive issues of Popular
Science Monthly.

11 Another perspective that might be taken would be to regard logic as the
general theory of the nature of a question, inquiry then being regarded as a
protracted form of a question: the question as quest or hunt or search (=
research). Still another overall perspective would be to think of it from
the perspective defined by focusing attention primarily on the nature of
research acceptance, which is a variant way of describing it in terms of the
"fixing of belief" or the "settlement of doubt", as Peirce himself
frequently expresses it. These would all have to account for the same
general features of inquiry, but different aspects of it would be dwelt upon
in more or less detail according to which perspective is taken.

12 This is a special kind of assertion, to be sure, because it occurs
within the context of communication in an ongoing research community, but it
may provide helpful clues to understanding what assertion is outside of this
special context.

13 The reason for this lies in considerations having to do with the
conception of a research peer.

14 The attempt to develop a "rational reconstruction" of research
acceptance is also futile, in the view being explained here. This does not
mean that acceptance is irrational but only that it is not representable

15 Namely, to mark the origin of the conception of primary publication, as
a distinct analytical conception of unusual value for our purposes, in the
work of Joshua Lederberg, who is, as far as I know, the first to have seen
clearly the special role which what he calls the "primary literature" plays
in the normal course and choreography of research, referring by that to the
documents which function as the material vehicles of primary publication
proper. See his paper "Options for the Future", D-lib Magazine, May 1996:
Lederberg is not, of course, to be held responsible for all of the ways in
which I construe or misconstrue the conception.

16 Compare the differences between promising, not promising, and pretending
to promise or acting as if one is promising though it is understood only to
be an act, e.g. such as an actor on a stage might perform. The differences
are too subtle and complex to discuss here.

17 The publication system itself is at
I suggest browsing the site thoroughly, particularly the following page:
where you will find both some interesting statistics on its use, and also
several papers by Ginsparg which are quite straightforward in making clear
how both he and at least some of his associates from early on have regarded
what they are doing. Read the earlier material first. I hope in another
study of this to give a much more informative account and analysis of the
Ginsparg system as a project which is still underway, though precisely how
it is presently conceived by Ginsparg himself is not altogether clear.

18 Whether the act actually does count as a primary publication depends
upon it actually being regarded as an act of primary publication by the
research community addressed, i.e. it depends upon "uptake" actually
occurring. In that case, there is no "uptake" by the community and without
any such recognition no primary publication has actually occurred: the attem
pt at asserting a research claim has "misfired", as J. L. Austin would say.
Presumption plays a role in uptake just as it does in recognition of a peer
as such, but this is a topic which cannot be explored here.

19 The word "college" is used in the sense of "group of colleagues".

20 The process of obfuscation is viewable as a public record in the archives
of the September Forum sponsored by the professional magazine American
Scientist, which has been managed almost from its beginning by Stevan
Harnad, who has been the most influential figure in shaping opinion about
the nature of publication especially as regards the prospects for getting
all research publication on-line with free -- i.e. unrestricted as well as
financially free -- public access. This has been the chief public locus for
discussion of these matters because of the extraordinarily influential
character of so many of those who are subscribed to the forum: the "movers
and shakers", as well as some in powerful opposition to the movement to
on-line availability of research publication. Harnad, a computer scientist
with a high (and well-deserved) prestige as a researcher in cognitive
science, has been the chief agent of obfuscation of the significance of the
Ginsparg system, though his stance has always "officially" been that of a
strong advocate of it. (He does not, of course, regard himself as doing any
such thing.) But as the clichi goes, with a friend like Harnad who needs
enemies? I have reported occasionally on the PEIRCE-L list over the past
four years about what I thought was actually going on there, but this is not
the appropriate place even to try to provide an overall summary statement of
that. But if you have the time and energy required to work through the
course of discussion from the time Harnad took it over, shortly after it was
established, until the present, you will find it remarkably informative as
an exhibition of the strategies used to nullify the threat to the
established way of controlling research publication which the Ginsparg
system initially seemed to pose. You will find some scattered and largely
ineffectual attempts by me to throw up some resistance to this, but Harnad's
willingness to shut down discussion on any topic he finds threatening to
establishment sensibilities made it impossible for me to accomplish anything
in that respect. The following URLs will yield threaded versions of the
entire archives for the forum from more than four years ago:
I hope to give a somewhat detailed account of what occurred there and in
related forums and situations in another paper.

21 But how can one say this? How can I, in particular, not myself a
researcher in any of the fields the system serves, make such a claim? The
short answer is that if the quality of research really was in a decline in
those fields in virtue of its being a flawed system of primary publication,
that would manifest itself in increasing difficulty in communication in the
field and a continually increasing frustration of the sort that would be
apparent in such things as the abandoning of proper form and a tendency to
sloppiness in preparation of the papers for publication, in increasing lack
of restraint in the sobriety of criticism, in the formation of warring
factions, and so forth, which would in turn result in the abandonment of the
use of the system by serious researchers, who would simply revert to the
prior and more satisfactory system of pre-print distribution. But it has
shown no such signs of degeneration but been, on the contrary, in a state of
constant growth in usage at a remarkably uniform rate of increase from the
beginning until the present.

22 The reference is, of course, to George Orwell's fable about

23 It is true that some people's opinions will inevitably be weighted more
heavily in practice than others--and no doubt should be if they establish a
track record that warrants it--but this must remain at the level of
individual judgment and not be confused with the shared public understanding
of a given scientific community, which is always concerned only with
characteristics of the subject-matter since it is that and that only which
constitutes the concern constitutive of the particular community of
inquirers as such. In other words, no community of scientific inquiry as
such can legitimately concern itself with ranking its own members in terms
of their status and worth in the community because to do so is to lose sight
of its subject-matter by lapsing into group introspection instead.


Subject: Logic Of Relatives
From: Jon Awbrey <
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2002 22:12:31 -0500
X-Message-Number: 5


LOR. Note 1


| The letters of the alphabet will denote logical signs.
| Now logical terms are of three grand classes.
| The first embraces those whose logical form involves only the
| conception of quality, and which therefore represent a thing
| simply as "a ---". These discriminate objects in the most
| rudimentary way, which does not involve any consciousness
| of discrimination. They regard an object as it is in
| itself as 'such' ('quale'); for example, as horse,
| tree, or man. These are 'absolute terms'.
| The second class embraces terms whose logical form involves the
| conception of relation, and which require the addition of another
| term to complete the denotation. These discriminate objects with a
| distinct consciousness of discrimination. They regard an object as
| over against another, that is as relative; as father of, lover of,
| or servant of. These are 'simple relative terms'.
| The third class embraces terms whose logical form involves the
| conception of bringing things into relation, and which require
| the addition of more than one term to complete the denotation.
| They discriminate not only with consciousness of discrimination,
| but with consciousness of its origin. They regard an object
| as medium or third between two others, that is as conjugative;
| as giver of --- to ---, or buyer of --- for --- from ---.
| These may be termed 'conjugative terms'.
| The conjugative term involves the conception of 'third', the relative that of
| second or 'other', the absolute term simply considers 'an' object. No fourth
| class of terms exists involving the conception of 'fourth', because when that
| of 'third' is introduced, since it involves the conception of bringing objects
| into relation, all higher numbers are given at once, inasmuch as the conception
| of bringing objects into relation is independent of the number of members of the
| relationship. Whether this 'reason' for the fact that there is no fourth class
| of terms fundamentally different from the third is satisfactory of not, the fact
| itself is made perfectly evident by the study of the logic of relatives.
| C.S. Peirce, CP 3.63
| Charles Sanders Peirce,
|"Description of a Notation for the Logic of Relatives,
| Resulting from an Amplification of the Conceptions of Boole's Calculus of Logic",
|'Memoirs of the American Academy', Volume 9, pages 317-378, 26 January 1870,
|'Collected Papers' (CP 3.45-149), 'Chronological Edition' (CE 2, 359-429).



Subject: Re: Logic Of Relatives
From: Jon Awbrey <
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2002 00:40:10 -0500
X-Message-Number: 6


LOR. Note 2


I am going to experiment with an interlacing commentary
on Peirce's 1870 "Logic of Relatives" paper, revisiting
some critical transitions from several different angles
and calling attention to a variety of puzzles, problems,
and potentials that are not so often remarked or tapped.

What strikes me about the initial installment this time around is its
use of a certain pattern of argument that I can recognize as invoking
a "closure principle", and this is a figure of reasoning that Peirce
uses in three other places, his discussion of "continuous relations",
his definition of sign relations, and the pragmatic maxim itself.

Jon Awbrey



END OF DIGEST 12-14-02


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