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PEIRCE-L Digest 1272 -- January 24-25, 1998
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Topics covered in this issue include:

  1) Re: Who? Me?
	by piat[…]juno.com (Jim L Piat)
  2) Re: slow reading: New List (paragraph 1)
	by piat[…]juno.com (Jim L Piat)
  3) Re: Who? Me?
	by BugDaddy[…]cris.com (BugDaddy)
  4) Re: slow reading: New List (paragraph 1)
	by BugDaddy[…]cris.com (BugDaddy)
  5) Re: Hookway's _Peirce_:Chapter I - Logic and Psychology
	by piat[…]juno.com (Jim L Piat)
  6) Re: topological logic, reduction thesis etc.
	by Cathy Legg 
  7) Is authority necessary?
	by joseph.ransdell[…]yahoo.com (ransdell, joseph m.)
  8) Re: Who? Me?
	by piat[…]juno.com (Jim L Piat)
  9) Re: slow reading: New List (paragraph 1)
	by piat[…]juno.com (Jim L Piat)
 10) Re: slow reading: New List (paragraph 1)
	by Thomas.Riese[…]t-online.de (Thomas Riese)
 11) "Oppositional Identity"
	by Howard Callaway 
 12) Re: Peirce and the Stoics (from Douglas Moore)
	by Tom Burke 

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 21:02:45 -0500
From: piat[…]juno.com (Jim L Piat)
To: peirce-l[…]ttacs6.ttu.edu
Subject: Re: Who? Me?
Message-ID: <19980124.214804.4910.1.piat[…]juno.com>

>
>>>>substance implies being
>>>>these categories imply being
>>>>Therefore, substance implies these categories
>>>
>>>Hmmm...
>>>
>>> s->b
>>> c->b
>>> .: s->c?

>         Bill  Overcamp


"Hmmm" out of context, but maybe "aha!" in context:

Here's the specific context from Tom Gollier's post:

>>There is still a question, however, as to just what kind of syllogism
Pierce is using in the "New List", and without really arguing a textual
analysis here, I think we are talking abut a hypothetical syllogism:
	substance implies being
	these categories imply being
	Therefore, substance implies these categories
based upon the shared monadic quality of 'being' or the requirement of
the 'unity of consistency (sic)'.  For the idea is to justify the
'categories' and the judgements made from them in that order and on the
basis of 'being'. This particular kind of syllogism, what Peirce
elsewhere posits as the logical nature of 'abduction', then justifies the
categories based upon the nature of 'being'(contra Kant) but it does so
in an abductive rather than deductive manner (contra Hegel).<<

Jim Piat


------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 21:02:12 -0500
From: piat[…]juno.com (Jim L Piat)
To: peirce-l[…]ttacs6.ttu.edu
Subject: Re: slow reading: New List (paragraph 1)
Message-ID: <19980124.214804.4910.0.piat[…]juno.com>


On Sat, 24 Jan 1998 11:32:13 -0600 (CST) BugDaddy[…]cris.com (BugDaddy)
writes:
>    1. This paper is based upon the theory already
>       established, that the function of conceptions is to
>       reduce the manifold of sensuous impressions to unity,
>       and that the validity of a conception consists in the
>       impossibility of reducing the content of consciousness
>       to unity without the introduction of it. 
>
>Why unity?  Multiplicity is so much more stimulating.  There are
>few things that are more fun than a ride on the Great American
>Scream Machine out at Six Flags.  Thus men seem to be more than
>willing to immerse themselves in multiplicity.
>
>And why should conceptions have a function?  They seem to consist
>in the random stimulation of nerve cells, such as occurs when
>riding the Great American Scream Machine.  The very idea that one
>should validate a conception seems absurd.  If it feels good, do
>it.
>
>So the more conceptions one has, the better, I say.  Why should
>one rest satisfied with a few conceptions when the world is like
>a field ready for the harvest?  There are conceptions for every
>purpose under heaven.  We should rake them in so as to be
>enriched by them.

Bill,  

I wholeheartedly agree with your spirit of challenging every bit of this
essay.  Otherwise I don't believe I'm ever going to really get a full
grasp of it.  So I want to take a try at responding to the substance of
your challenge to see if I'm reading the intent of this essay correctly. 
As I understand the notion of a conception - a conception of something- A
 is not merely a mechanical response to A but includes the notions of
comprehending or being aware of and grasping the idea of A.  To conceive
is to bring into being - the moment of conception!  

Bill it just dawned on me that your two recent posts have had just this
effect on me!  You sly rascal you!  

Jim Piat

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 02:41:27 GMT
From: BugDaddy[…]cris.com (BugDaddy)
To: peirce-l[…]ttacs6.ttu.edu
Subject: Re: Who? Me?
Message-ID: <34cfa5bc.15630583[…]pop3.cris.com>

I understand the context.  I do not understand the syllogism.

piat[…]juno.com (Jim L Piat) wrote:

>>>>>substance implies being
>>>>>these categories imply being
>>>>>Therefore, substance implies these categories
>>>>
>>>>Hmmm...
>>>>
>>>> s->b
>>>> c->b
>>>> .: s->c?

>>         Bill  Overcamp


>"Hmmm" out of context, but maybe "aha!" in context:

>Here's the specific context from Tom Gollier's post:

>>>There is still a question, however, as to just what kind of syllogism
>Pierce is using in the "New List", and without really arguing a textual
>analysis here, I think we are talking abut a hypothetical syllogism:
>	substance implies being
>	these categories imply being
>	Therefore, substance implies these categories
>based upon the shared monadic quality of 'being' or the requirement of
>the 'unity of consistency (sic)'.  For the idea is to justify the
>'categories' and the judgements made from them in that order and on the
>basis of 'being'. This particular kind of syllogism, what Peirce
>elsewhere posits as the logical nature of 'abduction', then justifies the
>categories based upon the nature of 'being'(contra Kant) but it does so
>in an abductive rather than deductive manner (contra Hegel).<<
>
>Jim Piat
>



-----------------------------------
"In essentials unity, in nonessentials diversity, 
         in all things charity"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Life is a miracle waiting to happen.
http://www.cris.com/~bugdaddy/life.htm
-----------------------------------
         William  Overcamp
-----------------------------------

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 03:00:38 GMT
From: BugDaddy[…]cris.com (BugDaddy)
To: peirce-l[…]ttacs6.ttu.edu
Subject: Re: slow reading: New List (paragraph 1)
Message-ID: <34d1a73d.16015806[…]pop3.cris.com>

piat[…]juno.com (Jim L Piat) wrote:

>>Why unity?  Multiplicity is so much more stimulating.  There are
>>few things that are more fun than a ride on the Great American
>>Scream Machine out at Six Flags.  Thus men seem to be more than
>>willing to immerse themselves in multiplicity.

>>And why should conceptions have a function?  They seem to consist
>>in the random stimulation of nerve cells, such as occurs when
>>riding the Great American Scream Machine.  The very idea that one
>>should validate a conception seems absurd.  If it feels good, do
>>it.

>>So the more conceptions one has, the better, I say.  Why should
>>one rest satisfied with a few conceptions when the world is like
>>a field ready for the harvest?  There are conceptions for every
>>purpose under heaven.  We should rake them in so as to be
>>enriched by them.

>Bill,  

>I wholeheartedly agree with your spirit of challenging every bit of this
>essay.  Otherwise I don't believe I'm ever going to really get a full
>grasp of it.  So I want to take a try at responding to the substance of
>your challenge to see if I'm reading the intent of this essay correctly. 
>As I understand the notion of a conception - a conception of something- A
> is not merely a mechanical response to A but includes the notions of
>comprehending or being aware of and grasping the idea of A.  To conceive
>is to bring into being - the moment of conception!  

Yes, but what's the point of unity when multiplicity is so much
more fun?

>Bill it just dawned on me that your two recent posts have had just this
>effect on me!  You sly rascal you!  

Smell the flowers?  They have the most heavenly bouquet.  It's
enough to seduce the most hardened heart!  And I warn you:  You
will never understand the New List until you delight in these
simple flowers.



----------------------------------------------------------
The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us.
Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to
dawn. The sun is but a morning star.

Henry David Thoreau, *Walden*

http://www.cris.com/~bugdaddy/sophia
-----------------------------------
 Life is a miracle waiting to happen.
http://www.cris.com/~bugdaddy/life.htm
-----------------------------------
         Bill  Overcamp
-----------------------------------

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 23:24:17 -0500
From: piat[…]juno.com (Jim L Piat)
To: peirce-l[…]ttacs6.ttu.edu
Subject: Re: Hookway's _Peirce_:Chapter I - Logic and Psychology
Message-ID: <19980124.232420.4910.3.piat[…]juno.com>


On Tue, 20 Jan 1998 23:55:45 -0600 (CST) Cathy Legg writes:

>I'm excited by all the interesting threads on the list at the moment. 
>I 
>have purchased a copy of the Hookway and am about 30 pp. into it. It 
>seems very fair and comprehensive so far. I liked the way he begins 
>the 
>book by locating Peirce in antipsychologism about logic (with, he 
>says, 
>Frege, and the dominant tide in analytic philosophy) - that is, the 
>view 
>that the study of the way the human mind works has nothing to teach us 
>
>about what arguments are or are not valid.
>
>I think that that is helpful as there is a popular view of pragmatism 
>according to which it is all about taking the opposite point of view.
>
>I hope to write in greater detail soon.

Cathy, while looking for some background in Copleston on Mill (whom I
think Hookway identifies as a source of psychologism in logic) I found:

1) Mill's claim that first principles of mathematics (logic?)  are based
on experience made sense to me-  Tom Anderson is going to straighten me
out on this.

2) That Mill's views on the matter were complex and changed over time.

3) That Mill apparently tended toward nominalism which leads me to ask as
a layman just what was the real sticking point between Peirce and those
he called nominalists.  Is this at bottom a religious doctrinal issue for
Peirce?  Does he view nominalists as atheist? I think of the similarities
and contrast between him and Lord Russell.  What's the problem here? Will
somebody please tell me what the religious connection between the
nominalists and "universalist" is? Seems like much of Peirce's philosophy
is an apology for his religious convictions. A theme Walker Percy (the
novelist) whom I greatly admire took over the top as they say. Isn't
there a Protestant sect called Unitarian Universalists.  I believe there
is a church by that  name here in Atlanta.  I'm not trying to stir up a
religious debate here by any means, but I would like to know where Peirce
was coming from. I don't think we should feign doubt when we have none,
nor do I think we should eschew psychologisms when they are the rock
bottom of our whole agenda.

Is this right? (1) Peirce claimed that logic was independent of human
thought and should be properly studied as such.
    
Also- in _Fifty Major Philosophers- by Collinson I found this Mills quote
about the "marriage that is possible":

"...between whom there exists that best kind of equality, similarity of
powers and capacities with reciprocal superiority in them - so that each
can enjoy the luxury of looking up to the other, and can have alternately
the pleasure of leading and of being led in the path of development." 

I cut off some off the preface that I didn't like.  I thought you might
enjoy the quote and I also thought its a good model for a community of
peers (i.e the community of life).

Well I'm off to read the three Peirce essays armed with Hookway's
introduction and see what I can make of it all.  Back in a while,  Jim
Piat



------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 17:04:45 +1100 (EDT)
From: Cathy Legg 
To: peirce-l[…]ttacs6.ttu.edu
Subject: Re: topological logic, reduction thesis etc.
Message-ID: 

Dear Thomas,

Thanks for the URL! It sounds very interesting. I will check it out when I 
get my computer set up properly, which hopefully will happen next week.

You wrote:
> 
> P.S. Mathematicians CAN be funny! As a historical fact: Richard 
> Dedekind one day got out of bed and had to read his own obituary in 
> the newspapers (don't ask me how this can happen). Others might have 
> been shocked to death by such an occurrence. 

Is that what they call a "Dedekind Cut"? (Only kidding)

> He then easily proved this 
> to be an error -- by existence!

Cheers,
Cathy.

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{
Cathy Legg, School of Philosophy,
A14, University of Sydney, 
Sydney, 2006.

"Empty is the argument of the philosopher by which no human disease is healed."
 Epicurus

http://coombs.anu.edu.au/Depts/RSSS/Philosophy/People/Cathy/Cathy.html
}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}


------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 08:57:38 -0600
From: joseph.ransdell[…]yahoo.com (ransdell, joseph m.)
To: 
Subject: Is authority necessary?
Message-ID: <005101bd29a1$957fdc20$31a432ce[…]ransdell.door.net>

In response to Howard Callaway on the topic of authority, Howard says:

There is a kind of authority which comes from mastering a subject of
>interest. This kind of authority may or may not be found, in a given
>instance, in combination with any social authority or position. I
>think that a communicational community is much the poorer for not
>recognizing this kind of authority. Concerning the Peirce-l in
>particular, I think of Joe's authority, exercised it directing us
>to relevant texts of Peirce, or I think of Tom Anderson's authority
>as a mathematician or knower to the philosophy of mathematics (although
>he always claims to be no professional).  I could perhaps mention other
>examples.

I don't mean to deny the value of authority in that sense, Howard, which
really just means sizing someone up as worth trusting in certain
respects, but I don't think the word "authority" is the right word for
this sort of trust.  I doubt if there is any disagreement in substance
on this, as far as you and I are concerned, but I don't think there is
only a verbal matter at issue here either.

I understand why you think it appropriate to use the word in that way
and I used to do so myself--and still find myself doing so at times--but
I began to get suspicious of my own practice in this respect a few years
ago, and in reflecting on this over the past few years I have yet to
find any place or occasion where I might myself be inclined to use the
term in reference to a legitimate practice that did not, upon
examination, turn out to be more exactly or acceptably expressed by some
other way of describing it, such as e.g. in terms of trust, though I
don't rule out the possibility of some legitimate use for it.   This
extends even to the most obvious sort of case, namely, child-parent
relationships, where, if anywhere, there is going to be clear
exemplification of legitimate authority because of the implied
difference in competence.  I'll reserve for another message discussion
of that sort of case, though, in order to get at some of the more basic
considerations here.

The main point I want to surface here initially is that I believe that
our practice of talking about authority as if it is legitimate, whereas
what we are really talking about is the need for intelligent trust and
due respect, tends to obscure from us authoritarian practices that still
structure our lives far more deeply than we commonly like to admit or
would be likely to tolerate or rely upon if we weren't bemused by this
usage.

Thomas Hobbes is, I think, our greatest expert on authority--note how
easy it would have been for me to say our greatest authority on
authority!--and captures what is essential in the conception in his
dictum that "covenants without the sword are but words, and of no power
to secure a man at all".  Covenants are a form of agreement and the idea
is that human agreement is always at bottom based upon threat: the
"sword" is anything which can be effectively appealed to in achieving
agreement by use of threat.

Hobbes recognizes a number of different human motivations that only
civil society can adequately satisfy, though,  and the recognition of
common authority is motivated far more richly than merely by fear of
death and punishment:  the function of civil society is to make possible
the full development of human art, craft, and science, that we may live
"commodiously", and so it is also motivated by hope.  But the ability to
induce fear is the one necessary and sufficient thing.  Given skillful
use of threat to insure minimum civil order it is then possible to rely
upon other motivations to develop a flourishing society devoted to
"commodious living."

Now I think Hobbes is right up to a certain point, and the resort to
brute force to induce fear is "the bottom line": that is what works when
nothing else works, and sometimes nothing else works.   B. F. Skinner's
case for the behavioral psychologist as rightful ruler was based on the
idea that positive reinforcement (conditioning based on reward
schedules) is more effective than negative reinforcement when practiced
by those who understand how reinforcement works.  But Hobbes didn't
require controlled experimentation with pigeons and the like to figure
out that when the mob is in the streets, and looking for things and
people to trash, bone-throwing (measured distribution of positive
incentives), regardless of how skillful, is no match for head-cracking
or even mass murder when it comes to restoring minimal peace and order
in a short time and efficient way.

 That is the extreme case, of course, and I do not intend to be
expressing sympathy with the resort to that sort of criminality on the
part of people whose rule is little more than an exercise in criminality
to begin with, which is usually the case when the mob is in the streets.
The point is rather to get clear on what authority actually is, and I
believe that when closely examined, every case where we are inclined to
say that authority is legitimate or necessary is one where there is some
enforcement connected with it, and that to that extent all authority is
what we commonly think of, in an intuitive way, as authoritarian and
should be recognized as such.   If we don't do this then our
anti-authoritarian ideals and aspirations are constantly being
undermined by our own practices. "The unexamined life is not worth
living."

It does seem to me that resort to authority is in practice necessary to
some extent and will always be, regardless of our aspirations to
something better than that in our practices of social control and
self-control.  So I am not opposed to it absolutely.  But I am sure you
and  I are in agreement that IF acknowledgment of authority IS always
the acknowledgment of a necessary evil then the less of it the better,
and in areas of human life where it is not necessary at all we should be
working toward its elimination.  Of course that is a very big "IF" and I
have to make a case for that having some prima facie plausibility, but
all I am trying to do immediately is to make the thesis clear.

The last point I want to make here -- i.e. not to establish as a truth
to be recognized but to set up as a talking point -- is that in
cognition generally, there may be a valid role for authority to play IF
it can be shown that fear (the response correlative to threat) is
essential or helpful to cognition, but that in self-controlled cognition
of the sort that Dewey and Peirce were especially concerned with --
whether it be in the sciences or the arts -- there is no valid role for
threat and fear and therefore no valid role for authority.  Whether or
not fear ever has a valid role in cognition is a question I have never
pursued myself since my interest has been primarily in the more
developed forms of thinking.

I realize that apart from a lot of examples it won't be at all obvious
that authority is best understood in the way I suggest.  But I wanted to
make clear why I think it won't do to say -- as one might at first be
inclined to say -- that it really just a matter of how one wants to use
the word "authority".   I am sure there is little or no disagreement as
regards what you and I approve of as practices, once they are examined
in detail, but there may be significant disagreement on whether the
concept of authority should be understood as I am suggesting it should.
I am really pleased to have a chance to get some discussion going on
this with you and David and, hopefully, others.  Thus far I have worked
on the topic without benefit of feedback and criticism.  I will address
other and related points you made in your response to David in another
message.

Best regards,

Joe

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Joseph Ransdell            or  <>
 Department of Philosophy, Texas Tech University, Lubbock TX 79409
 Area Code  806:  742-3158 office    797-2592 home    742-0730 fax
 ARISBE: Peirce Telecommunity website - http://members.door.net/arisbe
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 11:12:28 -0500
From: piat[…]juno.com (Jim L Piat)
To: peirce-l[…]ttacs6.ttu.edu
Subject: Re: Who? Me?
Message-ID: <19980125.111253.12166.0.piat[…]juno.com>


On Sat, 24 Jan 1998 20:31:53 -0600 (CST) BugDaddy[…]cris.com (BugDaddy)
writes:
>I understand the context.  I do not understand the syllogism.
>
Sorry, Bill.  I misunderstood.  In fact at one point I thought you might
even be ever so gently chiding us to look again at Tom's context.

So perhaps there is something to be gained from both unity and diversity.
But always, as you say, with generosity.  

Well you certainly got me up doing some soul searching on a Sunday
morning. 

Thanks, Bill.

Jim Piat

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 11:12:44 -0500
From: piat[…]juno.com (Jim L Piat)
To: peirce-l[…]ttacs6.ttu.edu
Subject: Re: slow reading: New List (paragraph 1)
Message-ID: <19980125.111253.12166.1.piat[…]juno.com>

Bill Overcamp wrote:  

>Smell the flowers?  They have the most heavenly bouquet.  It's
>enough to seduce the most hardened heart!  And I warn you:  You
>will never understand the New List until you delight in these
>simple flowers.

Yikes, Bill, never? That's discouraging, but I appreciate the fair
warning.  I know enough of man's chartity to man to recognize a merciful
sentence when I get one! (;>)

Hard of heart is not for me to say.  I'm not proud of it if I am.  But
I'm pretty sure I really do love the heavenly scent of flowers. 
Especially the simple ones - I try, but can't smell some of those effete
inbred varieties.

If I may turn a phrase of yours : In essentials diversity,  in
nonessentials unity, in all things charity.  At least in this I think we
might agree that all's well that ends well. 

Jim Piat :)

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 18:17:36 +0100
From: Thomas.Riese[…]t-online.de (Thomas Riese)
To: peirce-l[…]ttacs6.ttu.edu
Subject: Re: slow reading: New List (paragraph 1)
Message-ID: 

Thu, 22 Jan 1998 11:06:46 -0600 (CST) Tom Burke wrote:

> I agree that this kind of shift -- and especially knowing when to do it and
> when not to -- is the element of genius in Peirce's triad methodology, or
> James's radical empiricism, or Dewey's conception of "situations" and
> "experience" in a theory of inquiry (etc etc).  Often when you find (in
> philosophy, science, mathematics, etc) that something is absolutely
> necessary to make sense of what you are doing but is otherwise inexplicable
> in terms you are already working with (e.g., something that unites the
> manifold of sense, something that unites the conception and the manifold,
> etc etc -- Par.2 of "New List"), the only option is to take it or something
> like it as primitive (i.e., as "first class").  Of course it must be
> properly formulated and truly inexplicable otherwise -- logically and
> conceptually non-reducible, etc. -- not just a matter of lack of thought or
> imagination on your part.  Peirce's emphasis in Par.4 on the "copula" which
> unites subjects and predicates in propositions is just one case of this.

Dear Tom Burke,

I can only confirm what you say. The way how Peirce proceeds often 
reminds me of how Leonhard Euler skillfully handled infinite series 
and got them to give the right answers. I don't think that foolproof 
and at the same time fruitful methods are possible though 
there have been enormous efforts in mathematics since Euler's days to 
achieve just that. 

Perhaps it is not without interest that recently in mathematics 
'generating functions' have seen an astonishing revival. I think we 
here have  a set of technical procedures which are through and 
through  abductive in character, i.e. tool-based skillfull guesses. 
The limit-values you produce by using generating functions have to be 
tested. It's a rather curious thing.

Generating functions seem to me to be a case where one can study the
interaction of Peirce's three logical processes in a formal 
mathematical setting which is at the same time empirical.

There are some paper's by Peirce where he proposes 
arithmetical techniques which work only 'probabilistically'. He 
doesn't use the term 'generating function' (and in fact I don't know 
who coined it) but it seems to me to amount logically to the same 
thing.

The point then perhaps is that abduction is not just 'Newton's apple 
falling on my head' but consists in the skillfull use of a set of 
tools which in form are amenable to exact description and even have 
clearly statable rules for transformation.

What you wrote above immediately reminded me of these things, 
especially since 'reducing a manifold to unity' is what one does with 
infinite series.

Thomas Riese.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 21:05:41 +0100 (MET)
From: Howard Callaway 
To: peirce-l[…]ttacs6.ttu.edu
Subject: "Oppositional Identity"
Message-ID: 



Joe, David  & list,

I perfectly willing to use another word such as "trust" for what I
wanted to say concerning "authority." It is a problem, in some con-
texts of discussion, that authority always seems to carry an
ambiguity, connected with political authority, of "power" vs.
"right." Yet the situation is similar as concerns authorities we
may cite, draw upon, or look to in discussions, in degree. In
spite of that I have no difficulty with the concept of "rightful
authority" vs. "power." I can imagine, for instance, that some-
one might have the "power" to intervene in a discussion," due to
some position in an institution, for instance, though the person
is not recognized as having any rightful authority regarding
the questions at issue. I think the point I'm making here could
certainly be made without the use of "authority," if this seems
more appealing. 

But the chief reason I'm replying now is the emphasize that the
main point of my prior posting concerned the notion of
"oppositional identity." So, I want to briefly re-post some pas-
sages. I think the point I want to make could also be put as a
matter of the constructive character of criticism and its relation
to positive proposals.

.. 

When we encounter someone who seems to oppose or criticize without any
background position, then I think it is important to look for and try
to bring out the alternative idea, position, or perspective that may
be there. Nor is this always a simple matter of asking for a clarifica-
tion. Its always possible that there is some genuine alternative which
needs to be developed and elucidated, though it exists in some more or
less implicit form. But if I'm convinced that there is and will be no
articulated alternative, that the person is merely a critic, without
being a critic in the interest of any articulate-able position, then I
think it is quite reasonable to go off distance. However effective
someone may be as a mere critic, if there is no positive view to be
defended, then there is no guarantee that various criticisms will even
be consistent with each other. The value of criticism diminishes insofar
as it is not supported by a positive viewpoint which might be evaluated
in turn.

So, without having read Roberta Kevelson (who I did once meet, and who
I have only heard good things about), I would say that there are two
sorts of "persistent objectors." The two sorts correspond to my distinction
between positive and negative self-identity. Someone who does have a
perspective to defend is deserving of our respect and attention, and this
no matter how oppositional the person may appear, and no matter how many
criticisms may be made. The question of whether there is a background
position from which criticisms are made is not something we can settle
on the basis of first impressions. The mere critic on the other hand,
certainly is deserving of the respect due to a human being, and beyond
that particular criticisms may be of value to a variety of positions,
but I do not believe that the mere critic deserves the same attention
as someone who criticizes on the basis of a positive alternative.

..
It is crucial to liberal democratic societies that they provide social
support to social criticism. It is equally crucial that the be able to
distinguish between criticism embedded in developed alternatives and
criticism which operates without contextual support.

Howard


H.G. Callaway
Seminar for Philosophy
University of Mainz



------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 15:35:34 -0500
From: Tom Burke 
To: peirce-l[…]ttacs6.ttu.edu
Subject: Re: Peirce and the Stoics (from Douglas Moore)
Message-ID: 

Douglas Moore writes:
>This idea of the first classness of entities - everything is a corporal
>entity - is very similar to Quantum mechanics where even the force between
>particles can be understood in terms of particles (exchange of gauge
>bosons).  This would do the Stoics proud.

I've often wondered about this propensity of physicists to characterize
everything in terms of "particles".  If the force between particle 1 and
particle 2 is understood in terms of an exchange of particles 3 (gauge
bosons), how are we to unerstand the "force" or relation otherwise between,
say, particle 1 and those bosons?  Does a proper understanding of that
relation require yet another kind of particle-exchange?  I have no qualms
about the regress that this sets up; but is the regress best treated simply
as a hierarchy of "particles"?  Are particles the only kind of first-class
objects?  Why can't we speak of certain relations among particles which are
not themselves explicable in terms of (exchanges of) particles but which
are first-class existents -- specifically and irreducibly as "relations"?

The idea that "particles" can be used to explain forces among particles is
pretty radical.  But more radical, I think, would be a conception of things
(hopefully mathematically formulatable in the best traditions of
mathematical physics) where relations are not "particles" but are
nevertheless equally corporeal, first-class, etc.  Maybe this is what
field-theory is all about?  I really don't know -- I'm out of my element
here.

>As for species or genera, these were totally foreign to Stoic thought and
>certainly had no logical status. " and there is hence no notion of
>comprehension or extension as in classical syllogistic theory.
>"Puisque le raisonnment stoicien ne porte que sur des individus, non sur des
>genres et des especes, la question d'interpretation du syllogisme en
>comprehension ou en extension ne se pose pas." Francois Chenique "Elements
>de Logique Classique" Tome 2, p 238, Dunod, Paris 1975.

But apparently there was some notion of species and genera in Stoic thought
even if not as in classical (Aristotelean?) syllogistic theory.  As I
understand it, the most general genus for them is "existence" or "being",
whereas "body" (corporeal existence; physical object?) is a species of
existence (along with incorporeal existence -- lekta, void, place, time).
"Body" in turn is a genus with several species -- etc etc -- all the way
down to the most specific species (you, me, Socrates, my coffee cup, etc.).
The claim rather is that there are no species and genera in the classical
sense of "universals" as incorporeal but intelligible.  Instead, species
and genera (at least within the corporeal "tree") are themselves corporeal.


But this is just nit-picking over terms.  We end up at the same place with
qualities (properties, relations, species, kinds, etc) as first-class
objects.

Yours, in agreement,
--TB

 ______________________________________________________________________
  Tom Burke                  http://www.cla.sc.edu/phil/faculty/burket
  Department of Philosophy                         Phone: 803-777-3733
  University of South Carolina                       Fax: 803-777-9178


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