PEIRCE-L Digest 1277 -- January 29-30, 1998

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   From PEIRCE-L Forum, Jan 5, 1998, [name of author of message],
   "re: Peirce on Teleology"   

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Topics covered in this issue include:

  1) Re: Hookway's _Peirce_:Chapter I - Logic and Psychology
	by piat[…] (Jim L Piat)
  2) Re: Hookway's _Peirce_:Chapter I - Logic and Psychology
	by Tom Anderson 
  3) Re: Continuity & Discontinuity
	by Thomas.Riese[…] (Thomas Riese)
  4) Re: Peirce and the bootstrap, et al.
	by Thomas.Riese[…] (Thomas Riese)
  5) Re: The Degeneracy of the Index and the Derivatives of "Determine"
	by John Oller 
  6) Re: Hookway's _Peirce_:Chapter I - Logic and Psychology
	by Leonard Jacuzzo 
  7) Re: Hi! I have a question
	by piat[…] (Jim L Piat)
  8) Hookway -- chapter 1 -- Introspection
	by Tom Anderson 
  9) Re: Hookway's _Peirce_:Chapter I - Logic and Psychology
	by piat[…] (Jim L Piat)
 10) Re: slow reading: New List (paragraph 1)
	by Tom Gollier 
 11) Re: Europhilia in Harper's
	by joseph.ransdell[…] (ransdell, joseph m.)
 12) Re: Europhilia in Harper's
	by Thomas.Riese[…] (Thomas Riese)


Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 12:23:53 -0500
From: piat[…] (Jim L Piat)
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: Hookway's _Peirce_:Chapter I - Logic and Psychology
Message-ID: <19980129.122458.13862.0.piat[…]>

On Wed, 28 Jan 1998 15:22:55 -0600 (CST) Tom Anderson

>  I'm a little reluctant to comment, as I've not yet begun the book.  
>Jim, do
>you know Plato's MENO?  It's a good treatment of learning mathematics 
>relationship to experience.  The meat of the argument is that while
>experience may be an occasion to think mathematically, unless you 
>already are
>thinking that way in some important sense beforehand, you wouldn't be 
>able to
>frame your experience in a way that would illustrate the mathematical 

 No, I haven't read MENO. I'll put it on the long list.
>It's a tricky issue, because there's such an interdependence.  Do you 
>the mathematician Polya?  He's got a great little book HOW TO SOLVE 
>IT, and a
>bigger book on PLAUSIBLE REASONING.  In the appendix to PLAUSIBLE 
>he reprints an article he wrote that uses empirical methods to arrive 
>at the
>theorem about the distribution of primes.  I love it, partly because 
>it's a
>great intellectual mediator between a hoary complicated proof about 
>distribution of primes that I can't even begin to follow, and an 
>information theory proof that's very easy to follow and takes about 20 
>to lay out!  I suspect that many mathematicians actually do the 
>around that Polya writes about in his paper -- that is, actually run
>experiments about how different kinds of are distributed -- and of 
>course, he
>was writing before easy access to computers, so it was far harder for 
>him to
>do the kind of thing he talks about than it is for us now.  
>Personally, I'd
>be absolutely nowhere without computers to play with to explore 
>relationships more or less empirically -- I find I can develop 
>that way and know no other way to do that myself.  I think experience,
>experiment and exploration are way under-rated in mathematics 

There was a period when I spent many hours doing this sort of thing
trying to prove Femat's Last Theorem.  I was going to say "I'm
embarrassed to admit..." but I realize, happily, that I'm not embarrassed
to admit this to you.  As an aside, in reference to Joe's thoughts about
math education,  I think mathematics ( in part the study of processes,
relations patterns, etc) often gets taught as memorizing the algorithms
or recipes for working with these.  How real mathematician (theoretical
or applied) get past these stultifying drills I don't know.  Perhaps it's
an accidental but useful screening process designed
to sift us according to our natural abilities.  I got cut early. 
>Having said that, I still take a non-experiential view of foundations 
>think that bring our mathematical intuitions to experience and use 
>them to
>structure our experience.  Think of this problem:  Count the number of 
>in the room you presently in.  You can't begin to do it -- it's not a
>meaningful question, even.  You could think of ways to, for example, 
>the number of oxygen atoms within a certain tolerance, or you could 
>count the
>books, or the books published after 1987, or the number of pages in 
>published after 1987, or the number of computer keyboards or whatever. 
> But
>you'd need to have some concept of some category of entity before you 
>start counting, and I think that such concepts come along with some
>mathematical structure -- or are linked to something like Platonic 
>part of the identity of which is that they haven't got existence by
>themselves but must be instantiated in qualified form to exist -- but 
>have a stable reality independent of specific instantiations.  I know 
>might have a kind of mystical sound to it, but I think it becomes 
>rational in appearance as you carefully work through the alternatives.
>Specifically, with numbers, you never experience them unless you 'cut 
>your experience in ways that express numbers, and this requires having 
>notion before using it.  Nothing comes to your mind from the outside 
>with a number -- well, of course, things in supermarkets are marked 
>numbers, but people put them there already, didn't they?  I mean when 
>have three apples in front of you, they aren't labeled one two three 
>-- and
>if you ask 'how many' without qualification, you can't answer that, 
>you don't know how many what, seeds, stems, atoms, molecules or sets 
>of three
>pieces of fruit or even how many elephants are in front of you (zero 
>in most
>cases) if you can get my drift.

Indeed I do, my friend!  Which is, I believe, why it is so important to
consider how the manifold sensuous impressions are reduced to unity. 
Without this capacity we are Lost In The Comos without the ability to
differentiate existence from essence.  I should emphasize that for me the
miricle is not in arbitrarily separating a particular one from many but
in the ability to conceive and thereby separate any substance from being
(or vice versa).  How do we separate figure from ground, entity from
context, substance from being?  But I'm not quite ready to concede that
such acts are founded in inexplicable preconceptions.  Tom, in none of
this do I mean to convey the notion that I have something to teach here. 
I'm simply using the declarative mode because it's the easiest way for me
to approach speaking clearly about a topic that is very puzzling to me. 
I love that Goedel quote of yours:
	"I believe the true meaning of the opposition between things and
concepts or between factual and coneptual truth is not yet completely
understood in contemporary philosophy, but so much is clear that in both
cases one is faced with 'solid facts' which are entirely outside the
reach of our arbitrary decisions." 

Not sure I really understand what he is and isn't saying but  I like what
I think he's saying. 

I'll not quote all of what you wrote about nominalism and realism, but I
found it informative and helpful.  

Thanks also to you and Bill for the information about Unitarianism.  

Jim Piat 

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Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 12:48:44 -0800
From: Tom Anderson 
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: Hookway's _Peirce_:Chapter I - Logic and Psychology
Message-ID: <34D0EB2C.6095E18D[…]>

Jim L Piat wrote:

> There was a period when I spent many hours doing this sort of thing
> trying to prove Femat's Last Theorem.  I was going to say "I'm
> embarrassed to admit..." but I realize, happily, that I'm not embarrassed
> to admit this to you.  As an aside, in reference to Joe's thoughts about
> math education,  I think mathematics ( in part the study of processes,
> relations patterns, etc) often gets taught as memorizing the algorithms
> or recipes for working with these.  How real mathematician (theoretical
> or applied) get past these stultifying drills I don't know.  Perhaps it's
> an accidental but useful screening process designed
> to sift us according to our natural abilities.  I got cut early.

Pardon my vehemence on this issue!  I think your being cut early is
tantamount to a serious crime -- it gets repeated daily in mathematics
education in the U.S.  The default belief is "you have it or you don't -- if
math becomes frustrating, it means you've reached your limit".  Suppose
Andrew Wiles believed that?  I always thought my brother just 'got it' but I
learned recently that he felt insecure, and when the teacher assigned the odd
numbered problems, he did all of them, so the sense I got that things just
came to him easily was created by his being in such good practice.
Stultifying drills are another matter -- mathematics isn't the same as
calculation, although calculation skills can help.  The Russians drill, but
they also love puzzles and do math and logic related puzzles recreationally
and competitively.  What happens in our country is that the alleged
"accidental but useful screening process designed to sift us according to our
natural abilities" actually ends up cutting lots of immensely talented kids,
and keeping kids of average and below average abilities from achieving their

I keep thinking about Title IX and the American women's Olympic victory in
soccer -- we won because there were SO many girls playing soccer from an
early age, so that as the going got tougher, there was a huge field of at
least moderately accomplished player to draw from.  You can't have much of an
elite if you don't have much of an average -- the mathematics on that are
brain dead simple.

Tom Anderson


Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 17:54:20 +0100
From: Thomas.Riese[…] (Thomas Riese)
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: Continuity & Discontinuity

Dear Howard Callaway,

I was tempted to answer to Paul Kelly's posting, too. But then, you 
know, it does me personally really good to see that what one could say 
from a "hard" mathematical;-) perspective and from a socially and 
politically relevant perspective so much agrees. Nay: I admire how you 
have put it, feeling that I am myself perhaps sometimes too much in 
love with only one side of things.

I have at the moment a lot to do with what happens at German schools 
and where indirectly but finally in the name of an economic 
"globalization" which all too quickly might prove to be nothing but a
variant of absolutism the idea of learning (socially and 
scientifically) is perverted and destroyed.

I don't believe that in the long run the influence science has on 
society can just only be "socially managed" -- at the same time there 
only being exploitation from both sides.

I often remember what the physicist Richard Feynman once said: We do 
not yet live in the age of science: no song is sung, no poem composed 
about it.

And again what Hermann Hesse wrote: that if the spirit is not pure, 
if we don't really believe in the worth the things we do and know have 
in themselves then soon even the steam-engines and all these things 
will stop to function properly.

I have the impression that in Germany in some areas, especially 
schools, the public spirit is degenerating quickly. I think public 
spirit or res publica (that term seems to me to be already expressing 
the idea of dscontinuity/continuity) is always bound to community, 
even if it is worldwide extended -- never to "globalism" or something.

I think the ideas of Peirce and others are indeed vitally important to 
grasp the subtle but decisive distinction and it is vitally important 
that we do indeed grasp them. I think they are infinitely more than a 
crazy mathematical pastime (even if they are an incredible 
intellectual adventure too). 

I really hope we get things together -- hopefully on adventuruous and 
often funny paths too. 

Thomas Riese.


Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 18:47:38 +0100
From: Thomas.Riese[…] (Thomas Riese)
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: Peirce and the bootstrap, et al.

Dear Bill Everdell,

I even have the impression that Peirce still is ahead of "our" time. 
I confess I am more and more confused about the historical side of 
these things. 

I less and less believe that scientific "progress" is just 
'accumulative' Far less that knowledge is 'doubled every x years' and 
such things. And neither it seems to me to be there any simple sort of 
'diffusion' process: sometimes concepts died out like animal species 
do but then they reappear and do make sense again and their 
reappearance is certainly not the same as their original appearance, 
but nevertheless there seems to be ... well:Continuity:-)

?? -- Eudoxus -- Dedekind -- ??
?? -- Duns Scotus -- Peirce -- ??

But perhaps my historical 'attention span' is just to short and if it 
were longer I could see perhaps "larger" systems of ideas rivaling and 

Mmh, seems as if I were really confused. 
Can you understand what I try to say?



Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 13:19:43 -0600
From: John Oller 
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: The Degeneracy of the Index and the Derivatives of "Determine"
Message-ID: <34D0D64F.197D[…]>

Skipping over a few much appreciated kind words, Jim L Piat wrote:

> . . . to
> propose or argue that our awareness of the glory of nature is more
> convincing evidence of God than any counter-arguments logic can provide
> is itself a logical argument. 

Right, but no one ever denied that it was a logical argument. On the
contrary, the possibility of that interpretation (that the case being
made was such a denial) was ruled out explicitly by the demonstrations
pertaining to the necessity of symbols for the interpretation of events
sequences per TNR-theory. 

> Maybe my point is not so much wrong as
> merely trivial, 

Not trivial, I think, nor perhaps wrong except in the attribution (_if_
the attribution was intended; if not, or in any event, please feel free
to make the necessary changes in all of this).

> but I don't think the counter argument (i.e. "isn't it
> obvious") is all that compelling either.  

But no such counter argument has been offered (and perhaps you do not
intend to attribute it either; if not, again, let us apply the mutatis
mutandis principle here as well), nor could it be for reasons that were
explicitly spelled out in reference to TNRs. Those reasons pertained to
what it is for any event sequence to be determined as an instance of a
certain kind. 

That is to say, both the argument (denying the significance of logic)
and the proposed counter argument (merely propounding the merits of
bodily objects moving about in space-time) are explicitly ruled out.
Moreover, the fact that the discussion is a logical argument does not in
any way overwhelm the demonstrated conclusion of TNR theory that logic
remains ultimately beholding for its content to the material realm, just
as the material realm remains ultimately beholding to the symbolic and
ideal realm for its determinacy (and its generality as well). 

TNR theory makes all this more explicit, I think, and in a more
comprehensible manner than prior systems. Peirce's "logic of relatives"
gives the same results but is less accessible. 

> I just finished reading
> _Questions Concerning Certain Faculties Claimed for Man_ in conjunction
> with the Hookway book.  I though Peirce argued persuasively in this essay
> that introspection and intuition where not solid foundations for action.

Agreed, and no lo contendere. In fact, TNR theory shows why "intuition"
per se (as carefully defined by Peirce in the "Incapacities" paper) is a
non starter. Introspection, I think, is a more difficult process to
dismiss. Certainly, memory and reflection are useful tools provided we
keep them always connected to the material present. But memory not so
connected is some form of hallucination and memory contaminated by
invention is confabulation, etc. No theory, I think, shows all this more
clearly than TNR theory.

> I hasten to add that I am not contesting your beliefs regarding God and
> the glory of nature.  I call it faith.  John's faith, Jim's faith and
> Bertrand's faith.  All faiths, as contrasted with "rocks" or mere
> seconds.

I appreciate the kindly spirit in which all of your remarks are offered,
Jim. Perhaps you are seeking to disengage gracefully, and I will owe a
penance for continuing to speak even as you may be backing away. Still I
want to try to distinguish between belief in a TNR versus belief in a
fiction, error, or lie. 

Consider: belief in a fiction is an error; belief in an error is an
error; and belief in a lie is an error. But belief in a TNR is not an
error. What's the difference? Mainly we see the difference in material
results produced by actions grounded in true beliefs as contrasted with
actions grounded in errors. The contrast is like that between catching
an elevator at the top of the building or stepping into the empty
elevator shaft and falling the 40 stories down.

While I might have faith in any representation, if I have not
distinguished TNRs sufficiently from fictions, errors, and lies (i.e.,
if I have not determined which representations are well conformed to
genuine objects and which are not, or which are better or less well
conformed), I remain at greater risk and less empowered than I might be
if my representations were more conformable to material facts. Faith in
something that is not there is quite different from faith in something
that is real. 

You may have smiled as I did at Russell's statement of the case in his
paper "On Propositions: What They Are and How They Mean", on page 164 in
_Language and Experience_. He wrote: 
"Insofar as people wish to believe truly (which I am told is sometimes
the case), it is because true beliefs are supposed to be, as a rule, a
better means to the realization of desires than false ones." 
And, of course, he is not wrong as far as he goes, but Peirce's
definition of "truth" is better than Russell's by divorcing the concept
from whimsical or hedonistic elements ("desires"). I am referring
especially to CP 5, pp. 388-394 (sorry I cannot give the paragraphs from
my current source, _Language and Experience_ pp. 193-201 which contains
the section from CP just cited). Most simply put, Peirce said, 
"Truth is the conformity of a representamen to its object, _its_ object,
ITS object, mind you" (p. 196 in my book). 
Nowhere else in all of his writings, I believe, will you find this
emphasis performed in this peculiar editorial way.

Now what of faith in an object that does not exist? That would be quite
disappointing owing to the fact that the representamen(s) would be
orphaned (a fiction in the end). Yet if I believe and act upon that
which is untrue, I err, and the consequences of my actions will be as
real in the case of the orphaned (fictional representation) as in the
case of a TNR. 

Hence, though it may seem un-American and though it cannot be
politically correct to admit, beliefs are not all created equal. Neither
do they all lead to the same results. And this is generally so, i.e., as
much in the ordinary workings of experience as in the sciences. Not that
you would deny these foregoing statements, but in what sense can we
equate Russell's "unyielding despair" with Peirce's statement of faith
in a benevolent God? Russell's faith was grounded in what he did not
know as contrasted with Peirce's which was sustained by evidences shown
to be overwhelmingly superior to any argument that might be mounted
against them. I think, therefore, that such "faiths" are not the same.
Oddly, however, I do admit that the differences pointed out between
these "faiths" are, by all conventional linguistic and symbolic readings
(and no other representations can be shared between us), known only
through logical argument.


John W. Oller, Jr., Professor and Head
Department of Communicative Disorders
University of Southwestern Louisiana
P.O.Box 43170
Lafayette, LA 70504-3170


Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 15:18:15 -0500 (EST)
From: Leonard Jacuzzo 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Re: Hookway's _Peirce_:Chapter I - Logic and Psychology

The point about the necessity to attach a concept to a question of number
is very interesting. For example, how many? can only be answered if one
knows how many of what. This point is made in Frege's Foundations of
arithmetic. He can be somewhat adequately paraphrased as asserting that in
order tounderstand the meaning of a term like 'number' one has to
understand the sense of the propositions in which it is an element. "never
ask for the meaning of a term except in the context of a proposition. "
No proposition which employs number and has a determinant sense does not
specify a number of what.  'There are 32' is sensless. That is why Frege
characterizes number as a property of an extension of a concept. zero is a
number because it is a property shared by concepts such as 'round-square'.
Of course a mere calculator would not ask what a number is so would not
find this definition helpful. This may shed light on why the computational
math user does not thimk of zero as a number.

Leonard F Jacuzzo
SUNY […] Buffalo


Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 16:50:44 -0500
From: piat[…] (Jim L Piat)
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: Hi! I have a question
Message-ID: <19980129.165153.12902.0.piat[…]>

On Wed, 28 Jan 1998 08:38:18 -0600 (CST) Leonard Jacuzzo

>Dear Pierce list,

> Further, it seems that one cannot 
>take a falliblistic stance towards the beliefs concerning logic 
>seriously. In short, any supposed refutation of the logical laws based 
>upon recalcitrant experience leads to inconsistency. 
>For example, If logical theory 'T' implies that a particular 
>experience cannot happen (say an experience of seeing something which 
>is both red and blue all over) but that experience does happen, then 
>one could justifiable assert the falsity of logical theory 'T'. But, 
>if one denies the truth of the logical theory, the laws which 
>sanctioned the implication between 'T' and the ruling out of the 
>particular experience would be denied. But if one denies the 
>implication, the recalcitrant experience does not have the falsifying 
>force. In this case, the theory would be both falsified and not 
>falsified. But that is ridiculous. Of course one could object by 
>saying that the principle of non-contradiction does not always hold. 
>But that would make the falsifying mechanism loose its force. 
>The question is, what is wrong with my characterization of the 
>pragmatic position on logical truth? Further, what is wrong with my 
>argument against falliblism (reliablism) in regards to beliefs of a 
>logical nature?
>Thanks for your time, 
>Leonard F Jacuzzo

I'm not sure what I'm suggesting applies but for what it's worth your
description of  using logic to refute logic sounds a bit like the liar's
paradox.  ("This assertion is false"; or,  in your case, trying to prove
logic is illogical with logic.)  No matter how you approach it you end up
with a contradiction.  Recently I read in _Goodbye Descartes: The end of
logic and the search for a new cosmology of the mind_ by Keith Devlin
that this paradox had been resolved by examining the role of context. 
Apparently the approach is called situation theory and is explained in a
book by Barwise and Etchemendy  _The Liar_ (1987).  I believe the
conclusion is that your approach is in fact untenable (illogical) but
that this can only be truly asserted from a context other than the one
from which you are undertaking the effort.   Come to think of it, isn't
there something contradictory about the very notion of doubt itself.  

Personally, I suspect this context business may also apply to ineffable
situations like trying to explain awareness without resorting to talking
in circles or some kind of infinite regress. I also find myself attracted
to the notion suggested to me by the comments of Thomas Riese and Joe
Ransdell that man's glassy essence is fundamentally a process and
continuum that can never be captured or understood as a static or
discrete structure.  I know I'm drifting here so I'll stop.  What do you

Jim Piat

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Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 17:59:40 -0800
From: Tom Anderson 
To: Peirce list 
Subject: Hookway -- chapter 1 -- Introspection
Message-ID: <34D1340C.F34E7C00[…]>

Finally, I've begun the Hookway book.  I'd like to comment briefly and
ask other people's thoughts about introspection.  Peirce argues in

> Only, there is a certain set of facts which are ordinarily regarded
> as external, while others are regarded as internal. The question is whether the latter are known otherwise than by inference from
> the former. By introspection, I mean a direct perception of the internal world, but not necessarily a perception of it as internal. Nor
> do I mean to limit the signification of the word to intuition, but would extend it to any knowledge of the internal world not derived
> from external observation.
Hookway takes several interpretive steps that I'd like to question.  He
glosses 'external' as 'public'.  "If the claim is that all psychological
predicates are introduced to explain public phenomena, and are
answerable to public criteria, the Peirce offers a sample of two cases
as part of a (weak) inductive argument for the conclusion."  (p.27)  I
can't find 'public' in Peirce, and I interpret what he's saying as
something like:  If I feel a pain, I'm not introspecting the feeling of
having a pain -- I don't look inside myself and discover that I'm
feeling a pain, I feel a pain -- later I can analyze that (as in what
Peirce says about the self), but as I experience it, I experience the
pain as external -- something impinging on me.  If I see a red object, I
can later break that down and say "it might have been red, I'm not sure"
but the primary reference is to the external red object.  Now in the
case of red, and actually very often in the case of pain, there are in
fact public criteria, and we can test such things with others -- but I
don't think that's relevant to Peirce's case which is that expressions
such as "I think I saw a red ball" or "it looks red to me" make no sense
without such expressions as "The ball is red" having been previously

Is that what Hookway is saying when he writes, "Now, as an account of
ordinary avowals, this seems very implausible, but there is more to be
said for it as an account of concept formation . . ." (p. 27)??  It
seems to me just the other way around -- that propositions such as "the
ball is red" are prior to "the ball seems red" but the discussion has
nothing to do with forming the concept of red which is another matter
altogether.  Unless he's talking about forming the concept 'seems'.

I'm arguing for an interpretation of Peirce where he's indifferent
between public and private, and he means rather to contrast internal and
external, and to argue that we make inferences to internal states from
information about external states.

Tom Anderson


Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 19:08:25 -0500
From: piat[…] (Jim L Piat)
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: Hookway's _Peirce_:Chapter I - Logic and Psychology
Message-ID: <19980129.190828.9326.0.piat[…]>


OTOH, seems to me we need to be able to operationally define our concepts
if they are to have any useful purpose. (And since numbers are useful, I
wonder if there isn't some implicit operational definition of a number
that we're using but just not articulating)  But I also have the
impression that this notion of operational definitions along with logical
positivism has been discredited.  What's wrong with the notion of
defining concepts in terms of either measurements or the human actions by
which they are realized (or could in theory be realized)?  I'm thinking
of number.  What action constitutes zero - not found or present?   
Something like John Oller's "I couldn't find it everywhere".  What
constitutes one?  The conclusion or termination of an activity?  I think
some of this needs doing before we start in the middle with such
activities as "mapping", or "again".   All this by way of displaying my
confusion with Frege and Russell.  Counting and number are different, no?
Any hints as to how to get out of this morrass would be appreciated. I
hope I've made enough sense to provoke a response. 

Jim Piat

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Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 19:05:39 -0800
From: Tom Gollier 
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: slow reading: New List (paragraph 1)
Message-ID: <34D14382.6A5011D0[…]>

    Bill Overcamp wrote:

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

>> substance implies being
>> these categories imply being
>> Therefore, substance implies these categories

This "syllogism" is Peirce's model for abduction, taken from the
"New List" (Section 15 - before we started reading slowly),

================= Quote Pierce 1.559 ===============
..  In hypotheses, something *like* the conclusion is proved, that
is, the premisses form a likeness of the conclusion.  Take, for
example, the following argument:

           M is, for instance, P', P'', P''', and P'''';
                   S is P', P'', P''', and P'''':
                          [Ergo,] S is M.
=================== end quote ======================

simplified to one predicate, and translated into hypotheticals.  If
by "I don't understand the syllogism" you mean that logically it
doesn't work, I'd have to agree.  Given that the predicates are true
or are implied by the different subjects, the subjects, M and S, can
still occur in any logical relationship whatsover and the expression
as a whole will remain true.  In other words, the consequent of
these two implications:

        A implies C
        B implies C

short-circuit their conjunction just as the consequent of a single

        A implies C

short-circuits it.  If C is true the conjunction of those two
expressions is true regardless whether A and B are true or false,
and thus, given that C is true, nothing whatsoever logically follows
about the relationship between A and B.

    And the logical bankruptcy of abduction is reflected in the
various non-logical means -- such as economy of research or
plausibility of alternatives -- by which Peirce attempts to
justify one abduction rather than another.  But, with this, we're
back to that phrase in Section 1:

    "... the validity of a conception consists in the impossibility
    of reducing the content of consciousness to unity without the
    introduction of it."

And again, this does not appear to refer to the validity of concepts
or conceptualizing in general, nor to the need for unifications of
some kind in the thinking or saying of anything.  Instead, it says
the validity of *a* conception stems from the impossibility of doing
without *it*.  What kind of necessity is this?  Not many concepts
are necessary in the sense that the sensuous manifold could not be
unified in some way or another without them.

    Unless, of course, "concept" refers only to absolutely universal
concepts, to those *a priori* concepts without which there would
allegedly be no thought of any kind at all.  Then we could at least
see an argument for their validity in their indispensability.
"Being" and "substance" are certainly candidates for this kind of
universality, and limiting the reference of "concept" in this manner
would explain the discussion shifting to mathematical infinities
with the question of "gradation" as well.  This is also more or less
what we'll find in Book I of the "Transcendental Analytic" in Kant's
_Critique of Pure Reason_ is it not?  But, if this is what we have
in mind for Peirce's use of the term "concept," (and it does seem
all that unsayable) then why not just say it?  I'm reminded of my
Drill Instructor in boot camp who, when confronted the first day or
so by a Filipino recruit responding to him with a loudly exaggerated
"Yesssssss SIRRRRRRR!", just looked at him.  Everyone could see the
guy better say those two words just exactly like that, same
intonation and all, from then on.

    I would propose, instead, that we look at this phrase as
presuming a concept of "validity," at least as it refers to
abduction, with gradations.  The validity of a concept, any old
symbol/term/concept, is the impossiblity of unifying the sensuous
manifold without it, but that just means a concept like "stove," for
example, is much less valid than a concept like "being" and that no
concept is absolutely impossible to dispense with if we're willing
to reorganize -- much like Peirce is doing in this essay -- the
hierarchy of concepts which derives from and around it.  Peirce's
comparison of scientific thought to the strands of a rope seems very
much to the point here, and I don't think we should be using this
mention of "impossibility" and "validity" to drop him into the more
traditional metaphysical concepts of "necessity."

Tom Gollier


Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 21:59:18 -0600
From: joseph.ransdell[…] (ransdell, joseph m.)
Subject: Re: Europhilia in Harper's
Message-ID: <015701bd2d33$7205b2c0$23a432ce[…]>

This is in response to Dennis Knepp.

I just read the article in Harper's you referred us to the other day,
Dennis.  You say:

 >Basically, we are all taught
>that U.S. intellectual history started with the invasion of the U.S.
>academies by European intellectuals fleeing the Nazi's, and we are
>this because we are taught by either those Europeans or by academics
>were taught by them.  As a consequence, anything prior to WWII is
>considered bad and merely provincial.
> Although I do not have much knowledge in the areas that Lind
>discusses, such as architecture, I imagine that he does know what he is
>talking about.  However, I do know a little about the history of
>philosophy in American, at least enough to see where Lind's biases are.
>Lind has the view of philosophy shared by everyone associated with a
>Humanities department other than Philosophy -- that is, they take it
>the philosophers that literary critics discuss must be the philosophers
>that people in Philosophy Departments discuss.  As a consequence, Lind
>completely fails to mention the fact that the U.S. did have a strong
>vibrant philosophical tradition prior to WWII that got largely swept
>by the invasion of the Logical Positivists.  In fact, although he
>discusses U.S. intellectual history in literature, architecture and
>subjects prior to WWII, he fails to mention that there was anyone at
>writing on philosophy at that time.

Well, he hardly mentions philosophy at all, presumably because he knows
too little about it.  But there is indeed something in this as regards
philosophy in this country, too.  There is an exaggeration in the way
you are expressing it, but there is truth in it, too, as was illustrated
very nicely quite recently in a protracted discussion of the logic of
discovery on the hopos-l list (history of the philosophy of science).
This was equated (mistakenly) with the logic of hypothesis, but, leaving
that aside, the point is that the discussion developed primarily on the
assumption that the issue itself and the identity of philosophers who
have contributed to the topic is to be understood by starting from the
fact that the positivists denied that there is any such thing, with
Reichenbach being the major individual figure of reference.
Nonpositivists are then mention, e.g. Popper is mentioned, and  Whewell
and Mill, and some lesser figures, but Peirce, who wrote more and
developed these matters more thoroughly and systematically than all of
these people put together,  was not mentioned at all until about 20
messages down the line, and then with a vague reference to the fact that
"the pragmatists" had something to say about it.

I am stigmatized on the list as someone who keeps annoying people with
the impertinent information that in the U.S., before the Glorious
Linguistic Revolution of 1920 or so, there was actually some philosophy
of science done by somebody named "Peirce", so I always have to wait
until there is some pretext before providing some basic information
about Peirce for the benefit of a list supposedly devoted to the topic
of the history of the philosophy of science.  Thanks for doing their job
for them is not to be expected.  The attitude among those that keep the
list free of disturbing influences is always the same: "So what?"  It is
not that everybody on the list is a positivist -- nobody actually admits
to being a positivist these days, anyway -- but that the default
framework assumption is that the philosophy of science really didn't
exist until the positivists came along, though there were, to be sure,
"forerunners" of the real thing, e.g. Peirce.  But still, first things
first, and first of all we have to get clear on what the positivists
approved and disapproved of.

Now, on a list of 650 which is dominated by this kind of orthodoxy of
basic orientation you can be certain that there are a lot of people who
say nothing but who are interested in other possible views -- I know
from managing peirce-l how many people who do not actively participate
do, nevertheless, follow closely everything that is going on -- so I
persist as I can to try to make a point or two when the occasion arises,
but as regards the reigning orthodoxy there is nothing to be done, as
far as I can see.  The basic mindset is just there and unchanging.

This kind of completely self-satisfied fixedness of belief -- I started
to use another word but thought better of it -- is itself a legacy of
the positivists.  They were themselves totally convinced that they were
the beginning of what is worthwhile in the philosophy of science (which
really means that they regarded themselves as the successors to
philosophy of science.)  One reason why they were able to establish
themselves and institutionalize that image as thoroughly as they did is,
I think, that as emigres fleeing from the Nazis, beginning in the early
and mid 30's, they were sympathetic figures to begin with.  But more
importantly, during World War 2 1941 to 1945 for the U.S.), they were
institutionally advantaged precisely as emigres since they were not
draftable by the government, which was, by the end of the war, drafting
every citizen that was more or less healthy up to the age of 39, as I
recall.  Thus the universities in this country contained only men (and
a smattering of women) who were either not altogether able-bodied  or
were older than that, and of these there was a further draft of sorts as
people either went to work for top secret defense programs (as e.g. at
Los Alamos) or else took jobs in one or another of the many intelligence
agencies that were developed in the war.  Thus the positivists were
there to take the slots that were empty during the war.  That is my
guess at one important factor, though it is just a guess.

There are doubtless further considerations, though, and the clue to
understanding this further probably  lies in understanding how it came
to pass that people came to believe that philosophy itself was finished,
having been killed off by the so-called "linguistic revolution", which
was usually dated from around 1920.  I think, that the place to begin is
with WW1, which begins just as Peirce dies.  On the personal side, it is
good to note that Peirce died at a time when he had good reason to
believe that he had finally achieved the kind of status that would lead
to further interest in his work, better positioned than he had ever been
in that respect.  For he was the featured thinker in Royce's university
seminar that year that included a remarkably diverse range of scientific
types from the Harvard faculty -- that seminar itself being exactly the
sort of intellectual colloquy that Peirce would have convened and led
himself had he been in position to do so.  Royce was very deferential,
mediating Peirce into the seminar situation from a distance, as it were,
and it must have seemed to Peirce like he really had begun to do what he
set out to do from the beginning, namely, establish logic -- in the
broad and liberal sense in which he understood that -- as a genuine
science that had the respect of other scientists.

But, as we know, that was not the way it went.  In a couple of years
Royce is dead and after that the occlusion begins; but I think it may
well have been positivism which is responsible for the actual
eradication of him as a known figure in American intellectual life. I
will explain why I say this in another message, but at the bottom of it
is the fact that the positivists never regarded themselves as
philosophers to begin with, but rather as having as their task the
elimination of any vestiges of philosophy that they could find.
Peirce's radical antipathy to so many things they associated themselves
with and his belief in philosophy itself, taken together with his prior
work in every field they specialized in -- try to think of something
they were into that he wasn't into before them -- left them with no way
to accommodate him at all other than to deny, in effect, that he ever
existed.   I suppose that all sounds too fanciful, though.

Joe Ransdell

 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 -


Date: Fri, 30 Jan 1998 11:14:57 +0100
From: Thomas.Riese[…] (Thomas Riese)
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: Europhilia in Harper's

Joe Ransdell wrote,

>I am stigmatized on the list as someone who keeps annoying people with
>the impertinent information that in the U.S., before the Glorious
>Linguistic Revolution of 1920 or so, there was actually some philosophy
>of science done by somebody named "Peirce", so I always have to wait
>until there is some pretext before providing some basic information
>about Peirce for the benefit of a list supposedly devoted to the topic
>of the history of the philosophy of science.  Thanks for doing their job
>for them is not to be expected.  The attitude among those that keep the
>list free of disturbing influences is always the same: "So what?"  It is
>not that everybody on the list is a positivist -- nobody actually admits
>to being a positivist these days, anyway -- but that the default
>framework assumption is that the philosophy of science really didn't
>exist until the positivists came along, though there were, to be sure,
>"forerunners" of the real thing, e.g. Peirce.  But still, first things
>first, and first of all we have to get clear on what the positivists
>approved and disapproved of.

I don't think that this is necessarily a genuine  U.S. American 
problem. From my visits at philosophy seminars in Germany I have the 
impression that what is commonly understood as 'philosophy of 
science' is regarded as an opportunity safely to talk a lot about 
everything without being oblidged to do anything, thus keeping 
oneself in an 'one up' position as a philosopher. In one sense Peirce 
indeed is not their predecessor, I think!

If you do anything else it is for them like sex in the classroom.

I particularly like seminars by positivists on John Locke discussing 
sensory perception etc. and people are totally unaware of the fact 
that they have all their scientific instruments as well as the 
subject matter with them;-)  I like these hilarious 
situations...'Applied Philosophy', you know:-)

And by the way: positivists here in Germany seem to be by far the 
most common unexisting species too. Seems to me as if they were 
somehow extinguished in what I would call the Berkeley Trap and now 
have to live on as kind of Zombies. (I confess I often don't dare to 
kiss them awake:-)

I that sense this perhaps then confirms your suspicions: what you 
and Dennis Knepp write sounds like the description of a German 




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