November 14, 2009

Ransdell’s Objection to an Interpretational Claim Made by Ramon Vila Vernis:



I think you are misunderstanding what Peirce is saying in the passage where he talks about "Plato's definitive philosophy" as resulting from "the correction of that error of Heraclitus which consisted in holding the Continuous to be Transitory,  . . . ". 


I interrupt what Peirce is saying there in mid-sentence, before he goes on to the second thing, to underscore that he is not attributing a mistake to Plato but to Heraclitus, i.e. Peirce is saying that Plato held the correct view that the continuous is not transitory. He is NOT saying that Plato "favored the discrete".   Whatever exactly Peirce meant by saying that Plato denied that the continuous is transitory, it does not suggest or imply that Plato favored the discrete.

Then when Peirce goes on to complete the sentence, what he says is that Plato makes "the being of the Idea potential", rather than, as you have it, imputing to Plato the view that Plato "favors the actual over the potential". Peirce is saying that, in Plato's view, the idea IS potential. I think you misread that sentence--which is very awkwardly worded by Peirce--by construing him as still talking in the latter part of it about Plato as correcting Heraclitus.  But reread it carefully and you will see that he is saying that, in spite of Aristotle's criticisms, Plato's essential philosophy results from, first, a correction of a certain error by Heraclitus, and, second, from making the idea a potentiality (which is a thirdness rather than an actuality).  If you add in the word "results" after the word "also" you may see what I mean.

Or at least so I would argue, and--if I am right about that--it would seem to destroy your basic line of argument in the paper.  So you might want to take due account of that in some way.


Joseph Ransdell