2, No. 1, |
|No NEH Funds for Peirce||
On 1 March the National Endowment for the Humanities informed the Peirce Project that NEH had decided not to fund the chronological edition for 1995-97. The negative decision was made even though all of the NEH reviewers for our proposal recommended that the edition be funded. It was clear from the letter of notification and also from the NEH panelists' comments that there were two principal reasons for the decision not to fund Peirce.
One major problem is the cost of producing the chronological edition. The Peirce edition costs more than many other critical editions because so much scholarly labor has to be expended on manuscript reorganization and first-time editing. There is simply little or no previous research to fall back on for many of Peirce's manuscript texts (many of which have to be reclaimed to begin with from the disorganized mass of manuscripts that ended up at Harvard in 1915 and that has brought so many scholars to the point of despair). To make matters worse, Indiana University support for the edition has been much reduced since 1993 and this has created a greater need for external funding.
The second major problem is Peirce's persistent image as a brilliant and interesting failure. For NEH to fund Peirce at higher levels than most (though not all) of its other editions, they (the NEH staff, the panelists, the Council, and the Chair) have to be convinced that Peirce is truly a major American thinker whose writings are of considerable importance for American (and world) thought and culture. Most readers of this newsletter will think it is obvious that Peirce is such a major figure, but clearly some at NEH have not been so fully convinced of Peirce's significance, at least not relative to the other writers whose works they are asked to support. I, along with all the other members of the Peirce Project, have worked very hard and have sought much advice in an effort to compose a new application that will be more convincing. In June we sent in our new application, asking for funding for 1996-98, and we again have high hopes.
But our application alone, no matter how well our case is presented, will not convince NEH that Peirce should be funded, given the political and competitive climate in which the funding decisions have to be made. Peirce needs a higher profile in our general intellectual culture! To achieve that end, should it be agreed that it is desirable, deliberate acts must be taken by many capable and willing individuals. I do not know exactly what can be done nor whom to ask so I present this as a problem to be solved by the Peirce community at large. I am sure that it will take many books, articles, book reviews, letters to editors and to select individuals, telephone calls, conversations, etc. It will not be easy. There is a pretty firmly established view of Peirce among generalists that is well represented by Richard Rorty in his recent (July 31) New Republic review of Feyerabend's autobiography:
Just as James learned a lot from Peirce while sensibly refraining from glossing him in any detail, so leading contemporary philosophers of science learned a lot from Feyerabend but would not wish to try to reconstruct his arguments. For neither Peirce nor Feyerabend ever really got his act together. The writings of both are full of good ideas, and will probably continue to be mined. But most of us will continue to assign James and Dewey rather than Peirce when inculcating pragmatism, and Kuhn and Wittgenstein rather than Feyerabend when explaining what was wrong with logical empiricism.
In candor, I think we must admit that Rorty's assessment of Peirce (and of Feyerabend, no doubt) is not without basis, but it is certainly not the view many of us have reached. If the view expressed by Rorty continues to be the received view of Peirce among our popular philosophers and the general intellectual public, it will be very difficult to convince NEH, or any other external funding agency, to fund the rest of the chronological edition. It does not help matters that there has been little visible show of support in the Peirce community for the work of the Peirce Project. Certainly many individuals have contributed to our work, both with time and money, but we need many more reviews of our published volumes and, frankly, we need to be endorsed more openly in articles and public conversations. There is a perception in some quarters that the Peirce community is not very supportive of the critical edition, and this perception has been damaging. If it is a correct perception, then so be it. But those among you who believe that our work is important and should be continued could help us a lot by finding ways to publicly express your support. You could also write letters of support to Dean John Barlow, School of Liberal Arts, IUPUI, 425 University Blvd., Indianapolis IN 46202, or to other Indiana University administrators or public officials.
Finally, as always, we need money. Dean Barlow has agreed to fund the Project (at a reduced level) for another year while we seek stable external funding, but we cannot make much progress toward the publication of volumes without additional support. We need your help! Please send contributions if you can afford to. If you can't, send ideas!
Send checks payable to the Peirce Edition Project (account number 32-PO11-17-7). Please send your gifts (checks or ideas) directly to the Project (address below). If you can give a substantial amount but would like to discuss what form your gift should take, with both the Project's and your own interests in mind, we can provide you with expert advice through the services of the Indiana University Foundation. Contact me or my assistant, Beth Eccles, for more information.
Note: In the previous issue I said that I would give a general "state of the project" report in this issue. That report has been replaced by this far less pleasant but necessary report on our funding situation. We also promised to publish a list of our 1994 supporters. Indeed we are extremely grateful for your gifts of money, time, and books that we received last year! But after further consideration we decided not to publish your names which, though intended as an honor, would more than likely result in your names being added to "prospects" lists of other fund raisers. Please accept our sincerest appreciation for your support.
-Nathan Houser, Project Director
FOR THE RECORD
This will be an occasional column to inform readers of corrections, improvements, points of interest, and other matters relevant to the past work of the Peirce Project. One of the most painful decisions for an editor is to not publish a work that, though obviously important, falls outside of the scope of the plan for the edition. All too often the editors of the chronological edition are faced with this difficulty. Our hope (and our tentative "new" plan) is to extend the scope of the chronological edition to include most (perhaps all) of Peirce's writings (in unedited form) in an electronic edition. But until the electronic edition is published (and for some readers even afterwards) the limitations of the print edition will define the limits of primary research into Peirce's works. (Of course the microfilm edition of the Harvard manuscripts makes available for research perhaps as much as sixty-five percent of the extant manuscripts, and Ken Ketner's microfiche edition of Peirce's published writings is virtually complete.)
Metcalf was notorious for bending authors to his unvarying length requirement, but he nearly met his match in Peirce. Peirce's efforts to "buy" space for the full expression of his thoughts had taken the form of cutting articles, pronouns, and even verbs. The original draft, and surviving discarded fragments of the re-write, show his consistent diagonal marks through many words in these manuscripts; his word counts, marked off in hundreds, run through many of these pages as well. But in the galleys and the subsequent typescript, Peirce's cutting became extreme, and appeared to be offered as an almost childish rebellion against what he perceived as a mindless editing policy.
Two interesting manuscripts that were not selected for inclusion in the chronological edition are MS 91 (Harvard 1156) and MS 92 (from Harvard 1596). These MSS are listed in the "Chronological List" for W1 with the titles (supplied by the editors), "Philosophical Terms from A to Z" (MS 91) and "Philosophical Notes" (MS 92). Both manuscripts are dated 1864- 1869. MS 91 is an extensive index of philosophical terms written into a blank index book of three hundred pages. (Fig. 1 in the print edition illustrates two such cards, one that reads "Community. Idea plays an important part in Stoical ethics. Man made for the sake of the Community. ii.g.i.199." and another that reads: "Rationality. All thought a representation, has its interpretant. This is the sense of Plato's saying that thought is a silent speech of the soul with itself.) Peirce's index contains over 2500 philosophical terms keyed to perhaps as many as fifty philosophical works, including works by Abelard, Aristotle, Berkeley, Burgersdicius, Fiske, Hamilton, Kant, Leibniz, Locke, Mill, Occam, Petrus Hispanus, Porter, Prantl, Reid, Scotus, Trendelenburg, Uberweg, and Wundt. MS 92 is a set of about 1000 alphabetically arranged small note cards (from Harvard MS 1596, which contains as well thousands of reference cards related to Peirce's subsequent work for the Century Dictionary) devoted to philosophical writers and terminology. Many of these cards are primarily bibliographical, listing authors and works, but many contain what appear to be exemplary references or quotations for key philosophical terms (Fig. 2 in the print edition shows a sample page of "s" terms that illustrates how a "reading history" can be drawn from this work.) These manuscripts should prove invaluable for the study of Peirce's intellectual development.
Max Harold Fisch
Max Harold Fisch, whose scholarship and leadership were the twin
pillars of the Peirce Edition Project, died 6 January 1995 in Los
Angeles at age 94. Fisch retired from the Peirce Project in 1991,
after 16 years of service, and moved to California to be closer to his
children. He was a scholar of international renown, known principally
in his later years for his work on Charles S. Peirce and on the
Italian philosopher, Giambattista Vico. In 1976 he was named Official
Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic for his work on
Vico. Fisch received his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1928 and, after a
stretch at Western Reserve University, spent his main years of
teaching at the University of Illinois. He taught at Illinois for 23
years (retiring in 1968), where he trained a generation of Peirce
scholars. After his retirement from Illinois, before coming to
Indiana to organize the chronological edition, Fisch served as
visiting professor at SUNY Buffalo, the University of Florida, and at
Texas Tech University. Fisch served as President of the Western
division of the American Philosophical Association from 1955 to 1956.
He also served as president of the Charles S. Peirce Society and the
Semiotic Society of America, and from 1975 to 1994 was president of
the C. S. Peirce Foundation. In 1988 he was awarded the Herbert W.
Schneider Award for the Advancement of American Philosophy.
Max Fisch will long be remembered for his subtle intelligence and
friendly mentoring--and for his scholarly example as a devoted and
persistent researcher. When he retired, Fisch donated his papers and
extensive library to IUPUI for the Peirce Edition Project. These
resources, the product of many years of scholarship, continue to guide
the work of the chronological edition and are available to all members
of the university community and to visiting scholars.
At the request of the family, IUPUI has established the Max H. Fisch
Library Fund. Memorial contributions should be sent in care of the
Peirce Edition Project.
Max Harold Fisch, whose scholarship and leadership were the twin pillars of the Peirce Edition Project, died 6 January 1995 in Los Angeles at age 94. Fisch retired from the Peirce Project in 1991, after 16 years of service, and moved to California to be closer to his children. He was a scholar of international renown, known principally in his later years for his work on Charles S. Peirce and on the Italian philosopher, Giambattista Vico. In 1976 he was named Official Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic for his work on Vico. Fisch received his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1928 and, after a stretch at Western Reserve University, spent his main years of teaching at the University of Illinois. He taught at Illinois for 23 years (retiring in 1968), where he trained a generation of Peirce scholars. After his retirement from Illinois, before coming to Indiana to organize the chronological edition, Fisch served as visiting professor at SUNY Buffalo, the University of Florida, and at Texas Tech University. Fisch served as President of the Western division of the American Philosophical Association from 1955 to 1956. He also served as president of the Charles S. Peirce Society and the Semiotic Society of America, and from 1975 to 1994 was president of the C. S. Peirce Foundation. In 1988 he was awarded the Herbert W. Schneider Award for the Advancement of American Philosophy.
Max Fisch will long be remembered for his subtle intelligence and friendly mentoring--and for his scholarly example as a devoted and persistent researcher. When he retired, Fisch donated his papers and extensive library to IUPUI for the Peirce Edition Project. These resources, the product of many years of scholarship, continue to guide the work of the chronological edition and are available to all members of the university community and to visiting scholars.
At the request of the family, IUPUI has established the Max H. Fisch Library Fund. Memorial contributions should be sent in care of the Peirce Edition Project.
Over the last year, our efforts to establish firm dates for problem manuscripts of the early 1890's have been very fruitful. We've recently been able to attribute what we hope will be the last major text added to the Volume 6 period--Peirce's manuscripts and galleys for "Logic and Spiritualism," a major speculative essay which was pulled from The Forum in 1890 after a prolonged dispute with the editor over length restrictions. There are multiple layers of revision that shed light on Peirce's tough back-and-forth struggle with his editor, and these layers make the choice of copy-text a difficult proposition. The Collected Papers editors titled the piece, dated it 1905, and published the last surviving text--a typescript revised by Peirce that post-dates The Forum's galley pages. We will follow a different strategy in editing the essay for W6.
Max Fisch had a strong hunch that the essay belonged to the 1890 period, and he was right. Correspondence between Peirce and Forum editor Lorettus Sutton Metcalf reveals that Metcalf was interested in initiating a debate on spiritualism in the pages of his journal, a publishing strategy he often followed with controversial issues throughout his tenure as founding editor (1886-1891). A study of The Forum's articles during this period reveals that Metcalf asked Mary J. Savage to open the debate with a December 1889 article titled "Experiences with Spiritualism." Richard Hodgson followed with "Truth and Fraud in Spiritualism" in the April 1890 issue. By this time Peirce had already completed a long (6700-word) version of his own essay in manuscript, and at least one completely rewritten version (now lost except for fragments) shortened to near Metcalf's ironclad limit of 5000 words. The surviving galleys are dated 8 April, but without a year indicated. Peirce sent a copy of the rewritten text (either the missing rewrite, the galleys, or the subsequent typescript) to Samuel P. Langley for review. The previous year, Langley began a term as President of the American Psychical Research Society, and was just one of a number of Peirce's colleagues in the scientific community who were involved in investigating the cresting wave of reported psychic phenomena in America. Langley wrote back on 7 May 1890 (the only year-dated document that survives), and his quotations from Peirce's article prove that he was looking at one of the rewritten forms of the text. But Langley's suggestions would bear no fruit; by late June, the battle over the essay was decided. We have only this one letter from Metcalf to Peirce, dated 21 June (with no year indicated):
If you are endeavoring to carry out the idea that you proposed to me, of writing a new article, will you please let me know what you will be able to do as to date. My hope was that the papers on Spiritism might follow one another quite closely, and already several months have passed since Mr. Hodgson's appeared. And the length--please remember not to exceed 5000 words.
The "underlayer" of the galley pages came in at 5045 words, only one percent over the limit and clearly workable in revision. Peirce heavily revised the galleys, and added several passages for clarity; but to compensate, he struck out more articles, reducing some of his passages to mere outline form (see Fig. 1 in print edition). As revised, the galleys came in at 4,999 words. Peirce's "post-galley" typescript probably dates from this period, for it reflects in its composition the "overlayer" of revision to the galley stage.
The battle was not nearly over. The typescript shows that Peirce made two more revising passes at the text (see fig. 2 in print edition). In the first layer of revision, he apparently added 43 words for clarity, and two new sentences with 59 words, for a total of 102. To compensate, he went through with his now-familiar diagonal slashes and cut 100 more words, again mostly articles and pronouns but some phrases were shortened as well. However, the steady process of cutting had taken its toll on the essay--a number of passages read like outlines, and others were reduced to ambiguity. In the second layer of revision, Peirce restored 77 of the deleted words interlineally in pencil. Finally, all 77 were then crossed out, along with two more words, by horizontal pencil strokes--a total of 179 words in, and 179 words out. At great price, the typescript was finally "restored" to the 5000-word limit.
It's not really clear whether this third and final pass at the typescript was Peirce's or Metcalf's last attempt to make the essay "Forum-idable"; but the revised typescript is clearly not what Peirce wanted for the result, and the piece was not published during his lifetime. The version reproduced in CP is the final layer of the typescript, the best option for a non-critical edition, but a decision which propagates an inferior and unintended version of the text. As critical editors, we normally look to the last manuscript version for copy-text--that is, the final form over which Peirce exercised full authorial control. But the original manuscript was largely rewritten and significantly shortened before the "editing war" really heated up. The only manuscript of the revised version consists of rejected pages for less than two-thirds of the now-lost printer's copy manuscript. The surviving text closest to Peirce's hand, then, is represented by the underlayer of the galleys, which includes compositorial corruptions but which is free of the five successive layers of editing warfare between Metcalf and Peirce, a war which, in terms of surviving texts, Metcalf apparently won.
We plan to use the unrevised layer of the galley pages as copy-text for "Logic and Spiritualism" in W6, emending from the following categories of revision: Peirce's careful correction of composing errors in the galley; Peirce's word choice revisions to the galley and the typescript; substantive passages added by Peirce in the galley and typescript; and Peirce's abortive restoration of articles and pronouns in the typescript. We will use the internal evidence described above to reject the forced deletion of words subsequent to the original galley readings, since these changes were made only to comply with the editorially- imposed 5000-word limit. The net result will be a text that will remain very close to the final typescript form, but which will once again have the full complement of words intended by Peirce for one of his major statements on paranormal psychology and the exploration of the unknown.
In this section we publish short descriptive notices of new books about Peirce or subjects likely to interest our readers. We cannot survey all new publications or prepare critical reviews, so we notice only those books sent by authors and publishers. When available, we reprint notices supplied with the books (often edited and supplemented with text from prefaces or introductions); otherwise we prepare our own brief announcements. Please note: we notice books only if they are sent as review copies to be deposited in the Project library.
Strands of System: The Philosophy of Charles
Douglas R. Anderson. Purdue University Press, 1995. xiv, 204 pp. $24.95 cloth; $13.95 paper.
Anderson's book is a unique and effective introduction to Peirce's life and thought. In the first two chapters he gives a panoramic view of Peirce's life and work in a way that reflects Peirce's own style. Much of the material in these chapters is responsive to the writings of Carl Hausman, Christopher Hookway, and Beverley Kent. In chapters three and four Anderson reprints two of Peirce's signature essays: "The Fixation of Belief," and "A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God." Together these essays provide a glimpse of the continuity and the development in Peirce's thinking; in particular, they display an attempt to come to grips with the central pragmatic question of how to characterize belief. Each essay is followed by an excellent commentary which aims to situate Peirce's conception of belief within the overall context of his architectonic. Anderson's appendix on "Peirce Literature" and his bibliography will be much appreciated by students.
Peirce and Contemporary Thought
Edited by Kenneth L. Ketner. Fordham University Press, 1995. xvi, 444 pp. $35.00 cloth.
Perhaps the seminal event for Peirce scholarship for the next century took place at Harvard University in September 1989. This was the landmark Peirce Sesquicentennial Congress that brought together hundreds of leading Peirce scholars from around the world in an intimate exchange of papers and ideas. Of the eleven books that have sprung from the Harvard Congress, Ketner's Peirce and Contemporary Thought may be expected to have the broadest impact. It contains the essays of the principal speakers at the Congress, including papers by Hilary Putnam, W. V. Quine, Isaac Levi, Nicholas Rescher, Carolyn Eisele, Joseph W. Dauben, Umberto Eco, Thomas Sebeok, JŸrgen Habermas, Risto Hilpinen, Michael Shapiro, David Savan, Charles Hartshorne, and Karl-Otto Apel. The papers by these important scholars, and powerful responses by, Randall R. Dipert, Joseph S. Ullian, Cornelius J. Delaney, Helena M. Pycior, Peter Skagestad, Klaus Oehler, Demetra Sfendoni-Mentzou, Vincent G. Potter, and Christopher Hookway, cover a wide range of interests and establish crucial links between Peirce's thought and contemporary research in many different fields of intellectual endeavor. This is the book to read for anyone seeking to learn how Peirce is relevant for contemporary thought.
Peirce's Esthetics of Freedom: Possibility, Complexity,
and Emergent Value
Roberta Kevelson. Peter Lang Publishers, 1993. 360 pp. $65.95 cloth.
Kevelson explores Peirce's idea of esthetics from the viewpoint that freedom is, for Peirce, the summum bonum. Her research is based, in large part, on unpublished manuscripts. This book shows that in Peirce's scheme, possibility is greater than necessity. Novelty first appears as a quality which evolves. All freedom initially arises as an idea which the investigator opposes to form. As Peirce says, what we call observables or facts are ideas, or signs, grounded in established contexts of meaning and value. The leading thesis in this book extrapolates from Peirce's assumption that we must redefine relations of real and actual phenomena in order to make a place for possibility. The idea of possibility includes all the conceivable modes of being and becoming. According to Peirce, it is the method of semiotics which is instrumental in observing the possible in its process of Becoming. As the relation between observer and observed reciprocally evolve and increase multidimensionally, expanding limits of meaning, opportunities for further inquiry, emerge. In this sense Kevelson sees Peirce's freedom as a means/end dynamical process.
Evidence and Inquiry Towards Reconstruction in Epistemology
Susan Haack. Blackwell Publishers, 1995. x, 259 pp. $44.95 cloth.
In this book Haack effectively challenges "enthusiasts of the latest developments in cognitive science or neurophysiology" (e.g. the Churchlands), "radical self-styled neo-pragmatists" (e.g. Stich), and "followers of the latest Paris fashions" (e.g. Rorty) on the legitimacy and fruitfulness of epistemology. Haack claims, contra the above hostile parties, that epistemology is far from terminal, but that it is in need of reconstruction (not deconstruction). Haack goes on to provide the needed reconstruction, a new explication of epistemic justification that takes the grain from the "opposing" foundationalist and coherentist accounts but blows off the chaf. In the neologistic tradition of Peirce, Haack gives her new theory a unique (and not very pretty) name: foundherentism. Haack describes her new approach to the project of ratification as "an approach which [is] neither purely a priori nor purely empirical in character, but [is] very modestly naturalistic, allowing the contributory relevance both of empirical considerations about human beings' cognitive capacities and limitations, and of considerations of a logical, deductive character." Though the name of her new theory may not be pleasing, the theory (supported by a broadly Peircean account of perception) is; it is likely to be the theory that will carry epistemology into the 21st century.
Charles S. Peirce's Evolutionary Philosophy
Carl R. Hausman. Cambridge University Press, 1993. xvii, 230 pp. $54.95 cloth.
This excellent book by one of today's leading Peirce scholars provides a systematic introduction to the philosophy of Charles S. Peirce. It focuses on four of Peirce's fundamental conceptions: pragmatism and Peirce's development of it into what he called "pragmaticism"; his theory of signs; his phenomenology; and his theory that continuity is of prime importance for philosophy.
Hausman argues that at the center of Peirce's philosophical project is a unique form of metaphysical realism, whereby both continuity and evolutionary change are necessary for our understanding of experience. In his final chapter Hausman applied this version of realism to current controversies between anti-realists and anti-idealists. Peirce's views are compared with those of such present-day figures as Davidson, Putnam, and Rorty.
Sachen und Zeichen: zur Philosophie des
Klaus Oehler. Vittorio Klostermann, 1995. 269 pp.
For most of this century pragmatism has been spurned in Germany as a typical expression of American utilitarianism and vulgar practicality. But as old prejudices have thawed and dissolved in the aftermath of the cold war, the resentment of German intellectuals against American pragmatism has begun to disappear. Oehler's timely book demonstrates that pragmatism offers a theory of action that is both humane and ecological, a view far removed from the opportunism before mistakenly thought to undergird American thought. The essays assembled in this volume--which have appeared in scattered places from 1968 to 1994-- originated for the most part in lectures and seminars conducted by Professor Oehler on the philosophy of pragmatism, especially in relation to its founder, C.S. Peirce. Oehler is a leading specialist on Peirce's philosophy.
Signos Reales del Uruguay Imaginario
Fernando Andacht. Ediciones Trilce, 1992. 160 pp. $24.00 paper.
The largest part of this book centers on the close analysis of six media episodes, both at a micro- and a macro-social level, in order to understand the working of ideology from a socio-semiotic perspective. The society chosen is contemporary Uruguay--the small Latin American country formerly known as "the Switzerland of America" because of its solid and long-standing democratic institutions, as well as for its highly educated population. Andacht's working theory is Peircean triadic semiotic, with special emphasis on the much discussed concepts of the ground and the interpretant. The interpretant is construed by the author as the fundamental social legitimation device; in this manner an attempt is made to give a semiotic account of the construction of verisimilitude in everyday life. For this task, Andacht draws from J. J. Liszka's notion of transvaluation, a crucial elaboration of some key concepts of pragmaticism. A decade of the Uruguayan transition from dictatorship to democracy is thus studied through mass media produced signs--from newspapers, television news, talk shows, and publicity. In this way we witness how the social imagination works, what the role of media is in the change and preservation of powerful modern myths. Media are never mirror-like artifacts, but are truly dialectical ones, in the spirit of triadic semiosis, participating in an endless determination process in which signs undergo unpredictable change. Socio-semiotics should be able to explain why certain beliefs endure, while others die away. The book is aimed at semioticians with an interest in social sciences, as well as at sociologists, anthropologists, and social psychologists.
Tekenen van waarheid: C.S. Peirce en de hedendaagse
Menno Hulswit and Herman C.D.G. de Regt. Tilburg University Press, 1993. x, 254 pp. $40.00 paper (Written in Dutch)
The following is a chapter by chapter summary of Signs of Truth:
1. Herman de Regt and Menno Hulswit: "Introduction: Some Remarks on the Significance of C.S. Peirce for Contemporary Philosophy of Science."
2. Cees Schuyt (Amsterdam): "C.S. Peirce's Pragmaticism." Schuyt gives a comprehensive treatment of Peirce's pragmaticism and compares it with the pragmatism of William James. He also explores the significance of Peirce's philosophy of science, epistemology, and semiotics for contemporary philosophy of the social sciences.
3. Ilkka Niiniluoto (Helsinki): "The Evolution of Knowledge." Niiniluoto discusses the attempts by Peirce, Popper, and Toulmin to explain scientific progress in terms of conceptions derived from theories of biological evolution.
4. Ton Derksen (Nijmegen/Tilburg). "Peirce and the Problem of Scientific Progress." Derksen discusses Peirce's three explanations of (keys to) scientific progress: (1) induction, (2) self-correction, and (3) natural instincts.
5. Herman de Regt (Tilburg). "Scientific Realism and Underdetermination: Peirce's Blind Spot?" De Regt gives a survey of the presumed Peircean abductive argument for scientific realism in the philosophy of science of this century. He concludes that this argument has nothing in common with the mature Peircean notion of abduction. De Regt further argues that Peirce overlooked the by now well known fact that the possibility of underdetermination may seriously undermine realism.
6. Guy Debrock (Nijmegen). "Naturalism and Peirce's Conception of Truth." Debrock argues that Peirce's theory of truth is highly problematic, and should be translated in terms of intersubjective certainty. He further argues that Peirce's philosophy of nature clears the way towards a new kind of naturalism which is non-dualistic, non- dogmatic, and non-relativistic.
7. Menno Hulswit (Nijmegen). "Peirce on Final Causation." After having explained Peirce's notion of final causation, a comparison is made between Peirce's and contemporary analyses of the problem of teleology. Hulswit argues that Peirce's neglected notion of final causation offers a much better understanding of natural phenomena.
8. Jaap van Brakel (Louvain). "Peirce's Pragmatic Realism." Van Brakel discusses to what extent Peirce's pragmatism can be reconciled with his scholastic realism, and whether Peirce's pragmatic realism should be interpreted as a pluralistic realism.
9. Herman Parret (Louvain/Brussels). "Peirce on the Discovery of Configurations by Abduction -- The Role of Indexicallity and Iconicity." Parret recommends the extension of the domain of Peirce's theory of abduction from philosophy of science to the question of meaning in the most general sense. Parret argues that Peirce's triadic method offers a sophisticated semiotic instrument to give a clear view of what happens when someone understands a meaning.
Philosophy of Jonathan Edwards, A Study in Divine Semiotics
Stephen H. Daniel. Indiana University Press, 1994. ix, 224 pp. $22.95 cloth.
Stephen H. Daniel presents a comprehensive analysis and redefinition of the thought of Jonathan Edwards. Though well known in literary, historical, and religious circles, Edwards is a puzzle to philosophers. Attempts to portray him in terms of the classical modern dispute between empiricism and rationalism are inevitably frustrated by his blend of philosophy, rhetoric, history, and religious doctrine.
Daniel reveals how Edward's philosophy appeals to the tradition of Stoic logic and ontology thematized in the Renaissance by Paracelsus and Peter Ramus. Drawing on the semiotic work of Peirce, Foucault, and Kristeva, the book shows how the Renaissance theory of signatures provides Edwards and his contemporaries with a powerful alternative to the ideas of Descartes and Locke. Presenting the Stoic-Renaissance treatment of signs as an alternative to the modern dismissal of the language of nature, Daniel demonstrates the way in which this earlier model illuminates Edwards's treatment of theological themes such as creation, trinity, original sin, freedom, moral agency, and the knowledge of beauty.
The Peirce Seminar Papers, Volume 2
Edited by Michael Shapiro. Berghahn Books, 1994. 259 pp. $49.95 cloth.
Since the modern founding of the theory of signs by the American philosopher-scientist Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914), the field of semiotics has become increasingly prominent as a method of interdisciplinary research and study, bridging the humanities, the fine arts, and the natural and social sciences. This new annual, The Peirce Seminar Papers, offers a forum for applications of sign theory in its most developed and richest version--that of Charles Peirce. Volume one (Berg) appeared in 1993.
Volume two is dedicated to the memory of David Savan and the memorial preface by Michael Shapiro includes a useful bibliography of Savan's semiotic writings. This volume, which includes papers by Edna Andrews, Raimo Anttila, Jean Fisette, James Jak—b Liszka, Dan Nesher, Peter H. Salus, Marianne Shapiro, and T.L. Short, makes a substantial contribution to semiotic theory. Of special interest is the posthumously published 1991 paper by David Savan: "C.S. Peirce and American Semiotics." All students of Peirce's semiotic will want to read Savan's paper.
Edited by L. Gregory Jones and Stephen E. Fowl. Blackwell Publishers, 1995. 165 pp. $21.95 paper.
Out of the ashes of the post-modern critique of metaphysics comes a series of important essays which re-think the place of metaphysics in theological and philosophical inquiry. This book ranges across a variety of philosophical and theological traditions, engaging such figures as Plato and Augustine, as well as Gillian Rose, Jacques Derrida, Donald Davidson, C.S. Peirce, and Jean Luc Marion.
Two chapters make special application of Peirce's work. Rebecca Chopp criticises a tendency among certain feminist theologians to rely upon an essentialist metaphysic. As an alternative, she argues the Peirce's work provides a more suitable metaphysic for feminist theology without compromising feminist concerns for the dismantling, naming, and transforming of current realities. Peter Ochs invites us to listen in on a conversation between a postcritical philosopher of a Peirceian sort and a postcritical scriptural theologian like George Lindbeck. Their dialogue is focussed on Exodus 3 and a variety of rabbinic interpretations of that passage. The problem driving this dialogue concerns issues about how to account for the transformative power of biblical interpretation. More generally, however, Ochs aims here both to lay out a non-foundationalist metaphysic and to argue that dialogues between postcritical theologians and philosophers will be mutually enriching.
The authors of these essays directly confront a variety of post-modern critiques of metaphysical speculation, while, nonetheless, arguing that there is still a significant future for reflection on metaphysical questions. Unified by an agreement about the urgent need to re-think metaphysics rather than a common set of answers, these essays should provoke a wide-ranging and lively discussion among philosophers and theologians.
Semiosis in the Postmodern Age
Floyd Merrell. Purdue University Press, 1995. xv, 374 pp. $37.95 cloth.
"Who are we to suppose we are capable of comprehending the world of which we are a part, and what is the world to suppose it can be understood by us, minuscule and insignificant spatiotemporal warps contained within it?" This provocative question opens Floyd Merrell's study of postmodernism and the thought of Charles Sanders Peirce, part of the author's ongoing effort to understand our contemporary cultural and intellectual environment.
The specific focus in this interdisciplinary study is the modernism/postmodernism dichotomy and Peirce's precocious realization that the world does not lend itself to the simplistic binarism of modernist thought. In Merrell's examination of postmodern phenomena, the reader is taken through various facets of the cognitive sciences, philosophy of science, mathematics, and literary theory.
Merrell's consideration of Peirce's complex and inadequately understood concept of the sign is enhanced through numerous charts and figures. Theories, hypothesis, and speculation in the physical sciences are then brought to bear on Peircean semiotics. The final chapter critiques the often undiscriminating acceptance of postmodern practices in today's academic world.
Throughout this work, Merrell is scrupulously aware that we are participants within, not detached spectators of, our signs. We understand them while we interact with them, during which process we, and our signs as well, invariably undergo change.
The Promise of Pragmatism
John Patrick Diggins. The University of Chicago Press, 1994. xiv, 515 pp. $29.95 cloth.
For much of our century, pragmatism has enjoyed a charmed life, holding the dominant point of view in American politics, law, education, and social thought in general. After suffering a brief eclipse in the post- World War II period, pragmatism has enjoyed a revival, especially in literary theory and such areas as poststructuralism and deconstruction. In this sweeping critique of pragmatism and neopragmatism, one of our leading intellectual historians traces the attempts of thinkers from William James to Richard Rorty to find a response to the crisis of modernism. Diggins analyzes the limitations of pragmatism from a historical perspective and dares to ask whether America's one original contribution to the world of philosophy has actually fulfilled its promise.
Diggins examines how, in different ways, William James, Charles Peirce, John Dewey, George H. Mead, and Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr., demonstrated that modernism posed no obstacle in fields such as science, education, religion, law, politics, and diplomacy. Diggins also examines the work of the neopragmatists JŸrgen Habermas and Richard Rorty and their attempt to resolve the crisis of postmodernism.
This is a magisterial account of twentieth-century intellectual life. It should be read by every one concerned about the roots of postmodernism (and its links to pragmatism) and about the forms of thought and action available for confronting a world after postmodernism.
Norbert Wiley. The University of Chicago Press, 1994. xiii, 250 pp. $39.95 cloth; $19.95 paper.
In his preface, Wiley describes this book as "a humanist book about the self." But it is not about the selfish (narcissistic, self-centered) self. Nor is it about the good (selfless, altruistic) self. This is a book "about the generic self, apart from any qualities it might have at any given time or place."
Drawing particularly on a synthesis of the writings of Charles Sanders Peirce and George Herbert Mead, Wiley argues that the self can be seen as a "trialogue" in which the present self ("I") talks to the future self ("you") about the past self ("me"). A distinctive feature of Wiley's view is that there is a mutually supportive relation between the self and democracy, and he traces this view through American history. Ultimately, in finding a way to decenter the self without eliminating it, Wiley supplies a much-needed closure to classical pragmatism and gives new direction to neopragmatism.
Wiley's book provides a superior means of interpreting the politics of identify in relation to such issues as class, gender, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation.
Consciousness and the Play of Signs
Robert E. Innis. Indiana University Press, 1994. ix, 177 pp. $35.00 cloth.
In Consciousness and the Play of Signs, Robert E. Innis offers a brilliant study of the relationship between philosophy and semiotics. Taking up the problem as foregrounded by Eco, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Goodman, and Rorty, Innis reformulates and reconfigures the philosophical and semiotic premises and frameworks of a descriptively adequate theory of knowledge. In so doing he opens the way to a cultural and historical epistemology of embodied knowledge forms.
Innis bases his analysis primarily on conceptual tools derived from deep and sophisticated readings of Peirce, Polanyi, Dewey, BŸhler, Husserl, and Cassirer. He explores the variety of contexts--including the motoric, the perceptual, the aesthetic, the linguistic, and the theoretical--in which semiotic and nonsemiotic factors in consciousness and world building can be related without blurring their crucial differences or irreconcilably opposing them to one another. This book heightens our understanding of ourselves and intersects with all those disciplines concerned with the production and interpretation of meaning.
Hilary Putnam. Blackwell Publishers, 1995. xii, 106 pp. $39.95 cloth; $15.95 paper.
Putnam writes in his introduction that "it is an open question whether an enlightened society can avoid a corrosive moral scepticism without tumbling back into moral authoritarianism. . . . It is precisely this question that has led me, in recent years, back to pragmatism--to the writings of Peirce, and James and Dewey, and also to the writings of Wittgenstein, whose work, I argue in these lectures, bears affinities to American Pragmatism even if he was not willing to be classed as a 'pragmatist'. " Putnam then outlines the chapters (lectures) that follow:
In the first of the lectures, I try to explain the importance of the thought of William James, focussing in particular on the way in which fact and value are seen as inseparable by James, but also setting the stage for the discussion of the inseparability of fact and theory and fact and interpretation in the lectures which follow. In the second lecture, I try to situate the later philosophy of Wittgenstein not only with respect to pragmatism, but also with respect to the history of philosophy, and in the third and final lecture I try to bring the legacy of Peirce, James, Dewey, and Wittgenstein to bear on some of our contemporary philosophical debates. In particular, I hope to convince you that pragmatism offers something far better than the unpalatable alternatives which too often seem to be the only possibilities today, both philosophically and politically.
The three lectures in this slim volume were delivered in Rome in March 1992 in the distinguished series "Lezione italiane" under the sponsorship of the Sigma Tau Foundation and the Laterza publishing house. The book includes a useful bibliography of Putnam's writings.
The Development of Peirce's Philosophy
Murray G. Murphey. Hackett Publishing Company, 1993. 448 pp. $38.95 cloth; $19.95 paper.
Hackett has reissued Murray Murphey's landmark study of Peirce's philosophy--including a paperback issue for the classroom. In this work, which follows Peirce's development from the late 1850's to Peirce's death in 1914, Murphey presents Peirce's philosophy as a continuing attempt to create an architectonic system adequate for dealing with both scientific and metaphysical problems, and suggests an underlying consistency throughout Peirce's work and explains the considerations behind what appear to be radical contradictions in Peirce's thought. Peirce's theories of geometry, topology, and arithmetic are treated in detail. Murphey also sets forth what Peirce intended in referring to his later philosophy as "synechism" and explains Peirce's intellectual goals and why he failed to achieve them. In a new preface, Murphey announces that he now believes that Peirce was more successful in achieving a coherent system than he thought when he wrote this work in 1961. In addition to a new preface, Murphey has added a new appendix where footnotes are keyed to the Robin manuscript classification. Students and scholars will welcome the return of this "old friend."
RESEARCH CENTERS AND RESOURCES
Readers are invited to submit short descriptions (up to 250 words) of research facilities or resources that support research that relates to Peirce or his philosophy.
GROUP IN C.S. PEIRCE'S PHILOSOPHY
Justus-Leibig-Universitat Giessen, Germany Philipps-Universitat Marburg,
Theological research in C.S. Peirce's philosophy has been going on for
some years at the Departments of Protestant Theology at Justus-Liebig-
Universitat in Giessen and at Philipps-Universitat in Marburg under the
direction of Professors Hermann Deuser and Wilfried Harle. Research
objectives include the study of Peirce's philosophy of religions,
cosmology, metaphysics, and philosophy of science as well as the
applications of Peirce's semiotic in theology, in particular systematic
theology and new testament studies. On the one hand, these applications
focus on traditional theological concepts and discussions (e.g. the
doctrines of the Last Supper, trinity, or revelation), in order to
better describe and work on them with the aid of Peirce's categorical
systems. On the other hand, a second approach uses Peirce's concept of
triadic sign-relations to find solutions to internal problems in
classical theological authors (such as Luther, Schleiermacher, or
Tillich) who largely employ a notion of dyadic sign-relations. This
research program could be entitled "Semiotic Reconstruction of
Recent publications from this group include Hermann Deuser's essays on
Peirce's conception of religion and its importance for contemporary
theology, published in 1993 in Gott: Geist und Religions philosophische
Schriften (Hamburg: Meiner, Philosophische Bibliothek 478). Several
Th.D. theses are in preparation in which semiotic is applied to the
theory of the Last Supper, to the concept of certainty in theology, to
Schleiermacher's hermeneutic, and to Paul Tillich's theology, as well as
a thesis about abduction and revelation. Related courses have been
organized on topics such as "Semiotics and Theology" and "Peirce's
Philosophy of Religion."
The research group has contacts with the Peirce Edition Project, the
Department of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University, and Boston
University/School of Theology. In 1994-95 a graduate student from Penn
State did research with Hermann Deuser in Giessen and in 1995 two German
students are working at the Peirce Edition Project as visiting research
For more information contact: Prof. Hermann Deuser, Justus-Leibig-
Universitat, Institut fur Ev. Theologie, Karl-Glockner-Str. 21/H, D-
35394 Giessen/Germany or Prof. Wilfried Harle, Philipps-Universitat,
Fachbereich Ev.Theologie, Lahntor 3, D-35037 Marburg/Germany.
CENTER FOR PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES
Lamar University Beaumont, Texas
The Center for Philosophical Studies was founded in 1992 by Arthur F.
Stewart with the approval of the Lamar University Board of Regents. Dr.
Stewart continues as Director of the Center and Head of the Philosophy
Program, both of which are housed within the Department of English,
Foreign Languages, and Philosophy.
The Center's activities include, but are not limited to, Peirce studies,
core curriculum matters, and medical ethics/public policy issues. These
activities find expression in the Lamar Philosophical Studies monograph
series, the Lamar Philosophical Topics lecture series, and routine
University work. Two titles growing from the Peirce/Harvard Congress
are forthcoming in the Studies series. CPS also serves as Book Review
Desk for Southwest Philosophical Studies.
A small but growing collection of printed and microform materials aids
CPS work. Past financial support has included Ward Foundation and HEAF
grants. Ongoing support resides mainly in the sale of Studies numbers,
particularly Stewart's Elements of Knowledge: Pragmaticism and
Philosophy of Knowledge (1993, Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt Publishing), a work
finding wide appeal in core curriculum areas.
For more information, contact: Dr. Arthur F. Stewart, Director, Center
for Philosophical Studies, Box 10023 Lamar University Station, Beaumont,
Texas 77710; telephone: 409-880-8578; fax: 409-880-8591; e-mail:
Justus-Leibig-Universitat Giessen, Germany Philipps-Universitat Marburg, Germany
Theological research in C.S. Peirce's philosophy has been going on for some years at the Departments of Protestant Theology at Justus-Liebig- Universitat in Giessen and at Philipps-Universitat in Marburg under the direction of Professors Hermann Deuser and Wilfried Harle. Research objectives include the study of Peirce's philosophy of religions, cosmology, metaphysics, and philosophy of science as well as the applications of Peirce's semiotic in theology, in particular systematic theology and new testament studies. On the one hand, these applications focus on traditional theological concepts and discussions (e.g. the doctrines of the Last Supper, trinity, or revelation), in order to better describe and work on them with the aid of Peirce's categorical systems. On the other hand, a second approach uses Peirce's concept of triadic sign-relations to find solutions to internal problems in classical theological authors (such as Luther, Schleiermacher, or Tillich) who largely employ a notion of dyadic sign-relations. This research program could be entitled "Semiotic Reconstruction of Theology".
Recent publications from this group include Hermann Deuser's essays on Peirce's conception of religion and its importance for contemporary theology, published in 1993 in Gott: Geist und Religions philosophische Schriften (Hamburg: Meiner, Philosophische Bibliothek 478). Several Th.D. theses are in preparation in which semiotic is applied to the theory of the Last Supper, to the concept of certainty in theology, to Schleiermacher's hermeneutic, and to Paul Tillich's theology, as well as a thesis about abduction and revelation. Related courses have been organized on topics such as "Semiotics and Theology" and "Peirce's Philosophy of Religion."
The research group has contacts with the Peirce Edition Project, the Department of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University, and Boston University/School of Theology. In 1994-95 a graduate student from Penn State did research with Hermann Deuser in Giessen and in 1995 two German students are working at the Peirce Edition Project as visiting research associates.
For more information contact: Prof. Hermann Deuser, Justus-Leibig- Universitat, Institut fur Ev. Theologie, Karl-Glockner-Str. 21/H, D- 35394 Giessen/Germany or Prof. Wilfried Harle, Philipps-Universitat, Fachbereich Ev.Theologie, Lahntor 3, D-35037 Marburg/Germany.
CENTER FOR PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES
Lamar University Beaumont, Texas
The Center for Philosophical Studies was founded in 1992 by Arthur F. Stewart with the approval of the Lamar University Board of Regents. Dr. Stewart continues as Director of the Center and Head of the Philosophy Program, both of which are housed within the Department of English, Foreign Languages, and Philosophy.
The Center's activities include, but are not limited to, Peirce studies, core curriculum matters, and medical ethics/public policy issues. These activities find expression in the Lamar Philosophical Studies monograph series, the Lamar Philosophical Topics lecture series, and routine University work. Two titles growing from the Peirce/Harvard Congress are forthcoming in the Studies series. CPS also serves as Book Review Desk for Southwest Philosophical Studies.
A small but growing collection of printed and microform materials aids CPS work. Past financial support has included Ward Foundation and HEAF grants. Ongoing support resides mainly in the sale of Studies numbers, particularly Stewart's Elements of Knowledge: Pragmaticism and Philosophy of Knowledge (1993, Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt Publishing), a work finding wide appeal in core curriculum areas.
For more information, contact: Dr. Arthur F. Stewart, Director, Center for Philosophical Studies, Box 10023 Lamar University Station, Beaumont, Texas 77710; telephone: 409-880-8578; fax: 409-880-8591; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE ON "PEST OF RELIGION"
In the previous print issue (vol.1, # 3/4, p. 7) we published a digitized copy of an Open Court galley page of Peirce's 9 April 1893 letter to Paul Carus. The third paragraph ran as follows:
The essence of true religion involves catholicity. It must embrace in its sympathy the Christian, the Boudist, the Jew, the Pagan,--every discerner of God. The pest of religion is emphasising two penny ha' penny differences. That is what you put all your strength into.
Now this is precisely what appears in galley, but on close scrutiny of Peirce's original letter (or, rather, our photocopy of it) it is not clear that "pest" is the correct word. It may be--Peirce made no correction here on the galley. Clearly the first letter of the word has been altered in Peirce's original letter and the typesetter took the intended letter to be "p," but it is not so obvious on our copy. The alteration, which appears to change a "p" to a "b," or vice versa, raises the possibility that the first letter is "b," making the intended word "best"--but that does not work in context. Probably the word Peirce wanted is "rest"--this is supported by the fact that someone, possibly but not clearly Peirce, inserted an "r" above the altered first letter. This little textual crux can probably be cleared when we next visit Southern Illinois University where we can examine the original.
Circumstances have prevailed again causing us to further modify our original quraterly format for the Newsletter. Until further notice the Newsletter will be issued twice yearly with a summer and winter issue. The size of the (print edition) newsletter may vary between six and ten pages. These changes will help us economize on staff effort and will reduce postage and printing costs. Please keep us informed of address changes and send comments for our "From Our Readers" section. (We reserve the right to reject or edit reader responses.)
Probing the Communal Mind
The Peirce Project depends on specialists from many fields for help in preparing our critical texts and editorial annotations. Although the heaviest burden falls on our regular contributing editors and advisors, we hope that through the newsletter we can significantly extend the scope of communal involvement. If you can answer one of the questions, or offer some guidance, please reply in writing or by e-mail to CPEIRCE@INDYCMS.IUPUI.EDU. Replies should be directed to Nathan Houser (General Editor) or Beth Eccles (Newsletter Editor).
Question 6. In early 1888 Peirce wrote a short paper (possibly for presentation) entitled "Trichotomic" in which he summarized some of the main points of his "A Guess at the Riddle," and included a brief discussion of his categories applied to signs. He compared his views on the subject of dramatic expression with those of New York playwright and theater manager Steele MacKaye. MacKaye (1842-1894), who organized the first school of acting in the U.S. (Juliette Peirce studied acting under his guidance), was known for his lectures on the philosophy of esthetics. It is not clear from Peirce's paper what his source was for MacKaye's views on dramatic expression and so far we have not identified any published work by MacKaye on the subject. We would like to know where MacKaye's views on dramatic expression appeared in print, if they did, during the late 1880s. Peirce's paper, "Trichotomic," is included in The Essential Peirce, vol. 1.
Question 7. In his long first draft of "Logic and Spiritualism" (MS 879), Peirce notes that "The discussion of last winter revealed the fact that a certain element of religious conviction has become strengthened at the expense of another among the Presbyterians, since the date of the Westminster confession." This passage disappears from subsequent versions of the text so it will not require an editorial note, but it will help us confirm our circumstantial dating of the piece (Spring 1890) if we can find out more about the Presbyterian controversy that Peirce alludes to. What is the "discussion" Peirce refers to and when did it occur? Can anyone help?
Question 8. Harvard MS 547 contains a fragment page we haven't been able to relocate yet. We would like to know who is the author Peirce is criticizing there regarding certain principles of logic. The text found on that page (p. 12, c. 1890) begins as follows: " . . . of possibility, actuality, and necessity, he unites the principles of Identity and Contradiction into one, which he calls the criterion of possibility; he consigns necessity to the principle of excluded middle; and sets up the principle of sufficient reason as a formal principle which is to decide on the actuality of a cognition. This is utterly false." [Note: On reviewing the print edition of the newsletter just back from the press, it dawned on the editors that this passage may be about Leibniz but we have not yet identified the writing the page belongs to.]
Question 9. MS S-81 is a one-page fragment about the scientific virtues of hedonism. The last line reads as follows: "Only once, for a brief period some forty years ago, was there any reason to think it likely that the truth of hedonism would be generally admitted by candid thinkers; since the advent of evolutionary ideas, it has been continually losing ground." The document has been provisionally dated c. 1892, which indicates that Peirce is referring approximately to the year 1852 (Darwin's book appeared in 1859). What cultural moment is Peirce referring to? Did Peirce have a particular work in mind, or perhaps a movement?
Question 10. MS 1564, c. 1891, contains notes for a lecture on "burlesque." Peirce announces: "My lecture will furnish a strict analysis of burlesque, and lay the foundations for the metaphysics of the subject, in a manner which I think must be met by the advocates of the theory of Kirchheis." We would like to know (1) who is Kirchheis (Peirce in another place refers briefly to the German philosopher Kirchheiss--is this the same person and who is he?), (2) what is the theory referred to and who were its advocates, besides Kirchheis, and (3) for what occasion would Peirce have prepared this lecture (there is no evidence that he actually delivered it).