PEIRCE-L Digest 1301 -- February 17-18, 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: more on positivism and the eclipse of Peirce 
	by piat[…] (Jim L Piat)
  2) Re: New List (paragraphs 2 and 3)
	by piat[…] (Jim L Piat)
  3) The Geometry of the Syllogism
	by Thomas.Riese[…] (Thomas Riese)
  4) Re: The Geometry of the Syllogism
	by piat[…] (Jim L Piat)


Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 23:45:55 -0500
From: piat[…] (Jim L Piat)
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: more on positivism and the eclipse of Peirce 
Message-ID: <19980217.234606.10262.3.piat[…]>


Thanks for your detailed response to my questions about your current work
on developing a three paradigm programming language with an OO
organization as the fourth or whole (that which is comprised of three
modes).  Unfortunately, I'm so ignorant of the field that I'm afraid I'm
still missing most of what you are trying to convey. So I need a bit more
time to ponder your several post before I can respond properly to your
generous reply.  What interests me in a general way is the potential that
work such as yours (developing programming languages) has for posing and
working out philosophical problems about natural language.  Like Joe, I
don't think it's an "open sesame" but I do think the process not only
imposes a healthy pragmaticism but also pushes us to consider aspects we
might otherwise overlook. 

Also glad to read of your interest in applying all this to religion.  It
took me a while in life to realize that oftentimes seeming arch enemies
such as Yankee and Dodger fans were both interested in the same game and
in this way were much more together than apart.  So perhaps what we are
talking about is more important than whether or not we agree at the
moment.  Often we agree on the syntax if not the semantics.  I digress as
we in the US are about to square off with those in Iraq - partly about
power. I assume most folks most places want a peaceful and prosperous
life for themselves, their children and their neighbors. Doug, I
propbably should just erase this last bit as the whole situation is far
more complex than I know -  I join with everyone in wishing for a
peaceful, small world, neighborly resolution.

Mostly, thanks for the response.  I'll get back later after I've studied
your comments some more. 

Jim Piat

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Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 22:48:10 -0500
From: piat[…] (Jim L Piat)
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: New List (paragraphs 2 and 3)
Message-ID: <19980217.234606.10262.1.piat[…]>

On Sat, 7 Feb 1998 22:46:15 -0600 (CST) Tom Gollier
>    Tom Anderson writes:
>> Peirce's categories at first blush appear to be categories of
>> 'conceptions' that would include, I think, both Kant's judgements
>> and Aristotle's objects.  What he's up to has some relations with
>> Aristotle's and Kant's problems (each different from the other)
>> ...
>and I couldn't agree more.  With Section 3 Peirce introduces one of 
>universal concepts, "substance," and the way he includes Aristotle's
>concept of "substance", while nevertheless radically differentiating
>his own from it, is slick.  Peirce apparently agrees that:
>    "Substance, in the truest and primary and most definite sense of
>    the word, is that which is neither predicable of a subject nor
>    present in a subject; ..."
>but not that it is:
>    "... for instance, the individual man or horse."  {From
>    Aristotle's "Categories"}
>For Peirce "substance" is:
>    ... the act of *attention* ..., the pure denotative power of the
>    mind, that is to say, the power which directs the mind to an
>    object, in contradistinction to the power of thinking any
>    predicate of that object, ...
>and the categories are thereby restricted to the conceptual side of
>that act of attention.  "Substance" is not yet even the denoting of
>the individual thing, much less something applicable to the thing
>itself, but is rather the universal element of presence any such
>denotation requires.
Tom, Bill, Thomas and friends:   I just want to throw in my two cents
here to make sure I'm still more or less on the same track as you folks. 
First by "conception of the present, in general" I take Peirce to be
talking about that which is present to our senses as opposed to that
which is absent.  Present in attention not present in time.   Something
could be contemporaneous with our attention but not present to our
attention. Is this wrong, obvious or irrelevant? Second, I take his
notion of substance to be equivalent to the idea of subject in general. A
particular substance is a subject as discussed in par #4.  Third,  When
Peirce speaks of substance or it, he is speaking of what we mean in
everyday parlance as mere existence independent of  the particular
manifestation or essence (unique impact on the senses or consequent
meaning it may effect).  In effect attention is the registration that
something (it or substance) is there or present - something that is
capable of eliciting a sensory response. But I think at this point he
would claim that the sensory response to the mere presence is not yet
even differentiated into a particular sensory modality. Its as though an
attentional trip wire has been triggered.  Whether the impetus for the
tripping was from within or external seems to me immaterial at this
point.  Fourth, mere presence or existence is not a quality of a subject
in the sense that we can abstract this substance (or existence) from the
subject in the same way we can predicate or assert its being as (or
essence) as is discussed in the next paragraph.  So what I'm saying is
that I understand Peirce to be saying that the first thing we notice
about manifold sensuous impressions is their existence or presence. 
Something is present. This is the first category by which we know the
world.  Undifferentiated presence or IT. This is different from present
AS. ( I have a hunch black english reflects a greater philosophically
sophistication on this point as illustrated by such expressions as "they
be ----" but I've got my own hands full).  Fifth, I wonder if even the
act of attention itself might not be triadic.  In other words- present,
not present and whatever (consciousness) mediates between. Sixth, these
categories are the actions by which we make known the world to ourselves.

Folks, I'm not saying this is the way it is - but only that this is the
way I understand it to be.  I'm not trying to foist my views on you.  
I'm trying to understand Peirce.  This is my attempt to understand
Peirce. Please straighten me out where you think I've gone astray,
because I really do believe this and if I'm off here I'm obviously in big

>    But I don't think we should be too quick to throw in Kant's name
>or to start talking about "being" as seems to be occurring in the
>discussion now.  There's no mention of "being" until Section 4, and
>dealing as it does with the proposition, that would seem the proper
>place to look at the relation Peirce is taking toward Kant's
>categories.  I would even say there's a trick, analogous to the one
>Peirce is playing on the Aristotleian object here, to be played upon
>the Kantian subject there.  Just in terms of the concepts
>themselves, though, Peirce had some rather harsh words elsewhere:
>    5.44 ...  To say, however, that presentness, presentness as it
>    is present, present presentness, is abstract, is Pure Being, is
>    a falsity so glaring, that one can only say that Hegel's theory
>    that the abstract is more primitive than the concrete blinded
>    his eyes to what stood before them.
>for Hegel confusing "substance" and "being", so I think we should be
>careful not to mix the two ourselves.
Tom, maybe I should have included all this before my comment above.  I
realize I  may be making just such a mistake,  but I tried to be careful
to say "existence" rather than "being" which - as I understand Peirce to
be using the term- I equate with "being as" the nature, quality or
essence of the previously undifferentiated  IT.  I'm not sure about
Peirce yet, but for me its the differentiation and recombining of
existence and essence that is at the core of awareness and symbolic

Also (and this is sort of an aside) doesn't  it sometimes seem (even in
Peirce's view) that the abstract is more primitive (primary or real) than
the concrete or the particular?

Thanks for any feedback.

Jim Pi at

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Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 15:07:42 +0100
From: Thomas.Riese[…] (Thomas Riese)
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: The Geometry of the Syllogism

I assume as known that logical sequence is mathematically a 
transitive relation (or perhaps better: the relative of 

The natural number system is based on the fact that the natural 
numbers can be mapped one-one to a proper part of themselves, i.e. 
there is a transitive relation which is one-to-one to a proper part of 
itself, i.e. it is 'extendible' (details see e.g. Dedekind, Goedel 

This mapping is the exact analogue to parallelism in geometry (in fact 
it is parallelism).

In CP 3.133 (also comp. CP 3.310 and elsewhere)  Charles Peirce showed 
that logically exact 'parallelism' means that there is an ultimate 
element (also compare Harvard Lectures concerning Royce and Dedekind, 
Carnegie Application, his work in abstract algebra, hypercomplex 
number systems etc. etc.).

That "infinity"  is exact parallelism is of course a very special 
case. "In general" (mathematically speaking) this is not so.

The general 'qualitative' case is given by abstract projective 
geometry with three bases. 

These bases are Peirce's Categories.

The question which 'metrical properties' the logical form of the world 
we inhabit in fact has, can only be answered "empirically", i.e. by 
inquiry (See Peirce's cosmological considerations, his Existential 
Graphs etc.).

The details are rather complicated and difficult to understand. But I 
think that's the simple truth (or meta-truth or however one might wish 
to call it). -- And hopefully what I try to say is coherent enough to 
be understood. Even if, I know, this seems to many of you to be 
unreasonable. I simply don't know what better I could do.

I firmly believe that it is so and can be shown in detail to be so and 
I know that it can be shown without doubt that this is the decisive 
insight Peirce has had and worked out throughout his life.

So this is a chance for the social sciences. In fact all sciences are 
social. To the better, I hope.

At any rate, I believe that the question what rationality and 
irrationality and their relation in general is, has to be overthought 
anew. I think there is an astonishingly rich and hitherto unsuspected 
field for fruitful research. There will be important practical 

Thomas Riese.


Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 11:21:02 -0500
From: piat[…] (Jim L Piat)
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: The Geometry of the Syllogism
Message-ID: <19980218.112103.8862.0.piat[…]>


I'd like for you to expand a bit on the geometry of the syllogism if you
would.  Sounds like it's close to the heart of the matter for you.   My
knowledge of math and logic is extremely limited.  For example I've
always wondered if his graphic proof of triacidity wasn't simply a
byproduct of the fact that we inhabit a three dimensional space (to
illustrate the level you need to explain this for me to understand).  I
realize you may not wish to discuss the matter at this level (or perhaps
believe it can't be adequately illustrated) but if you are interested in
doing so I am very interested.  If not,  no problem.  Thanks,  Jim Piat

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Last modified February 17-18, 1998 — J.R.
Page last modified by B.U. May 3, 2012 — B.U.

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