PEIRCE-L Digest 1319 - March 5-6, 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) The New List (Paragraph 4)
	by Thomas.Riese[…] (Thomas Riese)
  2) Re: Biographical help needed
	by patcop[…] (Patrick J. Coppock)
  3) Re: Biographical help needed
	by Fisette Jean 
  4) Pragmatism, Love and Logic: Agapasm, Anancasm, Tychasm
	by James Crombie 
  5) RE: Logic Naturalized?
	by Tom Burke 
  6) Re: Biographical help needed
	by Andre De Tienne 
  7) Re: Of Laws and [Wo]Men
	by a.freadman[…] (A.  Freadman)
  8) Re: The New List (paragraph 5)
	by BugDaddy[…] (BugDaddy)
  9) Re: The New List (Paragraph 4)
	by Tom Gollier 
 10) RE: Logic Naturalized : Truth
	by Cathy Legg 
 11) Re: Logic Naturalized?
	by Cathy Legg 


Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 14:24:35 +0100
From: Thomas.Riese[…] (Thomas Riese)
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: The New List (Paragraph 4)

Dear Howard and Jim,

the problems and questions you rise are the really hard ones (and not 
just only mathematics). So I have tried to produce something 
important. Total failure. The best I could do is the following tirade 
against I don't know whom and what, except certainly not you two:

As a consultant I find that most people don't dare to draw the 
consequences from what they see, say or believe. Let's take 
'Capitalism'. Nobody is as yet really perfect in this discipline. 
Nothing masterly yet. So I would say: good idea -- let's make it 
perfect. And then I would proceed and push thinks to the limit. Most 
people, even if they believe that 'Capitalism' is their creed, don't 
really dare to do this. _I_ think it doesn't hurt. I mean, it's 'in 
the head', isn't it?! So I would take my 'Capitalist's' creed, _his_ 
idea, and push it to the limit. And beyond! (there always is something 
beyond) -- So then he will sooner or later (mostly sooner) say: wait, 
wait, we need norms! There should be something like public culture, I 
don't want a jungle.... -- Mmmh?, Aha. Why?! -- Well,... -- And if I 
am in the mood I will even go so far as to say: "Norms"?, never heard 
of! What are "norms"?! -- Then my victim will say: Oh, that's a bit 
difficult to explain. It's subtle but important. -- And then you will 
be confronted with really good practical ideas! Really something to 
learn _for_me_. People will explain it to you! And usually this then 
will not only be valid, but more: they themselves understand it and 
can do something with it. It really works.

And I think it is really polite. One should respect other people's 
ideas and not say immediately: Oh no, this can't work, you are wrong! 
-- My experience is that they then _insist_ that you should be polite, 
practically,  and respect their ideas! But in truth they themselves 
want to change them a bit. What other motive should they have to talk 
about it at all? Things we really don't doubt we do not even dream of 
talking about.

Seriously: this has two aspects, which are, upon closer inspection, 
one and the same aspect: Every single generalization (this is _not_ 
the same as _all_!) will sooner or later 'break down' if one pushes it 
too far. Put positively: if you really draw the consequences, the 
practical consequences, you will perceive what your idea really is. 
What is perceived as a 'breakdown' of a generalization is nothing else 
but a 'recontextualization' of it. Where it was before the universal 
light under which the world was perceived, it is now a 'part' of the 
world again. And that's usually better for the mental 'metabolism'. 
People will then open their senses again: new perception. Empirical 
evidence is required in order to build up new generalizations. I think 
it is the metabolic balance between both that is healthy.

So the 'breakdown' of a generalization, a conception is in truth 
nothing else but a normal stage in the reasoning process. In 
mathematics people constantly push ideas to extremes. That's the 
method. Peirce said so.

I don't think this is 'psychology'. In fact I am not sure whether I 
know what 'psychology' is;-)

I think it's 'sign theory' and I permanently try to find out what THAT 
is. I really don't know. Seems to be a lifelong project;-) And I have 
certain pragmatic, let's say maxims. Subtle sort of thing. Might 
perhaps also be called 'norms' or something.... But it depends a bit 
on context. It's not completely amenable to description -- as a fact.

I found that Peirce's logic really works -- especially where it 
doesn't. Since then it brings one back to one's senses. And it itself 
warns us that it does just that. 

It's uncannily far reaching and robust. From the way how electrons, or 
whatever there is, say 'hello!' to each other to the impact society 
and economy have on each other.

I think it really has to to with how 'perception', in an excessively 
general sense, works.

To perceive certain patterns in behavior, communication indeed in a 
sense means to misuse language, to analyse instead of using it. I 
think Peirce somewhere says that logic is like looking through the 
telescope from the wrong end so that one can inspect the machinery of 
the lenses and that. It requires training.

I found that it is nearly impossible to 'sell' Peircean ideas. But 
they work true miracles when one develops them further, applies them. 
Usually without talking explicitly about it. They _really_work_. 
That's it. And Peirce said so:-) And I think it works even practically 
better then he himself dared to believe.

The only price one has to pay as a 'consultant' is just that one has 
to be prepared to behave at times a bit 'outlandish'. One shouldn't be 
afraid of ideas. Whatever they are. But that's the job of the 
philosopher as a scientist, isn't it?

In fact that's under another perspective nothing but the Socratic 
method, I believe. I don't think that Socrates was a choir boy. He was 
sued, wasn't he? -- But that's perhaps not so necessary:-)

I think it is not the job of the consultant to be "reasonable". If the 
consultant tries to be reasonable he will very quickly be 
instrumentalized for all sorts of interests. When people call a 
consultant they usually are in trouble and there are virulent 
interests. I think it is best if people afterwards say: you are a pain 
in the neck but we are very happy that you have been here. But now 
it's enough. And they throw you out with a laugh.

It's far from easy, considered as an art. It requires real knowledge. 
'Improvisation' doesn't just only mean to be unprepared. Even if the 
war-cry of the improvisation actors is "Don't be prepared!" It's a bit 
paradoxical;-) You have to be prepared in such a way that you can 
forget your knowledge. It will be there in the right time and place. 
Or not:-) But then you just start a process called 'learning'. I am 
very far from being perfect in this art. It's just like a drug for me: 
I want more of it!

The best about it all, what concerns me personally, is my deep feeling 
that we really can mutually help each other, that dialogue indeed 
makes deep sense if it not ruled by preconceived ideas. We all have 
our blind spots and commit our blunders. What I propose is not another 
technique for social warfare, to stay 'one up'. My experience is that 
it has to do with honesty and at times heartily laughing together. It 
can be very confusing. But I think confusion is the gateway to new 
insight: real doubt!

I don't know too much about the art of law-making (except that I once 
tried my hand, as a student politician, at the 
"Hochschulrahmengesetz". But I confess I would rather prefer to forget 
that. I was terribly naive then.). 

But my impression is that politicians often don't either. I think it 
is an art and one shouldn't produce 'laws' ad hoc for this and that 
purpose. That will in the long run undermine the idea of agreed and 
common norms. (On the other hand politicians are often despised in 
public opinion because what they say is so vague. I think that's 
nonsense. The true mistake is that they are not _artfully_vague_).

It is often said that society is so quickly changing and things are so 
complex that simple norms won't do it any more. I think this is 
strictest nonsense. I think generality and vagueness are real 
_virtues_ here! Lao Tsu had something to say about this. I think he 
lived in a time comparable to ours what concerns change.

My observation just only is that, here in Germany at least, people 
tend to confuse law with fact. Laws in themselves shouldn't be facts. 
And if possible there shouldn't be too many opportunities to 
"instrumentalize" them.

On the other hand people should have a chance to 'embody' them 
practically and more or less intuitively. Common sense and iconicity.

So in all simplicity: If there is a blossoming justice-industry. -- 

Ideally laws should be on the knife's edge between being prescriptive 
and being descriptive. I think that's the emblematic blindness of 
Justitia. One shouldn't be encouraged to challenge her. At the same 
time she gives you all opportunity to exercise, or if necessary 
develop, common sense. I think it is a great mistake to consider norms 
as a substitute for sensual perception, thinking or common sense.

It was Franz Kafka who had the idea that the law should be unknown. I 
think this is, as a first guess, not so bad at all, though it would of 
course lead straight to a Kafkaescean hell.

No, I confess I am completely lost.

The whole idea of 'iconicity', "sign" in Peirce is that 'norms' can be 
concrete and general at the same time. But I think one will _never_ 
understand this as long as one believes that 'truth' is something to 
sit on: we have it, but it is long dead. We know it, but we are unable 
to do anything with it.

It's easy to know that truth. Nobody will dream of asking a 
philosopher for that kind of truth. It's now the fashion to look for 
safe, long unsolved problems, St.Anselm's ontological proof for the 
reality of God is a good choice, and make this the basis of one's 
philosophy. Congratulations. What kind of belief in truth is this?

Same with certain mathematicians: Ah yes, we can decide this as soon 
as we know whether Cantor's Continuum Hypothesis is true or not. And 
Cantor's Continuum Hypothesis has been shown to be undecidable. 

Human beings seem to have the perverse tendency to have the right 
ideas in the wrong places...

My impression is that in philosophy and elsewhere people are afraid to 
suffer an Acute Problem Loss Syndrome ("APLS"). -- It's a real 
challenge  not to have a 'psychological' view of philosophy.

Well, I think it is safe to ignore all this: if you come back in one 
hundred years or so and people will still sit there on their truth.

Ah, no, I had this one. From the Supermarket (Indeed, I got most of my 
philosophy from the Supermarket. All important things in the world 
happen there): Big crowd and a man in the first row couldn't decide 
himself what piece of meat he should buy. One was cheaper and the 
other was better or something like that. The butcher asked him three 
or four times, back and forth, and things were getting worse. The 
customer was desperate and said he couldn't decide. The butcher was 
desperate... So I, you know, I am a philosopher and not a butcher, 
shouted from the fourth row, telling the butcher: "I can decide that! 
He will buy the more expensive one!" -- And that was the end of the 
problem: he immediately took the cheaper, which was indeed better, I 
believe. But, sad to say: the man will now suffer from APLS for the 
rest of his life. This terrible fear that there will be the 
philosopher's voice from the fourth row...


P.S. In a recent postscriptum I wrote something so important that it 
is impossible to capture it in a postscriptum. I think it was what 
Peirce calls a 'copy of the sign' (in a certain stage of the semeiotic 
process). I don't think that I could give a better description or 
receipt than he did. I can only say: try it -- you'll like it! 
Seriously;-) I believe in this.


Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 14:46:13 +0100 (MET)
From: patcop[…] (Patrick J. Coppock)
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: Biographical help needed

Cathy, you wrote:

>I'm pretty sure I remember reading somewhere of Peirce struggling at one
>stage in his life (in accord with advice from his father) to give up the
>study of logic, and finding he could not. Is this right? If so, where may
>I read about it? (I was sure it was in the introduction to Vol 5 of the
>Chronological edition but on looking it up I find I was wrong).

Don't know if this is what you are looking for Cathy, but the MS L75
(Peirce's application for funding from the Carnegie Institution of July
15th 1902) has actually some autobiographical references to Peirce's
struggles with his logic in the various draft versions of Section 1. He
writes for instance in  draft B (3-9) of Section 1:

"That which I desire aid in doing is to bring before the world the results
of my researches into logic. I began this study in 1856; and it has been my
principal occupation ever since. I cannot lay claim to the slightest merit
for the constancy with which I have pursued it, since it has been an
uncontrollable impulse. On the contrary, it has been necessary for me at
all times to exercise all my control over myself, for fear that my mind
might be affected by such unceasing application to a particular subject.
When I have found myself in a solitary situation, and there was not a daily
round of duties to occupy me, I have had desperate struggles with my logic.
It has kept me poor; but my experience is that there is only a small
proportion of mankind who are able to make the earning or gaining of money
their leading motive. At any rate, I am sure that I am not one of that
class. I have experienced extremely little encouragement. It was more than
ten years after I published my first papers that I became aware in any way
that anybody but myself and the printer had ever looked into them. I have
thus had every reason except one for abandoning the pursuit. Twice I have
made determined efforts to do so; but my bent was too strong. Though I
began the study as far back as 1856 and spent almost all my time reading at
that time the German philosophers and Aristotle, it was not until 1861 that
I ventured upon any serious original research, and not until 1866 that I
was far enough advanced to offer anything for publication. It is therefore
the results of about thirty-five years work which I desire to present."

You will find other similar formulations on the same kinds of themes in the
other drafts of Section 1.

I could not however in a fairly cursory reading of all the drafts find any
references to advice from father Benjamin or others in this particular

The whole MS L75 file is available from the Arisbe Web Site, as far as I
remember, and also at  the Georgetown Gopher server:

Good luck and all best wishes for your work...


Patrick J. Coppock            tel. +47 73 59 08 71 (office)
The Norwegian University of   tel. +47 73 59 88 70 (lab)
Technology and Science        tel. +47 72 55 50 91 (home)
Dept. of Applied Linguistics  fax: +47 73 59 81 50 (Norway)
N-7055 Dragvoll, Norway          : +39 51 33 29 39 (Italy)
                              patcop[…] (Norway)
                              patcop[…] (Italy)

"What is seductive about the causal approach is that it leads
one to say: "Of course, that's how it must be". While one
ought to think: In this, and in many other ways it may have
occurred."                          L. Wittgenstein, 2.7.1940


Date: Thu, 05 Mar 1998 10:09:15 -0500
From: Fisette Jean 
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: Biographical help needed
Message-ID: <[…]>

At 06:32 05-03-98 -0600, Cathy wrote:
>Dear Peirceans,
>I'm pretty sure I remember reading somewhere of Peirce struggling at one 
>stage in his life (in accord with advice from his father) to give up the 
>study of logic, and finding he could not. Is this right? If so, where may 
>I read about it? (I was sure it was in the introduction to Vol 5 of the 
>Chronological edition but on looking it up I find I was wrong).
>Best regards,



Patrick J. Coppock gave you a reference to an application by Peirce to
Carnegie for funding. This paper is from  july 1902 (MSL75).

Joseph Brent has published, in his biography (p.277-8) a letter Peirce wrote
6 months before,  in january 1902 to a friend named Cattell. We find there
ideas similiar to thoses writen in july. I copy a few sentences:

"I have my doubts as to whether tought or reasoning is, properly speaking,
an operation of the soul. At any rate, whether it be so or not, it is the
business of logic, as I conceive it, to treat it just as if it were not.
Now, since I am by no means a mere formal logician, – holding formal logic
to be nothing but a useful mathematical adjunct to logic proprer, – to make
a completely satisfactory account of reasoning in all its elements without
saying one word about mental operations is a work never done   a very large
job. […] And now, I am at the very height of my philosophical powers,   am
also in admirable trim for work."

I hope it may be useful to you,

Jean Fisette
Departement d'etudes litteraires
Universite du Quebec a Montreal
Quebec, Canada


Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 12:20:22 -0400
From: James Crombie 
To: peirce-l[…]
Cc: chicaben[…], lfontaine[…],
Subject: Pragmatism, Love and Logic: Agapasm, Anancasm, Tychasm

Hello Peirceans:

After a long period of lurking, I am moved to comment on the exchange
between Paul Kelly and Cathy Legge concerning love, logic, science and
thirdness -- in the context of other recent contributions concerning logic.

According to Peirce, as I understand him, there are exactly three different
kinds of change-process -- and this is true as much of change of opinion as
it is of any other kind of change in the "natural" world (if I may be
permitted to employ such non-Peircean classifications).

The three kinds of change-process are agapasm, ananchasm and tychasm.
In agapasm, it is the desired-for result ("love") which pulls the process
forward.  In ananchasm, it is some kind of mechanical necessity or brute
force which "pushes" the process along.  In tychasm, the process is fueled
by the spontaneous emergence of novelty.

It is easy to see how tychasm is related to chance and Firstness.
Darwinistic evolution is fundamentally tychastic.

It is fairly easy to see the duality or the Reaction of one thing upon
another in ananchasm.  Weismannian evolution, for example, is the working
out of mechanically caused modifications to what we would now call the
genetic code.  Another example, presumably, would be the relationship
between a theorem and the axioms and rules of inference which produced it.

It is a little less easy to see the Thirdness of agapasm.   But in the case
of Lamarckian evolution, we have an organism (say the ancestor of the
giraffe), a "need" (hunger) and a "striving" (stretching to reach the higher
branches of a tree) which, on the Lamarckian account, together produce the
final result (a longer neck).    (I am a little bothered by the appearance
of FOUR items here, instead of three, but I suspect that this apparent
difficulty can be resolved.)

Similarly, becoming a better swimmer by training (i.e., by swimming, by
actually trying to swim better) is an apastic process.

And, finally, growth in scientific knowledge is certainly the result of a
striving fueled by the "beauty" of the results (which is another way of
speaking of "love" for them).  Consider, for example, the elegance of
Newton's laws of motion, mathematical group theory, Kepler's solution to the
observed anomalies in the orbits of the planets, etc.  Perhaps this striving
is merely the flip-side of the "need" we have to leave the "uneasy" state of
doubt (cf. Fixation of Belief).

If I recall correctly, Peirce particularly identifies Induction as being
agapastic, having in mind, presumably, the progressive inductive-abductive
corrections by which a theory is progressively refined.

So much for the exchange between Paul and Cathy.


The next question which immediately arises in the context of recent
discussion is: "Is this a psychologistic explanation of scientific inquiry?"
(In terms of "association" or in terms of "need"?)

My answer would be "No."

A brief justification of this "No" would be that we are not here explaining
WHY scientists behave as they do (what makes them do it).  We are instead
explaining WHAT they are doing.  ("Doing" being a purposive concept, this
entails explaining what FOR.)
One variety of psychological theory which would personally interest me would
be an attempt to explain why many people are not at all "fazed" by, or
interested in, the type of beautiful result which so rivets the attention of
(true) scientists.

But a psychological theory of this sort -- whatever might be its interest
for teachers -- would not replace the logico-epistemological analysis of
what it is that scientists are doing when they do science.

The connection between pragmatism (especially pragmaticism) and love is the
connection between DOING and purposiveness.

On Wed, 4 Mar 1998 19:39:03 -0330 (NST), Paul Kelly wrote:
>	I'm presently preparing a paper whereby I'm attempting to relate
>the category of Thirdness with Peirce's doctrine of agapasticism.  In his
>essay "Evolutionary Love" Peirce is quite explicit that Empedocles as well
>as the Gospel of John have convinced him of the importance of love in
>terms of the evolutionary growth of knowledge.  Yet I question whether
>Peirce has any basis for his application of Thirdness to agape?  Surely
>there must be more to it than its likeness to warmth, growth, etc.  Does
>it arise out of any theistic beliefs Peirce might hold?

On Thu, 5 Mar 1998 23:45:16 +1100 (EDT), Cathy Legg replied:
>Well love is the only "stuff" (infelicitous term but I can't think of a 
>better) the more of which is given "out", the more there is to 
>give...That relates directly to Peirce's conception of the continuum I think.
>But then maybe that's true of truth too. Hmmm....
>However, I think that evolutionary love has a strong element of 
>secondness as well, if we think in Swedenborgian terms. It's easy enough 
>to love what is in harmony with us, very hard to love what's "reacting" 
>with us. And it was "Chance, Love and Logic", not "Chance, [something 
>else] and Love".
>Best of luck with your researches, Paul.

All for now,

James Crombie
De'partement des Sciences humaines
Universite' Sainte-Anne
Pointe-de-l'Eglise, NS B0W 1M0
Téléphone (902) 769-2114, poste / ext. 327#
Fax/télécopieur: (902) 769-2930 or/ou (902) 769-0124
Email: jcrombie[…]
Site web de l'U. Sainte-Anne:
Disclaimer: In the absence of explicit indication 
to the contrary, the sender is not the spokesperson 
for any organization, including l'Universite' 
Sauf affirmation du contraire, l'expéditeur n'est 
le porte-parole d'aucun organisme, y compris 
de l'Université Sainte-Anne.

	--- Gaston Bachelard

"To confess that one was mistaken is
  to pay the most glowing tribute to the
  perspicacity of one's own mind."



Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 12:07:22 -0500
From: Tom Burke 
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: RE: Logic Naturalized?

At 7:22 AM -0500 3/5/98, Cathy Legg wrote:
>On Mon, 2 Mar 1998, Tom Burke wrote:
>> The question remains -- what then
>> is the subject matter of logic if (given that, assuming that) it isn't
>> the same as the subject matter of psychology or linguistics as such?
>What's wrong with "truth-preservingness"?

That *is* pretty much what Peirce says at some point, I'll grant you.  But
that shouldn't be interpreted as meaning that it is concerned only with
deduction, much less (god forbid) truth-functional logic.  Whatever we mean
by "truth-preservingness", it somehow has to include deduction, induction,
and abduction in the mix.

Moreover, we have to distinguish (whether in contempoary terms or not)
semantic and syntactic notions of truth preservingness.  The whole point of
Goedel's theorems is that for any kind of interesting (contentful) formal
system, semantic truth preservingness (entailment) and syntactic truth
preservingness (provability) simply don't match up.  That does give one
pause, no?

And then there's the issue of what we might mean by truth in the first
place, which eventually has to be cashed out in terms of inquiry, some kind
of realism, etc. etc.

So you're right, and the simplicity of it is deceiving.


  Tom Burke        
  Department of Philosophy                         Phone: 803-777-3733
  University of South Carolina                       Fax: 803-777-9178

           For a list of common LISTSERV User Commands see


Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 12:08:08 -0600
From: Andre De Tienne 
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: Biographical help needed

>Dear Peirceans,
>I'm pretty sure I remember reading somewhere of Peirce struggling at one
>stage in his life (in accord with advice from his father) to give up the
>study of logic, and finding he could not. Is this right? If so, where may
>I read about it? (I was sure it was in the introduction to Vol 5 of the
>Chronological edition but on looking it up I find I was wrong).
>Best regards,
>Cathy Legg,

You will find Max Fisch's extended discussion of this matter in his
introduction to volume 1 of the chronological edition (W1).



Andre De Tienne                              Tel.(W): 317-274-2033
Assistant Editor                             Tel.(H): 317-328-8789
Peirce Edition Project, IUPUI                    Fax: 317-274-2347
Assistant Professor
Department of Philosophy, IUPUI       E-mail:   adetienn[…]
CA 545, 425 University Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5140 



Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 08:34:30 +1100
From: a.freadman[…] (A.  Freadman)
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: Of Laws and [Wo]Men
Message-ID: <199803052234.IAA22161[…]>

Dear Peirceans:

after months, nay years, of lurking, it is fun to have time to reengage
with discussion on this list.

Mark Weisz tells us touching things about Tom Anderson: received, though I
can only respond by taking up the thread concerning the nature of the laws
of nature.  I have been reading Cheryl Misak's book, Truth and the End of
Inquiry, which is an elaboration and an uptake of Peirce, with a lot to say
about this issue.  I think it's very good, illuminating about Peirce as
well as about the debates. (does anyone know of any good reviews of it?) If
any of you have read it, you make like to take me on, or it; for those who
have not, some quotes:

"Peirce wanted to reject views which hold that truth goes beyond inquiry. 
But he also wanted to retain the notion that there is a right answer to a
given question." (p.1)

"he succeeds in establishing a position which avoids taking truth to be
something that transcends all perspectives and avoids taking it to be
something that is relative to different perspectives." (p.2)

Misak gives an account of the logic of pragmatism, in terms of a
bi-conditional, as follows:
If H is true, then, were inquiry to be pursued as far as it could
fruitfully go, H would be believed; (T- I)
Truth is the aim of inquiry (I-T)
The point of pragmatism is to "tell us what we can expect of a true
hypothesis", and this requirement is not met by the "correspondence theory"
(p.40); but the bi-conditional is not a simple equivalence "of the form: 'H
is true if and only if it would be believed at the end of a prolonged
inquiry'" (Misak insists on writing 'would be' after 'if', to give special
weight to her argument that "the T-I conditional is a prediction or
expectation which is articulated by a subjunctive conditional" not in the
indicative (p.43):

"...the most important difference between T-I and the transcendentalist's
claim 'if H is true , then it gets x right' ... is that T-I has an unusual
status... it is not an assertion, but a hope.  It is not put forward as a
true statement but as a regulative assumption of inquiry.
        Notice that the right-to-left conditional, hereafter I-T (inquiry
to truth), certainly does not follow from a specification of the
consequences of 'H is true.  It does not follow that: if, if inquiry were
to be pursued, then H would be believed, then H is true. [CSP provides
independent argument for I-T): First, he argues that the inquirer ought to
think that truth is the property of those beliefs which would never be
overturned by experience, And then he suggests that one's pragmatic
scruples ought to lead one to think that the best philosophical account of
truth is the account that is useful in inquiry and deliberation." (pp.43-4)

Following (or as part of) her elaboration of pragmatism, she spells out the
role of fallibilism in relation to critical commonsensism:

"Any of our beliefs might be false, but it would be absurd to doubt them
all because of this.  If we did, we sould not possess a body of stable
belief by which to judge new evidence and hypotheses, and hence we would
block the path of inquiry.  We can doubt one belief and inquire, but we
cannot doubt all our beliefs and inquiry." (p.50)

"It is important to remember that the constraint on belief imposed by
experience is a negative one.  The world affects our beliefs not by our
finding out positive things about it, but rather, by providing recalcitrant
or surprising things which upset an expectation produced by a belief.  The
role which the world plays is not one of providing something for our
beliefs to correspond to, but rather, one of letting us know when we have a
belief that conflicts with it." (p.83)

Then there is the logic of inquiry itself, and the important role that
probability plays in the I-T side of the equation.  I'll skip this, and go
to a useful conclusion:

"... the Peircean pragmatist does not think, with James and perhaps Rorty,
that 'truth' is merely an honorific term which we bestow upon warranted
beliefs.  Nor does the Peircean accept that we ought to think of truth in
whatever way we find useful or convenient.,  Rather, the Peircean looks to
what our access to the concept of truth must be.  The only grasp that we
have on the notion of truth is that it is what we aim for in inquiry.  Once
we get what we aim for in inquiry - the very best that inquiry could
produce - we have true beliefs.  There is no further step to be taken ..."

this is a "secular view of truth" (p.167) "there is no point adding
anything to the notion of truth over and above what can be squeezed out of
inquiry..." (168)



Date: Thu, 05 Mar 1998 23:22:17 GMT
From: BugDaddy[…] (BugDaddy)
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: The New List (paragraph 5)
Message-ID: <34ff2e37.27536024[…]>

On Wed, 4 Mar 1998 07:08:20 -0600 (CST), Howard Callaway

>> It's an interesting question how one has synthetic knowledge of
>> the *structure* of experience -- is such knowledge *a priori?*
>> I'm not at all sure.  Aristotle's *Categories* is closely tied to
>> his *Physics* and *Metaphysics.*  It is hard for me to say that
>> it is *a priori.*  Yet it is the foundation for the *Organon.*
>> It therefore seems like it ought to be *a priori.*  It leaves me
>> wondering if there really is such a thing as *a priori* knowledge
>> at all.  What my confusion probably means is that I am asking the
>> wrong question.

>What follows here mostly takes off on the question of whether
>"there really is such a thing as *a priori* knowledge," and I try to
>relate this question to a text from Peirce and to some of our related
>discussions. The prior discussion of "context" in connection to the
>"New List," is particularly important in this. I also suggest some
>readings of possible interest. While I don't doubt the value of
>a narrow focus on the "New List" itself, I suspect that a broader
>view might help in understanding it. 

>The following passage comes from Peirce's draft for a his-
>tory of science, c. 1896:

>     1.144. But, it will be said, you forget the laws 
>     which are known to us a priori, the axioms of geometry,
>     the principles of logic, the maxims of causality, and
>     the like. Those are absolutely certain, without excep-
>     tion and exact. To this I reply that it seems to me
>     there is the most positive historic proof that innate
>     truths are particularly uncertain and mixed up with
>     error, and therefore a fortiori not without exception.

>Here Peirce disputes the idea that either the axioms of geo-
>metry or the principles of logic are know to us _a priori_.
>This suggests that he did not consider anything absolutely
>_a priori_. Instead, "a priori" seems to be in some way
>"relationalized." Certainly, there is always something that
>we bring with us into any inquiry, and that is perhaps the
>original meaning of the Latin "a priori." (One Philosophical
>dictionary says, "From the Latin 'a' (from) and 'priori'
>(the preceding)," so to say that something is "a priori"
>would mean only that it comes from the preceding [consider-
>ations, assumptions, doctrine, belief, etc.]. 

I would *assume* that the term *a priori* ['from the prior"] refers
to Aristotle's *Prior Analytics,* while *a posteriori* ['from the
posterior"]refers to his *Posterior Analytics.*  If so, then *a
priori* would refer to formal logic, while *a posteriori* would
refer to material logic.

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

Henry David Thoreau, *Walden*
 Life is a miracle waiting to happen.
         Bill  Overcamp


Date: Fri, 06 Mar 1998 01:54:14 -0800
From: Tom Gollier 
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: The New List (Paragraph 4)
Message-ID: <34FFC7C4.FEEF3DCA[…]>

     Thomas Riese writes:

> I think that a theory of signs has to explain 'atomicity' in
> general, i.e. the fact that our universe has physically an
> atomistic structure, that there are more or less clearly separated
> animal species, words, concepts, human beings etc etc.  This can't
> be taken for granted here.


> So more down to earth:  I have some practical and/or theoretical
> experience with the design of information systems for
> intensive-care units and technical monitoring systems for large
> underground coal mines.

> In both cases the decisive problem seems to me to be the question
> what is, in a given interval of time, 'atomic', i.e. irreducible
> information (or, perhaps even better:  what should be introduced
> as such)

The discussion regarding the "New List" has led me into reading some
of the literature regarding the "frame problem" in AI, and I think
what you call "atomicity" here, and the fact in cannot be "taken for
granted," ties these two subjects together.

    The problem, to my mind, is that induction is not simply a matter
of empirically or synthetically verifying rules regarding experience.
Prior to any act of verification it must be determined that a
particular instance of experience is "a case" of the rule, or more
specifically an instance of the subject of that rule.  And, what is
a case of that subject cannot be determined in terms of the truth or
falsity of what the rule then says about it without begging the
question of verifying it.  There are ways to worm around it, but
basically to indcutively verify a rule it seems we must have some
manner of identifying what are instances of that rule without
reference to truth or falsity.  If we take "abduction" as a method
in its own right - not just the positing of an inductive rule with
little or no evidence for it - then it is "abduction" which appears
to address this element of what it takes to "be a case of" something
in terms other than those of truth and falsity, and that this
problem, as the "atomicity" of terms prior to their combination into
propositions which are true or false, is the subject which Peirce is
addressing in the "New List."

    What makes it interesting with regard to the "frame problem" is
the fact that modern commentators on this computer problem seem to
assume 1) that propositions are the "atoms" of our knowledge and 2)
that induction and deduction are the only methods involved in
verifying and implementing those atoms.  They are thus lead to
pre-defining the outer boundaries of a frame or importing some
"commonly" understood situation or context as a limit to how far the
inferences of knowledge must go, imposing it upon the utterly
unwieldy mass of all potential propositions, and then fretting over
both its arbitrariness and incompleteness.  Peirce, on the other
hand, has the method of abduction at his disposal, and it can be
applied to the relatively limited number of terms and operations
constituting any given *representational system* prior to the actual
inductive or deductive application of that system to our experience.
What's more it should be done if we want to make our application of
such a system to experience scientific.  His delineation of what
goes into the unity of a term prior to the truth and falsity of
combining such terms into propositions, then defines or frames the
situations or contexts which propositions can address.  In other
words, it seems like a "ground" is the first thing we look for in
our own (human) solutions to the frame problem, then we look for
correlates, and then we look for other interpretants.

    At any rate, Thomas, I'm toying with the idea Peirce can be made
to respond to these problems, and your comments lead me to think you
have taken a somewhat similar line in this regard yourself?

Tom Gollier


Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 22:47:14 +1100 (EDT)
From: Cathy Legg 
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: RE: Logic Naturalized : Truth

On Thu, 5 Mar 1998, Tom Burke wrote:

> >What's wrong with "truth-preservingness"?
> That *is* pretty much what Peirce says at some point, I'll grant you.  But
> that shouldn't be interpreted as meaning that it is concerned only with
> deduction, much less (god forbid) truth-functional logic.  Whatever we mean
> by "truth-preservingness", it somehow has to include deduction, induction,
> and abduction in the mix.

> Moreover, we have to distinguish (whether in contempoary terms or not)
> semantic and syntactic notions of truth preservingness.  The whole point of
> Goedel's theorems is that for any kind of interesting (contentful) formal
> system, semantic truth preservingness (entailment) and syntactic truth
> preservingness (provability) simply don't match up.  That does give one
> pause, no?

No, Tom, Goedel's theorem is a purely syntactic result. (This is 
where many popular expositions of Goedel's Theorem are confusing, as they 
tell a semantic story to give you the idea quickly and easily). 

That is to say that Goedel's theorem does not necessarily describe the 
incompleteness of arithmetic. Sure that is one interpretation of it 
(which has been quite useful!), but it could also describe the 
"incompleteness" of other recursively structured languages, if we could 
interpret accordingly.

It seems to me that this point could link up with some of Thomas Riese's
very intriguing recent messages about the geometry of the syllogism, but 
I'm not sure.

And in Peircean terms I wonder if the distinction between "syntax" and 
"semantics" is that strict, anyway.....?
> And then there's the issue of what we might mean by truth in the first
> place, which eventually has to be cashed out in terms of inquiry, some kind
> of realism, etc. etc.

A big issue - yes!

Thanks for your reply, Tom.


Cathy Legg, 
Philosophy Programme,

Early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.


Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 23:08:50 +1100 (EDT)
From: Cathy Legg 
To: peirce-l[…]
Subject: Re: Logic Naturalized?

On Tue, 3 Mar 1998, Howard Callaway wrote:

> Here I'm inclined to re-emphasize the point that we get a better grasp
> of the "descriptive" character of logic by relating it to its actual
> and historical exemplifications in use. This is not to deny the pos-
> sibility of revising logic, improving it with reference to new 
> applications and developments, of course. The idea of revising or
> developing logic does plausibly rely on mathematics of one sort or
> another. But it seems to me that merely mathematical exemplification
> of forms of inference are less interesting than non-mathematical
> applications. So, perhaps we could say that the typical result of
> mathematical logic is to produce speculative extensions/revisions
> of more or less standard logics. In fact most such speculative
> extensions/revisions won't leave the pages of technical journals.

I'd say we get "extensions" in logic, but we don't get "revisions", (if by 
revisions is meant changing one's mind about what is valid). In this it 
is like mathematics. Or maybe this is assimilating logic too much to 
deductive logic?


Cathy Legg, 
Philosophy Programme,

Early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.



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