PEIRCE-L Digest 1293 -- February 11-12, 1998
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Topics covered in this issue include:
1) Re: Another centennial
by "Kelly Parker"
2) Happy Birthday C. D. (fwd)
by "a. reynolds"
3) Re: Another centennial
by Tom Burke
4) Luck Needed!
by Dennis Bradley Knepp
5) James's "humanism"
by Howard Callaway
6) on-line conference
by Joseph Ransdell
7) Re: Peirce's 1-2-3 nesses & Greimas boxes
by alan_manning[…]byu.edu (Alan Manning)
8) Re: Luck Needed!
9) Re: Luck Needed!
by Joseph Ransdell
10) Re: What is number?
by "George W. Stickel"
11) Cohen and Hook
12) Re: more on positivism and the eclipse of Peirce
by Douglas Moore
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 98 12:11:09 -0500
From: "Kelly Parker"
Subject: Re: Another centennial
Andrew's reminder (below) got me wondering about other
significant centennials that might be approaching. Sure enough,
there's a big one on the horizon.
William James delivered "Philosophical Conceptions and Practical
Results" at the University of California, Berkeley, on August 26,
1898. This is the lecture in which James popularized the term
"pragmatism," and to some extent popularized Peirce:
"I will seek to define with you merely what seems to be the most
likely direction in which to start upon the trail of truth. Years ago
this direction was given to me by an American philosopher whose home
is in the East, and whose published works, few as they are and
scattered in periodicals, are no fit expression of his powers. I
refer to Mr. Charles S. Peirce, with whose very existence as a
philosopher I dare say many of you are unacquainted. He is one of the
most original of contemporary thinkers; and the principle of
practicalism--or pragmatism, as he called it, when I first heard him
enunciate it at Cambridge in the early 70's--is the clue or compass by
following which I find myself more and more confirmed in believing we
may keep our feet upon the proper trail." [from McDermott's _Writings
of William James_, pp. 347-48]
Nine years later, in 1907, James wrote:
"This is the principle of Peirce, the principle of
pragmatism. It lay entirely unnoticed by anyone for twenty
years, until I, in an address before Professor Howison's
philosophical union at the university of California, brought it
forward again and made a special application of it to religion.
The word 'pragmatism' spread, and at present it fairly spots the
pages of the philosophic journals." [from Lecture II of James's
Is there any event scheduled to commemorate the "hundredth birthday of
pragmatism"? If not, perhaps we should all just meet in Berkeley on
the 26th of August to toast Peirce and James, and argue with one
another about the nature of the real.
Grand Valley State University
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Author: at Internet
Date: 2/10/98 9:50 AM
Just thought that I would remind people that it was one hundred years ago
today that CSP began his Cambridge lectures titled "Reasoning and the
Logic of Things." These are great lectures, but has anyone else noticed
that within them Peirce has dropped all talk of the `law of mind' and
instead refers to `non-conservative actions.' Does any one know if the
phrase `law of mind' ever recurs again in his writing after the 1893
Dept. of Philosophy
University of Western Ontario
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 14:02:52 -0500 (EST)
From: "a. reynolds"
Subject: Happy Birthday C. D. (fwd)
It turns out that there is another date important to pragmatism worth
noting -- tomorrow is Charles Darwin's 189th birthday.
Dept. of Philosophy
University of Western Ontario
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 12:54:31 -0500 (EST)
From: "k.l. white"
To: "a. reynolds"
Subject: Happy Birthday C. D. (fwd)
Department of Zoology,
University of Western Ontario,
London, Ontario, Canada
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 09:35:48 -0800
From: Janice Voltzow
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Happy Birthday C. D.
Happy Birthday Charles!
February 12, 1809
Our classifications will come to be, as far as they can be so made,
genealogies; and will then truly give what may be called the plan of
creation. The rules for classifying will no doubt become simpler when
we have a definite object in view. We possess no pedigrees or armorial
bearings; and we have to discover and trace the many diverging lines of
descent in our natural genealogies, by characters of any kind which have
long been inherited. Rudimentary organs will speak infallibly with
respect to the nature of long-lost structures. Species and groups of
species, which are called aberrant, and which may fancifully be called
living fossils, will aid us in forming a picture of the ancient forms of
life. Embryology will reveal to us the structure, in some degree
obscured, of the prototypes of each great class.
On the Origin of Species, 1859, p. 486
Janice Voltzow, Ph.D.
Department of Biology
University of Scranton
Scranton, PA 18510-4625
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 15:24:52 -0500
From: Tom Burke
Cc: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Re: Another centennial
At 11:14 AM -0600 2/11/98, Kelly Parker wrote:
>Is there any event scheduled to commemorate the "hundredth birthday of
>pragmatism"? If not, perhaps we should all just meet in Berkeley on
>the 26th of August to toast Peirce and James, and argue with one
>another about the nature of the real.
Well, the American Philosophy Summer Institute in Burlington Vermont is
taking place July 22 to 28, 1998. Only a month early. And not limited to
"pragmatism" as such.
CLASSICAL AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY:
REVISITING THE TEXTS
The University of Vermont
July 22-28, 1998
Seven seminars, each presented by an internationally recognized scholar and
each scheduled for approximately 6 hours during two contiguous mornings or
Each seminar will focus on the central texts of one of these American
Charles S. Peirce:
Vincent M. Colapietro (Penn State University)
Charlene Haddock Seigfried (Purdue University)
John J. McDermott (Texas A&M University)
George Herbert Mead:
Sandra B. Rosenthal (Loyola University)
John Lachs (Vanderbilt University)
Frank Oppenheim (Xavier University)
Alfred North Whitehead:
Donald W. Sherburne (Vanderbilt University)
Arrangements for registration and accommodations are now being finalized.
Dormitory-type housing (single or double rooms with a shared bath) will be
available for approximately $25 per night per person. There are also
numerous moderately priced motels in the Burlington area. The organizers
anticipate that registration for the week long event will be approximately
$135 for graduate students and $185 for faculty. Registration fees include
six continental breakfasts and six buffet type lunches per participant.
On-campus parking will be available for approximately $2.25 per day.
Additional information, including the schedule and reading lists, should be
available by late January, 1998. To join the mailing list, please contact
me (Larry Hickman) at The Center for Dewey Studies, Southern Illinois
University at Carbondale, Carbondale IL 62901-6822. Tel.: 618.453.2629.
The Center for Dewey Studies, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
The Department of Philosophy, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
The Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy
The Department of Philosophy, The University of Vermont
Tom Burke http://www.cla.sc.edu/phil/faculty/burket/
Department of Philosophy Phone: 803-777-3733
University of South Carolina Fax: 803-777-9178
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 14:39:33 -0600 (CST)
From: Dennis Bradley Knepp
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Luck Needed!
I am defending my Dissertation Prospectus on Friday the 13th. My
mother is a very superstitious person, and though I have tried to become a
rational, hard-headed, enlightened student of philosophy, Freud told us
long ago that a son can never completely remove the imprint of his mother.
At least, that's how I'm rationalizing the butterflies in my stomach!
What ever the reason, I could sure use some luck for this Friday.
We have many people on Peirce-l who are not academics, which is a
good thing, and so may not know what a Prospectus is. A Prospectus is
basically a 15 to 20 page proposal of the entire Dissertation project.
Once you have one written, they put you in a room with three profs who
think that it's a lousy project and that you're obviously the wrong person
for the project. Your job is to convince them that this is a great
project and that you're amazingly well qualified for it. The important
thing is that this is the last step before one actually starts to write a
Dissertation: you become ABD (All But Dissertation).
Anyway, I haven't been participating in the "New List" discussion,
but I promise to start participating soon. Also, I promise to tone down
my postings a bit. My last several postings have been quite angry --
probably the result of Prospectus Stress.
Oh, I haven't mentioned this -- the current title is "Symbols,
Categories, and Nominalism: Peirce's Revision of the Transcendental
Analytic." I don't really like the title, and would be open to
suggestions. But, since I'm writing about Peirce's revision of the
Kantian Categories, I thought that "Peirce's Revision of Kant" would be
too pedestrian. Any thoughts?
One last comment: I have been reading the "Proceedings from the
Bicentennial International Peirce Conference" and have found them to be a
rich source of ideas and inspiration. If you haven't looked at it yet, I
urge you to do so. And if you were there (as Joe Ransdell was) I can only
say that I'm very jealous!
--Dennis Knepp, Washington University in St. Louis
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 22:38:39 +0100 (MET)
From: Howard Callaway
Subject: James's "humanism"
RE: 100 years of pragmatism
Kelley, Andrew, & list,
Following out references from Morris Cohen and Sidney Hook,
to Woodbridge, I cam across some interesting passages from
William James's _Essays in Radical Empiricism_ originally
published (posthumously) in 1912. Basically, I was hunting
references to Morris Cohen in Hook (of which there are
many), and looking in Hook's _Metaphysics of Pragmatism_
(1927), I found a reference to Woodbridge, James, and Dewey.
All of this was suggested by a remark over on the JDewey-l
to the effect that Woodbridge had been a teacher to Cohen
(who later went to Harvard, then back to teach in New York).
The connecting point is that Cohen was a teacher to Hook at
CCNY and apparently recommended him to Woodbridge at
Columbia, where he did his dissertation under Dewey.
Hook, _Metaphysics_, p. 14, note 12.
William James regarded Prof. Woodbridge as an
ally of the humanist movement, _Essays in Radical
Empiricism_, Footnote to p. 259. Professor Dewey is
of the opinion that the differences between Professor
Woodbridge and himself is only a matter of approach
and emphasis not of conclusion.
This struck me as interesting, because for James "humanism"
was another name for pragmatism or "radical empiricism." It
seems that James enlisted Woodbridge as an ally, which may
be connected with Dewey going to Columbia from Chicago.
The James reference to Woodbridge concerns the reconcilia-
tion of "humanism" with knowledge. James says, p. 259:
For a recent attempt, effective on the whole, at
squaring humanism with knowing, I may refer to Prof.
Woodbridge's very able address at the St. Louis Con-
gress, "The Field of Logic," printed in _Science,
N.Y., November 4, 1904.
There are some further references to Woodbridge in the same
book. The James paper from which I quote below, "The Exper-
ience of Activity," was originally published in 1904. James
has in mind a particular approach to the experience of
activity, and approach he characterizes as "humanism," and
equally sometimes as "radical empiricism," or as "pragma-
James, _Essays in Radical Empiricism_, p. 156
The way of handling things I speak of, is, as
you already will have suspected, that known
sometimes as the pragmatic method, sometimes
as humanism, sometimes as Deweyism, and in
France, by some of the disciples of Bergson,
as the Philosophie nouvelle. Professor
Woodbridge's _Journal_of_Philosophy_(1) seems
unintentionally to have become a sort of meeting
place for those who follow these tendencies
in America. There is only a dim identity
among them; and the most that can be said at
present is that some sort of gestation seems
to be in the atmosphere, and that almost any
day a man with a genius for finding the right
word for things may hit upon some unifying
and conciliating formula that will make so
much vaguely similar aspiration crystallize
into more definite form.
I myself have given the name of 'radical
empiricism' to that version of the tendency
in question which I prefer; and I propose,
if you will now let me, to illustrate what
I mean by radical empiricism, ...
Woodbridge, I've tended to think of as more Aristotelian
than any of the pragmatists. But to see Woodbridge as an
ally, I think you have to understand James as seeing
absolutism as the chief opponent. Aristotle, as Dewey
remarks, was also a pluralist of sorts, though lacking the
"evolutionary" pluralism of the pragmatist tradition.
Interesting in this connection is what James means by
"humanism," something defined in terms of "experience," p.
The essential service of humanism, as I
conceive the situation, is to have seen that
_though one part of our experience may lean
upon another part to make it what it is in any
one of several aspects in which it may be con-
sidered, experience as a whole is self-contain-
ing and leans on nothing_. [italics in the
Since this formula also expresses the main
contention of transcendental idealism, it needs
abundant explication to make it unambiguous.
James's "radical empiricism" is from the start, in agreement
with "the main contention of transcendental idealism!" James
is no less "Kantian" in his "empiricism" than was Peirce.
What is intended, seems to be chiefly the rejection of the
"thing in itself," though the statement is rather too broad,
and the problem is responsible, I suspect for the later
debates about a pragmatist "metaphysics of experience," vs.
a "metaphysics of existence." In other place, James speaks
of a pluralist version of the "identitaetsphilosophie,"
which certainly evokes Schelling, and perhaps Peirce too.
The problematic question is whether there aren't existing
things outside experience, and the appropriate answer, I
think, depends upon making the distinction between
"actually" and "potentially" regarding the relation of
experience and nature.
James sees "humanism" partly in religious terms, and even as
spanning the differences between monism and pluralism,
reminding us perhaps of Royce's "absolute pragmatism." But
recall, too, the late appearance of Schelling in Royce.
It seems, at first sight, to confine itself
to denying theism and pantheism. But, in fact,
it need not deny either; everything would
depend on the exegesis; and if the formula
ever became canonical, it would certainly
develop both right-wing and left-wing inter-
preters. I myself read humanism theistically
and pluralistically. If there be a God, he is
no absolute all-experiencer, but simply the
experiencer of widest actual conscious span.
Read thus, humanism is for me a religion
susceptible of reasoned defence, though I am
well aware how many minds there are to whom
it can appeal religiously only when it has
been monistically translated.
Woodbridge is brought back into the picture in the attempt
to elucidate knowledge within "humanism," p. 196:
If the central humanistic thesis, printed
above in italics, be accepted, it will follow
that, if there be any such thing at all as
knowing, the knower and the object known must
both be portions of experience. One part of
experience must, therefore, either
(1) Know another part of experience -- in
other words, parts must, as Professor Woodbridge
says, (1) represent _one another_ instead of
representing realities outside of 'consciousness'
-- this case is that of conceptual knowledge; or
(2) They must simply exist as so many ultim-
ate _thats_ or facts of being, in the first in-
stance; and then, as a secondary complication,
and without doubling up its entitative single-
ness, any one and the same _that_ must figure
alternately as a thing known and as a knowledge
of the thing, by reason of two divergent kinds
of context into which, in the general course
of experience, it gets woven.
This tells us that "representation" was involved in the
process of reconciling pragmatism and knowledge, from the
very start of James's pluralistic variation (contrary to
Rorty's take on "representation" as implying "the mirror of
nature"). Note too the apparent equivalence between talk
of "representation," in (1) and differences in context in
(2). Woodbridge apparently accepted what James regarded as
the basic principle of "humanism."
If there is no final and total ultimate opinion or absolute
knowledge, then the problem would be that "even ideally,"
there would be no way to distinguish with certainty those
elements of our presumed knowledge which would survive the
further development of experience, from that which would
not. By idealist lights, this would have been an argument to
show that without the absolute, there could be no genuine
knowledge either in the end or now. The apparent alternative
is to insist that the validity of knowledge claims can only
be made relative to a context.
Celebrating 100 years of pragmatism, I thought it interest-
ing to look back at some of the opening battle lines.
Seminar for Philosophy
University of Mainz
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 16:08:22
From: Joseph Ransdell
Subject: on-line conference
This is a forwarded notice, originating from Steve Fuller, about an on-line
conference that looks interesting to me as a networking innovation.
GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON THE PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENCE
From Wednesday 25 February to Wednesday 11 March, there
will be an internet conference designed to explore the
prospects for setting a global agenda for 'the public
understanding of science'. This conference, which is part of a
larger initiative sponsored by the UK's Economic and Social
Research Council, will be moderated by Prof. Steve Fuller of
Durham University. The conference will be conducted in
The conference will be kicked off with short statements
from about 15 people who represent a variety of perspectives
on the topic worldwide. Additional contributions can be made
by anyone who subscribes to the conference listserv, and all
contributions will be archived on the World Wide Web for
subsequent use by any researchers, including journalists, who
will be notified of this conference for possible reportage.
Not only do we expect that the key terms 'public',
'understanding' and 'science' will be interpreted differently
according to local concerns, but also that conference
participants will comment on the relevance of other
formulations of the issue to their own concerns. However, to
maintain order in the discussion, individual messages will be
kept to 500 words (including excerpts from previous messages)
and specify in the subject header whether they are making a
response or opening a new line of inquiry.
However, No limit will be placed on the number of
messages that subscribers can post during the conference. And
messages may include weblinks for readers to access complete
texts of articles relevant to the topic at hand. Assistance
will be provided to those who would like to make their
materials available in this fashion.
Subscribers will have a choice in accessing the
conference proceedings: (1) by receiving every message as it
is posted; (2) by viewing the conference website as each day's
new messages are added.
To subscribe to the conference list, send a message to
For further information about the substance of the
conference, please contact steve.fuller[…]durham.ac.uk
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 17:00:10 -0700
From: alan_manning[…]byu.edu (Alan Manning)
Subject: Re: Peirce's 1-2-3 nesses & Greimas boxes
Thanks to Douglas Moore, for the informative discussion of Greimas'
semiotic square and its (usually overlooked) connection to Peirce. Like
Moore, I too am puzzled that the Peirce-L discussion rarely invokes the
Peircean categories beyond their simplest forms, of First, Second, and
Third. I'm curious though, Douglas, why you wish to invoke opaque ideas
like "fourthness," "fifthness," and so on, when you yourself seem very
aware that these non-primitive categories arise exactly in the way Peirce
said they do, as (in your terms) a "dynamic synthesis" or (in Peirce's
terms) "degenerate expansion" of the primitives. See, for starters,
paragraphs 66-150 or so of volume 5 of Peirce's Collected Papers, then have
a look at Peirce's Ten classes of Sign and notice the rules of logical
expansion on which these are built (volume 2, paragraphs 540-580 or so).
I find it more clear and precise, from a theoretical standpoint, instead of
fourthness, fifthness, and so on, to instead talk about 1stness of
Thirdness (the logic of pure self-reflection, which is what Moore says the
Greimas square represents), and Secondness of Thirdness (contextual
interpretation, what Greimas stumbles to get at with "debrayage"), and
1stness of 2ndness (nominalist reductionism). By the way, the hero of
popular, repeatable stories almost invariably represents 1stness of
2ndness, attempting (in vain) to exclude Thirdness. Peirce could have
told you why this is a general rule, but how would Greimas or any of his
students convincingly explain this, other than as an inductive
generalization from actual stories?
I began my career as a linguist as a follower of the French and Prague
schools of structuralism. I drew up several analyses involving
Greimas-type squares and Jakobsonian cubes. These days though, I find
that there is nothing in these analytic devices which is not subsumed under
Peirce's semeiotic, and a Peircean analysis explains many things which
purely structuralist account cannot.
I'd invite Moore (and any others interested) to compare, as working
examples, these two treatments of character patterns, to get the sense of a
structuralist analysis (foreshadowing Peirce) and then a fully Peircean
"Paralinguistic Character Structure in Popular Syndicated Televison."
_Semiotica_ (1992), vol. 89, 47-82.
_Supposition Error_: a novel_, Parlay Press 1996
--particularly the discussions in Chapter 10 and Chapter 15.
I had begun analyzing character patterns in four-place positions, much as
Moore describes, but the problem for a "square" analysis is, what do you do
if you have to account for more than four characters, more than a hero,
heroine, villian, and "other generic people". What if there is no heroine
per se, and perhaps no personified villian either, but there are seven or
eight key characters you do have to keep account of simultaneously, as in
_Gilligan's Island_ or MASH or _Star Trek_? What can Greimas make of the
hero's main sidekicks? There are usually two, and in the best stories,
one is consistently something of a stoic (a Spock) and one is overly
sentimental (a McCoy). Why?
Structuralism, by restricting itself to studying matrices of similarity and
difference, may tell us some things about relationships, but it doesn't and
by definition can't say much of anything about original, positive content.
Peirce's expanded categories on the other hand do have positive content,
as noted above for 1st of 2nd, 1st of 3rd, 2nd of 3rd. The past few days
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 22:42:23 -0600 (CST)
Subject: PEIRCE-L digest 1293
To: Multiple recipients of list
X-Listprocessor-version: 6.0c -- ListProcessor by Anastasios Kotsikonas
I've been chatting on-list with George Stickel and others about the
personalities of some of Peirce's Ten Classes, of indexical legisigns (1 of
2nd of 3rd, 2 of 2nd of 3rd) as opposed to terms, propositions and
arguments (1, 2, and 3 of 3rd of 3rd) and so forth. I'm hoping the _New
List_ thread will eventually find its way around to a discussion of
abduction, induction, and deduction (1,2, and 3 of 3-3-3). All these
expanded Peircean categories have distinct, unique "personalities" that
drive distinctions in positive content that emerge between different types
of sign, between characters of stories, between words in a language,
between types of numbers, and in many, many other domains.
Greimas boxes are fun to play in and they are even instructive, but Peirce
lived in a much bigger house, with room for all those boxes (on shelves)
under triangular roof, as it were. Under that roof, there's no need to be
as a homeless transient, jumping from box to box in artful but vaguely
defined ways. As more thinkers come home and the house needs to be made
still bigger, Peirce left behind a very clear, mathematically defined plan
for adding more room.
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 19:31:18 EST
Subject: Re: Luck Needed!
Good luck Dennis--may the ghost of CSP flash across the eyes of your
I think you'll be fine.
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 19:45:48
From: Joseph Ransdell
Subject: Re: Luck Needed!
Lots of luck, Dennis Knepp, at your prospectus defense! And don't worry
about it being Friday the 13th. If you are going into Peirce studies you
can count that as part of your basic training in facing down the demonic,
as Peirce had to do, some say in himself but I say in others.
Anyway, one thing to bear in mind, maybe, would be that what your examiners
are probably going to be mainly concerned to establish to their
satisfaction is not the brilliance of your thesis -- however brilliant it
may actually be -- or the importance of it (which will really be of the
nature of a bonus, as far as they are concerned), but the do-ableness of it
in a finite time with assurance that it will be a solid professional
product, showing critical maturity, judgment, and whatever else they take
to be the marks of professionalism. Show in your attitude that you think
of it yourself with a due appreciation of their professional perspective
and position, so that they don't have to worry about you compromising them,
and they will go along with you in spite of other doubrs -- or at last
that's my guess, knowing nothing about them personally. That's a
reasonable expectation on their part and one you can certainly live up to.
But, Hey! -- if this doesn't sound right to you immediately just forget it,
because that means it's wrong.
Re: the Amsterdam Bicentennial Conference in 1976: Yes, that was a great
experience: it really marked a turning point in Peirce studies, I think,
and the still more intellectually powerful and impressive 1989 conference
at Harvard was, I think, due in some substantial measure to the impetus
generated by the Amsterdam conference. Ken Ketner played the fundamental
role in dreaming up and organizing both, by the way, though he would
doubtless be quick to mention the role of others, such as Max Fisch, for
the Amsterdam conference and Hilary Putnam for the Harvard conference, and
perhaps others as well. But it was Ken that drove those things through.
Mentioning Max, I have been wanting to say for some time that in re-reading
recently his papers collected by Ken and Chris Kloesel, called _Peirce,
Semeiotic, and Pragmatism: Essays by Max Fisch_ (Indiana, 1986), I feel
ashamed not to have taken occasion before to have urged people who have
come into Peirce studies since Max became inactive, some ten years ago, not
to neglect reading his works. There is nothing else in the secondary
literature like it. Max was a scholar par excellence -- the real thing --
and you'll know what I mean by that if you just take any of his
biographical studies of Peirce and see how his passion for getting the
detail just right, patiently and with no compromise, along with a
surprising boldness of vision that enables him to make sense of that detail
and to know what to look for to begin with, yields results that could not
be gotten in any other way.
An anecdote: At a conference in Regensburg, Germany, sometime in the late
'70's, I guess it was, a number of us were there as a group at a semiotics
conference, representing the Institute For Studies in Pragmaticism, which
was at that time a collaborative group of eleven scholars with high aims
(but a little weak on staying power, as it turned out). Anyway, one of us
-- a protege of Max, as several in the group were -- read a paper which I
found very off-putting because it seemed to me that he committed again and
again a kind of historicist fallacy of assuming that an assessmental
conclusion concerning validity could be drawn on the basis of biographical
facts, and I criticized it harshly on those grounds.
Then, during the break, Max -- a very gentle personality -- confronted me
in what was clearly an agitated state of mind and said that if I
disapproved of that I must disapprove of everything he did. That had not
so much as occurred to me, and I told him quite honestly that I had never
known of him to commit that sort of fallacy in any of his work. I don't
think he doubted my sincerity but it didn't satisfy him because he felt
that what I was implicitly doing -- by criticizing his protege -- was
putting his ability to do straight philosophy, without recourse to
biography as a kind of frame -- or crutch -- in question, and in fact he
was right in the sense that I never had seen him just do some pure
philosophy that was not somehow connected with some biographical appeal as
a frame upon which the philosophy was draped, as it were, and I just
supposed that he couldn't do philosophy any other way, though I didn't
think it was fallacious.
When the session resumed Max discarded whatever he had written up to give
as a paper and launched immediately and forcefully into a stunningly fine
and ambitious philosophical lecture, a veritable tour de force, just
beautiful, threading together a number of elements of Peirce's thought that
I had never been able to see the connection between before, and with an
animation that I had never seen before and never saw later: stung by what
he construed as a challenge he showed what he was capable of, if necessary,
then became immediately thereafter the same slow-speaking, gentle and
always gentlemanly scholar as before.
In re-reading his papers recently, I appreciated in them what I had not
seen earlier on, namely, that Max always had this latent power to dazzle
but he held it so tightly under control that it can go altogether unnoticed
if you don't read him carefully enough, and at his own preferred pace, to
see how it is informing everything. I hope it will not seem irreverent if I
say that Max had the same kind of mastery of philosophy that the late Jerry
Garcia had as a guitarist, that makes you want to say "Let it go, Jerry,
quit holding back!" while knowing at the same time that the exquisite
beauty of his music was due precisely to his refusal to indulge that --
except for very special occasions, perhaps.
Joseph Ransdell - joseph.ransdell[…]yahoo.com
Dept of Philosophy - 806 742-3158 (FAX 742-0730)
Texas Tech University - Lubbock, Texas 79409 USA
http://members.door.net/arisbe (Peirce website - beta)
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 21:10:08 -0500
From: "George W. Stickel"
Subject: Re: What is number?
Alan and Cathy,
I appreciate your comments.
Indeed, the first part of what I was discussing was the media and you are
correct, the words are symbols, as you wrote, Alan:
>RESPONSE: Surely George is here refering NOT to numerical relations
>themselves but rather the media, the means, the methods, in sum, the
>SYMBOLS that we (or a thinking universe) might use to *represent*,
>*interpret*, or *investigate* numerical relations. Surely though, we have
>to agree that there is a distinction between a SYMBOL-- a word,
>proposition, or argument-- and the thing represented by a symbol, any thing
>such as a physical object or a mental image, a sensation or any other
>sub-symbolic sign that might be further named by a word. My cat Neptune is
>NOT the word CAT. You may know my cat only by my words, but still, the
>actual cat is different from the words I use to describe it. So far, I
>think George has been talking about symbols representing (or containing)
>numbers, but not numerical relations themselves. The actual numerical
>relation represented thereby is NOT the same as the numerical symbol "3" or
>the numeral word THREE.
I must agree.
Then, you write:
>RESPONSE: Here I'd make the critical, corollary distinction between a
>proposition (or argument), and the component sign-types that are used to
>build that proposition. Recall that a proposition is (for Peirce) a
>"di-cent" sign, meaning that in the form of the sign itself it has two
>essential parts, in this case, a predicate such as BAGS FULL, and an
>indexical legisign such as _these_, or, in Stickel's example above,
>_three_. These indexical words do indeed contribute to the verification
>of the proposition, but they do not (in and of themselves) create an
>"association of general ideas". The words _these_ and _three_ are not
>evocations of general ideas (in the way that BAGS FULL is), but rather
>these words are instructions to the interpreter to ACT, to look around for
>objects bearing a particular relation to the speaker and predicate
>(NEARBY-PLURALIZE in the case of _these_). The word _three_ is likewise
>an instruction to act, to indexically connect each instance of BAGS FULL to
>a finger, to a mark on a tally sheet, or any other set of things with the
>equivalent x-x-x sequence of object-boundaries).
>QUOTE But as soon as physical laws became habits, those numerical
>relations were arguments for inertia, gravity, and a host of other laws
>that we take for granted....So, it seems to me that numbers are symbols.
>However, their degenerative forms (such as a rhematical indexical
>legisigns) are permissible as the signs are possibilities or existential in
>their relation to an intepretant UNQUOTE
>RESPONSE: Again, I'm very, very sympathetic to the idea that numerical
>relations are not merely artifacts of human minds, but are inherent in the
>real universe and indeed are the product of "thought" or in other words an
>evolutionary process exactly analogous to argumentation in and between
>human minds. But even so, I have to insist on the distinction between
>argument and any component evidence or result of that argument. Any
>argument contains (minimally) three propositions, two of evidence and one
>of conclusion, but no proposition is by itself an argument. Some argument
>may contain or refer to or draw a conclusion about numbers, but it by no
>means follows that a number is therefore itself an argument.
At this point there are some gut level responses that are more definitive
for me than the words that follow might suggest, but let me give it a try.
First, the proposition, as part of an argument is a statement which makes an
argument at a different level than the argument in question, perhaps
something implied like:
Enoch was a male.
All homo sapien males are called man.
Therefore Enoch was a man--which becomes the first proposition in
Peirce's Enoch was mortal deduction.
If that is indeed true, that propositions are arguments themselves at a
different level, then, one could trace verbal arguments to some deduction in
Barbara (W 4:421-ff)at the level of muscular habits (arguments), which could
be be comprised of neurochemical habits (arguments), comprised of
electrochemical "habits," (arguments), comprised of themrodynamical
"habits", etc. ad infinitum (or ad nauseum)--which is to say that the same
rules apply from top to bottom.
The cat is not fully the symbol "cat," yet the cat, as an existential being,
is a symbol to itself, as Peirce's self is symbolic to its self and to
others. Now the question becomes, is a number symbolic to itself (probably
not) or to things around it? I believe the answer is yes. Seven (not the
symbolic expression of language, but the essence of sevenness) is indexical
in its relation to the continuum between six and eight, as you indicated,
Alan, but in its essence as sevenness that relationship that it holds is
defined by numerical law that human experience has discovered and named.
The naming is incidental to its being, which is a higly complex relational
being replicated in numerous objective forms.
This is long, and trying to become the essence of a number stretches the
imagination, but I still lean toward a symbolizism, which is replicated
indexically through innumerable objects.
Thanks for the discussion.
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 23:12:06 EST
Subject: Cohen and Hook
>Basically, I was hunting references to Morris Cohen in Hook (of which there
>many), and looking in Hook's _Metaphysics of Pragmatism_
>(1927), I found a reference to Woodbridge, James, and Dewey.
>All of this was suggested by a remark over on the JDewey-l
>to the effect that Woodbridge had been a teacher to Cohen
>(who later went to Harvard, then back to teach in New York).
>The connecting point is that Cohen was a teacher to Hook at
>CCNY and apparently recommended him to Woodbridge at
>Columbia, where he did his dissertation under Dewey.
Christopher Phelps' new intellectual biography of Hook (YOUNG SIDNEY HOOK.
Cornell UP) sheds some light on Hook / Cohen / Dewey relations. There are a
few references to places where Hook comments on Cohen which might be worth
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 06:44:16 +0200
From: Douglas Moore
Subject: Re: more on positivism and the eclipse of Peirce
I received your post a few hours before my departure to Israel and wrote
privately that I probably wouldn't be able to reply until I got back.
Anyway, it turns out that I've got a system in my hotel room already
hooked up to the net! That's probably more a curse than a blessing but I
can respond from over here.
Jim Piat writes:
> I'd be interested in a simple non technical example of the three
> paradigms and how they might be applied to a natural language
> problems if such is possible and you have the time and inclination.
Well, the project started back in the late eighties when I developed my
first version of a three paradigm programming language. The inspiration
was straight out of Peirce. A fundamental programming language must be
based on firstness, secondness and thirdness. By then I had already
modified this terminology to the terms, general, singular and universal
respectively. At that time it was all rather intuitive.
In addition to Peirce's insights, I added such notions that the general
(firstness) as a law, for example, would be a law applicable to
everything, but with the only constraint that it didn't apply
everywhere. An example of a general law would be the second law of
thermodynamics. Such a law applies to any substance whatsoever, provided
it all takes place "in a bottle", so to speak - a closed system
paradigm. The singular law (a secondness law) has no extension in
content or form. The only limitation is that of the singularity
involved. As to a universal law (a thirdness law), it is the inverse of
the general. It applies everywhere but not to everything. An example is
the wave equation - applicable everywhere but not to everything. In fact
the wave equation doesn't apply to anything at all. You need to go to
quantum mechanics to get "things."
With such, as yet informal, intuitive notions I searched for the 1-2-3
ness in computer programming languages. My aim was to develop a general,
universal programming language perfectly applicable to any singular
situation - a generic programming language for all seasons.
For those interested in concrete examples that help to understand 1-2-3
ness, the following may be of interest. I'll try to keep it as non
technical as possible. It's another version a bit like my semiotic
analysis of comparative religions in a previous post. Computer language
enthusiasts group together in sects much like religions, in fact. There
are even religious wars.
If you don't follow the technical parts, just look for the symmetries
and anti-symmetries. That's what it's all about.
The problem with programming languages is that each one is good for one
particular problem area and not so good or even inapplicable in others.
COBOL for payrolls, FORTRAN for scientific calculations, LISP for AI
applications and so on.
The basic observation is that each existing programming language was
based on a single paradigm. In some cases, such as IBM's PL1, attempts
had been made to graft on a few features from other paradigms. This
never seemed to work very well and cause more trouble than good..
Without too much effort, it seemed quite clear that the three basic
(computational) paradigms for programming languages, and there are only
three, were as follows:
1 ness - The General - The Functional Programming Paradigm.
Languages based on this paradigm are LISP like. The basic control
structure is recursion.
In fact LISP was developed as a "concrete theory" (my term) of recursion
by it's originator McCarthy. Nothing more, nothing less. The Functional
Paradigm is based on a data driven and naturally recursive control flow.
By being "data driven" it means that the actual control flow is as yet
to be determined by data flow arising from some time in the future.
Everything is "future driven" so to speak.
LISP like languages obeying this paradigm are based on a temporal
(a) Constructing representations of knowledge.
(b) Evaluating such representations.
Although this represent/evaluate dichotomy requires that only one side
can be operative in any instant, they intermix in such a way that, in
the big picture, the dichotomy is effectively eliminated.
This paradigm makes heavy use of the "manyana" principle. Don't do now
what you can put off to later. An inherently "lazy" language paradigm.
The trouble is that, in it's pure form the paradigm forbids any "side
effects." An absolutely pure functional LISP can't even print to the
screen or establish any persistent states whatsoever. It shouldn't leave
a history, or if it does, it can't touch it. Not so smart.
2 ness - The Singular - The Procedural Programming Paradigm.
All of the classical languages such as BASIC, FORTRAN and C are based on
this paradigm. The basic control flow is iteration. Procedural languages
are not at all lazy, and in fact react immediately to the present. They
are said to be event driven. Control flow is driven by the present state
I found that the most fundamental expression of the procedural paradigm
was FORTH. was that, amongst other things, like LISP was based on a
fundamental temporal dichotomy.
(a) Compile Time
(b) Run Time
All procedural languages are based on this dichotomy. The vendor
COMPILEs the procedural application in house and you, the user, RUN the
hard wired application in the field, thousands of kilometers away - a
real dichotomy, if there ever was one. The COMPILER stays back in-house
with the vendor. RUN time and COMPILE time are totally separated.
The remarkable thing with FORTH is that every instruction in the
language is both a run time operator and a compiler directive, depending
on the context. FORTH has no compiler program. Every FORTH program is
itself a compiler. As such it is capable of code writing in the field.
>From a dialectical point of view, the FORTH procedural paradigm
elegantly resolves the RUN/COMPILE dichotomy much as LISP does for the
The procedural paradigm mightn't be very smart, but necessary as it is
in this modality that things get done and are physically created by the
code writing ability.
3rdness - The Universal - The Logical Programming Paradigm.
The logical programming paradigm includes such languages as PROLOG. The
basic control flow is what I call recurrence. This type of control flow
is universal in all senses, as it ranges right across the system name
space based on a universal forward/ backtrack on failure control flow
The Logical Programming Paradigm is said to be goal oriented. Given a
goal, the system seeks a unification of the the goal with its knowledge
base. The goal fails if no match can be found after an exhaustive flow
across the knowledge base.
Thus one can say that control flow is driven by what already is "known."
As such we see that it nicely falls into the category of being "driven
by the past," which completes the future/present/past trichotomy.
The knowledge base is made up of facts and rules concerning the facts. .
The basic dichotomy for the logical programming is the FACT/RULE
dichotomy. The Logical Programming Paradigm should totally resolve this
dichotomy. Classical PROLOG, to me is severely conceptually flawed and,
amongst other limitations, does not satisfactorily resolve this
dichotomy. In my latest version, code named GAIA, I provide an elegant
solution whereby the "Prolog" component becomes a sophisticated and
seamless system wide name space and all of the complicated
"mathematical" syntax of classical Prolog is totally eliminated.
In fact, all three of these basic paradigms are now essentially syntax
free - a basic requirement for a generic language. If there is to be a
preferred syntax, it must be justified. You can't justify it and so an
explicit syntax is not necessary so use Occham's razor.
What is interesting in this development work is the idea of the
synthesis of apparently incompatible and contradictory paradigms. This
is an overall problem for the sciences and philosphy in general. Take
superstring theory for example. They keep getting not just one theory
(paradigm) but five. How do you synthesize these five paradigms?
The above concrete example provides a possible indication..
However it only works for the three computational paradigms. What's
more, there are only three computational paradigms.
Nevertheless, there is a known fourth paradigm - the Object Oriented
Programming Language paradigm. Unlike the above three paradigms, OO is
not a computational paradigm but a paradigm of a DIFFERENT KIND - a non
application specific, unqualified, organizational paradigm. This is an
example of Fourthness.
Now with my fundamental synthesis of 1-2-3 computational processes, it
becomes piece of cake to implement the OO organizational paradigm. It's
already there. Get 1-2-3 and you almost have 4. In fact I implement
1-2-3 using the 4 paradigm. It's all written in C++.
As for the fifth paradigm, a sort of anti-paradigm paradigm I believe, I
only have some rough overall ideas. If I could implement that then I'd
have a real revolution on my hands.
It would involve a total system rewrite though, I'm sure.
There are other multi-paradigm language in existence like LISPaLOG but
they tend to be more hybrids than a synthesis.
The first implementation of the above was called MANA. It was supposed
to have a $6 million dollar venture capital budget and include an
operating system to compete with Windows back then in the eighties - a
kind of super Java before its time. But after we had developed the
prototype and gone through our first $2 million the 1987 stock exchange
crash scuttled the project.
I was quite shattered for a couple of years but did find the energy to
write my first published book. The biggest crisis was when the receivers
arrived just as I was into the second chapter. They wanted to take away
my word processor! If you are a Peircien, you also have to be pretty
Things are back on track now though and I've totally redesigned the
system and rewritten it, single handed this time, in C++ as a hyper OO
oriented system. The project now has a sponsor. The present use is in
Natural Language Processing. It is not an AI project but what I call a
Generic Intelligence project. Rather than go "artificial", go generic.
That's the message.
Dr Douglas J H Moore
For the month of February in Israel
Usual Australian address
email : djhmoore[…]ozemail.com.au
The facts are the nearest things to DATA and the rules are the logical
equivalent of PROGRAM
Well, if the general, LISP type paradigm is the computationally most
powerfull engine applicable to no matter what, it always acts in a local
environment. It is very name space challenged.
As with your previous post I found this one very interesting. Do I
understand you correctly that Russell and Frege began with the notion
a unit or element undefined? I get the impression they did, but I
know enough to judge the matter. I would agree that the problem of
discrimination is of fundamental importance in a theory of mind or
intelligence. Seems to me that the science of psychology (including
behaviorists approaches to learning; but, I suppose, most especially
results of work in sensation and perception) has provided some
evidence to help guide a constructionist theory. I wonder if you would
agree with this? Also I'd be curious whether you find the results of
called psycholinguistics studies of much value in your work? Thanks in
advance for any comments you might wish to make.