As just mentioned in my reply to Gary F., in case anyone missed it, here is
what I posted a few days ago about the drafts of "A Neglected Argument."

To what was Peirce specifically referring as "a theory of the nature of
thinking" or "this theory of thinking"?  These were both unusual
expressions for him to use; neither appears anywhere else in the Collected
Papers.  By contrast, "theory of logic" and "science of logic" each occur
20 times, while "theory of reasoning" occurs 18 times and "science of
reasoning" occurs five times.  Even "theory of thought" and "science of
thought" show up only once each, and one of those occasions is in the cited
title of a work by someone else.  However, in CP 1.573 (also EP 2.376;
1906), Peirce does state that "Logic, regarded from one instructive, though
partial and narrow, point of view, is the theory of deliberate thinking."
 Furthermore, in manuscript R 634 (1909), a draft preface for a book whose
working title was Meaning, he wrote that "logic is the theory of thinking,
so far as thinking conduces to the attainment of truth."  He went on to
say, later in the same paragraph, that "logic should be regarded as
coextensive with General Semeiotic, the a priori theory of signs."  So it
seems plausible, and perhaps likely, that Peirce had his entire theory of
"Logic, Considered as Semeiotic" in mind when he wrote "A Neglected

I have now discovered further clues, which pertain to all four of my
"interesting questions," in the manuscripts that contain various drafts of
that article (R 841-844).  The final version, as published in The Hibbert
Journal, contains a somewhat lengthy description of the "hidden argument,"
followed by a relatively brief discussion of the Three Stages of Inquiry
and their logical validity.  What appears to be the very first draft (R
842) has it the other way around, as the following introductory comments

CSP:  Yet this [humble] argument has seldom been much insisted upon by
theologians for the reason that, persuasive as it is, it has not seemed to
them to be logical.  This I conceive has been due to a false theory of
logic; and consequently the main substance of the present paper must be a
brief abstract of a defence of a theory of logic according to which the
theological argument in question is as logically sound as it certainly is
persuasive.  Thus, I am to outline two arguments, one supporting the
other.  The latter, which I will designate as the humble argument, although
every mind can feel its force, rests on far too many premisses to be stated
in full.  Taking the general description of it as a minor premiss, and a
certain theory of logic as a major premiss, it will follow by a simple
syllogism that the humble argument is logical and that consequently whoever
acknowledges its premisses need have no scruple in accepting its conclusion.

What Peirce here called "a certain theory of logic" seems to be precisely
what he later characterized in the first additament as "a theory of the
nature of thinking" and "this theory of thinking."  It is the major
premiss, and "a general description of the humble argument" is the minor
premiss, of "a simple syllogism" whose conclusion is "that the humble
argument is logical."  Notice the modesty of this claim--Peirce was not so
much trying to "prove" the Reality of God as merely assert that anyone who
embraces his theory of logic and recognizes that the humble argument is
consistent with it "need have no scruple in accepting its conclusion."  He
continued ...

CSP:  Only, of course, it becomes necessary to establish the major premiss,
which is the theory of logic; and it is sufficiently clear that to do this
in a thoroughly satisfactory manner would involve going over the whole of
the critical branch of logic and showing that the theory in question
satisfactorily explains every variety of argument.  Now I cannot, within
reasonable limits, consider more than the main genera of arguments.  So
much, I will do.  The subsidiary arguments of a mixed character, although
highly important in actual reasonings, cannot, within my limits, be
considered.  Moreover, the critical branch of logic really, even more than
apparently, depends upon the very difficult and still vexed analytical
branch, whose problems could not easily be brought to the apprehension of
ordinary readers, to say nothing of the task of laying the foundations for
their scientific solutions.  But fortunately, we have an instinct for that
which is rational, and upon that ordinary readers ought to rely.
Accordingly, while I cannot here present a thoroughly scientific defence of
my theory of logic, I shall hope to make it appear reasonable.

I find it fascinating, and perhaps relevant in this context, that Peirce
appealed to his readers' "instinct for that which is rational" in an effort
to make up for his inability to lay out his theory of logic "in a
thoroughly satisfactory manner."  He then proceeded to offer only a single
paragraph outlining the "hidden argument," followed by many pages about
Retroduction, Deduction, and (especially) Induction, before (apparently)
realizing that he had far exceeded the allotted length and had to start
over, almost from scratch.  In fact, some of this content was published as
CP 2.755-772 under the heading, "The Varieties and Validity of Induction,"
with no indication that it is connected with "A Neglected Argument";
instead, it is referenced simply as manuscript "G" and incorrectly dated
c.1905.  Two different versions of the text end with equal abruptness.  A
later fragment (in R 843) includes this alternative summary.

CSP:  My main concern is to show that that line of reflexion which I call
the Neglected Argument is an argument, and a particularly strong one, of
the kind with which every positive scientific inquisition must begin.  The
lowliest minds will rest content with this without any fault in their
conclusion or their logic; while the more critical, may still their
lingering doubts, by completing the line of inquiry which the Neglected
Argument opens; while on its concomitants they may base another Argument
supporting the former, and so be led on to further reflections, remarks,
and experiences which attain all the force of sound induction, the highest
grade of certainty to which the human mind can attain in any Real subject.

For many (most?), the NA is sufficient by itself--and Peirce is fine with
that!  For those not fully satisfied by the NA, it serves instead as the
initial step of a more rigorous investigation.  Both outcomes are fully
consistent with Peirce's "theory of the nature of thinking," as captured in
this structural engineering metaphor from the published article.

CSP:  Over the chasm that yawns between the ultimate goal of science and
such ideas of Man's environment as, coming over him during his primeval
wanderings in the forest, while yet his very notion of error was of the
vaguest, he managed to communicate to some fellow, we are building a
cantilever bridge of induction, held together by scientific struts and
ties.  Yet every plank of its advance is first laid by Retroduction alone,
that is to say, by the spontaneous conjectures of instinctive reason; and
neither Deduction nor Induction contributes a single new concept to the
structure. (CP 4.475)

I am still digesting all of the contents of the manuscripts, but those are
some thoughts so far.  I am very grateful to Jeffrey Downard for calling to
my attention the Scalable Peirce Interpretation Network (SPIN), which is
making images of Peirce's manuscripts available for transcribing (


Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA
Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman -
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