Dear Jerry, Jon, List:

Jerry R: "What do you take as the thing that determines it in Chiasson's
essay, then?"

The author, Phyllis Chiasson, states right up front:

*This brief essay will show that, in demonstrating his meaning of abductive
reasoning, Peirce laid out the attitude and method from which all decisions
of importance to the conduct of a life should begin. It will then show,
based upon Peirce's Neglected Argument, that it is the attitude from which
the abductive reasoning process is undergone--and not a particular
hypothesis resulting from the abduction--which produces the sorts of
hypotheses worthy of testing out by means of making one's various life
choices accordingly .*

Later in her argument, she states what is essential for a "theory of
thinking," namely, a proper frame of mind to enter into thinking maximally

*What's being proposed here is the possiblity that the Actual consequence
(as Peirce defines Actual in N.A.) of the optimistic Musement stage of
abductive reasoning (the only way in which a sane person would perform this
stage) is not an hypothesis of the Reality of God, but rather the Reality
of the sort of hypotheses of which the Reality of God might be a type?*

So, what is that reality? Chiasson suggests that it means two hypotheses:

*T**hough God is a value-laden term for most people--the idea of God's
Reality, in Peirce's sense, does not have to signify a specific being--nor
need it have a religion connected up to it.** It appears that Peirce's use
of the term, God, may have signified an ongoing inquiry into the
[1] hypothesis that there is meaning resulting from the way in which an
individual conducts his life.** This meaning is a consequence of deliberate
choices of conduct based upon having abductively developed
the [2] hypothesis that what he does matters to both the immediate and
ultimate outcome of things that may be beyond his ken.*

Now, these two hypotheses (bolded) seem to me to be pretty important
aspects of any complete "theory of thinking." They also seem to be about as
close to suggesting the reality of God (at least as far as Chiasson
describes what can be meant by God) as one can possibly get.

That is the short version, according to Chiasson, who then delves into the
longer version: what is meant by the logic of abduction, suggesting the
reason why the Neglected Argument for the Reality of God is mostly devoted
to Peirce's most complete discussion of abduction. Thus she writes:

*And that's the short version of of Peirce's "Neglected Argument for the
Reality of God" in action. But what does this essay mean in terms of
Peirce's pragmatism--in terms of the meaning of abduction**?*

When it comes to a real theory of thinking, what could be more relevant
than this:

*Peirce's argument here appears to be much the same as all the rest that he
wrote about the role of abduction in pragmatism. He argued in this essay
for the place of optimistic meandering by means of abduction to develop the
hypothesis of God. (We could just as easily call this optimistic, aesthetic
meandering) He argued for the place of ethical principles as the basis for
developing the explication and demonstration of this hypothesis. He
emphasized the place of action-reaction-interpretation as the ongoing
process for setting out to prove the hypothesis of God-the same way as he
would have us set about to prove anything else. The only apparent
difference between this essay and Peirce's more 'scientific' ones is that
the experiment in this case requires an individual to consciously engage
himself in the experience of living his life. The proof--if it can be
called that--resides in testing and adjusting as necessary to the
conditions of the hypothesis throughout the conduct of one's life and not
in any other objective measure.*

This is directly relevant to Peirce's theory of thinking, because it goes
to the prerequisites of fruitful thinking, for example, writes Chiasson:

*In 'A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God", then, Peirce really
argued for the Reality of the ways in which one's perspective (or vision)
directs the aesthetic*

Chiasson certainly wraps it all up into a more complete theory of thinking:

*It is in this sense that Peirce's "Neglected Argument for the Reality of
God" appears to make the most sense and to have the greatest application to
human conduct--and this may be, indeed, its very meaning. As Peirce wrote
in "What Pragamtism is":But of the myriad forms in which a proposition may
be translated, what is that one which is to be called its very meaning? It
is, according to the pragmaticist, that form in which the proposition
becomes applicable to human conduct, not in these or those special
circumstances, nor when one entertains this or that special design, but
that form which is most directly applicable to self-control under every
situation and to every purpose.[32]What more is there that the Hypothesis
of God could mean? If one can define accurately all of the conceivable
experimental phenomena which the affirmation or denial of a concept could
imply, one will have therein a complete definition of the concept, and
there is absolutely nothing else in it.[33]Perhaps Peirce's Neglected
Argument is suggesting to us that this is it. Perhaps this is all there is
to the meaning of abduction and the meaning of pragmatism that follows from
this. Maybe this is the point from which we can begin to understand what
Peirce was hoping to do when he wrote to Lady Welby in 1911: "I am just now
trying to get a small book written in which I positively prove just what
the justification of each of the three types of reasoning consists in...and
showing the real nature of Retroduction." *

Returning to the question with which this email begins--Jerry R.: "What do
you take as the thing that determines it in Chiasson's essay, then?"--it
seems that Peirce's Neglected Argument really does revolve around all the
themes we have been talking about, namely

1) An argument for the reality of God
2) his laying out of abduction
3) a theory of thinking

and it seems like Chiasson has found a way to nest them all together rather
well. Her concluding sentence seems to be the first step to what Jon is
looking for when he commenced this thread as a quest to discover Peirce's
theory of thinking:

*Perhaps it is by examining the activities at this earliest stage of
abductive reasoning (Musement)--where new possibilities first present
themselves for consideration--we can begin to build a clearer idea of what
Peirce actually intended for abduction--and his theory of pragmaticism to
mean. *

JerryR, I hope this answers your question.

Jon, I hope this furnishes a fruitful beginning for pursuing yours, which
you have made ours, too.

Ben N.

*Ben Novak <>*
5129 Taylor Drive, Ave Maria, FL 34142
Telephone: (814) 808-5702

*"All art is mortal, **not merely the individual artifacts, but the arts
themselves.* *One day the last portrait of Rembrandt* *and the last bar of
Mozart will have ceased to be—**though possibly a colored canvas and a
sheet of notes may remain—**because the last eye and the last ear
accessible to their message **will have gone." *Oswald Spengler

On Sun, Sep 18, 2016 at 9:18 PM, Jerry Rhee <> wrote:

> Jon,
> I suppose that settles it then.  For what is stated in your response is
> how to make our ideas clear, or one over many.
> Best,
> JR
> On Sun, Sep 18, 2016 at 8:15 PM, Jon Alan Schmidt <
>> wrote:
>> Jerry R., List:
>> JR:  Is it your claim, then, that the actual proposition should matter?
>> All I am saying is that the title of Peirce's article strongly suggests
>> that it is primarily about a neglected argument for the Reality of God.
>> Regards,
>> Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA
>> Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman
>> -
>> On Sun, Sep 18, 2016 at 6:13 PM, Jerry Rhee <> wrote:
>>> Jon, list:
>>> You said:
>>> “ I find it rather implausible that a work entitled "A Neglected
>>> Argument for the Reality of God" was somehow intended to be more about "the
>>> *attitude *and *method *from which all decisions of importance to the
>>> conduct of a life should begin," such that the content of the hypothesis
>>> itself is secondary or even irrelevant.”
>>> That is an interesting statement.  Is it your claim, then, that the
>>> actual proposition should matter?
>>> If it matters so much, then, what is it for this situation, the
>>> proposition/hypothesis; that thing that makes the matter answerable?
>>> That is, if "The hypothesis cannot be admitted, even as a hypothesis,
>>> unless it be supposed that it would account for the facts or some of them?"
>>> what is the argument in logical form for the NA?  Where is the beginning of
>>> such a thing?
>>> Thanks,
>>> Jerry R
> -----------------------------
> PEIRCE-L subscribers: Click on "Reply List" or "Reply All" to REPLY ON
> PEIRCE-L to this message. PEIRCE-L posts should go to
> . To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message not to PEIRCE-L
> but to with the line "UNSubscribe PEIRCE-L" in the
> BODY of the message. More at
> .
PEIRCE-L subscribers: Click on "Reply List" or "Reply All" to REPLY ON PEIRCE-L 
to this message. PEIRCE-L posts should go to . To 
UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message not to PEIRCE-L but to with the 
line "UNSubscribe PEIRCE-L" in the BODY of the message. More at .

Reply via email to