Hello Jon, List,

The argument you are trying to reconstruct could be fleshed out more fully in a 
number of ways. Here are a few suggestions for filling in some of the details a 
bit more:

Major premiss:  Every inference is, in one way or another, valid as a pattern 
of inference, including those that are instinctive. Those that appear to be 
invalid are patterns of inference that are, themselves, valid, but the 
appearance of invalidity is really due to the fact that we have misunderstood 
what kind of inference it is (e.g., we think it is inductive, when it is really 
abductive). Or, the apparent invalidity is really just a lack of soundness in 
that something in the premisses involves an error on our part and it is really 
false. As a form of inference, every retroductive conjecture that meets certain 
conditions (e.g., it responds to a question occasioned by real doubt, it is 
really explanatory, it is possible to deduce consequences that can be put to 
the test, it is possible to make inductive inferences that will tend to show 
the hypotheses is confirmed or disconfirmed by observations, the observations 
that will be used to test the hypothesis are not the same observations that 
will be used to make the inductive inference, etc.) is a valid abductive 
inference--and hence has a logical character. Such arguments can, in time, be 
the subject of further development in arguments that are more fully under our 
conscious control. As such, they can be made into logical inferences that may 
rise up to higher levels of assurance, including those of experience as well as 

Minor premiss:  The humble argument for the Reality of God is a retroductive 
conjecture endorsed by instinctive reason. What is more, it has in fact be met 
with the support of large communities of inquirers at different times and 
places in human history and culture. In fact, it appears that the core 
inferential patterns in the argument are prevalent in the thought of virtually 
all reasonable human beings. Over time, different communities have developed 
the instinctive hypothesis in a number of different ways, but the core ideas 
seem to cut across all such communities--including those communities that are 
quite spiritual in orientation as well as those that claim to be less spiritual 
in orientation. Setting aside the particularities of how the conceptions have 
been developed in different human communities, and focusing on the core ideas 
that appear to be held in common, we can see that those core ideas can be 
developed into hypotheses that can be affirmed in a responsible and 
self-controlled manner by those who are deeply infused by the desire to learn 
and who have a relatively refined sense of how to conduct their inquires 
according to experimental methods.

Conclusion:  The humble argument for the Reality of God is logical in all three 
senses--according to the assurance of instinct, experience and according to the 
exact requirements of good logical form. We should remember, however, that this 
is not a claim that the conclusion of the argument is true. Rather, the claim 
is that the conclusion is plausible. While it may lack something by way of 
security, it possesses much by way of uberty. In fact, our experience shows 
that this grand hypothesis--which serves a remarkable totalizing and 
synthesizing role in the great economy of our ideas--both within the realm of 
our long growing commitments of common sense and in our most cutting edge 
inquiries in the special sciences--has shown and continues to show great uberty 
in the way that it informs the healthy growth of our aesthetic feelings, our 
ethical practices and in the ongoing logical growth of our thought.

So, let us ask: does this hypothesis involving the conception of God involve 
some kind of confusion on our part about the real character of the inference, 
or does it rest on false premisses? Peirce's essay on "The Neglected Argument" 
is a sustained effort to show that neither of these is the case. As such, it is 
a reasonable hypothesis. Is the same true of the alternate hypotheses?


Jeffrey Downard
Associate Professor
Department of Philosophy
Northern Arizona University
(o) 928 523-8354
From: Jon Alan Schmidt [jonalanschm...@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 12:24 PM
To: Peirce-L
Subject: Re: [PEIRCE-L] Peirce's Theory of Thinking


Based on what Peirce wrote in R 842 ...

CSP:  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.

... I am now inclined to think that the syllogism that he had in mind was 
something like this.

Major premiss:  Every retroductive conjecture endorsed by instinctive reason is 
Minor premiss:  The humble argument for the Reality of God is a retroductive 
conjecture endorsed by instinctive reason.
Conclusion:  The humble argument for the Reality of God is logical.

Again, this is a relatively modest claim, especially since Peirce clearly 
recognized that retroduction is the least secure form of inference.


Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA
Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman
www.LinkedIn.com/in/JonAlanSchmidt<http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/JonAlanSchmidt> - 
PEIRCE-L subscribers: Click on "Reply List" or "Reply All" to REPLY ON PEIRCE-L 
to this message. PEIRCE-L posts should go to peirce-L@list.iupui.edu . To 
UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message not to PEIRCE-L but to l...@list.iupui.edu with the 
line "UNSubscribe PEIRCE-L" in the BODY of the message. More at 
http://www.cspeirce.com/peirce-l/peirce-l.htm .

Reply via email to