Hello Edwina, List,

I'll let others chime in before saying much by way of response. Here are a few 
quick remarks offered in the hopes of staying on track.

EDWINA: Can you really mix up validity of format and false/truth of the
content? [where you write that 'something in the premisses involves an error
on our part and it is really false'.

Jeff: I'm not mixing these up. While I recognize a difference between validity 
and soundness, we must keep in mind Peirce's decision in the development of his 
logical theory--made quite early on--to treat all inferences as valid. It is 
part of a strategy that grows from his early efforts to reconstruct the natural 
classes arguments fully by making all of the premisses explicit, including the 
principles of logic that are governing the inference. Once those are added to 
the premisses, the differences between validity and soundness are not so 
simple. (see Smyth, Reading Peirce Reading, Chapter 2 and 3).

EDWINA: I think that you are ADDING premises to this that are not in the
basic syllogism.

Jeff: what, do you think, is involved in the conceptions at work in this 
"basic" syllogism? There is more, I suspect, than is involved in the 
conceptions employed in the basic definitions, postulates and axioms of 
arithmetic. Notice all that follows from those simply conceptions deductively. 
You say that I am adding something that I believe is already there. That, at 
least, is how I interpret the argument. If you would like to offer an alternate 
interpretation, then be my guest.

EDWINA: You are declaring that 'it has been met with the support of large
communities of inquirers'..BUT - this does not have anything to do with the
logical format, and frankly cannot be used to substantiate the
truth/falseness of the argument. [Argument ad populum]

Jeff: The fact that it has been met with the support of large communities of 
inquirers does lead me to suspect that those who dismiss the argument out of 
hand might be missing something. Those who, like Euthyphro, entirely ignore the 
judgment of others (such as his own relatives, not to mention Socrates), seem 
hasty--to say the least--in their convictions about what makes for a good or a 
bad argument. What is more, Peirce accepts Aristotle's methodological approach 
in his ethics, which is to draw the evidence for a normative theory from 
samples of arguments that we take to be good or bad. The fact that many people 
for a long time have taken this kind of argument to be good gives me some 
reason to toss it into that class. What is more, we can learn something about 
wisdom by looking at those who are reputed to have considerable wisdom. So, 
Peirce thinks that we should give some extra weight to those who are expert 
reasoners. As such, the fact that Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Boethius, 
Augustine, Aquinas, Leibniz, Spinoza and Kant--as well as Emerson, Thoreau, 
Martin Luther King an Ghandi--all seem, in their more reflective moments, to 
recognize the humble argument even if they don't try to develop it as a 
full-fledged philosophical argumentation, does give me more reason to think 
that this pattern of inference should be classed as good and not as bad. The 
question is, how should we explain the inference in our logical theory?

EDWINA: I agree - as you say, it's not a claim that the conclusion is true.
But, I'm not sure that you can say that because an argumental format is
logical, that the conclusion is plausible.

Jeff: I am trying to show that Peirce's argument, when reconstructed more 
fully, is sufficient to support a claim that the conclusion is plausible. How 
might we put it to the test. Well, I happen to think that we've been putting it 
to the test for quite a long time. Hence the reference to the collective wisdom 
of the ages serves a double function.

As a rejoinder, let me press my last question. What are the alternate 
hypotheses? Do they meet the requirements that must be met for the abductive 
inferences to be valid. If they do, what support have they garnered when put to 
the test. For my part, I think the arguments made by the likes of Dawkins and 
Dennett about the reality of God leave something to be desired. It is not just 
that the arguments are bad, but they are bad in a particular egregious kind of 
way--or so it seems to me.

--Jeff

Jeffrey Downard
Associate Professor
Department of Philosophy
Northern Arizona University
(o) 928 523-8354
________________________________________
From: Edwina Taborsky [tabor...@primus.ca]
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 2:53 PM
To: Jeffrey Brian Downard; Peirce-L
Subject: Re: [PEIRCE-L] Peirce's Theory of Thinking

Jeffrey - I have a few problems with your analysis. I'll comment below:
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeffrey Brian Downard" <jeffrey.down...@nau.edu>
To: "Peirce-L" <PEIRCE-L@list.iupui.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 5:06 PM
Subject: RE: [PEIRCE-L] Peirce's Theory of Thinking


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:

1) JEFFREY: 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 form.

EDWINA: Can you really mix up validity of format and false/truth of the
content? [where you write that 'something in the premisses involves an error
on our part and it is really false'.
---------------------------------

2) JEFFREY: 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.

EDWINA: I think that you are ADDING premises to this that are not in the
basic syllogism.

You are declaring that 'it has been met with the support of large
communities of inquirers'..BUT - this does not have anything to do with the
logical format, and frankly cannot be used to substantiate the
truth/falseness of the argument. [Argument ad populum]

You declare that 'the core inferential patterns in the argument are
prevalent in the thought of virtually all reasonable human beings'. Again,
an appeal-to-authority and majority - but, this does not prove
truth/falseness of the argument. It also doesn't deal with the faft that
'reasonable human beings' can be atheists.

---------------------------


3) JEFFConclusion:  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.

EDWINA: I agree - as you say, it's not a claim that the conclusion is true.
But, I'm not sure that you can say that because an argumental format is
logical, that the conclusion is plausible.
---------------------------------------

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?

--Jeff

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

List:

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 logical.
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.

Regards,

Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA
Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman
www.LinkedIn.com/in/JonAlanSchmidt<http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/JonAlanSchmidt>
 - twitter.com/JonAlanSchmidt<http://twitter.com/JonAlanSchmidt>



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