I did give your post on ordinality and cardinality a second reading, and I 
think I see your point, but I don’t have any particular response to it, except 
to say that these logico-mathematical issues are likely to arise again as we 
move on to Lowell Lectures 4 and 5, where Peirce has much to say about 

I guess it’s time to start on Lowell 4, which I’ll do any day now … my 
transcription is already up on my website, .

About Peirce’s formulations of the pragmatic maxim, I’m pretty sure there are 
more than two in his writings, so it would help if you would quote exactly the 
two that you refer to as the “first” and “second.” Then we can look for a third.

I think your new post makes a very important point when you say that “the self 
to write down was the former self, not exactly the same as the one(self) doing 
the writing down.” Or as I might put it, When one decides to write down what 
one is thinking, one often finds that the thought is changed by the act of 
writing it down. And it may change again when you read what you’ve written. So, 
as you say, “We all (hopefully) reformulate what we write during writing. Up 
until it feels good enough. - Or should do so.”

Some of us who post here usually do go through such a process. Others are so 
eager to have their say that they usually hit “Send” without even looking over 
what they’ve written. That’s one extreme which tends to increase the quantity, 
and decrease the quality, of posts on the list,— which makes many subscribers 
impatient. At the other extreme are those who formulated their ‘positions’ 
years ago, but never tire of repeating those same formulations or opinions, 
usually in the context of agreeing or disagreeing with somebody else’s 
formulation. That habit also increases the quantity, and decreases the overall 
quality, of posts on the list, because it usually generates repetitive 
“debates” instead of developing a genuine argument (in the full Peircean sense 
of that word).

I think the ideal kind of post on the list is somewhere between those two 
extremes. It’s the kind of post that has already gone through a formulation and 
reformulation process, but takes the result of that prior process as an 
“experiment,” and genuinely hopes to learn something new from the result, i.e. 
from whatever response it gets. As you say, “A living mind is continuously 
active, and any symbol lives as long as [its] continuity gets created and 
recreated by new minds, in new contexts.” For instance, I’ve said very similar 
things in my book, but your statement is every bit as original as mine was, 
because it was formulated based on your experience and your way of using the 
language. Both of us have “recreated” the symbol by reformulating it, 
“replicating” it in different ways, and thus taken its expression a step or two 
further. That’s part of what I call a genuine argument (as opposed to a debate, 
which is a kind of context between two fixed positions). It’s the sense in 
which Peirce said that the Universe is “an argument”, “a vast representamen … 
working out its conclusions in living realities” (EP2:193-4, CP 5.119).

I hope you don’t find this presumptuous. At least I can assure you that it’s 
been formulated with some care, including careful attention to your post. So if 
you think I got you wrong, I’d really like to know that!


Gary f.


} Poetry is a search for the inexplicable. [Wallace Stevens] { }{ Turning Signs gateway


-----Original Message-----
From: [] 
Sent: 14-Feb-18 08:14
Subject: [PEIRCE-L] Pragmatic Maxims and mediation (Was Lowell Lectures)




First I wish to express my appreciation to Gary f., to his lead and his 
commentaries on LL. - However, it seem to me that the discussions tend to get 
muddled on certain very, very basic respects.


Peirce's first formulation of the Pragmatic Maxims was about "practical 
bearings". So it was about doing something, more specifically it was about 
experimentation. Experimentation is about doing systematical observations (with 
some stated, conscious rules, mostly with non conscius habits of feeling). This 
applies to thought experiments just as well.


The second, later formulation of the Pragmatic Maxim is about understanding and 
interpreting the ideas an thoughts mediated by texts, diagrams (etc).


But to my knowledge CSP did not write down a third, strictly worded formulation 
of the Maxim. If there is one to be found, it must reside in his very latest 


However, he left a legacy on how to find and grasp the essence of The Third. - 
To my mind Peircean phenomenology is the Turning Point. And the key.


Writing down or drawing down means making one's ideas observable, objectifying 
them to be inspected. By oneself AND by others. But the self to write down was 
the former self, not exactly the same as the

one(self) doing the writing down.


Husserlian Phenomenology is all about knowledge and consciousness. 

Nonconscious mind gets left out at the outset. (I have consulted several 
experts on Husserl, as well as thoroughly inspected some of his key

writings.) I have good reasons to believe that Peirce resorted in choosing (for 
some time) not to use the same term in order to avoid confusing and muddling 
his phenomenology with that of Husserl.  - Hegel's Phenomenology he partly 
accepted, but definitely not Hegel's Logic.


We do have conscious control (deliberation) in starting to write down our 
thoughts and ending it. But our minds are not simultaneously starting or ending 
feeling and thinking. Not with the first nor with last word (or line etc).


A living mind is continuously active, and any symbol lives as long as 
continuity gets created and recreated by new minds, in new contexts.


Any act of writing down one's thoughts and ideas is an experiment. We all 
(hopefully) reformulate what we write during writing. Up until it feels good 
enough. - Or should do so.


Peirce List is not supposed to be an arena for just opinions, in the the

sense: "This is my opinion, and as such it is just as good as yours!". - A have 
seen such a response in the List. - The majority in Peirce's times voted him 
down, remember!


This list is and should by all means remain an arena for argumentation, not 
just expressing opinions. In philosophy and in sciences (including human 
sciences, i.e. humanities) soundness of grounds matters.


When I was a little child my mother sometimes used to respond to us

children: "Auf dumme Fragen antworte ich nicht". I did not understand the 
language, but in time I got the

message: There was something wrong with the question asked. The question was 
stupid, unanswerable.


Perhaps my interest in formulating questions, in relation with possible 
answers, stems from these early, preschool times.


I will leave below my earlier mail on ordinality and cardinality, which, to my 
mind, deserves a second reading. The choice if of course yours.


By the time of the FIRST Maxim, CSP was concentrating on Signs, later on

(SECOND) he shifted towards Meaning, though not at all changing his subject. 
Just changing the main, but not only perspective.




Kirsti Määttänen




 <> kirjoitti 7.12.2017 

> John & Jon,


> The two paragraphs offered by John to clarify the meaning of the verb 

> 'to indentify'  did not do the job for me. Quite the contrary.  Many 

> questions arose.


> JFS:  "In mathematics, it is common practice to "identify" two 

> structures that are isomorphic.  Some mathematicians call that 

> practice "abuse of notation" and insist on adding some annotations to 

> the marks in order to distinguish the references.  But most do not 

> bother to clutter their notations with such annotations."


> Question:  Which (variety of) notations do you mean?   2 = 2  and  a = 

> a ?

> Both can be read aloud as – equals – ,  OR – is identical with – .


> The mark remains the same, but there is change of meaning, depending 

> on the (mathematical) context.

> With cardinals,  2 = 2 can be taken as equal and identical with  1+1 =

> 1+1. With a = a the situation is not that simple.


> With ordinals this does not apply.  As was shown by CSP in his 

> cyclical arithmetics.


> Not only does "how many?" count, "how many times? " counts. (This is a 

> joke, mind you).


> Positions within multiple cycles begin to mean a lot.


> Also zero becomes very interesting, indeed.


> When zero was introduced (by arabic influence) to our number system, 

> it brought with it not only calculus, but also the arabic numbering 

> system.


> Thus 000 = 000000 (etc.), but 10  and 100 and 1000 (etc.) make a huge 

> difference. (As we all may,  sorely or happily, know by looking at 

> one's bank accounts.)  This is not as trivial as it may seem to some.

> Neither mathematically,  nor logically.


> The first zero, the second zero, the third zero … acquire a  different 

> meaning by their relative position in the chain of numbers.  Which is 

> not trivial, either.


> Relational logic is needed.  Which is just as complex ( and perplex) 

> as CSP has shown it to be.


> I have presented my thoughts as simply as I possibly can, but it does 

> not follow that the thoughts are inherently simple.


> With ordered chains of numbers (or other kindred marks) the problem of 

> reversibility and irreversibility acquire a new acuity.


> CPS deals with the problem a lot in Lowell Lectures.


> I'll leave my second question on the meaning of identifying to a later 

> date.


> Best,

> Kirsti Määttänen




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