Jon,

Your collection of Peirce quotes deploying the term “quasi-mind” (if each is 
taken in context) seemed to me quite enough to clarify what the term signifies 
— so I haven’t followed your additional explanation very closely, as it seemed 
to me redundant. But I think it may also be misleading in a couple of ways. 

First, you seem to be developing a concept of “quasi-mind” which makes it more 
specific than “mind,” as if it has some special qualities that other kinds of 
“mind” don’t have. I think this is a mistake, because in Peirce’s usage, 
“quasi-mind” is a broader, more general term than “mind.” He was directing 
attention to something that has mindlike qualities but not necessarily all 
those qualities or functions which we habitually associate with “mind,” and not 
necessarily only those qualities or functions. For instance, a human mind is 
one kind of quasi-mind, not the other way round.

Second, Peirce says (EP2:545) that “Such perfect sign is a quasi-mind,” but you 
seem to be interpreting this as if it said that every quasi-mind is a perfect 
sign. I don’t see any warrant for that.

Pardon me if I’ve misread you, but if so, at least you know that such 
misreadings are possible!

Gary f.

 

From: Jon Alan Schmidt [mailto:jonalanschm...@gmail.com] 
Sent: 18-Feb-18 20:41
To: peirce-l@list.iupui.edu
Subject: Re: [PEIRCE-L] Quasi-mind

 

List:

 

Having received no corrections or objections to my summary of the relevant 
Peirce quotes, I would like to offer some further comments.

 

In these contexts, at least, Quasi-minds are clearly indispensable to 
Sign-action.  In fact, there must be at least two Quasi-minds (#4-5) involved, 
such that the Sign serves as a medium for communication of a Form between them 
(#6), "welding" them such that they are at one in the Sign itself.  Hence the 
term "Sign" here evidently refers to what Peirce elsewhere called a genuine 
Sign--one that requires Quasi-minds serving as both utterer and interpreter, 
which may be past and future versions of the same Quasi-mind.  By contrast, a 
natural (or degenerate) Sign does not require a Quasi-mind to utter it, just a 
Dynamic Object to determine it.

 

The Dynamic Object does this only in the particular respect that enables the 
(genuine or natural) Sign to act upon the second Quasi-mind as if the Dynamic 
Object itself were acting upon it (#7).  I take this "respect" to be the 
Immediate Object, the partial combination of attributes of the Dynamic Object 
by which the Sign denotes it.  Thus "deputized" by its Object, the Sign 
determines the second Quasi-mind to produce a feeling, exertion (action), or 
other Sign (thought) as its Dynamic Interpretant (#8), which is a singular 
event (#3).  The Sign is best regarded as this very determination of the 
interpreting Quasi-mind, rather than as an Object that addresses itself to that 
Quasi-mind (#9).

So what is a Quasi-mind?  My last tentative definition called it a bundle of 
Collateral Experience and Habits of Interpretation (i.e., reacting substance) 
that retains the capacity for Habit-change (i.e., learning by experience), and 
thus can be the Quasi-utterer of a genuine Sign (since this requires a purpose) 
and the Quasi-interpreter of any Sign.  I still think that this is close to the 
mark, but can now clarify that a Quasi-mind is a Sign that constitutes an 
aggregate or complex of all previous Signs that have determined it, which are 
so connected together as to produce one Interpretant (#1).  As such, a 
Quasi-mind includes the Immediate Objects of all those previous Signs, which 
serve as its Collateral Experience, as well as their Final Interpretants, which 
serve as its Habits of Interpretation.

I also still believe that the capacity for Habit-change is what distinguishes a 
Quasi-mind from a brute Thing--a strictly material reacting substance whose 
Habits of Interpretation have become inveterate ("matter as effete mind," CP 
6.25; 1891).  I was previously leaning toward also requiring a Quasi-mind to be 
a center of consciousness (i.e., unity of feeling), based primarily on the 
following passage, as expounded in a recent book chapter by Vincent Colapietro 
("Habits, Awareness, and Autonomy," in Donna E. West and Myrdene Anderson, 
Eds., Consensus on Peirce's Concept of Habit, pp. 297-313).

CSP:  Of course, each personality is based upon a "bundle of habits," as the 
saying is that a man is a bundle of habits. But a bundle of habits would not 
have the unity of self-consciousness. That unity must be given as a centre for 
the habits. The brain shows no central cell. The unity of consciousness is 
therefore not of physiological origin. It can only be metaphysical. So far as 
feelings have any continuity, it is the metaphysical nature of feeling to have 
a unity. (CP 6.228-229; 1898)

However, I now realize--since Peirce explicitly stated that consciousness is 
not logically necessary for a Quasi-mind (#2)--that this is instead what 
distinguishes a person (or personality, or human Mind) from a "mere" 
Quasi-mind.  Furthermore, it is what makes self-control possible, as opposed to 
the "uncontrolled inferences" of non-human animals (cf. CP 7.444-446; c. 1893). 
 In other words, all Quasi-minds are capable of Habit-change when Sign-actions 
in the Outer World produce a new Final Interpretant that supplements or 
replaces its previous Habits of Interpretation; but only persons are capable of 
self-controlled Habit-change by means of purposeful Sign-actions in the Inner 
World (cf. CP 4.157, c. 1897; EP 2:412-413, 1907; CP 5.493, EP 2:418-419, 1907; 
EP 2:431, 1907; EP 2:549-550n49, 1907).  Conveniently, most of these citations 
come from "Pragmatism," so I continue to look forward to Gary R.'s planned List 
discussion of those manuscripts.

As for the Existential Graphs, I believe that everything above is consistent 
with recognizing the sheet of assertion or Phemic Sheet as the Quasi-mind 
(aggregate or complex) of all Signs scribed upon it, in which the Graphist 
(utterer) and Intepreter are at one (#10), and a Dicisign of all that is 
tacitly taken for granted between them (#11)--i.e., the overlap of their 
Collateral Experience and Habits of Interpretation that makes their 
communication possible.

Regards,

Jon S.

 

On Sat, Feb 17, 2018 at 12:00 PM, Jon Alan Schmidt <jonalanschm...@gmail.com 
<mailto:jonalanschm...@gmail.com> > wrote:

List:

 

Still attempting to avoid any interpretive commentary just yet, here is what 
those quotes tell us about Quasi-minds, in their likely order of composition.

*       EP 2:389 - Every Sign, or nearly every Sign, is a determination of a 
Quasi-mind.
*       EP 2:391 - The Object determines the Sign only in the respect that 
enables the Sign to act upon the interpreting Quasi-mind as if the Object 
itself were acting upon it.
*       EP 2:391 - A Sign is best regarded as a determination of a Quasi-mind, 
rather than as an outward object that addresses itself to a Quasi-mind.
*       EP 2:544n22 - A Sign is a medium for communication of a Form among at 
least two (if not three) Quasi-minds.
*       EP 2:544n22 - Quasi-minds are things capable of varied determination as 
to Forms of the kind communicated, but it is not logically necessary that they 
possess consciousness.
*       EP 2:545n25 - A Quasi-mind is a perfect Sign, the aggregate formed by a 
Sign and all the Signs which its occurrence carries with it.
*       EP 2:545n25 - A Quasi-mind is the sheet of assertion of Existential 
Graphs.
*       EP 2:545n25 - A Quasi-mind is, like anything else, susceptible to 
determination in a certain way; and each such determination is an event 
occurring once for all and never again.
*       SS 195 - Every Sign must be a determination of a Quasi-mind, which is 
itself a determinable Sign, even if that Quasi-mind is one's future self.
*       CP 4.536 - A Sign produces an Interpretant in the Quasi-mind that is 
its interpreter by determining the latter to a feeling, exertion, or Sign.
*       CP 4.550 - Whatever represents The Truth in our Diagram must be 
regarded as the Quasi-mind of all the Signs represented on it.
*       CP 4.550 - Signs so connected that a complex of two of them can have 
one Interpretant are the determinations of one Sign, which is a Quasi-mind.
*       CP 4.551 - Connected Signs must have a Quasi-mind, and there are no 
isolated Signs.
*       CP 4.551 - Every Sign requires at least two distinct Quasi-minds, a 
Quasi-utterer and a Quasi-interpreter, which are at one (welded) in the Sign 
itself.
*       CP 4.553 - The Phemic Sheet is the Quasi-mind, which is determined by 
the Graph-instances scribed on it, and in which the Graphist and Interpreter 
are at one.
*       CP 4.553 - This Quasi-mind is a Seme of The Truth, the widest Universe 
of Reality, and a Pheme of all that is tacitly taken for granted between the 
Graphist and Interpreter.

Peirce wrote all of these passages during the early months of 1906--the EP 
manuscripts in January, the SS letter in March, and the CP article in May 
(published in October).  Consequently, it is reasonable to assume that they are 
mutually consistent, and attempt to ascertain his concept of a Quasi-mind 
accordingly.  Combining and rearranging the information above--and thus finally 
injecting a little bit of interpretation on my part--yields the following 
condensed version.

1.      A Quasi-mind is a perfect Sign, the aggregate or complex of all Signs 
that have previously determined it, which are so connected that they can have 
one Interpretant.
2.      A Quasi-mind is a determinable Sign, capable of varied determination as 
to Forms of the kind communicated by a Sign, but not necessarily conscious.
3.      Every such determination of a Quasi-mind is an event that occurs once 
for all and never again.
4.      A Sign cannot be isolated, but is always connected to other Signs, and 
thus must have a Quasi-mind.
5.      A Sign in fact requires at least two distinct Quasi-minds, its utterer 
and its interpreter, which are at one (welded) in the Sign itself.
6.      A Sign is a medium for communication of a Form between these 
Quasi-minds, which may be past and future versions of the same Quasi-mind.
7.      A Sign is determined by its Object only in the respect that enables it 
to act upon a Quasi-mind (its interpreter) as if the Object itself were acting 
upon that Quasi-mind.
8.      A Sign is the determination of a Quasi-mind (its interpreter) to 
produce a feeling, exertion, or other Sign as its Interpretant.
9.      A Sign is best regarded as this determination of a Quasi-mind (its 
interpreter), rather than as an outward Object that addresses itself to that 
Quasi-mind.
10.     For Existential Graphs, the sheet of assertion or Phemic Sheet that 
represents The Truth is the Quasi-mind of all Signs scribed on it, in which the 
Graphist and Interpreter are at one.
11.     This Quasi-mind is a Seme [Rheme] of the widest Universe of Reality, 
and a Pheme [Dicisign] of all that is tacitly taken for granted between the 
Graphist and Interpreter. 

Does anything here seem incongruent with the original quotes, or have I 
accurately summarized them?

Thanks,




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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