On 3/2/2018 8:25 AM, Stephen C. Rose wrote:> Entirely delightful with a salutary flourish at the end.
The most salutary suicide I have ever encountered.

That provides some good background about F. E. Abbot, and it's
significant that Peirce took his side.  But I do not find anything
salutary about suicide, and certainly not by someone who might
have contributed much more if he had continued to write and preach.

On a related point, I have a great deal of sympathy for religions
that have flourished for thousands of years.  They integrate
metaphysics, normative science, a worldview, a social conscience,
and a way of life that appeals to people at every level of society.

You can't say that about the currently fragmented "mainstream"
of philosophy, science, sociology, political thought, and life.

In fact, that's one reason why I was attracted to Peirce's views,
because he did manage to integrate those fields.  Unfortunately,
he wasn't able to communicate effectively to a wider audience.

Abbot was able to preach to a large audience.  If he had been
more circumspect in his choice of metaphors, he might have been
able to lead them where he wanted to go.  Thomas Merton, for
example, was a Trappist Monk who managed to remain in good
standing with the Catholic Church while writing books about
Buddhism and Taoism.

Following is a note that I recently sent to Ontolog Forum, which
includes a longer note from last July.  It addresses some similar


-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Concepts, properties, views, events
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2018 09:44:53 -0500
From: John F Sowa <s...@bestweb.net>
To: ontolog-fo...@googlegroups.com

On 3/1/2018 7:26 AM, KI wrote:
Are the terms Language and Logic synonyms then?

In a broad sense, you could say that.  But to avoid confusion,
it's important to distinguish natural languages from artificial
languages -- and informal or natural logic from formal logics.

With that distinction, every artificial language is a specialized
notation that could be translated to and from a subset of any
natural language.  Wittgenstein would call that subset a
"language game".  But a natural language is the potentially
infinite set of all possible language games that could be played
with a given syntax and vocabulary.

Then every formal logic is an artificial language that is used
with precisely defined methods of reasoning and criteria for
distinguishing denotations and truth conditions.

"To the ancient Greek Goēs, the world of the divine was not just
shear chaos. The forces of the universe had a logic behind them
that gave them shape. Their form could be accessed and interacted
with using a special language. Hence, the reason for glossolalia." [1].

[1] https://www.thepostil.com/the-logos-a-brief-history/

That description of the *logos* is from the Christian tradition.
From that perspective, it's reasonably accurate.  From a wider
perspective, many scholars have found strong similarities among
the Greek logos, the Chinese Dao (or Tao), and the Buddhist Dharma.
In fact, the Chinese version of the New Testament translates
Logos to Dao.

Heraclitus (Fragment 1), about 400 BC
all things come to be according to this logos

About 500 years later, John the Evangelist wrote (in Greek)
In the beginning was the Logos. The Logos was with God.  And the
Logos was God. It was in the beginning with God.  All things came to
be through it, and without it nothing came to be that has come to be.

Since John was my namesake, I have a lot of sympathy with the idea.
See below for a note I sent to Ontolog Forum in July 2017.


-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Abstract Objects
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2017 16:54:55 -0400
From: John F Sowa <s...@bestweb.net>
To: ontolog-forum <ontolog-fo...@googlegroups.com>

Abstract objects include everything that can be transmitted as
bits rather than atoms.   That includes all of mathematics and
any signs, symbols, notations, patterns, structures, languages,
or programs that can be stored or processed by a digital computer.

For applied ontology, abstract entities are important things to
represent.  Without an ontology that includes them, it's impossible
to talk about how anything in the computer relates to anything in
an application.  But some philosophers have tried to eliminate
abstract entities as values of quantified variables.  For example,

Goodman & Quine (1947) http://www.ditext.com/quine/stcn-con.html
We do not believe in abstract entities. No one supposes that abstract
entities -- classes, relations, properties, etc. -- exist in space-time;
but we mean more than this. We renounce them altogether. We shall not
forego all use of predicates and other words that are often taken to
name abstract objects... But we cannot use variables that call for
abstract objects as values.

The logician Alonzo Church (1951) replied to G & Q:

AC, http://www.jfsowa.com/ontology/church51.htm
Let us take it as our purpose to provide an abstract theory of the
actual use of language for human communication — not a factual or
historical report of what has been observed to take place, but a norm
to which we may regard everyday linguistic behavior as an imprecise
approximation...  We must demand of such a theory that it have a place
for all observably informative kinds of communication — including such
notoriously troublesome cases as belief statements, modal statements,
conditions contrary to fact — or at least that itprovide a
(theoretically) workable substitute for them.

For anyone who hasn't read it, I strongly recommend Church's lecture
on "The ontological status of women and abstract entities" (1958).
He deliberately presented it at Quine's seminar at Harvard:

For further discussion of these issues, see the article on "Signs,
processes, and language games", and the references cited there:

For historical developments, note that the distinction between
abstract and physical entities has dominated philosophy for over
two millennia.  Around 400 BC, Heraclitus adopted the distinction
of Logos (logic, math, language, reasoning) and Physis (nature,
including all living or nonliving things and processes).

Heraclitus (Fragment 1)
all things come to be according to this logos

About 500 years later, John the Evangelist wrote
In the beginning was the Logos. The Logos was with God.  And the
Logos was God. It was in the beginning with God.  All things came to
be through it, and without it nothing came to be that has come to be.

Heraclitus and John used the same words for all things (panta)
and come to be (gignomai).  But there is an important difference
in their prepositions:  for Heraclitus, 'according to' (kata);
for John, 'through' (dia).

That distinction dominated Greek, Roman, Arabic, and European philosophy
for centuries.  Heraclitus lived at the western end of the Silk Road in
the Greek colonies in Anatolia.  Around the same time, Lao Zi in China
adopted the term Dao (AKA Tao, often translated as "The Way"), which
he distinguished from "the Ten Thousand Things".  In fact, modern
translations of the New Testament to Chinese translate Logos as Dao.

Around the same time, Gautama Buddha distinguished Dharma and Maya.
Maya has several meanings, such as everything perceptible including
illusions.  Note Plato's metaphor of the cave, in which the perceptible
world is called an illusion.  Since merchants, soldiers, and gurus
traveled along the Silk Road, this coincidence might not be an accident.

In summary, the distinction between Logos and Physis is one of the
oldest and most widely accepted in philosophy.  For applied ontology,
it expresses the fundamental distinction of computer applications:
everything stored or processed in a digital computer is abstract,
but it can be used to describe any physical processes, structures,
or interactions of any kind.

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