Thanks, Gary R and Kirsti, for your comments, I’m just catching up.

Regarding the potential for catastrophe, Gary R. stated, “that you would,
however, find it difficult to find in Peirce very much support for your
thesis.” Perhaps, though Peirce provided support for that thesis in the
same essay, Evolutionary Love, where he uncharacteristically waxed
prophetic on the likely consequences of the philosophy of greed:

“The Reign of Terror was very bad; but now the Gradgrind banner has been
this century long flaunting in the face of heaven, with an insolence to
provoke the very skies to scowl and rumble. Soon a flash and quick peal
will shake economists quite out of their complacency, too late. The
twentieth century, in its latter half, shall surely see the deluge-tempest
burst upon the social order -- to clear upon a world as deep in ruin as
that greed-philosophy has long plunged it into guilt. No post-thermidorian
high jinks then!” (Evolutionary Love, 1893, 6.292). The deluge-tempest may
not have burst in the latter half of the twentieth century, but the
building of the Anthropocene, beginning in this period (literally 1950
according to some:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/29/declare-anthropocene-epoch-experts-urge-geological-congress-human-impact-earth
), marks the accelerating warnings of unsustainability we face today from
unbounded expansions of power and profit.



            Another note on Peirce’s views of political economy. Also in
Evolutionary Love, which I quoted from previously, Peirce states, “I open a
handbook of political economy -- the most typical and middling one I have
at hand…” And he proceeds to criticize it. That work was, *Principles of
Political Economy*, by astronomer, mathematician, and master Peirce
saboteur Simon Newcomb. Here was a scientist, Newcomb, who had been a
mathematics student of Peirce’s father, who often devalued or repressed
Peirce’s research, and definitely sabotaged Peirce’s career. This is an
example of corruption within science itself.

Another example, from outside science per se, was Andrew Carnegie, a
ruthless tycoon, oligarch, and social Darwinist who believed capitalism was
evolutionary, rather than, as Marx held, a revolutionary social
construction at odds with human nature. Carnegie:

“While the law [of competition] may be sometimes hard for the individual,
it is best for the race, because it insures the survival of the fittest in
every department. We accept and welcome, therefore, as conditions to which
we must accommodate ourselves, great inequality of environment, the
concentration of business, industrial and commercial, in the hands of the
few, and the law of competition between these, as being not only
beneficial, but essential for the future progress of the race.” p. 655

“Those who would administer wisely must, indeed, be wise, for one of the
serious obstacles to the improvement of our race is indiscriminate
charity.” (Andrew Carnegie [1835-1919], “Wealth,” in the *North American
Review*, June 1889, p. 662).

The concentration of  money and power “in the hands of the few” as “not
only beneficial, but essential for the future progress of the race” is the
Greed Philosophy, and who knows, perhaps Peirce might have read Carnegie’s
piece. Even if he didn’t, that greed philosophy was put into practice in
1892, the year before Evolutionary Love was published, when Carnegie’s
Pinkerton National Detective Agency came in with rifles against steel union
strikers in Pittsburgh.

Then again, Peirce’s criticism of the greed philosophy, including a
reference to how he was swindled, did not seem to apply to workers. In
fact, his criticism of the philosophy of greed rings hypocritical when some
of his other comments are taken into account, which read as similar to
those of Carnegie. As Peirce wrote to Lady Welby: “The people ought to be
enslaved; only the slaveholders ought to practice the virtues that alone
can maintain their rule.”  (*Semiotics and Significs, *edited by Charles S.
Hardwick (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1977), p. 78). Given
that Peirce lived through the American civil war (not fighting in it), and
that his father Benjamin had been pro-slavery before the war, Charles’s
advocacy of a “virtuous” slaveholding elite strikes me as repugnant and
puerile.

Can you guess what side of the slaveholder/enslaved divide Peirce would put
himself on?

            Gene Halton



On Tue, Mar 6, 2018 at 5:56 PM, Gary Richmond <gary.richm...@gmail.com>
wrote:

> Gary f, Gene, list,
>
> After some reflection I don't think I can completely agree with Gary f
> that Political Economy is not a science at all in Peirce's time. Consider,
> for example, Stanley Jevons book of 1879 titled The Theory of Political
> Economy. See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_economy where
> one reads:
>
> In the late 19th century, the term "economics
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics>" gradually began to replace the
> term "political economy" with the rise of mathematical modelling coinciding
> with the publication of an influential textbook by Alfred Marshall
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Marshall> in 1890. Earlier, William
> Stanley Jevons <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Stanley_Jevons>, a
> proponent of mathematical methods applied to the subject, advocated
> economics for brevity and with the hope of the term becoming "the
> recognised name of a science".
>
>
> However, it seems to me that what Peirce seems to be emphasizing in the
> passage Gene quoted, but also elsewhere, the tendency of the entire
> political-economic power structure toward what he terms "The Gospel of
> Greed." So, in the quotation by Peirce just mentioned, he writes "an
> exaggeration of the beneficial effects of greed . . . has resulted in a
> philosophy which comes unwittingly to this, that greed is the great agent
> in the elevation of the human race and in the evolution of the universe," an
> Ayn Randian notion if ever there was one.
>
> I think that Gene has some support for his notion idea that Political
> Economy was seen in the late 19th Century as a science and one which Peirce
> sees as having detrimental effects.
>
> As for the quotation concerning Darwin's *Theory of Evolution*, while I
> tend to agree with Gene that it was Peirce's view that Darwin's theory was
> quite incomplete and needed a consideration of all three categories to
> complete it, it would appear that Darwin *was* influenced by Herbert
> Spencer's 1852, "A Theory of Population, Deduced from the General Law of
> Human Fertility," while Darwin seems to have been himself influenced by
> Spencer's 1857, "Progress: Its Law and Cause." However, I don't think this
> represents or even hints at the full picture, and even though the term
> Social Darwinism wasn't much used in the USA before the turn of the 20th
> century. However, it seems to me likely that "greedy industrialists"
> weren't much reading Devons or Spencer (although Peirce knew their work
> quite well).
>
> Gene concluded:
>
> I’m criticizing the costs of outlooks which take precise elements of
> reality as the whole of reality, myopically, while excluding real elements
> in ways whose costs and consequences have now brought the biosphere to the
> gates of catastrophe. Yes, I would agree that Peirce offers a much broader
> understanding of science, but that does not excuse the ways in which
> science and technology have been willing perps in unsustainability as well.
>
>
> Firstly, it seems to me that the ideas of "political economy" and "social
> Darwinism" overlap to some considerable effect, although I can't discuss
> this just now. Mainly, I'd suggest that while there have been some in,
> especially, contemporary science and technology who "have been willing
> perps in unsustainability," that for the most part scientists have not been
> (although I'm fairly certain that more than a few have been compromised by
> the need to feed their families). I offered the example of in my last post
> of 97% of climate scientists accepting the human cause of global warming,
> which warming itself has, as Gene wrote, "brought the biosphere to the
> gates of catastrophe." Consider only the possibility of the Siberian tundra
> melting sufficiently to release vast amounts of methane, 36 times more
> potent a greenhouse gas than carbon.
>
> I think, Gene, that you would, however, find it difficult to find in
> Peirce very much support for your thesis. However, in our age especially, I
> think it's true that science, and especially technology, have been
> plundered and misused--just as the biosphere has--and unless we make great
> efforts to counter that misuse in the next decade or so, I think Gene's
> expressed concern is not overstated.
>
> Best,
>
> Gary R
>
>
>
>
>
> *Gary Richmond*
> *Philosophy and Critical Thinking*
> *Communication Studies*
> *LaGuardia College of the City University of New York*
> *718 482-5690 <(718)%20482-5690>*
>
> On Mon, Mar 5, 2018 at 4:36 PM, <g...@gnusystems.ca> wrote:
>
>> Gene,
>>
>> It’s questionable whether Political Economy is a science at all in the
>> Peircean sense of that word; maybe to him it was no more genuinely
>> scientific than, well, the Gospel. But if we consider 21st-century
>> Economics as a science, then we should look for self-criticism, and
>> criticism of “classical” economic theories, within the profession, as
>> symptomatic of the science being genuine in that Peircean sense. And that
>> is not hard to find if we do look. To give the one example I’m most
>> familiar with, Kate Raworth in *Doughnut Economics* gives a critique of
>> the “dismal science” which is not much different from (though more specific
>> than) yours or Peirce’s. And she presents an alternative economics which is
>> much more consistent with current ecological sciences (and, I might add,
>> with social justice).
>>
>> If science in general is so congenial to the political powers that
>> currently be in the U.S., why are they so eager to muzzle scientists, take
>> down climate change websites, etc.?
>>
>> Gary f.
>>
>>
>>
>> } What is now proved was once only imagined. [Blake] {
>>
>> http://gnusystems.ca/wp/ }{ *Turning Signs* gateway
>>
>>
>>
>> *From:* Eugene Halton <eugene.w.halto...@nd.edu>
>> *Sent:* 5-Mar-18 16:01
>> *To:* Peirce List <peirce-l@list.iupui.edu>
>> *Subject:* Re: Scientific inquiry does not involve matters "of vital
>> importance," was, [PEIRCE-L] A footnote on reason
>>
>>
>>
>> Dear Gary R.
>>
>>             You mention the problem of greed, Gary, denying that it is a
>> problem of science and claiming that it is a misuse of science by “the
>> world’s power players,” ie., outsiders to science. You say, “Peirce himself
>> almost certainly did find the essential “wicked problems” to be a
>> consequence of the political-economic system, not science itself.” I
>> disagree. Peirce actually did severly criticise the science of political
>> economy itself as a philosophy of greed:
>>
>> “The nineteenth century is now fast sinking into the grave, and we all
>> begin to review its doings and to think what character it is destined to
>> bear as compared with other centuries in the minds of future historians. It
>> will be called, I guess, the Economical Century; for political economy has
>> more direct relations with all the branches of its activity than has any
>> other science. Well, political economy has its formula of redemption, too.
>> It is this: Intelligence in the service of greed ensures the justest
>> prices, the fairest contracts, the most enlightened conduct of all the
>> dealings between men, and leads to the *summum bonum*, food in plenty
>> and perfect comfort. Food for whom? Why, for the greedy master of
>> intelligence. I do not mean to say that this is one of the legitimate
>> conclusions of political economy, the scientific character of which I fully
>> acknowledge. But the study of doctrines, themselves true, will often
>> temporarily encourage generalizations extremely false, as the study of
>> physics has encouraged necessitarianism. What I say, then, is that the
>> great attention paid to economical questions during our century has induced
>> an exaggeration of the beneficial effects of greed and of the unfortunate
>> results of sentiment, until there has resulted a philosophy which comes
>> unwittingly to this, that greed is the great agent in the elevation of the
>> human race and in the evolution of the universe.” 6.290:
>>
>>
>>
>>             Peirce was criticizing the science of political economy of
>> his time as reaching what Peirce held to be a false generalization. But it
>> was the science itself that held this false generalization, not simply
>> outsiders. And Peirce’s criticism extended to Darwin’s scientific theory of
>> natural selection:
>>
>>
>>
>>             “The Origin of Species of Darwin merely extends
>> politico-economical views of progress to the entire realm of animal and
>> vegetable life. The vast majority of our contemporary naturalists hold the
>> opinion that the true cause of those exquisite and marvelous adaptations of
>> nature for which, when I was a boy, men used to extol the divine wisdom, is
>> that creatures are so crowded together that those of them that happen to
>> have the slightest advantage force those less pushing into situations
>> unfavorable to multiplication or even kill them before they reach the age
>> of reproduction. Among animals, the mere mechanical individualism is vastly
>> re-enforced as a power making for good by the animal's ruthless greed. As
>> Darwin puts it on his title-page, it is the struggle for existence; and he
>> should have added for his motto: Every individual for himself, and the
>> Devil take the hindmost!” 6.293
>>
>>             Peirce did not reject Darwin’s theory, which he admired, but
>> argued that it was a partial view of evolution, to which Peirce added two
>> other modalities to produce a three category model. But it was Darwin’s
>> scientific theory, not oligarch Andrew Carnegie’s capitalist expropriation
>> of it, that Peirce criticized.
>>
>>             My criticism of the overreach of science and technology comes
>> from somewhat of a similar place. I’m criticizing the costs of outlooks
>> which take precise elements of reality as the whole of reality, myopically,
>> while excluding real elements in ways whose costs and consequences have now
>> brought the biosphere to the gates of catastrophe. Yes, I would agree that
>> Peirce offers a much broader understanding of science, but that does not
>> excuse the ways in which science and technology have been willing perps in
>> unsustainability as well.
>>
>>             Gene H
>>
>> PS Dear Edwina, I did not address fossil fuels, perhaps you were
>> responding to Gary R’s discussion of fossil fuels. But I would say that
>> there, as in any technology, it is not simply a question about human
>> comfort, but rather the question of sustainable limits: not simply for
>> human comfort, but for a longer “seven generations” outlook inclusive of
>> the community of life.
>>
>>
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>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>
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