Dear Gary R., Sorry that I misconstrued your criticism earlier, that it was not about potential catastrophe but about whether “greed, power, and especially crypto-religious reverence for deus-ex-machina goals” are features of actually existing science and technology rather than external to them. Yes, we do disagree and probably will continue to, though I am grateful for your criticism.
When scientists such as Julian Huxley, grandson of “Darwin’s bulldog” T. H. Huxley and noted for coining the term “the new synthesis” in mid-20th century genetics called for “the lower strata” to be denied “too easy access” to hospitals to reduce reproduction, and stated that “long unemployment should be a ground for sterilization,” it was the voice of actually existing science speaking, just as it was when noted ethologist and Nazi Konrad Lorenz made similar statements in 1941, after Nazi “medical murders” under the aegis of eugenics had begun. Admitting ways in which wrongheaded and potentially evil ideas can operate in the practices of science and technology is, to my way of thinking, a means of acknowledging the fallibility and potentials of these practices for self-correction. You also say, “You will have to offer much more evidence if I’m to believe that Peirce’s character and Carnegie's were ‘similar,’ that Peirce was ‘hypocritical’ in his condemnation of the Gospel of Greed. And you draw some extraordinarily conclusions from a few facts and a single comment to Lady Welby by Peirce, while your question as to what side of the civil war Peirce would place himself based on his father's views is bogus.” Fair enough. I admire Peirce’s criticism of the gospel of greed. I simply wanted to indicate that his aristocratic outlook struck me at odds with that criticism. I did not compare his character with Carnegie’s, only that other comments Peirce made later seemed similar to what Carnegie expressed. Here below is a fuller version of Peirce’s 1908 letter to Lady Welby, where he says “The people ought to be enslaved,” that universal suffrage is “ruinous,” that labor-organizations are “clamouring today for the ‘right’ to persecute and kill people as they please,” that the “lowest class” “insists on enslaving the upper class.” Peirce is clearly anti-worker, anti-union, anti-lower class, pro-upper-class in these statements, with zero empathy for the plight of workers in the face of rabid industrial capitalism in America. Consider, Upton Sinclair published his novel *The Jungle*, two years earlier, depicting the sordid conditions of slaughterhouse workers in Chicago. Consider that pragmatists John Dewey and George Herbert Mead were already actively involved with settlement houses in Chicago, with lower class immigrants and workers, seeking a critical understanding of democracy in the grip of industrial capitalism. Peirce: “Being a convinced Pragmaticist in Semeiotic, naturally and necessarily nothing can appear to me sillier than rationalism; and folly in politics can go no further than English liberalism. The people ought to be enslaved; only the slaveholders ought to practice the virtues that alone can maintain their rule. England will discover too late that it has sapped the foundations of culture. The most perfect language that was ever spoken was classical Greek; and it is obvious that no people could have spoken it who were not provided with plenty of intelligent slaves. As to us Americans, who had, at first, so much political sense, we always showed a disposition to support such aristocracy as we had; and we have constantly experienced, and felt too keenly, the ruinous effects of universal suffrage and weakly exercised government. Here are the labor-organizations, into whose hands we are delivering the government, clamouring today for the ‘right’ to persecute and kill people as they please. We are making them a ruling class; and England is going to do the same thing. It will be a healthful revolution; for when the lowest class insists on enslaving the upper class, as they are insisting, and that is just what their intention is, and the upper class is so devoid of manhood as to permit it, clearly that will be a revolution by the grace of God; and I only hope that when they get the power they wont be so weak as to let it slip from their hands. Of course, it will mean going back relatively to the dark ages, and working out a new civilization, this time with some hopes that the governing class will use common-sense to maintain their rule. The rationalists thought their phrases meant the satisfaction of certain feelings. They were under the hedonist delusion. They will find they spell revolution of the most degrading kind.” And here below is Peirce in another statement, saying his conservatism supports “letting business methods develop without the interference of law,” and that he is “a disbeliever in democracy.” Perhaps he might be exaggerating, but I still find these offputting, not to mention unnecessary to conservatism. There were also conservative critics of capitalism back then, such as Henry Adams. “If they were to come to know me better they might learn to think me ultraconservative. I am, for example, an old-fashioned christian, a believer in the efficacy of prayer, an opponent of female suffrage and of universal male suffrage, in favor of letting business methods develop without the interference of law, a disbeliever in democracy, etc.” (MS 645). Finally, I didn’t state that what side Peirce took regarding the civil war was based on his father’s views. I was only trying to express that given that his father had been pro-slavery, and that Peirce had lived through the times of the civil war, that one might expect discretion from him regarding “enslaving.” But actually it turns out, unfortunately, that Peirce did continue to hold his father’s view. What do you think of this: “…my father was regarded in much the same way by the majority of his Massachusetts fellow-citizens,-i.e. of those who knew his crime [ of supporting Negro slavery], though it differed from that of the Southwicks in consisting in a political, not a religious belief. I myself fully share my father's abomination. For I do not regard such slavery as an owner is likely to exercize as half as horrible as that to which many,-not to insist on saying the great majority of us,-subject ourselves. Freedom of thought is, to my thinking, so much more valuable than any other kind...” (MS, 847. Can also be found cited in Brent, p. 31) Again, I deeply admire Peirce’s vast philosophy. But I also abhor the narrow-mindedness of these types of private beliefs he seems to have held, all the more so given the fecundity of his ideas such as agapasm. I wish that the deep poverty and injustice Peirce personally suffered could have tempered his prejudices in later life and opened his eyes to some of the institutional sources of injustice and poverty, but I don’t get the sense that that happened. I hope I have addressed some of your criticisms, Gary, even if we still do not agree. Gene Halton On Mon, Mar 12, 2018 at 6:00 PM, Gary Richmond <gary.richm...@gmail.com> wrote: > Gene, Edwina, Kirsti, list > > Gene wrote: > > EH: 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.” > > > The potential for catastrophe (regarding which I fully agree with you) was > not the 'thesis' that I said you would "find it difficult to find In Peirce > very much support." Re: "catastrophe" I fully agree with you since > quotations we've both offered make Peirce's view of that quite clear, for > example, his writing in 'Evolutionary Love' "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." Indeed the "deluge-tempest" didn't even take > as long as Peirce thought it would as the First World War broke out just a > few months following his death. The rest of the horror of that century and > the continued horror in this century, both brought about by the crazed > greed and power seeking of a few men is, in my view, virtually self-evident. > > What I didn't agree with was your assertion that "The greed, power, and > especially crypto-religious reverence for deus-ex-machina goals are not > simply external to actually existing science and technology, but are > essential features of the system." I have already given my reasons for > disagreeing with you on that thesis so I won't repeat them now; and I > assume that we are still in disagreement on this matter even while you've > offered additional examples of "corruption within science itself." There is > not an actual or even, I think, conceivable institution where one won't > find corrupt men and women (mainly men). I also agree with Edwina that > Peirce was entirely and explicitly opposed to Social Darwinism. > > In addition, your impugning of Peirce's character seems to me over the > top. You wrote: > > EH: 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. > > > You will have to offer much more evidence if I'm to believe that Peirce's > character and Carnegie's were "similar," that Peirce was "hypocritical" in > his condemnation of the Gospel of Greed. > > And you draw some extraordinarily conclusions from a few facts and a > single comment to Lady Welby by Peirce, while your question as to what side > of the civil war Peirce would place himself based on his father's views is > bogus. May none of our characters be judged on the basis of the views of > our parents. You wrote: > > EH: 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? > > > I do not take Peirce's comments about "the people" (not, btw, the African > people held as slaves in America) literally. He is writing to a, I believe > *relatively > *liberal, friend in England, a woman whom he's gotten to know well > through letters, one who will know that this is not to be taken literally > (as you clearly have). I find his comment (in context) more along the lines > of Jasper, very skeptical of majoritarian democracy, famously arguing for a > form of government guided by "an intellectual elite." There is just too > much else in Peirce suggesting that he upholds the ethics of the Gospel of > Love, including, for an example recently discussed on the list, his support > for Abbot against the unfair criticism of his work by Royce. > > Best, > > Gary > > > > > *Gary Richmond* > *Philosophy and Critical Thinking* > *Communication Studies* > *LaGuardia College of the City University of New York* > *718 482-5690 <(718)%20482-5690>* > > On Fri, Mar 2, 2018 at 3:41 PM, Gary Richmond <gary.richm...@gmail.com> > wrote: > >> Stephen quoted Peirce: >> >> *We employ twelve good men and true to decide a question, we lay the >> facts before them with the greatest care, the "perfection of human reason" >> presides over the presentment, they hear, they go out and deliberate, they >> come to a unanimous opinion, and it is generally admitted that the parties >> to the suit might almost as well have tossed up a penny to decide! Such is >> man's glory! **Peirce: CP 1.627 * >> >> >> In point of fact this quote is not from CP 1.627 but .626. >> >> But first consider that the method of scientific inquiry is not that of a >> jury, now is it? >> >> Indeed, the quotation exemplifies the reason why I as list moderator ask >> contributors to contextualize quotations (I usually do this off-list). The >> quotation above appears in the first lecture of the 1998 lectures published >> as *Reasoning and the Logic of Things*. >> >> When William James first proposed that Peirce give a series of lectures >> in Cambridge, he suggested in a letter that, rather then speaking on logic >> and science as he was wont to do, that instead Peirce ought speak on >> "topics of vital importance" (which phrase appears in 1.622,.623 and >> variants at .626 and .636). Peirce, of course, chose to speak on what >> interested him at the time, including logic, inquiry and reasoning, and >> cosmology. >> >> In the first lecture, no doubt in part to explain to James why he hadn't >> taken his advice for a theme for the lecture series, he begins by arguing >> that "topics of vital importance" have nothing to do with a "theory of >> reasoning," which is a principal topic in his lectures. But they *do* >> have their place, although not in scientific inquiry: ". . . in practical >> affairs, in matters of vital importance, it is very easy to exaggerate the >> importance of ratiocination" and in such matters Peirce will offer as >> alternatives 'instinct' and 'the sentiments'. It is this snippet just >> quoted that introduces the paragraph which concludes the quotation which >> Stephen offered. However, ". . . in theoretical matters I refuse to allow >> sentiment any weight whatsoever" (CP 1.634). >> >> Science, by which he means here, "pure theoretic knowledge," ". . . has >> nothing directly to say concerning practical matters" (CP 1.637), and it is >> best "to leave [cenoscopic] philosophy to follow perfectly untrammeled a >> scientific method" (CP 1.644). Thus, once he's concluded this discussion >> of topics of vital importance being little aided by our vain power of >> reason (witness the jury illustration!), he moves on in the lectures to >> follow to discussions of topics of scientific importance. >> >> Of course it goes without saying, I'd hope, that the positive results of >> scientific inquiry, for example, new technologies, may be applied to >> matters of vital importance (for example, in medicine, etc.) >> >> Best, >> >> Gary R >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> 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 Fri, Mar 2, 2018 at 2:29 PM, Stephen C. Rose <stever...@gmail.com> >> wrote: >> >>> *We employ twelve good men and true to decide a question, we lay the >>> facts before them with the greatest care, the "perfection of human reason" >>> presides over the presentment, they hear, they go out and deliberate, they >>> come to a unanimous opinion, and it is generally admitted that the parties >>> to the suit might almost as well have tossed up a penny to decide! Such is >>> man's glory!* >>> >>> *Peirce: CP 1.627 Cross-Ref:††* >>> >>> amazon.com/author/stephenrose >>> >>> >>> ----------------------------- >>> PEIRCE-L subscribers: Click on "Reply List" or "Reply All" to REPLY ON >>> PEIRCE-L to this message. PEIRCE-L posts should go to >>> peirce-L@list.iupui.edu . To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message not to >>> PEIRCE-L but to l...@list.iupui.edu with the line "UNSubscribe >>> PEIRCE-L" in the BODY of the message. More at >>> http://www.cspeirce.com/peirce-l/peirce-l.htm . >>> >>> >>> >>> >>> >>> >> > > > ----------------------------- > PEIRCE-L subscribers: Click on "Reply List" or "Reply All" to REPLY ON > PEIRCE-L to this message. PEIRCE-L posts should go to > peirce-L@list.iupui.edu . To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message not to PEIRCE-L > but to l...@list.iupui.edu with the line "UNSubscribe PEIRCE-L" in the > BODY of the message. More at http://www.cspeirce.com/peirce-l/peirce-l.htm > . > > > > > >
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