Edwina, Eugene looks to me like an SJW red flag. What’s an SJW? Social Justice 
Warrior. They often team up with the likes of Antifa, and will go out of their 
way to cause grief with any wrong-think that they don’t agree with. 
Right-vs-Left politics in America is getting ugly. And the far-Left is throwing 
its weight around in Academia. They’re getting desperate. I think that’s what 
we’re seeing here. These SJW/Antifa types… you need to watch them… they dox 
people that they don’t like, and try to get them fired. History repeats, and 
all that.

 

From: Edwina Taborsky [mailto:tabor...@primus.ca] 
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 7:57 PM
To: Peirce List
Subject: [PEIRCE-L] Scientific inquiry does not involve matters

 

Gene, list: 

See my comments below: Overall - I think that your personal antipathy towards 
industrialism and capitalism [an antipathy that I do not share] means that you 
reject any thinker - even if they are focused on issues that have nothing to do 
with these issues - who does not share your personal views. 

 

On Tue 13/03/18 2:10 PM , Eugene Halton eugene.w.halto...@nd.edu sent:

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. 

1] 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. 

EDWINA: I consider that you making the critical thinking errors of 
generalization as well as 'post hoc ergo propter hoc'. Because SOME individuals 
involved in science had certain opinions about non-scientific topics, does not 
mean that ALL scientists feel that way nor does it mean that science CAUSES 
these beliefs. These beliefs remain individual and psychological; i.e., 
specific to the individual and have absolutely  nothing to do with science.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

          2]   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.  

EDWINA: Could you explain what you mean by 'his aristocratic outlook'? 
Obviously you have a description of 'aristocratic outlook' - and are hostile to 
it. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

          3]   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.  

EDWINA: What evidence do you have for your description above? The fact that 
books were published by others about work situations has nothing to do with 
Peirce.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4. 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.”

EDWINA; My reading of the above is that Peirce was critiquing universal 
suffrage because of the disastrous effects of LIV [low information voters] - 
something we have all seen in modern times. 

And how can one object to his concern about unions - who have both benefited 
AND harmed the workers. I'm sure you are aware of the current fights by workers 
NOT to belong to a union - which can become a tyrannical governance in itself. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------

 

5] 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).

EDWINA: So what? What does this have to do with his semiosis and his theories 
on reason, on evolution, on Mind?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

         6]    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)

EDWINA: Peirce was supporting freedom of thought. Not the thought itself, but 
the freedom to think it. You, Gene, reject it. 

--------------------------------------------------------------

 

            7] 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. 

EDWINA: Why should his personal thoughts concern you? He has the right to them. 
Does he have to think like you? Do you seriously imply that his poverty and the 
injustices he suffered were some kind of punishment for his 'bad thoughts'? Do 
you imply that, according to you, he OUGHT to think like you? Why?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            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 
<javascript:top.opencompose('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 <tel:(718)%20482-5690> 

 

On Fri, Mar 2, 2018 at 3:41 PM, Gary Richmond <gary.richm...@gmail.com 
<javascript:top.opencompose('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 <tel:(718)%20482-5690> 

 

On Fri, Mar 2, 2018 at 2:29 PM, Stephen C. Rose <stever...@gmail.com 
<javascript:top.opencompose('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



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