Stephen – Your points are well taken. Might we say that we 'know' the eternal 
good by our very nature without being able to articulate it or convince others 
I am a little unclear what you mean by 'ethics'  here. I guess I must side with 
Nietzsche and Royce (and Rorty) here and the recent formulation of "Essentially 
Contested Concepts" (viz coined by pragmatist, W.B. Gallie, 1956;

The good and justice are ECCs. Here is an image, a sort of thought experiment: 
If you put a group of republicans on an island they will soon divide into 
republicans and democrats and likewise if you put a group of democrats on an 
island. Each of their (perhaps) complementary themes are successful special 
cases in the emergence of the good. As Connally puts it: enlightened dialogue 
begins with everyone realizes that the each approach is valuable yet incomplete 
– viz when the two sides recognize that the good and justice are ECCs. (Think 
of the Parliamentary Attitude: accepting that folks that don't even seem to 
make sense are still treated as 'the loyal opposition'.)

((Notably – I think – the new physics (qm and relativity) arises from failure 
of the interface of the two most highly successful research programs – 
Newtonian and Maxwellian. The consequence of accepting Bohr's complementarity 
can be characterized as accepting that 'physical reality' is a ECC.))

Think of life and the way forward to a better world as a path. The problem, so 
to speak, is to stay on the winding path. One ideology says when in doubt 
always turn left – the complementary ideology says always turn left. These 
ideologies self-destruct. The path forward, given the ECC nature of the good, 
requires respectful dialogue – the middle-way, which is always somewhat 
experimental. The way forward is always a sort of compromise in the sense of 
accepting that your current understanding of how to move forward is inherently 
incomplete – as are all current understandings. The way forward requires a 
judgment – a creative third; (Cf. Stephen Covey's recent book, The Third 
Alternative. Incidentally I think Covey is one of the best, yet unrecognized 
American Pragmatists. I don't think he sees this either.)
The way forward involves the formation of qualitatively novel win-win 
progressive relations (viz. ontology of love?). Since these are emergent there 
is no way to 'logically' reason the way forward.

The way forward then is, as you say Stephen, in some sense always the same and 
yet always different because always novel and open-ended.
Perhaps the way forward, the creative formation of these novel social relations 
(viz 'reasoning' in terms Peirce's 'social principle') – is what Peirce was 
pointing at in his theory of evolutionary love.


On Mar 22, 2012, at 6:16 PM, Stephen C. Rose wrote:

It seems to me that if there is a conflict between nominalism and 
realism/idealism which plays out in history that it is important to delve 
deeper. Peirce made spiritual or transcendent or musement matters subject to 
experiment - human progress had to be real. Where I think I disagree is in not 
venturing to say what the ethical values are that are ontological and that 
therefore might we seen as an image of where we are meant to go. The plan is 
not invariant but the values may be - and the good is not a value but a 
description of what happens when these values are enacted. If as I maintain we 
do not learn, we already know. The values are not novel. Nor are they 
characteristics or virtues. The construction of the good has always been 
possible in every generation because the values are ontological and universal. 
I think this rises as much from what can be drawn from Pierce as anything else.

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On Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 8:54 PM, Terry Bristol <> wrote:
A couple of comments on this passage from Forster and relating to S. Rose's 
1.  The 'plan' by which the universal intelligence works is not a 'fixed' or 
time(-space)-invariant 'plan'; (cf. likewise in Plato's Timaeus).
There is no way to reason forward to 'deduce' a better world without 
experimenting. We learn was is more valuable (better) only by a sort of blind 

What is 'really' valuable – the good – is inherently, by its very nature, 
incomprehensible. (Kantian insight)
(Incomprehensible because it develops qualitatively; the good keeps getting 
better. Socrates speech in Symposium: Love is never satisfied (closed).

2. The ultimate fate is not 'indeterminate' just locally 'underdetermined' – 
which is tied up with the developmental framework.
Each stage enables the exploration of the next possible stage of betterment.
The 'plan' and the 'intellect' self-referentially and recursively develop. They 
 emerge so that the important problems and questions for each generation are 
new and different yet built on previous advances. Like intellectual history – 
each advance is a sort of convergence and yet it opens new 'types of questions' 
and so is qualitatively emergent.

So the issues facing each generation are always qualitatively different.
The continuity of the narrative – what holds it (each generation and each era) 
together is what Hegel called the 'unfolding of an idea' – and the idea is 
Freedom is the ability to bring novel value into the world – to make the world 

Dewey later called this – the construction of the good.'


On Mar 22, 2012, at 1:23 PM, Gary Richmond wrote:

On [Peirce's] view, human beings are not cogs in a vast cosmic
mechanism, but rather are free, creative agents capable of
transforming the world though the active realization of intelligent
ideals. The ultimate fate of the world is indeterminate and there is
no guarantee that the forces of reasonableness will triumph.
Nevertheless, the potential for victory is there. All it requires, he
thinks, is a community of individuals who devote their energy to the
pursuit of truth and goodness, a community united, not by mutual
self-interest, but by a common love of reasonableness" (Forster, op.
cit., 245).

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