That is a very rich reply, Gene, thank you.
You write: >>”The problem of modern idealization involves what Max Weber called rationalization, but it also involves the colonization of the sentiments by idealizing rationality, in effect, disabling the spontaneous self and its spontaneous reasonableness.” Worth further thought to my mind is whether Peirce’s model of inquiry does involve **colonizing** the sentiments, and if so, in what way. Certainly he wants to **make use of them within a long-range evolutionary process**. But that word **use** – what does it mean exactly? Does it mean something like * *exploit**? Or could it mean something like **include**? In which case Peirce is making room for spontaneity rather than suppressing it. Recall the vital role he gives to instinct in generating abductions. That seems spontaneous to me. It seems to me that you are thinking something like the following – if individual feelings form part of some kind of long-range communal project, they cannot be spontaneous. (If this is not right please correct me.) But does that follow? Isn’t the nature of final causes that they are bound to happen at some point but not bound to happen at any particular time or in any particular way? Thus leaving room for spontaneity and idiosyncracy to harmonise with rationality - ? Cheers, Cathy *From:* C S Peirce discussion list [mailto:PEIRCE-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU] *On Behalf Of *Eugene Halton *Sent:* Tuesday, 27 March 2012 10:51 a.m. *To:* PEIRCE-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU *Subject:* Re: Book Review: "Peirce and the Threat of Nominalism" Dear Terry, Gary, Cathy, et al., Thanks for your comments. But I don’t think you quite get my point, namely; that the idealizing of the passions, including the idealization of love, as a means of “creative agents capable of transforming the world though the active realization of intelligent ideals” is wrongheaded. The statement I quoted suggests that narrow model of inquiry (for which it is a good statement) can generalize to become a general vehicle of world transformation. In my view Peirce would suggest that is pushing it too far. I say that it is precisely such idealizing of life to ratiocentric ends that has wrongly put the biosphere in jeopardy today, and nominalistic science has been a key player. Replacing in Forster’s words, the “vast cosmic mechanism” with “transforming the world though the active realization of intelligent ideals,” may seem a better option, but does not to my mind go to the heart of the problem of idealizing conduct as determinant of practical life. Yes, Gary, I agree that is where the common-sensist element of Peirce’s critical common-sensism allows more. Cathy, I don’t see “a Romantic view of thought and feeling as mutually undermining opposites.” Quite the, uh, opposite. The idealizing of the passions by “thought,” so that sentiment becomes a value rather than passionate reasonableness was part of my criticism. The problem of modern idealization involves what Max Weber called rationalization, but it also involves the colonization of the sentiments by idealizing rationality, in effect, disabling the spontaneous self and its spontaneous reasonableness. The community of variescent life, inclusive of humans, rather than a community of human inquirers, might be the better agent of world transformation. But the human element of it would have to be more than inquirers, in Peirce’s sense. It would have to be whole human beings, passionately alive to their living habitats rather than to idealized conduct. That might also be a virtual definition of an artist engaged in creating a work. Consider, Terry, where the “gospel of greed” that Peirce names in his essay on evolutionary love derives from. Dostoyevsky and D.H. Lawrence understood, in my view, that the idealization of love (and more broadly the idealization of the sentiments) would culminate in its opposite, the idealization of hate or greed. The nominalistic state of nature of Thomas Hobbes seems a good example of that, nature as the “warre of every man against every man.” Melville in 1851, Dostoyevsky in The Brothers Karamazov, and Lawrence in various writings, each showed how the idealizing of life and love is a mark of the tragic nature of modern life. But each also showed alternatives, which seem to me congruent with Peirce’s larger outlook, involving yes, sociality, but the sociality of the community of the earth and of the spontaneous self. The living self bodying forth here and now and not fixed by some idealized horizon. Lawrence: “Every single living creature is a single creative unit, a unique, incommutable self. Primarily, in its own spontaneous reality, it knows no law. It is a law unto itself. Secondarily, in its material reality, it submits to all the laws of the material universe. But the primal, spontaneous self in any creature has ascendance, truly, over the material laws of the universe; it uses these laws and converts them in the mystery of creation.” Lawrence’s philosophy of living spontaneity is of a piece with Peirce’s outlook on this one point in my opinion—despite Peirce’s antipathy to the “literary” mind—each allowing qualitative uniqueness and a living spontaneity. Perhaps there is similarity of Lawrence’s idea of an incommutable, non-idealizing spontaneous self, in Peirce’s idea of “Now it is energetic projaculation (lucky there is such a word, or this untried hand might have been put to inventing one) by which in the typical instances of Lamarckian evolution the new elements of form are first created. Habit, however, forces them to take practical shapes, compatible with the structures they affect, and, in the form of heredity and otherwise, gradually replaces the spontaneous energy that sustains them.” Gene Halton *From:* C S Peirce discussion list [mailto:PEIRCE-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU] *On Behalf Of *Catherine Legg *Sent:* Sunday, March 25, 2012 9:42 PM *To:* PEIRCE-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU *Subject:* Re: [peirce-l] Book Review: "Peirce and the Threat of Nominalism" Tom that is a great quote in this context, thank you! Gene your passionate warning against a “Pyrrhic victory of eviscerated, abstract intelligence in the service of ideals” is important I think. It would seem that Peirce did criticize himself along these lines at one point where he compared his character unfavorably with that of James as “a mere table of contents…a snarl of twine” (or similar words). Having said that, however, I worry that your comments, Gene, are predicated on a Romantic view of thought and feeling as mutually undermining opposites, which is actually the tail-end of modernism. Peirce’s semiotics on the other hand gives us the means to get past that dichotomy - to be able to see for the first time the elegant feelings of fine mathematicians and logicians, and the rigorous critical structure of great art. I see Terry’s post on sociality as logic driving at this point from a different direction. Cathy *From:* C S Peirce discussion list [mailto:PEIRCE-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU] *On Behalf Of *Tom Gollier *Sent:* Monday, 26 March 2012 3:47 a.m. *To:* PEIRCE-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU *Subject:* Re: Book Review: "Peirce and the Threat of Nominalism" Cathy, I'll have to wait for this discussion to develop further and/or the talk to get posted, but I thought this quote from Peirce might be pertinent. The artist introduces a fiction; but it is not an arbitrary one; it exhibits affinities to which the mind accords a certain approval in pronouncing them beautiful, which if it is not exactly the same as saying that the synthesis is true, is something of the same general kind. [CP 1.383] Tom On Sun, Mar 25, 2012 at 12:44 AM, Catherine Legg <cl...@waikato.ac.nz> wrote: On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 9:23 AM, Gary Richmond <gary.richm...@gmail.com> wrote: I want to conclude this note with a passage near the end of the book which I very much liked and have been reflecting on since. Forster writes: 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). Cathy, this brought to my mind the discussion of Peirce's esthetics following Tom Short's fine talk in the Robin session at SAAP. Any thoughts on that in this connection? *** Yes that discussion was interesting - I wish we had had the time to pursue it further. This might not mean so much to people who were not at the talk (perhaps Tom Short might be persuaded to post a copy of it here). But anyway, Tom claimed the subject matter of Peirce's aesthetics was not the beautiful but the *admirable*. To test this, and because I was worried that the talk had mainly spoken at the general level, I asked about a specific example - the Mona Lisa, and whether a Peircean aesthetics as described by Tom might have anything to say about that work, and if so, what. I was worried it looked like I hadn't really understood the very point Tom was trying to make, and Tom suggested that a painting of a beautiful woman is not the sort of thing Peirce has in mind, but Felicia Cruse said she wanted to hear what Tom had to say about it, and artworks in general. Then Rosa Mayorga pointed out that Peirce himself describes the subject matter of aesthetics as 'the growth of concrete reasonableness' (here is the connection Gary is pointing out) so we should work with that. So I guess the question is whether a painting by Leonardo da Vinci might somehow contribute to the growth of human concrete reasonableness. Doesn't seem to me it couldn't. That painting in particular, apparently people have been known to stand in front of it for hours and not necessarily be able to articulate why. I hope I have captured an accurate enough snapshot of the discussion as memory of such things is inevitably selective. Regards to all, Cathy --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You are receiving this message because you are subscribed to the PEIRCE-L listserv. To remove yourself from this list, send a message to lists...@listserv.iupui.edu with the line "SIGNOFF PEIRCE-L" in the body of the message. To post a message to the list, send it to PEIRCE-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You are receiving this message because you are subscribed to the PEIRCE-L listserv. To remove yourself from this list, send a message to lists...@listserv.iupui.edu with the line "SIGNOFF PEIRCE-L" in the body of the message. To post a message to the list, send it to PEIRCE-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU