May 13, 2005
Dear Kirsti,
Thanks. Glad to hear you enjoyed those early articles. Re truth giving to beauty, see below.

Dear Jeff,
You ask how a poem can be an argument in Peirce’s sense, related to the context of him describing the universe as an argument that is necessarily…a great poem.

Perhaps Peirce means this in the same way as when he distinguished between an argument and argumentation in his “A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God” essay. Remember there, as Nathan Houser points out in his introduction to EP2, that Peirce distinguished an argument as, “any process of thought reasonably tending to produce a definite belief” from argumentation as “an argument proceeding upon definitely formulated premisses.” An argument, as Houser points out, does not have to be self-controlled, as argumentation is.

        Hence “The universe as an argument is necessarily a great work of art, a great poem…” as Peirce put it in the quotation I cited, is allowing the universe to be cosmic poeisis, self-creating perfection of being, whose ultimate entelechy, as I imagine it, is the intrinsically admirable being we call Beauty.

Truth gives itself to Beauty in this sense, where the end of inquiry coalesces into the intrinsically admirable.


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