Re: [peirce-l] Book Review: Peirce and the Threat of Nominalism

2012-03-26 Thread Eugene Halton
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
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 

Re: [peirce-l] Mathematical terminology, was, review of Moore's Peirce edition

2012-03-13 Thread Eugene Halton
Dear Irving, 
A digression, from the perspective of art. You quote probability 
theorist William 
Taylor and set theorist Martin Dowd as saying: 

 The chief difference between scientists and mathematicians is that
 mathematicians have a much more direct connection to reality.

 This does not entitle philosophers to characterize mathematical reality
 as  fictional.

Yes, I can see that.

But how about a variant: 

The chief difference between scientists, mathematicians, and artists is that
artists have a much more direct connection to reality.

This does not prevent scientists and mathematicians to characterize artistic 
as fictional, because it is, and yet, nevertheless, real.

This is because scientist's and mathematician's map is not the territory, yet 
the artist's art is both. 

Gene Halton

-Original Message-
From: C S Peirce discussion list [mailto:PEIRCE-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU] On Behalf 
Of Irving
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 4:34 PM
Subject: Re: [peirce-l] Mathematical terminology, was, review of Moore's Peirce 

Ben, Gary, Malgosia, list

It would appear from the various responses that. whereas there is a 
consensus that Peirce's theorematic/corollarial distinction has 
relatively little, if anything, to do with my theoretical/computational 
distinction or Pratt's creator and consumer distinction.

As you might recall, in my initial discussion, I indicated that I found 
Pratt's distinction to be somewhat preferable to the 
theoretical/computational, since, as we have seen in the responses, 
computational has several connotations, only one of which I initially 
had specifically in mind, of hack grinding out of [usually numerical] 
solutions to particular problems, the other generally thought of as 
those parts of mathematics taught in catch-all undergrad courses that 
frequently go by the name of Finite Mathematics and include bits and 
pieces of such areas as probability theory, matrix theory and linear 
algebra, Venn diagrams, and the like). Pratt's creator/consumer is 
closer to what I had in mind, and aligns better, and I think, more 
accurately, with the older pure (or abstract or theoretical) vs. 
applied distinction.

The attempt to determine whether, and, if so, how well, Peirce's 
theorematic/corollarial distinction correlates to the 
theoretical/computational or creator/consumer distinction(s) was not 
initially an issue for me. It was raised by Ben Udell when he asked me: 
Do you think that your theoretical - computational distinction and 
likewise Pratt's creator - consumer distinction between kinds of 
mathematics could be expressed in terms of Peirce's theorematic - 
corollarial distinction?

I attempted to reply, based upon a particular quote from Peirce. What I 
gather from the responses to that second round is that the primary 
issue with my attempted reply was that Peirce's distinction was bound 
up, not with the truth of the premises, but rather with the method in 
which theorems are arrived at. If I now understand what most of the 
responses have attempted to convey, the theorematic has to do with the 
mechanical processing of proofs, where a simple inspection of the 
argument (or proof) allows us to determine which inference rules to 
apply (and when and where) and whether doing so suffices to demonstrate 
that the theorem indeed follows from the premises; whereas the 
corollarial has to do with intuiting how, or even if, one might get 
from the premises to the desired conclusion. In that case, I would 
suggest that another way to express the theorematic/corollarial 
distinction is that they concern the two stages of creating 
mathematics; that the mathematician begins by examining the already 
established mathematics and asks what new mathematics might be

Ben Udell also introduces the issue of the presence of a lemma in a 
proof as part of the distinction between theorematic and corollarial. 
His assumption seems to be that a lemma is inserted into a proof to 
help carry it forward, but is itself not proven. But, as Malgosia has 
already noted, the lemma could itself have been obtained either 
theorematically or corollarially. In fact, most of us think of a lemma 
as a minor theorem, proven along the way and subsequently used in the 
proof of the theorem that we're after.

I do not think that any of this obviates the main point of the initial 
answer that I gave to Ben's question, that neither my 
theoretical/computational distinction nor Pratt's creator and 
consumer distinction have anything to do with Peirce's 
theorematic/corollarial distinction.

In closing, I would like to present two sets of exchanges; one very 
recent (actually today, on FOM, with due apologies to the protagonists, 
if I am violating any copyrights) between probability theorist William 
Taylor (indicated by '') and set theorist Martin Dowd (indicated by 
''), as follows:

 More seriously, any freshman philosopher encounters the fact 

Re: [peirce-l] Knowledge Workers of the World, Unite !

2012-02-06 Thread Eugene Halton
The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point 
is to change it. Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach.

Dear Stephen,
It seems to me Marx's words could be taken as a variant of your statement: It 
seems to me we would do well to frame (at least) non-scientific inquiry not as 
interpretation but as use. So could Wittgenstein's meaning as use. It might 
be interesting in this context to consider Peirce's understanding of science as 
essentially useless, though you do state that you mean non-scientific. Still, 
semiosis as inferential interpretation, Peirce's understanding, is broader than 
use. Pragmatic meaning as conceivable consequence is more than use.

But let me throw back another perspective. A symbol has a life of its own, more 
than simply the use we put it to. Of what use is a literary symbol, if not that 
it is a portal to interpretation? Consider D. H. Lawrence's view of symbols: 
Symbols are organic units of consciousness with a life of their own, and you 
can never explain them away, because their value is dynamic, emotional, 
belonging to the sense-consciousness of the body and soul, and not simply 
mental. An allegorical image has a meaning. Mr. Facing-both-ways has a meaning. 
But I defy you to lay your finger on the full meaning of Janus, who is a 

Gene Halton

From: C S Peirce discussion list [mailto:PEIRCE-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU] On Behalf 
Of Stephen C. Rose
Sent: Saturday, February 04, 2012 1:24 PM
Subject: Re: [peirce-l] Knowledge Workers of the World, Unite !

For what it may be worth, else ignore. I have just started Peter's book which 
is now 30 years old which seems young to me as most of mine were published 
before the 80's. I want to make what may be a cliched observation or a 
simplistic one. It seems to me we would do well to frame (at least) 
non-scientific inquiry not as interpretation but as use. I am serious. 
Interpretation is inherently unsatisfactory and need not be claimed as an 
objective. Use is what I think Pierce might have wanted. Meaning we do not 
present our thoughts as apt interpretations of Peirce or attempts to argue for 
this or that system. But as our own thoughts where our debt is to Peirce but 
our thoughts have the temerity to stand naked before whoever encounters them, 
to be accepted or rejected. Let them be misinterpreted as they would be anyway 
- inevitably. Peirce would say they are not final. Why do you think he never 
finished a system? Does he not leave clues? I seize on things I derive from 
Peirce to claim that are ideal or ontological values and to name them. And to 
claim that history is the cumulative exercise of willed values. And that 
ontological values can be experienced and when they are we make better history 
than when they are not.  I feel the task of creating a cadre of public 
intellectuals (at some point) would be advanced by championing the idea that it 
is not the necessary function of scholars to interpret (come up with the right 
take on) Peirce. Perish the thought. It is tu use Peirce to take the strands 
and improve on them, use them, profit from them. Best, S

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Re: [peirce-l] The new issue of the European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy

2012-01-13 Thread Eugene Halton
Dear list, 
The new issue of the European Journal of Pragmatism and American 
Philosophy (Volume 3, Number 2, 2011) is now available online as of today. 

I am listing the table of contents below. It involves symposia on 
“Pragmatism and the Social Sciences: A Century of Influences and Interactions,” 
as well as one dealing with Richard Bernstein's recent book The Pragmatic Turn. 
Plus other essays.

My contribution, Pragmatic E-Pistols, involves previously 
unpublished, unknown, and unarchived pragmatist letters (I say this merely as a 
humorous tease to archivalists out there), among other things.

Gene Halton

European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy (Volume 3, Number 2, 

Guest editors: Roberto Frega (IEA Paris), Filipe Carreira da Silva (University 
of Lisbon)

Roberto Frega, Filipe Carreira da Silva, Editor’s Introduction to The Symposia 

Section I. Pragmatism and the Margins of Mainstream Social Sciences

Peter Manicas, American Social Science: The Irrelevance of Pragmatism (pdf)

Patrick Baert, Neo-Pragmatism and Phenomenology: A Proposal (pdf)

Eugene Halton, Pragmatic E-Pistols (pdf)

Section II. Empowering the Margins of Society

Susan Haack, Pragmatism, Law, and Morality: The Lessons of Buck v. Bell (pdf)

Patricia Hill Collins, Piecing Together a Genealogical Puzzle: 
Intersectionality and American Pragmatism (pdf)

Bill E. Lawson, Of President Barack H. Obama and Others: Public Policy, 
Race-talk, and Pragmatism (pdf)

Section III. Pragmatist Appropriations

Mitchell Aboulafia, Through the Eyes of Mad Men: Simulation, Interaction, and 
Ethics (pdf)

Louis Quéré, Towards a social externalism: Pragmatism and ethnomethodology (pdf)

James Johnson, Between Political Inquiry and Democratic Faith: A Pragmatist 
Approach to Visualizing Publics (pdf)

Kenneth W. Stikkers, Dewey, Economic Democracy, and the Mondragon Cooperatives 

David H. Brendel, Can Patients and Psychiatrists be Friends?: a Pragmatist 
Viewpoint (pdf)

A Symposium on Richard Bernstein’s The Pragmatic Turn, Polity Press, Cambridge, 

Organiser: Roberto Frega (IEA Paris)
Roberto Frega, Richard Bernstein and the challenges of a broadened pragmatism 

James R. O’Shea, Objective Truth and the Practice Relativity of Justification 
in the Pragmatic Turn (pdf)

Ramón del Castillo, A Pragmatic Party. On Richard Bernstein’s The Pragmatic 
Turn (pdf)

Sarin Marchetti, Richard J. Bernstein on Ethics and Philosophy between the 
Linguistic and the Pragmatic Turn (pdf)

Richard Bernstein, Continuing the Conversation (pdf)

David Ludwig, Beyond Physicalism and Dualism? Putnam’s Pragmatic Pluralism and 
the Philosophy of Mind (pdf)

Vitaly Kiryushchenko, Logic, Ethics and Aesthetics: Some Consequences of Kant’s 
Critiques in Peirce’s Early Pragmatism (pdf)

Giovanni Tuzet, Legal Judgment as a Philosophical Archetype: A Pragmatist 
Analysis of Three Theses (pdf)

Book Review
Rosa M. Calcaterra, New Perspectives on Pragmatism and Analytic Philosophy, 
Rodopi,   Amsterdam-Ney York, 2001, by Anna Boncompagni (pdf)

Filipe Carreira da Silva, Mead and Modernity. Science, Selfhood and Democratic 
Politics, Lanham MD: Lexington Books 2008. By Anna M. Nieddu (pdf)

George Herbert Mead, The Philosophy of Education, Paradigm Publishers, 2008, 
edited and introduced by Gert Biesta and Daniel Tröhler. By Filipe Carreira da 
Silva. (pdf)

J. R. Shook and J. A. Good, John Dewey’s Philosophy of Spirit, with the 1897 
Lecture on Hegel, Fordham University Press, New York 2010, pp. 197, by Roberto 
Gronda. (pdf)


2011-12-16 Thread Eugene Halton
Ben Udell asked: ...So, my question, which I find I have trouble 
posing clearly, is, granting that IA involves an extension of mind in its 
abilities/competences as well as its cognitions, does it much extend volition 
and feeling (including emotion)?

In my view it clearly does, as does AI. The question for me is to what 
end? Clearly improved computation can serve scientific advance and human 
well-being. But the opposite is also true.

Human cognition occurs in embodiment and involves that embodiment, 
regardless of the logic of the cognition. A pure intention to change 
direction while walking, though unacted upon, will show up in the track sign, 
because it gets subtly muscularized in the act of simply thinking it. Consider 
too what Peirce stated about the nominalist outlook that dominates modern mind 
and culture and science: The nominalist Weltanschauung has become incorporated 
into what I will venture to call the very flesh and blood of the average modern 
mind, CP 5.61.

So what if that nominalist Weltanschauung has as its telos the 
progressive absorption of human purpose to the nominalist, materialist telos of 
alienated purpose, incorporated as the machine: a mythic expansive projection 
of the automatic that would define the universe itself as a vast machine, 
earlier a ticking clock, now a calculating computer?

Then one might expect the very flesh and blood of the average modern 
mind to progressively take on characteristics of the schizoid machine. As Lewis 
Mumford put it, The new attitude toward time and space infected the workshop 
and the counting house, the army and the city. The tempo became faster, the 
magnitudes became greater; conceptually, modern culture launched itself into 
space and gave itself over to movement. What Max Weber called the 'romanticism 
of numbers' grew naturally out of this interest. In timekeeping, in trading, in 
fighting, men counted numbers, and finally, as the habit grew, only numbers 
counted (Technics and Civilization, 1934, p. 22). Technique outstrips 
purposive conduct.

Intelligence augmentation is not necessarily the same as the 
augmentation of intelligence, because, at least as I understand it, the term 
means technical means, and not the growth of purpose. An ever increasing 
plethora of devices pour ever more information in today, but for the bulk of 
people, the likely result is what I term brain suck. One example: Children in 
the US between 8 and 18 now watch an average of 7 hours 38 minutes of screens 
per day, 7 days per week. That does not count school time. Some fragment of the 
information is probably augmenting intelligence, but the overwhelming bulk of 
it is augmenting the very flesh and blood of their minds by the moral 
equivalent of embedding emotional computer cookies to know marketed 
commodities and to desire new commodities permanently.

The schizoid machine Weltanschauung works optimally by conditioning 
though augmenting pleasure, as though sensation were emotion, especially in a 
society that can redefine the purely commercial process benignly as 
intelligence augmentation.

Gene Halton

-Original Message-
From: C S Peirce discussion list [mailto:PEIRCE-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU] On Behalf 
Of Skagestad, Peter
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2011 9:20 AM


Thank you for your comments, which I have been chewing on. I wish I had some 
insightful responses, but this is all I come up with.

You wrote:
I find it very hard to believe that the second computer revolution could have 
very easily failed to take place soon enough after the first one, given the 
potential market, though as you say below, you were mainly concerned (and I 
agree with you) to reject a monocausal technological determinism.

PS: We are in the realm of speculation here, and I cannot claim to be an 
economic historian, but I do not believe the evolution of either interactive or 
personal computing was market-driven. When you read, for instance, the 
Licklider biography The Dream Machine (I forget the author's name), you find 
Licklider knocking his head against the wall trying to persuade IBM to provide 
time-sharing, the first major breakthrough in interactive computing. Eventually 
there emerged entrepreneurs - notably Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mitch Kapor - 
who recognized the market potential of the new technology. But by then 
networking, word-processing, email, and GUIs had already been developed, mostly 
by government-funded researchers guided by the augmentationist vision. What 
would have happened if Licklider, Engelbart, and Sutherland had not been guided 
by this vision, or if they had not obtained government funding? I think the 
answer is that we simply do not know.

This may be the place to add that, when I wrote Thinking With 

Re: [peirce-l] Some Leading Ideas of Peirce's Semiotic

2011-10-07 Thread Eugene Halton
From Jerry: Gene:  What is the status of representation in the social 
sciences? Is it either prescinding or abstracting? Or what?

Dear Jerry,
I think it is fair to say that the social sciences are dominated by 
theories of conventional representation and signification. Signification 
(communication, meaning, etc.) is usually viewed as conventional, as social 
construction. A lot of echoes of Saussure's structural and conventional 
One popular example is Pierre Bourdieu's idea of habitus. 
Bourdieu makes interesting analyses of class and class domination, using the 
idea of habitus, but his view of what constitutes habit is constricted to 
convention and forms of domination, of implementing schemes.
The broader view of habit as processual conduct proposed by the 
original pragmatists allows one to do much more. Habit can be viewed as more 
than a means of social distinction, as Bourdieu uses it; it can also be taken 
as capable of self-controlled correction, hence as an element of possible 
democratic common life. Habit can be taken as living conduct, not simply the 
implementation of a pre-existing scheme. As such, a person can be more than the 
function of social domination.
The accepted views also tend to ignore other modalities of 
signification, as well as the possibilities of natural signification or of 
self-correcting sign-habits or conventions.


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Re: [peirce-l] Slow Read : Sciences as Communicational Communities Segment 5

2011-09-25 Thread Eugene Halton
Dear Sally,
The Nubiola article mentioned by Michael DeLaurentis is: Nubiola, 
Jaime. 1996. Scholarship on the Relations between Ludwig Wittgenstein and 
Charles S. Peirce. Proceedings of the III Symposium on History of Logic, 
edited by I. Angelelli and M. Cerezo. Berlin: Gruyter. Retrieved December 5, 
2007, from:

Re: the compatibility of Wittgenstein and Peirce. I have a brief 
discussion of early Wittgenstein from a Peircean perspective on pp. 240-243 in 
the last chapter of my book Meaning and Modernity. It is in a section titled 
Principia Diaboli, and I criticize the broader culture of nominalism; its 
split between thought and things, and denial of the reality of the symbol. I 
contrast the diabolic (to throw apart) with the symbolic (to throw together).
Later Wittgenstein's broader idea of meaning as use still seems 
to me be far more contracted than Peirce's idea of meaning as found in 
conceivable consequences.

Perhaps this might also have some interest, in the context of 
communicative community virtues. In a recent blog, Michael Weinman attempted to 
apply Peirce's idea of fallibilism to a conception of political fallibilism:
My attempt at a Peircean response to him is also there.


From: C S Peirce discussion list [mailto:PEIRCE-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU] On Behalf 
Of Sally Ness
Sent: Sunday, September 25, 2011 5:51 PM
Subject: Re: [peirce-l] Slow Read : Sciences as Communicational Communities 
Segment 5

Gary F., List,

Thanks, Gary, for this response.   I didn't really know what to make of JR's 
assertion regarding the distributive vs. collective existence of the 
communicational community--the translation into Peircean terms is very helpful.

I take your point about JR having the life of a Peircean symbol in mind in 
paragraph 23, with all that that concept implies.  When this is factored in, it 
is clear that the form of life is something to which the inquirer belongs, not 
one that is coterminous with the inquirer's individual being (my initial 
reading).  This is one moment in the paper when it seems particularly difficult 
to speak in the spirit of Peirce, as JR certainly is doing, without also 
speaking in his exact terms as well--without using explicitly Peirce's 
definition of the symbol and making all that that definition entails clear.  In 
this respect, JR's use of form of life does seem to be a good alternative, 
however.  Even if the physicists weren't familiar with Wittgenstein's 
distinctive notion of grammar and its relation to the practices of language 
games and the forms of life they sustain, the phrase still conveys in a common 
sensical way that there is a larger reality to which an individual inquirer, as 
an inquirer, necessarily belongs.

The compatibility of Wittgenstein and Peirce is a topic of interest to me. I  
have been struck repeatedly by how closely Wittgenstein's thinking can align 
with Peirce's. If any listers know of work done that compares these two 
philosophers, I would appreciate any references.  Perhaps this needs a 
different thread, however.

Thanks again,


JR's overall form of life does sound more like Wittgenstein's Lebensform than 
a Peircean idiom, but as i think you mentioned before, he seems to be going out 
of his way here to avoid Peircean terminology that might put off the people 
he's addressing. However it does seem to me quite compatible with Peirce's 
ideas on scientific inquiry. I don't think i'd agree that JR locates truth 
entirely within the life of the inquirer, not in the subject matter that 
determines the inquirer's inquiry, and not in any relation that the inquirer 
and the subject-matter might be maintaining to one another. We're talking 
about the life of a symbol here, and a genuine symbol must involve both 
indexical and iconic components in generating an interpretant, which does imply 
a relation between the inquirer and the subject-matter (to put it in less 
Peircean terms).

Speaking of the communicational community, JR's assertion that it exists 
distributively not collectively looks at first more individualistic than 
anything Peirce would say, but i think makes a more Peircean sense if we bear 
in mind the typical Peircean distinction between reality and existence. I think 
Peirce would say that the community as a form of life is more real than the 
individual inquirer, but it only exists in the actual practice of individual 
inquirers. And that practice, to be genuine, requires an objective focus on 
subject-specific properties, as JR puts it in paragraph 23.

That's how i see it, anyway.

Gary F.

} Sincerity is incommunicable because it becomes insincere by being 
communicated. [Luhmann] { }{ 

Re: [peirce-l] Slow Read: Teleology and the Autonomy of the Semiosis Process

2011-08-06 Thread Eugene Halton
Ben Udell: Regarding Peirce on singular versus individual, the distinction 
that he made (at least sometimes) was that which is in one place and time (a 
singular), and that which is in only one place at a time (an individual). In 
that sense, we are individuals but not singulars... But the singulars that 
Peirce in later years discusses in regard to perceptual judgments are usually 
that which he earlier called general individuals - you, me, a horse, etc.

Dear Ben,
You say we are individuals in Peirce's technical sense, in one 
place at a time. But then how can you and I be here, in these signs, when we 
are also there, reading and typing them? What about: A word may be in several 
places at once, six six, because its essence is spiritual; and I believe that a 
man is no whit inferior to the word in this respect. (Peirce. 7.591, W 1:498, 

From: C S Peirce discussion list [mailto:PEIRCE-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU] On Behalf 
Of Benjamin Udell
Sent: Friday, August 05, 2011 7:09 PM
Subject: Re: [peirce-l] Slow Read: Teleology and the Autonomy of the Semiosis 

Peter, Stefan, Gary R., list,

That's a good point, Peter, about falsification's pertaining to 
general/universal judgments. Even a perceptual judgment that there are no 
animals (besides oneself!) in this room is, in Peirce's view, general only in 
its predicate - we can utter it All x... etc. but one perceptually judges of 
this, that, yon, etc. conjunctively, that this, that, and yon,etc., are 
such-and-such. A fallibilism about one's perceptually compelled judgments will 
itself be theoretical in some sense. Hence maybe one could say that scientific 
falsificationism is 'prefigured' or foreshadowed in fallibilism about 
perceptual judgments, but only given that such fallibilism is already somewhat 
theoretically oriented.

The _fallibility_ of perceptual judgments does seem bound up with scientific 
falsificationism insofar as science depends on perceptual judgments, and 
involves inferring to universal propositions from perceptual judgments. But 
could one have a theoretical falsificationism, in particular a scientific 
falsificationism, without a theoretical falsificationism about perceptual 
judgments? It seems possible at first glance but seems kind of dicy when one 
tries to imagine how it would work. I'm left uncertain.

Regarding Peirce on singular versus individual, the distinction that he made 
(at least sometimes) was that which is in one place and time (a singular), and 
that which is in only one place at a time (an individual). In that sense, we 
are individuals but not singulars. A singular in that sense is a single point 
in space and time. Even a mathematical point, when considered as being in 
motion or stationary in a timelike dimension, does not represent such 
singularness - it makes a temporoid line. However, later he often used 
singular in the sense that he had given to individual. In Questions on 
Winter-Spring 1868 (Three Drafts) MS 148 (Robin 931, 396): Writings 2.162-187, 
perhaps the section that Stefan was trying recall:
With reference to individuals, I shall only remark that there are certain 
general terms whose objects can only be in one place at one time, and these are 
called individuals. They are generals that is, not singulars, because these 
latter [the singulars -B.U.] occupy neither time nor space, but can only be at 
one point and can only be at one date. The subject of individuality, in this 
sense, therefore, belongs to the theory of space rather than to the theory of 
logic. []

[] But here it is necessary to distinguish between an individual in the 
sense of that which has no generality [the singular -B.U.] and which here 
appears as a mere ideal boundary of cognition, and an individual in the far 
wider sense of that which can be only in one place at one time. It will be 
convenient to call the former a singular and the latter only an individual.
So, at that time he held that there are two kinds of individuals,

- singular individuals, called singulars, occupy neither space nor time and can 
only be at one point and can be only at one date.
- general individuals, called individuals, can be only in one place at one time 
(one place at a time).

Peirce goes on to say in that text that In short, those things which we call 
singulars exist, but the character of singularity which we attribute to them is 

But the singulars that Peirce in later years discusses in regard to perceptual 
judgments are usually that which he earlier called general individuals - you, 
me, a horse, etc.

Best, Ben

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