Talk:Charles Sanders Peirce/Archive 1

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Sep 2002 to Oct 2005

Someone more versed in logic than I am should take a look at Reason, abductive reasoning, and abduction (logic) to see what needs to be done to bring them together. Ortolan88 15:55 Sep 12, 2002 (UTC)

I added the last half of the paragraph on "Abduction" in order to place Peirce's insights in historical perspective, and to explain his epistemology and metaphysics in more detail. Joe House June 21, 2005.

This sentence in the first paragraph under Abductive Reasoning is confusing: "His pragmatism may be understood as a method of sorting out conceptual confusions by linking relating the meaning of concepts to their operational / practical consequences." Meanwhile I've corrected a typo! Jmchen October 21, 2005.

Philip Meguire, 22.10.05: The discussion of Peirce's philosophy and his notion of abduction remain in crying need of correction and expansion.

Charles Sanders Peirce article entry

Philip Meguire, 11.7.05: His middle name was Sanders.

Going through several philosophers who hadn't yet been added to the Wikipedia, I added 'Charles Saunders Peirce' as a separate article, but I now see it already exists. If someone else would like to, it can be merged with my entry. The source I gave clearly puts Saunders as a middle, rather than alternate surname (pseudonym Surname?). I would crop this article to the location of mine after merging and leave this as a link, but I'll leave it for someone more impartial to decide. Nagelfar 13:58, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

The problem is, his middle name is Sanders, not Saunders. Feel free to add information from your article to this one and then provide a Redirect. --Blainster 17:45, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
While were on his middle name, what's with this Santiago business? --- Charles Stewart 19:28, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
My source must be in error, though it clearly & repeatedly had Saunders, so it isn't a mistake on my part. Nagelfar 16:53, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
How interesting things get with a Google search. This paper [1] states (on p.17 of the pdf file, listed as p. 58 on the page): "Peirce himself acknowledged the fictionalizing involved in his self-representations, and Howe cites his written meditation on his name: ('I am variously listed in print as Charles Santiago Peirce, Charles Saunders Peirce, and Charles Sanders Peirce. Under the circumstances a noncommittal S. suits me best')". The Howe source is given as The Birth-mark: unsettling the wilderness in American literary history. Hanover: Wesleyan University Press, 1993.

Regarding the frequency of use of the middle names, there are only 11 English language hits on Santiago by Google, 391 hits on Saunders, and 90,000 on Sanders, and 64,400 on just the middle initial S. I look for some print sources that may help to explain this. --Blainster 18:26, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

I did a bit of a background check as well. I found no reference quality works (eg. Stanford E. P., Routledge E. P., Grattan-Guinness's biographical article) that use the name "Santiago", and "Saunders' looks rather like a mispelling (and has no quality source). This looks like web noise to me, and in the absence of a credible source, we should not be amplifying it. --- Charles Stewart 18:56, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
I'm OK with Sanders in the lead. The fact remains that the form "Charles S. Peirce" is nearly as widely seen in the literature. What bears research is the Pierce quote cited by Howe that lists the other versions and says he prefers the middle initial. If it can be located it will show that the other versions were extant long before the Web. --Blainster 19:11, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Manual of Style (biographies) more or less specifies that we should spell out the full name. It doesn't mean to say that that is how he signed himself, or how he is most often referred to. --- Charles Stewart 20:22, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Saint James rides again The source for this 'The Continuity of Peirce's Thought' by Kelly Parker

There is a discussion of this in one of the footnotes, suggesting that it is a reference to William James, which I would go along with. Perhaps the three versions of his name is an example of 'Thirdness' and certainly his own preference for a non-commital S. says something about his own attitude to the signs used for his self-representation give us insight to Peirce as as a Peirce-on if you will excuse the dreadful pun! No doubt he had to deal with the mispronunciation of his surname from childhood, which may account for his critical attitude to the supposede virisimiltude of nominal self-representation. For all these reasons, I feel the Santiago tag and his relationship to it give precisely the sort relevant information to Peirce's character which a more anodyne account of his philosophising might omit from an enclodeia entry upon this enigmatic philosopher. BTW, have others considered how wikipedia in many ways can be seen as an application of Peirce's theories of knowledge? Harrypotter 17:11, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

The philosophical implications of hypertext are most deserving of exploration! I hazard the guess that Peirce would have been very very fascinated by the emergence of the Web. Also keep in mind that Peirce wrote many dictionary and encyclopedia entries in his day. Those of us who contribute to Wiki are but walking in his footsteps. Concerned Cynic 20:07, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Electrical switches and notation

I've been toning down the puffery of the "The Logician" section, which contains the remarkable claim:

In an 1886 letter to another former student, was the first to see that Boolean calculations could be carried out by means of electrical switches, anticipating Claude Shannon by more than 50 years.

This sounds incredible, and given Shannon's research of Pierce sounds almost like a claim of plagiarism. Does it have any basis? Which might be the letter referred to? I've deleted the claim for now.

Philip Meguire, 11.7.05: No possibility of plagiarism, as Peirce's discussion was in a letter to Alan Marquand (the former student), not discovered until the 1950s, and not widely reproduced until the 1980s. Kenneth Lane Ketner at Texas Tech, and Arthur Burks at Michigan have both written on this. The definitive publication of the letter, with commentary, is in vol. 5 of the Writings.

I've also deleted, of Pierce's existential graphs vs. Frege's notation:

Peirce's notation, unlike Frege's, was widely used until the 1930s.

Possibly there was a niche culture using Pierce's notation, but the dominant notation was due to Peano, Whitehead, Russell, certainly well established by the time of Hilbert&Ackermann's Principles of Theoretical Logic in 1928. --- Charles Stewart 20:16, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Philip Meguire, 11.7.05: Schroeder, Loewenheim, and Goedel's 1931 landmark paper all used Peirce's notation for quantification and sometimes more. Until about 1960, the Polish school's notation for quantification was that of Peirce. The Peano-Principia notation did not become canonical until Alonzo Church and the young Quine made it so in the 1930s. The Introduction to Houser et al (1997) volume makes this and more clear. The notation of Hilbert & Ackerman deviated from that of Principia, and evolved into the notation that is now more or less canonical. E.g., the upside down A is believed due to Hilbert's student Gentzen.

Merge Charles Saunders [sic] Peirce

I don't think this requires much discussion, but this is your opportunity to move anything from that article over here before it gets changed to a redirect. --Blainster 23:01, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Santiago & Realism

Peirce adopted the middle name "Santiago" in his old age out of gratitude for William James's financial support. For over a decade, William James would send letters to about 50 Boston Brahmins, asking them to make a donation to help Peirce. Much of the blame for Peirce's very hard last 2 decades can be placed on his patrician contempt for making ends meet.

I am quite pleased that someone took the trouble of adding the material on Peirce the scholastic realist. At the same time, the exposition left something to be desired in my view, and so I gave it an edit. This section also does not say enough about Peirce's peculiar fascination with Duns Scotus. I also have reservations about whether a bold new position staked out in a very recent academic article deserves pride of place in Wikipedia.

(above by User:

I changed the attributation to Lane a bit because I have found several recent Peirce scholars saying the same thing (apparently unknown to Lane).

Unsourced claims

I'm deleting the following text, plus some other bits and pieces:

In 1906, Peirce adopted the additional name "Santiago", which in Spanish means St. James, for James' friendship and financial support.

Without credible sources, these changes are inappropriate. --- Charles Stewart 18:48, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

There's plenty - just search for santiago peirce. here's one --JimWae 21:54, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

OK, I've rved myself and added the ref. Note the citation says he changed his name in 1910, not 1906 (I searched for 1906, and found little). --- Charles Stewart 22:28, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

When I added "Santiago" I cited my source. What the hell are you talking about? Page friggen 19 of "The Pragmatism of C.S. Peirce: An Anlytical Study" by Hjalmar Wennerberg. It is added to the references section when I added the "Santiago" information and I listed it as my source in my "Edit Summary" for when I added the information. Look at the article history, this is the entry for when I added "Santiago":

05:12, 22 November 2005 Atfyfe (Santiago is back! (Rf. Wennerberg "The Prag. of Peirce" p.19)) 

-- atfyfe 22 November 2005

Please, More On Peirce's Philosophy!

Would a few of the many happy Peircians out there please add discussions of Peirce's fallibilism, his evolutionary thinking, his anticipations of process thought, his peculiar metaphysics, and most of all, his three categories Firstness, etc.? As it stands, the article does not make obvious why Peirce has been deemed the greatest abstract thinker ever to emerge in the western hemisphere.

I'd love to see these additions as well, but they really belong on other pages. For example, a solid description of Peirce's Firstness/Secondness/Thirdness ontology would be appropriate on the Semiotics page. Gecko 21:30, 22 November 2005 (UTC)
Sorry; Peirce's semeiotic presupposes his categories, but that does not justify pigeonholing them under the semeiotic, much less deeming them ontological. The categories are metaphysical and as such follow in the footsteps of Kant (for sure) and Aristotle (probably). Keep in mind that Peirce never studied philosophy, instead discovering it by reading the Critique of Pure Reason in the original German, for one hour a day while working on a Harvard degree in chemistry. Concerned Cynic 17:34, 23 November 2005 (UTC)
"Sorry," but it's quite priceless to argue that studying Kant's Critique of Pure Reason does not constitute studying philosophy. In any event, none of your peculiar arguments are relevant my main point, which is that this page should link to other pages about his ideas rather than globbing all of his intellectual product on this one page. Gecko 19:46, 29 November 2005 (UTC)
Please share with all of us the links to those "other pages about his ideas". As they now stand, the pages titled Pragmatism, Pragmaticism, and Semiotics do not do justice to Peirce. My biographical point was not that the Critique is not philosophy (in fact, it is perhaps the most intensely philosophical book written in the modern era), but that Peirce was self-taught in philosophy and logic. By "study" I mean "formal study by enrolling in university classes for a grade." Concerned Cynic 19:56, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree that the existing pages you identified do not do Peirce justice. Ordinarily the solution would be to improve them or to add new pages. Gecko 17:16, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I fear that our discussion has been overtaken by events, namely by Jon Awbrey's attempt to turn this entry into a place to publish his failed Ph.D. thesis proposal of some years back. 09:41, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Dear, if you have specific questions about the accuracy, organization, placement, or relevance of the material that I am contributing to this article, in a spirit that will lead to improving the quality of the article and its service to the reader, then this is the place to discuss them. Jon Awbrey 13:24, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Please, More On Semeiotics!

To the section on the semeiotic, I've added THE 3x3 table I deem crucial, in part because creating tables in Wikispeak does not completely intimidate me. BTW, I found that table in a book by Floyd Merrell, but am confident it is well-known. I added it hoping to provoke others into supplying definitions of the 15 new terms it contains! Most of those terms recur in Peirce's writings.

Arrangements like these, that suggest a straightline one-to-one correspondence among Peirce's three categories (1st, 2nd, 3rd), the three sign-relational roles (object, sign, interpretant sign), and the three species of signs (icon, index, symbol), would have to classified as "not yet agreed on" (NYAO) among Peirce wranglers. I'll try to work out an overview of the issue as I get time. Jon Awbrey 14:20, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

I beg to differ; the 3x3 table here is near-canonical in the Peirce secondary literature. And it is indeed the case that the semeiotic is grounded in Peirce's categories. A promising glossary of semeiotic terminology is the Appendix to the 1998 edition of Brent's biography. But it is not as pellucid as I would like. 09:27, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
As a general rule, I reason in accord with the following ratio:
Primary Citation : Secondary Opinion :: Picture : Words.
So 103 secondary impressions will not impress me much if a careful reading of the primary source shows their interpretations to diverge from its sense. Jon Awbrey 02:36, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
Trouble is, when it comes to the categories and the semeiotic, neither the primary nor the secondary sources I've encountered are as clear as I would like. Hence whether "interpretations" diverge from the "sense" of the primary text is not readily determinable. The 3x3 table under this heading is, I think, a promosing step towards possible clarity. 10:59, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Work Area

Began: Jon Awbrey 16:18, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Ended: Jon Awbrey 16:18, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Why 59,049 varieties of signs?

Would someone please supply textual evidence for the following claim (a reference to the secondary literature could suffice), and explain why the claim is important:

His final system consisted of 59,049 possible elements and relations. One reason for this high number is that he allowed each interpretant to act as a sign, thereby creating a new signifying relation.

Liska (1996) claims that Peirce's last detailed and reliable semeiotic system is that of 1903. I suspect that the "final system" in the quote is of a later date.

The number 59,049 appears in Goudge (1950).

Are the following worthy of referencing?

The number of items referenced under "Secondary Literature" strikes me as rather long. The following strike me as being of questionable relevance to the article.

  • Chiasson, Phyllis, 2001. Peirce's Pragmatism. The Design for Thinking. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
  • Debrock, Guy, 1992. "Peirce, a Philosopher for the 21st Century. Introduction." Transactions of the C. S. Peirce Society 28: 1-18.
  • Hintikka Jakko, 1980, "Peirce's first real discovery," The Monist 63: 257-304.
  • Hookway, Christopher, 1985. Peirce. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  • Kirkham, Richard, 1995. Theories of Truth. MIT Press.
  • Parker, Kelly, A., 1998. The Continuity of Peirce's Thought. Vanderbilt Uni. Press.

No need to cite Beckman

No need to reference Beckman (1980) on Peirce and logic circuits; vol. 5 of the Writings includes Peirce's 1886 letter to Alan Marquand. The Introduction and Notes to that volume discuss that letter and its discovery by Burks in the 1950s.

Questioning the value of Parallels with Leibniz section

I question whether we should have an interpretation such as the "parallel with Leibniz" in a Wikipedia philosophy article. Not because it's wrong, but because it's an off-to-the-side comparison and interpretation that is not about Peirce,and once we start with such things, a) there is no way to set boundaries, and b) original research starts to come into play. Do we really want to have a whole section in the Hegel article about parallels with Aristotle and Heraclitus? Do we want to have a whole section in the Habermas article about parallels with Kant? And do we want to start having debates about these things. Especially when we get into parallels "that Peirce himself was unaware of", where we're not talking about an explicit influence but an "unconscious parallel" we are treading dangerous ground. I am for removing the interpretive part of this section -- again, not because I think it's wrong, but but because it's too subjective and not appropriate in an encyclopedia article -- I believe that it's much too much original research rather than encyclopedic. Jeremy J. Shapiro 20:00, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

I have to agree. Particularly in regards to someone like Peirce, who drew explicit comparisions between himself and other philosophers so incessantly. Why single out Leibniz? Secondly, the section is not that informative. The fact that Peirce and Leibniz's interests overlapped, but that their financial situations differed is really irrelevant. Atfyfe 21:05, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

I am the author of the section at controversy here. First, read Max Fisch's "Peirce and Leibniz" in his 1986 collection of essays, cited in the references. It is true that Peirce immodestly compared himself to certain great predecessors, but only to a small number thereof, with Leibniz in the lead. I do not wish to push "unconscious" parallels in the realm of ideas, but rather parallels of a more biographical nature. Both Peirce and Leibniz were both polymaths, deeply involved in logic, science, and semiotics, as well as metaphysics and epistemology. Both respected parts of scholastic philosophy, unfashionable in their day as well as ours. Both wrote few books, many scattered articles, and died leaving a huge amount in manuscript, giving rise to enormous editorial difficulties. It remains the case that Leibniz's accomplishments considerably exceeded Peirce's.
Shapiro proposes sharp a distinction between "original research" and "encyclopedic". While I believe I have an inarticulate feel for this distinction, I also submit that it is very hard to make it precise and operational (it reminds me of the distinction between the analytic and the synthetic!). Going back to my intuitive understanding of the distinction, it is violated right and left in Wikipedia philosophy entries. An immediate case in point is the revisionist take on Peirce's scholastic realism, attributed to very recent published work by Robert Lane in the Transactions. Lane has assured me that he had nothing to do with this part of the entry, and did not even know it existed until I drew it to his attention. Hence I have no confidence that that part of the Peirce entry does justice to Lane's ideas. Even if it did, I question whether such very recent revisionist thinking belongs in the article. I am also doing a lot of work on the Leibniz entry, and a serious problem I face there is a large amount of questionable material contributed by marginal eccentrics who could not get their take on Leibniz published in any other way.
Back to Peirce, here's an addition of the past 24 hours made by the curious newby Jon Awbrey (who is Jon Awbrey...?):

"The 20th Century was a chaotic flux, more a plasma than a river, with prominence, divergence, and conflux of every conceit and variety. There were strands of integration that strove to weave the many-splintered clues into a semblance of a whole, there were streams of reduction that seemed to thrive on the bits and pieces of a whole abandoned, and then there were all the hues of a spectrum of mediations and modulations caught up, as if magnetically, between the extremer poles. You cannot cast its lot to an 'ism' without being charged with an 'ism' yourself. Which is, not too incidentally, a whole lot like Peirce himself, a protean, promethean, prism of a person if ever there was one."

I now fear that Wikipedia is in danger of becoming a new flavor of vanity publisher.
I am neither professional philosopher nor historian of ideas. I simply was fortunate enough to receive a liberal education, and have access to a decent (but not great) university library. If you want an idea of what I am capable of, compare the versions of the Peirce entry dated, say, 1 July 2005 and 15 December 2005. I am responsible for the vast majority of the changes that distinguish these versions. 19:34, 27 December 2005 (UTC)


Peirce published in some of the premier scholarly and scientific journals of his day, indeed, of the present day, for example, the Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Journal of Mathematics, The Monist, and so on, none of which fall under the description of "obscure" journals. User:Jon Awbrey, 20 December 2005

Those journals were all relatively obscure in Peirce's day, from the perspective of the continental European minds that then dominated philosophy and logic. The Monist has indeed been a perfectly respectable academic journal for decades. But in Peirce's day it was a commercial enterprise founded and edited by a nonacademic, Paul Carus (who also founded Open Court), and little read in Europe. The standing of the American Journal of Mathematics was far lower when Peirce published in it than what it attained one or more generations later. It is hard to conceive nowadays how low the standing of American math and logic were in Peirce's heyday, although that changed rapidly 1900-1930. Peirce's book reviews and other articles in The Nation enjoyed fair readership in North America, but were almost totally unknown in Europe. The American Academy was new and obscure at the time when Peirce published in its Proceedings. During the latter 1860s, Peirce published several classic papers in the the Journal of Speculative Philosophy. This very obscure journal, not based in any university, was the house organ of a peculiar informal group known as the "St. Louis Hegelians." Fisch, and later Louis Menand, have drawn attention to the importance of philosophical clubs in the 19th century USA. Nevertheless, they and any publications they sponsored were largely obscure.
Peirce himself was obscure, even among his fellow Americans. Max Fisch (1986: 284) tells us that when William James gave his major 1898 speech at Berkeley, one widely seen as the birth of pragmatism as a self-conscious movement, he told the audience "I refer to Mrs C S Peirce, with whose very existence as a philosopher I dare say many of you are unacquainted." I don't think that James was being ironic or rhetorical. Peirce, who had not led anything like a conventional academic career, was little known even in the USA. 10:14, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Formal Systems

I'll be adding some content to the section stem beneath the epigraph, but tomorrow, and I'll need to ask a few questions. Jon Awbrey 08:04, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Bibliography, Endnotes, Footnotes, References, Etc.

I want to add some content and numbered references, but I need to ask about the conventions in place on this article vis-a-vis the various and sundry distinctions as to bibliography, endnotes, footnotes, references, etc. I started reading the local info on footnotes but my solstice-mode brain blurred at the contemplation of "templates", so I'll just ask. Will anybody be too upset if I rename the present References section to Bibliography and add a new References section to contain the numbered page refs for numbered citations in the text? I realize this is an off-season, so no particular hurry, and I'll wait a while before proceeding. Many Regards, Jon Awbrey 16:24, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Renaming "References" as "Bibliography" is a harmless matter of taste. What do you mean by "numbered citations"? The footnote-intensive citation style common in the humanities literature strikes me as silly in the web context. On and off web, I use (surname year_of_publication: page(s) OR CP paragraph number(s)), then order the references by alphabetically by surname, and within a surname by year_of_publication. It would be nice if clicking on a citation led directly to the reference, but I don't know how to code that using HTML. On the web, I prefer to group the primary and secondary literatures separately. 10:26, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

I've added the abbreviations for frequently cited works of Peirce that I find useful in a web context. One of the chief frustrations of Peirce studies is not being able to remember the loc. cit. of something you "know" you read twenty years ago, or, in my case, wrote somewhere on the web and can't find again a week later. If you websearch on <Peirce CP> or <Peirce Writings> you get gobbledygook (googlyblock?), so I've taken to writing out the Collected Papers each time, to citing W by "CE", and better yet, to writing out the more hit-ful Chronological Edition subtitle. Jon Awbrey 15:48, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

You need the Collected Papers on CD-ROM, for US$125, if I recall rightly; I've included the link to that as well as to the Writings on CD-ROM. It would be lovely if Harvard were to lift the copyright on the CP so that the whole thing could be browsed via the Arisbe site or some such. Right now, only vol. 1 can be so browsed. Note that Richard Robin and UMass Press waved the copyright on Robin's famous catalog of Peirce manuscripts; I've added the resulting link. 10:26, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Here are some principles that I would like to observe in the References and Bibliography sections -- whatever we call them being less important than the principles themselves. Jon Awbrey 19:30, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

  • The distinction between References (or (End/Foot)Notes)) and Bib, as I was catechized on it, is that Refs = Works Cited, and maybe the latter name is even better for it, while the Bib informs the reader about the primary and secondary lit on the main subject, naturally listing many works that are not necessarily cited in the article text. For example, Dewey's How We Think is not secondary lit because its main subject is not the work of Peirce, though it may have referred to him a little or a lot. Jon Awbrey 19:30, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
  • The "non-destruction of information" (NDOI) principle. For example, it took me two hours to find the "D.C. Heath, Lexington, MA" info about Dewey's HWT in my attic, it's an important part of the history of the work, and I don't intend to do it again. There are a number of standard style sheets that recognize this principle as an element of their overall "historical layering" principles, and if WP does not, then it will need to. Jon Awbrey 19:30, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Logic, Semiotic, Formal, Quasi-Necessary Theory Of Signs

I need to store this quote here for a few days, while I digest the pertinent pith of it for the section on logic:

| Logic, in its general sense, is, as I believe I have shown, only another
| name for 'semiotic' [Greek: 'semeiotike'], the quasi-necessary, or formal,
| doctrine of signs.  By describing the doctrine as "quasi-necessary", or
| formal, I mean that we observe the characters of such signs as we know,
| and from such an observation, by a process which I will not object to
| naming Abstraction, we are led to statements, eminently fallible, and
| therefore in one sense by no means necessary, as to what 'must be' the
| characters of all signs used by a "scientific" intelligence, that is to say,
| by an intelligence capable of learning by experience.  As to that process of
| abstraction, it is itself a sort of observation.  The faculty which I call
| abstractive observation is one which ordinary people perfectly recognize,
| but for which the theories of philosophers sometimes hardly leave room.
| It is a familiar experience to every human being to wish for something
| quite beyond his present means, and to follow that wish by the question,
| "Should I wish for that thing just the same, if I had ample means to gratify it?"
| To answer that question, he searches his heart, and in doing so makes what I term
| an abstractive observation.  He makes in his imagination a sort of skeleton diagram,
| or outline sketch, of himself, considers what modifications the hypothetical state
| of things would require to be made in that picture, and then examines it, that is,
| 'observes' what he has imagined, to see whether the same ardent desire is there to
| be discerned.  By such a process, which is at bottom very much like mathematical
| reasoning, we can reach conclusions as to what 'would be' true of signs in all
| cases, so long as the intelligence using them was scientific.  (CP 2.227).
| Charles Sanders Peirce, 'Collected Papers', CP 2.227,
| Editor Data:  From An Unidentified Fragment, c. 1897.

Jon Awbrey 06:20, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Types of Reasoning: Aristotle & Peirce

In preparing the sections on types of reasoning, I will need to store a few longish quotes from Aristotle and from Peirce. Jon Awbrey 03:00, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

Aristotle's "Apagogy"

| We have Reduction ['apagoge', or 'abduction']:  (1) when it is obvious
| that the first term applies to the middle, but that the middle applies
| to the last term is not obvious, yet nevertheless is more probable or
| not less probable than the conclusion;  or (2) if there are not many
| intermediate terms between the last and the middle;  for in all such
| cases the effect is to bring us nearer to knowledge.
| (1) E.g., let A stand for "that which can be taught", B for "knowledge",
| and C for "morality".  Then that knowledge can be taught is evident;
| but whether virtue is knowledge is not clear.  Then if BC is not less
| probable or is more probable than AC, we have reduction;  for we are
| nearer to knowledge for having introduced an additional term, whereas
| before we had no knowledge that AC is true.
| (2) Or again we have reduction if there are not many intermediate terms
| between B and C;  for in this case too we are brought nearer to knowledge.
| E.g., suppose that D is "to square", E "rectilinear figure", and F "circle".
| Assuming that between E and F there is only one intermediate term -- that the
| circle becomes equal to a rectilinear figure by means of lunules -- we should
| approximate to knowledge.
| Aristotle, "Prior Analytics", Book 2, Chapter 25.
| Aristotle, Volume 1, Translated by H.P. Cooke & H. Tredennick,
| Loeb Classical Library, William Heinemann, London, UK, 1938.

Aristotle's "Paradigm"

Excerpts from Jon Awbrey, "Introduction to Inquiry Driven Systems". Jon Awbrey 03:48, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

The classic description of analogy in the syllogistic frame
comes from Aristotle, who called this form of inference by
the name "paradeigma", that is, reasoning by way of example
or through the parallel comparison of cases.
| We have an Example [analogy, 'paradeigma'] when the major extreme
| is shown to be applicable to the middle term by means of a term
| similar to the third.  It must be known both that the middle
| applies to the third term and that the first applies to the
| term similar to the third.
| Aristotle, 'Prior Analytics', 2.24.
Aristotle illustrates this pattern of argument with the following
sample of reasoning.  The setting is a discussion, taking place in
Athens, on the issue of going to war with Thebes.  It is apparently
accepted that a war between Thebes and Phocis is or was a bad thing,
perhaps from the objectivity lent by non-involvement or perhaps as
a lesson of history.
| E.g., let A be "bad", B "to make war on neighbors",
| C "Athens against Thebes", and D "Thebes against Phocis".
| Then if we require to prove that war against Thebes is bad,
| we must be satisfied that war against neighbors is bad.
| Evidence of this can be drawn from similar examples, e.g.,
| that war by Thebes against Phocis is bad.  Then since war
| against neighbors is bad, and war against Thebes is against
| neighbors, it is evident that war against Thebes is bad.
| Aristotle, 'Prior Analytics', 2.24.

Peirce's Three Kinds of Inference

| We have then three different kinds of inference:
| Deduction  or inference 'à priori',
| Induction  or inference 'à particularis',
| Hypothesis or inference 'à posteriori'.
| C.S. Peirce, Chronological Edition, CE 1, 267
| If I reason that certain conduct is wise
| because it has a character which belongs
| 'only' to wise things, I reason 'à priori'.
| If I think it is wise because it once turned out
| to be wise, that is, if I infer that it is wise on
| this occasion because it was wise on that occasion,
| I reason inductively ['à particularis'].
| But if I think it is wise because a wise man does it,
| I then make the pure hypothesis that he does it
| because he is wise, and I reason 'à posteriori'.
| C.S. Peirce, Chronological Edition, CE 1, 180
| Charles Sanders Peirce, "Harvard Lectures On the Logic of Science (1865)",
| Writings of Charles S. Peirce:  A Chronological Edition, Volume 1, 1857-1866,
| Peirce Edition Project, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 1982.
|                                                                     |
|  D ("done by a wise man")                                           |
|   o                                                                 |
|    \*                                                               |
|     \ *                                                             |
|      \  *                                                           |
|       \   *                                                         |
|        \    *                                                       |
|         \     *                                                     |
|          \      * A ("a wise act")                                  |
|           \       o                                                 |
|            \     /| *                                               |
|             \   / |   *                                             |
|              \ /  |     *                                           |
|               .   |       o B ("benevolence", a certain character)  |
|              / \  |     *                                           |
|             /   \ |   *                                             |
|            /     \| *                                               |
|           /       o                                                 |
|          /      * C ("contributes to charity", a certain conduct)   |
|         /     *                                                     |
|        /    *                                                       |
|       /   *                                                         |
|      /  *                                                           |
|     / *                                                             |
|    /*                                                               |
|   o                                                                 |
|  E ("earlier today", a certain occasion)                            |
|                                                                     |
Figure 1.  A Thrice Wise Act Jon Awbrey 03:32, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

Charts & Graphs & Tables (Oh My!)

Some of this material is coming from the "literature and background" (LAB) sections of a dissertation proposal in systems engineering that I worked on all through the 90's, minus anything that crosses the line of constituting an "original idea" (OI). I have good Figures and Tables, but they're all in a Macintosh format that I can't read anymore -- I've been promised a new graphics package for my birthday, but that's a couple of months away, and I haven't had time to look into the local utilities yet, so I hope these Ascii graphics will do till then. Jon Awbrey 16:00, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

I created all tables included in the entry, other than those you created. I did so by adapting an HTML formatted table I found in the entry for an unrelated topic. My adaptation involved some happy guesses; feel free to adapt what I've done for your purposes. I do not know how to export a GIF file from an equation editor or graphics package, and upload it to Wiki for linking into the text of an entry. I wish you good luck in sorting that out.
You are an engineer of sorts. Writings coming out of the Peirce and pragmatism research center at Texas Tech reveals a hope that technology and applied science will eventually draw inspiration from Peirce's work. BTW, "dissertation proposals" are rather turgid pedantic affairs, not the most promising source for encyclopedia material; nothing personal, it's simply the nature of the beast. 19:59, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

I have a limited amount of time for personally oriented talk right now, especially over the next few months, and I will save what I have for the more fun kinds. Anyone who has ever written a "literature and background" section for any purpose whatever will know that it observes the same sort of "groundedness" principle that is reflected in the "no original research" rule hereabouts, and, other than FYI purposes, that is the only reason I bothered to mention it. The fact that this particular series of proposals took on the task of introducing some out-of-the-way logical and methodological subjects to advisors trained in the more standard versions of computer science, information theory, logic, mathematics, statistics, and systems science meant that I had to put more than the usual amount of work into the exposition of Peirce's take on things, and some of that effort is clearly reusable in the present application. Fear not, I will excerpt only what I think is useful here, and rewrite that as necessary to the purpose at hand. Jon Awbrey 18:24, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Comments Left by User: on User Page

A while back, I put out a call for input into the Peirce entry from Peirce professionals. Are your very recent and very extensive additions to that entry in response to my call?

I am an economist, not a philosopher by trade, and so am NOT qualified to do what you are attempting. I was first drawn to Peirce by his logic. Believe it or not, I do not find pragmatism very interesting. I cleaned up the references, and am quite comfortable with the details of Peirce's life, having studied Brent's bio. As the article now stands, I am responsible for most of its content outside of section 2. A fair bit of what I did was to revise extensively the shabby prose I found 2-3 months ago.

I am intrigued by the semeiotic, but by no means can claim to understand it well at all, even though I own a copy of Liszka (1996)! I became fascinated by how Peirce had more serious experience as a scientist than any other philosopher in the canon. Very recently, I have been trying to come to terms with his system of 3 categories.

One would suppose that Americans, by virtue of their national history, their economic conditions, and their intensely pragmatic outlook (I submit that the profession truest to the American character is engineering), would not be well disposed to speculative philosophy and to any metaphysical reasoning whatsoever. In other words, I once believed that philosophy in the USA would have unfolded very much along the lines of what Quine would have preferred. But Peirce shows that that has not been the case. Moreover, Peirce was Peirce all while being a serious scientist and a splendid logician.

It is also to Peirce's credit that he attracts scholars whose writings and personalities I very much like: Max Fisch, Ken Ketner, Arthur Prior, Arthur Burks, Hintikka, Nathan Houser, Peter Hare, RIchard Robin. Peircians are a happy robust lot. 20:22, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Hi, I'm going to move your comments above to the discussion page for the Charles Peirce article, as I find that I'm having trouble conducting or following longer dialogues on the user talk pages, due to seeing only one side of the conversation at a time, and this seems more pertinent to Peirce than personal. But time is very intermittent this week, and I'm trying to type while the irons are hot on a couple of other topics, so maybe later tonight I'll get time to reflect on your comments more relaxedly. Regards, Jon Awbrey 19:14, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

Logical Graphs

Let me draw your attention to the entry existential graph, which I've heavily edited. That entry is why Peirce's graphical logic only rates a mention in this entry. 22:51, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

Strictly speaking, 'logical graph' is the more general topic, subsuming entitative graph and existential graph as dual interpretations of the same formal syntax. See the "Futures of Logical Graphs" (FOLG) thread that I started on the Inquiry List for some exposition and extension along these lines. I reckon we'll eventually sort out how to distribute the parts of these materials that are relevant to CSP and GSB among the Charles Peirce, Laws of Form, and other articles. Jon Awbrey

FOLG-Oct-2005 FOLG-Nov-2005 Jon Awbrey

The entitative graphs have never commanded much attention, and Peirce soon gave up on them. Hence Peirce's graphical logic is pretty much coextensive with the existential graphs. There is non- and post-Peircian graphical logic; see the work of John Sowa and of Jon Barwise's students, especially Sun-Joo Shin and Eric Hammer.
Existential graph lacks illustrations, simply because I do not know how to export from my equation editor to Wikipedia.
It is curious that you mention GSB. I rewrote the entry for him, and for his Laws of Form. While I do not consider LoF an instance of graphical logic, Peirce is very much implicated nonetheless. The peculiar notation of LoF was fully anticipated in two papers Peirce wrote in 1886, but that were not published in part until 1976, and in full until 1993. 10:36, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Charles Peirce Template?

Is that the right template for Charles Peirce? Jon Awbrey 03:20, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Rightly or wrongly, Peirce is considered a pivotal figure in Semiotics. I freely acknowledge that he has contributed to other fields of academic endeavour. This may require him to be mentioned several different templates or in none. David91 03:39, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
(Moved this discussion to the Charles Peirce talk page, as I'm getting too confused by the other way of doing things.) More of a request for info and comment from others, as I'm not questioning relevance of Peirce to semiotics, merely the pertinence of everything that somebody or another has called semiotics to Peirce. It just seems distracting to me to have that congeries on the first page, and if you put every subject that Peirce touched on into the form of a template on the first page, well, that would be a mess. Is it possible to place it at the end? Jon Awbrey 04:04, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

It seems right to include Peirce in the Semiotics template, but on the other hand we cannot give the impression that his contribution to Semiotics was his greatest or most important. Peirce should be remembered for his equally important contributions to philosophy, semiotics, and logic. We have to find a way to show Peirce's importance to all three fields without making one seem more important or significant than the others. I don't have a solution, but perhaps we could move the template down to the section on Peirce's Semiotics? Or maybe it's fine where it is. I don't know. (Atfyfe 04:21, 28 December 2005 (UTC))

perhaps we could move the template down to the section on Peirce's Semiotics? i think that that is an excellent solution. --Heah talk 04:33, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

I tried moving it to the end, with Wikiquote and Wikisource, and think it looks better there. Again, the question is not the relevance of Peirce to semiotics, but the relevance of most things on that template to Peirce. Some of the references are positively misinformative with respect to Peirce's take on semiotics. Jon Awbrey 04:50, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Contributor Info

Jon Awbrey

Just got here a few days ago, and I don't know if this is called for or not, but since another user has mentioned my background in a very partially informed way, I thought it might be a good idea to let people know 'where I'm coming from', as we used to say in the (19)60's, at least, to the extent that it's pertinent to our present topics. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in 'Mathematical and Philosophical Method' from what we affectionately called a 'Radical-Liberal Arts College' (now defunked) at Michigan State University, for which graduation requirements I wrote a senior thesis on Peirce entitled 'Complications of the Simplest Mathematics' (1976). This was one point of culmination in an undergrad career that stretched over a period of nine years -- did I mention that it was the 6O's? -- soon after the beginning of which I encountered the works of CSP and GSB almost simultaneously. So I've been at this CSP/GSB busyness for almost forty years now, if that counts for anything. Partly in my questying to unravel the mysteries of these two entwined beasts, I went on to take a Master's in Math (MSU, 1980) and a Master's in Psych (MSU, 1989), while working mostly as a data archivist and statistical consultant at every level from student, to graduate, to being paid real money. I entered a Systems Engineering doctoral program in 1993 more as a 'capstone' to work on unfinished business, and the nice folks at Oakland University in Michigan supplied me with a big enough umbrella to do just that and more. So I think of my dissertation proposals more in cinematic terms as "The Ticket That Exploded", or maybe "The Runaway Bridesmaid".

I seem to be falling under our currently dreary weather, so I'll have to take this in bits and pieces. Jon Awbrey 15:54, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

To refer to a document as a "dissertation proposal" implies that the proposal did not fly. If it flew, it would have become a completed thesis, in which case why not cite that? In any event, I do not think that material from an unsuccessful proposal should be transcribed wholesale into Wikipedia. For that matter, it would be almost equally inappropriate to transcribe text from any thesis, whether successfully defended or in progress, because theses are very seldom written with legibility and lucidity as desideratae. Moreover, the vetting of theses often strikes me as leaving something to be desired. Re Peirce, my preferred exemplars are Brent's biography, and the historical/exegetical writings of Max Fisch, Carolyn Eisele, Kenneth Ketner, and Susan Haack.
Peirce's thinking is undoubtedly philosophical, and is more mathematical and scientific than was understood 40-70 years ago. But whether present-day systems engineering can learn much from Peirce is very debatable. I would be very surprised if the technology of this century were to learn anything from Peirce. I suspect that our technology long ago passed Peirce by. On the other hand, I would like to see the teaching of logic to nonspecialist undergrads move in the Peircian direction. I would also like the history of logic to give a lot more emphasis to Peirce and a lot less to Frege. If the model theoretic viewpoint continues to advance at the expense of the proof theoretic one, Peirce's historical importance will greatly increase as well.
In any event, very very few computer scientists and systems theorists are competent to supervise a thesis on any aspect of Peirce. For that matter, most academic philosophers and logicians are not competent either. Many are the academics who have told me "Peirce? I know nothing about American pragmatism." Logicians and algebraists nearly all jump to the conclusion that the innovations of Peirce (and of GSB) are merely notational, and hence matters of personal taste devoid of mathematical importance. It does not help at all that the Peirce corpus remains a vast untidy mess, one that will not be sorted out in our lifetimes. 20:37, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Charles Peirce & Spencer Brown

The GSB/CSP connection is a curious one. Laws of Form cites vol. 4 of Peirce's Collected Papers, where the existential graphs are described. Vol. 5 of the new critical edition of Peirce cites Laws of Form, at the suggestion of its mathematical consulting editor, Ivor Grattan-Guinness. (His understanding of LoF is badly flawed, though.) Nevertheless, the connection did not really become clear until Lou Kauffman's 2001 article in Cybernetics and Human Knowing. I also have concluded that while LoF grounds some decent mathematics and logic, its philosophy is bad, faddish, and pretentious: a sort of "1960s Zen meets Bertrand Russell". 10:51, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

The CSP/GSB connection was known to everybody that had read both authors from the time that LOF came out in 1969. Jon Awbrey 19:00, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

And I bet that the intersection of the set of those who read LoF with the set of those who knew the existential graphs, or even Peirce's more conventional logic, had a tiny cardinality. I've devoted most of my research time over the past 5 years to LoF and Peirce. And I've detected very little awareness in print of the connection between the two, beyond what I write above. I should grant that I do not have access to back issues of the International Journal of General Systems, the theoretical engineering journal that has had time for LoF and related ideas, because its founder and editor, George Klir, was trained in Boolean algebra and in Eastern European philosophical mathematics. 20:23, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Just for one instance, John Eulenberg, who came from Stanford in the early 70's to head up Michigan State's new Artificial Language Laboratory, taught a course in mathematical linguistics that had LOF and Charles Morris's "unified science" monograph on the reading list, and some of our projects involved using the string-processing language SNOBOL to manipulate parenthesis strings according to the rules of LOF. Jon Awbrey 19:00, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

The balanced parentheses string syntactical rule was no big deal then, and LoF was no innovator at the time. Chomsky and his disciples had that syntax (and much more) down cold by the mid '60s. In turn, they were building on the concept of Dyck languages. Eulenberg, BTW, may be a product of the same Stanford machine intelligence culture that produced William Bricken, who is passionate about the mathematical and engineering worth of LoF. He knows very little about Peirce, though. 20:23, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

The dynamics here has been more due to the usual sort of cultural lag between what's known in folklore and hobbyshop and lab and what the A-list journals will deign to publish. Jon Awbrey 19:00, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

An intellectual idea, to attain full stature, must go beyond "folklore/hobbyshop/lab" and achieve the dignity of printed cover, after having run some sort of peer-review gauntlet. Most of my reservations about peer review are not that it is too conservative, but rather that it is too lax, simply because competent people are too busy to carefully go over the work of others. 20:23, 31 December 2005 (UTC)


I copy this criticism of some text that I wrote to a devoted section, so that I might explain its relevance, or, failing that, attempt to modify it accordingly. Due to the interaspersion of remarks, I could not tell for sure who wrote it. Jon Awbrey 19:18, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Back to Peirce, here's an addition of the past 24 hours made by the curious newby Jon Awbrey (who is Jon Awbrey...?):

"The 20th Century was a chaotic flux, more a plasma than a river, with prominence, divergence, and conflux of every conceit and variety. There were strands of integration that strove to weave the many-splintered clues into a semblance of a whole, there were streams of reduction that seemed to thrive on the bits and pieces of a whole abandoned, and then there were all the hues of a spectrum of mediations and modulations caught up, as if magnetically, between the extremer poles. You cannot cast its lot to an 'ism' without being charged with an 'ism' yourself. Which is, not too incidentally, a whole lot like Peirce himself, a protean, promethean, prism of a person if ever there was one."

I now fear that Wikipedia is in danger of becoming a new flavor of vanity publisher.
Yes, it's a bit fresh. If it turns out to be way too purple for even its mother to bear, I will no doubt tire of it in a couple of days, and twiddle the hue and saturation knobs as need be. But the issue that it's just a start at trying to address is one that is very important from the standpoint of understanding Peirce's work, an issue that won't go away, if I judge its persistence from my own experience, and this paragraph is the best that I've been able to do so far in capturing what the problem stems from. If you give me some elbow room I'll apply some grease to it. Jon Awbrey 19:18, 28 December 2005 (UTC)


Some texts that need to be digested down to article size, pertaining to Peirce's Categories and their relationship to the sign relational roles of Object, Sign, Interpretant. Jon Awbrey 17:00, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

| I will now say a few words about what you have called Categories,
| but for which I prefer the designation Predicaments, and which you
| have explained as predicates of predicates.  That wonderful operation
| of hypostatic abstraction by which we seem to create entia rationis
| that are, nevertheless, sometimes real, furnishes us the means of
| turning predicates from being signs that we think or think through,
| into being subjects thought of.  We thus think of the thought-sign
| itself, making it the object of another thought-sign.  Thereupon,
| we can repeat the operation of hypostatic abstraction, and from
| these second intentions derive third intentions.  Does this series
| proceed endlessly?  I think not.  What then are the characters of its
| different members?  My thoughts on this subject are not yet harvested.
| I will only say that the subject concerns Logic, but that the divisions
| so obtained must not be confounded with the different Modes of Being:
| Actuality, Possibility, Destiny (or Freedom from Destiny).  On the
| contrary, the succession of Predicates of Predicates is different
| in the different Modes of Being.  Meantime, it will be proper that
| in our system of diagrammatization we should provide for the division,
| whenever needed, of each of our three Universes of modes of reality into
| Realms for the different Predicaments.
| C.S. Peirce, Collected Papers, CP 4.549
| So in a triadic fact, say, the example
|    A gives B to C
| we make no distinction in the ordinary logic of relations between the
| 'subject nominative', the 'direct object', and the 'indirect object'.
| We say that the proposition has three 'logical subjects'.  We regard
| it as a mere affair of English grammar that there are six ways of
| expressing this:
|    A gives B to C                     A benefits C with B
|    B enriches C at expense of A       C receives B from A
|    C thanks A for B                   B leaves A for C
| These six sentences express one and the same indivisible phenomenon.
| C.S. Peirce, "The Categories Defended", EP 2, pp. 170-171
| C.S. Peirce, "The Categories Defended", MS 308 (1903), pp. 160-178 in:
|'The Essential Peirce:  Selected Philosophical Writings, Volume 2 (1893-1913)',
| Peirce Edition Project (eds.), Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 1998.
| Nevertheless, just as conceiving of two reacting objects we may
| introduce the metaphysical distinction of 'agent' and 'patient',
| so we may metaphysically distinguish the functions of the three
| objects denoted by the 'subject nominative', the 'direct object',
| and the 'indirect object'.  The 'subject nominative' denotes that
| one of the three objects which in the triadic fact merely assumes
| a non-relative character of activity.  The 'direct object' is that
| object which in the triadic fact receives a character relative
| to that agent, being the 'patient' of its action, while the
| 'indirect object' receives a character which can neither
| exist nor be conceived to exist without the cooperation
| of the other two.
| When I call Category the Third the Category of Representation in which there is
| a Represented Object, a Representamen, and an Interpretant, I recognize that
| distinction.  This mode of distinction is, indeed, 'germane' to Thirdness,
| while it is 'alien' to Secondness.  That is to say, 'agent' and 'patient'
| as they are by themselves in their duality are not distinguished as agent
| and patient.  The distinction lies in the mode of representing them in
| my mind, which is a Third.  Thus there is an inherent Thirdness in
| this mode of distinction.  But a 'triadic' fact is in all cases
| an intellectual fact.
| Take 'giving' for example.  The mere transfer of an object
| which A sets down and C takes up does not constitute giving.
| There must be a transfer of 'ownership' and ownership is a
| matter of Law, an intellectual fact.
| C.S. Peirce, "The Categories Defended", EP 2, p. 171
| C.S. Peirce, "The Categories Defended", MS 308 (1903), pp. 160-178 in:
|'The Essential Peirce:  Selected Philosophical Writings, Volume 2 (1893-1913)',
| Peirce Edition Project (eds.), Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 1998.
| You now begin to see how the conception of representation
| is so peculiarly fit to typify the category of Thirdness.
| The object represented is supposed not to be affected by
| the representation.  That is essential to the idea of
| representation.  The Representamen is affected by [the]
| Object but is not otherwise modified in the operation
| of representation.  It is either qualitatively the
| double of the object in the Icon, or it is a patient
| on which the object really acts, in the Index;  or
| it is intellectually linked to the object in such
| a way as to be mentally excited by that object,
| in the Symbol.
| C.S. Peirce, "The Categories Defended", EP 2, p. 171
| C.S. Peirce, "The Categories Defended", MS 308 (1903), pp. 160-178 in:
|'The Essential Peirce:  Selected Philosophical Writings, Volume 2 (1893-1913)',
| Peirce Edition Project (eds.), Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 1998.

Formal Perspective

I'm moving the following two paragraphs here for further work. Jon Awbrey 19:04, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

The 20th Century was a chaotic flux, more a plasma than a river, with prominence, divergence, and conflux of every conceit and variety. There were strands of integration that strove to weave the many-splintered clues into a semblance of a whole, there were streams of reduction that seemed to thrive on the bits and pieces of a whole abandoned, and then there were all the hues of a spectrum of mediations and modulations caught up, as if magnetically, between the extremer poles. You cannot cast its lot to an 'ism' without being charged with an 'ism' yourself. Which is, not too incidentally, a whole lot like Peirce himself, a protean, promethean, prism of a person if ever there was one.

One of the more deleterious side-effects of this booming and buzzing fusion of crossfires, not to mention an era full of Sirens' singing, was a loss of good sense in many quarters of philosophy, the sense required to balance the benefits and the dangers of a formal perspective. The loss was largely temporary in those quarters where survival itself demands good sense, but it lingers on yet in many other estates.

Not the sort of language I care to see in Wikipedia. The above reads like Floyd Merrell on a very bad day. 10:23, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes, that's precisely why I moved the text to talk for detox. It served its purpose in poetically codifying my sense of a difficult problem in the interpretation of Peirce, but I think that I have now managed to rewrite most of the underlying points in a more decompressed and discursive, if a bit leisurely prosaic style. Jon Awbrey 17:04, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Theory of Categories

I have specific reasons for placing the Theory of Categories under Formal Perspective and after the Logic of Relatives, which will become clear as the text develops. Jon Awbrey 21:42, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Good Places To Talk

Dear, Let me suggest using the Charles Peirce discussion page as a public place for the discussion of proposed major changes to the article, as it gets too confusing trying to talk about common issues on the scattered user talk pages. In particular, please don't move major sections again without some discussion, as I lost quite a bit of unbuffered typing the last two times you did it. Thanks, Jon Awbrey 22:38, 31 December 2005 (UTC)