User:The Tetrast

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Credit for the Charles Sanders Peirce article
(May 2009)

The Peirce article is by many, especially Jon Awbrey. Jaime Nubiola did some things there too. Much of the article was already there in some form when I came along. During the past year and a half I have been the main editor of the article. As a result of that and of my discussions at the peirce-l forum about questions involved in editing the article, people seem to have been tending to give me full credit for the article. That is a mistake. There are many things in there that I would not have thought of saying. Some of the respects in which I have improved it have been the result of slow accumulation rather than of some clear overall vision that I have of Peirce; the article has been to some extent my way of accumulating a vision of Peirce that I didn't start with, and Wikipedia's constraints have been very helpful in getting me to nail things down or accept where claim is unsupported or wrong. Anyway, it's a lot easier to re-work and tweak that which others have written than to write it from scratch! It would have been difficult for me to write the biographical section, and as to the section on the reception given by others to his work, I can only shake my head at the imaginary prospect of having to write it all. The picture of Peirce's ambitions and quests given by the "Dynamics of Inquiry" section - that's just not the kind of thing that I'm good at generating. And it's a lot easier to trace some of Peirce's ideas when there is the Commens Dictionary of Peirce's Terms online, with Peirce's own definitions and characterizations, often many per term across the decades. To eschew it, is hubris. I did re-organize the sections on Peirce's thinking according to his classifications, and that was a good move. Of course I have written some passages in the article from scratch, and in general I've done enough writing and editing of the article that blame for its faults (some of which I'm unhappily aware of) currently rests with me. But please don't think that it is "that Peirce article by the Tetrast", it's by many others as well.

Why 81 visits here on Dec. 14, 2011?[edit]

Would anybody like to tell me why? Just curious. Tell me here or on my talk page (which had h80 visits on that day). The Tetrast (talk) 18:51, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Latest news (posted November 19, 2011)[edit]

It now appears that my position as amateur webmaster (beginning late June 2011) of the website Arisbe: The Peirce Gateway is sufficiently well established into the foreseeable future, that it's worth mentioning here. (I'm good with html and css but I'm not a professional).

Joseph M. Ransdell, the Peirce scholar who built and owned the website Arisbe: The Peirce Gateway, passed away on December 27, 2010. This was very sad for his family (wife and daughters) and for many of us.

I had been active at Ransdell's online Peirce forum peirce-l since at least early 2002. At some point in 2006 or 2007, he transferred ownership of both Arisbe and peirce-l to The Peirce Group (not to be confused with the financial organization of the same name) including himself, his long-time friend and collaborator Jerry Dozoretz (a former professor who switched from professional philosophy to a business career many years ago), and Nathan Houser (Peirce scholar and editor of some volumes of Writings of Charles S. Peirce), and somebody else no longer involved. Joe had told me, another peirce-l member Gary Richmond, and Peirce Group members, that he wanted me and Gary to help carry on with Arisbe and peirce-l. In my case this was the despite the fact that Joe (and most of the others) well knew that I am only partly Peircean (I'm a 4-ist, not a 3-ist) and am not a professional scholar or involved in academia. Gary, I, and some others were made members of The Peirce Group Advisory Board - we're not officers of The Peirce Group, but we offer advice and, in carrying out work for the Peirce Group (i.e., dealing with Arisbe and peirce-l), we report to the Peirce Group, which remains owner and in charge. In June 2011, Jerry gave me the access codes to Arisbe and I proceeded to repair numerous links and to update and simplify the html markup and add css on many pages there, add new pages of links, and so on. Jerry passed away on August 5, 2011, sadly for his wife, children, and friends, and for those of us who got to know him after Joe's death. This was also unfortunate for the project of organizing Joe's nachlass, some of it in disparate electronic forms, with which Jerry was particularly familiar.

Now that, since June 2011 I've become officially and actively connected to Joe's Arisbe website, I hope that that's no reason that I should start replacing every Arisbe link possible that I've added at Wikipedia since 2007, and I hope that it will be seen that I won't start favoring Arisbe over other sites. Anyway, it's not a commercial site, and I receive no compensation for handling it. What I get from it, aside from personal satisfaction, is that I'm known (for better or worse) among some Peirce scholars, and that matter is unconnected with links to it from Wikipedia.

In the past four years, I've added in footnotes in Peirce wikis a number of links to papers at the Arisbe website. In many cases the papers are located only there. In other cases I had a choice and have not been consistent in choosing to link, say, to an Arisbe version of an article by Peirce rather than to a version. There are various advantages. A version sometimes seems easier to scroll through; on the other hand, Ransdell added Collected Peirce paragraph numbers and Writings page numbers to public-domain versions of a number of Peirce texts, and that has its advantages. Sometimes Ransdell wrote useful prefaces, too.

The Tetrast (talk) 20:12, 19 November 2011 (UTC).

Added note: While I'm the amateur webmaster, Gary Richmond and I together are the "operational team" for Arisbe. The Tetrast (talk) 20:41, 19 November 2011 (UTC).

Latest news (April 2009)[edit]

Some contributors and I have a new blog on C. S. Peirce, with tons of sidebar links to online Peirce resources:

The Peirce Blog

Classification fun[edit]

I've done a lot of work on the Charles Peirce articles because of my interest in things like his classifications. For how I myself classify things, look here:

A periodic table of aspects of humanity

Classification of the sciences and maths (URL now correctly leads to table)

I'm no longer sure that I should have called the first one a "periodic table."

Lately I've done some posting at Tetrast2 - Speculation Lounge

I revised and expanded the "Pragmatic model" section in the "Scientific method" article[edit] Then I reviewed the discussion page. Apparently the article has been subject to some controversy and may undergo radical revision. Well, if the Peirce section gets truncated or deleted, I can probably find use for it elsewhere. Update: I've used a considerable amount of it in the Charles Peirce wiki, in the section on Pragmatism. I noted this in the edit line when I did it. End of update.

My own view[edit]

I keep editing this. My own view is not quite Peirce's. Peirce thinks inquiry begins with one's being surprised. I think that wondering and inquiry begin (1) from bafflement at the unsimple, complicated, etc., as well as (2) from surprise at the atypical or abnormal; and not only from those, but also (3) from vagueness and suspense about the unclear, undistinctive, uninformative; and (4) from unsureness and hesitancy about the unsolid, unconnected, uncolligative. As to inference and scientific method: Stipulative definitions:

= Inference that automatically
Surmise adds & removes info; neither truth nor falsity. Naturalness, simplicity, facility, following the phenomenon as index of causes or reasons.
Induction adds & doesn't remove info; not truth, but still falsity. Peircean verisimilitude, following the samples as semblances of the totality.
Forward-only deduction removes & doesn't add info; truth, but not falsity. Novelty, noteworthiness.
Equivalential deduction neither removes nor adds info; truth & falsity. Nontriviality, depth, complication/complicity, etc. A maze worth remembering.

Various approximations but no general deductive measure for an ironic criterion.
Also, note the oppositions between the ironic criteria along the diagonals.

1. Naturalness, simplicity
of surmise's conclusion.
  No general deductive
  optimization for it.

2. Likelihood, Peircean verisimilitude
of induction's conclusion.
  No general deductive
  probability measure for it.
3. Novelty, noteworthiness
of forward-only-deduction's conclusion.
  No general deductive
  information-theoretic measure for it.

4. Nontriviality, nonsimplicity
of equivalential deduction's conclusion.
  No general deductive
  logical/mathematical measure for it.

Current working notion of broad outline of method. This is more easily applied to the "special sciences" (physical, material & chemical science, biological, and behavioral, social, & human), since the special sciences most typically seek to explain things, find causes, reasons for them; they use all forms of inference, of course, but surmise, including the generation of explanatory hypotheses, is the star of the inference show in the special sciences.

Even newer account (2013-02-16). I'm thinking in terms of the "Saturation - Incubation - Illumination - Verification" process described by Gell-Mann. Here I include just the saturation and verification stages.

Saturation Verification
SURMISE with sort of naturalness or easiness the cause or reason. Test with mathematical / DEDUCTIVE-through-equivalences or 'runnable' model or 'diagram' (or actual model, a magician showing that a supposedly paranormal effect could be faked), a kind of proof of concept.
Infer INDUCTIVELY with some sort of verisimilitude or 'veteratility' to possibly adjust parameters (constraints, averages, etc. covering data/facts with which the hypothesis needs to be consistent/coherent, Test by DEDUCING PARTICULARS (from the parameters) , i.e. the feasibility / probability / whatever of the hypothesis, for a kind of proof of fit with the domain (i.e., it's true that rainfall would explain in a simple way a wet lawn, but in some regions a sprinkler system is a more usual explanation).
DEDUCE PARTICULAR implications with some sort of novelty (a kind of doubtability). Test, evaluating INDUCTIVELY the repetitions of trials.
DEDUCE through equivalences various lessons with some sort of nontriviality (another kind of doubtability). Apply/test, evaluating by SURMISE such variform reproduction of trials.

In terms of inference modes, the structure above is

and, yes, I hope to add two intermediate stages in each row so that the result ends up looking like the Klein four-group

The Tetrast (talk) 18:06, 16 February 2013 (UTC) Edited The Tetrast (talk) 00:54, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Newer account now on trial (newer though with less detail than the one further down). I like the idea of observations/tests all the way through. Inductive (statistical, info-theoretic, whatever) evaluations of results all along the line (not the same as 2nd stage's "inductive elaboration"). Revised again. The Tetrast (talk) 15:53, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

1. Explain it, attribute it causally, state the dynamics/mechanism of the occurrence encompassing the phenomenon. Surmised hypothetical explanation schematizes, makes a model, of the occurrence. TEST - chart/graph the phenomenon - (i.e., test that it doesn't depend in some wrong way on the observer) E.g., show that there is in fact an anomalous phenomenon such that the hypothesis would cover it (#1 challenge in parapsychology; remember also supposed 'N-rays' and Martian 'canals'); reproduction of the phenomenon's chart by various observers so as to convergently indicate the model of the occurrence.
2. Theoretically analyze the occurrence's composition (filling in the hypothesis). Inductive elaboration quantifies the characters/composition of the occurrence. TEST - measure the phenomenon (repeatedly as needed), its characters, does the theory portray the phenomenon accurately? Note: it's not only a question of quantities fed into the model; instead the model, the schema, itself remains on trial.
3. Predict the occurrence's effects. Deductive appraisal/differentiation of the occurrence by its implications TEST - evaluatively test the phenomenon's implications/"redistributions", does the theory appraise the phenomenon accurately? Repetition of test in order to measure the distinctive effect, the 'signal', of the theorized occurrence.
4. Draw lessons from the occurrence, say what its other forms would be. Equivalentially deductive status/placement/identification of the occurrence by drawing conclusions/lessons from it. TEST - test for the phenomenon's nontrivially equivalent forms. Increasingly diverse ways of reproduction of results to chart the convergent indicators/locators of the (theorized) occurrence.

Older account (admittedly more detailed)
In attempting an explanatory interpretation of a surprising phenomenon, one addresses 1. why?, 2. how?, 3. making what difference?, 4. established in what form?:
1. Surmises to an explanatory object (which could be an entity, law, tendency, whatever).
2. Thence induces to some mediating representation (mechanism, traits, incentive, opportunity, etc.). I'm uncertain here. Anyway, one induces to how the explanatory object (entity, law, etc.) would work. One builds a little theory. Peirce includes in the abductive stage (the first stage) the formulation of what the wonder to be explained is in light of the hypothesis. I'd put that here instead. Within the hypothetical (surmised) scenario about what has happened, a inductive likely scenario about what is happening.
3. Thence precisively deduces to what meaningful difference(s) (besides the surprising phenomenon) the represented object would mean. Within the hypothetical explanatory scenario, a inductive descriptive scenario and, within that, one notices a potential difference (from what one would expect sans the hypothesis) which one reports, so to speak. One notes or reports the testable hypothetical prediction. If this stage includes tests, then they'll be a test and its repetition in the same form. Reproduction in other forms comes next, in the 4th stage.
4. Thence equivalentially deduces to individual tests or observations to be made. The equivalence is in the sense of the experiment's being a crucial test of the reported testable part of the hypothetical prediction (not of the hypothesis per se). The range of possible outcomes (truth or falsehood, or some more "nuanced" range of truth statuses designated for preservation across equivalences) seems to be a good simple example of a gauge of that to which I allude by "complexity" above. (In the ironic criteria, "nontriviality", "depth", "nonsimplicity", etc., refer to that in some phenomenological sense, that of a sort of apposite or collateral convolution, the same sense in which "novelty" in the ironic criterion for a forward-only deductive conclusion refers to information - it's subjective - deductive conclusions don't really tell you anything new in an info-theoretic sense. It might better be called "aspectual" than "subjective" insofar as "subjective" in the context of reasoning sometimes suggests the incorporation, into the reasoning itself, of subjective quantitative estimates of probability, a sense which could be extended to the incorporation of subjective estimates of optima, novelty and significance, and (nontrivial) data, and I'm not talking about such subjective estimates.) 'End of older account.

As Peirce said, sign and interpretant convey information but not experience of the object. But I diverge from Peirce and hold that it means that semiosis needs a (more or less) soundly or firmly conclusional element, a kind of "recognizant", along with the standard triad of obect, sign, interpretant, and needs to be tetradic throughout. What sort of firmness? It should be a kind of complexus. It should adduce, colligate, be firmly moored.

3. Philosophy ought to imitate the successful sciences in its methods, so far as to proceed only from tangible premisses which can be subjected to careful scrutiny, and to trust rather to the multitude and variety of its arguments than to the conclusiveness of any one. Its reasoning should not form a chain which is no stronger than its weakest link, but a cable whose fibers may be ever so slender, provided they are sufficiently numerous and intimately connected.
  — C. S. Peirce (1868), "Some Consequences of Four Incapacities", Journal of Speculative Philosophy v. 2, n. 3, pp. 140–157, see bottom of p. 140.

Now, an indexical "jab" certainly gets one's attention, but proves nothing beyond itself except through some recognition-worthiness of a correspondence to the indicated object. As meaning is formed into an interpretant, so recognition-worthiness, evidentiary status, is formed into a kind of recognizant, a kind of conclusion that adduces or colligates firm premisses or reasons. It's not unusual for semiotics fans to analogize sign and interpretant to encoding and decoding, respectively. The triadic version's lack of a semiotic analog — such as the "recognizant" would be — to the info-theoretic recipient does not disturb them as it well should. (The word "recognizant" sounds too psychological compared to words like "sign" and "interpretant", but I haven't thought of a better word.) Now, a symbol is a sign defined by its effect on the interpretant, i.e. by its meaning independently of indexicality or resemblance. A sign defined by its supporting a recognizant, i.e. by its recognition-worthiness, its legitimacy as a stand-in for the object for observational and experimentational purposes, could fairly be called a proxy. (I would call tree rings indices of weather conditions, not proxies for thermometers; they're only partly proxies for thermometers, and the essential point is indicativeness about weather & climate.) This opens the way to understanding in semiotic terms how one reasonably recognizes establishments of claims sometimes without direct observation of the object in the given case. A mathematical diagram is far better understood as a kind of proxy than, a la Peirce, as a kind of semblance or icon (I've found that my proxy-vs.-semblance distinction is much like Robert Rosen's model-vs.-simulacrum distinction); for mathematics bridges immense disparities of appearance, look, sound, sensed or imagined, etc. Imagination, as mode of access par excellence to pure-mathematical truth, is not about generating images of flowers, but about metamorphosic bridges spanning fantastic chasms of dissimilarity of appearance. And that's your friendly neighborhood Tetrast's opinion, though there's not exactly a forest of us fourists.

New draft underway: Classification ofthe sciences (Peirce)[edit]

User:The Tetrast/2

Update: I've added it as a regular article to Wikipedia, Classification of the sciences (Peirce)]. The Tetrast 21:33, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Excellent Peirce classification page! I almost never cite Wikipedia, but I cited Classification of the sciences (Peirce) here. Do you recommend a good book on Peirce's classification of the sciences?
Also, I find it interesting that Peirce never cited Pierre Duhem (that I know of), who famously wrote (Aim & Structure of Physical Theory p. 7):

A physical theory…is an abstract system whose aim is to summarize and classify logically a group of experimental laws without claiming to explain these laws.

thank you —Geremia (talk) 23:44, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, Geremia. Sorry it took me a while, I don't often edit Wikipedia anymore. I just did a search for "Duhem" in the Intelex electronic editions of Collected Papers, Writings 1–6, and Contributions to "The Nation", and nothing by Peirce himself turned up. It's very possible that Peirce read Duhem, and Peirce does somewhere mention reading many, many things about the classification of the sciences, but as one gets into publications in the year 1906 and afterwards, the possibility decreases. I confess that I haven't read any books by others about Peirce's classifications. I don't know of any efforts to update his classification to include contemporary sciences. The Tetrast (talk) 01:43, 18 February 2017 (UTC).

Joining & Mixups[edit]

I've joined in order to attempt improvements in the articles on C.S. Peirce. I am not in academe but have read and thought about C.S. Peirce to a significant extent. Some Peirceans may remember me from the e-forum peirce-l and, I hope, remember my efforts there to "get Peirce right" even though I disagree with him in certain regards. My views are at The Tetrast which, despite its blog format, doesn't consist of new posts at regular intervals but instead consists of discussions (currently eleven), mostly works in progress, which I revise sometimes and in some cases leave off revising though most of them need improvements. There's also The Tetrast2: Speculation Lounge

Udate March 17, 2007 (further edited since): I was for a while suspected of being Jon Awbrey's sockpuppet but administrator Slim Virgin has kindly unbanned me.

My real name, which I wish I didn't feel it necessary to state, is Benjamin Udell. Well, I guess it doesn't really matter. See my blogs (linked above) and:

Here is peirce-l's homepage at Arisbe: The Peirce Gateway.

I'm less Peircean than Awbrey is, I hold with none of Peirce's threefold structures, I live in NYC, and I really am an independently existent person!

Also see on my user talk page the draft (which still needs some edits to conform it to stylistic standards) of an article on Kinds of Signs (Peirce). I'd like to add it as a separate article to the Wikipedia but I fear that what happened to the Peirce article would happen to it too. I don't want to add it, only to have to turn around and ask for it to be protected. Update: I've now posted it as a new article Semiotic elements and classes of signs (Peirce) The Tetrast 17:15, 17 September 2007 (UTC)