>[Clark] On Dec 5, 2007, at 3:26 PM, Benjamin Udell wrote:
>>[Ben] I don't know about
Frege, but Peirce's view doesn't reject the idea that truth is a general and
is the property of a proposition corresponding to its object.
>[Clark] Yes, but Peirce's position that it
is real but not existent whereas Frege and the Platonists say universals of this
sort "exist" in a sense. So Peirce is anti-Platonic in that sense.
No immaterial entities of that sort. Further Peirce is careful to
make a distinction in idealism between finite minds and the infinite community.
I'd also say, as others have pointed out, that the relationship between
proposition and original object is complex. That's why I said
conforms rather than corresponds. (Even though I
have to admit I say correspond a lot myself - I just think we have to
distinguish Peirce from most correspondence theories)
>>[Ben] I'm not aware that Peirce
opposes hypostatization of terms, propositions, or arguments into some
immaterial objects "in the air" and I think that he would tend to support it,
e.g., the sign "of" is a pure copulative sign which doesn't even denominate or
describe, but one could hypostatize relationships into a class of objects over
which the sign "of" extends in some sense.
>[Clark] I admit I don't have a quote for this handy. Give me some
time. I'm very sure that Peirce's distinction between reality and
existence entails the rejection of the kind of Platonism you assert. It's
wrapped up in how he reads Scotus, as I recall.
I'm using Peirce's definition of "object" -- anything that one can think
of, not necessarily something actual. Peirce held that there are real
>>[Ben] The "belief from the future" is from a conditional future,
a would-be future.
>[Clark] Would-be in a certain sense. I think his conception of
the evolution of the universe via agapism means that it has a true teleological
function. So one has to be careful with how we take would-be here.
It is a would-be that is destined in a very real sense.
It's not at all clear that Peirce sees a final
end, within a finite time, of everything collectively.
>[Clark] Most of your other points I don't
have quibbles with though.
>>[Ben] I assume that, by "universal," you
mean that which Peirce meant by "general." Peirce did bring time into it,
though I'm not well versed in his writing on it.
>[Clark] It becomes a habit and thus is a
general law. TIme enters in because it is part of the evolutionary
development of the universe. I think Peirce's metaphysics of time may be
problematic ultimately, but I don't think it matters much in this case.
The point is that as a general it can be true of things in the past.
There is simultaneously an atemporality about it (for it to function
logically as a general) and a temporality (to handle his cosmology of
evolution). I think Kelly Parker's writings here are quite
The involvement of time in many kinds of
generality is clear in Peirce. Actually I got my editing mixed up. I meant that
Peirce brings time even into "extreme" generality, i.e. Peircean continuity,
which seems like a kind of universal to me. Anyway the kind of evolution that
occurs in many generals doesn't seem paradoxical, if we're talking about the
evolution of a somewhat elliptical proposition. Evolution in the sense of
learning is not merely change but is instead cumulative as well. We don't
adopt new theories that explain less well that which previous theories
explained. A proposition or a theory can increase their longevity by, as
Peirce says, making open account of their own fallibility and vagueness, and by
not closing doors on issues that aren't soundly settled.
>>[Ben] So, how does one link up the
time-reversible (universal) with the time-irreversible (e.g., inquiry). A law
is a repeatably instantiated universal; inquiry moves from part toward whole
in probing a universe which in a sense is a uniquely instantiated
>[Clark] Well, I'm not sure it ultimately
works. I seem to recall a quote with Peirce's scholastic
distinction between relations in mind, relations in logic and relations in
reality that deals with this. But my memory may be faulty here. My
personal feeling is that while agapism and continuity get all the criticism it
may well be that Peirce's concept of time ends up not being up to the tasks he
sets for it.
I'm not sure whether you're keeping in mind
that the inquirial time about which Peirce talks could possibly be infinite. If
we talk about a finite time, then it seems that we talk about a finite community
of investigators, and it is not with the final actual opinion of any finite,
definite community of investigators, that Peirce identifies the final
>>[Ben] Quine complains that Peirce's
"nearer the truth" and "farther from the truth" mix numeric ideas with truth
ideas, Sowa says theory lattices allow it.
>[Clark] Quine gets Peirce so wrong so
regularly that it's hard to take what he says very seriously. I think he
misreads Peirce on truth and knowledge quite badly. I'd have to break out
my Sowa as I don't recall what he wrote about theory lattices - but wasn't this
wrapped up with infinite ones?
I don't remember, my main point was that at the
philosophical level one doesn't make predictions about how actual sciences will
approach the truth, and it seems to me that some criticisms of Peirce's view of
truth as an ideal limit have been based on a feeling that it implies that,
if we just look around, we will see a smooth asymptotic approach to
truth embodied in the actual sciences all around us, and nobody really expects
to see that. To put it another way, I couldn't believe that Quine was
merely objecting that Peirce hadn't formalized some notion of a theory's
nearness to or farness from truth, but maybe that's really what he meant, I
>>[Ben] Bottom line, it's a normative,
regulative principle, one doesn't predict that actual science will steadily
and asymptotically approach the truth, instead one gauges the health of actual
science by a demonstrated closing in on truth.
>[Clark] Well it certainly is a regulative
principle since the conditions in question regarding infinities simply don't
apply to finite beings.
>[Clark] Whether that means there could be
not actuality to it I disagree with. I think he does feel it to be more
than merely regulative. I'll see if I can't find some quotes along those
lines tonight. (Once again Kelly Parker has discussed this a fair
I think that he thinks that we can indeed
find cases of it, just as we find cases of special phenomena that nicely
and neatly embody general statistical principles. It's just that we have to do
some special science, and not merely general statistical theory, in order to
establish that those special phenomena are valid cases of the embodiment.
>> Well, there's no meaningful signal
transmission, so no "meaningful" causality. Arguments over Bertlmann's socks.
Also this has become how some people explain socks disappearing in the
>[Clark] There's no causality at all. That's why I said we have
to distinguish "determines" (i.e. moves from vagueness) from
causality. Personally I think this key to the temporal aspects of
[ADDED in subsequent post] >[Clark] To add, I think distinguishing
between "determines" from "causes" is very important in Peirce's later
conception of the Object of a Sign as it determines the sign. Far too
many read this as a kind of efficient causation which I don't think is what
It's not clear to me that the determination in your quantum example is an
example of Peircean determination or somehow analogous to it.
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