Charles Sanders Peirce, Excerpts from Ms. 692

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Matt Faunce

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Jul 18, 2012, 1:40:46 PM7/18/12
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C. S. Peirce, excerpts from Ms. 692:

Now our percepts and direct observations relate exclusively to the
circumstances that happened to exist when they were made, and not to any
future occasion in which we might be in doubt how to act. Consequently,
observed facts do not, in themselves, contain any practical knowledge;
and in order to attain such knowledge, additions must be made to the
data of perception. Any proposition added to the percepts, tending to
make those data illuminate other circumstances than those under which
they were observed, may be called a hypothesis. For instance, it is a
hypothesis that thirteen of the present United States were former
colonies of Great Britain. For it cannot be directly observed. All that
we can observe is that it is so asserted in books and tradition, and
that a few monuments of divers kinds support the assertion. [pg. 13-14]

That neither deduction nor induction can ever add the smallest item to
the data of perception; and, as we have already noticed, mere percepts
do not constitute any knowledge applicable to any practical or
theoretical use. All that makes knowledge applicable comes to us via
abduction. Looking out my window this lovely spring morning I see an
azalea in full bloom. No, no! I do not see that; though that is the only
way I can describe what I see. That is a proposition, a sentence, a
fact; but what I perceive is not proposition, sentence, fact, but only
an image, which I make intelligible in part by means of a statement of
fact. This statement is abstract; but what I see is concrete. I perform
an abduction when I so much as express in a sentence anything I see. The
truth is that the whole fabric of our knowledge is one matted felt of
pure hypothesis confirmed and refined by induction. Not the smallest
advance can be made in knowledge beyond the stage of vacant staring,
without making an abduction at every step. [pg. 26-27]

In man, two broad instincts common to all animals, the instinct for
getting food, and the instinct for reproduction, are developed into some
degree of rational insight into nature. The instincts connected with
getting food require that every animal should have some just ideas of
the action of mechanical forces. In man these ideas become abstract and
general. [�] [pg. 27-28]

The instincts connected with reproduction require that every animal
should have some tact and judgment as to how another animal will feel
and act under different circumstances. These ideas likewise take more
abstract forms in man, and enable us to make our initial hypotheses
successfully in the psychical side of science, � in such studies, for
example, as psychology, linguistics, ethnology, history, economics, etc.
It is evident that unless man had some inward light tending to make his
guesses on these subjects much more often true than they would be by
mere chance, the human race would long ago have been extirpated for its
utter incapacity in the struggles for existence; or if some protection
had kept it continually multiplying, the time from the tertiary epoch to
our own would be altogether too short to expect that the human race
could yet have made its first happy guess in any science. The mind of
man has been formed under the action of the laws of nature, and
therefore it is not so very surprising to find that its constitution is
such that, when we can get rid of caprices, idiosyncrasies, and other
perturbations, its thoughts naturally show a tendency to agree with the
laws of nature. [pg. 28 - 30]

Zerkon

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Jul 19, 2012, 9:05:03 AM7/19/12
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In article <ju6sev$m1f$1...@dont-email.me>, mattf...@gmail.com says...
> Looking out my window this lovely spring morning I see an
> azalea in full bloom. No, no! I do not see that;
>

You see light which physically interacts with your senses. This
interaction is not the result of a perception or a brain process. It is
a physical vibratory electromagnetic process not at all dependent upon
how one thinks as this [a part of 'this' being the sun] will affect a
person's body/being even if they do not have eyes to see it or a brain
to think it or a human species to live it. You are not therefore
physically isolated from the azalea by the azalea thought and the azalea
thought is more than some arbitrary representation that just happens by
magic in a brain vat.

Hezz Hattuck

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Jul 19, 2012, 11:05:58 AM7/19/12
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Matt Faunce <mattf...@gmail.com> wrote in
news:ju6sev$m1f$1...@dont-email.me:

> C. S. Peirce, excerpts from Ms. 692:

> [...] That neither deduction nor induction can ever add the smallest
> item to the data of perception; and, as we have already noticed, mere
> percepts do not constitute any knowledge applicable to any practical or
> theoretical use. All that makes knowledge applicable comes to us via
> abduction. Looking out my window this lovely spring morning I see an
> azalea in full bloom. No, no! I do not see that; though that is the only
> way I can describe what I see. That is a proposition, a sentence, a
> fact; but what I perceive is not proposition, sentence, fact, but only
> an image, which I make intelligible in part by means of a statement of
> fact. This statement is abstract; but what I see is concrete. I perform
> an abduction when I so much as express in a sentence anything I see. The
> truth is that the whole fabric of our knowledge is one matted felt of
> pure hypothesis confirmed and refined by induction. Not the smallest
> advance can be made in knowledge beyond the stage of vacant staring,
> without making an abduction at every step. [pg. 26-27]

"Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions (appearances) without
concepts (interpretation) are blind." --Immanuel Kant

Thus a house, despite assimilating surrounding influences or data like the
person living in it, lacks a presence of the world as well as itself - not
even having a formal theory of things being manifested or felt or located
in space, to acquire mapped content for. Raw information without a system
of organized conditioning for understanding or producing meaning for it is
absence. If an atom did have a *what it's like to be an atom* -
panexperientialism, it would still be blind to such properties.

Matt Faunce

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Jul 19, 2012, 4:34:58 PM7/19/12
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I agree, and I think it's safe to say this is consistent with what
Peirce believed.

Peirce fiercely defends the second part of your last sentence. The
arbitrary connection is one nominalists make. While Peirce follows in
the footsteps of both Kant and the scholastic realist Duns Scotus in
many ways, he accused them, as well as even his pragmatist followers, of
being "too nominalistic."

--
Matt

Zerkon

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Jul 20, 2012, 10:01:13 AM7/20/12
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In article <XnsA09566BD339...@88.198.244.100>,
hzzh...@nospam.invalid says...
> "Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions (appearances) without
> concepts (interpretation) are blind." --Immanuel Kant

Empty thought? Is this like an empty bottle? Kant seems locked away in
Thought Per Se Thing-Thing Prison.

Matt

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May 24, 2015, 8:35:14 PM5/24/15
to
Here's a little more of the quote I typed from the handwritten manuscript.

C. S. Peirce, from MS. 692 pg. 25-31:
o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~
Any novice in logic may well be surprised at my calling a guess an inference. It is equally easy to define inference so as to exclude or include abduction. But all the objects of logical study have to be classified; and it is found that there is no other good class in which to put abduction but that of inferences. Many logicians, however, leave it unclassified, as sort of logical supernumerary, as if its importance were too small to entitle it to any regular place. They evidently forget that neither deduction nor induction can ever add the smallest item to the data of perception; and, as we have already noticed, mere percepts do not constitute any knowledge applicable to any practical or theoretical use. All that makes knowledge applicable comes to us via abduction. Looking out my window this lovely spring morning I see an azalea in full bloom. No, no! I do not see that; though that is the only way I can describe what I see. That is a proposition, a sentence, a fact; but what I perceive is not proposition, sentence, fact, but only an image, which I make intelligible in part by means of a statement of fact. This statement is abstract; but what I see is concrete. I perform an abduction when I so much as express in a sentence anything I see. The truth is that the whole fabric of our knowledge is one matted felt of pure hypothesis confirmed and refined by induction. Not the smallest advance can be made in knowledge beyond the stage of vacant staring, without making an abduction at every step.

When a chicken first emerges from the shell, it does not try fifty random ways of appeasing its hunger, but within five minutes is picking up food, choosing as it picks, and picking what it aims to pick. That is not reasoning, because it is not done deliberately; but in every respect but that, it is just like abductive inference. In man, two broad instincts common to all animals, the instinct for getting food, and the instinct for reproduction, are developed into some degree of rational insight into nature. The instincts connected with getting food require that every animal should have some just ideas of the action of mechanical forces. In man these ideas become abstract and general. Archimedes and Galileo make right guesses about mechanics almost at once. Only a few of their notions have to be rejected, because they know how to do their guessing piece-meal and in an orderly sequence. Out of their guesses, corrected by induction and deduction, the science of dynamics has been built. Guided by the ideas of dynamics, physicists have guessed at the constitution of gases, the nature of heat and of sound, and experiment has only corrected errors and measured quantities. By analogous processes, on science suggesting ideas for another, the whole physical side of our theoretical knowledge has grown up out of the original seed of the food instincts.

The instincts connected with reproduction require that every animal should have some tact and judgment as to how another animal will feel and act under different circumstances. These ideas likewise take more abstract forms in man, and enable us to make our initial hypotheses successfully in the psychical side of science, - in such studies, for example, as psychology, linguistics, ethnology, history, economics, etc.

It is evident that unless man had some inward light tending to make his guesses on these subjects much more often true than they would be by mere chance, the human race would long ago have been extirpated for its utter incapacity in the struggles for existence; or if some protection had kept it continually multiplying, the time from the tertiary epoch to our own would be altogether too short to expect that the human race could yet have made its first happy guess in any science. The mind of man has been formed under the action of the laws of nature, and therefore it is not so very surprising to find that its constitution is such that, when we can get rid of caprices, idiosyncrasies, and other perturbations, its thoughts naturally show a tendency to agree with the laws of nature.

But it is one thing to say that the human mind has a sufficient magnetic turning toward the truth to cause the right guess to be made in the course of centuries during which a hundred good guesses have been unceasingly occupied in endeavoring to make such a guess, and a far different thing to say that the first guess that may happen to possess Tom, Dick, or Harry has any appreciably greater probability of being true than false.

It is necessary to remember that among the swarms who have covered the globe, there have not been above these individuals, Archimedes, Galileo, and Thomas Young, whose mechanical and physical guesses were mostly correct in the first instance.

It is necessary to remember that even those unparalleled intelligences would certainly not have guessed right if they had not all possessed a great art of so subdividing their guesses as to give to each one almost the character of self-evidence. Thus, the proof by Archimedes of the properties of the lever, which makes the foundation of the whole science of mechanics, is composed of a series of abduction, or guesses. But look at the character of those guesses. He begins by saying that equal weights freely hanging from the extremities of an equal-armed balance will be in equilibrium. That was a mater of familiar knowledge; at least when the two weights were suspended at equal distances from the balance. But Archimedes guessed that the length of the suspending thread would make no difference, otherwise than by its own weight. [Peirce goes on from here to describe the orderly sequence of Archimedes piece-meal guesses.]
o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~o~~~~~

Matt
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