[lit-ideas] Re: Peirceiana
- From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2015 06:59:10 +0000 (UTC)
My unorthodox spelling of Peirce must be due to confusing him with my second
On Thursday, 30 July 2015, 7:52, Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Re Pierce: Popper's thought has many similarities with Pierce's - we might say
Popper is a Piercean with even greater logical rigour and also a clearer
insistence that the pragmatics of judgment may be based on 'objective
knowledge'. Popper mostly wrote without being aware of Pierce so the
similarities were not the product of direct influence (that Pierce's
significance was not recognised early is indicated by the excerpt from his Wiki
entry below). I think somewhere Popper expresses his wish that he had come
across Pierce sooner.
Bertrand Russell (1959) wrote, "Beyond doubt [...] he was one of the most
original minds of the later nineteenth century, and certainly the greatest
American thinker ever." (Russell and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica,
published from 1910 to 1913, does not mention Peirce; Peirce's work was not
widely known until later.) A. N. Whitehead, while reading some of Peirce's
unpublished manuscripts soon after arriving at Harvard in 1924, was struck by
how Peirce had anticipated his own "process" thinking. (On Peirce and process
metaphysics, see Lowe 1964.) Karl Popper viewed Peirce as "one of the
greatest philosophers of all times". Yet Peirce's achievements were not
immediately recognized. His imposing contemporaries William James and Josiah
Royce admired him, and Cassius Jackson Keyser at Columbia and C. K. Ogden
wrote about Peirce with respect, but to no immediate effect.>
On Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 18:52, "dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx"
In a message dated 7/28/2015 1:34:58 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx writes: "I'm between books. Charles Sanders Peirce is
mentioned in the play, so I spent some time trying to make sense of his work.
Very little joy, I'm afraid."
Of course, the American philosopher C. S. Peirce should not be confused
with the Oxford philosopher D. F. Pears (they are pronounced similarly, but
their pronouncements differed).
Matter of fact, Pears was H. P. Grice's tutee (as it were), and a "student"
as they call'em, of Christ Church. Peirce's Oxonian associations are more
However, as it happens, H. P. Grice, Pears's tutor (as it were) lectured
(in his capacity of University Lecturer) on Peirce. He did this well before
he even hand-wrote his seminal "Meaning" in 1948. Grice's "Lectures on
Peirce" are deposited at Bancroft, UC/Berkeley, although they are Oxonian
Readers of "Logic and Conversation" smelled of Peirce in things like
Grice's references to the 'interpretant'. In general, Grice's cursory
of Peirce in those lectures (he only lectured on Peirce's theory of signs)
is that Peirce could hardly be called an "ordinary language philosopher"
when "ordinary language philosophy" was the ONLY one accepted at Oxford at
Grice calls Peirce's vocabulary technocryptical, and if Peirce never uses
short Anglo-Saxon terms (like "mean"), Grice does. Peirce would rather talk,
any time, on symbol, sign, and index. The idea of 'factivity' Grice
learned from Peirce. If the weathercock points to the north-east this 'means'
something about the direction of the wind is blowing. "Mean" may sound too
anthropomorphic, and Peirce avoided it ("mean" is cognate with "mind", and can
smoke "mean" rain?), but Grice surely didn't.
Grice still found Peirce's theory incomplete, since it never covered his
pet topic: the implicature!
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