"Challenging Charles S. Peirce"
To: email@example.com From: "David G. McDivitt" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001 09:38:16 -0800
OK, I will make an attempt.
........Most of us...are naturally more sanguine and hopeful than logic
........would justify. We seem to be so constituted that in the absence
........of any facts to go upon we are happy and self-satisfied; so
........that the effect of experience is continually to contract our
........hopes and aspirations.
I question what "logic" he is speaking of. The only logic I know of is born out of empiricism, and here he discounts that. Assume there are several cavemen sitting around with grunting as their only form of language. Ontologically speaking, and I know you love ontology, there are however many dead facts laying around for them to take advantage of. Knowledge is there isn't it? Facts are there are they? Why aren't the cavemen using any? Combined with supposed facts must be some precipitory element to use those facts. Mr. Peirce acknowledges no precipitory aspect at all. Some how, some way, I guess facts are just going to activate themselves. It is as if a person is born into a world full of self evident factual knowledge, and all one must do is pick them off a tree. How nice it would be if some authority was ever present to teach us everything we needed to know, always to tell us our developing logic may be following the wrong course, caring for us and nurturing, so we might develop into the PROPER representation of human beings. Totally ridiculous.
He goes on:
........The truth is, that common-sense, or thought as it first emerges
........above the level of the narrowly practical, is deeply imbued
........with that bad logical quality to which the epithet metaphysical
........is commonly applied; and nothing can clear it up but a severe
........course of logic.
Narrowly practical? Is this another jab at empiricism? Does he mean logic will cure the ailing nature of empirical pursuit? The glaring hole in his perspective is his logic has no form, no technique, and no process by which to be realized. Hey, let's just throw logic at our problems. Kind of like throwing money at problems isn't it? Where should it all come from? If a person is doing the best he can, using his brain to the best of his ability and fully applying himself, I guess he should stop that and use logic instead. Go find the right tree and pick some of that mystical fruit, right? Oh, I know what it is. If a person is living a moral life, God will smile, and show that person where this tree really is. To hell with empiricism. Let's just live morally and hope God is benevolent.
Finally he caps it off by refuting the need to even think at all:
........The object of reasoning is to find out, from the consideration
........of what we already know, something else which we do not know.
........Consequently, reasoning is good if it be such as to give a
........true conclusion from true premisses, and not otherwise. Thus,
........the question of validity is purely one of fact and not of
A true conclusion from true premises? How does one know this truth on the outset? Why even get out of bed? Truth is known by trial and error, only. It is known by mistakes made. Are we to see mistakes as evil? I don't think so. According to Mr. Peirce I guess, if a person had been using some of this mystical logic, there would be no mistakes. I challenge him regarding the "object of reasoning". By it he postures some fictitious knowledge set, preexisting in a state of perfection, that our less than perfect repertoire is in comparison to. All I can say is: Show it to me Mr. Peirce!
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