René Guénon, EL SAGRADO CORAZÓN Y LA LEYENDA DEL SANTO GRIAL(1)

 

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EL SAGRADO CORAZÓN Y LA LEYENDA DEL SANTO GRIAL(1)

 

René Guénon

En uno de sus últimos artículos (“Regnabit”, junio de 1925) (2), L. Charbonneau-Lassay señala con mucha razón, como vinculada a lo que podría llamarse la “prehistoria del Corazón eucarístico de Jesús” la leyenda del Santo Grial, escrita en el siglo XII, pero muy anterior por sus orígenes puesto que es en realidad una adaptación cristiana de muy antiguas tradiciones célticas. La idea de esta vinculación ya se nos había ocurrido con motivo del articulo anterior, extremadamente interesante desde el punto de vista en que nos colocamos, intitulado “Le Coeur humain et la notion du Coeur de Dieu dans la religion de l’ancienne Égypte” (noviembre de 1924 (2)), del cual recordaremos el siguiente pasaje: “En los jeroglíficos, escritura sagrada donde a menudo la imagen de la cosa representa la palabra misma que la designa, el corazón no fue, empero, figurado sino por un emblema: el vaso. El corazón del hombre, ¿no es, en efecto, el vaso en que su vida se elabora continuamente con su sangre?” Este vaso, tomado como símbolo del corazón y sustituto de éste en la ideografía egipcia, nos había hecho pensar inmediatamente en el Santo Grial, tanto más cuanto que en este último, aparte del sentido general del símbolo (considerado, por lo demás, a la vez en sus dos aspectos, divino y humano), vemos una relación especial y mucho más directa con el Corazón mismo de Cristo.

 

En efecto, el Santo Grial es la copa que contiene la preciosa Sangre de Cristo, y que la contiene inclusive dos veces, ya que sirvió primero para la Cena y después José de Arimatea recogió en él la sangre y el agua que manaban de la herida abierta por la lanza del centurión en el costado del Redentor. Esa copa sustituye, pues, en cierto modo, al Corazón de Cristo como receptáculo de su sangre, toma, por así decirlo, el lugar de aquél y se convierte en un como equivalente simbólico: ¿y no es más notable aún, en tales condiciones, que el vaso haya sido ya antiguamente un emblema del corazón? Por otra parte, la copa, en una u otra forma, desempeña, al igual que el corazón mismo, un papel muy importante en muchas tradiciones antiguas; y sin duda era así particularmente entre los celtas, puesto que de éstos procede lo que constituyó el fondo mismo o por lo menos la trama de la leyenda del Santo Grial. Es lamentable que no pueda apenas saberse con precisión cuál era la forma de esta tradición con anterioridad al Cristianismo, lo que, por lo demás, ocurre con todo lo que concierne a las doctrinas célticas, para las cuales la enseñanza oral fue siempre el único modo de transmisión utilizado; pero hay, por otra parte, concordancia suficiente para poder al menos estar seguros sobre el sentido de los principales símbolos que figuraban en ella, y esto es, en suma, lo más esencial.

 

Pero volvamos a la leyenda en la forma en que nos ha llegado; lo que dice sobre el origen mismo del Grial es muy digno de atención: esa copa habría sido tallada por los ángeles en una esmeralda desprendida de la frente de Lucifer en el momento de su caída. Esta esmeralda recuerda de modo notable la urnâ, perla frontal que, en la iconografía hindú, ocupa a menudo el lugar del tercer ojo de Shiva, representando lo que puede llamarse el “sentido de la eternidad”. Esta relación nos parece más adecuada que cualquier otra para esclarecer perfectamente el simbolismo del Grial; y hasta puede captarse en ello una vinculación más con el corazón, que, para la tradición hindú como para muchas otras, pero quizá todavía más claramente, es el centro del ser integral, y al cual, por consiguiente, ese “sentido de la eternidad” debe ser directamente vinculado.

 

Se dice luego que el Grial fue confiado a Adán en el Paraíso terrestre, pero que, a raíz de su caída, Adán lo perdió a su vez, pues no pudo llevarlo consigo cuando fue expulsado del Edén; y esto también se hace bien claro con el sentido que acabamos de indicar. El hombre, apartado de su centro original por su propia culpa, se encontraba en adelante encerrado en la esfera temporal; no podía ya recobrar el punto único desde el cual todas las cosas se contemplan bajo el aspecto de la eternidad.

 

El Paraíso terrestre, en efecto, era verdaderamente el “Centro del Mundo” asimilado simbólicamente en todas partes al Corazón divino; ¿y no cabe decir que Adán, en tanto estuvo en el Edén, vivía verdaderamente en el Corazón de Dios?

 

Lo que sigue es más enigmático: Set logró entrar en el Paraíso terrestre y pudo así recuperar el precioso vaso; ahora bien: Set es una de las figuras del Redentor, tanto más cuanto que su nombre mismo expresa las ideas de fundamento y estabilidad, y anuncia de algún modo la restauración del orden primordial destruido por la caída del hombre. Había, pues, desde entonces, por lo menos una restauración parcial, en el sentido de que Set y los que después de él poseyeron el Grial podían por eso mismo establecer, en algún lugar de la tierra, un centro espiritual que era como una imagen del Paraíso perdido. La leyenda, por otra parte, no dice dónde ni por quién fue conservado el Grial hasta la época de Cristo, ni cómo se aseguró su transmisión; pero el origen céltico que se le reconoce debe probablemente dejar comprender que los Druidas tuvieron una parte de ello y deben contarse entre los conservadores regulares de la tradición primordial. En todo caso, la existencia de tal centro espiritual, o inclusive de varios, simultánea o sucesivamente, no parece poder ponerse en duda, como quiera haya de pensarse acerca de su localización; lo que debe notarse es que se adjudicó en todas partes y siempre a esos centros, entre otras designaciones, la de “Corazón del Mundo”, y que, en todas las tradiciones, las descripciones referidas a él se basan en un simbolismo idéntico, que es posible seguir hasta en los más precisos detalles. ¿No muestra esto suficientemente que el Grial, o lo que está así representado, tenía ya, con anterioridad al Cristianismo, y aun a todo tiempo, un vínculo de los más estrechos con el Corazón divino y con el Emmanuel, queremos decir, con la manifestación, virtual o real según las edades, pero siempre presente, del Verbo eterno en el seno de la humanidad terrestre?

 

Después de la muerte de Cristo, el Santo Graal, según la leyenda, fue llevado a Gran Bretaña por José de Arimatea y Nicodemo; comienza entonces a desarrollarse la historia de los Caballeros de la Tabla Redonda y sus hazañas, que no es nuestra intención seguir aquí. La Tabla (o Mesa) Redonda estaba destinada a recibir al Grial cuando uno de sus caballeros lograra conquistarlo y transportarlo de Gran Bretaña a Armórica; y esa Tabla (o Mesa) es también un símbolo verosímilmente muy antiguo, uno de aquellos que fueron asociados a la idea de esos centros espirituales a que acabamos de aludir. La forma circular de la mesa está, además, vinculada con el “ciclo zodiacal” (otro símbolo que merecería estudiarse más especialmente) por la presencia en torno de ella de doce personajes principales, particularidad que se encuentra en la constitución de todos los centros de que se trata. Siendo así, ¿no puede verse en el número de los doce Apóstoles una señal, entre multitud de otras, de la perfecta conformidad del Cristianismo con la tradición primordial, a la cual el nombre de “precristianismo” convendría tan exactamente? Y, por otra parte, a propósito de la Tabla Redonda, hemos destacado una extraña concordancia en las revelaciones simbólicas hechas a Marie des Vallées (véase “Regnabit, noviembre de 1924 (3)), donde se menciona “una mesa redonda de jaspe, que representa el Corazón de Nuestro Señor”, a la vez que se habla de “un jardín que es el Santo Sacramento del altar” y que, con sus “cuatro fuentes de agua viva”, se identifica misteriosamente con el Paraíso terrestre; ¿no hay aquí otra confirmación, harto sorprendente e inesperada, de las relaciones que señalábamos antes?

 

Naturalmente, estas notas demasiado rápidas no podrían pretender constituirse en un estudio completo acerca de cuestión tan poco conocida; debemos limitarnos por el momento a ofrecer simples indicaciones, y nos damos clara cuenta de que hay en ellas consideraciones que, al principio, son susceptibles de sorprender un tanto a quienes no están familiarizados con las tradiciones antiguas y sus modos habituales de expresión simbólica; pero nos reservamos el desarrollarlas y justificarlas con más amplitud posteriormente, en artículos en que pensamos poder encarar además muchos otros puntos no menos dignos de interés.

 

Entre tanto, mencionaremos aún, en lo que concierne a la leyenda del Santo Graal, una extraña complicación que hasta ahora no hemos tomado en cuenta: por una de esas asimilaciones verbales que a menudo desempeñan en el simbolismo un papel no desdeñable, y que por otra parte tienen quizá razones más profundas de lo que se imaginaría a primera vista, el Graal es a la vez un vaso (grasale) y un libro (gradale o graduale). En ciertas versiones, ambos sentidos se encuentran incluso estrechamente vinculados, pues el libro viene a ser entonces una inscripción trazada por Cristo o por un ángel en la copa misma. No nos proponemos actualmente extraer de ello ninguna conclusión, bien que sea fácil establecer relaciones con el “Libro de Vida” y ciertos elementos del simbolismo apocalíptico.

 

Agreguemos también que la leyenda asocia al Graal otros objetos, especialmente una lanza, la cual, en la adaptación cristiana, no es sino la lanza del centurión Longino; pero lo más curioso es la preexistencia de esa lanza o de alguno de sus equivalentes como símbolo en cierto modo complementario de la copa en las tradiciones antiguas. Por otra parte, entre los griegos, se consideraba que la lanza de Aquiles curaba las heridas por ella causadas; la leyenda medieval atribuye precisamente la misma virtud a la lanza de la Pasión. Y esto nos recuerda otra similitud del mismo género: en el mito de Adonis (cuyo nombre, por lo demás, significa “el Señor”), cuando el héroe es mortalmente herido por el colmillo de un jabalí (colmillo que sustituye aquí a la lanza), su sangre, vertiéndose en tierra, da nacimiento a una flor; pues bien: L. Charbonneau ha señalado en “Regnabit” (enero de 1925), “un hierro para hostias, del siglo XII, donde se ve la sangre de las llagas del Crucificado caer en gotitas que se transforman en rosas, y el vitral del siglo XIII de la catedral de Angers, donde la sangre divina, fluyendo en arroyuelos, se expande también en forma de rosas”. Volveremos enseguida sobre el simbolismo floral, encarado en un aspecto algo diferente; pero, cualquiera sea la multiplicidad de sentidos que todos los símbolos presentan, todo ello se completa y armoniza perfectamente, y tal multiplicidad, lejos de ser un inconveniente o un defecto, es al contrario, para quien sabe comprenderla, una de las ventajas principales de un lenguaje mucho menos estrechamente limitado que el lenguaje ordinario.

 

Para terminar estas notas, indicaremos algunos símbolos que en diversas tradiciones sustituyen a veces al de la copa y que le son idénticos en el fondo: esto no es salirnos del tema, pues, el mismo Grial, como puede fácilmente advertirse por todo lo que acabamos de decir, no tiene en el origen otra significación que la que tiene en general el vaso sagrado donde quiera se lo encuentra, y en particular, en Oriente, la copa sacrificial que contiene el soma védico (o el haoma mazdeo), esa extraordinaria “prefiguración eucarística sobre ‘la cual volveremos quizá en otra ocasión.

 

Lo que el soma figura propiamente es el “elixir de inmortalidad” (el amritâ de los hindúes, la ambrosía de los griegos, palabras ambas etimológicamente semejantes), el cual confiere y restituye a quienes lo reciben con las disposiciones requeridas ese “sentido de la eternidad” de que hemos hablado anteriormente.

 

Uno de los símbolos a que queremos referirnos es el triángulo con el vértice hacia abajo; es como una suerte de representación esquemática de la copa sacrificial, y con tal valor se encuentra en ciertos yantra o símbolos geométricos de la India. Por otra parte, es particularmente notable desde nuestro punto de vista que la misma figura sea igualmente un símbolo del corazón, cuya forma reproduce simplificándola: el “triángulo del corazón” es expresión corriente en las tradiciones orientales.

 

Esto nos conduce a una observación tampoco desprovista de interés: que la figuración del corazón inscrito en un triángulo así dispuesto no tiene en sí nada de ilegítimo, ya se trate del corazón humano o del Corazón divino, y que, inclusive, resulta harto significativa cuando se la refiere a los emblemas utilizados por cierto hermetismo cristiano medieval, cuyas intenciones fueron siempre plenamente ortodoxas. Si a veces se ha querido, en los tiempos modernos, atribuir a tal representación un sentido blasfemo (véase “Regnabit”, agosto-septiembre de 1924), es porque, conscientemente o no, se ha alterado la significación primera de los símbolos hasta invertir su valor normal; se trata de un fenómeno del cual podrían citarse muchos ejemplos y que por lo demás encuentra su explicación en el hecho de que ciertos símbolos son efectivamente susceptibles de doble interpretación, y tienen como dos fases opuestas. La serpiente, por ejemplo, y también el león, ¿no significan a la vez, según los casos, Cristo y Satán? No podemos entrar a exponer aquí, a ese respecto, una teoría general, que nos llevaría demasiado lejos; pero se comprenderá que hay en ello algo que hace muy delicado al manejo de los símbolos y también que este punto requiere especialísima atención cuando se trata de descubrir el sentido real de ciertos emblemas y traducirlo correctamente.

 

Otro símbolo que con frecuencia equivale al de la copa es un símbolo floral: la flor, en efecto, ¿no evoca por su forma la idea de un “receptáculo”, y no se habla del “cáliz” de una flor? En Oriente, la flor simbólica por excelencia es el loto; en Occidente, la rosa desempeña lo más a menudo ese mismo papel. Por supuesto, no queremos decir que sea ésa la única significación de esta última, ni tampoco la del loto, puesto que, al contrario, nosotros mismos habíamos antes indicado otra; pero nos inclinaríamos a verla en el diseño bordado sobre ese canon de altar de la abadía de Fontevrault (“Regnabit”, enero de 1925, figura página 106), donde la rosa está situada al pie de una lanza a lo largo de la cual llueven gotas de sangre. Esta rosa aparece allí asociada a la lanza exactamente como la copa lo está en otras partes, y parece en efecto recoger las gotas de sangre más bien que provenir de la transformación de una de ellas; pero, por lo demás, las dos significaciones se complementan más bien que se oponen, pues esas gotas, al caer sobre la rosa, la vivifican y la hacen abrir. Es la “rosa celeste”, según la figura tan frecuentemente empleada en relación con la idea de la Redención, o con las ideas conexas de regeneración y, de resurrección; pero esto exigiría aún largas explicaciones, aun cuando nos limitáramos a destacar la concordancia de las diversas tradiciones con respecto a este otro símbolo.

 

Por otra parte, ya que se ha hablado de la Rosa-Cruz con motivo del sello de Lutero (enero de 1925 (4)), diremos que este emblema hermético fue al comienzo específicamente cristiano, cualesquiera fueren las falsas interpretaciones más o menos “naturalistas” que le han sido dadas desde el siglo XVIII; y ¿no es notable que en ella la rosa ocupe, en el centro de la cruz, el lugar mismo del Sagrado Corazón? Aparte de las representaciones en que las cinco llagas del Crucificado se figuran por otras tantas rosas, la rosa central, cuando está sola, puede muy bien identificarse con el Corazón mismo, con el vaso que contiene la sangre, que es el centro de la vida y también el centro del ser total.

 

Hay aún por lo menos otro equivalente simbólico de la copa: la media luna; pero ésta, para ser explicada convenientemente, exigiría desarrollos que estarían enteramente fuera del tema del presente estudio; no lo mencionamos, pues, sino para no descuidar enteramente ningún aspecto de la cuestión.

 

De todas las relaciones que acabamos de señalar, extraeremos ya una consecuencia que esperamos poder hacer aún más manifiesta ulteriormente: cuando por todas partes se encuentran tales concordancias, ¿no es ello algo más que un simple indicio de la existencia de una tradición primordial? Y ¿cómo explicar que, con la mayor frecuencia, aquellos mismos que se creen obligados a admitir en principio esa tradición primordial no piensen más en ella y razonen de hecho exactamente como si no hubiera jamás existido, o por lo menos como si nada se hubiese conservado en el curso de los siglos? Si se detiene uno a reflexionar sobre lo que hay de anormal en tal actitud, estará quizá menos dispuesto a asombrarse de ciertas consideraciones que, en verdad, no parecen extrañas sino en virtud de los hábitos mentales propios de nuestra época. Por otra parte, basta indagar un poco, a condición de hacerlo sin prejuicio, para descubrir por todas partes las marcas de esa unidad doctrinal esencial, la conciencia de la cual ha podido a veces oscurecerse en la humanidad, pero que nunca ha desaparecido enteramente; y, a medida que se avanza en esa investigación, los puntos de comparación se multiplican corno de por sí, y a cada instante aparecen más pruebas; por cierto, el Quaerite et invenietis del Evangelio no es palabra vana.

 

NOTAS:

(1). Publicado en “Regnabit”, agosto-septiembre de 1925. Recopilado, sin el addendum aparecido en el nº de diciembre, en Aperçus sur l´Esoterisme Chrétien, capítulo IX de la 2ª parte y, con la adición incluida, en Symboles de la Science Sacrée, capítulo III.

(2). Véase “Regnabit”, junio de 1925: “Iconographie ancienne du Coeur de Jésus”.

(3). Cf. Charbonneau- Lassay, Le Bestiaire du Christ, cap. X, pág. 95 (N. Del T.).

(4). Regnabit, enero de 1925, artículo de Charbonneau-Lassay, “A propos de la rose emblématique de Martin Luther” (N. del T.).

 

PEIRCE, Ch. Sanders. Chance, Love and Logic (primera parte)

(PRIMERA PARTE)

INTRODUCTION vii –

PROEM. THE RULES OF PHILOSOPHY i

PART I. CHANCE AND LOGIC (Illustrations of the Logic

of Science.)

1. The Taxation of Belief , 7

2. How to Make Our Ideas Clear Y 32^

3. The Doctrine of Chances 61

4. Th e Probability of Induction 82

5. The Order of Nature 106

6. Deduction, Induction and Hypothesis 131

—————

Chance, Love and Logic

Philosophical Essays

By the late

CHARLES S. PEIRCE

Edited with an Introduction by

MORRIS R. COHEN

With a Supplementary Essay on the

Pragmatism of Peirce by

JOHN DEWEY

, LONDON

KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO., LTD.

NEW YORK : HARCOURT, BRACE & COMPANY, INC.

1923

B

PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.

PREFACE

IN the essays gathered together in this volume we have

the most developed and coherent available account of the

philosophy of Charles S. Peirce, whom James, Royce,

Dewey, and leading thinkers in England, France, Ger

many and Italy have placed in the forefront of the great

seminal minds of recent times. Besides their inherent

value as the expression of a highly original and fruitful

mind, unusually well trained and informed in the exact

sciences, these essays are also important as giving us the

sources of a great deal of contemporary American philoso

phy. Because of this historical importance >lo omissions

or changes have been made in the text beyond the correc

tion of some obvious slips and the recasting of a few ex

pressions in the interest of intelligibility.

In a subject which bristles with suggestions and diffi

culties the temptation to add notes of explanation or dis

sent is almost insuperable. But as such notes might easily

have doubled the size of this volume I have refrained from

all comment on the text except in a few footnotes (indi

cated, as usual, in brackets). The introduction is intended

(and I hope it will) help the reader to concatenate the

various lines of thought contained in these essays. I can

not pretend to have adequately indicated their significance.

Great minds like those of James and Royce have been

nourished by these writings and I am persuaded that they

iv PREFACE

still offer mines of fruitful suggestion. Prof. Dewey s sup

plementary essay indicates their value for the fundamental

question of metaphysics, viz. the nature of reality.

Grateful acknowledgment is here made to Mrs. Paul

Carus and to the Open Court Publishing Co. for permission

to reprint the essays of Part II from the Monist. The late

Paul Carus was one of the very few who not only gave

Peirce an opportunity to publish, but publicly recognized

the importance of his writings.

I must also acknowledge my obligation to Professor

Dewey for kind permission to reprint his essay on the

Pragmatism of Peirce from the Journal of Philosophy, and

to the editors of that Journal, Professors Woodbridge and

Bush, for permission to reprint some material of my own.

Part V of the Bibliography was compiled by Mr. Irving

Smith.

MORRIS R. COHEN

THE COLLEGE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE

INTRODUCTION vii –

PROEM. THE RULES OF PHILOSOPHY i

PART I. CHANCE AND LOGIC (Illustrations of the Logic

of Science.)

1. The Taxation of Belief , 7

2. How to Make Our Ideas Clear Y 32^

3. The Doctrine of Chances 61

4. Th e Probability of Induction 82

5. The Order of Nature 106

6. Deduction, Induction and Hypothesis 131

PART II. LOVE AND CHANCE

<- 1. The Architecture of Theories 157

* 2. The Doctrine of Necessity Examined 179

3. The Law of Mind 202

4. Man s Glassy Essence 238

5. Evolutionary Love 267

SUPPLEMENTARY ESSAY The Pragmatism of Peirce,

by John Dewey 301 v

INTRODUCTION

MANY and diverse are the minds that form the philo

sophic community. There are, first and foremost, the great

masters, the system builders who rear their stately palaces I

towering to the moon. These architectonic minds are

served by a varied host of followers and auxiliaries. Some

provide the furnishings to make these mystic mansions of

the mind more commodious, while others are engaged in

making their facades more imposing. Some are busy

strengthening weak places or building much-needed addi

tions, while many more are engaged in defending these

structures against the impetuous army of critics who are

ever eager and ready to pounce down upon and destroy all

that is new or bears the mortal mark of human imperfec

tion. There are also the philologists, those who are in a

more narrow sense scholars, who dig not only for facts or

roots, but also for the stones which may serve either for

building or as weapons of destruction. Remote from all

these, however, are the intellectual rovers who, in their

search for new fields, venture into the thick jungle that |

surrounds the little patch of cultivated science. They are

not gregarious creatures, these lonely pioneers; and in their

wanderings they often completely lose touch with those

who tread the beaten paths. Those that return to the com

munity often speak strangely of strange things; and it is

not always that they arouse sufficient faith for others to

follow them and change their trails into high roads.

vii

viii INTRODUCTION

Few nowadays question the great value of these pioneer

minds; and it is often claimed that universities are estab

lished to facilitate their work, and to prevent it from being

lost. But universities, like other well-managed institutions,

can find place only for those who work well in harness.

The restless, impatient minds, like the socially or conven

tionally unacceptable, are thus kept out, no matter how

fruitful their originality. Charles S. Peirce was certainly

one of these restless pioneer souls with the fatal gift of

genuine originality. In his early papers, in the Journal of

Speculative Philosophy, and later, in the Monist papers

reprinted as Part II of this volume, we get glimpses of a

vast philosophic system on which he was working with an

unusual wealth of material and apparatus. To a rich

imagination and extraordinary learning he added one of the

most essential gifts of successful system builders, the power

to coin an apt and striking terminology. But the admitted

incompleteness of these preliminary sketches of his philo

sophic system is not altogether due to the inherent difficulty

of the task and to external causes such as neglect and

poverty. A certain inner instability or lack of self-mas

tery is reflected in the outer moral or conventional way

wardness which, except for a few years at Johns Hopkins,

caused him to be excluded from a university career, and

thus deprived him of much needed stimulus to ordinary

consistency and intelligibility. As the years advanced,

bringing little general interest in, or recognition of, the bril

liant logical studies of his early years, Peirce became more

and more fragmentary, cryptic, and involved; so that

James, the intellectual companion of his youth, later found

INTRODUCTION ix

his lectures on pragmatism, ” flashes of brilliant light re

lieved against Cimmerian darkness ” a statement not to

be entirely discounted by the fact that James had no inter

est in or aptitude for formal logical or mathematical con

siderations.

Despite these limitations, however, Peirce stands out as

one of the great founders of modern scientific logic; and in

the realm of general philosophy the development of some

of his pregnant ideas has led to the pragmatism and

radical empiricism of James, as well as to the mathematical

idealism of Royce, and to the anti-nominalism which char- 1

acterizes the philosophic movement known as Nee-Realism. |

At any rate, the work of James, Royce, and Russell, as”

well as that of logicians like Schroeder, brings us of the

present generation into a better position to appreciate the

significance of Peirce s work, than were his contemporaries.

Peirce was by antecedents, training, and occupation a

scientist. He was a son of Benjamin Peirce, the great

Harvard mathematician, and his early environment, to

gether with his training in the Lawrence Scientific School,

justified his favorite claim that he was brought up in a

laboratory. He made important contributions not only in

mathematical logic but also in photometric astronomy,

geodesy, and psychophysics, as well as in philology. For

many years Peirce worked on the problems of geodesy, and

his contribution to the subject, his researches on the pendu

lum, was at once recognized by European investigators

in this field. The International Geodetic Congress, to

x INTRODUCTION

which he was the first American representative, gave un

usual attention to his paper, and men like Cellerier and

Plantamour acknowledged their obligations to him. 1

This and other scientific work involving fine measure

ment, with the correlative investigations into the theory

of probable error, seem to have been a decisive influence

in the development of Peirce s philosophy of chance.

Philosophers inexperienced in actual scientific measurement

may naively accept as absolute truth such statements as

“every particle of matter attracts every other particle

directly as the product of their masses and inversely as the

square of the distance,” or “when hydrogen and oxygen

combine to form water the ratio of their weights is 1:8.”

But to those who are actually engaged in measuring natural

phenomena with instruments of precision, nature shows no

such absolute constancy or simplicity. As every laboratory

worker knows, no two observers, and no one observer in

successive experiments, get absolutely identical results. To

the men of the heroic period of science this was no difficulty.

They held unquestioningly the Platonic faith that nature

was created on simple geometric lines, and all the minute

variations were attributable to the fault of the observer or

the crudity of his instruments. This heroic faith was,

and still is, a most powerful stimulus to scientific research

and a protection against the incursions of supernaturalism.

But few would defend it to-day in its explicit form, and

there is little empirical evidence to show that while the

observer and his instruments are always varying, the ob-

1 See Plantamour s ” Recherche s Experitnentales sur le mouvement

simultant d un pendtde et de ses supports,” Geneva, 1878, pp. 3-4.

INTRODUCTION xi

jects which he measures never deviate in the slightest from

the simple law. Doubtless, as one becomes more expert in

the manipulation of physical instruments, there is a notice

able diminution of the range of the personal ” error,” but

no amount of skill and no refinement of our instru

ments have ever succeeded in eliminating irregular, though

small, variations. ” Try to verify any law of nature and

you will find that the more precise your observations, the

more certain they will be to show irregular departure from

the law.” 2 There is certainly nothing in our empirical in

formation to prevent us from saying that all the so-called

constants of nature are merely instances of variation be

tween limits so near each other that their differences

may be neglected for certain purposes. Moreover, the ap

proach to constancy is observed only in mass phenomena,

when we are dealing with very large numbers of particles;

but social statistics also approach constant ratios when

the numbers are very large. Hence, without denying dis

crepancies due solely to errors of observation, Peirce con

tends that ” we must suppose far more minute discrepancies

to exist owing to the imperfect cogency of the law itself,

to a certain swerving of the facts from any definite

formula.” 3

if It is usual to associate disbelief in absolute laws of na-

ffture with sentimental claims for freedom or theological

^miracles. It is, therefore, well to insist that Peirce s attack

is entirely in the interests of exact logic and a rational

account of the physical universe. As a rigorous logician

familiar with the actual procedures by which our knowledge

2 P. 190. 3 Pp. 162-163.

xii INTRODUCTION

of the various laws of nature is obtained, he could not

admit that experience could prove their claim to absolute

ness. All the physical laws actually known, like Boyle s

law or the law of gravitation, involve excessive simplifica

tion of the phenomenal course of events, and thus a large

element of empirical inaccuracy. But a more positive

objection against the traditional assumption of absolute or

invariable laws of nature, is the fact that such assumption

makes the regularities of the universe ultimate, and thus

cuts us off from the possibility of ever explaining them or

how there comes to be as much regularity in the universe

as there is. But in ordinary affairs, the occurrence of any

regularity is the very thing to be explained. Moreover,

modern statistical mechanics and thermodynamics (theory

of gases, entropy, etc.) suggest that the regularity in the

universe is a matter of gradual growth; that the whole of\

physical nature is a growth from a chaos of diversity to a

maximum of uniformity or entropy. A leading physicist of

the igth Century, Boltzmann, has suggested that the

process of the whole physical universe is like that of a

continuous shaking up of a hap-hazard or chance mixture

of things, which thus gradually results in a progressively

more uniform distribution. Since Duns Scotus, students

of logic have known that every real entity has its individual

character (its haecceitas or thisness) which cannot be ex

plained or deduced from that which is uniform. Every

explanation, for example, of the moon s path must take

particular existences for granted. Such original or unde-

rived individuality and diversity is precisely what Peirce

means by chance; and from this point of view chance is

prior to law.

INTRODUCTION xiii

All that is necessary to visualize this is to suppose that

there is an infinitesimal tendency in things to acquire

habits, a tendency which is itself an accidental variation

grown habitual. We shall then be on the road to explain

the evolution and existence of the limited uniformities

actually prevailing in the physical world.

A good deal of the foregoing may sound somewhat

mythologic. But even if it were so it would have the merit

of offering a rational alternative to the mechanical mythol

ogy according to which all the atoms in the universe are

to-day precisely in the same condition in which they were

on the day of creation, a mythology which is forced to

regard all the empirical facts of spontaneity and novelty

as illusory, or devoid of substantial truth.

The doctrine of the primacy of chance naturally suggests

the primacy of mind. Just as law is a chance habit so is

matter inert mind. The principal law of mind is that ideas

literally spread themselves continuously and become more

and more general or inclusive, so that people who form

communities of any sort develop general ideas in common.

When this continuous reaching-out of feeling becomes nur

turing love, such, e.g., which parents have for their off

spring or thinkers for their ideas, we have creative

evolution.

James and Royce have called attention to the similarity

between Peirce s doctrine of tychistic-agapism (chance and N

love) and the creative evolution of Bergson. But while

both philosophies aim to restore life and growth in their

account of the nature of things, Peirce s approach seems to

me to have marked advantages, owing to its being in closer

xiv INTRODUCTION

touch with modern physics. Bergson s procedure is largely ^

based on the contention that mechanics cannot explain

certain empirical facts, such as the supposed identity of

the vertebrate eye and the eye of the scallop. But the fact

here is merely one of a certain resemblance of pattern, which

may well be explained by the mechanical principles of con

vergent evolution. Peirce s account involves no rejection

of the possibility of mechanical explanations. Indeed, by

carrying chance into the laws of mechanics he is enabled to

elaborate a positive and highly suggestive theory of proto

plasm to explain the facts of plasticity and habit.* Instead

of postulating with Spencer and Bergson a continuous

growth of diversity, Peirce allows for growth of habits both

in diversity and in uniformity. The Spencerian mechanical

philosophy reduces all diversity to mere spatial differences.

There can be no substantial novelty; only new forms or

combinations can arise in time. The creative evolution of

Bergson though intended to support the claims of spon

taneity is still like the Spencerian in assuming all evolution

as proceeding from the simple to the complex. Peirce

allows for diversity and specificity as part of the original

character or endowment of things, which in the course of

time may increase in some respects and diminish in others.

Mind acquires the habit both of taking on, and also of lay

ing aside, habits. Evolution may thus lead to homogeneity

or uniformity as well as to greater heterogeneity.

Not only has Peirce a greater regard than even Bergson

for the actual diversity and spontaneity of things, but he

is in a much better position than any other modern phi-

* Pp. 249 ft.

INTRODUCTION xv

losopher to explain the order and coherence of the world.

This he effects by uniting the medieval regard for the

reality of universals with the modern scientific use of the

concept of continuity. The unfortunate war between the

pioneers of modern science and the adherents of the scho

lastic doctrine of substantial forms, has been one of the

great misfortunes of human thought, in that it made abso

lute atomism and nominalism the professed creed of physi- \

cal science. Now, extreme nominalism, the insistence on

the reality of the particular 7 leaves no room for the genuine

reality of law. It leaves, as Hume had the courage to

admit, nothing whereby the present can determine thej

future; so that anything is as likely to happen as not.

From such a chaotic world, the procedure of modern natural

and mathematical science has saved us by the persistent

use of the principle of continuity; and no one has indicated

this more clearly than Peirce who was uniquely qualified

to do so by being a close student both of Duns Scotus and

of modern scientific methods.

It is instructive in this respect to contrast the views of

Peirce and James. James, who so generously indicated his

indebtedness to Peirce for his pragmatism, was also largely

indebted to Peirce for his doctrine of radical empiricism. 5

The latter doctrine seeks to rescue the continuity and

fluidity of experience from the traditional British empiri

cism or nominalism, which had resolved everything into a

number of mutually exclusive mental states. It is curious,

however, that while in his psychology James made extensive

use of the principle of continuity, he could not free himself

James, Pluralistic Universe, pp. 398-400.

xvi INTRODUCTION

from British nominalism in his philosophy witness the

extreme individualism of his social philosophy or the equally

extreme anthropomorphism of his religion. Certain of

Peirce s suggestions as to the use of continuity in social

philosophy have been developed by Royce in his theory of

social consciousness and the nature of the community; 6

but much remains to be worked out and we can but repeat

Peirce s own hope: ” May some future student go over

this ground again and have the leisure to give his results

to the world.”

It is well to note, however, that after writing the papers

included in this volume Peirce continued to be occupied

with the issues here raised. This he most significantly

indicated in the articles on logical topics contributed to

Baldwin s Dictionary of Philosophy. 7

In these articles it is naturally the logical bearing of the

principles of tychism (chance), synechism (continuity), and

agapism (love) that is stressed. To use the Kantian ter

minology, almost native to Peirce, the regulative rather

than the constitutive aspect of these principles is empha

sized. Thus the doctrine of chance is not only what it was

for James radical empiricism, a release from the blind

necessity of a ” block universe,” but also a method of keep-

fi Royce, Studies in Good and Evil, and The Problem oj Christianity,

esp. Vol. 2. Baldwin (Mental Development) is heavily indebted to Royce

in this respect.

7 These articles are by-products or fragments of a comprehensive work

on Logic on which Peirce was engaged for many years. For the writing

of this book, Royce declared, no greater mind or greater erudition has

appeared in America. Only several chapters seem to have been finished,

and will doubtless be included with other hitherto unpublished manu

scripts in the complete edition of Peirce s writings that is now being

prepared by Harvard University.

INTRODUCTION xvii

ing open a possible explanation of the genesis of the laws

of nature and an interpretation of them in accordance with

the theorems of probability, so fruitful in physical science

as well as in practical life. So the doctrine of love is not

only a cosmologic one, showing how chance feeling generates

order or rational diversity through the habit of generality

or continuity, but it also gives us the meaning of truth in

social terms, in showing that the test as to whether any

proposition is true postulates an indefinite number of co

operating investigators. On its logical side the doctrine of

love (agapism) also recognized the important fact that

general ideas have a certain attraction which makes us divine

their nature even though we cannot clearly determine their

precise meaning before developing their possible conse

quences.

Of the doctrine of continuity we are told expressly 8 that

“synechism is not an ultimate absolute metaphysical

doctrine. It is a regulative principle of logic,” seeking the

thre^d_of identity in diverse .cases and avoiding hypotheses

that this or that is ultimate and, therefore, inexplicable.

(Examples of such hypotheses are: the existence of abso

lutely accurate or uniform laws of nature, the eternity and

absolute likeness of all atoms, etc.) To be sure, the

synechist cannot deny that there is an element of the in

explicable or ultimate, since it is directly forced upon him.

But he cannot regard it as a source of explanation. The

assumption of an inexplicability is a barrier on the road to

science. “The form under which alone anything can be

understood is the form of generality which is the same thing

8 Baldwin s Dictionary, article Synechism.

xviii INTRODUCTION

as continuity.” 9 This insistence on the generality of

intelligible form is perfectly consistent with due emphases

on the reality of the individual, which to a Scotist realist

connotes an element of will or will-resistence, but in logical

procedure means that the test of the truth or falsity of any

proposition refers us to particular perceptions. 10 But

as no multitude of individuals can exhaust the meaning of

a continuum, which includes also organizing relations of

, order, the full meaning of a concept cannot be in any

individual reaction, but is rather to be sought in the manner

in which all such reactions contribute to the development of

the concrete reasonableness of the whole evolutionary

process. In scientific procedure this means that integrity

of belief in general is more important than, because it is

the condition of, particular true beliefs.

II

This insistence on the continuity so effectually used as a

heuristic principle in natural and mathematical science,

distinguishes the pragmatism of Peirce from that of his

follower James. Prof. Dewey has developed this point

authoritatively in the supplementary essay; but in view of

the general ignorance as to the sources of pragmatism which

prevails in this incurious age, some remarks on the actual

historical origin of pragmatism may be in order.

There can be little doubt that Peirce was led to the formu

lation of the principle of pragmatism through the influence

10 Baldwin s Dictionary, art. Individual: ” Everything whose identity

consists in a continuity of reactions will be a single logical individual.”

INTRODUCTION xix

of Chauncey Wright. 11 Wright who had first hand ac

quaintance with creative scientific work in mathematics,

)hysics, and botany was led by the study of Mill and Bain

to reflect on the characteristics of scientific method. This

reflection led him to draw a distinction between the use of

popular scientific material, by men like Spencer, to con

struct a myth or picture of the world, and the scientific

use of laws by men like Newton as means for extending our

knowledge of phenomena. Gravitation as a general fact

had interested metaphysicians long before Newton. What

made Newton s contribution scientific was the formulation

of a mathematical law which has enabled us to deduce all

the then known facts of the solar system and to anticipate

or predict many more facts the existence of which would

not otherwise be even suspected, e.g., the existence of the

planet Neptune. Wright insists, therefore, that the prin

ciples of modern mathematical and physical science are

the means through which nature is discovered, that scientific

11 The personal relations between Peirce and Wright were thus de

scribed by Peirce in a letter to Mrs. Ladd-Franklin (Journal of Philosophy

Vol. 13, p. 719): “It must have been about 1857 when 1 first made

the acquaintance of Chauncey Wright, a mind about on the level of

J. S. Mill. He was a thorough mathematician. He had a most pene

trating intellect. He and I used to have long and very lively and close

disputations lasting two or three hours daily for many years. In the

sixties I started a little club called The Metaphysical Club. Wright

was the strongest member and probably I was next. Then there were

Frank Abbott, William James and others.” “It was there that the name

and the doctrine of pragmatism saw the light.” It might be added that

Peirce s tychism is indebted to Wright s doctrine of accidents and ” cosmic

weather,” a doctrine which maintained against LaPlace that a mind know

ing nature from moment to moment is bound to encounter genuine novelty

in phenomena, which no amount of knowledge would enable us to foresee.

See Wright s Philosophical Discussions 1876, also Cambridge Hist, of

American Literature, Vol. 3, p. 234.

XX

INTRODUCTION

laws are the finders rather than merely the summaries of

factual truths. This conception of the experimental scien

tist as translating general propositions into prescriptions

for attaining new experimental truths, is the starting point

of Peirce s pragmatism. The latter is embodied in the

principle that the meaning of a concept is to be found in

“all the conceivable experimental phenomena which the

affirmation or denial of the concept could imply.” 12

In the earlier statement of the pragmatic maxim, 13

Peirce emphasized the consequences for conduct that follow

from the acceptance or rejection of an idea; but the stoical

maxim that the end of man is action did not appeal to him

as much at sixty as it did at thirty. 1 * Naturally also Peirce

could not follow the development of pragmatism by Wm.

James who, like almost all modern psychologists, was a

thorough nominalist and always emphasized particular

sensible experience. 15 It seemed to Peirce that such em-

12 Monist, Vol. 15, p. 180.

13 This volume, pp. 43-45.

14 “To say that we live for the sake of action would be to say that

there is no such thing as a rational purport.” Monist, Vol. XV, p. 175.

15 The letter to Mrs. Ladd-Franklin quoted before, explains why

James, though always loyal to Peirce and anxious to give him credit when

ever possible, could not understand the latter s lectures on pragmatism.

Peirce s incidental judgments on others is worth quoting here:

” Modern psycholoigsts are so soaked with sensationalism that they

cannot understand anything that does not mean that. How can I, to

whom nothing seems so thoroughly real as generals, and who regards

Truth and Justice as literally the most powerful powers in the world,

expect to be understood by the thoroughgoing Wundtian? But the curious

thing is to see absolute idealists tainted with this disease, or men who,

like John Dewey, hover between Absolute Idealism and Sensationalism.

Royce s opinions as developed in his World and Individualism are ex

tremely near to mine. His insistence on the elements of purpose in

intellectual concepts is essentially the pragmatic position.”

INTRODUCTION xxi

phasis on particular experiences endangered the principle

of continuity which in the hands of men like Weierstrass

had reformed modern mathematics. For this reason he

began to call his own doctrine pragmaticism, a sufficiently

unattractive name, he thought, to save it from kidnappers

and from popularity. He never, however, abandoned the

principle of pragmatism, that the meaning of an idea is

clarified (because constituted) by its conceivable experi

mental consequences. Indeed, if we want to clarify the

meaning of the idea of pragmatism, let us apply the prag

matic test to it. What will be the effect of accepting it?

Obviously it will be to develop certain general ideas or

habits of looking at things.

Peirce s pragmatism has, therefore, a decidedly intel

lectual cast. The meaning of an idea or proposition is

found not by an intuition of it but by working out its im

plications. It admits that thought does not constitute

reality. Categories can have no concrete being without

action or immediate feeling. But thought is none the less

an essential ingredient of reality; thought is ” the melody

running through the succession of our sensations.” Prag

matism, according to Peirce, seeks to define the rational

purport, not the sensuous quality. It is interested not in

the effect of our practical occupations *or desires on our

ideas, but in the function of ideas as guides pf^ action.

Whether a man is to pay damages in a certain lawsuit may

depend, in fact, on a term in the Aristotelian logic such as

proximate cause.

It is of interest to observe that though Peirce is an ardent

admirer of Darwin s method, his scientific caution makes

xxii INTRODUCTION

him refuse to apply the analogy of biologic natural selec

tion to the realm of ideas, in the wholesale and uncritical

manner that has lately become fashionable. Natural selec

tion may well favor the triumph of views which directly

influence biologic survival. But the pleasure of entertain

ing congenial illusions may overbalance the inconvenience

resulting from their deceptive character. Thus rhetorical

appeals may long prevail over scientific evidence.

Ill

Peirce preferred to call himself a logician, and his con

tributions to logic have so far proved his most generally

recognized achievement. For a right perspective of these

contributions we may well begin with the observation that

though few branches of philosophy have been cultivated as

continuously as logic, Kant was able to affirm that the

science of logic had made no substantial progress since the

time of Aristotle. The reason for this is that Aristotle s

logic, the logic of classes, was based on his own scientific

procedure as a zoologist, and is still in essence a valid

method so far as classification is part of all rational pro

cedure. But when we come to describe the mathematical

method of physical science, we cannot cast it into the

Aristotelian form without involving ourselves in such com

plicated artificialities as to reduce almost to nil the value

of Aristotle s logic as an organon. Aristotle s logic enables

us to make a single inference from two premises. But the

vast multitude of theorems that modern mathematics has

derived from a few premises as to the nature of. number,

shows the need of formulating a logic or theory of inference

INTRODUCTION xxiii

that shall correspond to the modern, more complicated, prac

tice as Aristotle s logic did to simple classificatory zoology.

To do this effectively would require the highest construc

tive logical genius, together with an intimate knowledge

of the methods of the great variety of modern sciences.

This is in the nature of the case a very rare combination,

since great investigators are not as critical in examining

their own procedure as they are in examining the subject

matter which is their primary scientific interest. Hence,

when great investigators like Poincare come to describe

their own work, they fall back on the uncritical assumptions

of the traditional logic which they learned in their school

days. Moreover, ” For the last three centuries thought

has been conducted in laboratories, in the field, or otherwise

in the face of the facts, while chairs of logic have been

filled by men who breathe the air of the seminary.” 16 The

great Leibnitz had the qualifications, but here, as else

where, his worldly occupations left him no opportunity

except for very fragmentary contributions. It was not until

the middle of the igth century that two mathematicians,

Boole and DeMorgan, laid the foundations for a more gen

eralized logic. Boole developed a general logical algorithm

or calculus, while DeMorgan called attention to non-syllogis

tic inference and especially to the importance of the logic of

relations. Peirce s great achievement is to have recognized

the possibilities of both and to have generalized and de

veloped them into a general theory of scientific inference.

The extent and thoroughness of his achievement has been

obscured by his fragmentary way of writing and by a rather

16 Baldwin s Dictionary, art. Method.

xxiv /INTRODUCTION

unwieldy symbolism. Still, modern mathematical logic,

such as that of Russell s Principles of Mathematics, is but a

development of Peirce s logic of relatives.

This phase of Peirce s work is highly technical and an

account of it is out of place here. Such an account will

be found in Lewis Survey of Symbolic Logic. 17 I refer to

it here only to remind the reader that the Illustrations of

the Logic of the Sciences (Part I of this volume) have a

background of patient detailed work which is still being

developed to-day.

Symbolic logic has been held in rather low esteem by

the followers of the old classical methods in philosophy.

Their stated objection to it has been mainly that it is

concerned with the minutiae of an artificial language and is

of no value as a guide to the interpretation of reality.

Now it should be readily admitted that preoccupation with

symbolic logic is rather apt to retard the irresponsible

flight of philosophic fancy. Yet this is by no means always

an evil. By insisting on an accuracy that is painful to those

impatient to obtain sweeping and comforting, though hasty,

conclusions, symbolic logic is well calculated to remove the

great scandal of traditional philosophy the claim of abso

lutely certain results in fields where there is the greatest

conflict of opinion. This scandalous situation arises in part

from the fact that in popular exposition we do not have to

make our premises or assumptions explicit; hence all sorts

of dubious prejudices are implicitly appealed to as abso-

17 “Peirca anticipated the most important procedures of his successors

even when he did not work them, out himself. Again and again one finds

the clue to the most recent developments in the writings of Peirce,”

Lewis Survey of Symbolic Logic, p. 79.

INTRODUCTION xxv

lutely necessary principles. Also, by the use of popular

terms which have a variety of meanings, one easily slides

from one meaning to another, so that the most improbable

conclusions are thus derived from seeming truisms. By

making assumptions and rules explicit, and by using tech

nical terms that do not drag wide penumbras of meaning

with them, the method of symbolic logic may cruelly reduce

the sweeping pretensions of philosophy. But there is no

reason for supposing that pretentiousness rather than

humility is the way to philosophic salvation. Man is bound

to speculate about the universe beyond the range of his

knowledge, but he is not bound to indulge the vanity of

setting up such speculations as absolutely certain dogmas.

There is, however, no reason for denying that greater

rigor and accuracy of exposition can really help us to dis

cern new truth. Modern mathematics since Gauss and

Weierstrass has actually been led to greater f ruitfulness by

increased rigor which makes such procedure as the old

proofs of Taylor s theorem no longer possible. The sub

stitution of rigorous analytic procedures for the old Eu

clidean proofs based on intuition, has opened up vast fields

of geometry. Nor has this been without any effect on

philosophy. Where formerly concepts like infinity and con

tinuity were objects of gaping awe or the recurrent occa

sions for intellectual violence/ 8 we are now beginning to

use them, thanks to Peirce and Royce, in accurate and

definable senses. Consider, for instance, the amount of

a priori nonsense which Peirce eliminates by pointing out

18 Hans Breitmann is symbolic of those who ” solved the infinite as one

eternal sphere.”

xxvi INTRODUCTION

that the application of the concept of continuity to a span

of consciousness removes the necessity for assuming a first

or last moment; so likewise the range of vision on a large

unobstructed ground has no line between the visible and the

invisible. These considerations will be found utterly de

structive of the force of the old arguments (fundamental

to Kant and others) as to the necessary infinity of time and

space. Similar enlightenment is soon likely to result from

the more careful use of terms like relative and absolute,

which are bones of contention in philosophy but Ariadne

threads of exploration in theoretical physics, because of

the definite symbolism of mathematics. Other important

truths made clear by symbolic logic is the hypothetical

character of universal propositions and the consequent in

sight that no particulars can be deduced from universals

alone, since no number of hypotheses can without given data

establish an existing fact.

There is, however, an even more positive direction in

which symbolic logic serves the interest of philosophy, and

that is in throwing light on the nature of symbols and on

the relation of meaning. Philosophers have light-heartedly

dismissed questions as to the nature of significant signs as

c merely (most fatal word!) a matter of language. But

Peirce in the paper on Man s Glassy [Shakespearian for

Mirror-Like] Essence, endeavors to exhibit man s whole

nature as symbolic. 19 This is closely connected with his

logical doctrine which regards signs or symbols as one of

19 See Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Vol. 2, pp. i55-i57, article on

A New List of Categories in the Proceedings of the American Academy

of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 7, 287-298 and article on Sign, in Baldwin s

Dictionary.

INTRODUCTION xxrii

the fundamental categories or aspects of the universe

(Thoughts and things are the other two). Independently

of Peirce but in line with his thought another great and

neglected thinker, Santayana, has shown that the whole life

of man that is bound up with the institutions of civilization,

is concerned with symbols.

It is not altogether accidental that, since Boole and

DeMorgan, those who have occupied themselves with sym

bolic logic have felt called upon to deal with the problem

of probability. The reason is indicated by Peirce when he

formulates the problem of probable inference in such a way

as to make the old classic logic of absolutely true or false

conclusions, a limiting case (i.e., of values i and o) of the

logic of probable inference whose values range all the way

between these two limits. This technical device is itself

the result of applying the principle of continuity to throw

two hitherto distinct types of reasoning into the same class.

The result is philosophically significant.

Where the classical logic spoke of major and minor

premises without establishing any really important dif

ference between the two, Peirce draws a distinction between

the premises and the guiding principle of our argument.

All reasoning is from some concrete situation to another.

The propositions which represent the first are the premises

in the strict sense of the word. But the feeling that certain

conclusions follow from these premises is conditioned by an

implicit or explicit belief in some guiding principle which

connects the premises and the conclusions. When such a

leading principle results in true conclusions in all cases of

true premises, we have logical deduction of the orthodox

xxviii INTRODUCTION

type. If, however, such a principle brings about a true con

clusion only in a certain proportion of cases, then we have

probability.

This reduction of probability to the relative frequency

of true propositions in a class of propositions, was suggested

to Peirce by Venn s Logic of Chance. Peirce uses it to

establish some truths of greatest importance to logic and

philosophy.

He eliminates the difficulties of the old conceptualist

view, which made probability a measure of our ignorance

and yet had to admit that almost all fruitfulness of our

practical and scientific reasoning depended on the theorems

of probability. How could we safely predict phenomena by

measuring our ignorance?

Probability being reduced to a matter of the relative fre

quency of a class in a larger class or genus, it becomes,

strictly speaking, inapplicable to single cases by themselves.

A single penny will fall head or it will fall tail every time;

to-morrow it will rain, or it will not rain at all. The

probability of or any other fraction means nothing in

the single case. It is only because we feel the single event

as representative of a class, as something which repeats

itself, that we speak elliptically of the probability of a

single event. Hence follows the important corollary that

reasoning with respect to the probability of this or that ar

rangement of the universe would be valid only if universes

were as plentiful as blackberries.

To be useful at all, theories must be simpler than the

complex facts which they seek to explain. Hence, it is

often convenient to employ a principle of certainty where

INTRODUCTION xxix

the facts justify only a principle of some degree of proba

bility. In such cases we must be cautious in accepting

any extreme consequence of these principles, and also be

on guard against apparent refutations based on such ex

treme consequences.

Finally I should like to emphasize the value of Peirce s

theory of inference for a philosophy of civilization. To the

old argument that logic is of no importance because people

learn to reason, as to walk, by instinct and habit and not by

scientific instruction, Peirce admits 20 that ” all human

knowledge up to the highest flights of science is but the

development of our inborn animal instincts.” But though

logical rules are first felt implicitly, bringing them into

explicit consciousness helps the process of analysis and

thus makes possible the recognition of old principles in novel

situations. This increases our range of adaptability to such

an extent as to justify a general distinction between the

slave of routine or habit and the freeman who can anticipate

and control nature through knowledge of principles. Peirce s

analysis of the method of science as a method of attain

ing stability of beliefs by free inquiry inviting all possible

doubt, in contrast with the methods of iteration (“will to

believe “) and social authority, is one of the best intro

ductions to a theory of liberal or Hellenic civilization, as

opposed to those of despotic societies. Authority has its

roots in the force of habit, but it cannot prevent new and

unorthodox ideas from arising; and in the effort to defend

authoritative social views men are apt to be far more ruth

less than in defending their own personal convictions.

20 Studies in Logic, p. 181.

xxx INTRODUCTION

IV

Not only the pragmatism and the radical empiricism of

James, but the idealism of Royce and the more recent

movement of neo-realism are largely indebted to Peirce.

It may seem strange that the same thinker should be

claimed as foster-father of both recent idealism and realism,

and some may take it as another sign of his lack of con

sistency. But this seeming strangeness is really due to

the looseness with which the antithesis between realism and

idealism has generally been put. If by idealism we denote

the nominalistic doctrine of Berkeley, then Peirce is clearly

not an idealist; and his work in logic as a study of types

of order (in which Royce followed him) is fundamental

for a logical realism. But if idealism means the old

Platonic doctrine that ” ideas,” genera, or forms are not

merely mental but the real conditions of existence, we need

not wonder that Peirce was both idealist and realist.

Royce s indebtedness to Peirce is principally in the use

of modern mathematical material, such as the recent de

velopment of the concepts of infinity and continuity, to

throw light on fundamental questions of philosophy, such

as relation of the individual to God or the Universe. At

the end of the nineteenth century mathematics had almost

disappeared from the repertory of philosophy (cf. Kiilpe s

Introduction to Philosophy), and Peirce s essay on the

Law of Mind opened a new way which Royce followed in

his World and the Individual, to the great surprise of his

idealistic brethren. In his Problem of Christianity Royce

has also indicated his indebtedness to Peirce for his doc-

INTRODUCTION xxxi

trine of social consciousness, the mind of the community,

and the process of interpretation. It may be that a great

deal of the similarity between the thoughts of these two

men is due to common sources, such as the works of Kant

and Schelling; but it is well to note that not only in his

later writings but also in his lectures and seminars Royce

continually referred to Peirce s views.

The ground for the neo-realist movement in American

philosophy was largely prepared by the mathematical work

of Russell and by the utilization of mathematics to which

Royce was led by Peirce. The logic of Mr. Russell is

based, as he himself has pointed out, on a combination of

the work of Peirce and Peano. In this combination the

notation of Peano has proved of greater technical fluency,

but all of Peano s results can also be obtained by Peirce s

method as developed by Schroeder and Mrs. Ladd-Frank-

lin. But philosophically Peirce s influence is far greater in

insisting that logic is not a branch of psychology, that it

is not concerned with merely mental processes, but with

objective relations. To the view that the laws of logic

represent “the necessities of thought,” that propositions

are true because ” we can not help thinking so,” he answers:

” Exact logic will say that C s following logically from A is

a state of things which no impotence of thought alone can

bring about.” 21 “The question of validity is purely one

of fact and not of thinking. … It is not in the least the

question whether, when the premises are accepted by the

mind, we feel an impulse to accept the conclusion also.

21 Monist, Vol. 7, p. 27. Cf. Journal of Speculative Philosophy,

Vol. 2, p. 207 ; Popular Science Monthly, Vol. 58, pp. 305-306.

xxxii INTRODUCTION

The true conclusion would remain true if we had no im

pulse to accept it, and the false one would remain false

though we could not resist the tendency to believe in it.” 22

Since the days of Locke modern philosophy has been

almost entirely dominated by the assumption that one must

study the process of knowing before one can find out the

nature of things known; in other words, that psychology is

the central philosophic science. The result of this has been

an almost complete identification of philosophy with mental

science. Nor did the influence of biologic studies of the

middle of the nineteenth century shake the belief in that

banal dictum of philosophic mediocrity: ” The proper

study of mankind is man.” The recent renaissance of

logical studies, and the remarkable progress of physics in

our own day bid fair to remind us that while the Lockian

way has brought some gains to philosophy, the more ancient

way of philosophy is by no means exhausted of promise.

Man cannot lose his interest in the great cosmic play.

Those who have faith in the ancient and fruitful approach

to philosophy through the doors of mathematics and physics

will find the writings of Charles S. Peirce full of sugges

tions. That such an approach can also throw light on the

vexed problem of knowledge needs no assurance to those

acquainted with Plato and Aristotle. But I may conclude

by referring to Peirce s doctrine of ideal as opposed to

sensible experiment, 23 and to his treatment of the question

22 This vol., p. 15.

23 Suggestive for a theory of the metaphysics of fictions is the sugges

tion (p. 46) ” that the question of what would occur under circumstances

whjich do not actually arise, is not a question of fact, but only of the

most perspicuous arrangement of them.” This arrangement is, of course,

not merely subjective.

INTRODUCTION xxxiii

how it is that in spite of an infinity of possible hypotheses,

mankind has managed to make so many successful induc

tions. 2 * And for the bearing of mathematical studies on the

wisdom of life, the following is certainly worth serious re

flection: ” All human affairs rest upon probabilities. If

man were immortal [on earth] he could be perfectly sure

of seeing the day when everything in which he had trusted

should betray his trust. He would break down, at last, as

every great fortune, as every dynasty, as every civilization

does. In place of this we have death.” The recognition

that the death of the individual does not destroy the logical

meaning of his utterances, that this meaning involves the

ideal of an unlimited community, carries us into the heart

of pure religion.

24 Pp. 128-129, cf. Monist, Vol. 7, p. 206, and Logical Studies, pp.

175 ff.

CHANCE, LOVE, AND LOGIC

PROEM

THE RULES OF PHILOSOPHY 1

DESCARTES is the father of modern philosophy, and the

spirit of Cartesianism that which principally distin

guishes it from the scholasticism which it displaced may

be compendiously stated as follows:

1. It teaches that philosophy must begin with universal

doubt; whereas scholasticism had never questioned funda

mentals.

2. It teaches that the ultimate test of certainty is to be

found in the individual consciousness; whereas scholasticism

had rested on the testimony of sages and of the Catholic

Church.

3. The multiform argumentation of the middle ages is

replaced by a single thread of inference depending often

upon inconspicuous premises.

4. Scholasticism had its mysteries of faith, but undertook

to explain all created things. But there are many facts

which Cartesianism not only does not explain but renders

absolutely inexplicable, unless to say that ” God makes them

so ” is to be regarded as an explanation.

In some, or all of these respects, most modern philoso

phers have been, in effect, Cartesians. Now without wishing

1 From the Journal of Speculative Philosophy, vol. 2, p. 140.

2 PROEM

to return to scholasticism, it seems to me that modern

science and modern logic require us to stand upon a very

different platform from this.

1. We cannot begin with complete doubt. We must begin

with all the prejudices which we actually have when we

enter upon the study of philosophy. These prejudices are

not to be dispelled by a maxim, for they are things which

it does not occur to us can be questioned. Hence this

initial skepticism will be a mere self-deception, and not real

doubt; and no one who follows the Cartesian method will

ever be satisfied until he has formally recovered all those

beliefs which in form he has given up. It is, therefore, as

useless a preliminary as going to the North Pole would be

in order to get to Constantinople by coming down regularly

upon a meridian. A person may, it is true, in the course

of his studies, find reason to doubt what he began by be

lieving; but in that case he doubts because he has a positive

reason for it, and not on account of the Cartesian maxim.

Let us not pretend to doubt in philosophy what we do not

doubt in our hearts.

2. The same formalism appears in the Cartesian criterion,

which amounts to this: ” Whatever I am clearly convinced

of, is true.” If I were really convinced, I should have done

with reasoning and should require no test of certainty.

But then to make single individuals absolute judges of truth

is most pernicious. The result is that metaphysics has

reached a pitch of certainty far beyond that of the physical

sciences; only they can agree upon nothing else. In

sciences in which men come to agreement, when a theory

PROEM 3

has been broached it is considered to be on probation until

this agreement is reached. After it is reached, the question

of certainty becomes an idle one, because there is no one

left who doubts it. We individually cannot reasonably

hope to attain the ultimate philosophy which we pursue;

we can only seek it, therefore, for the community of philoso

phers. Hence, if disciplined and candid minds carefully |

examine a theory and refuse to accept it, this ought to create

doubts in the mind of the author of the theory himself.

3. Philosophy ought to imitate the successful sciences in

its methods, so far as to proceed only from tangible prem

ises 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.

4. Every unidealistic philosophy supposes some absolutely

inexplicable, unanalyzable ultimate; in short, something

resulting from mediation itself not susceptible of mediation.

Now that anything is thus inexplicable, can only be known

by reasoning from signs. But the only justification of an

inference from signs is that the conclusion explains the fact.

To suppose the fact absolutely inexplicable, is not to explain

it, and hence this supposition is never allowable.

PART I

CHANCE AND LOGIC

(ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE LOGIC OF SCIENCE)

CHANCE AND LOGIC

FIRST PAPER

THE FIXATION OF BELIEF 1

FEW persons care to study logic, because everybody con

ceives himself to be proficient enough in the art of reasoning

already. But I observe that this satisfaction is limited to

x one s own ratiocination, and does not extend to that of

other men.

We come to the full possession of our power of drawing

inferences the last of all our faculties, for it is not so much

a natural gift as a long and difficult art. The history of

its practice would make a grand subject for a book. The

medieval schoolman, following the Romans, made logic the

earliest of a boy s studies after grammar, as being very

easy. So it was as they understood it. Its fundamental

principle, according to them, was, that all knowledge rests

on either authority or reason; but that whatever is deduced

by reason depends ultimately on a premise derived from

authority. Accordingly, as soon as a boy was perfect in

the syllogistic procedure, his intellectual kit of tools was

held to be complete.

1 Popular Science Monthly, November, 1877.

7

8 CHANCE AND LOGIC

To Roger Bacon, that remarkable mind who in the middle

of the thirteenth century was almost a scientific man, the

schoolmen s conception of reasoning appeared only an ob

stacle to truth. He saw that experience alone teaches any

thing a proposition which to us seems easy to understand,

because a distinct conception of experience has been handed

down to us from former generations; which to him also

seemed perfectly clear, because its difficulties had not yet

unfolded themselves. Of all kinds of experience, the best,

he thought, was interior illumination, which teaches many

things about Nature which the external senses could never

discover, such as the transubstantiation of bread.

Four centuries later, the more celebrated Bacon, in the

first book of his ” Novum Organum,” gave his clear account

of experience as something which must be open to verifica

tion and reexamination. But, superior as Lord Bacon s

conception is to earlier notions, a modern reader who is not

in awe of his grandiloquence is chiefly struck by the in

adequacy of his view of scientific procedure. That we have

only to make some crude experiments, to draw up briefs

of the results in certain blank forms, to go through these

by rule, checking off everything disproved and setting down

the alternatives, and that thus in a few years physical

science would be finished up what an idea! ” He wrote

on science like a Lord Chancellor,” 2 indeed.

The early scientists, Copernicus, Tycho, Brahe, Kepler,

Galileo and Gilbert, had methods more like those of their

modern brethren. Kepler undertook to draw a curve

2 [This is substantially the dictum of Harvey to John Aubrey. See

the latter s Brief Lives (Oxford ed. 1898) I 299].

THE FIXATION OF BELIEF 9

through the places of Mars; 3 and his greatest service to

science was in impressing on men s minds that this was the

thing to be done if they wished to improve astronomy;

that they were not to content themselves with inquiring

whether one system of epicycles was better than another

but that they were to sit down by the figures and find out

what the curve, in truth, was. He accomplished this by his

incomparable energy and courage, blundering along in the

most inconceivable way (to us), from one irrational hy

pothesis to another, until, after trying twenty-two of these,

he fell, by the mere exhaustion of his invention, upon the

orbit which a mind well furnished with the weapons of

modern logic would have tried almost at the outset. 4

In the same way, every work of science great enough to

be remembered for a few generations affords some

exemplification of the defective state of the art of reasoning

of the time when it was written; and each chief step in

science has been a lesson in logic. It was so when Lavoisier

and his contemporaries took up the study of Chemistry.

The old chemist s maxim had been, ” Lege, lege, lege,

labora, ora, et relege.” Lavoisier s method was not to read

and pray, not to dream that some long and complicated

chemical process would have a certain effect, to put it into

practice with dull patience, after its inevitable failure to

dream that with some modification it would have another

result, and to end by publishing the last dream as a fact:

his way was to carry his mind into his laboratory, and to

make of his alembics and cucurbits instruments of thought,

3 Not quite so, but as nearly so as can be told in a few words.

4 [This modern logic, however, is largely the outcome of Kepler s work.]

io CHANCE AND LOGIC

giving a new conception of reasoning as something which

was to be done with one s eyes open, by manipulating real

things instead of words and fancies.

The Darwinian controversy is, in large part, a question

of logic. Mr. Darwin proposed to apply the statistical

method to biology. The same thing has been done in a

widely different branch of science, the theory of gases.

Though unable to say what the movement of any particular

molecule of gas would be on a certain hypothesis regarding

the constitution of this class of bodies, Clausius and Max

well were yet able, by the application of the doctrine of

probabilities, to predict that in the long run such and such

a proportion of the molecules would, under given circum

stances, acquire such and such velocities; that there would

take place, every second, such and such a number of colli

sions, etc.; and from these propositions they were able to

deduce certain properties of gases, especially in regard to

their heat-relations. In like manner, Darwin, while unable

to say what the operation of variation and natural selection

in every individual case will be, demonstrates that in the

long run they will adapt animals to their circumstances.

Whether or not existing animal forms are due to such ac

tion, or what position the theory ought to take, forms the

subject of a discussion in which questions of fact and

questions of logic are curiously interlaced.

ii

The object of reasoning is to find out, from the considera

tion of what we already know, something else which we do

THE FIXATION OF BELIEF u

not know. Consequently, reasoning is good if it be such

as to give a true conclusion from true premises, and not

otherwise. Thus, the question of validity is purely one of

fact and not of thinking. A being the premises and B being

the conclusion, the question is, whether these facts ar3

really so related that if A is B is. If so, the inference is

valid; if not, not. It is not in the least the question

whether, when the premises are accepted by the mind, we

feel an impulse to accept the conclusion also. It is true

that we do generally reason correctly by nature. But that

Js an accident; the true conclusion would remain true if we

had no impulse to accept it; and the false one would remain

false, though we could not resist the tendency to believe

in it.

We are, doubtless, in the main logical animals, but we

are not perfectly so. Most of us, for example, are natur

ally 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 counteract our hopes

and aspirations. Yet a lifetime of the application of this

corrective does not usually eradicate our sanguine disposi

tion. Where hope is unchecked by any experience, it is

likely that our optimism is extravagant. Logicality in re

gard to practical matters is the most useful quality an ani

mal can possess, and might, therefore, result from the

action of natural selection; but outside of these it is prob

ably of more advantage to the animal to have his mind

filled with pleasing and encouraging visions, independently

of their truth; and thus, upon unpractical subjects, natural

12 CHANCE AND LOGIC

selection might occasion a fallacious tendency of thought.

That which determines us, from given premises, to draw

one inference rather than another, is some habit of mind,

whether it be constitutional or acquired. The habit is good

or otherwise, according as it produces true conclusions from

true premises or not; and an inference is regarded as valid

or not, without reference to the truth or falsity of its con

clusion specially, but according as the habit which deter

mines it is such as to produce true conclusions in general

or not. The particular habit of mind which governs this

or that inference may be formulated in a proposition whose

truth depends on the validity of the inferences which the

habit determines; and such a formula is called a guiding

principle of inference. Suppose, for example, that we ob

serve that a rotating disk of copper quickly comes to rest

when placed between the poles of a magnet, and we infer

that this will happen with every disk of copper. The guid

ing principle is, that what is true of one piece of copper is

true of another. Such a guiding principle with regard to

copper would be much safer than with regard to many other

substances brass, for example.

A book might be written to signalize all the most im

portant of these guiding principles of reasoning. It would

probably be, we must confess, of no service to a person

whose thought is directed wholly to practical subjects, and

whose activity moves along thoroughly beaten paths. The

problems which present themselves to such a mind are

matters of routine which he has learned once for all to

handle in learning his business. But let a man venture into

an unfamiliar field, or where his results are not continually

THE FIXATION OF BELIEF 13

checked by experience, and all history shows that the most

masculine intellect will ofttimes lose his orientation and

waste his efforts in directions which bring him no nearer to

his goal, or even carry him entirely astray. He is like a

ship on the open sea, with no one on board who understands

the rules of navigation. And in such a case some general

study of the guiding principles of reasoning would be sure

to be found useful.

The subject could hardly be treated, however, without

being first limited; since almost any fact may serve as a

guiding principle. But it so happens that there exists a

division among facts, such that in one class are all those

which are absolutely essential as guiding principles, while

in the other are all those which have any other interest as

objects of research. This division is between those which

are necessarily taken for granted in asking whether a cer

tain conclusion follows from certain premises, and those

which are not implied in that question. A moment s thought

will show that a variety of facts are already assumed when

the logical question is first asked. It is implied, for in

stance, that there are such states of mind as doubt and

belief that a passage from one to the other is possible,

the object of thought remaining the same, and that this

transition is subject to some rules which all minds are alike

bound by. As these are facts which we must already know

before we can have any clear conception of reasoning at all,

it cannot be supposed to be any longer of much interest to

inquire into their truth or falsity. On the other hand, it

is easy to believe that those rules of reasoning which are

deduced from the very idea of the process are the ones

14 CHANCE AND LOGIC

which are the most essential; and, indeed, that so long as it

conforms to these it will, at least, not lead to false conclu

sions from true premises. In point of fact, the importance

of what may be deduced from the assumptions involved

in the logical question turns out to be greater than might

be supposed, and this for reasons which it is difficult to ex

hibit at the outset. The only one which I shall here men

tion is, that conceptions which are really products of logical

reflections, without being readily seen to be so, mingle with

our ordinary thoughts, and are frequently the causes of

great confusion. This is the case, for example, with the

conception of quality. A quality as such is never an object

of observation. We can see that a thing is blue or green,

but the quality of being blue and the quality of being green,

are not things which we see; they are products of logical

reflections. 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.

in

We generally know when we wish to ask a question and

when we wish to pronounce a judgment, for there is a dis

similarity between the sensation of doubting and that of

believing.

But this is not all which distinguishes doubt from belief.

There is a practical difference. Our beliefs guide our de

sires and shape our actions. The Assassins, or followers

THE FIXATION 1 OF BELIEF 15

of the Old Man of the Mountain, used to rush into death at

his least command, because they believed that obedience

to him would insure everlasting felicity. Had they doubted

this, they would not have acted as they did. So it is with

every belief, according to its degree. The feeling of be

lieving is a more or less sure indication of there being estab

lished in our nature some habit which will determine our

actions. Doubt never has such an effect.

Nor must we overlook a third point of difference. Doubt

is an uneasy and dissatisfied state from which we struggle

to free ourselves and pass into the state of belief; while the

latter is a calm and satisfactory state which we do not wish

to avoid, or to change to a belief in anything else. 5 On

the contrary, we cling tenaciously, not merely to believing,

but to believing just what we do believe.

Thus, both doubt and belief have positive effects upon us,

though very different ones. Belief does not make us act at

once, but puts us into such a condition that we shall behave

in a certain way, when the occasion arises. Doubt has not

the least effect of this sort, but stimulates us to action until

itjs destroyed. This reminds us of the irritation of a nerve

and the reflex action produced thereby; while for the ana

logue of belief, in the nervous system, we must look to what

are called nervous associations for example, to that habit

of the nerves in consequence of which the smell of a peach

will make the mouth water.

5 I am not speaking of secondary effects occasionally produced by the

interference of other impulses.

1 6 CHANCE AND LOGIC

IV

The irritation of doubt causes a struggle to attain a state

of belief. I shall term this struggle inquiry, though it must

be admitted that this is sometimes not a very apt

designation.

The irritation of doubt is the only immediate motive for

the struggle to attain belief. It is certainly best for us

that our beliefs should be such as may truly guide our

actions so as to satisfy our desires; and this reflection will

make us reject any belief which does not seem to have been

so formed as to insure this result. But it will only do so

by creating a doubt in the place of that belief. With the

doubt, therefore, the struggle begins, and with the cessation

of doubt it ends. Hence, \ the sole object of inquiry is the

settlement of opinion. \ We may fancy that this is not

enough for us, and that we seek not merely an opinion,

but a true opinion. But put this fancy to the test, and it

proves groundless; for as soon as a firm belief is reached

we are entirely satisfied, whether the belief be false or true.

And it is clear that nothing out of the sphere of our knowl

edge can be our object, for nothing which does not affect

the mind can be a motive for a mental effort. The most

that can be maintained is, that we seek for a belief that we

shall think to be true. But we think each one of our be

liefs to be true, and, indeed, it is mere tautology to say so.

That the settlement of opinion is the sole end of inquiry

is a very important proposition. It sweeps away, at once,

various vague and erroneous conceptions of proof. A few

of these may be noticed here.

THE FIXATION OF BELIEF 17

1. Some philosophers have imagined that to start an in

quiry it was only necessary to utter o^ question or set it

down on paper, and have even recommended us to begin

our studies with questioning everything! But the mere

putting of a proposition into the interrogative form does

not stimulate the mind to any struggle after belief. There

must be a real and living doubt, and without all this dis

cussion is idle. 9^

2. It is a very common idea that a demonstration must

rest on some ultimate and absolutely indubitable proposi

tions. These, according to one school, are first principles

of a general nature; according to another, are first sensa

tions. But, in point of fact, an inquiry, to have that com

pletely satisfactory result called demonstration, has only

to start with propositions perfectly free from all actual

doubt. If the premises are not in fact doubted at all, they

cannot be more satisfactory than they are.

3. Some people seem to love to argue a point after all

the world is fully convinced of it. But no further advance

can be made. When doubt ceases, mental action on the

subject comes to an end; and, if it did go on, it would be

without a purpose.

If the settlement of opinion is the sole object of inquiry,

and if belief is of the nature of a habit, why should we not

attain the desired end, by taking any answer to a question,

which we may fancy, and constantly reiterating it to our

selves, dwelling on all which may conduce to that belief,

1 8 CHANCE AND LOGIC

and learning to turn with contempt and hatred from any

thing which might disturb it? This simple and direct

method is really pursued by many men. I remember once

being entreated not to read a certain newspaper lest it might

change my opinion upon free-trade. ” Lest I might be en

trapped by its fallacies and misstatements,” was the form of

expression. “You are not,” my friend said, “a special

student of political economy. You might, therefore, easily

be deceived by fallacious arguments upon the subject. You

might, then, if you read this paper, be led to believe in

protection. But you admit that free-trade is the true doc

trine; and you do not wish to believe what is not true.”

I have often known this system to be deliberately adopted.

Still oftener, the instinctive dislike of an undecided state

of mind, exaggerated into a vague dread of doubt, makes

men cling spasmodically to the views they already take.

The man feels that, if he only holds to his belief without

wavering, it will be entirely satisfactory. Nor can it be

denied that a steady and immovable faith yields great peace

of mind. It may, indeed, give rise to inconveniences, as if

a man should resolutely continue to believe that fire would

not burn him, or that he would be eternally damned if he

received his ingesta otherwise than through a stomach-

pump. But then the man who adopts this method will not

allow that its inconveniences are greater than its advantages.

He will say, ” I hold steadfastly to the truth and the truth

is always wholesome.” And in many cases it may very

well be that the pleasure he derives from his calm faith

overbalances any inconveniences resulting from its decep

tive character. Thus, if it be true that death is annihila-

THE FIXATION OF BELIEF 19

tion, then the man who believes that he will certainly go

straight to heaven when he dies, provided he have fulfilled

certain simple observances in this life, has a cheap pleasure

which will not be followed by the least disappointment.

A similar consideration seems to have weight with many

persons in religious topics, for we frequently hear it said,

” Oh, I could not believe so-and-so, because I should be

wretched if I did.” When an ostrich buries its head in the

sand as danger approaches, it very likely takes the happiest

course. It hides the danger, and then calmly says there

is no danger; and, if it feels perfectly sure there is none,

why should it raise its head to see? A man may go through

life, systematically keeping out of view all that might cause

a change in his opinions, and if he only succeeds basing

his method, as he does, on two fundamental psychological

laws I do not see what can be said against his doing so.

It would be an egotistical impertinence to object that his

procedure is irrational, for that only amounts to saying

that his method of settling belief is not ours. He does not

propose to himself to be rational, and indeed, will often

talk with scorn of man s weak and illusive reason. So let

him think as he pleases.

But this method of fixing belief, which may be called

the method of tenacity, will be unable to hold its ground

in practice. The social impulse is against it. The man

who adopts it will find that other men think differently from

him, and it will be apt to occur to him in some saner moment

that their opinions are quite as good as his own, and this

will shake his confidence in his belief. This conception,

that another man s thought or sentiment may be equivalent

20 CHANCE AND LOGIC

to one s own, is a distinctly new step, and a highly important

one. It arises from an impulse too strong in man to be

suppressed, without danger of destroying the human species.

Unless we make ourselves hermits, we shall necessarily in

fluence each other s opinions; so that the problem becomes

how to fix belief, not in the individual merely, but in the

community.

Let the will of the state act, then, instead of that of the

individual. Let an institution be created which shall have

for its object to keep correct doctrines before the attention

of the people, to reiterate them perpetually, and to teach

them to the young; having at the same time power to pre

vent contrary doctrines from being taught, advocated, or

expressed. Let all possible causes of a change of mind

be removed from men s apprehensions. Let them be kept

ignorant, lest they should learn of some reason to think

otherwise than they do. Let their passions be enlisted, so

that they may regard private and unusual opinions with

hatred and horror. Then, let all men who reject the estab

lished belief be terrified into silence. Let the people turn

out and tar-and-feather such men, or let inquisitions be

made into the manner of thinking of suspected persons,

and, when they are found guilty of forbidden beliefs, let

them be subjected to some signal punishment. When com

plete agreement could not otherwise be reached, a general

massacre of all who have not thought in a certain way has

proved a very effective means of settling opinion in a

country. If the power to do this be wanting, let a list of

opinions be drawn up, to which no man of the least inde

pendence of thought can assent, and let the faithful be re-

THE FIXATION OF BELIEF ai

quired to accept all these propositions, in order to segregate

them as radically as possible from the influence of the rest

of the world.

This method has, from the earliest times, been one of

the chief means of upholding correct theological and politi

cal doctrines, and of preserving their universal or catholic w

character. In Rome, especially, it has been practiced from

the days of Numa Pompilius to those of Pius Nonus. This

is the most perfect example in history; but wherever there

is a priesthood and no religion has been without one

this method has been more or less made use of. Wherever

there is aristocracy, or a guild, or any association of a class

of men whose interests depend or are supposed to depend

on certain propositions, there will be inevitably found some

traces of this natural product of social feeling. Cruelties

always accompany this system; and when it is consistently

carried out, they become atrocities of the most horrible

kind in the eyes of any rational man. Nor should this

occasion surprise, for the officer of a society does not feel

justified in surrendering the interests of that society for

the sake of mercy, as he might his own private interests.

It is natural, therefore, that sympathy and fellowship should

thus produce a most ruthless power.

In judging this method of fixing belief, which may be N

called the method of authority, we must in the first place,

allow its immeasurable mental and moral superiority to

the method of tenacity. Its success is proportionally

greater; and in fact it has over and over again worked the

most majestic results. The mere structures of stone which

it has caused to be put together in Siam, for example,

22 CHANCE AND LOGIC

in Egypt, and in Europe have many of them a sublimity

hardly more than rivaled by the greatest works of Nature.

And, except the geological epochs, there are no periods of

time so vast as those which are measured by some of these

organized faiths. If we scrutinize the matter closely, we

shall find that there has not been one of their creeds which

has remained always the same; yet the change is so slow

as to be imperceptible during one person s life, so that in

dividual belief remains sensibly fixed. For the mass of

mankind, then, there is perhaps no better method than this.

If it is their highest impulse to be intellectual slaves, then

slaves they ought to remain.

But no institution can undertake to regulate opinions

upon every subject. Only the most important ones can be

attended to, and on the rest men s minds must be left to

the action of natural causes. This imperfection will be

no source of weakness so long as men are in such a state

of culture that one opinion does not influence another

that is, so long as they cannot put two and two together.

But in the most priest-ridden states some individuals will

be found who are raised above that condition. These men

possess a wider sort of social feeling; they see that men in

other countries and in other ages have held to very different

doctrines from those which they themselves have been

brought up to believe; and they cannot help seeing that it

is the mere accident of their having been taught as they

have, and of their having been surrounded with the manners

and associations they have, that has caused them to believe

as they do and not far differently. And their candor can

not resist the reflection that there is no reason to rate their

THE FIXATION OF BELIEF 23

own views at a higher value than those of other nations

and other centuries; and this gives rise to doubts in their

minds.

They will further perceive that such doubts as these

must exist in their minds with reference to every belief

which seems to be determined by the caprice either of

themselves or of those who originated the popular opinions.

The willful adherence to a belief, and the arbitrary forcing

of it upon others, must, therefore, both be given up and a

new method of settling opinions must be adopted, which

shall not only produce an impulse to believe, but shall also

decide what proposition it is which is to be believed. Let

the action of natural preferences be unimpeded, then, and

under their influence let men conversing together and re

garding matters in different lights, gradually develop beliefs

in harmony with natural causes. This method resembles

that by which conceptions of art have been brought to

maturity. The most perfect example of it is to be found

in the history of metaphysical philosophy. Systems of this

sort have not usually rested upon observed facts, at least

not in any great degree. They have been chiefly adopted

because their fundamental propositions seemed ” agreeable

to reason.” This is an apt expression; it does not mean

that which agrees with experience, but that which we find

ourselves inclined to believe. Plato, for example, finds it

agreeable to reason that the distances of the celestial spheres

from one another should be proportional to the different

lengths of strings which produce harmonious chords. Many

philosophers have been led to their main conclusions by

considerations like this; but this is the lowest and least

24 CHANCE AND LOGIC

developed form which the method takes, for it is clear that

another man might find Kepler s [earlier] theory, that the

celestial spheres are proportional to the inscribed and cir

cumscribed spheres of the different regular solids, more

agreeable to his reason. But the shock of opinions will soon

lead men to rest on preferences of a far more universal

nature. Take, for example, the doctrine that man only

acts selfishly that is, from the consideration that acting

in one way will afford him more pleasure than acting in

another. This rests on no fact in the world, but it has had

a wide acceptance as being the only reasonable theory.

This method is far more intellectual and respectable

from the point of view of reason than either of the others

which we have noticed. But its failure has been the most

manifest. It makes of inquiry something similar to the

development of taste; but taste, unfortunately, is always

more or less a matter of fashion, and accordingly, meta

physicians have never come to any fixed agreement, but

the pendulum has swung backward and forward between

a more material and a more spiritual philosophy, from the

earliest times to the latest. And so from this, which has

been called the a priori method, we are driven, in Lord

Bacon s phrase, to a true induction. We have examined

into this a priori method as something which promised to

deliver our opinions from their accidental and capricious

element. But development, while it is a process which

eliminates the effect of some casual circumstances, only

magnifies that of others. This method, therefore, does not

differ in a very essential way from that of authority. The

government may not have lifted its finger to influence my

THE FIXATION OF BELIEF a$

convictions; I may have been left outwardly quite free to

choose, we will say, between monogamy and polygamy,

and appealing to my conscience only, I may have concluded

that the latter practice is in itself licentious. But when I

come to see that the chief obstacle to the spread of Chris

tianity among a people of as high culture as the Hindoos

has been a conviction of the immorality of our way of

treating women, I cannot help seeing that, though govern

ments do not interfere, sentiments in their development

will be very greatly determined by accidental causes. Now,

there are some people, among whom I must suppose that

my reader is to be found, who, when they see that any be

lief of theirs is determined by any circumstance extraneous

to the facts, will from that moment not merely admit in

words that that belief is doubtful, but will experience a real

doubt of it, so that it ceases to be a belief.

To satisfy our doubts, therefore, it is necessary that a

method should be found by which our beliefs may be caused

by nothing human, but by some external permanency

by something upon which our thinking has no effect. Some

mystics imagine that they have such a method in a private

inspiration from on high. But that is only a form of the

method of tenacity, in which the conception of truth as

something public is not yet developed. Our External per- “^

manency would not be external, in our sense, if it was re

stricted in its influence to one individual. It must be some

thing which affects, or might affect, every man. And,

though these affections are necessarily as various as are

individual conditions, yet the method must be such that

the ultimate conclusion of every man shall be the same.

26 CHANCE AND LOGIC

Such is the method of science. Its fundamental hypothesis,

restated in more familiar language, is this: There are real

things; whose characters are entirely independent of our

opinions about them; whose realities affect our senses ac

cording to regular laws, and, though our sensations are

as different as our relations to the objects, yet, by taking

advantage of the laws of perception, we can ascertain by

reasoning how things really are, and any man, if he have suf

ficient experience and reason enough about it, will be led to

the one true conclusion. The new conception here involved

is that of reality. It may be asked how I know that there

are any realities. If this hypothesis is the sole support of

my method of inquiry, my method of inquiry must not be

used to support my hypothesis. The reply is this: i. If

investigation cannot be regarded as proving that there are

real things, it at least does not lead to a contrary conclu

sion; but the method and the conception on which it is

based remain ever in harmony. No doubts of the method,

therefore, necessarily arise from its practice, as is the case

with all the others. 2. The feeling which gives rise to any

method of fixing belief is a dissatisfaction at two repugnant

propositions. But here already is a vague concession that

there is some one thing to which a proposition should con

form. Nobody, therefore, can really doubt that there are

realities, or, if he did, doubt would not be a source of dis

satisfaction. The hypothesis, therefore, is one which every

mind admits. So that the social impulse does not cause

me to doubt it. 3. Everybody uses the scientific method

about a great many things, and only ceases to use it when

he does not know how to apply it. 4. Experience of the

THE FIXATION OF BELIEF 27

method has not led me to doubt it, but, on the contrary,

scientific investigation has had the most wonderful triumphs

in the way of settling opinion. These afford the explana

tion of my not doubting the method or the hypothesis which

it supposes; and not having any doubt, nor believing that

anybody else whom I could influence has, it would be the

merest babble for me to say more about it. If there be

anybody with a living doubt upon the subject, let him

consider it.

To describe the method of scientific investigation is the

object of this series of papers. At present I have only room

to notice some points of contrast between it and other

methods of fixing belief.

This is the only one of the four methods which presents

any distinction of a right and a wrong way. If I adopt the

method of tenacity and shut myself out from all influences,

whatever I think necessary to doing this is necessary accord

ing to that method. So with the method of authority: the

state may try to put down heresy by means which, from a

scientific point of view, seems very ill-calculated to ac

complish its purposes; but the only test on that method is

what the state thinks, so that it cannot pursue the method

wrongly. So with the a priori method. The very essence of

it is to think as one is inclined to think. All metaphysicians

will be sure to do that, however they may be inclined to

judge each other to be perversely wrong. The Hegelian

system recognizes every natural tendency of thought as

logical, although it is certain to be abolished by counter-

tendencies. Hegel thinks there is a regular system in the

succession of these tendencies, in consequence of which,

3 S CHANCE AND LOGIC

after drifting one way and the other for a long time, opinion

will at last go right. And it is true that metaphysicians get

the right ideas at last; Hegel s system of Nature represents

tolerably the science of that day; and one may be sure that

whatever scientific investigation has put out of doubt will

presently receive a priori demonstration on the part of the

metaphysicians. But with the scientific method the case

is different. I may start with known and observed facts

to proceed to the unknown; and yet the rules which I follow

in doing so may not be such as investigation would ap

prove. The test af whether I am truly following the

method is not an immediate appeal to my feelings and pur

poses, but, on the contrary, itself involves the application

of the method. Hence it is that bad reasoning as well as

good reasoning is possible; and this fact is the foundation

of the practical side of logic.

It is not to be supposed that the first three methods of

settling opinion present no advantage whatever over the

scientific method. On the contrary, each has some peculiar

convenience of its own. The a priori method is distin

guished for its comfortable conclusions. It is the nature

of the process to adopt whatever belief we are inclined to,

and there are certain flatteries to one s vanities which we

all believe by nature, until we are awakened from our pleas

ing dream by rough facts. The method of authority will

always govern the mass of mankind; and those who wield

the various forms of organized force in the state will never

be convinced that dangerous reasoning ought not to be

suppressed in some way. If liberty of speech is to be un-

trammeled from the grosser forms of constraint, then uni-

THE FIXATION OF BELIEF 29

formity of opinion will be secured by a moral terrorism to

which the respectability of society will give its thorough

approval. Following the method of authority is the path

of peace. Certain non-conformities are permitted; certain

others (considered unsafe) are forbidden. These are dif

ferent in different countries and in different ages; but,

wherever you are let it be known that you seriously hold

a tabooed belief, and you may be perfectly sure of being

treated with a cruelty no less brutal but more refined than

hunting you like a wolf. Thus, the greatest intellectual

benefactors of mankind have never dared, and dare not

now, to utter the whole of their thought; and thus a shade

of prima jade doubt is cast upon every proposition which

is considered essential to the security of society. Singu

larly enough, the persecution does not all come from with

out; but a man torments himself and is oftentimes most

distressed at finding himself believing propositions which

he has been brought up to regard with aversion. The

peaceful and sympathetic man will, therefore, find it hard

to resist the temptation to submit his opinions to authority.

But most of all I admire the method of tenacity for its

strength, simplicity, and directness. Men who pursue it

are distinguished for their decision of character, which be

comes very easy with such a mental rule. They do not

waste time in trying to make up their minds to what they

want, but, fastening like lightning upon whatever alterna

tive comes first, they hold to it to the end, whatever

happens, without an instant s irresolution. This is one of

the splendid qualities which generally accompany brilliant,

unlasting success. It is impossible not to envy the man who

30 CHANCE AND LOGIC

can dismiss reason, although we know how it must turn out

at last.

Such are the advantages which the other methods of

settling opinions have over scientific investigation. A man

should consider well of them; and then he should consider

that, after all, he wishes his opinions to coincide with the

fact, and that there is no reason why the results of these

three methods should do so. To bring about this effect is the

prerogative of the method of science. Upon such considera

tions he has to make his choice a choice which is far

more than the adoption of any intellectual opinion, which

is one of the ruling decisions of his life, to which when once

made he is bound to adhere. The force of habit will some

times cause a man to hold on to old beliefs, after he is in

a condition to see that they have no sound basis. But re

flection upon the state of the case will overcome these

habits, and he ought to allow reflection full weight. People

sometimes shrink from doing this, having an idea that be

liefs are wholesome which they cannot help feeling rest on

nothing. But let such persons suppose an analogous though

different case from their own. Let them ask themselves

what they would say to a reformed Mussulman who should

hesitate to give up his old notions in regard to the relations

of the sexes; or to a reformed Catholic who should still

shrink from the Bible. Would they not say that these

persons ought to consider the matter fully, and clearly

understand the new doctrine, and then ought to embrace it

in its entirety? But, above all, let it be considered that

what is more wholesome than any particular belief, is in

tegrity of belief; and that to avoid looking into the support

THE FIXATION OF BELIEF 31

of any belief from a fear that it may turn out rotten is

quite as immoral as it is disadvantageous. The person who

confesses that there is such a thing as truth, which is dis

tinguished from falsehood simply by this, that if acted on

it will carry us to the point we aim at and not astray, and

then though convinced of this, dares not know the truth

and seeks to avoid it, is in a sorry state of mind, indeed.

Yes, the other methods do have their merits: a clear

logical conscience does cost something just as any virtue,

just as all that we cherish, costs us dear. But, we should

not desire it to be otherwise. The genius of a man s logical

method should be loved and reverenced as his bride, whom

he has chosen from all the world. He need not condemn

the others; on the contrary, he may honor them deeply,

and in doing so he only honors her the more. But she is

the one that he has chosen, and he knows that he was right

in making that choice. And having made it, he will work

and fight for her, and will not complain that there are blows

to take, hoping that there may be as many and as hard to

give, and will strive to be the worthy knight and champion

of her from the blaze of whose splendors he draws his

inspiration and his courage.

A ffkrn

SECOND PAPER

HOW TO MAKE OUR IDEAS CLEAR 1

Peirce, Ch. San… On a New List of Categories

Cita

Peirce, Ch. Sanders
ON A NEW LIST OF CATEGORIES

On a New List of Categories

Charles S. Peirce

Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 7 (1868), 287-298.


Sec. 1. This paper is based upon the theory already established, that the function of conceptions is to reduce the manifold of sensuous impressions to unity, and that the validity of a conception consists in the impossibility of reducing the content of consciousness to unity without the introduction of it.

Sec. 2. This theory gives rise to a conception of gradation among those conceptions which are universal. For one such conception may unite the manifold of sense and yet another may be required to unite the conception and the manifold to which it is applied; and so on.

Sec. 3. That universal conception which is nearest to sense is that of the present, in general. This is a conception, because it is universal. But as the act of attention has no connotation at all, but is the pure denotative power of the mind, that is to say, the power which directs the mind to an object, in contradistinction to the power of thinking any predicate of that object, — so the conception of what is present in general, which is nothing but the general recognition of what is contained in attention, has no connotation, and therefore no proper unity. This conception of the present in general, of IT in general, is rendered in philosophical language by the word “substance” in one of its meanings. Before any comparison or discrimination can be made between what is present, what is present must have been recognized as such, as it, and subsequently the metaphysical parts which are recognized by abstraction are attributed to this it, but the it cannot itself be made a predicate. This it is thus neither predicated of a subject, nor in a subject, and accordingly is identical with the conception of substance.

Sec. 4. The unity to which the understanding reduces impressions is the unity of a proposition. This unity consists in the connection of the predicate with the subject; and, therefore, that which is implied in the copula, or the conception of being, is that which completes the work of conceptions of reducing the manifold to unity. The copula (or rather the verb which is copula in one of its senses) means either actually is or would be, as in the two propositions, “There is no griffin,” and “A griffin is a winged quadruped.” The conception of being contains only that junction of predicate to subject wherein these two verbs agree. The conception of being, therefore, plainly has no content.

If we say “The stove is black,” the stove is the substance, from which its blackness has not been differentiated, and the is, while it leaves the substance just as it was seen, explains its confusedness, by the application to it of blackness as a predicate.

Though being does not affect the subject, it implies an indefinite determinability of the predicate. For if one could know the copula and predicate of any proposition, as “. . . is a tailed-man,” he would know the predicate to be applicable to something supposable, at least. Accordingly, we have propositions whose subjects are entirely indefinite, as “There is a beautiful ellipse,” where the subject is merely something actual or potential; but we have no propositions whose predicate is entirely indeterminate, for it would be quite senseless to say, “A has the common characters of all things,” inasmuch as there are no such common characters.

Thus substance and being are the beginning and end of all conception. Substance is inapplicable to a predicate, and being is equally so to a subject.

Sec. 5. The terms “prescision” and “abstraction,” which were formerly applied to every kind of separation, are now limited, not merely to mental separation, but to that which arises from attention to one element and neglect of the other. Exclusive attention consists in a definite conception or supposition of one part of an object, without any supposition of the other. Abstraction or prescision ought to be carefully distinguished from two other modes of mental separation, which may be termed discrimination and dissociation. Discrimination has to do merely with the senses of terms, and only draws a distinction in meaning. Dissociation is that separation which, in the absence of a constant association, is permitted by the law of association of images. It is the consciousness of one thing, without the necessary simultaneous consciousness of the other. Abstraction or prescision, therefore, supposes a greater separation than discrimination, but a less separation than dissociation. Thus I can discriminate red from blue, space from color, and color from space, but not red from color. I can prescind red from blue, and space from color (as is manifest from the fact that I actually believe there is an uncolored space between my face and the wall); but I cannot prescind color from space, nor red from color. I can dissociate red from blue, but not space from color, color from space, nor red from color.

Prescision is not a reciprocal process. It is frequently the case, that, while A cannot be prescinded from B, B can be prescinded from A. This circumstance is accounted for as follows. Elementary conceptions only arise upon the occasion of experience; that is, they are produced for the first time according to a general law, the condition of which is the existence of certain impressions. Now if a conception does not reduce the impressions upon which it follows to unity, it is a mere arbitrary addition to these latter; and elementary conceptions do not arise thus arbitrarily. But if the impressions could be definitely comprehended without the conception, this latter would not reduce them to unity. Hence, the impressions (or more immediate conceptions) cannot be definitely conceived or attended to, to the neglect of an elementary conception which reduces them to unity. On the other hand, when such a conception has once been obtained, there is, in general, no reason why the premisses which have occasioned it should not be neglected, and therefore the explaining conception may frequently be prescinded from the more immediate ones and from the impressions.

Sec. 6. The facts now collected afford the basis for a systematic method of searching out whatever universal elementary conceptions there may be intermediate between the manifold of substance and the unity of being. It has been shown that the occasion of the introduction of a universal elementary conception is either the reduction of the manifold of substance to unity, or else the conjunction to substance of another conception. And it has further been shown that the elements conjoined cannot be supposed without the conception, whereas the conception can generally be supposed without these elements. Now, empirical psychology discovers the occasion of the introduction of a conception, and we have only to ascertain what conception already lies in the data which is united to that of substance by the first conception, but which cannot be supposed without this first conception, to have the next conception in order in passing from being to substance.

It may be noticed that, throughout this process, introspection is not resorted to. Nothing is assumed respecting the subjective elements of consciousness which cannot be securely inferred from the objective elements.

Sec. 7. The conception of being arises upon the formation of a proposition. A proposition always has, besides a term to express the substance, another to express the quality of that substance; and the function of the conception of being is to unite the quality to the substance. Quality, therefore, in its very widest sense, is the first conception in order in passing from being to substance.

Quality seems at first sight to be given in the impression. Such results of introspection are untrustworthy. A proposition asserts the applicability of a mediate conception to a more immediate one. Since this isasserted, the more mediate conception is clearly regarded independently of this circumstance, for otherwise the two conceptions would not be distinguished, but one would be thought through the other, without this latter being an object of thought, at all. The mediate conception, then, in order to be asserted to be applicable to the other, must first be considered without regard to this circumstance, and taken immediately. But, taken immediately, it transcends what is given (the more immediate conception), and its applicability to the latter is hypothetical. Take, for example, the proposition, “This stove is black.” Here the conception of this stove is the more immediate, that of black the more mediate, which latter, to be predicated of the former, must be discriminated from it and considered in itself, not as applied to an object, but simply as embodying a quality, blackness. Now this blackness is a pure species or abstraction, and its application to this stove is entirely hypothetical. The same thing is meant by “the stove is black,” as by “there is blackness in the stove.” Embodying blackness is the equivalent of black.*** The proof is this. These conceptions are applied indifferently to precisely the same facts. If, therefore, they were different, the one which was first applied would fulfil every function of the other; so that one of them would be superfluous. Now a superfluous conception is an arbitrary fiction, whereas elementary conceptions arise only upon the requirement of experience; so that a superfluous elementary conception is impossible. Moreover, the conception of a pure abstraction is indispensable, because we cannot comprehend an agreement of two things, except as an agreement in some respect, and this respect is such a pure abstraction as blackness. Such a pure abstraction, reference to which constitutes a quality or general attribute, may be termed a ground.

Reference to a ground cannot be prescinded from being, but being can be prescinded from it.

Sec. 8. Empirical psychology has established the fact that we can know a quality only by means of its contrast with or similarity to another. By contrast and agreement a thing is referred to a correlate, if this term may be used in a wider sense than usual. The occasion of the introduction of the conception of reference to a ground is the reference to a correlate, and this is, therefore, the next conception in order.

Reference to a correlate cannot be prescinded from reference to a ground; but reference to a ground may be prescinded from reference to a correlate.

Sec. 9. The occasion of reference to a correlate is obviously by comparison. This act has not been sufficiently studied by the psychologists, and it will, therefore, be necessary to adduce some examples to show in what it consists. Suppose we wish to compare the letters p and b. We may imagine one of them to be turned over on the line of writing as an axis, then laid upon the other, and finally to become transparent so that the other can be seen through it. In this way we shall form a new image which mediates between the images of the two letters, inasmuch as it represents one of them to be (when turned over) he likeness of the other. Again, suppose we think of a murderer as being in relation to a murdered person; in this case we conceive the act of the murder, and in this conception it is represented that corresponding to every murderer (as well as to every murder) there is a murdered person; and thus we resort again to a mediating representation which represents the relate as standing for a correlate with which the mediating representation is itself in relation. Again, suppose we look up the word homme in a French dictionary; we shall find opposite to it the word man, which, so placed, represents homme as representing the same two-legged creature which man itself represents. By a further accumulation of instances, it would be found that every comparison requires, besides the related thing, the ground, and the correlate, also a mediating representation which represents the relate to be a representation of the same correlate which this mediating representation itself represents. Such a mediating representation may be termed an interpretant, because it fulfils the office of an interpreter, who says that a foreigner says the same thing which he himself says. The term “representation” is here to be understood in a very extended sense, which can be explained by instances better than by a definition. In this sense, a word represents a thing to the conception in the mind of the hearer, a portrait represents the person for whom it is intended to the conception of recognition, a weathercock represents the direction of the wind to the conception of him who understands it, a barrister represents his client to the judge and jury whom he influences.

Every reference to a correlate, then, conjoins to the substance the conception of a reference to an interpretant; and this is, therefore, the next conception in order in passing from being to substance.

Reference to an interpretant cannot be prescinded from reference to a correlate; but the latter can be prescinded from the former.

Sec. 10. Reference to an interpretant is rendered possible and justified by that which renders possible and justifies comparison. But that is clearly the diversity of impressions. If we had but one impression, it would not require to be reduced to unity, and would therefore not need to be thought of as referred to an interpretant, and the conception of reference to an interpretant would not arise. But since there is a manifold of impressions, we have a feeling of complication or confusion, which leads us to differentiate this impression from that, and then, having been differentiated, they require to be brought to unity. Now they are not brought to unity until we conceive them together as being ours, that is, until we refer them to a conception as their interpretant. Thus, the reference to an interpretant arises upon the holding together of diverse impressions, and therefore it does not join a conception to the substance, as the other two references do, but unites directly the manifold of the substance itself. It is, therefore, the last conception in order in passing from being to substance.

Sec. 11. The five conceptions thus obtained, for reasons which will be sufficiently obvious, may be termed categories. That is,

BEING

Quality (Reference to a Ground),
Relation (Reference to a Correlate),
Representation (Reference to an Interpretant),

SUBSTANCE

The three intermediate conceptions may be termed accidents.

Sec. 12. This passage from the many to the one is numerical. The conception of a third is that of an object which is so related to two others, that one of these must be related to the other in the same way in which the third is related to that other. Now this coincides with the conception of an interpretant. An other is plainly equivalent to a correlate. The conception of second differs from that of other, in implying the possibility of a third. In the same way, the conception of self implies the possibility of an other. The Ground is the self abstracted from the concreteness which implies the possibility of an other.

Sec. 13. Since no one of the categories can be prescinded from those above it, the list of supposable objects which they afford is,

What is.

Quale–that which refers to a ground,
Relate–that which refers to ground and correlate,
Representamen–that which refers to ground, correlate, and interpretant.

It.

Sec. 14. A quality may have a special determination which prevents its being prescinded from reference to a correlate. Hence there are two kinds of relation.

First. That of relates whose reference to a ground is a prescindible or internal quality.

Second. That of relates whose reference to a ground is an unprescindible or relative quality.

In the former case, the relation is a mere concurrence of the correlates in one character, and the relate and correlate are not distinguished. In the latter case the correlate is set over against the relate, and there is in some sense an opposition.

Relates of the first kind are brought into relation simply by their agreement. But mere disagreement (unrecognized) does not constitute relation, and therefore relates of the second kind are only brought into relation by correspondence in fact.

A reference to a ground may also be such that it cannot be prescinded from a reference to an interpretant. In this case it may be termed an imputed quality. If the reference of a relate to its ground can be prescinded from reference to an interpretant, its relation to its correlate is a mere concurrence or community in the possession of a quality, and therefore the reference to a correlate can be prescinded from reference to an interpretant. It follows that there are three kinds of representations.

First. Those whose relation to their objects is a mere community in some quality, and these representations may be termed Likenesses.

Second. Those whose relation to their objects consists in a correspondence in fact, and these may be termed Indices or Signs.

Third. Those the ground of whose relation to their objects is an imputed character, which are the same as general signs, and these may be termed Symbols.

Sec. 15. I shall now show how the three conceptions of reference to a ground, reference to an object, and reference to an interpretant are the fundamental ones of at least one universal science, that of logic. Logic is said to treat of second intentions as applied to first. It would lead me too far away from the matter in hand to discuss the truth of this statement; I shall simply adopt it as one which seems to me to afford a good definition of the subject-genus of this science. Now, second intentions are the objects of the understanding considered as representations, and the first intentions to which they apply are the objects of those representations. The objects of the understanding, considered as representations, are symbols, that is, signs which are at least potentially general. But the rules of logic hold good of any symbols, of those which are written or spoken as well as of those which are thought. They have no immediate application to likenesses or indices, because no arguments can be constructed of these alone, but do apply to all symbols. All symbols, indeed, are in one sense relative to the understanding, but only in the sense in which also all things are relative to the understanding. On this account, therefore, the relation to the understanding need not be expressed in the definition of the sphere of logic, since it determines no limitation of that sphere. But a distinction can be made between concepts which are supposed to have no existence except so far as they are actually present to the understanding, and external symbols which still retain their character of symbols so long as they are only capable of being understood. And as the rules of logic apply to these latter as much as to the former (and though only through the former, yet this character, since it belongs to all things, is no limitation), it follows that logic has for its subject-genus all symbols and not merely concepts.*** We come, therefore, to this, that logic treats of the reference of symbols in general to their objects. In this view it is one of a trivium of conceivable sciences. The first would treat of the formal conditions of symbols having meaning, that is of the reference of symbols in general to their grounds or imputed characters, and this might be called formal grammar; the second, logic, would treat of the formal conditions of the truth of symbols; and the third would treat of the formal conditions of the force of symbols, or their power of appealing to a mind, that is, of their reference in general to interpretants, and this might be called formal rhetoric.

There would be a general division of symbols, common to all these sciences; namely, into,

1) Symbols which directly determine only their grounds or imputed qualities, and are thus but sums of marks or terms;

2) Symbols which also independently determine their objects by means of other term or terms, and thus, expressing their own objective validity, become capable of truth or falsehood, that is, are propositions; and,

3) Symbols which also independently determine their interpretants, and thus the minds to which they appeal, by premissing a proposition or propositions which such a mind is to admit. These are arguments.

And it is remarkable that, among all the definitions of the proposition, for example, as the oratio indicativa, as the subsumption of an object under a concept, as the expression of the relation of two concepts, and as the indication of the mutable ground of appearance, there is, perhaps, not one in which the conception of reference to an object or correlate is not the important one. In the same way, the conception of reference to an interpretant or third, is always prominent in the definitions of argument.

In a proposition, the term which separately indicates the object of the symbol is termed the subject, and that which indicates the ground is termed the predicate. The objects indicated by the subject (which are always potentially a plurality — at least, of phases or appearances) are therefore stated by the proposition to be related to one another on the ground of the character indicated by the predicate. Now this relation may be either a concurrence or an opposition. Propositions of concurrence are those which are usually considered in logic; but I have shown in a paper upon the classification of arguments that it is also necessary to consider separately propositions of opposition, if we are to take account of such arguments as the following: —

Whatever is the half of anything is less than that of which it is the half:

A is half of B:
A is less than B.

The subject of such a proposition is separated into two terms, a “subject nominative” and an “object accusative.”

In an argument, the premisses form a representation of the conclusion, because they indicate the interpretant of the argument, or representation representing it to represent its object. The premisses may afford a likeness, index, or symbol of the conclusion. In deductive argument, the conclusion is represented by the premisses as by a general sign under which it is contained. In hypotheses, something like the conclusion is proved, that is, the premisses form a likeness of the conclusion. Take, for example, the following argument:

M is, for instance, P’, P”, P”’, and P””;
S is P’, P”, P”’, and P””:
[Ergo,] S is M.

Here the first premiss amounts to this, that “P’, P”, P”’, and P””” is a likeness of M, and thus the premisses are or represent a likeness of the conclusion. That it is different with induction another example will show.

S’, S”, S”’, and S”” are taken as samples of the collection M;
S’, S”, S”’, and S”” are P:
[Ergo,] All M is P.

Hence the first premiss amounts to saying that “S’, S”, S”’, and S””” is an index of M. Hence the premisses are an index of the conclusion.

The other divisions of terms, propositions, and arguments arise from the distinction of extension and comprehension. I propose to treat this subject in a subsequent paper. But I will so far anticipate that as to say that there is, first, the direct reference of a symbol to its objects, or its denotation; second, the reference of the symbol to its ground, through its object, that is, its reference to the common characters of its objects, or its connotation; and third, its reference to its interpretants through its object, that is, its reference to all the synthetical propositions in which its objects in common are subject or predicate, and this I term the information it embodies. And as every addition to what it denotes, or to what it connotes, is effected by means of a distinct proposition of this kind, it follows that the extension and comprehension of a term are in an inverse relation, as long as the information remains the same, and that every increase of information is accompanied by an increase of one or other of these two quantities. It may be observed that extension and comprehension are very often taken in other senses in which this last proposition is not true.

This is an imperfect view of the application which the conceptions which, according to our analysis, are the most fundamental ones find in the sphere of logic. It is believed, however, that it is sufficient to show that at least something may be usefully suggested by considering this science in this light.


Notes

1. This agrees with the author of De Generibus et Speciebus, Ouvrages Inedits d’Abelard, p. 528.
Return to text.

2. Herbart says: “Unsre saemmtlichen Gedanken lassen sich von zwei Seiten betrachten; theils als Thaetigkeiten unseres Geistes, theils in Hinsicht dessen, was durch sie gedacht wird. In letzterer Beziehung heissen sie Begriffe, welches Wort, indem es das Begriffene bezeichnet, zu abstrahiren gebieted von der Art und Weise, wie wir den Gedanken empfangen, produciren, oder reproduciren moegen.” But the whole difference between a concept and an external sign lies in these respects which logic ought, according to Herbart, to abstract from.

http://www.cspeirce.com/menu/library/bycsp/bycsp.htm

Manuscript Material from the 1870’s Toward a Book on Logic
See Joseph Ransdell’s 2009-06-17 post to peirce-l
truth and the 1870s logic” (thread with headers).

MS 218 (March 1873) Chap. 6th 
Chiefly conncerned with causal connection between sign and object, thought and the thing to which it relates; the hardness of the diamond as what will happen under certan conditions

Charles S. Peirce

Chap. 6th

MS 218 (Robin 379): Writings 3, 77-81
March 1973

March 10. 73

We have seen that a cognition is a sign, and that every sign has these three elements: First, the qualities which belong to it in itself as an object; second, the character of addressing itself to a mind; and thirdly, a causal connection with the thing it signifies. In the Fourth Chapter we have seen what the general qualities of cognitions in themselves are. In the last chapter we have considered how they may address themselves to other cognitions. We have nown to consider what is the nature of the causal connection between a thought and the thing to which it relates. The whole effort in investigation is to make our beliefs represent the realities. What is a reality and how is it connected with thought? A reality is distinguished from a figment in that a figment is whatever we think it to be, while a reality is what it is whatever we may think it to be. Realities are either in the mind or out of the mind; for a thought is in itself a reality; something in the mind. An external reality is something which not only is what it is whatever we may think it to be, but also is independent of what we think about other things. An internal reality has characters dependent on our thoughts, although its characters are not changed by our thinking that it has a different set of characters from what we have hitherto supposed that it had. Thus if I really have the idea of a red object, that idea is an internal reality; its character depends upon what was In my mind at the time I had it. But if I make a false analysis, and think that what I thought consists in thinking of a certain rate of vibrations, that does not alter the fact that I was not really thinking of that rate of vibrations. A reality is that which is represented in the truth, and the truth is that which every judgment aims at. But we have seen that investigation and reasoning is but a particular case of that struggle which is occasioned by the irritation of doubt, and consequently we aim at nothing in investigation but to reach the final settled belief. It follows from this that the reality is nothing but what is represented in the final belief. The question is, whether this is owing to some peculiar faculty of ours by which our final belief will always represent the reality which is independent of it, or whether it is owing not to any particular effect of this kind, but merely to the reality and the object of final belief (two different modes of expressing the same thing); that is[,] to their being identical, not merely in our cases constituted as we are, but to a necessary identity between them, independent of any peculiarity in the constitution of the mind. Now , in the first place, the fact that the end of the struggle occasioned by the irritation of doubt is a settled belief, is not anything inferred from a particular law of the mind, but is only stating that two forms of expression are equivalent in meaning. It is only a means of distinctly expressing what we mean by saying that a struggle is occasioned by the irritation of doubt. Nor is there any matter of fact involved in saying that the truth is the object aimed at in investigation; for investigation implies that the conception of truth is developed, and it is absurd to suppose a mind which should say this is the truth but I do not believe it. Every mind therefore will believe the truth as soon as it finds it out, and therefore that is the end of investigation with any mind. So that the object of a final settled opinion not merely coincides with the truth, but is the truth by the definition of words.The truth is independent of what we may think about it and the object of an opinion is a creation of thought which is entirely dependent on what that opinion is. It exists by virtue of that opinion. There seems to be a contradiction here. But the secret of the matter is this. The final settled opinion is not any particular cognition in such and such a mind, at such and such a time, although an individual opinion may chance to coincide with it. If an opinion coincides with the final settled opinion, it is because the general current of investigation will not affect it. The object of that individual opinion is whatever is thought at that time. But if anything else than that one thing is thought, the object of that opinion changes and it thereby ceases to coincide with the object of the final opinion which does not change. The perversity or ignorance of mankind may make this thing or that to be held for true, for any number of generations, but it cannot affect what would be the result of sufficient experience and reasoning. And this it is which is meant by the final settled opinion. This therefore is no particular opinion but is entirely independent of what you, I, or any number of men may think about it; and therefore it directly satisfies the definition of reality. But the object of the final opinion is something which is capable of being thought, and does not transcend thought altogether, and therefore the reality is something which is capable of being thought, and in no case can transcend thought altogether. It follows from our reasoning, that this is not only a fact but is involved in the meanings of words. The reality or what exists is the most general of expressions, for even a figment is a reality, as we have seen, when it is considered as something in itself, and not as representing something else. What is meant by the word existing, therefore, is that wherein all objects agree. But all the objects which could be used to form such a general observation agree in being objects of thought. And consequently, what exists must itself be an object of thought. That is to say thought must be implied as a part of the meaning of the word. We can have no conception of anything which is not an object of thought; and a word to which no conception attaches, has no meaning at all. Consequently an attempt to find a word which shall express a thing that exists without implying that that thing is a possible object of thought, will result simply in a meaningless or contradictory expression. Let us define a thing in itself which is not an object of thought. The “is” is a word which means an object of thought. So that a thing in itself means an object of thought that is not an object of thought. Consider the matter in a less technical way. Let us suppose a mind placed in a universe, part of the objects in which could be objects of its thought, and part not. That mind would be entirely cut off from the latter part of this universe. It could have no idea of that whatever, direct or indirect, positive or negative. It could have no idea of being except as one of the things of the first part of that universe. The general idea of being it could not have, and the word which expresses it would be no word for that mind, or else would be used in a narrower sense. We, who are outside of that mind, may talk of objects that can not possibly be thought by it, but it could not use such an expression and attach any meaning to it. In the same way, it is clear, that we can no more transcend the limits of our mind, than that being could transcend its limits; and that that which can not possibly be thought by us is simply nonsensical expression. Let us consider the causal connection between the object of cognition and the cognition itself. The reality has an effect on our thought and therefore exists before that thought. But the object of the final opinion is contingent upon the future event. Thus the existence of something in the present depends upon the future conditional occurrence of a certain event. This may sound strange but the strangeness will disappear upon considering the numerous familiar instances of the same sort. A diamond is really hard. Its hardness is a quality which it possesses all the time. And now what does this hardness consist in? It consists in nothing else but this, that rock crystal will not scratch it. If no attempt has been made, as yet, to scratch it with rock crystal, its present hardness consists entirely in what wil happen in the future. The inkstand upon my table is heavy. And in what does its weight consist? It consists in the fact that if taken off the table and let fall it will drop. Its weight then, which exists all the time, consists in what will happen if it is taken off the table and let fall. What makes its weight consists only in the fact that it will always drop on any future occasion; and that, although its having weight is the cause of its falling.

These conceptions are perfectly familiar to anybody who has considered the subject of forces. Every force resident in a body consists only in the fact that certain phenomena will occur under certain conditions. Matter is only the center of forces. Its existence consists only in the fact that attractions and repulsions center in it. And these attractions and repulsions themselves exist in what will happen under certain conditions. So that the existence of matter itself is of the same sort. We have already seen that all cognitions exist only in the effect they would have upon future cognitions. It is therefore but a small step to assert that all reality exists only by virtue of what will happen under certain conditions in the future. In this conception of the case all the laws and regularities of nature are resolved into a historic necessity in the process of investigation by which a certain conclusion is brought out. The final results of investigation are not in any degree determined by our opinions at the outset but are, as it were, predestinated. The method we pursue or the action of our will, may hasten or retard the time when this conclusion is reached; but it is fated to emerge at last. And every cognition ]?[ consists in what investigation is destined to result in.

http://www.cspeirce.com/menu/library/bycsp/pythagorics/pythagorics.htm

PYTHAGORICS
Charles S. Peirce

The Open Court No. 263 (Vol. VI—36)
September 8, 1892, pp. 3375-3377.

The catholic kindness of the philosopher who conducts The Open Court gives me a hearing before its bar, to present the claims of certain ideas. I accordingly purpose to submit some reflections upon various methods of reasoning—as well methods in vogue, which I undertake to show faulty, as methods neglected or decried, the use of which I shall advocate. These pleadings will make up a series of briefs, or articles, to be entitled “The Critic of Arguments,” the word critic here meaning an art, like logic, etc. But I shall beg leave to intersperse among these essays others relating to points in the history of human reason, treated mostly with special reference to the practical lessons they suggest.

“Many loved Truth, and lavished life’s best oil
Amid the dust of books to find her,
Content at last, for guerdon of their toil,
With the cast mantle she hath left behind her.”

So sang James Lowell. But he knew, as well as anybody, that no dryasdust could ever have expected anything more from his plodding than the “cast mantle” of truth. The individual scholar looks upon himself as only one of a vast army of ants who are, collectively, building up something which no one of them comprehend in advance or is destined ever to see, but which is to be the solace, stimulus, and strength of future generations. The student’s life would lack something of its proper dignity if he did not well know, at the outset, that in embracing it, and thus surrendering the ordinary joys of life, he has to look forward to no personal compensation, material or sentimental. I mean this of the American student only, for of course all is very different in continental Europe, where learned men are sought after by universities, and have an honorable status, instead of being counted as cranks. What is a bit discouraging in his prospect, to a young man who contemplates devoting himself to intellectual affairs, is the assurance that all his life long he will be prevented from doing his work thoroughly well, and from competing with European rivals, owing to the impossibility of procuring the necessary books. True, there are a few great libraries in the expensive cities, open at stated hours. But to study one must burn the midnight oil, and must have many books always at hand. No poor grub will, in any of the dream that inanition brings, ever fancy that, among the rich Grolier clubs, a single bibliophile could be found who would deprive himself of half a dozen rare volumes in order, with the proceeds of their sale, to purchase a thousand works of value to be loaned to one who would actually use them for the world’s good!

In these days, we have seen all sorts of artisans and manual laborers associating themselves to enforce the respect of those with whom they deal; but it was only a little while ago that I heard of the actual existence of a secret society of scientific-students, called the Pythagorean Brotherhood.

It is a beautiful name. I would it were given to me to write the life of Pythagoras; for it is not only the sublimest of all human biographies, but the task would also afford a unique opportunity of showing how a true logic would deal with a great mass of weak testimony, and of putting in a clear light the futility of the canons which historical critics are now in the habit of applying to such cases. Open any modern history of philosophy and you will find that the story of Pythagoras—except in a few colorless outlines—is erased altogether, on the ground that it rests upon very late authorities, to follow whom would not be “safe.” Can anybody explain what that word means? The Latin salvus sum means: I come out without loss; and so when an insurance company judges a risk “safe,” they mean that they will take a thousand like it and that what they lose on some of them will be made good on others. If this is the sense in which historical beliefs are said to be “safe” or otherwise, one essential factor in determining whether they should be so regarded must be their value to us in case they are true. One would risk more for the sake of knowing that the ideal Pythagoras lived, than he would for the sake of knowing that the Platonic Socrates lived. The best of the story should be true, to judge by the elevated character of all the Pythagoreans we hear of; and when we remember how intensely secretive they were, and how they refrained from so much as naming their master, the late divulgement of |3376| the facts is no way surprising. But be the story true or false, it remains one of the most precious of biographies, because it inspires and inflames the heart of the reader with a great and lofty ideal of humanity. In this light, the suppression of it in modern books shows the queer earth-worship of our day. Are ideals unembodied of no account? I wot they must be reckoned with, even in computing the active forces of this world.

At any rate, it is certain that Pythagoras really lived, and that in the sixth century before Christ, the Tarquins then reigning in Rome, he established in the great city of Crotona, at the southernmost point of the Gulf of Tarentum, a scientific secret society, one main purpose of which was to control the policy and conduct of the government, and to sway the minds of the citizens? * There is no reason to doubt that full members of this brotherhood surrendered their property; and they must have supported themselves by means of their superior knowledge, probably in mathematics. This was not publicly understood; for only the initiated, by means of secret signals, could tell who were and who were not Pythagoreans. That they made great advances in mathematics is an established fact. If there are those who disbelieve their master’s having discovered the forty-seventh proposition of the first book of Euclid (which commonly bears his name), and the thirty-first proposition of the third book, their disbelief comes from the use of canons that embody a sceptical temper, but not a sane logic. Indeed, there are men who seem to conceive that the less they believe the more highly scientific they are. The Pythagoreans attached significance to numbers. They had a number of justice, 4 or, perhaps 3, or 5; a number of health, 6 or 7; a number of marriage, 5, 3, or 6; and a number of light, 7 or 6. One was the origin; two, stalwart resistance; three, mediation and beauty; four, the key of nature; five, color; six, life; seven, the lucky time; eight, the Cadmean number; etc. But preeminent above all was ten, the sacred number, the principle and guide of human life, the number of Power. There was some great secret attached to ten, and the Pythagorean oath made special reference to it. The testimony of antiquity is unequivocal that the Pythagoreans kept their mathematical discoveries secret. But the sapient modern critic sees fit to reject this statement. Do you ask why? Simply, because it is not “probable.” But since I do not myself carry about in my breast any such unerring and heaven-born sense of the “probable,” there is nothing for me to do but to believe that the Pythagoreans did keep their mathematical discoveries to themselves; and all testimony there is in favor of this fact fails to rouse in me an impulse to deny it. That is where, I suppose, I am wanting in the true critical spirit. But since they must have earned their living by the practice of the mathematical arts—computation, book-keeping, mensuration, surveying, etc—it would plainly be to the interest of the guild that this mistery should remain a mystery to outsiders. When Boethius, about A. D. 500, gives an account of a sort of abacus, consisting of a table ruled in columns for the decimal places, in which columns characters substantially the same as our Arabic figures, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, were written, he says that this table and these digit-characters were used by the Pythagorics. True, the genuineness of this passage has been much disputed, notwithstanding one of the manuscripts dating from the tenth century, long before the introduction of the Arabic notation into Europe. But these doubts are now given up, at any rate by the best authorities. Still, I hardly need say that every self-respecting critic rejects the statement of Boethius that these figures were used by the Pythagoreans. For how could Boethius, A. D. 500, know anything about the secrets of a club of which we, WE ourselves, even WE, hear little, subsequent to A. D. 200? Yet certain singular facts call for explanation. The figures which we have seen were known to a few persons in Rome A.D. 500, but had never before been publicly spoken of throughout the widest limit of the Roman Empire (unless perhaps in Egypt, where some hieratic characters are fancied to resemble them) are modifications of the letters of an old Bactrian alphabet, at that time for centuries disused. Nor, after that time, were these figures heard of again until Muhammud ben Musa brought them once more from Khiva in the ninth century, at the summons of the Arabian Khalif. When, in the twelfth century, they first appear again in Europe, they are strangely attributed, not to Arabians, Turks, Parthians, Bactrians, Egyptians, nor Pythagorics, but to the Chaldees; and they bear these outlandish names:

1. Igin                6. Caltis
2. Andras           7. Zebis
3. Ormis            8. Temenias
4. Arbas             9. Celentis
5. Quimas          0. Sipos

* Critics pronounce the statement that he publicly exhibited his golden thigh as an absurd fiction, but Aristotle is the witness to it, and his testimony cannot be lightly put aside. Crotona was a commercial city, and proably the Crotonates were so eager for gold that at the sight of it they lost their reason, and Pythagoras deemed it wise to turn that madness to the service of philosophy.

M. Lenormant, the Assyriologist, recognized five of these words as corruptions from the Shemitic speech of Babylonia, viz. igin = ishtin; arbas = arba; quimas = khamsa; zebis = shibit; temenias = shumannu. The other 5 do not at all resemble any numerals of the old Turanian language of Babylonia, so far as now known; but two of them are like the allied Magyar, in which tongue 3 is harum, a little like ormis, and 9 is kalentz, likecalentis. At any rate, if we were to |3377| suppose that the use of these figures was known to Chaldean priests, and communicated by them to Pythagoras, who in ancient times was always held to have been a great traveller, and to have spent many years in Babylon, and if we suppose that it was by means of the use of these figures that the Pythagoreans gained their livelihood, then we can understand how the knowledge of them, though not general, crops out here and there, at distant times and places, with wonderfully little change.

I have been led into this chiefly to illustrate the fact that, sincerely devoted to pure science as Pythagoras and his school assuredly were, yet their secret association by no means neglected practical objects, nor failed to pursue them in a thoroughly practical way.

This brings me back to the modern Pythagorean brotherhood, the rumor of which has reached my ears. I understand that it is composed of three hundred men and women whose lives are solemnly consecrated to science. They obey implicitly a general. Celibacy is strictly enjoined for the present although, in the fulness of time, the intention is to recruit their numbers mainly by careful selections from among their own offspring, in the light of biological laws which they hope to make out. But the first forty years of the new life of the Pythagoric rule is regarded by all of them as a probationary period, during which they must practice a degree of self-abnegation and submit to a rigor of discipline which at a later time can be relaxed. Meantime, the corporation will be husbanding its resources and gathering strength for the great work that lies before it. This work, as these people conceive is no mere picking up of the “cast mantle” of truth, though that is indispensable, too; it is no less than the reception by man of all that he has to learn. To this end, the first step is to make their own body not only the most exquisitely virtuous society ever on earth, but also, what is far higher in their eyes, the wisest of all the race of men. The next step will be to subject the rest of mankind to the governance of these chosen best. This is to be accomplished by pitting their superior virtue, science, and wisdom, against the wickedness, the vanity, the credenciveness, and the cowardice of the common herd. In this conduct, they will not be handicapped, like the Church, by being committed to a mass of lies.

This is all that I have heard; but I can picture to myself a good many more details. I shall not ask anybody how these devotees will succeed; for me the facts of human nature and of history answer that question, plainly. The movement has been on its way to sure accomplishment since the day on which three hundred gifted men and women gave up their lives and all their individual hopes to that great end.

Peirce’s Semiotics. By Nicole Everaert-Desmedt

Cita

Peirce’s Semiotics

Nicole Everaert-Desmedt

Peirce’s Semiotics

By Nicole Everaert-Desmedt

Professor, Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, Brussels

everaert@fusl.ac.be

1. Abstract

Peirce

Charles Sanders Peirce

We will present Charles Sanders Peirce’s three philosophical categories, and then explain how these categories operate at various levels in the process of semiosis, or sign functioning. The process of semiosis is a triadic relationship between a sign or representamen (a first), an object (a second) and an interpretant (a third). Each of these three terms is in turn broken down following the three categories. From this structure, by observing the hierarchy of categories, ten mechanisms of signification may be identified.

This text may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided the complete reference is given:
Nicole Everaert-Desmedt (2011), « Peirce’s Semiotics », in Louis Hébert (dir.), Signo [online], Rimouski (Quebec), http://www.signosemio.com/peirce/semiotics.asp.

2. THEORY

2.1 THREE GENERAL PRINCIPLES

Peirce developed a semiotic theory that is at once general, triadic and pragmatic1.

It is general:

  • in that it takes into consideration emotional, practical and intellectual experience;
  • it includes all of the components of semiotics;
  • it broadens the concept of the sign.

It is triadic:

  • in that it is founded upon three philosophical categories: firstness, secondness and thirdness;
  • it brings three terms into relation: the sign or representamen, the object and the interpretant.

It is pragmatic:

  • in that it takes into consideration the context in which signs are produced and interpreted;
  • it defines the sign by its effect on the interpreter.

2.2 THE FOUNDATIONAL CATEGORIES OF SEMIOTICS

According to Peirce, three categories are necessary and sufficient to account for all of human experience. These categories correspond to the numbers first, second and third. They have been designated as “firstness”, “secondness”, and “thirdness”.

2.2.1 FIRSTNESS

Firstness is a conception of being that is independent of anything else. For example, this would be the mode of being of a “redness” before anything in the universe was yet red, or of a general sensation of hurt, before one starts to wonder whether the sensation comes from a headache, a burn or some emotional pain. We must be clear that in firstness, there is only ONENESS. Thus, it is a conception of being in its wholeness or completeness, with no boundaries or parts, and no cause or effect. A quality is a pure, latent potentiality. Firstness belongs to the realm of possibility; it is experienced within a kind of timelessness. Firstness corresponds to emotional experience.

2.2.2 SECONDNESS

Secondness is the mode of being that is in relation to something else. This is the category that includes the individual, experience, fact, existence, and action-reaction. For example, the stone that we drop falls to the ground; the weathervane turns to point in the direction of the wind; and now you feel pain because of a toothache. Secondness operates within discontinuous time, where the dimension of past time enters in: a certain event occurred at a certain moment, before some other event, which was its consequence. Secondness corresponds to practical experience.

2.2.3 THIRDNESS

Thirdness is the mediator through which a first and a second are brought into relation. Thirdness belongs to the domain of rules and laws; however, a law can only be manifested through the occurrences of its application, that is, by secondness; and these occurrences themselves actualize qualities, and therefore, firstness. Whereas secondness is a category of individuality, thirdness and firstness are categories of generality; but the generality of firstness is on the level of possibility, and the generality of thirdness is on the level of necessity, and therefore, prediction. The law of gravity, for example, allows us to predict that each time we drop a stone, it will fall to the ground. Thirdness is the category of thought, language, representation, and the process of semiosis; it makes social communication possible. Thirdness corresponds to intellectual experience.

2.3 THE PROCESS OF SEMIOSIS: TRIADIC AND UNLIMITED

According to Peirce, a sign may be simple or complex. Unlike Saussure, Peirce does not define the sign as the smallest unit of signification. Any thing or phenomenon, no matter how complex, may be considered as a sign from the moment it enters into a process of semiosis.

The process of semiosis involves a triadic relationship between a sign or representamen (a first), an object (a second) and an interpretant (a third).

The representamen is a thing that represents another thing: its object. Before it is interpreted, the representamen is a pure potentiality: a first.

The object is what the sign represents. The sign can only represent the object; it cannot furnish acquaintance with it. The sign can express something about the object, providing that it is an object with which the interpreter is already familiar from collateral observation (experience created from other signs, which are always from previous history). For example, a piece of red paper that is used as a sample (= representamen) for a can of paint (= object) indicates only the red colour of the object, since it is assumed that one already knows all of its other characteristics (packaging, content, usage, etc.). The piece of paper shows that the paint in the can is red in colour, but it says nothing about the other characteristics of the object. Furthermore, if the interpreter knows that it refers to a can of paint, then, and only then, does the sample give him the information that this particular can of paint must be red. To put it more succinctly, Peirce distinguishes the dynamical object (the object as it is in reality) from the immediate object (the object as it is represented by the sign). In our example, the can of paint is the dynamical object, and the colour red (of the can of paint) is the immediate object.

Upon being interpreted, the representamen has the ability to trigger an interpretant, which in turn becomes a representamen by triggering another interpretant referring to the same object as the first representamen, and thereby allowing the first one to refer to the object. And so on, ad infinitum. For example, the definition of a word in the dictionary is an interpretant of the word, because the definition refers to the object (= what the word represents) and thereby allows the representamen (= the word) to refer to this object. But in order to be understood, the definition itself requires a series, or more accurately, a bundle of other interpretants (other definitions)… Thus, the process of semiosis is theoretically unlimited. We are engaged in a thought process that is always incomplete, that has always begun previously.

NOTE: THE FINAL INTERPRETANT: HABIT

The process of semiosis is theoretically unlimited. However, it is limited in practice, being short-circuited by force of habit, which Peirce calls the final logical interpretant – our habit of attributing a certain signification to a certain sign in a certain context with which we are familiar. Force of habit temporarily freezes the infinite recursivity of one sign to other signs, which allows interlocutors to quickly reach consensus on reality in a given communication context. But habit is formed by the effect of previous signs. Signs are the catalysts that cause habits to be reinforced or changed.

Peirce’s view of semiosis integrates all the components of semiotics: Pragmatics (the domain of the interpretant) is inseparable from semantics (the domain of the object) and from syntax (the domain of the representamen).

2.4 THE THREE TRICHOTOMIES

Each of the three terms of semiosis is further subdivided following the three categories: thus, we distinguish firstness, secondness and thirdness in the representamen, in representamen-object relations, and in the way the interpretant implements the relationship between representamen and object.

2.4.1 THE FIRST TRICHOTOMY: THE REPRESENTAMEN

The representamen can be (1) a qualisign (firstness), meaning a quality that functions like a sign; (2) a sinsign (secondness), meaning a specific spatio-temporal thing or event that functions like a sign; or (3) a legisign (thirdness), meaning a conventional sign.

Examples of legisigns are passwords, insignias, tickets for a show, traffic signals, and the words of a language. However, legisigns cannot act until embodied as sinsigns, which are “replicas”. For instance, the article “the” is a legisign in the English language system. But it can only be used within the medium of the voice or the text that embodies it. It is embodied in sinsigns (its occurrences, occupying different spatio-temporal positions), but also includes qualisigns, such as the intonation of the oral replica, or the shape of the letters of the written replica.

2.4.2 THE SECOND TRICHOTOMY: THE OBJECT

A representamen can refer to its object by virtue of firstness, secondness or thirdness, that is, through relationships of similarity, contextual contiguity or law. Following this trichotomy, the sign is called (1) an icon, (2) an index or (3) a symbol, respectively.

The reference between a sign and its object is iconic if the sign resembles the object. An icon may have as its representamen a qualisign, a sinsign or legisign. For example, the feeling (qualisign) produced by playing a piece of music is the icon of that piece of music. Someone’s portrait (sinsign) is the icon of that person, and a model (sinsign) is the icon of a building. A drawing of a glass (sinsign) is the icon of a glass, but if it is placed on a crate, then it belongs to the pictogram code and becomes a replica of the legisign signifying ‘fragile’ through iconic portrayal of a species (a glass) that is part of a genera (fragile objects).

The reference between a sign and its object is indexical if the sign really is affected by the object. For example, the position of a weathervane is caused by the direction of the wind; it is the index of the wind direction. A knock on the door is the index of a visit. The symptom of an illness is the index of that illness. An index cannot have a qualisign as its representamen, because there is only “sameness” in firstness, and no contextual contiguity; therefore, a qualisign is always iconic (refer to the hierarchy of categories below). An index may have as its representamen a sinsign, as in the examples above, or a legisign, as in certain words known as “indexical” words (“this”, “that”, “I”, “here”).

A sign is a symbol when it refers to its object by virtue of a law. Passwords, tickets to a show, banknotes, and the words of a language are symbols. The symbolic rule may have been formulated a priori by convention, or a posteriori by cultural habit. A symbol’s representamen is necessarily a legisign, but the legisign cannot really act until it is embodied in a replica, and from that point on, the symbol implies an index. For example, in the traffic code, the red light in the abstract is a symbolic legisign, but each one of its replicas is an indexical sinsign.

2.4.3 THE THIRD TRICHOTOMY: THE INTERPRETANT

In the sign trichotomy of the interpretant, the sign is called (1) a rheme (firstness), (2) a dicisign or dicent sign (secondness) or (3) an argument or reasoning (thirdness).

The rhematic interpretant has a firstness structure: thus in implementing the relationship between the representamen and object, it does not refer to anything “else” but the qualities of the representamen, which are also the qualities of a whole class of possible objects. The rheme is neither true nor false; it is equivalent to a variable in a functional proposition. It functions like a form with blanks to be filled in or a space on a questionnaire: “……… is red”. For instance, a person’s portrait, with no other indications, represents a whole class of possible objects: the people who look like the portrait. This is a rhematic iconic sinsign. But if the portrait is considered in a context where it is accompanied by something indicating the person’s name, for example on a passport, then the level of interpretation changes: now we are dealing with secondness (a dicent indexical sinsign). The hierarchy of categories (see below) produces six classes of rhematic signs.

The dicisign is a sign interpreted at the level of secondness; it functions like a logical proposition, which establishes a relationship between constants (a subject (what we are talking about) and a predicate (what we say about it)) and it is either true or false. For example, a person’s portrait with an indication of his/her name is a dicent indexical sinsign. The interpretant of this sign would be the proposition that “the person shown in this picture is Mr. So-and-So”. Later we will see that by virtue of the hierarchy of categories, there are three classes of dicent signs. As we have said, a dicisign is true or false, in contrast to a rheme, which represents a possibility and has no truth value. But a dicisign does not furnish reasons for being true or false, in contrast to an argument, which arrives at a conclusion by following a rational process.

The argument is a sign interpreted at the level of thirdness; it formulates the rule joining the representamen to its object. An argument always has a legisign as its representamen and a symbol as its object. However, three kinds of arguments may be distinguished depending on the nature of the rule that binds the representamen to its object. The rule may be (1) imposed on the facts (deduction: “Every time there is a red light, there is an order to stop”; (2) a result of the facts (induction: “Wherever there is smoke, there is fire”); or (3) the argument may consist of formulating a rule in the form of a hypothesis that would explain a fact (abduction). Peirce gives this example of abduction: Imagine that upon entering a room, I see a table with a handful of white beans on it, and next to it, a bag of beans. I observe that this bag contains only white beans. I then formulate the hypothesis that the beans on the table came from this bag. Abduction is an argument that appeals to firstness in order to formulate the rule (it is a hypothesis, and therefore a possible rule), whereas induction is based on secondness (the rule follows from repeated observation of actual, contingent facts), and deduction falls exclusively under thirdness (as a rule, it justifies itself).

NOTE: ABDUCTION

Deduction and induction were studied in depth by the classical philosophers, but no logician before Peirce had recognized the importance or the specific character of this third form of reasoning, which Peirce called abduction. Nonetheless, it is a form of reasoning that happens to be used in the most mundane circumstances as well as in scientific research, and on this point, Peirce anticipates Karl Popper’s epistemology.

The interpretive process of abduction (or process of deductive hypothesis) can be described in four stages:

1. We encounter a curious fact that is unexplainable according to our previous knowledge; in other words, this fact startles us in our daily habits and prejudices. In the case of scientific research, the fact is not accounted for by any existing theory.

2. We formulate a hypothesis that may explain the fact. Our reasoning is grounded in firstness, in that the hypothesis, which springs to mind with instinctive force, is suggested by the fact. Indeed, there is an analogy between the fact and the possible consequences of applying the hypothesis.

3. Next we apply the hypothesis deductively, and we infer the consequences that follow from it. We adopt an attitude in life that matches the hypothesis. In scientific research, this is a matter of rigorously determining which tests might allow us to disprove the hypothesis if need be (to prove it is false or does not match the facts). While a single experiment can invalidate a hypothesis, it would take an infinite series of experiments to confirm it.

4. By using a kind of induction, or making generalizations based on a number of positive test results, we conclude that the results verify the hypothesis, at least provisionally, until there is proof to the contrary.

Take an example of abduction from everyday conversation:

1. The startling event: Someone says, “It’s cold in here”, when the conversation had nothing to do with air temperatures. Let us say that we are in a room with an open window, that I am the listener, and am near the open window.

2. The explanatory hypothesis: I refer to a rule that is part of the commonly shared store of knowledge about things cultural and practical. It is less cold in a room when the window is closed. I have already been in similar situations, and when a room is judged to be cold, one closes the window. Immediately I establish a connection between my previous knowledge and what the speaker actually said, and come up with the hypothesis that the speaker would like me to close the window.

3. Deduction: I take the consequence of the hypothesis as a prediction, and I act accordingly: I close the window.

4. Induction: The speaker makes no objection when I close the window; in fact he thanks me. This result confirms my hypothesis.

2.5 THE HIERARCHY OF CATEGORIES

Firstness includes nothing other than itself, whereas secondness includes firstness, and thirdness includes both secondness and firstness. For this reason, in semiosis there exists a principle of hierarchy among the categories, and by this principle a representamen (a first) cannot refer to an object (a second) from a higher category; as for the interpretant (a third), it cannot belong to a category higher than its object’s. For example, a sinsign (the category 2 representamen) cannot be a symbol (the category 3 object), but it can be considered as an icon (the category 1 object) or an index (the category 2 object). By adhering to the hierarchy of categories, we can construct ten mechanisms of signification, shown below, with an example for each case. (R, O and I indicate the representamen, the object and the interpretant, respectively):

The ten classes of sign functioning
  R O I  
1) 1 1 1 rhematic iconic qualisign a general vague of hurt.
2) 2 1 1 rhematic iconic sinsign: a model.
3) 2 2 1 rhematic indexical sinsign: an involuntary shout.
4) 2 2 2 dicent indexical sinsign: a weathervane.
5) 3 1 1 rhematic iconic legisign: onomatopoeia: “cock-a-doodle-doo”.
6) 3 2 1 rhematic indexical legisign: an indexical word: “that”.
7) 3 2 2 dicent indexical legisign: a red light in context2.
8) 3 3 1 rhematic symbolic legisign: a common noun: “apple”
9) 3 3 2 dicent symbolic legisign: a proposition: “it’s cold in here”.
10) 3 3 3 argument symbolic legisign:

  1. abduction: “It’s cold in here” interpreted as a request to close the window.
  2. induction: “Where there is smoke there is fire”.
  3. deduction: the red light of the traffic code in the abstract.

The above list does not represent classes of signs to which we can assign phenomena by labelling them, but rather different levels of interpretation to which we can submit a single phenomenon, as we will show in the following application.

The following diagram shows the distribution of categories in semiosis.

The distribution of categories

Peirce : The distribution of categories

3. APPLICATION: A FOOTPRINT IN THE SAND

Consider the following phenomenon: a footprint in the sand.

1. This is a phenomenon located in space (a sinsign) whose shape resembles a foot (icon). In it we recognize the pertinent qualities and features of any foot (rheme). This sort of interpretation is situated in the present moment.

2. We could possibly become absorbed in the timeless contemplation of this shape pressed into matter (rhematic iconic qualisign), and perhaps we could capture its emotional depth in a photograph.

3. It is more likely that we will consider the past, along with the context in which the phenomenon occurred: This print was actually caused by someone who came by here (index). Our interpretation relates to concrete facts: this footprint and a specific foot that made it (dicisign).

4. But now suppose a detective is on the trail of a killer: He recognizes this print as a replica of a model (legisign) that he obtained previously. What interests him is to find out the actual whereabouts of the person he is looking for, not just to observe that the person came by here. Therefore, the object to which the print refers is situated in the future. So for the detective, the print becomes a symbol showing what direction to take; because of the footprint, he can predict the direction he needs to go to continue his investigation. In order for the sign to function as a symbol, its iconic and indexical features must be perceived first, and then it must be seen as a replica of a model, which must appeal to an argument for interpretation. We have abduction: “This is a sign that the killer was here; we can postulate that whoever it was continued in this direction”. Then the detective acts according to this hypothesis: He goes in the same direction.

Note that the detective’s situation is different from that of a treasure hunt, where arrows are used as so many replicas of a legisign, which functions as a symbol of the direction to go according to a pre-established code. The arrows are interpreted by deduction, since the replicas were put there intentionally to show the way.

4. LIST OF WORKS CITED

EVERAERT-DESMEDT, N., Le processus interprétatif. Introduction à la sémiotique de Ch.S. Peirce, Liège: Mardaga, 1990.
EVERAERT-DESMEDT, N., Interpréter l’art contemporain. La sémiotique peircienne appliquée aux œuvres de Magritte, Klein, Duras, Wenders, Chávez, Parant et Corillon, Bruxelles: De Boeck, 2006.

5. EXERCISES

A. In the summary diagram, the representamen, the icon, the rheme and abduction are all elements of firstness. Explain why.
B. In the summary diagram, which terms come under secondness? Why?
C. In the summary diagram, which terms come under thirdness? Why?
D. Analyze the interpretive processes that might be triggered by the following signs:

1. A postage stamp or a banknote.
2. A pictogram indicating the bathrooms or the exit in a public place.
3. A passport, a desk calendar, a store sign, or a brand name.
4. A pen, a knife, a pair of glasses.
5. A building facade, a door, a window, a stairway.
6. A press photo, figurative paintwork, a monochromatic picture.

You can choose any object, simple or complex, but you must always interpret it in a specific context. (For example, the postage stamp in question has a certain picture and certain indications: it was cancelled on a certain postcard, and so forth).

1 Theoretical development and analysis examples can be found in Everaert-Desmedt, 1990 and 2006.

2 More exactly, we shall distinguish two levels: the red light in context is a replica (a dicent indexical sinsign) of the type ‘red light’ of the traffic code (a deductive symbolic legisign).

PEIRCE, CHARLES… On a New List of Categories

Cita

PEIRCE, CHARLES SANDERS
On a New List of Categories (1868)

http://www.peirce.org/writings/p32.html

On a New List of Categories

Charles S. Peirce

Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 7 (1868), 287-298.


Sec. 1. This paper is based upon the theory already established, that the function of conceptions is to reduce the manifold of sensuous impressions to unity, and that the validity of a conception consists in the impossibility of reducing the content of consciousness to unity without the introduction of it.

Sec. 2. This theory gives rise to a conception of gradation among those conceptions which are universal. For one such conception may unite the manifold of sense and yet another may be required to unite the conception and the manifold to which it is applied; and so on.

Sec. 3. That universal conception which is nearest to sense is that of the present, in general. This is a conception, because it is universal. But as the act of attention has no connotation at all, but is the pure denotative power of the mind, that is to say, the power which directs the mind to an object, in contradistinction to the power of thinking any predicate of that object, — so the conception of what is present in general, which is nothing but the general recognition of what is contained in attention, has no connotation, and therefore no proper unity. This conception of the present in general, of IT in general, is rendered in philosophical language by the word “substance” in one of its meanings. Before any comparison or discrimination can be made between what is present, what is present must have been recognized as such, asit, and subsequently the metaphysical parts which are recognized by abstraction are attributed to this it, but the it cannot itself be made a predicate. This it is thus neither predicated of a subject, nor in a subject, and accordingly is identical with the conception of substance.

Sec. 4. The unity to which the understanding reduces impressions is the unity of a proposition. This unity consists in the connection of the predicate with the subject; and, therefore, that which is implied in the copula, or the conception of being, is that which completes the work of conceptions of reducing the manifold to unity. The copula (or rather the verb which is copula in one of its senses) means either actually is or would be, as in the two propositions, “There is no griffin,” and “A griffin is a winged quadruped.” The conception of being contains only that junction of predicate to subject wherein these two verbs agree. The conception of being, therefore, plainly has no content.

If we say “The stove is black,” the stove is the substance, from which its blackness has not been differentiated, and the is, while it leaves the substance just as it was seen, explains its confusedness, by the application to it of blackness as a predicate.

Though being does not affect the subject, it implies an indefinite determinability of the predicate. For if one could know the copula and predicate of any proposition, as “. . . is a tailed-man,” he would know the predicate to be applicable to something supposable, at least. Accordingly, we have propositions whose subjects are entirely indefinite, as “There is a beautiful ellipse,” where the subject is merely something actual or potential; but we have no propositions whose predicate is entirely indeterminate, for it would be quite senseless to say, “A has the common characters of all things,” inasmuch as there are no such common characters.

Thus substance and being are the beginning and end of all conception. Substance is inapplicable to a predicate, and being is equally so to a subject.

Sec. 5. The terms “prescision” and “abstraction,” which were formerly applied to every kind of separation, are now limited, not merely to mental separation, but to that which arises from attention to one element and neglect of the other. Exclusive attention consists in a definite conception or supposition of one part of an object, without any supposition of the other. Abstraction or prescision ought to be carefully distinguished from two other modes of mental separation, which may be termed discrimination and dissociation. Discrimination has to do merely with the senses of terms, and only draws a distinction in meaning. Dissociation is that separation which, in the absence of a constant association, is permitted by the law of association of images. It is the consciousness of one thing, without the necessary simultaneous consciousness of the other. Abstraction or prescision, therefore, supposes a greater separation than discrimination, but a less separation than dissociation. Thus I can discriminate red from blue, space from color, and color from space, but not red from color. I can prescind red from blue, and space from color (as is manifest from the fact that I actually believe there is an uncolored space between my face and the wall); but I cannot prescind color from space, nor red from color. I can dissociate red from blue, but not space from color, color from space, nor red from color.

Prescision is not a reciprocal process. It is frequently the case, that, while A cannot be prescinded from B, B can be prescinded from A. This circumstance is accounted for as follows. Elementary conceptions only arise upon the occasion of experience; that is, they are produced for the first time according to a general law, the condition of which is the existence of certain impressions. Now if a conception does not reduce the impressions upon which it follows to unity, it is a mere arbitrary addition to these latter; and elementary conceptions do not arise thus arbitrarily. But if the impressions could be definitely comprehended without the conception, this latter would not reduce them to unity. Hence, the impressions (or more immediate conceptions) cannot be definitely conceived or attended to, to the neglect of an elementary conception which reduces them to unity. On the other hand, when such a conception has once been obtained, there is, in general, no reason why the premisses which have occasioned it should not be neglected, and therefore the explaining conception may frequently be prescinded from the more immediate ones and from the impressions.

Sec. 6. The facts now collected afford the basis for a systematic method of searching out whatever universal elementary conceptions there may be intermediate between the manifold of substance and the unity of being. It has been shown that the occasion of the introduction of a universal elementary conception is either the reduction of the manifold of substance to unity, or else the conjunction to substance of another conception. And it has further been shown that the elements conjoined cannot be supposed without the conception, whereas the conception can generally be supposed without these elements. Now, empirical psychology discovers the occasion of the introduction of a conception, and we have only to ascertain what conception already lies in the data which is united to that of substance by the first conception, but which cannot be supposed without this first conception, to have the next conception in order in passing from being to substance.

It may be noticed that, throughout this process, introspection is not resorted to. Nothing is assumed respecting the subjective elements of consciousness which cannot be securely inferred from the objective elements.

Sec. 7. The conception of being arises upon the formation of a proposition. A proposition always has, besides a term to express the substance, another to express the quality of that substance; and the function of the conception of being is to unite the quality to the substance. Quality, therefore, in its very widest sense, is the first conception in order in passing from being to substance.

Quality seems at first sight to be given in the impression. Such results of introspection are untrustworthy. A proposition asserts the applicability of a mediate conception to a more immediate one. Since this isasserted, the more mediate conception is clearly regarded independently of this circumstance, for otherwise the two conceptions would not be distinguished, but one would be thought through the other, without this latter being an object of thought, at all. The mediate conception, then, in order to be asserted to be applicable to the other, must first be considered without regard to this circumstance, and taken immediately. But, taken immediately, it transcends what is given (the more immediate conception), and its applicability to the latter is hypothetical. Take, for example, the proposition, “This stove is black.” Here the conception of this stove is the more immediate, that of black the more mediate, which latter, to be predicated of the former, must be discriminated from it and considered in itself, not as applied to an object, but simply as embodying a quality, blackness. Now this blackness is a pure species or abstraction, and its application to this stove is entirely hypothetical. The same thing is meant by “the stove is black,” as by “there is blackness in the stove.” Embodying blackness is the equivalent of black.*** The proof is this. These conceptions are applied indifferently to precisely the same facts. If, therefore, they were different, the one which was first applied would fulfil every function of the other; so that one of them would be superfluous. Now a superfluous conception is an arbitrary fiction, whereas elementary conceptions arise only upon the requirement of experience; so that a superfluous elementary conception is impossible. Moreover, the conception of a pure abstraction is indispensable, because we cannot comprehend an agreement of two things, except as an agreement in some respectand this respect is such a pure abstraction as blackness. Such a pure abstraction, reference to which constitutes a quality or general attribute, may be termed a ground.

Reference to a ground cannot be prescinded from being, but being can be prescinded from it.

Sec. 8. Empirical psychology has established the fact that we can know a quality only by means of its contrast with or similarity to another. By contrast and agreement a thing is referred to a correlate, if this term may be used in a wider sense than usual. The occasion of the introduction of the conception of reference to a ground is the reference to a correlate, and this is, therefore, the next conception in order.

Reference to a correlate cannot be prescinded from reference to a ground; but reference to a ground may be prescinded from reference to a correlate.

Sec. 9. The occasion of reference to a correlate is obviously by comparison. This act has not been sufficiently studied by the psychologists, and it will, therefore, be necessary to adduce some examples to show in what it consists. Suppose we wish to compare the letters p and b. We may imagine one of them to be turned over on the line of writing as an axis, then laid upon the other, and finally to become transparent so that the other can be seen through it. In this way we shall form a new image which mediates between the images of the two letters, inasmuch as it represents one of them to be (when turned over) he likeness of the other. Again, suppose we think of a murderer as being in relation to a murdered person; in this case we conceive the act of the murder, and in this conception it is represented that corresponding to every murderer (as well as to every murder) there is a murdered person; and thus we resort again to a mediating representation which represents the relate as standing for a correlate with which the mediating representation is itself in relation. Again, suppose we look up the word homme in a French dictionary; we shall find opposite to it the word man, which, so placed, represents homme as representing the same two-legged creature which man itself represents. By a further accumulation of instances, it would be found that every comparison requires, besides the related thing, the ground, and the correlate, also a mediating representation which represents the relate to be a representation of the same correlate which this mediating representation itself represents. Such a mediating representation may be termed an interpretantbecause it fulfils the office of an interpreter, who says that a foreigner says the same thing which he himself says. The term “representation” is here to be understood in a very extended sense, which can be explained by instances better than by a definition. In this sense, a word represents a thing to the conception in the mind of the hearer, a portrait represents the person for whom it is intended to the conception of recognition, a weathercock represents the direction of the wind to the conception of him who understands it, a barrister represents his client to the judge and jury whom he influences.

Every reference to a correlate, then, conjoins to the substance the conception of a reference to an interpretant; and this is, therefore, the next conception in order in passing from being to substance.

Reference to an interpretant cannot be prescinded from reference to a correlate; but the latter can be prescinded from the former.

Sec. 10. Reference to an interpretant is rendered possible and justified by that which renders possible and justifies comparison. But that is clearly the diversity of impressions. If we had but one impression, it would not require to be reduced to unity, and would therefore not need to be thought of as referred to an interpretant, and the conception of reference to an interpretant would not arise. But since there is a manifold of impressions, we have a feeling of complication or confusion, which leads us to differentiate this impression from that, and then, having been differentiated, they require to be brought to unity. Now they are not brought to unity until we conceive them together as being ours, that is, until we refer them to a conception as their interpretant. Thus, the reference to an interpretant arises upon the holding together of diverse impressions, and therefore it does not join a conception to the substance, as the other two references do, but unites directly the manifold of the substance itself. It is, therefore, the last conception in order in passing from being to substance.

Sec. 11. The five conceptions thus obtained, for reasons which will be sufficiently obvious, may be termed categories. That is,

BEING

Quality (Reference to a Ground),
Relation (Reference to a Correlate),
Representation (Reference to an Interpretant),

SUBSTANCE

The three intermediate conceptions may be termed accidents.

Sec. 12. This passage from the many to the one is numerical. The conception of a third is that of an object which is so related to two others, that one of these must be related to the other in the same way in which the third is related to that other. Now this coincides with the conception of an interpretant. An other is plainly equivalent to a correlate. The conception of second differs from that of other, in implying the possibility of a third. In the same way, the conception of self implies the possibility of an other. The Ground is the self abstracted from the concreteness which implies the possibility of an other.

Sec. 13. Since no one of the categories can be prescinded from those above it, the list of supposable objects which they afford is,

What is.

Quale–that which refers to a ground,
Relate–that which refers to ground and correlate,
Representamen–that which refers to ground, correlate, and interpretant.

It.

Sec. 14. A quality may have a special determination which prevents its being prescinded from reference to a correlate. Hence there are two kinds of relation.

First. That of relates whose reference to a ground is a prescindible or internal quality.

Second. That of relates whose reference to a ground is an unprescindible or relative quality.

In the former case, the relation is a mere concurrence of the correlates in one character, and the relate and correlate are not distinguished. In the latter case the correlate is set over against the relate, and there is in some sense an opposition.

Relates of the first kind are brought into relation simply by their agreement. But mere disagreement (unrecognized) does not constitute relation, and therefore relates of the second kind are only brought into relation by correspondence in fact.

A reference to a ground may also be such that it cannot be prescinded from a reference to an interpretant. In this case it may be termed an imputed quality. If the reference of a relate to its ground can be prescinded from reference to an interpretant, its relation to its correlate is a mere concurrence or community in the possession of a quality, and therefore the reference to a correlate can be prescinded from reference to an interpretant. It follows that there are three kinds of representations.

First. Those whose relation to their objects is a mere community in some quality, and these representations may be termed Likenesses.

Second. Those whose relation to their objects consists in a correspondence in fact, and these may be termed Indices or Signs.

Third. Those the ground of whose relation to their objects is an imputed character, which are the same as general signs, and these may be termed Symbols.

Sec. 15. I shall now show how the three conceptions of reference to a ground, reference to an object, and reference to an interpretant are the fundamental ones of at least one universal science, that of logic. Logic is said to treat of second intentions as applied to first. It would lead me too far away from the matter in hand to discuss the truth of this statement; I shall simply adopt it as one which seems to me to afford a good definition of the subject-genus of this science. Now, second intentions are the objects of the understanding considered as representations, and the first intentions to which they apply are the objects of those representations. The objects of the understanding, considered as representations, are symbols, that is, signs which are at least potentially general. But the rules of logic hold good of any symbols, of those which are written or spoken as well as of those which are thought. They have no immediate application to likenesses or indices, because no arguments can be constructed of these alone, but do apply to all symbols. All symbols, indeed, are in one sense relative to the understanding, but only in the sense in which also all things are relative to the understanding. On this account, therefore, the relation to the understanding need not be expressed in the definition of the sphere of logic, since it determines no limitation of that sphere. But a distinction can be made between concepts which are supposed to have no existence except so far as they are actually present to the understanding, and external symbols which still retain their character of symbols so long as they are only capable of being understood. And as the rules of logic apply to these latter as much as to the former (and though only through the former, yet this character, since it belongs to all things, is no limitation), it follows that logic has for its subject-genus all symbols and not merely concepts.*** We come, therefore, to this, that logic treats of the reference of symbols in general to their objects. In this view it is one of a trivium of conceivable sciences. The first would treat of the formal conditions of symbols having meaning, that is of the reference of symbols in general to their grounds or imputed characters, and this might be called formal grammar; the second, logic, would treat of the formal conditions of the truth of symbols; and the third would treat of the formal conditions of the force of symbols, or their power of appealing to a mind, that is, of their reference in general to interpretants, and this might be called formal rhetoric.

There would be a general division of symbols, common to all these sciences; namely, into,

1) Symbols which directly determine only their grounds or imputed qualities, and are thus but sums of marks or terms;

2) Symbols which also independently determine their objects by means of other term or terms, and thus, expressing their own objective validity, become capable of truth or falsehood, that is, are propositions; and,

3) Symbols which also independently determine their interpretants, and thus the minds to which they appeal, by premissing a proposition or propositions which such a mind is to admit. These are arguments.

And it is remarkable that, among all the definitions of the proposition, for example, as the oratio indicativa, as the subsumption of an object under a concept, as the expression of the relation of two concepts, and as the indication of the mutable ground of appearance, there is, perhaps, not one in which the conception of reference to an object or correlate is not the important one. In the same way, the conception of reference to an interpretant or third, is always prominent in the definitions of argument.

In a proposition, the term which separately indicates the object of the symbol is termed the subject, and that which indicates the ground is termed the predicate. The objects indicated by the subject (which are always potentially a plurality — at least, of phases or appearances) are therefore stated by the proposition to be related to one another on the ground of the character indicated by the predicate. Now this relation may be either a concurrence or an opposition. Propositions of concurrence are those which are usually considered in logic; but I have shown in a paper upon the classification of arguments that it is also necessary to consider separately propositions of opposition, if we are to take account of such arguments as the following: —

Whatever is the half of anything is less than that of which it is the half:

A is half of B:
A is less than B.

The subject of such a proposition is separated into two terms, a “subject nominative” and an “object accusative.”

In an argument, the premisses form a representation of the conclusion, because they indicate the interpretant of the argument, or representation representing it to represent its object. The premisses may afford a likeness, index, or symbol of the conclusion. In deductive argument, the conclusion is represented by the premisses as by a general sign under which it is contained. In hypotheses, something like the conclusion is proved, that is, the premisses form a likeness of the conclusion. Take, for example, the following argument:

M is, for instance, P’, P”, P”’, and P””;
S is P’, P”, P”’, and P””:
[Ergo,] S is M.

Here the first premiss amounts to this, that “P’, P”, P”’, and P””” is a likeness of M, and thus the premisses are or represent a likeness of the conclusion. That it is different with induction another example will show.

S’, S”, S”’, and S”” are taken as samples of the collection M;
S’, S”, S”’, and S”” are P:
[Ergo,] All M is P.

Hence the first premiss amounts to saying that “S’, S”, S”’, and S””” is an index of M. Hence the premisses are an index of the conclusion.

The other divisions of terms, propositions, and arguments arise from the distinction of extension and comprehension. I propose to treat this subject in a subsequent paper. But I will so far anticipate that as to say that there is, first, the direct reference of a symbol to its objects, or its denotation; second, the reference of the symbol to its ground, through its object, that is, its reference to the common characters of its objects, or its connotation; and third, its reference to its interpretants through its object, that is, its reference to all the synthetical propositions in which its objects in common are subject or predicate, and this I term the information it embodies. And as every addition to what it denotes, or to what it connotes, is effected by means of a distinct proposition of this kind, it follows that the extension and comprehension of a term are in an inverse relation, as long as the information remains the same, and that every increase of information is accompanied by an increase of one or other of these two quantities. It may be observed that extension and comprehension are very often taken in other senses in which this last proposition is not true.

This is an imperfect view of the application which the conceptions which, according to our analysis, are the most fundamental ones find in the sphere of logic. It is believed, however, that it is sufficient to show that at least something may be usefully suggested by considering this science in this light.


Notes

1. This agrees with the author of De Generibus et Speciebus, Ouvrages Inedits d’Abelard, p. 528.
Return to text.

2. Herbart says: “Unsre saemmtlichen Gedanken lassen sich von zwei Seiten betrachten; theils als Thaetigkeiten unseres Geistes, theils in Hinsicht dessen, was durch sie gedacht wird. In letzterer Beziehung heissen sie Begriffe, welches Wort, indem es das Begriffene bezeichnet, zu abstrahiren gebieted von der Art und Weise, wie wir den Gedanken empfangen, produciren, oder reproduciren moegen.” But the whole difference between a concept and an external sign lies in these respects which logic ought, according to Herbart, to abstract from.
Return to text.

http://www.iupui.edu/~peirce/ep/ep.htm

ESSENTIAL PEIRCE
Collected papers by Nathan Houser and Christian Kloese 1992

Charles Sanders Peirce was one of the world’s most profound and original thinkers. This two-volume chronological edition makes available a comprehensive selection of his most seminal philosophical writings. All the texts included are classics that will continue to influence the way philosophers think for centuries to come.

Work on this edition began in 1991 when Nathan Houser and Christian Kloesel agreed to prepare a two-volume collection of Peirce’s philosophical volumes suitable for university seminars. Houser and Kloesel completed Volume 1 in 1992 and made a preliminary selection for Volume 2, but were unable to carry that work through to completion. In January 1997, the Peirce Edition Project agreed to finish the selection and to undertake the editing for Volume 2. It appeared in the spring of 1998. Royalties for both volumes have been assigned to the Peirce Edition Project.

http://www.iupui.edu/~peirce/ep/ep1/ep1.htm

1867-1893 highlights the development of Peirce’s philosophy from its powerful inception in a revolutionary post-Kantian set of categories and an anti-Cartesian sign-theory of knowledge to its early methodological embrace of pragmatism and its systematization in his evolutionary metaphysics.

 http://www.iupui.edu/~peirce/ep/ep1/heads/ep1heads.htm

NOTES to chapters

1. On a New List of Categories

P 32: Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 7 (1868):287-98. [Also published in W2:49-9 (with the four other papers in the so-called PAAAS Series and with references to related manuscripts published in W1) and in CP1.545-59. Peirce completely rewrote the paper to serve as the opening chapter of his 1894 “How to Reason” (MS 403).] Presented to the Academy on 14 May 1867, this paper is, according to Peirce, “perhaps the least unsatisfactory, from a logical point of view, that I ever succeeded in producing” and, with item 3 below, one of his two “strongest philosophical works.” The culmination of a ten-year effort and the keystone of Peirce’s system of philosophy, it argues for a new post-Kantian set of categories (or univeral conceptions) by demonstrating that they are required for the unification of experience. Peirce’s argument is essentially a logical derivation, though it depends on a type of mental separation he called ‘prescision,’ which is also required for his later phenomenological derivation of the categories.

woodblock print & mingei

Cita

http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/article.php?id=43

Ukiyo-e Woodblock Technique

by Carma C. Fauntleroy

The attribution of an Ukiyo-e woodblock print to an individual artist such as Hiroshige presumes an understanding of the printmaking process in Japan during the Edo period. Hiroshige was in fact only one of four essential participants in the creation of a masterful print. Although he designed the original composition and determined its coloration, the production of the final print also required the expertise of the publisher, the woodcutter, and the printer. It was the artist, however, that ultimately received credit for the piece.

The publisher coordinated the efforts of the artist, the master carver, and the printer’s shop and ultimately determined the distribution channels for the sale of prints through wholesalers and retailers. The publisher initiated the process by engaging an artist to design a print, or series of prints. The artist may have studied traditional styles of painting, such as that of the Kano school officially recognized by the shogun, or he may have trained in the workshop and style of another Ukiyo-e master. Many woodblock artists were commissioned to create original compositions to decorate household interiors or design personalized surimono (small private editions of greeting cards) for upper-class clients, who could afford the luxury of one-of-a-kind works of art. However, the popularity of woodblock prints with a broad middle-class market of tradesmen made this category of work lucrative for any painter. Woodblock design was a ready source of supplemental income.

Once the artist had prepared the drawing, or hanshita-e, the exact size of the print to be published, he traced the outlines of the drawing on a sheet of thin paper in black ink. This traced version was conveyed to the master woodcutter, who proceeded to translate the artist’s brushed composition into a panel of wood, known as the key block, with knives, chisels, and scrapers. Cherry or other very hard, fine-textured wood was used to assure that even the most intricate parts of the design carved in relief would endure the pressure of literally hundreds of printings. The master cutter placed the tracing face down on the wooden panel and carved away from the surface all wood except that indicating the outlines of the artist’s drawing. Because a design carved in relief will produce a reverse image when printed, the tracing was reversed so that the final image would be oriented in the same direction as the artist’s original conception. Beyond the edge of the composition in the lower right-hand margin of the panel, a small registration mark, or kento, was carved. It consisted of a small right-angled mark with a second horizontal mark just to the left and in line with the lower arm of the angle.

The key block was sent to the printer, who made several black-and-white impressions, roughly the number of colors to be used in the final print. A mechanical press familiar to Europeans did not provide the pressure required for woodblock impressions, but rather the printer applied physical strength to the baren, paper, and woodblock. The baren, a hard shield-like implement, was made of layers of paper pasted together, turned up around the edge to form a shallow disk, and covered with cotton cloth. A second disk of coiled, twisted cord was fitted into the paper shield, providing a rigid surface for rubbing across the paper laid on the inked woodblock. The outer covering of the baren was made of ribbed leaves of bamboo stretched tightly over the convex surface of the disk and twisted together at the back to form a handle. Grasping the baren by the handle, the printer leaned forward using the weight of his upper body to apply pressure through the baren as it moved in circular patterns across the paper and carved woodblock.

The proofs were sent back to the artist, who inspected the impression and indicated colors to be used for respective areas of the outline. The proofs were returned to the woodcutting shop, where the master then delegated to his assistants the carving of a separate block for each color. Full-color prints, or nishiki-e, could entail up to ten color blocks. Each color block included the kento mark, to be used during printing to insure the proper alignment of the key and color blocks. Once the carving was complete, the key and color blocks were turned over to the printer.

After the first color was printed, the paper was placed on top of a second block inked with a different color, and the process continued through the series of color blocks. Careful attention was paid to the precise alignment of kento marks. The paper used for printing was sized with animal glue and kept damp throughout the process of printing consecutive blocks. It was important that a uniform level of dampness be maintained to prevent shrinkage or expansion of the paper, which would m ake accurate registration of colors impossible.

Painting, woodcutting, and printing were trades at which young me, and occasionally women, apprenticed. Ten years was the average apprenticeship for a wood carver. The division of labor within a shop was determined by the degree of skill the task required. For example, the master woodcutter might cut the most delicate areas of the all-important key block. The color blocks would be delegated to his assistants according to their abilities and the difficulty of the carving. In the print shop, the tasks of an apprentice included mixing pigments, cleaning brushes, and sizing the paper.

The signature used by an artist often reflected the name of the master painted under whom he studied. Once he acquired the status of professional artist, a student assumed characters from the master’s signature. For example, Toyokuni’s pupils, Kunisada and Kuniyoshi, used a character of the name of their master for their own signatures. A favorite student might, upon the death of his teacher, assume the full name of his master; hence, artists bore names such as Hiroshige II and Toyokuni III. Artistic styles were named after especially influential masters and thereby were founded the Kano, Maruyama, and Utagawa schools. Repeating the character or the entire name of the master vouched for the quality of training received by the artist.

As a result of the collaboration among the shops of painters, woodcutters, and printers, thousands upon thousands of Ukiyo-e prints were produced in Japan during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Distribution of woodblock prints was carried out by guilds of publishers and dealers through a vast network of wholesalers, retailers, and street peddlers. European markets were supplied by export through trading ports such as Nagasaki. The importance of the publisher’s role was demonstrated by the appearance of his seal on the print itself. After 1790, this seal was accompanied by that of a censor as a result of the shogunate’s regulations banning erotic subjects and the representations of public officials in Ukiyo-e prints. At first, representatives of groups of publishers acted as censors; later the job was assigned to a government official.

The efficiency of the four-part process involving publisher, artist, woodcutter, and printer is evidenced by the sheer quantity of Ukiyo-e woodblock prints which inundated the native market of affluent merchants and townsmen as well as international collectors of Orientalia. How fortunate that these nineteenth-century collectors were sensitive to the beauty and charm of this “bourgeois” art form and initiated an appreciation that continues to this day. Thus, numerous Ukiyo-e woodblock prints have been preserved and offer telling visions of an era passed.


Reproduced from a Japanese Woodblock Prints Exhibition catalogue, dated February 15 – April 14, 1989 for an exhibition held at Sweet Briar College, with permission of the College Galleries, Sweet Briar College Sweet Briar, VA. Carma C. Fauntleroy is the former Director of College Galleries at Sweet Briar College.


To find more articles of interest, search on one of these keywords:

Japanese woodblock prints, Ukiyo-e, Japanese art, Japanese color prints, Hokusai, Hiroshige

http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/asianart/resources/pdf/Sheet26_AsianEduRes_A4_sheets_DVD.pdf

Mingei
民 芸
mingei
folk arts
職 人
shokunin
craftsman
木 版 画
mokuhanga
woodblock print
陶 芸
tōgei
ceramics

Mingei, literally meaning ‘arts of the people’, refers
to handcrafted objects produced for everyday
use and enjoyment. Mingei is also the name of
a creative movement established in the 1920s
by the art philosopher Yanagi Sōetsu and the
ceramicists Hamada Shōji and Kawai Kanjirō.
Woodblock print artist Munakata Shikō and
stencil dying artist Serizawa Keisuke joined the
movement in the 1930s. Mingei, however, is not
limited to works produced by these twentieth
century artists. Its true origins and influences
are in the work of unknown craftsmen producing
ceramics, furniture, clothing, bamboo items,
paintings, calligraphy, prints, sculptures and paper
items over the centuries.
During the early twentieth century, Japan,
along with the rest of the developed world, was
rapidly modernising and experiencing a great
tide of industrialisation and social urbanisation,
resulting in the demise of the handmade object.
As a reaction to this, Yanagi and his followers
travelled the Japanese countryside, the islands
of Okinawa and the Korean peninsula, discovering
the beauty and historical importance of utilitarian
objects. According to Yanagi, these objects made
by the common people were ‘beyond beauty and
ugliness’. He believed that this kind of purity in art
and design was not the result of any conscious
intent but was born by chance and the cumulative
skills of generations of unknown artists. His
activities culminated in the establishment of the
Japanese Folk Crafts Museum in 1936, to collect
and promote an appreciation of the raw beauty
found in folk craft.
MUNAKATA Shikō
The twentieth century was a time when
woodblock print artists returned to the origins
of printmaking and executed all steps of the
print process, including hand cutting and printing
themselves. This style was called Sōsaku
Hanga, meaning ‘creative prints’, and displayed
the emotional expression of the artists in more
vivid terms than the ukiyo-e prints of historical
Japan, where the production process was divided
between artist, publisher and skilled craftsmen.
The spirit of Mingei and Sōsaku Hanga can be
clearly seen in the dynamic woodblock prints
and humble origins of Munakata Shikō. Munakata
was born in 1903, the third of fifteen children, to
a working class family in the northern reaches
of Japan. Due to his family’s impoverished
circumstances, he only attained an elementary
education. As a child he showed a great passion
for art. Known as the ‘crazy boy painter’, and
with little money for materials, he would paint
directly on to the road with an old brush and
charcoal ink, or produce kites with bold painted
figures influenced by local festivals. Inspired by
the paintings of Van Gogh, Munakata moved to
Tokyo in his early twenties with the ambition of
becoming an oil painter.
By the 1930s he discovered woodblock prints
were more suited to his temperament and
expressionistic style. In 1939 he visited the
historical temples of Kyoto and, overwhelmed
by the imposing scale and dramatic presence
of Buddhist statues, he went in search of large
wood boards to produce a new monumental
style of wood­print. The twelve­print series Two
Bodhisattvas and Ten Disciples (of which three
works appear here) was the result of this new
large­format print and is considered by many to
be his greatest work. Munakata was famous for
making no preparatory drawings, directly painting
with ink onto the wood in the same vibrant
manner that he would have painted onto the
road as a child. He would vigorously cut the wood
with simple chisels, brush ink onto the surface
and print by rubbing a hand­held bamboo bark­
wrapped baren (burnishing tool) on paper placed
on the woodblock. During his career, he went on
to combine multiple woodblocks and pieces of
paper that joined together to create work on a
scale previously unseen in this medium. In doing
so, he established himself as one of the most well
recognised and respected Japanese artists of the
twentieth century.
HAMADA Shōji and KAWAI Kanjirō
During the twentieth century, Hamada Shōji
and Kawai Kanjiro were not only responsible for
preserving traditional techniques and historical folk
aesthetics, but they also developed individualistic
styles that continue to inspire future generations
of ceramicists. Faithful to Japanese ceramic
traditions, Hamada promoted the use of local
clays, glazes, stone and ash, which resulted in
ceramic ware that is readily identifiable to the area
in which it was made. He also developed a simple
but distinctive gestural brushed, dabbed and
dribbled glazing, which unmistakably distinguished
pieces as his own while maintaining nostalgia for
the anonymous potters of a bygone era. Hamada’s
close colleague, Kawai Kanjirō, working with a
climbing (dragon) kiln in Kyoto, also produced
traditionally influenced, simple slab moulded
bottles, vases, containers and dishes but preferred
a decoration style of raised line relief and flat areas
of glazed colour. His interest in Buddhist traditions
is evident in his stylised blossoming flower buds,
like those sometimes found in the hand of a
compassionate Bodhisattva (blue ceramic bottle
pictured). The influence of Hamada and Kawai lives
on through their numerous disciples and countless
ceramic followers around the world. The Mingei
spirit and the principle of using local materials
inspired the English Studio Pottery movement
in Cornwall, and influenced numerous potters
working in Australia to produce a unique Australian
style of glazed pottery.

Exploring Woodblock Printmaking

Exploring Coloured Woodblock Printmaking

This instructional video presents the art of coloured woodblock printmaking. It showcases a detailed demonstration of each crucial step involved in this artistic craft. The man on the video is Graham Scholes, one of the respected icons in the industry.

Mr. Scholes features the entire woodblock printmaking procedure starting from the conception of an idea to the final output. He has been practicing the art since 1994 and has already acquired an admirable precision when it comes to producing impressive woodblock prints.

As shown in the video, what follows after the making of a colour sketch is the creation of a key line drawing. This is the term described for the roadmap of the colour areas that are set to be utilised for the print. This is also a crucial step in preparing for the transfer of the design to the plates.

Scholes also introduces some of the most valuable tools used in woodblock printmaking.  He reveals a traditional chisel which dates back to hundreds of years,  the kind of knife which enables him to cut his lines on particular angles, and an inking brush especially made for this.

The paper used for this woodblock printmaking endeavour is called the Hosho paper.

http://ukiyo-e-woodblock-prints.com/master-woodblock-carver-at-work/

A Master Woodblock Carver at Work

1 comment

Japanese Woodblock Print Carving: Fascinating ArtistryIn this video, Master Carver and Printer Kitamura Shoichi demonstrates the carving process done on Japanese woodblock prints. He showcases his expertise in performing such artistic craft and successfully produces a remarkable carving.

This enriching video further reveals the delicate hand and body mechanisms vital in woodblock print carvings. This craft indeed requires fluid reflexes backed with a strategic use of physical force and support system.

The shape being carved on the video is described as “organic” or “non-geometric”. It is interesting to note that such form is relatively more difficult to produce through carving compared to traditional geometric structures.

On the other hand, the wood that is utilised for this carving pursuit is called Shina plywood. It is a fine-grained plywood produced from Hokkaido which is the northern most island in Japan. Printmakers often use this type of wood.

The tools employed in this demonstration are different kinds of carving knives and chisels. Each type has its own specialised purpose and is tapped for specific carving patterns.

One of the basic carving implements utilised on the video is the Hangi-to. This particular blade can vary according to its sharpened angles. Such variation is intended to suit different types of work.

ukiyo floating …

Cita

ukiyo floating world

mie 18dic 2013

Ukiyo (浮世 “Floating World” ukiyo   (Yukiyo)  ukiyo j  (yukiyo yei)     ukiyo e  (yukiyo ei)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukiyo Ukiyo (浮世 “Floating World”?) described the urban lifestyle, especially the pleasure-seeking aspects, of Edo-period Japan (1600–1867). The “Floating World” culture developed in Yoshiwara, the licensed red-light district of Edo (modern Tokyo), which was the site of many brothels, chashitsu tea houses, and kabuki theaters frequented by Japan’s growing middle class. The ukiyo culture also arose in other cities such as Osaka and Kyoto. The famous Japanese woodblock prints known as ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the Floating World”, had their origins in these districts and often depicted scenes of the Floating World itself such as geisha, kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, samurai, chōnin and prostitutes. The term is also an ironic allusion to the homophone “Sorrowful World” (憂き世), the earthly plane of death and rebirth from which Buddhists sought release.

Kiyonaga bathhouse women-2.jpg

File:Kiyonaga bathhouse women-2.jpg http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1499165518/ukiyo-e-heroes

A parody art project, commenting on the ancient origins of modern Japanese game culture.  浮世絵ヒーロー

Ukiyo-e Heroes online store is now open:

If you missed our Kickstarter campaign, don’t worry! You can find all the same woodblock prints and giclées at our online store: ukiyoeheroes.com

Update Log

  • Our updates have been consolidated on the Update Page.

The Goal

We’re determined to create a complete series of hand-made Japanese woodblock prints, just like they were made hundreds of years ago. Jed Henry has already finished 12 stunning designs, lovingly researched and executed in the Japanese ukiyo-e style. Our woodblock printmaker, David Bull, has carved and printed proofs of our first piece: Rickshaw Cart. If we meet our financial goal, we can produce a run of Rickshaw Cart prints. If we exceed our goal, we’ll turn more of Jed’s designs into woodblock prints. This is truly a unique art project. There are only a handful of people on earth who know the ancient techniques of Japanese woodblock printmaking, and David is premier among them. He’s dedicated 30 years to honing his craft. We’re lucky to have his immense talent on board. Before we go any further, we’d like to explain our vision a little more. 日本の皆様:ページの一番下に、漫画で分かりやすく、Kickstarterの「参加方法」が、のっています! 日本語字幕ビデオ

What is Ukiyo-e Heroes?

A ton of fun, that’s what! Ukiyo-e Heroes is a parody art project that follows the long tradition of popular art in Japan.   For hundreds of years, Japanese woodblock printmakers worked in a thriving popular art scene.  Their prints depicted heroes, villains and monsters, spanning every genre from satire, to romance, to horror. It was all part of Ukiyo, or Floating World culture. Inventive and fast-paced, Ukiyo culture was the big movement of its day. That tradition has continued through the centuries, down to our modern day, where Japan is still known for its vibrant creativity. This heritage is especially evident in Japan’s video game industry.  Boss fights. Invulnerable heroes. Holy swords. Even the classic double-jump can be traced back to medieval Japanese legends.  Long story short: the Japanese games we love are just the new chapter in an ancient, enduring culture. To celebrate Japan’s contribution to video games, illustrator Jed Henry has taken his favorite game characters, and returned them to the ukiyo-e style. Modern costuming has been traded for the medieval, but the essence of each character remains, proving that you can’t take the Ukiyo out of these modern pop icons. Jed Henry is an illustrator, lifelong gamer, Japanophile, and all-around nerd. He grew up copying art from game manuals, and years later, eventually got a degree in animation.  He now illustrates children’s books, and dreams up crazy projects like Ukiyo-e Heroes. Jed lived in Tokyo for 2 years, and proudly speaks Japanese at about a 4-year-old level. Jed divides his time between drawing, his family, and wishing he were back in Japan. Dave Bull has been in Tokyo since before Jed was born (!) having gone there to learn what he could about the craft of traditional woodblock printmaking, and has been making his living at it for nearly 25 years now. For most of that time, he worked as a solo craftsman (carving, printing, self-publishing), but for the past couple of years has been working with younger people to train them in the techniques, under the umbrella of his Mokuhankan publishing venture.

Jed’s Designs

Here are Jed’s 12 designs. All of them are available as high-quality digital prints. Currently, Rickshaw Cart, Fox Moon, The Hero Rests, Infestation, Soul Eater, Yokai Dracul, and I Choose You! are available as hand-made woodblock prints. And here we have one of those proof copies of the first woodblock print in the series, the ‘Rickshaw Cart’ design: