Charles S. Peirce 


After working with his Dad on the occultations, Charles became an expert in the logic of relations.  How could he possibly have missed relationalism?  Or did he?  I think we're about to find out. 

Moving right along, allow me to use an extended quote: Charles Sanders Peirce | Philosophy- The Integrating Science:

Since, action in the world is so crucial to human life, Peirce was concerned to find the best way to move us from a state of doubt to a state of belief. He outlines three methods that have been used for this purpose: tenacity, authority, a priori rationalism.

The method of tenacity (e.g. faith) is the method of clinging to a belief in the face of contrary evidence, of putting one's head in the sand. The method of authority (e.g. state censorship) is the method of using the power of the state to force people to stay committed to the "correct" belief. The method of a priori rationalism (the legacy of Descartes) is the method of simply deducing from idea to idea, through single threads of inference, without reference to evidence.

These methods, Peirce notes, have problems. Tenacity gives way to the re-evaluation of one's beliefs when confronted with the conflicting opinions of others. Authority, though practically superior to tenacity (because if everyone's beliefs are identical, one is less likely to encounter differences of opinion), cannot rule out that people will compare their beliefs to those of other cultures and eras, and form new doubts. Rationalism, while more respectable and intellectual than the other two methods, makes beliefs a matter of philosophical "fashion". Peirce notes that the history of philosophy is characterized by a pendulum-like swing back and forth between idealism and materialism [italics mine].  People will notice this fact, and -- since their ideas seem to be determined by the "taste" of the era, and not by what is really true -- they will begin to doubt their beliefs.

The main problem with these three methods, Peirce diagnoses, is that the beliefs they lead to are unstable, i.e. they quickly lead to the reappearance of doubts.

"[I]t is necessary," Peirce writes, "that a method should be found by which our beliefs may be determined by nothing human, but by some external permanency -- by something upon which our thinking has no effect." This method is the scientific method, the best method of eliminating doubt. It leads in the long run to the most stable beliefs. One forms hypotheses based on the objective facts and performs experiments to test these hypotheses. One's conclusions are made known to the community of thinkers who can then judge them and, if necessary, offer revisions of them. This process, if fully carried out, is fated ultimately to bring out the absolute truth on all questions.

Ah, yes.  Another casualty on the Cartesian road to Certainty.  Far more have been killed on this road than any other in history.  How could the Best and Brightest be so dense!! 

Next topic?  As to that 'pendulum', well, whoever swings last, swings longest.  Spoken as a true eschatologist.  

Did Charlie not notice the oxymoronic flavor of his pragmatic absolutism?  What was in that transcendental water in New England?  The Bomb and the dinosaur bones do make immaterialism a little hard to swallow, even with full glass of transcendentalism.  Absolutism is an occupational hazard for any transcendentalist.  The only safeguard in history (just ask our Islamic friends, etc.) has been the incarnation, that very untranscendental (almost obscenely so) irruption into history.  With Y2C we have just a necessary reminder of that X-event, and don't you forget it. 

The, oh so, modern materialist may honestly plead total ignorance of her transcendental roots.  


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