The aim of this paper is to describe the situation of mutual ignorance between American and Hispanic philosophical traditions, paying special attention to the figure and thought of the founder of pragmatism, Charles S. Peirce (1839-1914). In order to do this, first of all I will justify the usage of the expression "Hispanic Philosophy", highlighting its heuristic and practical value. Secondly, I will discuss some of Peirce's comments in relation with the Hispanic world. And finally, by way of conclusion, I (...) will mention some of the connections that lie nearly hidden under the cloak of ignorance which divides the two traditions. (shrink)
As suggested in the subtitle, A New Philosophical Reading, the editor aspires in his Introduction and his notes to “facilitate a deeper understanding and a critical evaluation (...) of this crucial and difficult philosophical work” (p. ix). This was the last important book which James published during his lifetime. With it James aims at a critical evaluation of Hegelian monism and an exploration of the philosophical and theological alternatives. “Our world of some one hundred years on”—the editor says (p. ix)—“is (...) much the better for James’ contribution, and understanding William James on pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding.”. (shrink)
Fourteen philosophers share their experience teaching Peirce to undergraduates in a variety of settings and a variety of courses. The latter include introductory philosophy courses as well as upper-level courses in American philosophy, philosophy of religion, logic, philosophy of science, medieval philosophy, semiotics, metaphysics, etc., and even an upper-level course devoted entirely to Peirce. The project originates in a session devoted to teaching Peirce held at the 2007 annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. The session, (...) organized by <span class='Hi'>James</span> Campbell and Richard Hart, was co-sponsored by the American Association of Philosophy Teachers. (shrink)
George M. Searle (1839-1918) and Charles S. Peirce worked together in the Coast Survey and the Harvard Observatory during the decade of 1860: both scientists were assistants of Joseph Winlock, the director of the Observatory. When in 1868 George, a convert to Catholicism, left to enter the Paulist Fathers, he was replaced by his brother Arthur Searle. George was ordained as a priest in 1871, was a lecturer of Mathematics and Astronomy at the Catholic University of America, and became the (...) fourth superior general of his congregation from 1904 to 1909. Among the books he wrote for non-Catholic audiences was Plain Facts for Fair Minds (1895). On the 8th of August of 1895, Peirce found that book in a bookstore and the following day wrote a letter to George Searle developing his strong reservations about the question of the infallibility of the Pope. This letter (L 397) is almost unknown amongst Peirce's scholars. -/- After describing these historical circumstances as a framework, the aim of my paper is to describe Peirce's arguments against papal infallibility presented by George Searle in his book, and the contrast between the genuine scientific attitude and the putative metaphysical notion of absolute truth that is —according to Peirce— behind Searle's defense of infallibility. In this sense, Peirce's fallibilism will be explained with some detail, giving an account also of his practical infallibilism: "The assertion that every assertion but this is fallible, is the only one that is absolutely infallible. But though nothing else is absolutely infallible, many propositions are practically infallible; such as the dicta of conscience" (Minute Logic, CP 2.75, c. 1902). -/- Finally, having in mind the present interest in Peirce's religious ideas it will be suggested that some of Peirce's ideas on infallibility are nearer to contemporary understanding of that issue than Searle's defense. "I would with all my heart join the ancient church of Rome if I could. But your book," —Peirce writes to Searle— "is an awful warning against doing so." -/- . (shrink)
In this reply to Professor Hookway’s lecture the comments are focused, first, on the topic of what dichotomies really are, since it is an illuminating way of understanding pragmatism in general and Putnam’s pragmatism in particular. Dichotomies are artifacts that we devise with some useful purpose in mind, but when inflated into absolute dichotomies they become metaphysical bogeys as it is illustrated by the twentieth century distinction between fact and value. Secondly, a brief comment on the so-called “thick” ethical concepts (...) and artifact terms is presented, and finally it is added a word on John L. Austin, whose approach to dichotomies is aligned with pragmatism and Putnam. (shrink)
In Spain, Peirce's thought has generally remained almost unknown throughout the syllabi of the various Licentiate programs offered. The only exceptions are the degrees of Linguistic, Communication Studies, and Philosophy, in which Peirce's semiotics is normally only alluded to or cursorily presented. Much the same could be said of Latin America. There is evidence, however, that this situation is beginning to change: translations into Spanish are now appearing, particularly in the web, which make a notable amount of Peirce’s vast production (...) accessible to the Spanish-speaking readership. Interest in Peirce's work is clearly growing in the Hispanic world, probably due to the general resurgence of pragmatism, and to the gradual approximation of Hispanic philosophers to American academic philosophy. (shrink)
We find before us an excellent edition of the book which the influential American thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-82) published in December of 1860, four months before the outbreak of the American Civil War. The central question which Emerson poses in this volume concerns the conduct of life, that is, of how to live. The titles of the nine essays, which compose the book, illustrate the themes tackled: “Fate,” “Power,” “Wealth”, “Culture,” “Behavior,” “Worship”, “Considerations by the Way,” “Beauty” and “Illusions.” (...) As Callaway suggests, Emerson’s is not a philosophy in the sense of contemporary technicalities, “the basic tendency of his thought is a metaphysical idealism in which the soul and intuition or inspiration are central.” (p. xvi). As an essentially religious thinker, profoundly preoccupied with the human soul and with the development of human potentialities, he has always firmly opposed to slavery: one cannot refuse to others human beings the development of their distinctively human potentialities (p. xxvii). (shrink)
Charles S. Peirce (1839-1914) made relevant contributions to deductive logic, but he was primarily interested in the logic of science, and more especially in what he called 'abduction' (as opposed to deduction and induction), which is the process whereby hypotheses are generated in order to explain the surprising facts. Indeed, Peirce considered abduction to be at the heart not only of scientific research, but of all ordinary human activities. Nevertheless, in spite of Peirce's work and writings in the field of (...) methodology of research, scarce attention has been paid to the logic of discovery over the last hundred years, despite an impressive development not only of scientific research but also of logic. -/- Having this in mind, the exposition is divided into five parts: 1) a brief presentation of Peirce, focusing on his work as a professional scientist; 2) an exposition of the classification of inferences by the young Peirce: deduction, induction and hypothesis; 3) a sketch of the notion of abduction in the mature Peirce; 4) an exposition of the logic of surprise; and finally, by way of conclusion, 5) a discussion of this peculiar ability of guessing understood as a rational instinct. -/- . (shrink)
In a world of ever growing specialization, the idea of a unity of science is commonly discarded, but cooperative work involving cross-disciplinary points of view is encouraged. The aim of this paper is to show with some textual support that Charles S. Peirce not only identified this paradoxical situation a century ago, but he also mapped out some paths for reaching a successful solution. A particular attention is paid to Peirce's classification of the sciences and to his conception of science (...) as a collective and cooperative activity of all those whose lives are animated by the desire to discover the truth. -/- . (shrink)
The aim of my paper is to highlight that for Peirce the reality of God makes sense of the whole scientific enterprise. The belief in God is a natural product of abduction, of the "rational instinct" or educated guess of the scientist or the layman, and also the abduction of God may be understood as a "proof" of pragmatism. Moreover, I want to suggest that for Peirce scientific activity is a genuine religious enterprise, perhaps even the religious activity par excellence, (...) and that to divorce religion from science is antithetical to both the scientific spirit and the real Peirce. Understanding the real Peirce requires to deal with his religious concerns, which are increasingly recognized as being perhaps as philosophically important as his scientific concerns. Since a key notion in this project is the idea of "il lume naturale" that Peirce borrowed from Galileo, I want also to pay attention to that expression which during years I have been following through Peirce's papers and books. -/- In order to try to explain some of this, my paper is arranged into four brief sections after this already long introduction: 1) God and scientific inquiry; 2) The belief in God as a product of abduction; 3) Galileo and Peirce: Il lume naturale; and by way of conclusion 4) Some remarks on the religious framework of Peirce's approach. (shrink)
Our aim in this article, after providing the general framework of the reception of William James in Spain, is to trace the reception of The Varieties of Religious Experience through Unamuno’s reading of this book.
In a world of ever growing specialization, the issue of complexity attracts a good amount of attention from cross-disciplinary points of view as this Congress provides evidence. Charles S. Peirce's thought may help us not only to shoulder once again philosophical responsibility which has been largely abdicated by much of 20th century philosophy, but also to tackle some of the most stubborn contemporary problems. The founder of pragmatism identified one century ago most of these problems, and he also mapped out (...) some paths that we could follow to overcome the poverty of contemporary scientistic reductionism. One of these paths is related with the issue of complexity, that lies at the heart of all his conception. -/- Along this line, the aim of my paper is to describe what Peirce can teach about complexity to semioticians coming from very different scientific backgrounds. The lecture will be divided in three sections: 1) a presentation of Peirce, stressing his personal authority as a scientist philosopher, providing also some biographical details; 2) the theory of categories as the heart of complexity according to Peirce and, finally, 3) some consequences of Peirce's notion of complexity in relation with abduction and creativity, semiosis, cross-disciplinarity and communication. -/- . (shrink)
In this short paper I try to present William James’s connection with the Argentinian writer Macedonio Fernández (1874-1952), who was in some sense a mentor of Borges and might be considered the missing link between Borges and James.
The relationship between William James and Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) has recently been the subject of intense scholarly research. We know for instance that the later Wittgenstein's reflections on the philosophy of psychology found in James a major source of inspiration. Not surprisingly therefore, the pragmatist nature of the philosophy of the later Wittgenstein is increasingly acknowledged, in spite of Wittgenstein’s adamant refusal of being labeled a “pragmatist”. In this brief paper I merely want to piece together some of the available (...) evidence of Wittgenstein’s high regard for William James, not only for his thoughts, but even more so for his character. (shrink)
In this paper the relations between the almost unknown Spanish mathematician Ventura Reyes Prósper (1863-1922) with Charles S. Peirce and Christine Ladd-Franklin are described. Two brief papers from Reyes Prósper published in El Progreso Matemático 12 (20 December 1891), pp. 297-300, and 18 (15 June 1892) pp. 170-173 on Ladd-Franklin, and on Peirce and Mitchell, respectively, are translated for first time into English and included at the end of the paper.
The year of the centennial of the Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges is probably the right time to exhume one of the links that this universal writer had with William James. In 1945, Emece, a publisher from Buenos Aires, printed a Spanish translation of William James’s book Pragmatism, with a foreword by Jorge Luis Borges.
Criticisms of analytic philosophy have increased in intensity in the last decade, denouncing specifically its closing in on itself, which results in barrenness and ignorance of real human problems. The thought of C. S. Peirce is proposed as a fruitful way of renewing the analytic tradition and obviating these criticisms. While this paper is largely a reflection on Hilary Putnam’s study of the historical development of analytic philosophy, not only can some of its main roots be traced (...) back to Peirce, but also the recent resurgence of pragmatism can be regarded as a pragmatist renovation of the analytic tradition. Further, Peirce’s thought offers suggestions for tackling some of the most stubborn problems in contemporary philosophy, thereby enabling us to shoulder once more the philosophical responsibility which has been abdicated by much of twentieth-century philosophy. The most accurate understanding of Peirce is to see him as a traditional and systematic philosopher, but one dealing with the modern problems of science truth, and knowledge from a valuable personal experience as a logician and an experimental researcher in the bosom of an interdisciplinary community of scientists and thinkers. (shrink)
A surprising fact in the historiography of the Hispanic philosophy of this century is its almost total opacity towards the American philosophy, in spite of the real affinity between the central questions of American pragmatism and the topics addressed by the most relevant Hispanic thinkers of the century: Unamuno, Ortega y Gasset, d'Ors, Vaz Ferreira. In this paper that situation is studied, paying special attention to Charles S. Peirce, his personal connections with the Hispanic world, the reception of his texts (...) in Spanish, and some of the connections that lie almost hidden under the mutual ignorance which divides the two traditions. -/- . (shrink)
The American novelist Walker Percy (1916-90) considered himself a "thief of Peirce", because he found in the views of C.S. Peirce, the founder of pragmatism, an alternative approach to prevailing reductionist theories in order to understand what we human beings are and what the peculiar nature of our linguistic activity is. -/- This paper describes, quoting widely from Percy, how abduction is the spontaneous activity of our reason by which we couple meanings and experience in our linguistic expressions. This coupling (...) of personal creativity and cultural tradition makes it possible to bridge the gaps between persons and cultures. (shrink)
From the time of Descartes a strong tendency emerged to exclude the consideration of metaphysical questions as a necessary step towards developing truly scientific disciplines. Within human geography, positivism had a significant influence in moulding the discipline as "spatial science", resulting in a reductionist vision of humanity. Since the 1970s, in reaction to the limitations of this narrow vision and also to the deterministic perspective of marxism, humanistic approaches became important, but have failed to adequately deal with the exclusion of (...) metaphysical issues. The more recent emergence of postmodern influences within human geography, while being critical of the rigidities associated with Enlightenment thinking, and suggesting a greater tolerance of "difference", appears reluctant to reconsider the exclusion of metaphysics. This paper suggest that such a reconsideration could contribute significantly towards increasing human geography's capacity to help policy makers deal more adequately with some of the major issues facing humanity. (shrink)
This paper has two separate aims, with obvious links between them. First, to present Charles S. Peirce and the pragmatist movement in a historical framework which stresses the close connections of pragmatism with the mainstream of philosophy; second, to deal with a particular controversial issue, that of the supposed logicistic orientation of Peirce's work.
Thirty years ago Richard Rorty detected the similarities between Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations (1953) and the philosophical framework of Charles S. Peirce (1839-1914), the founder of pragmatism. Rorty tried to show that Peirce envisaged and repudiated in advance logical positivism and developed insights and a philosophical mood very close to the analytical philosophers influenced by the later Wittgenstein (Rorty 1961). In spite of that, the majority of scholars have considered both thinkers as totally alien. Some scholars have attributed the pragmatist flavor (...) of the Philosophical Investigations to the influence of Frank P. Ramsey, who awoke Wittgenstein from the dogmatic slumber of the Tractatus. Nevertheless, the real scope of the influence of American pragmatist philosophy in Wittgenstein's later thought is not clearly known. The purpose of my paper is not to describe the common themes between Wittgenstein and Peirce, but the way in which recent scholarship has established some links between both philosophers. -/- . (shrink)
Political Freedom By George G. Brenkert Routledge, 1991. Pp. 278. ISBN 0?415?03372?1. £35 hbk. Wittgenstein: A Bibliographical Guide By Guido Frongia and Brian McGuinness Basil Blackwell, 1990. Pp. x + 438. ISBN 00631?13765?3. £60.00. Metaphysics By Peter van Inwagen Oxford University Press, 1993. Pp. xiii + 222. ISBN 0?19?8751400. £11.95 pbk. The Nature of Moral Thinking By Francis Snare Routledge, 1992. Pp. 187. ISBN 0?415?04709?9. £9.99 pbk. Filosofía analitica hoy: Encuentro de tradiciones Edited by Mercedes Torrevejano Servicio de Publications Universidade (...) de Santiago de Compostela, 1991. Pp. 284. ISBN 84?7191?722?X. $15.5 pbk. The Puzzle of Experience By J.J. Valberg Clarendon Press, 1992. Pp. 227. ISBN 0?19?824291?3. £25. Religion and Philosophy Edited by Martin Warner Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement: 31 Cambridge University Press, 1992. Pp. vi + 155. ISBN 0?521?42951?X. £10.95 pbk. The Uses of Philosophy By Mary Warnock Blackwell, 1992. Pp. 256. ISBN 0?631?18038?9. £35.00 hbk. £11.95 pbk. The Disappearance of Time: Kurt Godel and the Idealistic Tradition in Philosophy By Palle Yourgrau Cambridge University Press, 1991. Pp. x + 182. ISBN 0?521?41012?6. £27.50. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to bring to light all the available information upon the circumstances and import of the course on "Matter and spirit. The system of atomist logic" that Bertrand Russell gave in Barcelona in the spring of 1920, which has received no attention to date. The paper relies upon the letters kept at the Russell Archives and the papers left by the two Catalan philosophers who were the organizers of Russell's visit, Joan Crexells (1896-1926) and Eugenio (...) d'Ors (1881-1954). Also a tentative assessment of Russell's influence on Spanish philosophy is put forward. -/- . (shrink)