Introducing the perplexed reader to a philosophy requires both a comprehensive understanding of the philosophy in question and a rigorous simplifying strategy. But clarity and accessibility come at a price: one has to cut down on complicated and perhaps unresolved lines of thought and arguments, stratifying the development of theoretical positions into a coherent and accessible narrative. This review will address both the success of this book as an introduction and, rather unjustly, those more complex topics that have been left (...) out and might be of interest to readers of this journal.First of all, let me say that Cornelis de Waal’s Peirce: A Guide for the Pexplexed is a very good introduction to Peirce’s .. (shrink)
That reality, and in particular the objects of signs, are independent of our thoughts or other representations is a crucial thesis of Peirce’s realism. On the other hand, his semiotics implies the claim that all reality and all real objects are real for us only because of the signs we use. Do these two claims contradict, even exclude, each other? I will argue that both Peirce’s metaphysics and his semiotics provide a natural via media: a structural account of the openness (...) of processes, featuring transitive relations, connects process ontology implicit in his evolutionary metaphysics and the relational, quasi-inferential features embodied in interpretational sequences of signs. It is shown that Peirce’s notion of a sign, its normative role and his account of the directional force of objects implies a sort of logical causality that supports the unity of objects. In this way sign sequences are able to relate flexibly sign use with contextually specified independent objects. That is to say, relational properties of object-oriented chains of interpretations provide sign users with a flexible, fallibilistic instrument able to capture by contingent identity relations of the identity of objects in changing situations. (shrink)
Frederik Stjernfelt’s book Natural Propositions is much more than just a study arguing for the actuality of Peirce’s notion of dicisign. Not unlike his 2007 treatise Diagrammatology, FS does many things at the same time, not all of them closely related to the project of a functional, naturalistic interpretation of Peirce’s concept of dicisigns and the relation of human cognition and animal, even microbiological processes to one another. The result is an inter- and transdisciplinary study that discusses and criticizes theories (...) and uses examples coming from psychology, biology, anthropology, neuroscience, biosemiotics etc. But the book starts with a chapter on Peirce’s anti-psychologism comparing it to.. (shrink)
: T.L. Short's book is a major achievement in Peirce's scholarship and probably one of the best books on Peirce ever written. However, it does not take the impact of evolutionary metaphysics on the development of semiotics into account. Furthermore, it blends out the specific conditions that final causation is subject to in the development of culture and morality.
It has been argued that pragmatism as a philosophical movement lacks unity. However, contrasts and similarities are always relative to a level of generality on which they can be distinguished. And, although Peirce, James, and Dewey disagree on a number of important issues, they have quite a number of assumptions and theses in common. The most general and important of these theses is the belief that how our beliefs relate to reality depends on our actions, and that the semantical independence (...) of our actions plays a crucial role in the development of our theoretical beliefs. Although there are other beliefs and assumptions common to the three classical pragmatists, even this property is enough to distinguish the classical pragmatists from one of their contemporary followers, Richard Rorty. (shrink)