Peirce's fallibilism is shown to be the "linchpin" of his mature philosophy. In passing, objections regarding a seemingly serious paradox, a textual discrepancy, and the plausibility of an alternative approach to Peirce are answered. Peirce's fallibilism is indeed a puzzling thesis, particularly in that it appears to violate familiar finitist, practical, "here and now" (pragmatist) constraints. But that's precisely where Peirce's ingenuity takes its most interesting form. The solution provided shows the paradox and aporias of Peirce's account to be no more than apparent, the textual infelicity of what would otherwise be a contradiction to be part of Peirce's rhetorical strategy (in combating the effects of James' misreading of his theory of truth), the doctrine of the continuum to be already entailed by Peirce's fallibilism, and the ultimate reconciliation between the infinite limit of inquiry and its finite phases to be essential to Peirce's theory of science cast in terms of what may be described as a Hegelianized reading of Kantian Hope—in effect, a reading of abduction as an original pragmatist version of what may be saved in the sparest way within the post-Kantian tradition.
The essay consists of two somewhat independent parts. In the first, I recount some of my experiences as editor, reflecting on interpretative contexts as a source of error, the role of chance, and dependence upon the work of others, especially the arrangement and cataloguing of libraries and archives. I note some of the changes libraries have undergone, including computerization, and sketch out some likely effects on scholarship. In the second part, I report some of my idle thoughts about William James. Emphasis is on the surprising absence of evidence, given the large number of surviving documents, giving insight into the private core of his personality, as distinct from the public—and at times politically motivated—presentation of himself. I make some guesses about his personal religious beliefs, his reasons for engaging in psychical research, and his social views. I conclude with reflections upon his contributions to philosophy and the consequences for myself of such an extensive association with a single person.
When language is expressed metaphorically, metaphors seem to "say" something that has never seen said before. Some of them seem to express insights. What then are the constraints on their interpretations? Charles Peirce's semeiotic suggests a way to answer the question. Crucial to the answer is Peirce's account of semeiotic objects as two-fold, one side, the dynamic or "real" object to be interpreted, the other side, the immediate object, which is the dynamic object that has been interpreted. The interaction account of metaphor is reviewed and related to Peirce's conception of semeiotic objects. The result is my suggestion that the dynamic objects to which metaphorical objects are directed are transformed into interpreted, immediate objects through the mediation of incipient immediate objects. Incipient immediate objects initially appear as dyadic objects recognized through identity expressions—e.g., "Juliet is the sun," which is not a classification but an identification of the referents of the subject and the predicate. The incipient mediating immediate object parallels the percipium referred to in Peirce's account of the formation of perceptual judgments, which are interpretations of percepts.
This article aims: 1) to review several, key, earlier studies of Josiah Royce's relations to Asian thinkers (mainly Indian); 2) to discover through a survey of Royce's writings how widely and deeply Royce familiarized himself with, and employed Hindu, Buddhist, and other Asian traditions; and, 3) to measure how relevant Royce's most mature philosophy (1912–1916) is for the currently needed inter-cultural, inter-religious, and inter-faith dialogues. Parts One and Two supply foundations which reveal Royce's lifelong commitment to open "windows" to Eastern thought, in order to dialogue with Asian thinkers and invite other Westerners to do the same.
The article climaxes in Part Three by revealing the relevance of the late Royce's "philosophy of the 'Spirit,' his "philosophical pneumatology." I trace ten of its implied positions, significant for contemporary philosophers of religion and theologians. I conclude by showing that Royce's "philosophy of the 'Spirit"' and its implied positions are all rooted in Royce's view of a "middle faith." Such a faith supports his view of the "invisible church," his "Beloved Community of all "Christians"—"Christians" taken in his wider sense of "all genuine loyalists who are members of a Beloved Community."
Is Peirce's esthetic relevant for the philosophy of art—what is usually referred to today as aesthetics? At first glance Peirce's idiosyncratic esthetic seems quite unconcerned with issues of art. Yet a careful examination reveals that this is not the case. Thus, rather than attempt to "apply" Peirce's views to some aspect of the practice or the theory of art (e.g., creativity, historiography of art, style, genre), or even to a particular work of art, my intention is to examine how art fits into Peirce's own conception of his esthetic theory. The argument is divided into two parts. In the first section I present Peirce's conception of esthetics in the context of the normative sciences. I argue that esthetics connects with various strands of Peirce's philosophy, most notably his cosmology, his agapasm and with the way that important aspects of them hang together around the principle of abduction and the corresponding notion insight. In the second section, I consider in what way art may be said to be admirable, to contribute to the summum bonum. I try to show that Peirce's esthetic suggests that what attracts us towards art is first and foremost a semeiotic quality qua quality of mind or quality of Thirdness.
The hypothesis of this paper is that we maintain a relationship with the dead precisely in their death, and this relationship is best understood in terms of Peirce's semiotics and its influence on the work of Jacques Derrida. Roland Barthes' theory of photography illustrates this semiotics of death. The subsistent and continuous reality of the non-extant, absent and silent being of the dead individual is manifested—and continues to communicate—through indexical signs, i.e., any traces left behind by the dead individual (such as photos, clothes, glasses, writings, recordings).
I provide an overview of A Thoughtful Profession (Open Court, 2006), Jim Campbell's splendid account of the first twenty-five years or so of the American Philosophical Association (APA), in which he shows in considerable detail how thoughtfully our association came into being and how we still live with the solutions of those early years. Three separate associations were formed during this period in response "to the impact of contemporary science and technology on American thinking, . . . the increasing democratizing of American higher education," and "the impact of the German system of higher education. As a result of these three factors, higher education in America was fundamentally changed; and the practice of academic philosophy was changed with it" (Campbell, p. 18). I recount how this book tells the story of that change and the eventual formation of the APA in the 1920s from these three associations. We still live with the effects of this professionalization of academic philosophy and of the decision to form a division-dominated national association.
This comment on Campbell argues that a good book could be made better if more critical judgment was displayed. Attempts to recover the complete past must be abandoned, and especially in the history of ideas, evaluative judgments about the worth of ideas must be made and the presuppositions of thought must be explored.
James Campbell's recent book A Thoughtful Profession is an important contribution to our understanding of the state of professional philosophy at the turn of the 20th century, of the development of the American Philosophical Association, and the character of philosophy itself. Its value lies in several points: 1) understanding the historical roots of the APA helps us to understand its contemporary condition; 2) by exploring the origins of the APA Campbell sheds light on the issues that moved philosophers a century ago, and how they envisioned the discipline developing as a serious, academic profession; 3) the survey the book provides of the arguments then current over the nature of the philosophical enterprise are relevant today as practicing philosophers continue to debate the nature of the discipline, and it suggests important similarities with other disciplines; and 4) the account of the reasons for the creation of the APA remind us how important it is that philosophers continue to have organized, institutional ways for us to communicate. Campbell has written an immensely valuable and interesting book.
The overwhelming commitment of philosophers is not to crossing arms over some technical problem but to the education of the young. This is not to deny the merit of attempting to make a contribution to current debates or to new assessments of historical figures. However, the ultimate value of such contributions lies in providing materials for teaching the skills and habits vitally important in our personal and social lives.
If we had set out to make philosophy as irrelevant to the world as possible, and to make the APA as useless to its members or to the purpose of making philosophy influential, I do not think we could have done a better job. The philosophers working on this in the early 1900s could not seem to effectively sort out the purposes and organization of the APA, and I argue we are not much better at it today. We do not have a strong national office and this leaves us less supported and more vulnerable than our counterparts in religion, literature, languages, the social and natural sciences. With the importance of the liberal arts not fully understood by the general public, philosophy stands out as one of the more vulnerable disciplines—again in large part a result of our own attitude and actions. If we don't publicly value teaching, and if our research is considered best when it can be least understood or applied, why are we surprised that many people wonder if there is still a need to teach philosophy.
This paper is a response to a series of five papers—by Michael Eldridge, Bruce Kuklick, John Lachs, Erin McKenna, and John Ryder—that examine my recently published volume, A Thoughtful Profession: The Early Years of the American Philosophical Association. It discusses those papers in two phases: What they have to say about the volume's account of the history of the philosophy profession in America, and what they have to say about the present and future of the profession based upon its past. Each of the papers demonstrates a sincere interest in exploring the history or the meaning of the APA.