The Normative Thought of Charles S. Peirce

By Cornelis De Waal; Krzysztof Piotr Skowroński | Go to book overview

Notes

1. TRADITIONS OF INNOVATION AND IMPROVISATION:
JAZZ AS METAPHOR, PHILOSOPHY AS JAZZ
Vincent Colapietro

1. Peirce bemoaned the merciless ways in which words are treated when they fall into literary clutches (CP 5.414). But the merciful—and illuminating—ways in which they are handled by such literary scholars as Dines Johansen, Anne Freadman, and Lucia Santaella cannot be gainsaid.

2. See my “Signs and Their Vicissitudes” (2004b).

3. See my “Portrait of a Historicist” (2004a).

4. “The experience of ignorance, or of error, which we have, and which we gain by means of correcting our errors, or enlarging our knowledge, does enable us to experience and conceive something which is independent of our own limited views; but as there can be no correction of the sum total of opinions, and no enlargement of the sum total of knowledge, we have no such means, and can have no such means of acquiring a conception of something independent of all opinion and thought” (CP 7.345, c. 1875).

5. In a 23 July 1905 letter to James, Peirce insists:

The God of my theism is not finite. That won’t do at all. For to begin
with, existence is reaction, and therefore no existent can be clear
supreme. On the contrary, a finite being, without much doubt, and at
any rate by presumption, is one of a genus; so that it would, to my
mind, involve polytheism. In the next place, anthropomorphism for
me implies above all that the true Ideal is a living power, which is a
variation of the ontological proof due, I believe, to Moncure Conway’s
predecessor, William Johnson (not James) Fox. That is, the esthetic
ideal, that which we all love and adore, the altogether admirable, has,
as ideal, necessarily a mode of being to be called living. Because our
ideas of the infinite are necessarily extremely vague and become con-
tradictory the moment we attempt to make them precise. But still they
are not utterly unmeaning, though they can only be interpreted in our

-259-

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