RE: Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs.

From: Michael Glassman (
Date: Sat Dec 18 2004 - 21:08:16 PST

Here is the issue with development as I understand it, and telos is not necessarily a part of it. If you are saying that people develop you are saying that they move from point A to point B. In order to say that a person moves from point A to point B you make the assumption that point A and B exist simultaneously but the person at point A isn't at point B yet - but that is the place they are going. It is like you are in New York but you want to drive to Chicago this means that New York and Chicago exist simultaneously but they are separate and through the process of living (driving) you move from one to the other. Apply this to the idea that things exist in the world but we do not understand them, but through a developmental process we come to have a better understanding of them. That necessarily mean that two things exist in the world simultaneously, the object in the world and the thing that you think about it (as it exists in your mind). Through living you get closer to the object as it actually exists (voila, dualism). I've thought about it a lot and I don't think there is any way out of this trap. I used to think maybe dualism wasn't such a bad thing but I think I have changed my mind but that is another discussion.
Now it is important to point out that progess is something different from development because progress is solving problems as they occur in order to achieve a better life and a better community. In an earlier post Jay suggested Pierce may have considered development in terms of evolution, but I think Pierce - as well as his band of merry pranksters - was actually thinking more in terms of descent with modification - that is things adapt to situations but they don't move from point A to point B.
I probably didn't do a great job of explaining this.


From: Matt Brown []
Sent: Sat 12/18/2004 5:38 PM
Subject: RE: Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs.

Michael et al.,

Just a quick point. I'm worried about the following point you make:

Quoting Michael Glassman <>:
> I think the Pragmatists avoided discussions of development such as
> those discussed at the end of the article very much on purpose. They wanted
> to escape dualism and once you start talking about development you can't help
> but fall into a dualist trap.

I don't see why this is necessarily true. Could you maybe explain this a bit
more? Is a notion of vertical development or a telos necessarily a part of the
notion of development as you're using it? What about a notion of development as
expansion, growth, or shifting? Or am I missing your point?


Matt Brown (

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