RE: [xmca] Peirce as Hegel, but "in costume"

From: Tony Whitson <twhitson who-is-at UDel.Edu>
Date: Sat Nov 03 2007 - 20:42:40 PDT

Andy, some further historical connections that seem to corroborate your

I don't have the specifics handy, but I think without the publishing
activities of William Torrey Harris, both Peirce and Dewey would have had
more difficulty getting into print in the beginning.

Harris was one of the leading Hegelians in the U.S. at the time. And he
was Superintendent of Schools for Saint Louis, Missouri.

That does seem different from the Russian and European scenes, doesn't it?

On Sat, 3 Nov 2007, Tony Whitson wrote:

> 1) re the Lenin note: I myself started out very hostile to Peirce and the
> other pragmatists, based on what I read in Chinese during the Cultural
> Revolution while I was standing in the snow under a streetlight at 4:00 am in
> a rent-a-cop costume guarding blueberry muffins that were being loaded into a
> truck for delivery around Boston. I later discovered CSP was grossly
> misrepresented in those Chinese texts, but only after reading what seemed
> like confirmation in almost equally hostile representations by Horkheimer.
> As for the socio-historical context, it's easy for us, in our theoretical
> circles, to forget that perhaps the most prominent thinker in CSP's time, in
> the Boston orbit anyway, may have been ... Emerson ! ( and I guess that
> should help me with James, a bit )
> On Sun, 4 Nov 2007, Andy Blunden wrote:
>> At 10:42 PM 3/11/2007 -0400, Tony Whitson wrote:
>>> Andy, ... Peirce's theory is really different. I haven't read that much
>>> of the Russians, but in what I have read (mostly secondary sources) the
>>> idea of "sign" for the Russian theorists is very much about intentional
>>> communication among humans. Peirce's basic conception of sign, rooted in
>>> a tradition that runs from the Greeks through pre-modern Latin
>>> philosophers like Poinsot, is radically different from that.
>> Exactly. Part of the context of the Russian interpretation of Peirce may
>> be Lenin's attacks on semiology in "Materialism and Empirio-criticism" in
>> 1908, a book that Ilyenkov defended until the end, so far as I know. It
>> seems to me that Engstrom reflects the general Russian view (says me who
>> nothing of what our Russians think). And let's face it, Peirce is almost
>> impenetrable and leaves plenty of room for being misunderstood. I rely
>> heavily on Colapietro for "my" Peirce, but I think the view of Peirce that
>> Engstrom refers to is a very widespread interpretation, and not only in
>> Finland.
>> It was Michael that talked about the frontier etc. - sounding like a
>> Marxist for a moment, but it was the interpretation and further
>> development of the original ideas, not the origin of
>> Peirce/Dewey/James/Mead's ideas that I was referring to. If you look at
>> the Russians, you see a long line of maybe a dozen or a score of major
>> figures, each tweaking and developing, critiquing and querying the writing
>> of their predecessors and co-workers, in a continuous line of development,
>> in which the foundation stones are continuously adjusted and perfected.
>> Michael also eloquently described the process whereby Mead & Co.'s ideas
>> entered into American social psychology. It was more of a general
>> dispersal, rather than a self-conscious, self-developing coherent current.
>> And I think something was lost in the process, not amongst scholars like
>> yourselves, but in the general dispersal. Of course, the Russians have had
>> their own problems to deal with, too!
>> Andy
>> _______________________________________________
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> Tony Whitson
> UD School of Education
> NEWARK DE 19716
> _______________________________
> "those who fail to reread
> are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
> -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
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Tony Whitson
UD School of Education

"those who fail to reread
  are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                   -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
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Received on Sat Nov 3 20:53 PDT 2007

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