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

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Sat Nov 03 2007 - 21:25:01 PDT

Apart from these differences in social conditions, it is Marx and Marxism,
with all its pluses and its minuses, that really makes the differences
between the two currents at the level of theoretical foundations, isn't it
Tony? Just as the reception of Peirce in the USSR (and amongst other
Marxists!!) was hindered by unfortunate readings transmitted via the
Marxist canon, it seems to me that the Americans were really barred from
making full use of Marx, which is evident in the work of the Russians

A case in point is Ilyenkov's concept of the ideal, which draw on Marx's
"Capital", a work which must have informed the Russians throughout. Was
there a comparable insight amongst the Americans to do with the process of
abstraction as a real, process of restructuring of social relations in
society at large, and only later entering consciousness? This is certainly
to be found in Hegel, but I think only Marx, with his studies on value,
makes this clear.

At 11:30 PM 3/11/2007 -0400, you 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
>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!
>>xmca mailing list
>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)
>xmca mailing list

  Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435,
mobile 0409 358 651

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Received on Sat Nov 3 21:29 PDT 2007

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