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

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Sat Nov 03 2007 - 20:15:00 PDT

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

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!


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Received on Sat Nov 3 21:37 PDT 2007

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