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

From: Tony Whitson <twhitson who-is-at UDel.Edu>
Date: Sat Nov 03 2007 - 22:05:26 PDT

I think you're right, Andy.

I can't think of anyone in the US who would have come closer to that than
Dewey (certainly not Peirce), and to whatever extent Deewy might have
approached that, it's not part of his thought that was received by any

On Sun, 4 Nov 2007, Andy Blunden wrote:

> 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 throughout.
> 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.
> Andy
> 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
>> 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
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> 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)
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>> xmca mailing list
> Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435, mobile
> 0409 358 651
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

Tony Whitson
UD School of Education

"those who fail to reread
  are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                   -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
xmca mailing list
Received on Sat Nov 3 22:15 PDT 2007

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