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

From: Michael Glassman <MGlassman who-is-at>
Date: Sun Nov 04 2007 - 10:59:49 PST

I just wanted to add a short coda to the discussion about Peirce. People may get the idea that Peirce was somehow central to the early Pragmatist movement - he really wasn't. James and Dewey and a few others recognized his genius and importance - but for the most part people thought he would be forgotten (and I suppose he was to a certain extent). The person who was supposed to carry Pragmatism forward was F.C.S. Schiller, not as big as Dewey I suppose, but quite famous. I have heard tell (and don't know this for sure) that Peirce was initially resurrected by language theorists because of his ideas on semiotics (not even thinking that much about Pragmatic philosophy). In some ways this accounts for disparate understandings of Peirce I suppose. Today old Ferdinand Schiller is all but forgotten (I had never heard of him until I read him in a speech given by James and then looked him up).
Sic gloria transit (did I get that right).


From: on behalf of Andy Blunden
Sent: Sun 11/4/2007 1:27 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: RE: [xmca] Peirce as Hegel, but "in costume"

Tony, I've collated those excerpts from Peirce and included them in

At 01:05 AM 4/11/2007 -0400, you wrote:
>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.
>>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!
>>>>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
>>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 Sun Nov 4 11:08 PST 2007

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