On Wed, 30 Aug 1995 Bruce_Viney@europe.notes.pw.com wrote:
> All you are in effect saying is that there are no certainties in life,
> only degress of probability, an idea which is as old as philosophy. For
> instance, we 'know' that the sun will rise tomorrow only because it always
> has done so in our lifetime - it is therefore highly probable that it will
> rise again tomorrow. We 'know' that we will each eventually die because
> all others before us have died - therefore it is highly probable that we
> will ourselves die.
Barry accused me of "teasing" and, regrettably, he was quite right. The
only real message I hoped to convey is that something valuable can be
gained by distinguishing knowledge from belief, but only if you are
willing to read Peirce's writings on these subjects.
Your point above is perfectly true with one exception. That is not all
that I was saying. What I was really saying is what appears in the
There are many ideas that could be thought to be as old as philosophy, and
that is one of the biggest problems with philosophy. As Peirce put it,
"When philosophy began to awake from its long slumber, and before theology
completely dominated it [this was written over 100 years ago] the practice
seems to have been for each professor to seize upon any philosophical
position he found unoccupied and which seemed a strong one, to intrench
himself in it, and to sally forth from time to time to give battle to the
others"...[and, continuing] "the philosophers have been less intent on
finding out what the facts are, than on inquiring what belief is most in
harmony with their system".
THE NET EFFECT: If there is anything valuable to the concept of "learning
organization", it will not be adduced by noting that it is an old idea
from philosophy. On the contrary, it is largely irrelevant whether it is
old or new; what is relevant is to consider what is truly relevant from
philosophy, and one of the greatest values lying dormant there is found in
the eloquent writings of great philosophers. Peirce is largely unknown to
the European community; but he is certainly known to two of the more noted
living German philosophers: Karl-Otto Apel and Jurgen Habermas, and he
was also appreciated by Karl Popper. Almost all of the British
philosophers have remained in the dark with respect to Peirce, and it's
time they started to read him. If I can get them to do so, whether by
teasing or by other subterfuge (if normal methods worked, they would have
studied him long ago, since he died in 1914).
> Acknowledging that we can only deal in degrees of probability is
> interesting but in the end changes little, particularly at the extremes of
> probability. If it serves any useful function it would be in encouraging
> us to challenge our assumptions more closely.
By George, I think you hit the nail right on the head. Of course that's
also an old idea from philosophy. Collingwood of the U. K. did some work
in philosophy that is quite relevant to that when he studied
> What does James Hoopes bring to this subject? The concept of knowledge
> versus belief is apparently no different from the concept that there are
> no certainties. Of course it does depend on what you mean by
What Hoopes brings to the subject is a skillful job of selecting some of
the most important Peirce work relating to science as it might be applied
to upgrading philosophy and organizational behavior, and then appending
introductory comments that highlight the significance of Peirce's thought.
Among other things, Peirce pretty well demolished much of Descartes and
Hegel, superseded Popper, and various other interesting things.
-- JOHN WARFIELD Jwarfiel@gmu.edu