Frasi di Charles Sanders Peirce

Charles Sanders Peirce foto
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Charles Sanders Peirce

Data di nascita: 10. Settembre 1839
Data di morte: 19. Aprile 1914

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Charles Sanders Peirce è stato un matematico, filosofo, semiologo, logico, scienziato e accademico statunitense.

Conosciuto per i suoi contributi, oltre che alla logica anche all'epistemologia, Peirce è stato un importante studioso, considerato fondatore del pragmatismo e uno dei padri della moderna semiotica .

Negli ultimi decenni il suo pensiero è stato fortemente rivalutato, fino a porlo tra i principali innovatori in molti campi, specialmente nella metodologia della ricerca e nella filosofia della scienza.

Frasi Charles Sanders Peirce

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„To "postulate" a proposition is no more than to hope it is true.“

— Charles Sanders Peirce
Context: When I have asked thinking men what reason they had to believe that every fact in the universe is precisely determined by law, the first answer has usually been that the proposition is a "presupposition " or postulate of scientific reasoning. Well, if that is the best that can be said for it, the belief is doomed. Suppose it be " postulated " : that does not make it true, nor so much as afford the slightest rational motive for yielding it any credence. It is as if a man should come to borrow money, and when asked for his security, should reply he "postulated " the loan. To "postulate" a proposition is no more than to hope it is true. There are, indeed, practical emergencies in which we act upon assumptions of certain propositions as true, because if they are not so, it can make no difference how we act. But all such propositions I take to be hypotheses of individual facts. For it is manifest that no universal principle can in its universality be compromised in a special case or can be requisite for the validity of any ordinary inference.

„The third Universe comprises everything whose being consists in active power to establish connections between different objects, especially between objects in different Universes. Such is everything which is essentially a Sign“

— Charles Sanders Peirce
Context: Of the three Universes of Experience familiar to us all, the first comprises all mere Ideas, those airy nothings to which the mind of poet, pure mathematician, or another might give local habitation and a name within that mind. Their very airy-nothingness, the fact that their Being consists in mere capability of getting thought, not in anybody's Actually thinking them, saves their Reality. The second Universe is that of the Brute Actuality of things and facts. I am confident that their Being consists in reactions against Brute forces, notwithstanding objections redoubtable until they are closely and fairly examined. The third Universe comprises everything whose being consists in active power to establish connections between different objects, especially between objects in different Universes. Such is everything which is essentially a Sign — not the mere body of the Sign, which is not essentially such, but, so to speak, the Sign's Soul, which has its Being in its power of serving as intermediary between its Object and a Mind.

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„The first character of a general idea so resulting is that it is living feeling.“

— Charles Sanders Peirce
Context: The first character of a general idea so resulting is that it is living feeling. A continuum of this feeling, infinitesimal in duration, but still embracing innumerable parts, and also, though infinitesimal, entirely unlimited, is immediately present. And in its absence of boundedness a vague possibility of more than is present is directly felt.

„The one primary and fundamental law of mental action consists in a tendency to generalisation.“

— Charles Sanders Peirce
Context: The one primary and fundamental law of mental action consists in a tendency to generalisation. Feeling tends to spread; connections between feelings awaken feelings; neighboring feelings become assimilated; ideas are apt to reproduce themselves. These are so many formulations of the one law of the growth of mind. When a disturbance of feeling takes place, we have a consciousness of gain, the gain of experience; and a new disturbance will be apt to assimilate itself to the one that preceded it. Feelings, by being excited, become more easily excited, especially in the ways in which they have previously been excited. The consciousness of such a habit constitutes a general conception. The cloudiness of psychological notions may be corrected by connecting them with physiological conceptions. Feeling may be supposed to exist, wherever a nerve-cell is in an excited condition. The disturbance of feeling, or sense of reaction, accompanies the transmission of disturbance between nerve-cells or from a nerve-cell to a muscle-cell or the external stimulation of a nerve-cell. General conceptions arise upon the formation of habits in the nerve-matter, which are molecular changes consequent upon its activity and probably connected with its nutrition.

„But you will mark the limitation of my approval of Ockham's razor. It is a sound maxim of scientific procedure. If the question be what one ought to believe, the logic of the situation must take other factors into account.“

— Charles Sanders Peirce
Context: There never was a sounder logical maxim of scientific procedure than Ockham's razor: Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. That is to say; before you try a complicated hypothesis, you should make quite sure that no simplification of it will explain the facts equally well. No matter if it takes fifty generations of arduous experimentation to explode the simpler hypothesis, and no matter how incredible it may seem that that simpler hypothesis should suffice, still fifty generations are nothing in the life of science, which has all time before it; and in the long run, say in some thousands of generations, time will be economized by proceeding in an orderly manner, and by making it an invariable rule to try the simpler hypothesis first. Indeed, one can never be sure that the simpler hypothesis is not the true one, after all, until its cause has been fought out to the bitter end. But you will mark the limitation of my approval of Ockham's razor. It is a sound maxim of scientific procedure. If the question be what one ought to believe, the logic of the situation must take other factors into account. Speaking strictly, belief is out of place in pure theoretical science, which has nothing nearer to it than the establishment of doctrines, and only the provisional establishment of them, at that. Compared with living belief it is nothing but a ghost. If the captain of a vessel on a lee shore in a terrific storm finds himself in a critical position in which he must instantly either put his wheel to port acting on one hypothesis, or put his wheel to starboard acting on the contrary hypothesis, and his vessel will infallibly be dashed to pieces if he decides the question wrongly, Ockham's razor is not worth the stout belief of any common seaman. For stout belief may happen to save the ship, while Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem would be only a stupid way of spelling Shipwreck. Now in matters of real practical concern we are all in something like the situation of that sea-captain. Lecture II : The Universal Categories, §3. Laws: Nominalism, CP 5.60

„A philosophy which emphasises the idea of the One, is generally a dualistic philosophy in which the conception of Second receives exaggerated attention: for this One (though of course involving the idea of First) is always the other of a manifold which is not one.“

— Charles Sanders Peirce
Context: The origin of things, considered not as leading to anything, but in itself, contains the idea of First, the end of things that of Second, the process mediating between them that of Third. A philosophy which emphasises the idea of the One, is generally a dualistic philosophy in which the conception of Second receives exaggerated attention: for this One (though of course involving the idea of First) is always the other of a manifold which is not one. The idea of the Many, because variety is arbitrariness and arbitrariness is repudiation of any Secondness, has for its principal component the conception of First. In psychology Feeling is First, Sense of reaction Second, General conception Third, or mediation. In biology, the idea of arbitrary sporting is First, heredity is Second, the process whereby the accidental characters become fixed is Third. Chance is First, Law is Second, the tendency to take habits is Third. Mind is First, Matter is Second, Evolution is Third.

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