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30. Logic; and the Methods of Science

Peirce, Charles S. PDF

Methods of Science, 1881


Logic; and the Methods of Science

MS 396: Fall-Winter 1881



modus ponens.

The relation between truth and falsity, as we must begin by conceiving them, is thus defined. 1st, Nothing is both true and false:

2nd, Every proposition is either true or false. The former clause of the definition is called the principle of contradiction, the latter the principle of excluded middle.

A somewhat different view is familiar to physicists. Dealing as they do with matters of measurement, they hardly conceive it possible that the absolute truth should ever be reached, and therefore instead of asking whether a proposition is true or false, they ask how great its error is. Just as geometry has its descriptive and its metrical portions, the former considering whether points coincide or not, the latter measuring how far distant from one another they are, just as chemical analysis has its qualitative and quantitative divisions, so logic has first to decide whether a proposition or reasoning be true or false, and, secondly in the latter case, to measure the amount of its falsity.

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Being Nice to Nietzsche

Iain Bamforth Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Being Nice to Nietzsche

In April , after years of stateless wandering across the continent, Friedrich Nietzsche stopped in Turin, a baroque urban planning project set out in its magnificent detail by the architect

Guarino Guarini in the late seventeenth century. He took to it like no European city he had come across before. From the cheap lodgings he found with an Italian family in the historic centre of the city ‘opposite the grand Palazzo Carignano of , five paces from the great Portici and the Piazza Castello and the post office!,’ he marvels in almost daily letters to his friends in the north about

Turin’s quiet, stately streets and the bracing wind, the theatre and the soft colours, the Galleria Subalpina orchestra striking up another overture. He can see beyond the city into the world of snow. The streets seem to run straight into the Alps. ‘It is the air that does it – dry, exhilarating, happy.’ He stands in awe of the

Mole Antonelliana which, with its  metres of wrought iron on brick and granite, was the literal pinnacle of the great Piedmontese brick-building tradition: ‘perhaps the most ingenious building ever constructed’ reminded him ‘of nothing so much as [his]

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36. Vocation

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

At various stages in his life, Thoreau earned his living as a school-teacher, lecturer, handyman (for Emerson), factory manager (for his family’s pencil business), industrial designer (of the family pencils), tutor, and surveyor. “All men want … something to do, or rather something to be,” he writes in Walden (19). But except for writing, which never provided him with anything like an adequate income, all regular occupations provoked in him a smothering anxiety. As early as 1841, when he was not yet twenty-four, Thoreau was already treating conventional work as a kind of death: “Most who enter on any profession are doomed men. The world might as well sing a dirge over them forthwith” (J, 27 March 1841). “As long as possible live free and uncommitted” (60), Walden advises: or, in other words, don’t sign any employment contracts. “I have thoroughly tried school-keeping,” Thoreau writes, punning on his own name while at the same time acknowledging—a rare thing—that he has had any previous occupations, “and I lost my time into the bargain” (50). “I have tried trade,” he continues; “but I found that it would take ten years to get under way in that, and that then I should probably be on my way to the devil” (51).

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16. Wiesel's Aggadic Outcry

Steven T Katz Indiana University Press ePub


ANYONE WHO WISHES to attain some understanding of Elie Wiesel's fiction must approach his work in the contexts of Jewish teaching and tradition. At every turn Wiesel rushes into a Temple aflame to retrieve the Torah scrolls that at every turn the Nazis consigned to an inferno. Broadly speaking, the sacred teaching and tradition defined by Torah is divided into two categories: Halachah and Aggadah. Halachah consists of an immense body of argument and commentary on the meaning and enactment of the laws of the Written Torah. Aggadah is part of the Oral Torah, which, according to the sages, was given at Mount Sinai at the time of the revelation of the Written Torah. It consists of tales intended to sound the depths of the Written Torah, tales that delve not just into the words of Torah but into the silence between the words, the silence of God Himself.

And yet, as a rebbe from one of Wiesel's novels, The Time of the Uprooted, says, “God is not silent, although He is the God of Silence. He does call out. It is by His silence that He calls to you. Are you answering Him?”1 Aggadah is not only about exploring God's silence—it is a response to it. Wiesel hints at this aggadic aspect of his storytelling when he refers to a teaching from the thirteenth-century Hebrew poet Eleazar Rokeah, who maintained that God is not silent—He is Silence. “It is to this silence that I would like to direct my words,” says Wiesel.2 And: “I have tried to link [my work] to…the silence of Sinai.”3 Haunting the silence of Sinai is the silence of the Shoah. Made of tales within tales, Wiesel's fiction not only draws upon the aggadic tradition that penetrates this revelatory silence—he penetrates it, expands it, and pushes it to unprecedented limits.

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Politics and Aesthetics: Harry Graf Kessler, Eugene Jolas, Wolfgang Koeppen

Iain Bamforth Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

Politics and Aesthetics

I consider politics, political action, all forms of politics, as inferior values and inferior activities of the mind.

Paul Valéry

T R C: H G K

It is  December , just over a month since German capitulation and the end of fighting in the Great War. Kaiser Wilhelm II has abdicated and fled to the Netherlands, bringing to an end five hundred years of Prussian domination by the Hohenzollern dynasty. In Kiel the German navy mutinies, and the black, red and gold flag of the republic flutters over the Reichstag. Karl

Liebknecht calls for a socialist revolution. The Berlin Dada Club invents the dada two-step, as a preamble to world revolution.

Western values are collapsing. On the way to lunch, Count Harry

Kessler pays a visit to the Kaiser’s private apartments; there, in the

Imperial Palace, among the shattered glass, looted furniture and broken swagger-sticks, the whole tawdriness of the atmosphere out of which war had come weighs on him. ‘In this rubbishy, trivial, unreal microcosm, furnished with nothing but false values which deceived him and others, he made his judgements, plans, and decisions. Morbid taste and a pathologically excitable character in charge of an all too well-oiled machine of state. Now the symbols of his futile animating spirit lie strewn around here in the shape of doltish odds and ends. I feel no sympathy, only aversion and complicity when I reflect that this world was not done away with long ago…’

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4. Sketch of a New Philosophy

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF


Sketch of a New Philosophy

Spring 1890

Houghton Library


1. It is not a historical fact that the best thinking has been done by words, or aural images. It has been performed by means of visual images and muscular imaginations. In reasoning of the best kind, an imaginary experiment is performed. The result is inwardly observed, and is as unexpected as that of a physical experiment. On the other hand, the success of outward experimentation depends on there being a reason in nature. Thus, reasoning and experimentation are essentially analogous.

2. According to what law are fruitful conceptions developed? Their

first germs present themselves in concrete and confused forms. The human mind, without being able to draw certain truth from its own depths, has nevertheless a natural bias toward true ideas of force and of human nature. It finds such ideas simple, easy, natural. Natural selection may be supposed to account for this to some extent. Yet the first origins of fruitful ideas can only be referred to chance. They promptly sink into oblivion if the mind is unprepared for them. If they meet allied ideas, a welding process takes place. This is the great law of association, the one law of intellectual development. It is very different from a mechanical law, in that it is only a gentle force. If ideas once together were rigidly associated, intellectual development would be frustrated.

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Dante’s Inferno, Canto IV

Dante Alighieri Indiana University Press ePub

Dante’s Inferno, Canto IV


It is tempting in a lectura Dantis to claim for the canto one is explicating a special status: the key to the whole poem. This is understandable from a psychological point of view, but the phenomenon also has a textual basis. The allusive quality of the Comedy’s literal narrative is such that it is possible to develop an elaborate intratextual discourse starting from virtually any point. Obviously, this is not the place to discuss the poem’s distinctive textual characteristics. That is another story, and a long one at that. Perhaps Contini treats the subject best, albeit obliquely, when he speaks of the Comedy’s “altra polisemia,” and I refer you to him.1

For our purposes, it is sufficient to say that there are essentially two kinds of cantos, which we may label, rather inelegantly, as “local” and “structurally determining.” A “local” canto is one whose meaning is largely, if not completely, exhausted within its immediate context. On the other hand, a “structurally determining” canto is one whose meaning extends far beyond its immediate or “local” context. It is a constant point of reference and continues to determine meaning throughout the poem. Inferno IV is such a canto.

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Book Seven

Ovid Indiana University Press ePub


The Story of Jason and Medea

So over the deep the Minyans went sailing.

They had seen Phineus, dragging out his years

In everlasting night, and Boreas’ sons

Had driven the Harpies from the poor old king.

They suffered much, but came at last with Jason,

Their brilliant leader, to the muddy waters

Where Phasis meets the sea. They went to the king,

Claiming the golden fleece, by Phrixus given,

And heard the dreadful terms, enormous labors.

And the king’s daughter burned with sudden passion,

And fought against it long, and when her reason

Could not subdue her madness, cried: “Medea,

You fight in vain; there is some god or other

Against you. I am wondering whether this

May be the thing called love, or something like it.

Why should my father’s orders seem too cruel?

They are too cruel! A fellow I have hardly

Much more than seen may die, and I am fearful!

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29. Man’s Glassy Essence

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF


Man’s Glassy Essence

15 July 1892

Morris Library

In the Monist for January, 1891, I tried to show what conceptions ought to form the brick and mortar of a philosophical system. Chief among these was that of absolute chance for which I argued again in

1 last April’s number. In July, I applied another fundamental idea, that of continuity, to the law of mind. Next in order, I have to elucidate, from the point of view chosen, the relation between the psychical and physical aspects of a substance.

The first step towards this ought, I think, to be the framing of a molecular theory of protoplasm. But before doing that, it seems indispensible to glance at the constitution of matter, in general. We shall, thus, unavoidably make a long detour; but, after all, our pains will not be wasted, for the problems of the papers that are to follow in the series will call for the consideration of the same question.

All physicists are rightly agreed the evidence is overwhelming which shows all sensible matter is composed of molecules in swift motion and exerting enormous mutual attractions, and perhaps repulsions, too. Even Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, who wishes to explode action at a distance and return to the doctrine of a plenum, not only speaks of molecules, but undertakes to assign definite magnitudes to them. The brilliant Judge Stallo, a man who did not always rightly estimate his own qualities in accepting tasks for himself, declared war upon the atomic theory in a book well worth careful perusal. To the old arguments in favor of atoms which he found in Fechner’s monograph, he was able to make replies of considerable force, though they were not sufficient to destroy those arguments. But against modern proofs he made no headway at all. These set out from the mechanical theory of heat. Rumford’s experiments showed that heat is not a substance. Joule demonstrated that it was a form of energy. The heating of gases under

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28. Question

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

After a still winter night I awoke with the impression that some question had been put to me, which I had been endeavoring in vain to answer in my sleep, as what—how—when—where? But there was dawning Nature, in whom all creatures live, looking in at my broad windows with serene and satisfied face, and no question on her lips. I awoke to an answered question, to Nature and daylight. The snow lying deep on the earth dotted with young pines, and the very slope of the hill on which my house is placed, seem to say, Forward! Nature puts no question and answers none which we mortals ask. (189)

This lovely, mysterious passage, both as hushed and as brazen as a cold-bright winter day, suggests an alternative to the standard image of Thoreau the spiritual explorer who, after the Elysian Fields of Walden Pond, would watch his own imaginative powers steadily diminish. Sherman Paul, who most eloquently diagnoses this melancholy position, observes that “after Walden … his Journals became increasingly a repository of scientific facts.… Where once he had told how the summer felt to him, he now merely recorded the temperature.” For Paul, “the considerable barrenness of these Journals” attests to Thoreau’s inability to recapture the “extended ecstasy” of the woods, those “rare intervals” he had described in A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, when “we rise above the necessity of virtue into an unchangeable morning light, in which we have only to live right on and breathe the ambrosial air” (Week, 369).

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28. [Jevons's Studies in Deductive Logic]

Peirce, Charles S. PDF


W R I T I N G S OF C H A R L E S S. P E I R C E , 1879-1884

[Jevons Js Studies in Deductive Logic7

P 198: Nation 32 (31 March 1881): 227

Studies in Deductive Logic. By W. Stanley Jevons, LL.D. (London and New York: Macmillan & Co. 1880.)

Some forty years ago the two mathematicians, De Morgan and

Boole, commenced a reform of formal logic. Their researches were continued by a number of other excellent thinkers (Mr. Jevons among them) in different countries, and the work is now so far advanced that the new logic is beginning to take its place in the curriculum of the universities, while many persons have imagined that some almost magical power of drawing conclusions from premises was to be looked for, and that logic would prove as fertile in new discoveries as mathematics. Concerning such hopes Professor Sylvester says: "It seems to me absurd to suppose that there exists in the science of pure logic anything which bears a resemblance to the infinitely developable and interminable heuristic processes of mathematical science."

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Jennifer M Bean Indiana University Press ePub

Anupama Kapse

THE YEAR WAS 1897, the film was Edison’s The Kiss, but the city was Osaka and the audience Japanese. Japanese policemen attempted to forestall its screening, deeming it to be impertinent, but a quick-witted benshi assured them that a kiss was like a handshake in America, rather appropriate for the new technology of motion pictures. Mark B. Sandberg and Priya Jaikumar have shown us how cinema played fast and loose with place and location in “Picturing Space”; in this section we turn to some curiously impertinent appropriations of cinema’s textual meanings, genres, and stars. Aaron Gerow’s account of the initial response to The Kiss (1896) shows not only how a change in exhibition venue could stand intended meaning on its head, but also how quickly the spoken word could strike out at early impressions of a “dumb” (the pun is intended) medium imported from the United States. Invoking an originary moment other than that of the Lumière brothers’ Arrival of a Train at a Station (1896), Gerow redirects us to a scenario where cinema’s first audiences responded to it with another kind of horror, marked not by fear and excitement but disdain and suspicion.1

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Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF
Medium 9780253016300

2 Forced Confessions: Subject Position, Framing, and the “Art” of Spiegelman’s Maus

Emily Miller Budick Indiana University Press ePub

Subject Position, Framing, and the “Art” of Spiegelman’s Maus

IN CYNTHIA OZICKS The Shawl (1990) subject position is framed in two different ways. While there may be individuals who are wholly disinclined to listen to the story of the Holocaust for whatever reasons, there are also individuals like Dr. Tree, who actively invite listening to victims’ stories. Against such individuals (like us readers, perhaps) the story levels the implicit accusation that to some degree an overly avid interest in the camps, especially in the humiliations and violations suffered there, can well verge on voyeurism. Like everything else that concerns human beings, Holocaust interest is galvanized by psychological forces: wishes, fantasies, terrors, and the like. This is not to say that the investment in keeping alive the knowledge of past events, or even in commemorating victims of violence and cruelty, is not also ethically grounded. Nonetheless, by forcing readers to interrogate their own subjectivities when their hear or read stories like Rosa’s, the novella suggests that in order to be good listeners and good historians we might need to separate out our own needs in relation to the events of the past from the responsibility we have to hear other people’s stories of pain and to keep alive the histories of catastrophic events.

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The Continuing Adventures of Mr Ross Hall, Esq. (& Madam Zell)

Iain Bamforth Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

The Continuing Adventures of Mr Ross Hall, Esq.

(& Madam Zell)

W should we make of him? Like William Godwin, father of

Mary Shelley, he was a pedagogue incapable of practising what he preached. He wrote a treatise known to every educated person at the end of the eighteenth century on how to educate a young boy and left his own five children with the Foundling Hospital in Paris.

Edmund Burke observed that his often-expressed ‘love of humanity’ was a charade which excused him from any real concern with the suffering of men and women. Contemporary humanitarianism follows his impulse, allowing the heart and not history to lead it towards causes that can do no wrong: it doesn’t care for human beings too much but it likes to take care of them. As

Flaubert had to remind his mistress Louise Colet half a century later: ‘Don’t imagine that the pen has the same instincts as the heart.’ Rousseau was hopelessly dependent on his gouvernante

Thérèse Levasseur, not to speak of poor Madame de Warens, and yet proclaimed his proud ‘Roman courage’ and his defiant independence: if he had a need it was for a lack of binding attachments.

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