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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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Chapter Sixteen. Theoretical Logistic and the Problem of Fractions

Burt C. Hopkins Indiana University Press ePub

Thus far Klein’s desedimentation of the Neoplatonic background of Diophantus’s Arithmetic has disclosed in the Neoplatonic texts an attempt to maintain a systematic distinction between arithmetic, understood as the pure theory of definite amounts in themselves, and the theory of proportions, understood as the theory of the relations that definite amounts have to one another. That is, he has disclosed their attempt to maintain a theoretical distinction between the treatment of ριθμο καθ’ ατ and that of πρς λλο. Moreover, he has shown that this attempt is beset by obscurities and inconsistencies that are rooted in an arithmetical theory that is sedimented in their text, which has its source in Plato and has been passed on according to tradition. This theory aims to investigate the pure relations proper to definite amounts, an investigation that is “intended to stand beside the theory of definite amounts as such, i.e., of their different kinds” (47/39).

Klein also contends that the Neoplatonic texts lack clarity on the precise nature of the underlying material (λη) of ριθμο, insofar as the changing status of this material is held to be responsible for the distinction between 1) the treatment of definite amounts both in themselves and according to their kind (κατ’ εδος) and 2) their treatment in relation to one another. Their accounts vacillate between locating this changing constituent, on the one hand, in the realm of ασθητ, and, on the other hand, in the pure λη of the multitude (πλθος) proper to the ριθμο themselves. Klein shows that this lack of clarity about the nature of the material of ριθμο is the source of the inconsistency of the Neoplatonic attempts to determine the precise status of λογιστικ. Thus, on the one hand, they want to assign λογιστικ—in accord with their systematizing inclinations—to the pure theory of proportions, while, on the other hand, as a consequence of their vacillation regarding whether the realm proper to the πρς λλο is constituted noetically or aisthetically, they sometimes opt for the latter and characterize it as the practical application of pure arithmetic.

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Martin Heidegger Indiana University Press ePub


Notes and Sketches on the Lecture

Letter to the Galatians

[on § 16]

Paul in struggle—not only for his mission, but for the Galatians themselves; against the “law” not only as law, but rather as belonging to the world era [Weltzeit]. A push away into the unredeemed, not a radical seizing of the spirit.

The conflict about circumcision: question of the conditions for the entry into Christian life; external sign of inner belonging to the “alliance” [Bundeswelt] after exile. Not law, with its works and morals, distinguishes, but rather, faith in Jesus Christ. Superfluousness, harmfulness […]* In law a “way to salvation” is embodied (view of existence!) (Way to salvation in upholding the commandment!) Meaning of the entire law: to refer man to his doings; the works of his doings [?], the reward will be of the law. For Paul: God alone acts in the sending of Christ! Thus: not the works of human beings, but rather grace!

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5 Pragmatism: Corridor as “Latent” and “The Will to Believe”

William J. Gavin Indiana University Press ePub

Like many of his other texts, James’s Pragmatism (Prag) contains both a manifest and a latent image. On the surface level, it is a “method only.” James describes it as a corridor with various topics leading to different rooms by our asking “What difference does it make?” if a given theory is true. It is a way of resolving issues rather than dissolving them. James’s pragmatism differed from that of his colleague Charles Sanders Peirce who saw pragmatism as a way of dissolving issues, that is, explaining them away. In suggesting that “an idea is true if it makes a difference,” James offered a theory of truth fundamentally different from the paradigm offered by René Descartes, for whom knowledge was equated with certainty. Let us see how James develops his position.

To begin with, we should note what pragmatism was supposed to do. In an era that had become one of scientific positivism, the place of the romantic in a theory of truth was indeed a perilous one. The division existed in philosophy between those who were tenderhearted and those who were hard-nosed, with the understanding that these were mutually exclusive. With the rise of positivism, James laments,

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5. Two Types of Continental Philosophy of Religion

John D. Caputo Indiana University Press ePub



Kierkegaard's Johannes Climacus reports the case of one Dr. Hjortespring, who was converted to Hegelianism by a miracle on Easter morning at the Hotel Streit in Hamburg.1 My own story is not as dramatic. Still, if truth be told, in the present work I fear I will shock my friends by declaring myself a born-again Hegelian, and this in order to distinguish myself from the Kantians. My reasoning is as follows. The event is an event of truth. The insistence of the event may also be called its insistent “truth.” The “democracy to come” means the truth that insists on coming (true) in democracy, that is trying to come (true) as democracy. Just so, the name of God is the name of an event that is trying to come true in and under that name. It is at this point—truth—that I call upon the approach to religion and religious truth taken by Hegel, who is, by my lights, the father or (if Tillich is the father) the grandfather of radical theology and the predecessor of the new species of theologians for which I am calling. Hegel offers a new analysis of Christian theology and a new paradigm for the philosophy of religion by formulating a new idea of religious truth that constitutes for me a predecessor form of the theology of “perhaps” and consequently of theopoetics.

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