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29. Width of Mr. Rutherfurd's Rulings

Peirce, Charles S. Indiana University Press PDF
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2. Ribot’s Psychology of Attention

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF



Psychology of Attention

19 June 1890

The Nation

The Psychology of Attention. By Théodule Ribot. Authorized translation. Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company.

1890. 8vo, pp. 121.

Every educated man wants to know something of the new psychology. Those who have still to make acquaintance with it may well begin with Ribot’s little book on “attention,” which all who have made progress in the new science will certainly wish to read. It is the chef d’oeuvre of one of the best of those students who have at length erected psychology into a science.

Ribot regards the doctrine of attention as “the counterpart, the necessary complement, of the theory of association.” He means that attention is related to suggestion as inhibition to muscular contraction.

Physiologists, however, would scarcely rank inhibitibility with contractility as an elementary property of protoplasm. Besides, though suggestion by association may be likened to muscular action, how can the analogy be extended to the process of association itself, or the welding together of feelings? This welding seems to be the only law of mental action; and upon it suggestion and inhibition of suggestion alike depend. Attention is said by Ribot to modify reverie’s train of thought by inhibiting certain suggestions, and thereby diverting their energy to suggestions not inhibited. This makes the positive element of attention quite secondary. At the same time, we are told that the sole incitement to attention is interest. That is to say, a preconceived desire prepares us to seize promptly any occasion for satisfying it. A child’s cry, drowned in clatter of talk for others’ ears, attracts the mother’s attention because she is in some state of preparation for it. Ribot, however, does not remark that to say the mind acts in a prepared way is simply to say it acts from a formed association, such action not being inhibitory. If interest be the sole incitement to attention, it is that the energy spent

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25. The Law of Mind [Early Try]

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF


The Law of Mind

[Early Try] early May 1892

Houghton Library

In two preceding articles,1 I have considered the ideas which ought to form the chief materials of cosmology, and in particular have argued against unlimited necessitarianism. I propose next to show, by the study of the soul, that, if my previous conclusions are accepted, we shall be naturally led to the belief that the universe is governed by a father, with whom we can be in real relations of communion, and who may be expected to listen to prayer, and answer it. In short, necessitarianism once out of the way, which puts nature under the rule of blind and inexorable law, that leaves no room for any other influence, we find no other serious objection to a return to the principle of Christianity. As this result, if confirmed, will be a matter of glad concern to every man, no doubt the reader will consent to do a little hard thinking to reach it.

The first step in this study must be to state in general terms how the mind acts. Now, the application of logical analysis to psychological law leads me to the conclusion that there is but one law of mind, namely that ideas tend to spread and to affect certain others which stand to them in a peculiar relation which I will name “continuous affectibility.”

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35. On the Number of Dichotomous Divisions: A Problemin Permutations

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF


On the Number of Dichotomous

Divisions: A Problem in Permutations

Spring 1891

Houghton Library

In the calculus of logic, a proposition is separated by its copula, R, into two parts, as A R B. But these parts may again be separated in like manner, as (A R B ) R C and A R (B R C ), and so on indefinitely. It becomes pertinent to inquire how many such propositional forms with a given number of copulas there are. The same problem presents itself in general algebra, where R is replaced by any non-associative sign of operation; and, indeed, the question not unfrequently arises; but I do not know that the solution has been given.

We may consider a row of letters, A, B, C, etc., which we may call the ABC, separated into two parts by a punctuation mark, and each part

(not consisting of a single letter) into two parts by a subordinate punctuation mark, and so on until all the letters are separated. I shall call the resulting form an ABC-separation. The following are examples



Let n be the number of punctuations; then, the number of letters will be n ϩ 1. Let F n be the number of ABC-separations with n punctuations, or say of n-point separations. Then, if i be the number of letters to the left of the highest punctuation, so that n ϩ 1 Ϫ i is the number to the right, the number of ABC-separations of the row to the left is

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Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF


W R I T I N G S OF C H A R L E S S. P E I R C E , 1867-1871

Paul Janet and Hegel,' by W. T. Harris

Journal of Speculative Philosophy l(1867):250-56

[In the following article the passages quoted are turned into

English, and the original French is omitted for the sake of brevity and lucid arrangement. As the work reviewed is accessible to most readers, a reference to the pages from which we quote will answer all purposes.—EDITOR.]

Since the death of Hegel in 1831, his philosophy has been making a slow but regular progress into the world at large. At home in Germany it is spoken of as having a right wing, a left wing, and a centre; its disciples are very numerous when one counts such widely different philosophers as Rosenkrantz,

Michelet, Kuno Fischer, Erdmann, I. H. Fichte, Strauss, Feuerbach, and their numerous followers. Sometimes when one hears who constitute a "wing" of the Hegelian school, he is reminded of the "lucus a non " principle of naming, or rather of misnaming things. But Hegelianism has, as we said, made its way into other countries. In France we have the ^Esthetics "partly translated and partly analyzed," by Professor Benard; the logic of the small Encyclopaedia, translated with copious notes, by Professor Vera, who has gone bravely on, with what seems with him to be a work of love, and given us the Philosophy of Nature and the Philosophy of Spirit, and promises us the "Philosophy of

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