[FRIAM] Peirce's "What Pragmatism is."

Eric Charles eric.phillip.charles at gmail.com
Tue Mar 27 19:46:24 EDT 2018

Glen, Ah! It seems to me you are talking about the thing believed, while I
am talking about the thing itself... could that be what is happening?

You say that aether theory had a loose control loop when believed, but now
has a strong control loop when it is doubted. That would make sense to me
if you mean that the tentative belief in aether used to loosly control how
people acted regarding aether, but the absolute doubt now tightly controls
how they act towards it. (More technically, "is part of a loose/tight
control loop".)

In contrast, I am talking about the thing itself, or as close as Peirce
will let you get to that Kantian notion. People thought that aether was a
component of tightly controlled systems, whereas it turns out to be part of
no system at all, because it does not exist.

Cutting the difference between our use of those terms: The scientific
method is, in Peirce's presentation, a community search for
long-term-stable beliefs, i.e., beliefs that can serve as part of a
*tight control system, in which sustaining is the result of actions
predicated upon the belief continuing to work out in the very long term.

Did that reconcile anything?

(Peirce had a very sophisticated understanding of probability and
statistics, so "in the long term" does not mean "*exactly *as predicted
every time.")

Eric P. Charles, Ph.D.
Supervisory Survey Statistician
U.S. Marine Corps
<echarles at american.edu>

On Tue, Mar 27, 2018 at 11:10 AM, ∄ uǝʃƃ <gepropella at gmail.com> wrote:

> Interesting.  You've flipped my rhetoric completely around and suggested
> the opposite of what I posited, and what I think is the only reasonable
> inference we can take from Peirce's position.  I posited that the things we
> *believe* have loose (or no) control loops, whereas things with tight
> control loops are the things we doubt.  You're suggesting things that turn
> out to be false have loose (or no) control loops.
> Now, it's safe to say that the things you cite (æther, phrenology, etc.)
> were held as beliefs and have subsequently become doubts.  In my terms,
> that means at one point they had loose control loops, now they have very
> tight control loops.  In your terms, even if they used to have loose
> control loops, now they have none.  So, your position that, say, the æther
> theory, has no control loops is diametrically opposed to mine, which is
> that the æther theory has very tight control loops.
> Evidence for my posit-ion is that if I meet someone who believes in the
> æther, the loop is so tight, the doubt is so high, that I can immediately
> invoke arguments against the æther.  I doubt that theory SO MUCH, the loop
> is so tight, that an æther believer can be shot down immediately.  So,
> those falsified theories have tighter controls than unfalsified and
> validated theories.
> ###
> On 03/27/2018 04:27 AM, Eric Charles wrote:
> > Glen, because I like control-loop metaphors for behavior, and think we
> are very close on that issue, the more interesting question, to me, is:
> > "Why would we claim what Peirce claims in "What is Pragmatism?", that
> there must be some things without a control loop at all?"
> >
> > The answer is, I think, that is what science finds. What of phrenology,
> or the attempt to measure ether winds, or bodily humours, or to determine
> the make up of all the substances of the world out of the basic elements of
> fire, earth, water, and air, or countless other aborted scientific
> endeavors that serious people worked towards for decades? They found that
> if you tried to cleave the world by those joints, and determine the
> relations between the parts, you never got to a consensus about what the
> heck was going on. The data didn't converge. New categories seemed more
> promising, and the old categories were abandoned. Many of those new
> categories were themselves abandoned after additional decades of work by
> the community. Other new categories have been remarkably stable in their
> ability to lead us to successful prediction and control. Those remarkably
> successful categories might themselves be overturned one day - as we find
> the limits of the success of their
> > implications-in-practice. Even in many of those cases where our
> knowledge seems most stable, it seems so largely due to our having slowly
> limited the scope of the claims - X is true under such and such conditions
> ( X and Y form compound X2Y3, when the PH of the suspension is at least 7,
> the temperature above 87 degrees, the pressure under 2 atmospheres, etc.).
> How many asserted "laws" of physics throughout history are still believed
> to be true EVERYWHERE in the universe, and to have been that way at ALL
> times? Even inside black holes, or in the first moments after the big bang?
> >
> > Or, to more directly answer your question: There are things we can
> conceive of that do not, in fact, have a control loop at all, because our
> conceptions are shitty. It may even be that very little we encounter and
> think we have gotten a mental handle on has anything beyond local
> stability. That includes both geographical and temporal locality, i.e.,
> happenstance. That, at least, is what I think Peirce is asserting in that
> context.
> --
> ∄ uǝʃƃ
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