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Re: [ontolog-forum] Why most classifications are fuzzy

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 08 Jul 2011 22:13:45 -0400
Message-id: <4E17B959.5010502@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 7/8/2011 3:11 PM, Rich Cooper wrote:
> Emmanuel Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason", published in 1781, is far
> more descriptive of semantics than anything Peirce did, IMHO.    (01)

First of all, his name is *Immanuel*.  Second, Charles and his father
Benjamin worked their way, line by line, through the German edition
of Kant's KdRV while Charles was still in high school.  Third,
Kant's ontology was the starting point from which CSP developed
his categories.    (02)

In particular, Peirce was very impressed by the way Kant organized
his twelve categories in four groups of three.  Kant himself remarked
on that arrangement (edition B, p. 110):    (03)

> In every group, the number of categories is always the same, namely,
> three. That is remarkable because elsewhere all a priori division
> of concepts must be by dichotomy. Furthermore, the third category
> always arises from a combination (Verbindung) of the second category
> with the first. Thus totality is plurality considered as unity;
> limitation is reality combined with negation; community is the
> causality of substances reciprocally determining one another;
> finally, necessity is the existence that is given by possibility
> itself. It must not be supposed, however, that the third category
> is merely a derivative, and not a primary concept of the pure
> understanding. For the combination of the first and second categories
> in order to produce the third requires a special act of the understanding,
> which is not identical with those which produce the first and second.    (04)

That inspired Peirce to search for a deeper reason for the pattern:    (05)

> I believed more implicitly in the two tables of the Functions of
> Judgment and the Categories than if they had been brought down from Sinai...
> But Kant, as you may remember, calls attention to sundry relations between
> one category and another. I detected some additional relations between
> those categories, all but forming a regular system, yet not quite so.
> Those relations seemed to point to some larger list of conceptions in
> which they might form a regular system of relationship. After puzzling
> over these matters very diligently for about two years, I rose at length
> from the problem certain that there was something wrong with Kant's
> formal logic.    (06)

As far as logic goes, please remember that Kant claimed that logic had
not made any advance beyond Aristotle.  But that is false, because
it completely ignores the contributions by the Stoics and the medieval
Scholastics.  Peirce studied all those logics in great detail as
well as the latest math & logic of his day.    (07)

Benjamin also taught Charles Greek and Latin when he was a child,
and they worked through Kant in German.  CSP also learned to speak
French fluently, and he produced French versions of some of his
writings.    (08)

And to emphasize CSP's background in science and engineering, following
is an excerpt of what I wrote in a previous note.  With that kind of
background, he had a solid foundation for integrating all aspects
of ontology with language, logic, mathematics, and science.    (09)

____________________________________________________________________    (010)

CSP's first peer-reviewed publication was in chemistry.  His first
published book was on astronomy -- in which he presented the method
that is still used today for estimating the distance of stars:
classify them by their spectra, and within each class relate their
brightness to the brightness of nearby stars whose distances can
be measured by parallax.    (011)

In the late 19th century, Peirce had an international scientific
reputation in two fields simultaneously:  a pioneer in logic and
the inventor of the most precise instruments then available for
measuring gravity.  He was the first person to recommend the use
of a wavelength of light for measuring length -- and he designed
the tools to use that method to measure the length of the pendulums
in his instruments for measuring gravity.    (012)

In language, he was an associate editor of the _Century Dictionary_,
for which he wrote, revised, or edited over 16,000 definitions --
the most of any editor of that dictionary and far more than most
philosophers have ever attempted.    (013)

Peirce also recommended the use of electrical switching circuits
for representing Boolean operators instead of the mechanical
computing machines by Babbage, Jevons, and Marquand.  In 1887,
he published the first article that compared the logic machines
of that time with human intelligence.  That was in volume 1 of
the _American Journal of Psychology_:    (014)

    http://www.history-computer.com/Library/Peirce.pdf    (015)

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