The Tetrast2 - Speculation Lounge
Sketcher of various interrelated fourfolds.

Pragmatic Maxim variations

February 28, 2007.
Consider what effects, which might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then the whole of our conception of those effects is the whole of our conception of the object. --The Pragmatic Maxim as stated by C.S. Peirce, 1878.

Should the involvement of the word "conceivable" be seen to depend on the Pragmatic Maxim's being concerned with the clarification of a conception? Does the pragmatic clarification of a belief proceed in terms of believable experiences with believable practical bearing? (I mentioned this more or less in the affirmative at the peirce-l email forum on August 18, 2006 and August 22, 2006

Let's try it:

Does it work?

It appears to me that the idea of "might" should be varied correspondingly. Something like "may believably have," "appear understandably to have," and "do knowably have." Be that as it may, the question remains, does the basic idea in this post work?

Representation taketh and interpretation giveth

February 24, 2007.
(...the most natural sense of 'to be measured' is, I take it, that some form or quantity be imposed accidentally and extrinsically--as in a river.)
-- Michael Pakaluk, "A Private Logos?" at Dissoi Blogoi, Feb. 17, 2007.

Train of association: measurement in units...substance (e.g., this man or this horse) as the unitary.

A unit or yardstick of measurement brought to bear on the river is, as a physical object, extrinsic to the river, but shares with it an aspect whereby one forms a selectively abstractive representation of the river. In that selective abstraction is the reductiveness for which some chide measurement, yet which measurement shares with formations of representations more generally from life -- reductions not to the substance of, say the river, but instead to that which happens to be essential to the abstractive purpose. Often it includes smoothing and rounding off.
To someone in an agragrian society, such as Heraclitus, it would be evident that many things are changing imperceptibly: crops are growing, but we notice the change only if we look on widely separated days; animals grow, but we never see one growing; felled trees decay, but we may notice that they are rotted through only if our foot happens to fall through when we step on them. Change is exactly what one intelligently 'discerns' by paying close attention; imperceptible change is not something contradicted by experience.
-- Michael Pakaluk, "Evidence of Imperceptible Change" at Dissoi Blogoi, Feb. 20, 2007.

Witness the transition from an idea of discernment, high-resolution focus, to an idea of interpretation, extrapolation, interpolation. It seems quite natural.

Where representation from life reduces, interpretation augments. Interpretation is a kind of representation, representation in a culminal phase (such that the resolutional or settlemental phase is some sort of verification or legitimation). By "representation from life" I mean something which more generally is formation of a representation not as an interpretation but as something to be interpreted. It's somewhat a question of viewpoint, like the question of whether something is an encoding or a decoding. Every representation is already an interpretation in some sense or other.

What, in representation from life, is the cognitive ability which gives over to representation, just as discernment gives over to interpretation? As representation from life and interpretation are each other's inverse in respect of reducing and augmenting, likewise should be the respective cognitive acts which give over to them. Discernment involves high-resolution focus. So: low-resolution focus, estimation of overall relative positions and motions, proportions, tendencies.

Representation from life is judgment. By judgment one forms an opinion or belief. Interpretation is interpretive inference -- calculation, curve-fitting, arriving at a percept, concept, etc. By interpretation one arrives at an understanding.

We also associate these acts with certain time-oriented cognitive modes.
Expectation (future). Estimation of relative motion, positions, proportions, etc. Judgment. Belief, opinion.
Noticing (fresh present). Discernment. Interpretive inference. Understanding.
Oddly, though correlated to noticing, interpretation concerns a kind of futurity; it arrives at a meaning or ramification, albeit conditioned as just coming to light, unverified, yet such that the mind feels that it will likely become ready to act upon it. Meanwhile judgment, though correlated to expectation, concerns a kind of present; as a representation, it arrives at a kind of seeming, not yet further interpreted or acted-upon, yet such that the mind feels ready to act upon it under circumstances as they currently appear.

I'll likely discuss the extension of these pattern to two more sets of terms, involving conceptions, objectifications, etc., and verifications, inferences to judgments, etc.

Well-roundedness in and beyond smarts

February 23, 2007.
What does one mean by "smarts" or "intelligence" anyway?

It's possible for somebody to be strong intellectually yet middling of imagination. It's common enough for somebody to be strong intellectually yet weak in the senses and cultivable "senses"/intuitions, and weak in commonsense perception -- shrewdness, foresight, percipience, and familiarity, the things which, when strong enough, used to be called "wisdom" until that word's suggestiveness of "agedness" made it laus non grata in our youth-cult culture. It fell into quaintness, used especially by newspaper editorialists and movies involving wizards. The common associations seem to go like this:

Imagination --Youth.
Intellect --Dwelling, staying put.
Senses & intuition/instinct --Travel, mobility.
Wisdom --Age.

This isn't to suggest that well-roundedness of cognitive power suffices without spiritual focus. Well-roundedness of cognitive power is not even possible without significant volitional, competential, and affective development. I'd hardly doubt that a healthy spiritual discipline is one of the missing pieces of the puzzle of unhinged intelligence (for my part I've never had a mystical experience and my attention is hopelessly voluble).