You Say “Réseau” • I Say “Rousseau” • 3

Re: Michael HarrisMy RéseauNetworks in Action in French Economics

Readers of Peirce know that the concept of community is integral to his treatment of inquiry, interpretation, knowledge, reality, and truth.  The following statement is a nice résumé of all the main points.

The real, then, is that which, sooner or later, information and reasoning would finally result in, and which is therefore independent of the vagaries of me and you.  Thus, the very origin of the conception of reality shows that this conception essentially involves the notion of a COMMUNITY, without definite limits, and capable of an indefinite increase of knowledge.  (CP 5.311).

Peirce, C.S. (1868), “Some Consequences of Four Incapacities”, Journal of Speculative Philosophy 2 (1868), 140–157. Reprinted (Collected Papers 5.264–317), (Writings 2, 211–242), (Essential Peirce 1, 28–55).  Online.

More casual or selective readers may take Peirce for a pioneer in the sociology of knowledge and jump to the conclusion that his social theory is tantamount to a “coherence theory” or a “consensus theory” of truth.  But a leap like that underestimates the gulf between actual finite communities and what is actually a regulative ideal, a community without definite limits capable of an indefinite increase of knowledge.  The relation between the two is like that between an empirical sample and a theoretical population of unknown extent.

This entry was posted in Community, Community of Inquiry, Community of Interpretation, Inquiry, Manifolds, Mathematics, Michael Harris, Networks, Peirce, Reality, Rousseau, Semiotics, Social Compact, Social Networks, Society and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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