Present business has kept me from following much of the recent discussion on Peirce’s three types of reasoning, but we have been down this road before and so old tunes keep coming to mind whenever I get a chance to sample the stream. I’ll use this thread to post what incidental reflections I may have, as they come to mind, in no particular order.
First, to the question recently discussed by Ben Udell and Gary Richmond, as to what we know and when we know it.
Inquiry situations where both premisses, major and minor, rule and case, arise at roughly the same time are very common, maybe even the archetype. Aristotle said somewhere that the essence of wit was quickly grasping the middle term and I somewhat later dubbed this the process of discovering a “trial factorization” of a problem space or phenomenal field. There is a bit of discussion in my essay titled Prospects for Inquiry Driven Systems in the section headed The Trees, The Forest.
For the present purpose, it should be recognized that this “trial factorization” of a problem space or phenomenal field is an important intellectual act in itself, one that deserves attention in the effort to understand the competencies that support intelligent functioning. It is a good question to ask just what sort of reasoning processes might be involved in the ability to find such a middle term, as is served by “knowledge” in the example at hand. Generally speaking, interest will reside in a whole system of middle terms, which might be called a “medium” of the problem domain or the field of phenomena. This usage makes plain the circumstance that the very recognition and expression of a problem or phenomenon is already contingent upon and complicit with a particular set of hypotheses that will inform the direction of its resolution or explanation.