One of the most tantalizing puzzles in Peirce’s work is the relation between his theory of inquiry and his theory of signs. From the outset I found it useful to return to his early ventures where the two theories work most closely in tandem, indeed as offshoots of a single conception, namely, information.
Peirce’s inquiry into “the laws of information”, going back to his lectures of 1865 and 1866, marks one of those occasions when he leapt far ahead of his time, anticipating ideas we’d not see again until much later in the Twentieth Century.
So I’ve long found it well worth the effort to tease out the hints of information theory Peirce sketched in those early days. In that spirit I’m going to make another try at returning to a line of inquiry I started two years ago. Here is where I left off —
- Peirce, C.S. (1866), “The Logic of Science, or, Induction and Hypothesis”, Lowell Lectures of 1866, pp. 357–504 in Writings of Charles S. Peirce : A Chronological Edition, Volume 1, 1857–1866, Peirce Edition Project, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 1982.
- C.S. Peirce • Upon Logical Comprehension and Extension
- My Notes • Information = Comprehension × Extension