In the early 1990s, “in the middle of life’s journey” as the saying goes, I returned to grad school in a systems engineering program with the idea of taking a more systems-theoretic approach to my development of Peircean themes, from signs and scientific inquiry to logic and information theory.
Two of the first questions calling for fresh examination were the closely related concepts of definition and determination, not only as Peirce used them in his logic and semiotics but as researchers in areas as diverse as computer science, cybernetics, physics, and systems science would find themselves forced to reconsider the concepts in later years. That led me to collect a sample of texts where Peirce and a few other writers discuss the issues of definition and determination. There are copies of those selections at the following sites.
Collection Of Source Materials
What follows is a Survey of blog and wiki posts on Definition and Determination, with a focus on the part they play in Peirce’s interlinked theories of signs, information, and inquiry. In classical logical traditions the concepts of definition and determination are closely related and their bond acquires all the more force when we view the overarching concept of constraint from an information-theoretic point of view, as Peirce did beginning in the 1860s.
- Definition and Determination • (1) • (2) • (3) • (4) • (5) • (6) • (7) • (8) • (9) • (10) • (11) • (12) • (13) • (14) • (15) • (16) • (17)