- Don’t you think some little bit of unconscious knowledge and
logic comes preloaded, à priori, courtesy of our parents DNA?
Is that simply experience one or more generations removed?
Excerpt 21 comes from a lecture on Kant in a series of lectures On the Logic of Science. Peirce’s survey of conditions for the possibility of science reaches back through his time’s run of the mill dualism of deductive and inductive logic to encompass Aristotle’s notice of abductive reasoning. This deeper perspective helps Peirce walk the line between empirical and rational sides of science without tumbling into either ism and it aids him in his quest for the questying beast of Kant’s synthetic à priori. In this setting and under this sum of influences Peirce is led to his prescient theory of information, enabling him to integrate form and matter, intension and extension, into a unified whole.
With all that in mind, when Peirce says, “all our thought begins with experience, the mind furnishes no material for thought whatever”, we have to understand he is using “material” in the Aristotelian sense of matter versus form. Saying the mind furnishes no material for thought still leaves room for the mind to furnish form for thought. Much the same point is made in our contemporary literatures of cognitive psychology and linguistics under rubrics like “poverty of the stimulus” and “under-determination of theories by data”.
- Collection Of Source Materials
- Survey of Definition and Determination
- Inquiry Driven Systems • The Formative Tension