In the course of our researches, we both came to realize that every modern scholar interested in the logic of discovery has devoted at least a few lines, if not more, to Holmes.
Saul Kripke, for example, wrote to Sebeok, on December 29, , a letter which said, in part: "Actually I have one or two unpublished talks and a whole unpublished lecture series my John Locke lectures at Oxford on fictional discourse in empty names, in which Holmes might appear even more prominently" than in his earlier use of him in his "Semantical Considerations on Modal Logic,' or the Addenda to his "Naming and Necessity. The idea of hypothesis or abduction is mentioned, if at all, only glancingly.
Obviously, not all the contributions to this book come to the same conclusions. The editors do not wish to confront the differences in approach here, but to leave it to the reader to evaluate and use them, each according to his own interest. The title of this book was meant to reverberate in two directions. There is the obvious referral renvoi to Doyle's novel-length chronicle, "The Sign of the Four,' or "The Sign of Four," which first appeared in Lippincott's magazine, later in book form, in Then there was our driving compulsion to send our readers back to the funhouse of rampant triplicities, such as are discussed in Sebeok's introductory three-card monte.
At the present time, the logic of scientific discoverythe phrase will, of course, be recognized as closely associated with Karl R. Popperhas become a burning topic of focal concern for the theory of knowledge, pursued not only by Popper himself, but by his colleague, the late Imre Lakatos, and by Popper's erstwhile disciple, later his most ferocious critic, Paul K. Feyerabend, among many others. Popper's controversial picture of science as a matter of "conjectures and refutations"he holds, among other ideas, that induction is mythical, the scientific quest for certainty impossible, and all knowledge forever falliblewas substantially anticipated by Peirce, whom Popper, incidentally, regards as "one of the greatest philosophers of all time,' although falsification as one logical technique among others was by no means unknown even in the Middle Ages.
Critics of Popper, such as T. Kuhn and Anthony O'Hear, disagree with Popper on some of these fundamental issues.
We are convinced that a semiotic approach to abduction can throw a new light on this venerable and continuing debate. We hope that this collection of essays will be of interest to the host of fans of Sherlock Holmes, but that it will be read, as well, by votaries of both the Prior Analytics on the syllogism , and the Posterior Analytics which deals with the conditions of scientific knowledge. Naturally, we also expect to fascinate some of those concerned among the ever-growing worldwide group of habitus of Peirce.
We are but two of them. In a modest way, however, we think the book will also be important for epistemology and the philosophy of science.
Sebeok Indiana University. Peirce specialists have all at least thumbed through Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes chronicles, the mass of Holmes aficionados have never even heard of Peirce. A key question addressed, explicitly or implicitly, by most of the contributors to this volume, is whether any juxtapositions of the American polymath with the great English detectivethe former a person real enough, and the possessor, moreover, as William James registered in , of ''a name of mysterious greatness,' the latter a mythical figure, to be sure, yet who, as Leslie Fiedler has noted, "can never die"are likely to vent esperable uberty?
Esperable uberty? Etymological intuition assures us that esperable, a coinageperhaps by Peirce himself, yet not to be found in any modern dictionarymust mean "expected" or "hoped for. It is the uberty, that is, the fruitfulness, of this last type of reasoning that, he tells us, increases, while its security, or approach to certainty, minifies.
He spells out the differences, which he claims to. Progressing from primity, through secundity, to tertiality, the relationship of security to uberty is an inverse one, which means, plainly, that as the certainty of any guess plummets, its heuristic merit soars correspondingly. This is indeed a strangely obsessive eccentricity, shared, for one, by Nikola Tesla , the Serb who laid much of the foundation for the electrified civilization of the twentieth century.
The great application of the numerological style of thinking has longsince at least Pythagorasbeen for categorization and listmaking. Pietro Bongo, in his De numerorum mysteria , and, before him, Cornelius Agrippa, in his De occulta philosophia written in , published in , pursued the magic of triads with manic determination, beginning with the highest meaning of three, namely, the triliteral name of God in His own language, Hebrew, through the Christian Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to triplicities rampant in every imaginable aspect of the world scheme of the times an enchantment that lingers in today's zodiacal signs of the Houses used in casting a horoscope; Butler Conan Doyle incorporated numbers in eight of his Holmes story titles.
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Auguste Dupin, that "very inferior fellow," is the central figure in three out of four, or five, if "Thou Art the Man" is counted among them of Edgar Allan Poe's triptych tales of detection: "The Murders in the Rue Morgue,". Indeed, as Derrida points out p.
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Dupin, be it recalled, lived in a mansion at 33, Rue Dunt, "au troisime," Faubourg St. Butler's study shows that, in Western intellectual history, "numerological thinking was used for broadly philosophical, cosmological and theological ends. I fully admit that there is a not uncommon craze for trichotomies. I do not know but the psychiatrists have provided a name for it. If not, they should I am not so afflicted; but I find myself obliged, for truth's sake, to make such a large number of trichotomies that I could not [but] wonder if my readers, especially those of them who are in the way of knowing how common the malady is, should suspect, or even opine, that I am a victim of it.
I have no marked predilection for trichotomies in general. Peirce Station," was installed in. By , Peircefollowing "Kant, the King of modern thought" 1. The most basic of his triadic ontological categories was the pronominal system of Itthe material world of the senses, the ultimate object of cosmology; Thouthe world of mind, the object of psychology and neurology; and Ithe abstract world, the concern of theology. These basic distinctions, familiar to Peirce scholarship, are most generally called, in reverse order, Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness, which, in turn, yield an enormously long list of further interplaying triads, the best known among them including Sign, Object, Interpretant; Icon, Index, and Symbol; Quality, Reaction, and Representation; and, of course, Abduction, Induction, and Deduction.
Some are discussed, and many are displayed, in Appendix I of Esposito's excellent study ; cf. Peirce xxcii-xxx of the development of Peirce's theory of categories, but these matters are so complex that they deserve much further consideration. We can say essentially nothing about the existence of the universe prior to about 20 billion years ago, save that, when it began in a singularityequivalent to Peirce's Firstnesswhen any two points in the observable universe were arbitrarily close together, and the density of matter was infinite, we were past possibility and already in the realm of actuality alias Secondness.
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In the opening millisecond, the universe was filled with primordial quarks. These fundamental particles, the basic building blocks from which all elementary particles are constituted, can best be grasped as signs, for as we learn from the physics of our day, "Quarks had never been seen.
Most physicists today believe that quarks will never be seen. As the universal expansion proceeded, temperatures fell to around K, the simple natural law that obtained in the infancy of this Cosmos unfolded into the three interactions now known as gravitation, the electroweak force,. The evolutionThirdnessof these three forces, in a single mathematical framework, as hoped for in the Grand Unified Theory, marks the appearance of Peirce's "law,' which would explain the universal preference for matter over antimatter, as well as provide a solution for the so-called horizon problem i.
At the pith of matter there is an ocean full of mere signsor, if you like, mathematical tricks. Quarks, which Nobel-laureate Murray GellMann and Yuval Ne'eman discussed under the label "the eight-fold way," constitute a hadron family of octets, arranged in a distinctive feature matrix built out of three quarks that come in as many "flavors. This graph projects eight phonemes in terms of three absolute binary oppositions.
Comparably, the up, down, and strange quarks are denoted by u, d, and s, respectively with very simple rules for constructing the hadrons out of the quarks. The eightfold-way classification of hadrons for an octet would then look like the figure on the following page 6.
As for his religion, Peirce was early converted from unitarianism to trinitarianism, remaining within the Episcopalian framework. He had once written: "A Sign mediates between its Object and its Meaning. Object the father, sign the mother of meaning"about which Fisch wittily commented: ". Copyright by Heinz R. The radical triadicity of Freud, adumbrated recently by Larsen in specific comparison with that of Peirce, should, as Fisch has also urged, encourage other investigators to explore this seeming confluence of views in depth.
Although Freud was probably wholly unaware of Peirce's 1, It, and Thou, his tripartition of the mind into Ego, Id, and Superego see esp. Freud constituting the key concepts of psychopathologyremarkably resonates with Peirce's generative structure of semiosis. For instance, the notion of Superego uprears as the last of the great primal repressions out of his two earlier categories of primary and secondary repression. The title of this introductory essay, as many readers will already have recognized, echoes George Gamow's influential One Two Three Infinity Gamow, the celebrated theorist who was the first to suggest the existence in hereditary information of the triplet code, was himself fascinated by tercets, as in the notorious letter, on the origin of chemical elements, published in the Physical Review , the alleged authorship of which was given, jestingly, in this order, as Alpher, Bethe, and Gamow.
Peirce rightly held that nouns are substitutes for pronouns, notcontrary to the conventional view, and as codified in standard Western grammatical terminologyvice versa. Some of the implications of Peirce's fundamental triad for linguistics need the kind of expert attention the late John Lotz attempted in a structural analysis of this. In this scarcely accessible paper, first published in Hungarian in , Lotz demonstrated that there prevail, in fact, seven logically quite diverse possibilities among the three non-aggregate pronouns in question, only one of which, however, is viable for the language he was interested in.
One relationship is triangular:. Ingram later examined the typological and universal characteristics of personal pronouns in general, claiming the existence on the basis of 71 natural languages of systems ranging from 4 to 15 persons, if singularity is fused with aggregation. According to Ingram, what he calls the English five-person system "is highly atypical" ibid. Thus, in the morphology of a language studied by one of us Sebeok some thirty years ago, Aymara as spoken in Bolivia , the number of grammatical persons has been determined as 3 x 3, each compacting coactions between one pair of possible interlocutors.
Simplifying somewhat, the following forms can occur: first person is addresser included but addressee.
These, then, yield nine categories of possible interreaction: It is mind boggling to fantasy what the character of Peirce's metaphysic might have been had he been born a native speaker of a Jaqi languagea bizarre Gedankenexperiment for anyone who believes in the principle of linguistic relativity, or what the Swedish linguist Esaias Tegnr, in , more forcefully called sprkets makt ver tanken, that is, "the power of language over thought.
He explained this in Ms. Peirce's a priori thesis of the indecomposability of triadic relations, namely, that the trisection of every field of discourse is unavoidably exhaustive, invariably yielding a trinity of mutually exclusive classes. Let us summarize and render concrete the foregoing by picturing Peirce's famous beanbag 2. Rule These beans are from this bag. Case Result These beans are white. Induction These beans are from this bag.
Case These beans are white. Result Rule All the beans from this bag are white.