Abduction, not kidnapping but guessing

Kenneth Ketner b9oky at TTACS.TTU.EDU
Tue Sep 17 12:39:41 EDT 2002

Yes, Percy wrote the essay in DOUBLETAKE MAGAZINE probably about 1960. I
lay unpublished, probably because it appeared incomplete. I began
studying it and wrapping my brain around it. One day while driving to
work (I get some good thoughts that way) it hit me that if one adds the
three words now at the end of the essay as published in DOUBLETAKE, it
is complete. So I discussed this with Mrs. Percy and after consideration
she offered my edition of the piece to Walker's friend, Robert Coles,
the main man of DOUBLETAKE, and so it was published. It is significant
for Percy scholarship because it shows the early and strong influence of
Peirce's Semeiotic (not contemporary semiotics -- there's a vast
difference) in Walker's approach.

You employ guessing all the time -- each of us does -- so we are all
masters of it. To learn more about it, observe yourself when guessing
and compare notes with other guessers. Guessing produces hypotheses --
statements of possibility. Just don't fall in love with your hypotheses.
They are for torturing, not for loving. Those that survive the torture
are the components of objective thought (which some call science). Some
survivors get re-tortured as the years go by, after new evidence or new
methods appear. Hence a healthy (open-minded and level-headed) guesser
is what we call a rational person.

In Peirce, guessing is not intuition. For Peirce, 'intuition' has at
least two senses, and like 'sign' (which has at least 2 senses), one
must be careful which sense is in action at the time. 'Intuition1'
isCartesian foundationalism, there are priviledged and certain basic
foundations of knowledge. Peirce wrecked Descartes in his series of 3
essays: Questions Concerning Certain faculties Claimed for Man, Some
Consequences of Four Incapacities, and Grounds of Validity of the Laws
of Logic (these three in effect consititute a 3 chapter book, and they
mark a major fault-line in the history of thought, a location where the
old ends and something new begins). 'Intuition2' refers to observational
method in logic and mathematics; it is a fallible (noncertain) and
experimental approach to understanding the methods employed in
mathematical and logical research.

'Sign1' is that which represents an object to an interpretant. "His wave
was a sign of greeting." The object was an intent to greet, the sign of
that intent was the wave, to the interpretant (some other person
intended as the recipient of the intent to greet). Sign1 is best dropped
and replaced with 'representamen' to avoid confusion.

'Sign2' is an entire triadic sign relation: in the above example of
greeting, it is the nonreducible triadic relation among the greeter's
intent, the wave, and the recipient. This is the 'sign' of Peirce's
Theory of Signs, or Semiotic. (Semeiotic spoken as see-my-OH-tick is
terminologically and linguistically correct, and honors prior scientists
in the tradition such as Locke or the Greek physicians, whereas
semiotics is a mixed bag arbitrarily strung together; compare semeiotic
with logic with rhetoric with the german semiotik with the french
semiotique, not with the uncontrolled tendency in english to add ics on
everything in sight.) Peirce never used a triangle to represent a sign
relation (because on his well articulated approach, that would represent
a sum of three dyadic relations, which he clearly proved cannot
constitute a triadic relation); instead he represented triadic relations
as a large dot with three lines emerging from it (see my essay in THIEF
OF PEIRCE at page 213). The categories are nothing but types of
relational forms: Firstness = all those relations whose external form is
that of a monadic relation; Secondness = all those relations whose
external form is that of a dyadic relation; Thirdness = all those
relations whose external form is that of a dyadic relation. The
categories are complete, because the nonreduction theorem that triadic
relations cannot be constructed from dyadic relations was established by
Peirce and recently re-proven at the highest level of mathematical rigor
by Robert Burch (again see my stuff in THIEF); one aspect of the
nonreduction theorem is that triadic relations can be used to construct
all other relation types.

ALL TOGETHER NOW, SAY IT -- See-my-OH-tick is the main part of Prag-MAT-i-siz-em.

		Once again, where your brain goes your lips will follow, ALL TOGETHER
NOW, anda won anda twoa....

> "Karey L. Perkins" wrote:
> Ken,
> I, too, appreciated the definition and it makes better sense now.  As
> I was reading Percy, I was getting the impression that "abduction" was
> "intuition" -- how different is that from "guessing?"  How would you
> differentiate the two, or would you?
> Second question:  did PERCY publish in Doubletake in Winter 2002?
> (Hmmm...he's been busy in the afterlife, hasn't he?) Or is this a
> chapter from his unpublished manuscript "Symbol and Existence"?  I saw
> that it is at UNC-Chapel Hill and wondered if it was worth the 8 hour
> drive to go look at it...has anyone read it/seen it?
> The reason I ask is I think the dissertation is going to be on this
> topic after all -- Percy's semiotics, as it relates to Peirce, et
> al...really fascinating stuff, don't you think?  So I'll be reading
> your book(s) (Ken) and may have lots more questions but I'll try to
> keep them to a minimum!
> Karey
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: James Piat
> To: Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion
> Sent: Monday, September 16, 2002 9:52 PM
> Subject: [percy-l] Re: Abduction, not kidnapping but guessing
> Dear Ken,
> I thoroughly enjoyed your brief and CLEAR account of abduction,
> deduction
> and inference.  If  you have the time and interest  I would also love
> for
> you to give a brief account of Peirce's categories and indicate how
> they tie
> in with these forms of reasoning.
> BTW,  I read your HIS GLASSY ESSENCE   and found it a delight.  What I
> liked
> most about it was that Peirce's ideas (often in his own words) were
> selected
> and organized in way that assisted me in following their natural
> (historical
> and logical) development.  And you did not preach at me but instead
> concentrated on presenting his ideas plainly, carefully and in context
> so
> that I could begin to understand them and draw my own conclusions as
> to
> their significance.   The love and respect you have for your topic
> shines
> through and I think your book will be prized most by those share your
> affection. A credit to your subject!
> Thanks,
> Jim Piat
> --
> An archive of all list discussion is available at
> <http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy/hypermail>.
> Visit the Walker Percy Project at <http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy>. --
> An archive of all list discussion is available at
> <http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy/hypermail>.
> Visit the Walker Percy Project at <http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy>.

Kenneth L Ketner
Paul Whitfield Horn Professor
Institute for Studies in Pragmaticism
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, TX 79409-0002
806 742 3128
		Office email: b9oky at ttacs.ttu.edu
		Home email: ketner at arisbeassociates.com
				Office website: http://www.pragmaticism.net
				Personal website: http://www.wyttynys.net

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