Peirce/Cantor/Brown

17th May, 2008

from Peirce:
“Nature is a far vaster and less clearly arranged repertory of facts than a census report; and if men had not come to it with special aptitudes for guessing right, it may well be doubted whether in the ten or twenty thousand years that they may have existed their greatest mind would have attained the amount of knowledge which is actually possessed by the lowest idiot. But, in point of fact, no man merely, but all animals derive by inheritance (presumably by natural selection) two classes of ideas which adapt them to their environment. In the first place, they all have from birth some notions, however crude and concrete, of force, matter, space, and time; and, in the next place, they have some notion of what sort of objects their fellow-beings are, and of how they will act on given occasions. Our innate mechanical ideas are so nearly correct that they needed but slight correction. The fundamental principles of statics were made out by Archimedes. Centuries later Galileo began to understand the laws of dynamics, which in our times have been at length, perhaps, completely mastered (The General Theory of Probably Inference was written in 1883). The other physical sciences are the results of inquiry based on guesses suggested by the ideas of mechanics. the moral sciences, so far as they can be called sciences, are equally developed out of our instinctive ideas about human nature. Man has thus far not attained to any knowledge that is not in a wide sense either mechanical or anthropological in its nature, and it may be reasonably presumed that he never will.” pp 214-215 Philosophical Writings of Peirce, edited by Justus Buchler. Available (kind of) via Google Books.

Mircea Cantor: Deeparture
YouTube Preview Image

Derren Brown Zombie
YouTube Preview Image

Comments are closed.