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eBook Mind and the World Order: Outline of a Theory of Knowledge ePub

eBook Mind and the World Order: Outline of a Theory of Knowledge ePub

by Clarence Irving Lewis

  • ISBN: 048620359X
  • Category: Philosophy
  • Subcategory: Politics
  • Author: Clarence Irving Lewis
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Highlighting edition (1956)
  • Pages: 445
  • ePub book: 1216 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1359 kb
  • Other: lrf lrf doc lit
  • Rating: 4.8
  • Votes: 917

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Clarence Irving Lewis (April 12, 1883 – February 3, 1964), usually cited as C. I. Lewis, was an American academic philosopher and the founder of. . Lewis, was an American academic philosopher and the founder of conceptual pragmatism. First a noted logician, he later branched into epistemology, and during the last 20 years of his life, he wrote much on ethics. The New York Times memorialized him as "a leading authority on symbolic logic and on the philosophic concepts of knowledge and value. 1932: Symbolic Logic (with Cooper H. Langford).

Clarence Irving Lewis.

Clarence Irving Lewis is a man of my own Massachusetts. According to Lewis, the mind and its concepts are the framework within which we ask a question and investigate for an answer. When he talks about bird calls, I think of the eastern screech owls I hear outside the window in the wee hours. This mind could not have become a questioner without first having experiences which provoke wonder and curiosity. And yet without Mind we might consider that nothing would be experienced in the first place. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Stimulating intellectual adventure. When the American Philosophical Association met in 1945 for the first time after World War II, Lewis was invited to deliver its most prestigious lectures--the Paul Carus lectures.

Clarence Irving (.

Lewis was perhaps the most important American academic philosopher active in the 1930s and 1940s. He made major contributions in epistemology and logic, and, to a lesser degree, ethics. In his 1946 book Analysis of Knowledge and Valuation (AKV), based on his 1944 Carus lectures, Lewis (1946) provided a systematic and carefully analytic presentation of his mature philosophical views. The first two thirds of the book consist of a thorough refinement and more precise presentation of his theory of meaning and of his epistemological views, and the last third consists of a presentation of his theory of value. Stimulating intellectual adventure. Eric Dayton - 2002 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Skepticism as a Theory of Knowledge. G. Watts Cunningham - 1930 - Ethics 40 (4):550-. Clarence Irving Lewis. Goedel, Nietzsche and Buddha. Hung-Yul So - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 13:105-111. Traditional Knowledge and Humanities: A Perspective by a Blackfoot. Leroy Little Bear - 2012 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 39 (4):518-527.Symbolic Logic (with Cooper H.

Clarence Irving Lewis (1883-1964) . A major American pragmatist educated at Harvard, C. Lewis taught at the University of California from 1911 to 1919 and at Harvard from 1920 until his retirement in 1953. Known as the father of modern modal logic and as a proponent of the given in epistemology, he also was an influential figure in value theory and ethics. Knowledge is an interpretation of the experiential significance for an agent with certain interests of what is given in experience; a significance testable by its consequences for action.

Slight shelf wear. Loosing of thin film on cover. Pages are clean and binding is tight.

Comments

Mettiarrb Mettiarrb
I have not read this book yet but may. I just wanted to point out to all you Deming disciples, William Shewhart practitioners and serious statisticians that Dr. Deming spoke of this book when he gave several of his lectures back in the late 1980's. Deming indicated when he was mentoring under Shewhart in the early stages of developing his working knowledge of properly applying statistics; Shewhart recommend that he read this book. Deming read it 7 times and came back to Shewhart embarrassed and revealing his lack of understanding after 7 readings..Shewhart said that was ok since he had to read it 11 times to get the full understanding of what CI Lewis was trying to covey. This indicated to me that there must be something special contained in this reading although difficult to comprehend. The persistence of two great men, Shewhart and Deming, indicate that this is a very special book if you can persist until your critical point of understanding is achieved!
Vobei Vobei
Clarence Irving Lewis (1883-1964; often “C. I. Lewis”) was an American philosopher and logician. He wrote many other books, such as Symbolic Logic,Values and Imperatives: Studies in Ethics,Our Social Inheritance,An Analysis of Knowledge and Valuation, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to this 1929 book, “The conceptions presented in this book have grown out of investigations which began in the field of exact logic and its application to mathematics. The historic connection which exists between mathematics and exact science on the one hand and conceptions of knowledge on the other, needs no emphasis… every major discovery of theoretical mathematics, and every fundamental change in the manner in which this subject is conceived, is sure to find its sequel, sooner or later, in epistemology… It has been demonstrated … that the certitude of mathematics results from its purely analytic character and its independence of any necessary connection with empirical fact.” (Pg. vii) He continues, “The nature and validity of such empirical knowledge becomes the crucial issue. Traditional grounds of a priori truth have been, perforce, abandoned. What other grounds there may be; or whether without the a priori there can be any truth at all, must constitute our problem.” (Pg. ix)

He says in the first chapter, “it is not the business of philosophy to go adventuring beyond space and time. And so far as a true knowledge of the nature of reality depends on determining questions of phenomenal fact which are not yet settled, the philosophe has no special insight which enables him to pose as a prophet. We can do nothing but wait upon the progress of the special sciences. Or if speculate we must, at least such speculation is in no special sense the philosopher’s affair.” (Pg. 4)

He ends the chapter with the statement, “A true philosophic interpretation must always follow the clues of the practical reasons for our predications. A philosophy which relegates any object of human thought to the transcendent, is false to the human interests which have created that thought, and to the experience which gives it meaning. Philosophic truth, like knowledge in general, is about experience, and not about something strangely beyond the ken of man, open only to the seer and the prophet. We all know the nature of life and of the real, through only with exquisite care can we tell the truth about them.” (Pg. 35)

He states, “Thought can do just two things: it can separate, by analysis, entities which in their temporal or spatial existence are not separated, and it can conjoin, by synthesis, entities which in their existence are conjoined. Only the mystic or those who conceive that man would be better off without an upper-brain, have ground for objection to analysis and abstractions. The only important question is whether this abstracted element, the given,’ is genuinely to be discovered in experience. On this point I can, of course, only appeal to the reader. I shall hope that he has already identified provisionally what the word intends, and proceed upon that basis.” (Pg. 55)

He suggests, “Because it is our main interest here to isolate that element in knowledge which we can with certainty maintain to be objective and impersonal, we shall define the pure concept as ‘that meaning which must be common to two minds when they understand each other by the use of a substantive or its equivalent.’… However, this designation of community of meaning as the distinguishing mark of the concept is, in part, merely an expository device for singling out that element in knowledge which, for reasons which will appear, I wish here to discuss.” (Pg. 70)

He summarizes, “The purely conceptual element in knowledge is, psychologically, an abstraction. It is a pattern of relation which, in the individual mind, is conjoined with some definite complex of sense qualia which is the referent or denotation of this concept and the clue to its application in presented experience. These two together, the concept and its sensory correlate, constitute some total meaning or idea for the individual mind. As between different minds, the assumption that a concept which is common is correlated with sensory contents which are qualitatively identical, is to an extent verifiably false, is implausible to a further extent, and in the nature of the case can never be verified as holding even with it may reasonably be presumed. Nevertheless, community of meaning is secured if each discover, within his own experience, that complex of content which this common concept will fit. When the behavior of each, guided by this common concept, is comparable or congruous, we have, so far, a reality in common… Even our categories may be, to a degree, such social products; and so far as the dichotomy of subjective and objective is governed by consideration of community, reality itself reflects criteria which are social in their nature.” (Pg. 115-116)

He asserts, “Knowledge ALWAYS transcends the immediately given. It begins with the recognition of a qualitatively specific presentation, but even that minimum of cognition which consists in naming is an interpretation which implicitly asserts certain relations between the given and further experience… In the nature of the case, the difference between veridical perception and an experience which is genuinely illusory… is never to be determined within what is strictly given in the presentation. When we distinguish one experience as illusory, another as presentation of the real, we can intend nothing even conceivably verifiable except that, starting from the given experience and proceeding in certain ways, we reach other experience which is predictable in the one case and not in the other. This ‘acquaintance with,’ the recognition of what is presented as a real object of a certain kind, has already the significance of prediction and asserts the same general type of temporal connection as our knowledge of law, the ‘knowledge about’ which is stated in generalizations.” (Pg. 132-133)

He states, “In general, the past is verifiable. We are probably safe in assuming that any satisfactory metaphysics will hold that there could not be any item of the past which is INTRINSICALLY unverifiable… The assumption that the past is intrinsically verifiable means that at any date after the happening of an event, there is something, which at least is conceivably possible of experience, by means of which it can be known.” (Pg. 150-151)

He argues, “Reality, so far as it can be given in experience or known, is relative to the knower. It can be apprehended only as it does or would appear to some perceiver in some actual or possible experience. But the only character which can be attributed to anything real is a character described in relative terms---relative to some experience---does not deny to it an independent nature, and does not deny that this nature can be known. On the contrary, true knowledge is absolute because it conveys an absolute truth, though it can convey such truth only in relative terms.” (Pg. 167)

He observes, “We can conceive limits of HUMAN experience only by conceiving the possibility of an experience which we do not have. When the possibility of experience is speculative, the reality in question and the limitations which it transcends are equally speculative. Where that possibility has some basis in ACTUAL experience, a limitation may be KNOWN, but it is known by generalization from experience and the prediction of its continuation in all future experience has precisely and only such assurance as may attach to empirical generalizations.” (Pg. 217-218)

He asserts, “The completion of this last refinement of mathematical method was made by Whitehead and Russell in Principia Mathematica... Pure mathematics stands between logic on the one side and the empirical application of mathematics on the other. Logic is in some respects the illustration par excellence of the a priori, since its laws are the most completely general of any. The laws of logic cannot be proved unless they should first be taken for granted as the principles of their own demonstration… Sometimes we are asked to tremble before the specter of the ‘alogical’ in order that we may thereafter rejoice that we are saved from this by the dependence of reality upon mind. But the ‘alogical’ is pure bogey, a word without meaning. What kind of experience could defy the principle that everything must either be or not be, that nothing can both be and not be, or that if X is Y and Y is Z, then X is Z?” (Pg. 245-246)

He notes, “Thus all concepts, and not simply those we should call categories,’ function as criteria of reality. Every criterion of classification is criterion of reality of some particular sort. There is no such thing as reality in general; to be real, a thing must be a particular sort of real. Furthermore, what is a priori criterion of reality in one connection may be merely empirical in some other… The determination of reality, the classification of phenomena, and the discovery of law, all grow up together.” (Pg. 262-263)

He explains, “the point of the pragmatic theory is … the responsiveness of truth to human bent or need, and the fact that in some sense it is made by mind… this is valid, because the interpretation of experience must always be in terms of categories and concepts which the mind itself determines. There may be alternative descriptions of experience, which are equally objective and equally valid, if there be not some purely logical defect in these categorical conceptions. When this is so, choice will be determined, consciously or unconsciously, on pragmatic grounds.” (Pg. 271) Later, he adds, “all interpretation of particulars and all knowledge of objects is probable only, however high the degree of probability.” (Pg. 281)

He contends, “Since valid empirical knowledge means only such probability, on grounds which genuinely establish it, and since any other than empirical knowledge is a priori, we have the important consequence that just in so far as we are rational, what we believe is absolutely and eternally true. What rational men entertain as highly probable may largely alter with the passage of time… Such avoidance of the unwarranted will not condemn us to sheer ignorance; we may at every stage possess a generous body of generalizations which, correctly assessed, are valid and are useful guides to practice. Indeed, will not a survey of the history of human thought compel the conclusion that only such a conception as this can save the reasonable-minded man from repudiating the attempt at scientific knowledge as chimerical?” (Pg. 341-342)

He asserts, “Thus the assumption that things exist… is sufficient to secure the validity of knowledge in general, when the nature of empirical knowledge is correctly interpreted as probable judgment…. Since any reasonable examination of knowledge must conclude that the pretense to such certainty is unwarranted and the ascription of it is a misreading of the actual nature of science and of common-sense attitudes, what such skepticism has slain is a man of straw, though to be sure it is just this scarecrow which has frightened philosophers out of their wits for a considerable period.” (Pg. 376)

He concludes, “In any experience such as we can, even at the worst, suppose our own to be, conception will be valid and knowledge will be possible… generalization will be subject to genuine probability. No further and avoidable metaphysical assumption is required. The mind will always be capable of discovering that order which is requisite to knowledge, because a mind such as ours, set down in any chaos that can be conjured up, would proceed to elicit significance by abstraction, analysis and organization, to introduce order by conceptual classification and categorical delimitation of the real, and would, through learning from accumulated experience anticipate the future in ways which increasingly satisfy its practical intent.” (Pg. 390-391)

Lewis has somewhat “dropped off the radar” of contemporary philosophy (except for students of logic), but his thoughts on epistemology are still well worth considering.
Timberahue Timberahue
Clarence Irving Lewis (1883-1964; often “C. I. Lewis”) was an American philosopher and logician. He wrote many other books, such as Symbolic Logic,Values and Imperatives: Studies in Ethics,Our Social Inheritance,An Analysis of Knowledge and Valuation, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to this 1929 book, “The conceptions presented in this book have grown out of investigations which began in the field of exact logic and its application to mathematics. The historic connection which exists between mathematics and exact science on the one hand and conceptions of knowledge on the other, needs no emphasis… every major discovery of theoretical mathematics, and every fundamental change in the manner in which this subject is conceived, is sure to find its sequel, sooner or later, in epistemology… It has been demonstrated … that the certitude of mathematics results from its purely analytic character and its independence of any necessary connection with empirical fact.” (Pg. vii) He continues, “The nature and validity of such empirical knowledge becomes the crucial issue. Traditional grounds of a priori truth have been, perforce, abandoned. What other grounds there may be; or whether without the a priori there can be any truth at all, must constitute our problem.” (Pg. ix)

He says in the first chapter, “it is not the business of philosophy to go adventuring beyond space and time. And so far as a true knowledge of the nature of reality depends on determining questions of phenomenal fact which are not yet settled, the philosophe has no special insight which enables him to pose as a prophet. We can do nothing but wait upon the progress of the special sciences. Or if speculate we must, at least such speculation is in no special sense the philosopher’s affair.” (Pg. 4)

He ends the chapter with the statement, “A true philosophic interpretation must always follow the clues of the practical reasons for our predications. A philosophy which relegates any object of human thought to the transcendent, is false to the human interests which have created that thought, and to the experience which gives it meaning. Philosophic truth, like knowledge in general, is about experience, and not about something strangely beyond the ken of man, open only to the seer and the prophet. We all know the nature of life and of the real, through only with exquisite care can we tell the truth about them.” (Pg. 35)

He states, “Thought can do just two things: it can separate, by analysis, entities which in their temporal or spatial existence are not separated, and it can conjoin, by synthesis, entities which in their existence are conjoined. Only the mystic or those who conceive that man would be better off without an upper-brain, have ground for objection to analysis and abstractions. The only important question is whether this abstracted element, the given,’ is genuinely to be discovered in experience. On this point I can, of course, only appeal to the reader. I shall hope that he has already identified provisionally what the word intends, and proceed upon that basis.” (Pg. 55)

He suggests, “Because it is our main interest here to isolate that element in knowledge which we can with certainty maintain to be objective and impersonal, we shall define the pure concept as ‘that meaning which must be common to two minds when they understand each other by the use of a substantive or its equivalent.’… However, this designation of community of meaning as the distinguishing mark of the concept is, in part, merely an expository device for singling out that element in knowledge which, for reasons which will appear, I wish here to discuss.” (Pg. 70)

He summarizes, “The purely conceptual element in knowledge is, psychologically, an abstraction. It is a pattern of relation which, in the individual mind, is conjoined with some definite complex of sense qualia which is the referent or denotation of this concept and the clue to its application in presented experience. These two together, the concept and its sensory correlate, constitute some total meaning or idea for the individual mind. As between different minds, the assumption that a concept which is common is correlated with sensory contents which are qualitatively identical, is to an extent verifiably false, is implausible to a further extent, and in the nature of the case can never be verified as holding even with it may reasonably be presumed. Nevertheless, community of meaning is secured if each discover, within his own experience, that complex of content which this common concept will fit. When the behavior of each, guided by this common concept, is comparable or congruous, we have, so far, a reality in common… Even our categories may be, to a degree, such social products; and so far as the dichotomy of subjective and objective is governed by consideration of community, reality itself reflects criteria which are social in their nature.” (Pg. 115-116)

He asserts, “Knowledge ALWAYS transcends the immediately given. It begins with the recognition of a qualitatively specific presentation, but even that minimum of cognition which consists in naming is an interpretation which implicitly asserts certain relations between the given and further experience… In the nature of the case, the difference between veridical perception and an experience which is genuinely illusory… is never to be determined within what is strictly given in the presentation. When we distinguish one experience as illusory, another as presentation of the real, we can intend nothing even conceivably verifiable except that, starting from the given experience and proceeding in certain ways, we reach other experience which is predictable in the one case and not in the other. This ‘acquaintance with,’ the recognition of what is presented as a real object of a certain kind, has already the significance of prediction and asserts the same general type of temporal connection as our knowledge of law, the ‘knowledge about’ which is stated in generalizations.” (Pg. 132-133)

He states, “In general, the past is verifiable. We are probably safe in assuming that any satisfactory metaphysics will hold that there could not be any item of the past which is INTRINSICALLY unverifiable… The assumption that the past is intrinsically verifiable means that at any date after the happening of an event, there is something, which at least is conceivably possible of experience, by means of which it can be known.” (Pg. 150-151)

He argues, “Reality, so far as it can be given in experience or known, is relative to the knower. It can be apprehended only as it does or would appear to some perceiver in some actual or possible experience. But the only character which can be attributed to anything real is a character described in relative terms---relative to some experience---does not deny to it an independent nature, and does not deny that this nature can be known. On the contrary, true knowledge is absolute because it conveys an absolute truth, though it can convey such truth only in relative terms.” (Pg. 167)

He observes, “We can conceive limits of HUMAN experience only by conceiving the possibility of an experience which we do not have. When the possibility of experience is speculative, the reality in question and the limitations which it transcends are equally speculative. Where that possibility has some basis in ACTUAL experience, a limitation may be KNOWN, but it is known by generalization from experience and the prediction of its continuation in all future experience has precisely and only such assurance as may attach to empirical generalizations.” (Pg. 217-218)

He asserts, “The completion of this last refinement of mathematical method was made by Whitehead and Russell in Principia Mathematica... Pure mathematics stands between logic on the one side and the empirical application of mathematics on the other. Logic is in some respects the illustration par excellence of the a priori, since its laws are the most completely general of any. The laws of logic cannot be proved unless they should first be taken for granted as the principles of their own demonstration… Sometimes we are asked to tremble before the specter of the ‘alogical’ in order that we may thereafter rejoice that we are saved from this by the dependence of reality upon mind. But the ‘alogical’ is pure bogey, a word without meaning. What kind of experience could defy the principle that everything must either be or not be, that nothing can both be and not be, or that if X is Y and Y is Z, then X is Z?” (Pg. 245-246)

He notes, “Thus all concepts, and not simply those we should call categories,’ function as criteria of reality. Every criterion of classification is criterion of reality of some particular sort. There is no such thing as reality in general; to be real, a thing must be a particular sort of real. Furthermore, what is a priori criterion of reality in one connection may be merely empirical in some other… The determination of reality, the classification of phenomena, and the discovery of law, all grow up together.” (Pg. 262-263)

He explains, “the point of the pragmatic theory is … the responsiveness of truth to human bent or need, and the fact that in some sense it is made by mind… this is valid, because the interpretation of experience must always be in terms of categories and concepts which the mind itself determines. There may be alternative descriptions of experience, which are equally objective and equally valid, if there be not some purely logical defect in these categorical conceptions. When this is so, choice will be determined, consciously or unconsciously, on pragmatic grounds.” (Pg. 271) Later, he adds, “all interpretation of particulars and all knowledge of objects is probable only, however high the degree of probability.” (Pg. 281)

He contends, “Since valid empirical knowledge means only such probability, on grounds which genuinely establish it, and since any other than empirical knowledge is a priori, we have the important consequence that just in so far as we are rational, what we believe is absolutely and eternally true. What rational men entertain as highly probable may largely alter with the passage of time… Such avoidance of the unwarranted will not condemn us to sheer ignorance; we may at every stage possess a generous body of generalizations which, correctly assessed, are valid and are useful guides to practice. Indeed, will not a survey of the history of human thought compel the conclusion that only such a conception as this can save the reasonable-minded man from repudiating the attempt at scientific knowledge as chimerical?” (Pg. 341-342)

He asserts, “Thus the assumption that things exist… is sufficient to secure the validity of knowledge in general, when the nature of empirical knowledge is correctly interpreted as probable judgment…. Since any reasonable examination of knowledge must conclude that the pretense to such certainty is unwarranted and the ascription of it is a misreading of the actual nature of science and of common-sense attitudes, what such skepticism has slain is a man of straw, though to be sure it is just this scarecrow which has frightened philosophers out of their wits for a considerable period.” (Pg. 376)

He concludes, “In any experience such as we can, even at the worst, suppose our own to be, conception will be valid and knowledge will be possible… generalization will be subject to genuine probability. No further and avoidable metaphysical assumption is required. The mind will always be capable of discovering that order which is requisite to knowledge, because a mind such as ours, set down in any chaos that can be conjured up, would proceed to elicit significance by abstraction, analysis and organization, to introduce order by conceptual classification and categorical delimitation of the real, and would, through learning from accumulated experience anticipate the future in ways which increasingly satisfy its practical intent.” (Pg. 390-391)

Lewis has somewhat “dropped off the radar” of contemporary philosophy (except for students of logic), but his thoughts on epistemology are still well worth considering.