TOPPeirce NEWS at other sitesVia ARISBE:FAQsPapers by PeircePeirce-related PapersSpecial Resources

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What is meant by 'in the mind'?

(Quote of the Day.)

The realist will hold that the very same objects which are immediately present in our minds in experience really exist just as they are experienced out of the mind; that is, he will maintain a doctrine of immediate perception. He will not, therefore, sunder existence out of the mind and being in the mind as two wholly improportionable modes. When a thing is in such a relation to the individual mind that that mind cognizes it, it is in the mind; and its being so in the mind will not in the least diminish its external existence. For he does not think of the mind as a receptacle, which if a thing is in, it ceases to be out of. To make a distinction between the true conception of a thing and the thing itself is, he will say, only to regard one and the same thing from two different points of view; for the immediate object of thought in a true judgment is the reality.
—Charles S. Peirce, Collected Papers 8.16 (1871), and still timely.

Addendum. Suddenly I was struck by Peirce's use of the phrase "immediate object." By "immediate", Peirce means "immediate to something" in the sense of "in or at something". Peirce came, many years after the above quotation, to use the phrase "immediate object" as a technical term for the object as it is represented by the sign, the object as it is in the sign. (Quotes thanks to the Commens Dictionary of Peirce's Terms.)
"... the requaesitum which we have been seeking is simply that which the sign "stands for," or the idea of that which it is calculated to awaken. [---]
This requaesitum I term the Object of the sign; - the immediate object, if it be the idea which the sign is built upon, the real object, if it be that real thing or circumstance upon which that idea is founded, as on bedrock." ('Pragmatism', EP 2:407, 1907).
"... we have to distinguish the Immediate Object, which is the Object as the Sign itself represents it, and whose Being is thus dependent upon the Representation of it in the Sign, from the Dynamical Object, which is the Reality which by some means contrives to determine the Sign to its Representation." ('Prolegomena to an Apology for Pragmaticism', CP 4.536, 1906)
Peirce came consistently to call the real object the "dynamic object" or "dynamoid object", etc., rather than the "real object", since that object could be altogether fictive, for example Hamlet. Anyway, would Peirce hold that the immediate object and the dynamic object are one and the same when they're the object of a true thought? (For Peirce, a thought is a sign.)

This post's first quotation is from 1871. In 1868, Peirce wrote:
"Every cognition involves something represented, or that of which we are conscious, and some action or passion of the self whereby it becomes represented. The former shall be termed the objective, the latter the subjective, element of the cognition. The cognition itself is an intuition of its objective element, which may therefore be called, also, the immediate object." ('Questions Concerning Certain Faculties Claimed for Man', W 2:204, 1868)
That doesn't seem the quite the same conception as in the quotes from 1906 and 1907 . Yet, what would be the practical difference between the immediate object and the dynamic object of a TRUE proposition?