Re: virus: SM

Brett Lane Robertson (
Thu, 25 Sep 1997 17:05:57 -0500

>I'm not certian how one can be aware of themselves as an example without
>perceiving themselves. Is there a difference between awareness and

>In what sense are thoughts objective? Thoughts are mental phenomena, and
>thus usually held to be subjective experience. Can you divide thoughts into
>subjective and objective categories?


Charles S. Pierce, pragmatist, asks the same question you just did ("In what
sense are thoughts objective?")

QUESTION 1. Whether by the simple contemplation of a cognition,
independently of any
previous knowledge and without reasoning from signs, we are enabled rightly
to judge
whether that cognition has been determined by a previous cognition or
whether it refers
immediately to its object.

He says:

... the term intuition will be taken as signifying a cognition not determined
by a previous cognition of the same object, and therefore so determined by
something out of the
consciousness. Let me request the reader to note this. Intuition here will
be nearly the same as
"premiss not itself a conclusion"; the only difference being that premisses
and conclusions are
judgments, whereas an intuition may, as far as its definition states, be any
kind of cognition
whatever. But just as a conclusion (good or bad) is determined in the mind
of the reasoner by
its premiss, so cognitions not judgments may be determined by previous
cognitions; and a
cognition not so determined, and therefore determined directly by the
transcendental object, is
to be termed an intuition. (

Your question, then, can be stated in Pierec's words: Aren't all thoughts
cognitions previously determined by other cognitions (is there intuition)?
And I would ask, similarly, are all conclusions based on premises (or is
there a premiss not itself a conclusion)?

As to how one can be aware of themselves as an example without perceiving
themselves: Pierce says: "Now, it is plainly one thing to have an
intuition and another to know intuitively that it is an intuition, and the
question is whether these two things, distinguishable in thought, are, in
fact, invariably connected, so that we can always intuitively distinguish
between an intuition and a cognition determined by another.

Pierce states that: " ...we know of no power by which an intuition could be
known. [There's no way I can be aware of myself] For, as the cognition is
beginning, and therefore in a state of change, [for as ego a state
of change] at only the first instant would it be intuition [only in the
first instant would I exist *as* myself, objectively]. And, therefore, the
apprehension of it [myself] must take place in no time and be an event
occupying no time [so, I must exist outside of time--awareness--or not exist].

He concludes: "That is to say, the man and the external sign are identical,
in the
same sense in which the words homo and man are identical. Thus my language
is the sum total
of myself; for the man is the thought...It is hard for man to understand
this, because he persists in identifying himself with his will, his power
over the animal organism, with brute force. Now the organism is only an
instrument of
thought. But the identity of a man consists in the consistency of what he
does and thinks, and
consistency is the intellectual character of a thing; that is, is its
expressing something." (

Pierce admits that this is "written in this spirit of opposition to
Cartesianism." I like to begin with the idea that I exist. Going the long
way around, though, you could say that I am aware of my existence by the
consistency of what I think and do.


Rabble Sonnet Retort
Stop searching. Happiness is right next to you.