[FOM] C.S. Peirce on "General" and "Vague"

Jon Awbrey jawbrey at att.net
Wed Mar 4 14:10:23 EST 2009

Peirce's next paragraph makes the distinction between
generality and vagueness in terms of their exemptions
from classical laws of logic:

| Perhaps a more scientific pair of definitions would be
| that anything is 'general' in so far as the principle of
| the excluded middle does not apply to it and is 'vague'
| in so far as the principle of contradiction does not
| apply to it.
| Thus, although it is true that "Any proposition
| you please, 'once you have determined its identity',
| is either true or false";  yet 'so long as it remains
| indeterminate and so without identity', it need neither
| be true that any proposition you please is true, nor that
| any proposition you please is false.
| So likewise, while it is false that "A proposition 'whose
| identity I have determined' is both true and false", yet
| until it is determinate, it may be true that a proposition
| is true and that a proposition is false.
| C.S. Peirce, 'Collected Papers', CP 5.448
| http://stderr.org/pipermail/inquiry/2004-December/002202.html

These two excerpts are from C.S. Peirce (1905),
"Issues of Pragmaticism", 'The Monist', Vol. 15,
pp. 481-499.  Reprinted in the 'Collected Papers',
CP 5.438-463.

A little more context can be found at this location:

Jon Awbrey


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