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Charles Sanders Peirce

Si sa che C.S. Peirce si dichiarava più volte realista. All'inizio dei Collected Papers, Peirce fa una rassegna della filosofia occidentale per concludere che lui si trova assai isolato in questo panorama. Infatti, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hartley, Hume, Leibniz, Kant e perfino Hegel erano tutti nominalisti, almeno secondo Peirce2.9. Ora, si sa che non si deve cercare troppa consistenza nel ragionamento di Peirce, specie quando lui dà una sua visione della storia della filosofia. Fatto sta che Peirce non ha mai accettato il nominalismo, anzi lo considerava una dottrina mostruosa:

If, however, no law subsists other than an expression of actual facts, the future is entirely indeterminate and so is general to the highest degree. Indeed, nothing would exist but the instantaneous state; whereas it is easy to show that if we are going to be so free in calling elements fictions an instant is the first thing to be called fictitious. But I confess I do not take pains accurately to answer a doctrine so monstrous, and just at present out of vogue.2.10
Che cosa avrebbe detto Occam (entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem) per esempio, davanti all'arborescenza sterminata della classificazione segnica peirciana?

Tuttavia, troviamo in Peirce qualche tentativo di riconciliazione, o meglio, di relativizzazione dei due estremi. Per esempio, quando parla della deissi (dell'ecceità), avverte:

Contrast this with the signification of the verb, which is sometimes in my thought, sometimes in yours, and which has no other identity than the agreement between its several manifestations. That is what we call an abstraction or idea. The nominalists say it is a mere name. Strike out the ``mere'', and this opinion is approximately true. The realists say it is real. Substitute for ``is'', may be, that is, is provided experience and reason shall, as their final upshot, uphold the truth of the particular predicate, and the natural existence of the law it expresses, and this is likewise true. It is certainly a great mistake to look upon an idea, merely because it has not the mode of existence of a hecceity, as a lifeless thing.2.11
Peirce ammette che, per formarsi un'opinione sul ``gioco delle parti'', bisogna procedere con cura e cautela:

The question of realism and nominalism, which means the question how far real facts are analogous to logical relations, and why, is a very serious one, which has to be carefully and deliberately studied, and not decided offhand, and not decided on the ground that one or another answer to it is ``inconceivable''.2.12
Una delle affermazioni più note di Peirce è quella secondo la quale anche i pensieri sono segni. Peirce ammette che questa proposizione deriva dai nominalisti:

The next moment of the argument for pragmatism is the view that every thought is a sign. This is the doctrine of Leibniz, Berkeley, and the thinkers of the years about 1700. They were all extreme nominalists; but it is a great mistake to suppose that this doctrine is peculiarly nominalistic. I am myself a scholastic realist of a somewhat extreme stripe. Every realist must, as such, admit that a general is a term and therefore a sign.2.13

That thoughts are signs has been more especially urged by nominalistic logicians; but the realists are, for the most part, content to let the proposition stand unchallenged, even when they have not decidedly affirmed its truth.2.14
Anche quando parla delle relazioni tra il pensiero ed il mondo esterno, Peirce deve riconoscere che i nominalisti hanno proposto la soluzione più conforme all'intuizione:

We have, it is true, nothing immediately present to us but thoughts. The thoughts, however, have been caused by sensations, and those sensations are constrained by something out of the mind. This thing out of the mind, which directly influences sensation, and through sensation thought, because it is out of the mind, is independant of how we think it, and is, in short, the real. Here is one point of view of reality, a very familiar one. And from this point of view it is clear that the nominalistic answer must be given to the question concerning universals.2.15
Per di più, Peirce, che mostra un rispetto molto sincero per Occam, difende il noto principio occamistico, promovendolo a fondamento di ogni teoria scientifica:

The burden of proof is undoubtedly upon the realists, because the nominalistic hypothesis is the simpler. Dr. Carus professes himself a realist and yet accuses me of inconsistency in admitting Ockham's razor although I am realist, thus, implying that he himself does not accept it. But this brocard, Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem, that is, a hypothesis ought not to introduce complications non requisite to explain the facts, this is not distinctively nominalistic; it is the very roardbed of science.2.16
Comunque, dobbiamo ripetere che Peirce si considerava un realista scolastico e scotistico:

The author of the present treatise is a Scotistic realist.2.17
In una confutazione di una critica che gli era stata rivolta dal dottor Carus (cfr. sopra), Peirce si oppone di nuovo vivacemente al nominalismo:

The learned doctor pronounces me to be an imitator of David Hume, or, at least, classes my opinions as closely allied to his. Yet be it known that never, during the thirty years in which I have been writing on philosophical questions, have I failed in my allegiance to realistic opinions and to certain Scotistic ideas; while all that Hume has to say is said at the instance and in the interest of the extreme nominalism. Moreover, instead of being a purely negative critic, like Hume, seeking to annul a fundamental conception generally admitted, I am a positive critic, pleading for the admission to a place in our scheme of the universe for an idea generally rejected. [...] I carefully recorded my opposition to all philosophies which deny the reality of the Absolute.2.18
Da queste affermazioni peirciane nel dibattito tra realismo e nominalismo, risorge la domanda concernente le relazioni tra il realismo e la teoria echiana, domanda urgente se, a credere quel che dicono i didattici della semiotica, Eco è da considerare un peirciano.


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Next: La citazione illimitata: Hjelmslev Up: Il dibattito secondo i Previous: Il dibattito secondo i   Indice
henk 2001-08-18