A Letter from Wil Baden with Addendum
Tue, 9 Nov 2004 19:42:42 -0800
It was good to get your email. I miss the comradery of c.l.f.
The notes on Peirce were interesting. He was an extraordinary genius born a generation too soon. Sometimes though he did things backward—he'd posit categories, and then try to assign items to them, instead of taking things and learning how they really are.
Your blog is fun. You are certainly doing good work. I think it's great that you use Java.
I have put Java aside in favor of Perl. Its grammar makes Forth look like Green Eggs and Ham, but it's a marvel at editing text. It did Markov Chain in 20 lines, as opposed to 180 in C. Look into it—I think you could do miracles with it at work.
As always, health, joy, and peace,
Addendum from WB:
Sat, 13 Nov 2004 08:54:46 -0800
[For your blog - from Ency.Brit.]
Peirce is now recognized as the most original and
the most versatile intellect that the Americas have
so far produced. The recognition was slow in coming,
however, and much of his work is still known only to
specialists, each grasping a small part of it,
severed from its connections with the rest. Even his
Pragmatism is viewed in relation to that of other
Pragmatists rather than to other parts of his own
work. A philosopher will know him also for his
evolutionary metaphysics (theory of basic reality)
of chance and continuity. A mathematician may know
him for his contributions to linear algebra. A
logician will know him as one of the creators of the
algebra of logic—including the logic of relations;
quantification theory (on the usages of “every . . .
”, “no . . . ”, and “some . . . ”); and three-valued
logic, which admits a third truth value between true
and false—and may know him also for his two systems
of logical graphs, which he called entitative and
existential. A psychologist may discover in him the
first modern psychologist in the United States. A
worker in semiotics will know him as co-founder of
that science. A philologist may encounter him as an
authority on the pronunciation of Elizabethan
English. A computer scientist may find in one of his
letters the first known sketch of the design and
theory of an electric switching-circuit computer.
But all of this, and much besides, lay beyond the
scope of his professional career.