Dissertation Abstract




Reality, Perceptual Experience, And Cognition:

A Study In Charles Sanders Peirce's Philosophy Of Mind


Tamba Nlandu



Degree:          Ph.D.

Year:             1997

Pages:           220

Institution:    Tulane University; 0235

Advisor:         Andrew J. Reck


Source:           DAI, 58, no. 05A, (1997): 1750


The present dissertation aims at examining Peirce's approach to realism by way of experience. First, the study sets out Peirce's realism, relative to experience, through a constrastive analysis of a purely perceptual approach to realism (Hume's lack) and an approach wider than perception but including it as crucial. Thus, it goes on to show that Peirce's account of habit (and pragmatism) is anchored in concrete experience but wider because action (activity) is wider than sense perception. Then, scientific method is established as wider than sense perception because it includes inference (deductive, inductive, and abductive) in addition to sense perception and activity. Then, in an effort to establish Peirce as a pioneer in cognitive science, the dissertation goes on to discuss how Peirce's anticipations of cognitive science establish his detailed consideration of sense perception in its relation to cognition. All this points to a realism reached through establishing how sense perception is crucial yet not sufficient for it.

          In fact, recently several views of perception and reality have been advanced that are founded on a new conception of the human mind and a new definition of the concept of cognition. Jerry Fodor, David Marr, and Noam Chomsky are indubitably leading figures in this new philosophical and scientific tradition. What appears new is that cognition is construed to be a process of information-processing. Among those deemed pioneers of these new theories, Peirce has rarely been mentioned, although he may have played a role in the development of present views, and at the very least he anticipated these recent theories. Thus, the purpose throughout the dissertation is to point out Peirce's influence upon and anticipation of present theories of cognition. With focus on computational theories, it is shown that Peirce's views are in total agreement with the claim that the process of cognition consists of a set of interconnected, forms a module. It is shown that Peirce's contribution to cognitive science may be derived not only from his psychology, logic, espistemology, semiotics, metaphysics, etc., but also, and more importantly, from his conception of science as essentially, and par excellence, a method of inquiry. Such contribution includes having provided the foundation for both the software of computing and the hardware of what later became Turing machines. Furthermore, the dissertation presents Peirce's account of perception as the bridge between theories of direct perception a la Gibson and theories of mental representation a la Fodor.

          In short, the dissertation endeavors to show that, to use C. F. Delaney's words, "Peirce saw philosophy of science, epistemology, and philosophy of mind not only as intimately related but as inextricably tied to concrete developments in science."



Descriptor:       PHILOSOPHY

Accession No:     AAG9732437

Provider:        OCLC

Database:         Dissertations