Remember forums? Now they call them lists. They remain a staple of the Internet. Places where folk with specific interests can talk with others of like mind. I am in one such group and it has led me to a big, thick wall. Let me explain.

Most of the talk is about what one particular philosopher understood regarding a particular issue. It is clearly interesting to the participants.But I've been drawing a complete blank. Why? The reason is that I value the philosopher immensely but I have taken what I can of his thought and run with it. The group I am in is concerned with what he meant and spends most of its time trying to say what he had in mind.

I find that has serious limitations.

What anyone says is of interest of course. Shakespeare proves that. But when the discussion revolves around an effort to explain and otherwise articulate what this person meant, I draw a line.You risk getting lost in a maze of categories and Terms. The issue becomes insoluble. No set of categories and terms has relevance unless they can lead to a practical result., It seems to be a waste of time to debate alternative understandings of what someone had in mind at the expense of saying what its practical use is.


I am talking about the work of the inventor of pragmatism, the American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce. His developed philosophy which he called pragmaticism, emphasized that the import of any consideration was its practical consequence.

In any case, I feel much more comfortable sharing ideas about practical possibilities.

I think the discussion would be much more fruitful if we asked what it was about reading Peirce or Nietzsche or Wittgenstein that had an impact on us.


The impact has to do with now, with Results of an encounter. It's fine to ask what someone had in mind if the purpose is to aid in the onward movement of the questioner. Maybe it is even fine if the reality is that the questioner merely wants to be proved right. But Triadic thinking looks at life beyond the binary project of winning and losing.

Binary winning and losing are largely pointless. Peirce was for the community, for a corporate, social practice of life that would move ever more toward truth.

To move that project along triadic thinking does not spend massive amounts of time trying to fathom Peirce's unfinished and dispersed terminological and categorical project. Better to see the impact of what he said that was and is seismic and influential. Better to take that impact and make it sing.

Sometimes the academy seems more than deficient. Mired in stasis might be a better description.