By M. Gail Hamner
Hamner seeks to find what makes pragmatism uniquely American. She argues that the inextricably American personality of pragmatism of such figures as C.S. Peirce and William James lies in its usually understated confirmation of the USA as a uniquely spiritual kingdom with a God-given undertaking and populated by way of God-fearing citizens.
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The derivation process works by strict causal efﬁcacy, thus exemplifying the law of causality as a natural law. ”29 Human action depends on and proceeds from a certain level of predictability. Thus the human assumption gained from multiple inductive inferences is that nature operates according to efﬁcient causation. This fact encourages humans to rely on perceived patterns in their environments and to assume further that those patterns will remain stable. The more someone's actions in and with the world validate these assumptions, the more stable and coherent are her subsequent actions.
Since it presents the universe as composed of signs the way a poem is composed of words, Peirce's semeiotic asserts that meaning is everywhere. Meaning remains virtual, however; it remains vague and useless until narrowed and focused by an act of interpretation (a human or other “interpretant”) according to particular purposes. 14 Peirce's rejection of nominalism results in his conviction that the philosophical and scientiﬁc position of skepticism requires a prior assumption of the possibility of certainty.
These laws are merely regulative, not determinative. A similar pragmatic perspective applies to Helmholtz's theories of physical sensations. Both the laws of the language of society and the laws of the language of the body must be learned, and the guideposts for that learning are whether or not a particular signal enables effective navigation through life. In insisting on the relative conventionality of both physical and linguistic signs, Helmholtz denies the necessary iconicity (or image quality) of these signs.
American pragmatism : a religious genealogy by M. Gail Hamner