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The Pragmatic MaximEssays on Peirce and pragmatism$
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Christopher Hookway

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199588381

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588381.001.0001

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‘A Sort of Composite Photograph’: Pragmatism, Ideas, and Schematism

‘A Sort of Composite Photograph’: Pragmatism, Ideas, and Schematism

(p.134) 7 ‘A Sort of Composite Photograph’: Pragmatism, Ideas, and Schematism
The Pragmatic Maxim

Christopher Hookway

Oxford University Press

Peirce often described ideas or general concepts metaphorically as composite photographs. After explaining what composite photographs are, the chapter argues that this explains how ideas are iconic representations which are constructed out of instances of the idea which the agent has known or encountered. It also shows how such ideas are general and are applicable to new or unfamiliar cases. This is to explain how ideas can be applied in experience, an issue which is important for Peirce’s pragmatism. So understood, ideas are similar to what Peirce describes as ‘schemata of the imagination’, and they are related to Peirce’s reasons for thinking about Kant’s schematism. The use of a composite photograph generates particular representations in the imagination or in the form of images, and the logical structure of the idea is displayed in time in the form of a sequence of images.

Keywords:   composite photograph, Galton, ideas, pragmatism, schematism, Kant

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