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  1. A virus is an element of nature and an inherent risk of life on Earth, not a weapon that an infected person goes around assaulting people with. If you don’t have symptoms, haven’t tested positive, or knowingly been exposed to an infected person, it’s rational to assume you’re not infected and go about your business. You can’t live if you have to assume you are infected with a deadly virus. Each individual’s health and safety is his own responsibility. The onus to stay home and/or get vaccinated is on those who are at risk. Every medical treatment has benefits and risks. If you fear the risks of vaccination more than you fear the virus, you have an absolute right not to get vaccinated. No one has a duty to sacrifice himself by accepting potential bodily harm for the sake of protecting others. The ardent anti-vaxxer’s assessment of the risks might be incorrect, but it’s his judgment, and he has a right to act on it, even if others disagree.
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  2. Dewey writes: “To say that to see a table is to get an indication of something to write on is in no way to say that the perception of a table is an inference from sensory data. To say that certain earlier perceived objects not having as perceived the character of a table have now ‘fused’ with the results of inferences drawn from them is not to say that the perception of the table is now an inference” (1916, 252). Dewey and Rand are in accord on that picture. In further agreement with Rand’s conception of perception, Dewey opposed the Peircean doctrine that perceptions are immediate outcomes of inferences going on in the subconscious. “There is a great difference between saying that the perception of shape affords an indication for an inference and saying that the perception of shape is itself an inference. That definite shapes would not be perceived, were it not for neural changes brought about in prior inferences, is a possibility; it may be, for aught I know, an ascertained fact. Such telescoping of a perceived object with the object inferred from it may be a constant function; but in any case the telescoping is not a matter of a present inference going on unconsciously, but is the result of an organic modification which has occurred in consequence of prior inferences.” (ibid.) Peirce had held that although perceptions are direct (1868a, 31; 1871, 84; 1878, 120; 1901, 62), they are interpretations (1871, 85; 1903, 229), a semi-automatic sort of inference (1868b, 42–51, 57, 62, 67–68, 70; 1871, 85; 1877, 96–98; 1891b, 207–11; 1905, 204–7) conditioned by previous cognitions (1868a, 36–38; 1878, 120). "In perception, the conclusion has the peculiarity of not being abstractly thought, but actually seen, so that it is not exactly a judgment, though it is tantamount to one. . . . Perception attains a virtual judgment, it subsumes something under a class, and not only so, but virtually attaches to the proposition the seal of assent" (1891b, 208–9; also, 1901a 62). Our subconscious abductive inferences in the process that is perception coalesce smoothly into articulate perceptual judgments which are forced upon our acceptance (1903a, 210–11, 227). I think Dewey and Rand are correct in replacing Peirce’s characterization of the process of percept-formation as subconscious inferences. More plausible, under the present knowledge of brain processing, is that the process of percept-formation is by brain integration of sensory and motor experience of things, and that this process can to some extent undergo organic adaptation under further experience of a thing and habituation. Rand thought of that enriching adaptation in humans as arising from injection of some of our conceptual grasps of a perceptual object and its wider contexts into subsequent percepts of the object. I think, however, we should not stop with only conceptual injections as instigating the perceptual adaptations. I sense that in my perceptions of our pear tree, I bring some conceptual knowledge that is alienable only in thought from my perception of the tree. Such would be that there is the fruit that are pears hanging from the tree, which can become ripe enough for human consumption, and that once upon a time some unknown humans planted this tree here next to the house to enjoy the blooms in spring and perhaps to get to eat the pears. There is additional conceptual knowledge about this tree, knowledge not so general about pear trees, and apparently not so run into my adult perception of this tree. Such would be my knowledge that soon I’ll be needing to trim the tree and that, as a matter of fact, the squirrels will eat all the pears before they are ripe enough for human consumption. Mature squirrels come and investigate the tree for edibility of the pears as the pears develop. When the time is right, the sufficiently mature squirrels are adept at harvest. The point I want to stress about this is that the immature squirrels must undergo organic enriching adaptation in their sensory and motor elements bound in percepts under more and more experience and habituation in order to perceive the pear tree as would an adult squirrel. I do not think squirrels are conceptual animals. What is that non-conceptual injection into percept-formation that results in enriched percepts of the pear tree as the squirrel matures into an adult? I suggest that that injection is attainment of action-schemata, which are an attainment we have in our own human development by the time of language onset and which continue to undergird our conceptual life.* Dewey strikes the distinction between percepts and concepts in the following way, which I think is at least an important part of the distinction. “[A concept] is a mode or way of mental action, . . . . It can be grasped only in and through the activity which constitutes it. . . . The concept is general, not particular. Its generality lies in the very fact that it is a mode of action, a way of putting things or elements together. A cotton loom is particular in all its parts; every yard of cloth produced is particular, yet the way in which the parts go together, the function of the loom is not particular. “The concept of triangle contains not less but more than the percept. It is got, not by dropping traits, but by finding out what the real traits are. “It is true that certain features are excluded. But this dropping out of certain features is not what gives rise to the concept. On the contrary, it is on the basis of the concept, the principle of construction, that certain features are omitted. “The concept, in short, is knowledge of what the real object is [Hegel talk here, but with new meaning in progress towards instrumentalism: not idealist]—the object taken with reference to its principle of construction; while the percept . . . is knowledge of the object in a more or less accidental or limited way. “It must, however, be added that the concept always[?] returns into and enriches the percept, so that the distinction between them is not fixed but moveable.” (1891, 145) (To be continued.) References Dewey, J. 1891. How Do Concepts Arise from Percepts? In volume 3 of Dewey 1969. ——. 1916. Logic of Judgments of Practice. In Essays in Experimental Logic. University of Chicago Press. ——. 1969. John Dewey: The Early Works. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. Hoopes, J. editor, 1991. Peirce on Signs: Writings on Semiotic by Charles Sanders Peirce. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Houser, N., editor, 1998. The Essential Peirce. Volume 2. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Peirce, C.S. 1868a. Questions Concerning Certain Faculties Claimed for Man. In Wiener (W) 1958. ——. 1868b. Some Consequences of Four Incapacities (W). ——. 1869. Grounds of Validity of the Laws of Logic: Further Consequences of Four Incapacities. In Hoopes (H) 1991. ——. 1871. Critical Review of Berkeley's Idealism (W:74–88) (H:116–40). ——. 1877. The Fixation of Belief (W). ——. 1878. How to Make Our Ideas Clear (W). ——. 1891a. The Architecture of Theories (W). ——. 1891b. Review of William James' Principles of Psychology (H). ——. 1901. Pearson's Grammar of Science. In Houser (EP) 1998. ——. 1903. Harvard Lectures on Pragmatism (EP). ——. 1905. Issues of Pragmaticism (W). Wiener, P.P., editor, 1958. Charles S. Peirce: Selected Writings. New York: Dover.
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