Experience and cognition

Around 1906, C.S. Peirce attempted to define ‘experience’ in cognitive-semiotic terms:

What do we mean by ‘Experience’? Surely, a correct and precise analysis of that will be worth more than a little pains, as long as we hold that all human knowledge, and especially all assurance of knowledge, springs from the soil of Experience. I answer the question thus: Experience is that state of cognition which the course of life, by some part thereof, has forced upon the recognition of the experient, or person who undergoes the experience, under conditions due usually, in part, at least, to his own action; and the Immediate object of the cognition of Experience is understood to be what I call its ‘Dynamical,’ that is, its real object.

— Peirce, MS 299 CSP 8

The link just above, by the way, takes you to a somewhat revised version of Chapter 12 of Turning Signs. For the first time since i published it almost three years ago (and promised not to change Chapters 1–19), i am reading the whole book critically, and have found a few parts that i am no longer quite satisfied with – so i’m revising them online. Usually the revisions change a word or two, but sometimes as much as a whole paragraph. Perhaps i can finish this revision by September and call it the Second Edition. Blame it on excessive scrupulosity.

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