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Abstract

This paper aims to show that Peirces anal-


ogy of scholastic logic and Gothic architec-
ture merits more than the dismissive note
John F. Boler grants it in his essay "Peirce
and Medieval Thought" (Boler 2004).
Peirce, Peirce does not just anticipate art historian
Erwin Panofsky's view of an analogy be-
Panofsky, and tween the scholastic Summa and the Gothic
cathedral. Habitus and habit-taking play a
the Gothic vital part in both analogies. I present Wil-
liam Whewell as a likely source of inspira-
DAVID WAGNER
tion arousing Peirce's interest in Gothic
architecture, and suggest that Edgar Wind
played a part in transmitting to Erwin Pan-
ofsky the Peircean idea of unconscious be-
liefs as expressed by habits. Thus this essay
deals with two connections: on the one
hand, the relation between ideas as embod-
ied in the structure of scholastic treatises
and of cathedrals, and on the other, the
concept of habit linking Peirce and Panof-
sky. Research on the latter benefits from the
publication of Panofsky's correspondence,
which reveals that his study of Gothic archi-
tecture and Scholasticism commenced four
years earlier than hitherto suspected.

Keywords: Charles Peirce, Erwin Panofiky,


Pierre Bourdieu, Samuel Butler, Eduard von
Hartmann, William Whewell, Edgar Wind,
Agapasm, Habit, Gothic architecture.
Scholasticism.

The comparison of Thomas Aquinas'


Summa Theologiae W\ih. the architecture of a
cathedral is not new. We find it in 1850 in
Karl Werner's System der christlichen Ethik
(1850, 47), and in 1860 the German archi-
tect Gottfried Semper writes in the preface
to his two-volume manual Style in the Tech-
nical and Tectonic Arts'.

TRANSACTIONS OFTHE CHARLES S. PEIRCE SOCIETY


Vol. 48, No. 4 ©2012
436
art . . . appears isolated and relegated to a field especially marked out
for it. The opposite was true in antiquity, where philosophy held sway
over this field as well. Philosophy was seen as an artist herself and a n
I-a
guide to the other arts. But in growing old, she turned to analysis and
devised dead categories instead of living analogies. ö^
In just the same way, Gothic architecture was the lapidary trans- ^
formation of the scholastic philosophy of the twelfth and thirteenth p
centuries. (Semper 2004, 80) O.

Semper's mention of a transfer from a philosophical way of thinking to Q


the architectural style of a period is not much more than a remark. In 2
the twentieth century we encounter a more elaborate analogy in a lee- ñ'
ture given by the art historian Erwin Panofsky (1892-1968). Panofsky's
lecture, originally entitled "Cothic and Scholasticism," was first given
on December 6th, 1944, at Vassar College, New York.' A second pre- ^
sentation, under the title "Cothic Architecture and Scholasticism," -
took place on December 8th, 1948, at Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, ^
Pennsylvania, as one of the annual Wimmer Memorial Lectures. This ^
was subsequently published in 1951. z
Sixteen years later, in 1967, the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu S
(1930-2002) published a French translation of Panofsky's book in his
series Le sens commun and wrote an afterword in which he stressed that
Panofsky's use oí habitus or mental habit serves as the decisive link be-
tween scholastic ways of thinking and their expression in the Cothic
style. In Bourdieu's sociology textbook Le métier de sociologue ( The Craft
of Sociology), published one year later, Bourdieu gave a brief summary
of Panofsky's intentions under the title "The summa and the cathedral:
deep analogies, the product of a mental habit":

The parallelism between the development of Gothic art and the develop-
ment of scholastic thought in the period between about 1 ¡30-1140 and
about 1270 cannot be brought out unless one "brackets off phenomenal
appearances" and seeks the hidden analogies between the principles of
logical organization of Scholasticism and the principles of construction of
Gothic architecture. This methodological choice is dictated by the inten-
tion of establishing more than a vague "parallelism" or discontinuous,
fragmentary "influences". Renouncing the semblances of proof which sat-
isfy intuitionists or the reassuring but reductive circumstantial proofs
which delight positivists, Panofsky is led to identify the historical conver-
gence which provides the object of his research with a hidden principle, a
habitus or "habit-formingforce". (Bourdieu et al. 1991, 191; italics in
the original)

Habit-forming forces are familiar to readers of Charles Peirce. So, too,


will be the idea that scholasticism and Cothic architecture are somehow
linked, since Peirce mentions this analogy first in his famous 1871 review
437
^ of A. C Fräsers Berkeley edition (EP l:83fF., W 2:462fF.). However,
Ö John R Boler, a specialist on Peirce and scholasticism alike, shows litde
rt interest in the matter. His chapter "Peirce and Medieval Thought" in The
3 Cambridge Companion to Peirce contains only a brief comment—half of
Z an endnote—pertaining to the subject:
CO

(Li [Peirce] also anticipates Panofsky's analogy of gothic architecture and


C Scholasticism (1957) with (to my mind) equally little efFcct (CP 4.27
-| and 8.11). (Boler 2004, 77n2)
>
t/5 I aim to show in this paper that Bolers dismissive appraisal is unwar-
*2^ ranted. Even if we take the wrong publication date in Bolers note to be a
pj typo> he seems to have overlooked Carolyn Eisele's two-volume Historical
K-i Perspectives on Peirce's Lo^c of Science [1985], which had been published
H nineteen years earlier. Eiseles collection contains a published version of
U the undated R 1328 with the title "Remarks on the History of Ideas." In
<J this manuscript the analogy plays a prominent part. If one adds the pub-
^ lished writings in volume 8 of the Chronological Edition, which had not
Z been available to Boler in 2004, the picture of how scholasticism and
^ Gothic architecture relate to each other becomes even clearer.
ÛH In what follows I will first concentrate on Peirce, and then explore a
^ possible link to Erwin Panofsky. My paper will end with a brief discus-
sion of the similarities between Peircean habits and the concept oî habi-
tus as used by Panofsky and Bourdieu.

7. Peirce and the Gothic


It is not surprising that an architect like Gottfried Semper should be
interested in architectural style, or that an art historian like Erwin Pan-
ofsky should aim at explaining the artistic expressions of an age by ref-
erence to literature, science or philosophy. But Peirce is neither an
architect nor an art historian. When he sets out to elucidate the "strange
union of nominalism with Platonism" (EP 1:85, W 2:464) prevalent in
Bishop Berkeley's philosophy, he does this by means of a historical de-
tour. Peirce tells us that in contrast to philosophy on the European
continent, "the infiuence of Descartes was never so great in England as
that of traditional conceptions" (EP 1:84, W 2:463), and he goes on to
show that an understanding of George Berkeley's writings requires an
understanding of mediaeval metaphysics. The scholasticism of Thomas
Aquinas, Duns Scotus and William of Ockham is then illustrated by
means of the parallel development of Gothic architecture:

Art felt the spirit of a new age, and there could hardly be a greater
change than from the highly ornate round-arched architecture of the
twelfth century to the comparatively simple Gothic of the thirteenth.
Indeed, if any one wishes to know what a scholastic commentary is
438
like, and what the tone of thought in it is, he has only to contemplate
a Gothic cathedral. The first quality of either is a religious devotion, ^
truly heroic. . . . And if the spirit was not altogether admirable, it is
only because faith itself has its faults as a foundation for the intellec- g
tual character. (EP 1:86, W 2:465) °^

W h a t clearly impresses Peirce is the "P

complete absence of self-conceit on the part of the artist or philoso- 3"


pher. That anything of value can be added to his sacred and catholic ¿-)
work by its having the smack of individuality about it, is what he has 2
never conceived. His work is not designed to embody his ideas, but ñ'
the universal truth; there will not be one thing in it however minute,
for which you will not find that he has his authority; and whatever
originality emerges is of that inborn kind which so saturates a man U
that he cannot himself perceive it. (EP 1:86, W 2:465-466) %
5
This point, that the mediaeval schoolmen were devoted to their work ^
in a way shared by only the builders of the cathedrals, is taken up by n
Chauncey Wright (1830-1875), who reviews Peirce's article in TheNa- w
i/o« of November 30th, 1871:
Mr. Gharles S. Peirce . . . takes the occasion to trace out in the history
of philosophical thought in Great Britain the sources of Berkeley's
doctrines and of later developments in English philosophy. These he
traces back to the famous disputes of the later schoolmen on the
question of realism and nominalism—that question on which each
new-fledged masculine intellect likes to try its powers of disputation.
But the motive of the schoolmen who started this question or gave it
prominence, was not in any sense egotistical, however pugilistic it
may have been, but was profoundly religious—more religious, in
fact, than anything modern, and, perhaps, more fitly to be compared
to the devotion that produced the Gothic architecture than to any-
thing else. (W 2:487)

Wright was, as is well known, a central member of the informal "Meta-


physical Club" and a good friend of Charles Peirce. They had known
each other since 1857, and both shared a critical interest in the writings
of William Hamilton, John Stuart Mill and Charles Darwin. In a letter
to his former student Christine Ladd-Franklin, Peirce describes his re-
lationship with Wright in these terms: "He and I used to have long and
very lively and close disputations lasting two or three hours daily for
many years." (Peirce, quoted in Ladd-Franklin 1916, 719) We may as-
sume that many discussions were triggered by shared readings. Both
Peirce and Wright were enthusiastic readers of William Whewell's
History ofthe Inductive Sciences (Wiener 1969, 80). Wright's former col-
league E. W. Curney remembers the following:
439
"^ [I]n reviving my remembrance of Chauncey during the early days
ÏJ after he left college, I have unwittingly been following the develop-
-9 ment of his mind into later years. Another book which, in his way, he
§ read much at that time was Whewelt's 'History and Philosophy of the
^ Inductive Sciences.' This gave him such knowledge as he needed for
00 his speculative purposes, of the development of science, just as Ham-
'^ ikon incidentally did of the progress of philosophy. (Letter of E. W.
tí Gurney to James Bradley Thayer, 1877, in Wright 1878, 366)

•O Peirce himself considered Whewell (1794-1866) the only historian of


science who combined philosophical power with first-hand knowledge
'-^ of scientific methods (CP 6.604, 1893). And there are reasons why
Z Whewell is of interest in connection with Peirces and Wrights refer-
O enees to Gothic architecture. First, Peirce himself mentions Whewell in
•"^ connection with the topic in R 1328:

w The most extraordinary break in peoples ideas that the modern his-
*^ tory reveals,—excepting perhaps at the French Revolution—occurs
"^ about A. D. 1200. In the first place, Gothic architecture suddenly
Z appeared. The rich and beautiful but not deeply emotional roman-
<^ esque was suddenly replaced by the extremely chaste but devotional
0-t gothic. The idea that this came from Mohammedans^, who never
[—( executed a single piece of architecture with the slightest elevation of
sentiment,—which is most strikingly absent in the Alhambra, the
mosque of Cordova, and all mosques generally, is ridiculous. As for
those Sicilian towers which show some windows with pointed tops,
they never could have suggested Gothic. People who entertain that
theory are no psychologists. No: Whewell was right. It was simply
forced upon architects by their desire to open large spaces, and in
order to do that to use compartments that were oblong not square.
This theory explains the thing fully. (R 1328, HP 1:350)

But there is more in Peirce than this direct appeal to Whewell's theory
concerning Gothic architecture. Whewell, who invented the English
term "scientist" (Snyder 2009), also supplies the idea of a scientific
community so prominent in Peirce's writings. It can be traced back to
his 1869 notes for the Whewell-lecture:

[S]cientific progress is to a large extent public and belongs to the


community of scientific men of the same department, its conclusions
are unanimous, its interpretations of nature are no private interpreta-
tions. (W 2:339)

Ideal scientific men may be thus compared to the schoolmen and their
workj since the work of both lacks any "smack of individuality" and is
therefore "not in any sense egotistical." Their interpretations are not
"private," because they do not cling to their personal theories but
440 •
collectively pursue truth. Whewell himself exemplifies this scientific J^
ethos: when his colleague Robert Willis demonstrated in Remarks on ñ
the Architecture of the Middle Ages [1835] that Whewell's earlier theory \_^
concerning the technical causes for the pointed arch was faulty, he not 3
only acknowledged Willis's further research but happily made use of it §->
(Whewell 1858a, 246f). ^
Whewell's view of science rests on the assumption that scientific 3
observations are formed by an interplay of facts with inferences which «
involve fundamental ideas. These fundamental ideas are internal prin- "
ciples^ which determine what may be called a fact. "All facts involve o
ideas," as Peirce remarks in his Whewell lecture of 1869: ?T

All facts involve ideas. This is the first lesson a man has to learn in *
studying science. . . . But the influence of the mind upon observa- ^
tions is not necessarily evil. It may almost be said that we can only see ^
what we look for. (W 2:344-345) 5

According to Whewell, what distinguishes science from art (in the sense >
of a practical téchnê) is the constant effort of science to develop theo- 2:
ries. For example, the technical process of wine-making does not neces- ^
sarily involve chemical knowledge of the processes of fermentation.
The practical arts are not to be classed among the sciences, because
"[i]n Art, truth is a means to an end; in Science, it is the only end"
(Whewell 1858b, 129):

The real state of the case is, that the principles which Art involves.
Science alone evolves. The truths on which the success of Art depends,
lurk in the artist's mind in an undeveloped state; guiding his hand,
stimulating his invention, balancing his judgment, but not appearing
in the form of enunciated Propositions. (Whewell 1858b, 133)

That did not keep Whewell from writing about art, in particular about
architecture. Whewell, himself the eldest son of a master-carpenter, was
an early admirer of Thomas Rickman's An Attempt to Discriminate the
Styles of English Architecture, from the Conquest to the Reformation
[1818]. Rickman's terminology plays an important part in Whewell's
own siuáy Architectural Notes on German Churches [1830]. The part of
the "internal principle," the idea which may be discerned in Gothic
architecture, is there described as follows:

The features and details of the later architecture were brought out
more and more completely, in proportion as the idea, or internal
principleof unity and harmony in the newer works, became clear and
single, like that which had pervaded the buildings of antiquity: the
characteristic forms of the one being horizontal, reposing, definite; of
the other vertical, aspiring, indefinite. (Whewell 1835, 4)
441
^ It is Gothic architecture which in Whewell's History ofthe Inductive Sei-
Ö enees serves as an example for the progress of scientific ideas in a dark
c age, as a "prelude to the period of discovery." (Whewell 1858a, 246)
3 Gothic architecture, though a practical art, "led, in the course of time,
Z to its speculative development as the foundation of science; and thus
^ Architecture prepared the way for Mechanics." (Whewell 1858a, 247-
(Ü 248) The reason for this transformation is the internal principle, the
E idea of mechanical pressure and support that resulted from the wish to
-g solve the problem of building in a "vertical, aspiring, indefinite" way.
^ Peirce adopts Whewell's intuition that an idea, though at first artis-
te tic and in an "undeveloped state," may nevertheless result in a work
2 that embodies that very idea: "The effect of a Gothic church is to em-
/-\ body that intense yearning for something higher, that aspiration, that
HH sursum corda, which marks the fall of pride." (R 1328, HP 2:351) This
E-H common yearning, the "lift up your hearts" of the congregation, is to
U Peirce "agapasmofthe first and highest kind." (R 957, W 8:418, 1892)
<¡ It is thus Peirce's doctrine of evolutionary love, or agapasm, which pro-
•^ vides a link between Gothic architecture and the logical writings of the
Z schoolmen. Both are examples of that mode of evolution, agapasm,
"^ which proposes that apart from purposeless chance-variations (tychasmY
^ or mechanical necessity {anancasm) there exists a love-like attraction or
H purposeful association of ideas that leads to the formation of habits:

The agapastic development of thought should, if it exists, be distin-


guished by its purposive character, this purpose being the develop-
ment of an idea. We should have a direct agapic or sympathetic
comprehension and recognition of it, by virtue of the continuity of
thought. (EP 1:369, W 8:203)

Agapasm represents thirdness among the three possible modes of mental


evolution. It may therefore itself be divided into three orders. Because of
this, fragment R 957, which relates to the article "Evolutionary Love" of
1892, names three examples for the substructure of agapasm. The first
one, affecting "a whole people or community in its collective personal-
ity" (EP 1:364, W 8:196), is expressed by the Gothic architecture, "the
product of the greater person, the body of the faithful" (R 957, W
8:418). The third, affecting "an individual, independently of his human
afFections, by virtue of an attraction it exercises upon his mind, even
before he has comprehended it,", is a case of divination of genius, "due
to the continuity between the man's mind and the Most High" (EP
1:364, W 8:196). Examples are "three profound and original systems of
philosophy, those of Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and Ockham; as
well as several others that are very interesting" (R 957, W 8:418).
Peirce gets more detailed in 1893 when, in the sixth chapter of How
to Reason: A Critick of Arguments^ he parallels three stages in Gothic
442
architecture—early Gothic, decorated Gothic and perpendicular J^
Gothic—with examples from scholastic logic (CP 4.27-29).^ It is in p,
manuscripts relating to this book, his unpublished Grand Logic, that we "
find Peirce referring to Samuel Butler's Unconscious Memory [^1880] and a
Eduard von Hartmann's Philosophie des Unbewussten {Philosophy of the vn
Unconscious) [1869], of which Buder provides a partial translation and "^
critical commentary (CP 7.395, 1893; Butler 1910, 92ff.).'5 It is possi- S
ble that Peirce also read Butler's earlier work Life and Habit. Butler re- «
counts the story of how he came to write his study of habit in chapter "•
two of Unconscious Memory, and he also gives a summary of that book. o
In this chapter, "How I wrote 'Life and Habit'," Butler writes that he ?T
had hoped Life and Habit would be regarded as a "valuable adjunct to
Darwinism" (Butler 1910, 21). There is a family-resemblance between *
Butler's evolutionism and Peirce's evolutionary model of mind: they p
share the Lamarckian idea of inheriting acquired habits (EP 1:360, W ^
8:192; Wiener 1969, 264n49), and they agree on the psychophysical 5
continuity expressed in Peirce's dictum "all matter is really mind" (EP ^
1:361, W8:193, 1892).^ This latter view, reminiscent of Friedrich Wil- ^
helm Joseph von Schelling's Naturphilosophie (philosophy of nature), is z
JO
also relevant to Hartmann's Philosophy of the Unconscious.^ Hartmann
there explicitly states that his concept of the unconscious is inspired by
Schelling.' An exploration of the relevance of Butler or Hartmann for
Peirce would afford a separate study. Here I only want to stress the as-
pect of the unconscious, for, as we have seen, Peirce finds in medieval
artifacts expressions of an "originality . . . of that inborn kind which so
saturates a man that he cannot himself perceive it." (EP 1:86, W 2:466,
1871) That human habits reveal unconscious beliefs will be a recurring
theme in the next sections.

2. Panofsky and Peirce: Recurring Tokens of a Footnote


When examining the essays, books and correspondence of Erwin Pan-
ofsky, one starts to wonder whether Michael Ann Holly's remark in
Panoftky and the Foundations of Art History [1984], that Panofsky had
been familiar with Peirce's writings, is in fact true (Holly 1984, 43).
One would indeed expect an art historian whose fame rests to a large
extent on the method of iconography to have been interested in the
theory of signs.'" Alas, there are but very few references to Peirce in
Panofsky's writings. In fact, there is really only a single reference, albeit
in several variations. The section from which Panofsky quotes again
and again is a footnote, a remark made by the 66-year-old Peirce in his
essay "Issues of Pragmaticism" [The Monist, vol. XV, no. 4, Oct. 1905]:

I wish I might hope, afiier finishing some more difficult work, to be


able to resume this study and to go to the bottom of the subject, which
needs the qualities of age and does not call upon the powers of youth.
443
•^ Agréât range of reading is necessary; for it is the belief men betray ^ná
Ö not that which xhty parade v^\\\ó\ has to be studied. (EP 2:349n)

3 The quote appears for the first time in Panofsky's famous 1932 essay
Z "Zum Problem der Beschreibung und Inhaltsdeutung von Werken der
^ bildenden Kunst" ("On the Problem of Describing and Interpreting
(Li Works of the Visual Arts")." In this essay Panofsky explains the three
Ë levels of interpretation and distinguishes iconography (the linking of
~T> artistic motifs with concepts, conventions or literary themes) from
^ iconology (a search for underlying principles which reveal the intrinsic
(^ meaning of a work of art). To illustrate the difference between iconog-
("T" raphy and iconology, he recounts a scene of a man greeting him in the
—. street by removing his hat.'^

x_^ Denn wie es zwar im Willen und im Bewußtsein des Grüßenden


r ^ steht, ob und mit welchem Grad von Höflichkeit er seinen Hut
. ziehen will, nicht aber, welche Aufschlüsse er damit über sein inner-
stes Wesen gibt, so wei\ß auch der Künstler (um einen geistvollen
>-^ Amerikaner zu zitieren) nur, "what he parades", nicht aber "what he
3; betrays". (Panofsky 2006a, 27)

^ Panofsky does not name Peirce; he only says that he is quoting an intel-
^ lectually stimulating American. In fact, in the 1932 version of this essay
in the magazine Logos, Panofsky quotes incorrectly "what he confesses"
instead of "what he parades" (Panofsky 1932, 117). In 1932 it looks as
if Panofsky is quoting from hearsay. But then, six years later, the quote
appears again in Panofsky's essay "The History of Art as a Humanistic
Discipline," and there Peirce is named for the first time:

One thing, however, is certain: the more the proportion of emphasis on


"idea" and "form" approaches a state of equilibrium, the more elo-
quently will the work reveal what is called "content." Content, as op-
posed CO subject matter, may be described in the words of Peirce as that
which a work betrays but does noi parade. It is the basic attitude of a
nation, a period, a class, a religious or philosophical persuasion—all
this unconsciously qualified by one personality, and condensed into
one work. !t is obvious that such an involuntary revelation will be ob- •
scured in proportion as either one of the two elements, idea or form, is
voluntarily emphasized or suppressed. A spinning machine is perhaps
the most impressive manifestation of a functional idea, and an "ab-
stract" painting is perhaps the most expressive manifestation of pure
form, but both have a minimum of content. (Panofsky 1938, 105)

In May 1950 we find the Peirce quote in a letter Panofsky writes to


Horace M. Kallen. Again it is used to illustrate Panofsky's method of
interpretation including the context of the "hat scene" from 1932,
which is here given in a more concise form:
444
Suppose I meet an acquaintance on the street and tip my hat to
him. T h e n my action will be caused, as you say yourself, by a variety ^
of causes, specifically, my recognizing the other gentleman as an
acquaintance and my consciousness of the conventions of m o d e r n g
Western society. T h e m e a n i n g or intent of my action, however, is
quite i n d e p e n d e n t of these causes and will be found, as in a work of
art, on different levels. M y obvious or overt intent is a show of po-
liteness or goodwill. But if I happen to dislike the gentleman the
way in which the action is performed may indicate to the acute
3
observer an underlying intent (whether or not consciously realized ^
by myself) to p u t into this show of politeness an indication of cool- o
ness or even antipathy. Beneath this level there may also be found a 5T
m e a n i n g which is not conscious in any case, and which relates to
my entire personality m u c h as any work of an artist relates to his, '
and may reveal to an observer all my positive and negative qualities, M
my being conditioned by class, nationality, race, complexes, and ^
what not. Even these hidden intentions ("It does not matter what a 5
man parades b u t what he betrays."), fall for the art historian, within ^
the category of meaning, and this is one of the reasons why m u c h >
that artists write about the intention of their own works must be Z
accepted not as sufficient interpretation of these works b u t as an so
utterance to be interpreted as a parallel p h e n o m e n o n . (Panofsky
2 0 0 6 b , 25)

Panofsky uses the quote one more time in 1969, in his essay "Erasmus
and the Visual Arts," and readers who did not know better must have
thought that Peirce had actually said something about Erasmus:

Like most northern humanists Erasmus was primarily interested in


the written word and only secondarily in the world accessible to the
eye; in an unguarded moment he went so far as to assert that Pliny's
Naturalis historia was worth more than all the works of all the sculp-
tors and painters referred to therein. Most of his statements about
the visual arts must be read with the understanding that they were
made with what may be called limited responsibility. And, unless he
deals with the then burning question of image worship, he speaks of
architecture, sculpture and painting either by way of moralization—
as when he uses works of art to elucidate philosophical or theological
concepts—or as an interested party, as when he attempts to please a
correspondent or gives vent to purely personal impressions and reac-
tions. In neither case can we expect consistency, objectivity or sus-
tained originality; and in both cases, to quote Charles Peirce, what
Erasmus parades is less important than what he betrays. (Panofsky
1969,204)

Apart from this recurring theme, there is no mention of Peirce in Pan-


ofsky's writings. It is curious that Panofsky should refer to a footnote of
"Issues of Pragmaticism" in 1932, because Peirce was not well known in
445
"^ Germany at the time and a reprint of "Issues" did not appear until
Ö 1934, in the fifth volume of the Collected Papers. How did Panofsky
C come in contact with Peirce's essay?
d The most likely person to have introduced Panofsky to Peirce's writ-
Z ings is the art historian Edgar Wind (1900-1971). Wind was a student
S of Ernst Cassirer and Erwin Panofsky and wrote both his dissertation
(L) and his habilitation under the supervision of Cassirer and Panofsky. In
E 1924 at the annual meeting of the American Philosophical Association
"5 Wind made acquaintance with Morris Raphael Cohen, who only the
^ year before had published Chance, Love, and Logic, the first posthu-
(y^ mous collection of Peirce's essays. From 1925 to 1927 Wind had a two-
2" year appointment at the University of North Carolina, where he came
/^ in contact with C. I. Lewis, who had previously worked on Peirces
,_, logic for his Survey of Symbolic Logic [1918]. When asked. Wind him-

ff self stated that his "teachers," the people who had most influenced his
QJ thought, had been Aby Warburg and Charles S. Peirce (Krois 1998,
<i 184; Krois 2009, 16). His habilitation shows the influence of Peirce s
^^ writings, in particular his use of the pragmatic maxim. As Wind writes
Zi in a newspaper article of 1958, recalling his habilitation Experiment and
"s metaphysics: towards a resolution of the cosmological antinomies [1930,
^ first published in 1934], "My thesis was that symbols are 'real' only to
H the extent in which they can be embodied in an experimentum crucis
whose outcome is directly observable—in [Cassirer's] view a deplorable
lapse into 'empiricism."' (Wind 1958, 297) The key word here is em-
bodiment (Verkörperung). Wind holds that the way ideas, concepts, or
plans firm up is comparable to the creation of tools or works of art. A
work of art is an embodied idea. Wind himself uses the quotation from
Peirce we found in Panofsky's writings. His essay "Some Points of Con-
tact Between History and Natural Science" [1936] is published right
next to Panofsky's essay "Et in Arcadia Ego" in a memorial publication
for Ernst Cassirer:

That human agents, who form the substance of what Dilthey calls
"the socio-historical reality", experience and know themselves "in-
wardly" is a bold assertion. It transforms one of the most troublesome
moral precepts ("Know thyself!") into a plain matter of fact, which is
contradicted by both ancient and modern experience. Whatever ob-
jections may be made to the current psychology of the unconscious,
it is undeniable that men do not know themselves by immediate in-
tuition and that they live and express themselves on several levels.
Hence, the interpretation of historical documents requires a far more
complex psychology than Dilthey s doctrine of immediate experience
with its direct appeal to a state of feeling. Peirce wrote in a draft of a
psychology of the development of ideas: "it is the belief men betray,
and not that which they parade, which has to be studied." (Wind
1936,258)
446
Panofsky corresponds with Wind a few days before giving his first lee- '^
ture on Gothic architecture at Vassar GoUege, New York. From this ñ
letter we can see that Panofsky's aim in discussing the analogy of Gothic "
architecture and scholasticism already in its original version of 1944 3
was the wish to establish the modus operandi linking both. In order to ^
do so he will refer to the medieval concept oí habitus, and this, in turn, '^
will be taken up by Pierre Bourdieu. The letter reads as follows: 3
c
Lieber Edgar, . . . o>
Dass Sie und Gemahlin Anfang Dezember in New York sind, ^
passt fein. Ich muss am 6 Dezember einen ziemlich wahnsinnigen 3-
Vbrtrag in Vassar halten ("Gothic and Scholasticism," ein mir selbst "
etwas verrückt vorkommender Versuch, zu beweisen, dass die go- >
tischen Architekten wirklich einen scholastischen modus operandi
befolgten—nicht nur "parallelism" oder "analogy"), und kann daher j '
sehr gut mit Dora am 5. nach New York kommen. . . . S
Mit vielen Grüssen von Haus zu Haus, ^
Ihr alter Pan. (Panofsky 2003, 515)" ^

It is interesting to see that even the two poles of what one parades and Jo
what one betrays make their way into Pierre Bourdieu's 1967 afterword
to Panofsky's Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism:

[Panofsky] offers the apparently most naive explanation (simply per-


haps because it takes some of the mystery out of these correspon-
dences). In a society in which the transmission of culture is
monopolized by a school, the profound affinities that bind together
human works (and, obviously, behaviors and thoughts) find their
principle in the scholastic institution vested with the function of
transmitting, consciously and also, in part, unconsciously, a subcon-
scious knowledge, or, more exactly, of producing individuals en-
dowed with this system of subconscious (or deeply buried) schemes
that constitute their culture or, better yet, their habitus, in short, of
transforming the collective heritage into an individual and collective
subconscious. To relate the works of a period with practices derived
from a school of thought is to give oneself one of the means to explain
not only what they claim, but also what they betray in so far as they
partake of the symbolics of an epoch and a society. (Bourdieu, trans-
lated by Laurence Petit, in Holsinger 2005, 230)

3. Peirce, Panofiky and Bourdieu: Habitus


It is unlikely that Panofsky read Peirce's Berkeley review and knew
that the American had written about the analogy of scholasticism and
architecture. Its reprint did not appear until volume 8 of the Collected
Papers in 1958 (GP 8.7 fF.). If a reference to the classical concept of
habitus needed any prompting Panofsky would have gotten it from
Karl Mannheim's essay "Beiträge zur Theorie der Weltanschauungs-
447
^ Interpretation" ("On the Interpretation of Weltanschauung^) [1923] or
Ö his colleague Charles Rufus Moreys introduction to Mediaeval Art
C [1942]. I am thus not claiming that Panofsky's analogy of Gothic archi-
d tecture with scholasticism was in any way inspired by the writings of
Z Peirce. In 1944, Panofsky could have been familiar with the essays pub-
^ lished in Cohens collection Chance, Love, and Logic, It is likely that he
<o knew Peirces essay "How to Make Our Ideas Clear," because Edgar
C Wind refers to it in his habilitation, and we may assume that Panofsky
-g knew the essay "Issues of Pragmaticism" and not just the footnote he
K>" repeatedly quotes. But does the footnote whose journey we followed in
(y^ the last section of this essay not suggest the importance of unconscious
^ habits? If what weip\j\A\c\yparade, betrays our inner intentions, how is
pv this accounted for? It may be time to examine what "habitus'^ means.
,_, ''Habitus'' is originally the Latin translation of the Aristotelian
H ^'hexif and, like ''dispositio'' (Gr. ''diathesis''), refers to a type of qual-
CJ ity. While habits are less easy to shake than dispositions, dispositions
<1 may evolve into habits: their difference lies in duration and strength.
^^ Thus the extension of the term "habit" may contain cases of disposi-
Z tions: for a sickness, though really a disposition, can evolve into a
"^ habit (Aristotle, Gziegories 8b33). In later scholasticism—in the writ-
^ ings of Ockham and Suarez—habitus is understood as a principle
H which facilitates action.
Habits'*' play an important role in Peirce's writings. According to
Peirce, thinking is a purposeful process: "the whole function of thought
is to produce habits of action," and "what a thing means is simply
what habits it involves." (EP 1:131. W 3:265, 1878) That beliefs are
expressed in habits is the topic of "The Fixation of Belief" [1877].
Peirce tells us there that beliefs follow a sort of law of perseverance'^
and that problem solving tends toward finding a habitual rule. The
newly acquired beliefs are then expressed in the readiness to act in
certain ways."^ This is a classical theme which can also be found in
Aristotle; in the Nicomachean Ethics decisions of the will are based on
habits (e. g.. Nie. Eth. II, 1103b3, 1157b30). But to Peirce habit is also
an ontological category, for the quality a diamond "has," or how the
crystal "behaves" in certain experimental conditions, determines its
definition as the hardest crystal.'^ This may sound strange today, but
in the 19th century it was not unusual to use the word "habit" in non-
psychological context. William James, for example, who reserves a
whole chapter of his Principles ofPsychology to habit, writes that natu-
ral laws are "immutable habits":

the philosophy of habit is . . . in the first instance, a chapter in physics


rather than in physiology or psychology. That it is at bottom a physi-
cal principle is admitted by all good recent writers on the subject.
Oames 1950, 105)
448
This is, of course, in keeping with Peirce's view that "matter is effete J^
mind" (EP 1:293, W 8:106, 1890)—habits displaying a wide range of S"
mutability from the flexible habits of mind on the one hand to the im- "
mutable laws of matter on the other. g
Relevant for Peirce and for Panofsky is Thomas Aquinas's view that §^
the habitus is a mediator between the possible and the real because it "S^
partakes of both potency and action: "habitus quodammodo est me- 3
dium inter potentiam puram et purum actum." {Summa Theologiae I, r,
q.87, a.2. co.) Panofsky directly refers to Aquinas and defines his use of "•
"habitus" as "principium importans ordinem ad actum," as a principle o
that regulates the act (Panofsky 1976, 21). Panofsky assumes that: 5!

the passion for "clarification" imparted itself—quite naturally in view •


of the educational monopoly of Scholasticism-to virtually every ^
mind engaged in cultural pursuits; it grew into a "mental habit." >
(Panofsky 1976, 36) 5

The structure of a treatise like the Summa Theologiae is an attempt to ^


illustrate the conviction that human thought is systematic but limited z
to its system, since the truth gained by revelation extends that which "^
reason can give us. But as reason is God-given, one must make use of
its powers and make explicit what it can achieve. This results in the
three requirements for a Summa:

(1) totality (sufficient enumeration), (2) arrangement according to a


system of homologous parts and parts of parts (sufficient articula-
tion), and (3) distinctness and deductive cogency (sufficient interrela-
tion)—all this enhanced by the literary equivalent of Thomas
Aquinas's similitudines: suggestive terminology,parallelismus membro-
rum, and rhyme. (Panofsky 1976, 31)

This scholastic (literary) structure finds its literal equivalent in the Gothic
cathedral; Panofsky sees totality in the aim of medieval masons to embody
in the Gothic cathedral "the whole of Ghristian knowledge, theological,
moral, natural, and historical, with everything in its place and that which
no longer found its place, suppressed." (Panofsky 1976, 44-45) The "uni-
form division and subdivision of the whole structure" meets the second
requirement of sufficient articulation (ibid., 45). The third requirement,
that of sufficient interrelation, may be observed in analogous relations
between parts and sectors of the cathedral (ibid., 47).'* Panofsky is not
saying, however, that Gothic architecture is the direct application of Scho-
lasticism. He is well aware that master masons or architects did not read
theological treatises as a pastime. But since the architect of a cathedral
worked out the iconographie program "in close cooperation with a scho-
lastic advisor," he "assimilated and conveyed rather than applied the sub-
stance of contemporary thought" (ibid., 27-28):
449
"^ What he who "devised the form of the building while not himself
ÏJ manipulating its matter" could and did apply, directly and qua archi-
"S tect, was rather that peculiar method of procedure which must have
S been the first thing to impress itself upon the mind of the layman
^ whenever it came in touch with that of the schoolman. . . . This
00 method of procedure follows, as every modus operandi does, from a
^ modus essendi\ it follows from the very raison ¿/f/rí-of Early and High
p Scholasticism, which is to establish the unity of truth. The men of the
3 twelfth and thirteenth centuries attempted a task not yet clearly en-
^ visaged by their forerunners and ruefully to be abandoned by their
•"^ successors, the mystics and the nominalists: the task of writing a per-
C/) manent peace treaty between faith and reason (Panofsky, 1976,
2 28-29).

H-, It is the mediating function that makes habitus an interesting con-


E-H cept to sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. In contrast to Peirce, Bourdieu uses
QJ the term only for acquired\i2k)\\.%, not for innate ones. Created by a so-
<¡ cial rather than individual process, Bourdieu's habitus stands for the
^ tacit social knowledge internalized in the individual. This is actually
Z not too far from the first order of agapastic habit-taking, for Peirce also
"^ aims to show that there is a continuum between the individual and
^ society. Bourdieu, too, makes a point of showing that habitual acts are
H caused by neither pure chance nor necessary laws (Bourdieu 1987,
103). Moreover, Bourdieu's /^¿z^/fwj stands—like Peirce's habit—not in
opposition to creativity:

I wanted to demonstrate the active, inventive and 'creative' capacities


of the habitus and the agent (which are not expressed by the term
'habit'). (Bourdieu 2011, 179)

Peirce's essay "Issues of Pragmaticism" deals critically with the limits of


conscious rational thought. His footnote, used again and again in vary-
ing contexts by Panofsky, contains the insight that our actions may tell
more about our historical and social limitations than we consciously
intend. This insight links Peirce, Panofsky and Bourdieu. Bourdieu
writes that taking up the "long outmoded" concept oï habitus, was mo-
tivated by the wish to reactivate a word from tradition and was "in-
spired by the conviction that work on concepts may also be cumulative."
(Bourdieu 2011, 180) Reactivating old terminology and exploring the
potential of historical ideas is very much in the spirit of Peirce, who
believed like Whewell that novelty in itself is not a mark of quality.
I hope to have shown that a historical reading of Peirce's com-
ments regarding Gothic architecture deserves more than the half-end-
note John F. Boler reserved for it. Peirce's "habits" are not identical
with Panofsky's "mental habits" or Bourdieu's concept oí habitus, but

450
their comparison does shed light on the cumulative history of a philo- "^
sophical term." ^'
Universität Wien "
david.wagner@univie.ac.at 3

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The follovi^ing conventions for references to Peirce's v^^ork are used: ^

References to Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A Chronological Edition (Peirce 1982- 2_


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NOTES
1. For a review of this lecture, see "Panofsky and Scholasticism," The Vassar
Chronicle, 9.12.1944, p.7. 453
•^ 2. A view held by August Wilhelm von Schlegel (Frankl I960, 454fF.), later
SJ popularized by Schopenhauer (Ibid., 472f.).
"2 3. Among "fundamental ideas" Whewell distinguishes the ideas of time and
S space, since they are not derived from experience but form our perceptions
¡^ (Whewell 1858b, 9 - 1 0 ) . In that respect he follows Kant. His "ideas" are, however,
00 not identical with Kantian categories, in that Whewell allows for many more be-
'^ side those Kant admitted. Whewell even thinks that we may discover new funda-
C mental ideas as science progresses (Ducasse 1960).
3 4 . For a discussion of Peirce's evolutionism see chapter four of Wiener (1969).
,O Peirce's position towards Darwinism is also discussed in Croce (1995, 198fF.).
'"^ 5. T h e editors of the Collected Papers chose to call the manuscripts for this
CO book Grand Lo^c, Volume 11 of the chronological Writing ofC. S. Peirce ( W l 1)
^ will provide a reconstruction ofthat work.
j^ 6. We also find Peirce referring to Eduard von Hartmann's Philosophy of the
,__, Unconscious ten years later, in R 599 ("Reasons's Rules," c. 1902), one of many
L_( places where Peirce points out that belief is characteristically unconscious, in con-
rj trast to doubt, which is a typically conscious phenomenon.
^ 7. "The only thing of which I am sure is, that the distinction between the or-
fyy ganic and inorganic is arbitrary; that it is more coherent with our other ideas, and
•^ therefore more acceptable, to start with every molecule as a living thing, and then
^ deduce death as the breaking up of an association or corporation, than to start
^ with inanimate molecules and smuggle life into them; and that, therefore, what
we call the inorganic world must be regarded as up to a certain point living, and
•""^ instinct, within certain limits, with consciousness, volition, and power of con-
certed action" (Butler 1910, 15) See also MacDonald (1927) and Amigoni (2007).
8. For more information concerning the influence ofSchellingon Peirce's evo-
lutionary metaphysics, see Esposito (1977).
9. See, for example, his introduction to volume one, where Hartmann states:
"we find in Schelling the conception of the Unconscious in its full purity, clearness
and depth" (Hartmann 1893, 24).
10. The prejudice that Peirce's writings are "idiosyncratic . . . demanding, and
at times oudandishly hermetic" (Elkins 2003, 5) is a welcome excuse for many art
historians to ignore Peirce altogether. It is therefore of little surprise that Christine
Hasenmueller does not even mention Peirce in her article "Panofsky, Iconography,
and Semiotics" (Hasenmueller 1978).
11. The first English translation of this essay by Jas Eisner and Katharina Lo-
renz may be found in the spring 2012 issue of Critical Inquiry. Here is Eisner's and
Lorenz' translation of this passage: "After all, just as the degree of politeness in
lifting a hat is a matter of the will and consciousness of the person doing the greet-
ing, but it is not in his power to control what message about his innermost nature
others may take from his gesture, so likewise even the artist knows only 'what he
parades' but not 'what he betrays' (to quote an intellectually stimulating Ameri-
can)" (Panofsky 2012, 480)—See also note 8 of their article "The Genesis of
Iconology" in the same issue (Elsner/Lorenz 2012, 487).
12. For a discussion of the origins of Panofsky's tripartite structure of interpre-
tation, see: Hart (1993).
13. This reads in English: "Dear Edgar, . . . That you and your wife will be in
New York in December is perfect. I have to give a rather crazy lecture at Vassar on
434
the 6th ("Gothic and Scholasticism" even for my taste a bit mad: the attempt to '^
show that gothic architects were actually following a scholastic modus operandi— ^
not just a 'patalellism' or an 'analogy'), and will thus be able to come with Dora to ""'
New York. . . . With many greetings from house to house, your old Pan." (Panof- g
sky 2003, 515; my translation) o^
14. Peirce's use of the anglicized form of the scholastic term is in keeping with ^
his own criteria for an ethics of terminology (EP 2:266, 1903). p
15. Verbatim in Alexander Bain: "The foremost rank, among our intuitive a.
tendencies involved in belief, is to be assigned to the natural trust that we have in 3"
the continuance of the present state of things, or the disposition to go on acting as we ^
have once begun. This is a sort of Law of Perseverance in the human mind, like o
the first law of Motion in Mechanics" (Bain 1865, 537). ^•
16. "Bain does not use the scholastic term 'habit' in this connection, but to
one as steeped in scholasticism as Peitce was, this would seem the obvious techni- *
cal term for the potentiality, the readiness to act, of which Bain speaks as the es- (^
sence of belief" (Fisch 1986, 104n27). >.
17. Writing in 1902, Peirce explains these two uses of "habit" as follows: "Let g
us use the word 'habit,' throughout this book, not in its narrower, and more ^
proper sense, in which it is opposed to a natural disposition (for the term acquired ^
habit will perfectly express that narrower sense), but in its wider and perhaps still Z
more usual sense, in which it denotes such a specialization, original or acquired, »
of the nature of a man, or an animal, or a vine, or a crystallizable chemical sub-
stance, or anything else, that he or it will behave, or always tend to behave, in a
way describable in general terms upon every occasion (or upon a considerable
proportion of the occasions) that may present itself of a generally describable char-
acter" (R 596, GP 5.538).
18. Panofsky sees the homology—the uniform division and subdivision—of
the logical sections in the Summa mirrored in the Gothic architectural vocabulary:
"All parts are on the same 'logical level'—and this is especially noticeable in those
decorative and representational features which, in architectute, correspond to
Thomas Aquinas's similitudines—came to be conceived of as members of one class,
so that the enormous variety in, for instance, the shape of canopies, the decoration
of socles and archevaults, and, above all, the form of piers and capitals tended to be
suppressed in favor of standard types admitting only of such variations as would
occur in nature among individuals of one species" (Panofsky 1976, 48-49).
19. This paper originated as a submission to the 2011-12 Gharles S. Peirce
Society Essay contest. My article had already been revised and copy-edited, when,
in July 2012, Tullio Viola's fine paper appeared in the European Journal ofPragma-
tism and American Philosophy (see: Viola 2012). Viola's research covers similar
ground and provides further documents for the important part William Whewell
played in Peirce's interest in Gothic architecture. In particular, Viola's reference to
R 1614 proves that in 1870, while travelling through Europe, Peirce and his wife
had read Whewell's Architectural Notes on German Churches. Viola's article also
contains further information on Edgar Wind and his role in conveying Peircean
ideas to Erwin Panofsky. I recommend his paper to anyone interested in the
subject.—I thank Naomi Osorio-Kupferblum and Esther Ramharter for their
helpful remarks. Special thanks go to the two anonymous referees of the Transac-
tions for their inspiring critiques.

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