Charles Sanders Peirce (
purse) (September 10, 1839 – April 19, 1914) was an
American philosopher, logician, mathematician,
and scientist, born in Cambridge,
Peirce was educated as a chemist and
employed as a scientist for 30 years. It is largely his
contributions to logic, mathematics, philosophy, and semiotics
(and his founding of pragmatism
) that are appreciated today. In 1934,
the philosopher Paul Weiss
called Peirce "the most original and versatile of American
philosophers and America's greatest logician".
An innovator in mathematics, statistics
research methodology, philosophy
, Peirce considered himself a
first and foremost. He made major
contributions to logic, but "logic" for him encompassed much of
that which is now called epistemology and philosophy of science. He
saw logic as the formal branch of semiotics
, of which he is a founder. As early as
1886 he saw that logical operations could be carried out by
electrical switching circuits, an idea used decades later to
produce digital computers.
Sanders Peirce was the son of Sarah Hunt Mills and Benjamin Peirce, a professor of astronomy and mathematics at Harvard University, perhaps the first serious research mathematician
Charles Peirce's birthplace near
At 12 years of age, Charles read an older
brother's copy of Richard Whately
Elements of Logic
, then the leading English language text
on the subject. Thus began his lifelong fascination with logic and
reasoning. He went on to obtain the BA and MA from Harvard, and in
1863 the Lawrence Scientific
awarded him its first M.Sc. in chemistry
. This last degree was awarded
summa cum laude
otherwise his academic record was undistinguished. At Harvard, he
began lifelong friendships with Francis Ellingwood Abbot
, Chauncey Wright
, and William James
. One of his Harvard instructors,
Charles William Eliot
an unfavorable opinion of Peirce. This opinion proved fateful,
because Eliot, while President of Harvard 1869–1909—a period
encompassing nearly all of Peirce's working life—repeatedly vetoed
having Harvard employ Peirce in any capacity.
Peirce suffered from his late teens through the rest of his life
from what was then known as "facial neuralgia", a very painful
nervous/facial condition. The biography by Joseph Brent says that
when in the throes of its pain "he was, at first, almost stupefied,
and then aloof, cold, depressed, extremely suspicious, impatient of
the slightest crossing, and subject to violent outbursts of
temper." His condition would today be diagnosed as trigeminal neuralgia
. Its consequences
may have led to the social isolation which made the later years of
his life so tragic.
United States Coast Survey
Between 1859 and 1891, Peirce was intermittently employed in
various scientific capacities by the United States Coast Survey
where he enjoyed the protection of his highly influential father
until the latter's death in 1880. This employment exempted Peirce
from having to take part in the Civil
. It would have been very awkward for him to do so, as the
with the Confederacy
At the Survey, he worked mainly in geodesy
and in gravimetry
, refining the use of
to determine small local
variations in the strength of Earth
. The Survey sent him to Europe five times,
first in 1871, as part of a group dispatched to observe a solar eclipse
. While in Europe, he sought out
Augustus De Morgan
, William Stanley Jevons
, and William Kingdon Clifford
mathematicians and logicians whose turn of mind resembled his own.
From 1869 to 1872, he was employed as an Assistant in Harvard's
astronomical observatory, doing important work on determining the
brightness of stars
and the shape of the
. (On Peirce the astronomer, see Lenzen's
chapter in Moore and Robin, 1964.) In 1876 he was elected a member
of the National Academy of Sciences.
In 1878, he was the first to define the
as so many wavelengths
, the definition employed
until 1983 (Taylor 2001: 5).
During the 1880s, Peirce's indifference to bureaucratic detail
waxed while the quality and timeliness of his Survey work waned.
Peirce took years to write reports that he should have completed in
mere months. Meanwhile, he wrote hundreds of logic, philosophy, and
science entries for the Century Dictionary
.See the Peirce
Edition Project (PEP) on Peirce's contributions to the Century
Dictionary at UQÀM (Université du
Québec à Montréal
) at http://www.pep.uqam.ca/index_en.pep
The Century Dictionary
itself is available both online (at
no charge) and on CD at http://www.global-language.com/century/ .
In 1885, an investigation by the Allison Commission
exonerated Peirce, but
led to the dismissal of Superintendent Julius Hilgard
and several other Coast Survey
employees for misuse of public funds. In 1891, Peirce resigned from
the Coast Survey, at the request of Superintendent Thomas Corwin Mendenhall
. He never
again held regular employment.
Johns Hopkins University
In 1879, Peirce was appointed Lecturer in logic at the new Johns Hopkins University
university was strong in a number of areas that interested him,
such as philosophy (Royce
did their PhDs at Hopkins), psychology
(taught by G. Stanley Hall
and studied by Joseph Jastrow
, who coauthored a landmark
empirical study with Peirce), and mathematics (taught by J. J.
, who came to admire
Peirce's work on mathematics and logic). This nontenured position
proved to be the only academic appointment Peirce ever held.
Brent documents something Peirce never suspected, namely that his
efforts to obtain academic employment, grants, and scientific
respectability were repeatedly frustrated by the covert opposition
of a major American scientist of the day, Simon Newcomb
. Peirce's ability to find
academic employment may also have been frustrated by a difficult
personality. Brent conjectures about various psychological and
Peirce's personal life also handicapped him. His first wife,
Harriet Melusina Fay, left him in 1875. He soon took up with a
, whose maiden name
and nationality remain uncertain to this day (the best guess is
that her name was Juliette Froissy and that she was French), but
his divorce from Harriet became final only in 1883, after which he
married Juliette. That year, Newcomb pointed out to a Johns Hopkins
trustee that Peirce, while a Hopkins employee, had lived and
traveled with a woman to whom he was not married. The ensuing
scandal led to his dismissal. Just why Peirce's later applications for
academic employment at Clark University, University of Wisconsin–Madison, University of Michigan, Cornell University, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago were all unsuccessful can no longer be
Presumably, his having lived with Juliette for
years while still legally married to Harriet led him to be deemed
morally unfit for academic employment anywhere in the USA. Peirce
had no children by either marriage.
Peirce spent part of his inheritance from his parents to buy of
rural land near Milford, Pennsylvania, land which never yielded an economic
There he built a large house which he named
" where he spent the rest of his life,
writing prolifically, much of it unpublished to this day. His
living beyond his means soon led to grave financial and legal
difficulties. Peirce spent much of his last two decades unable to
afford heat in winter, and subsisting on old bread donated by the
local baker. Unable to afford new stationery, he wrote on the
side of old manuscripts. An outstanding
warrant for assault and unpaid debts led to his being a fugitive in
New York City for a while. Several people, including his brother
James Mills Peirce
neighbors, relatives of Gifford
, settled his debts and paid his property taxes and
Peirce did some scientific and engineering consulting and wrote a
good deal for meager pay, mainly dictionary and encyclopedia
entries, and reviews for The Nation
editor, Wendell Phillips
, he became friendly). He did translations for the Smithsonian
Institution, at its director Samuel
Peirce also did substantial
mathematical calculations for Langley's research on powered flight.
Hoping to make money, Peirce tried inventing. He began but did not
complete a number of books. In 1888, President Grover Cleveland
appointed him to the
. From 1890
onwards, he had a friend and admirer in Judge Francis C. Russell
of Chicago, who introduced Peirce
to Paul Carus
and Edward Hegeler
, the editor and
the owner, respectively, of the pioneering American philosophy
, which eventually published 14 or so articles by
Peirce. He applied to the newly formed Carnegie Institution
for a grant to
write a book summarizing his life's work. The application was
doomed; his nemesis Newcomb served on the Institution's executive
committee, and its President had been the President of Johns
Hopkins at the time of Peirce's dismissal.
The one who did the most to help Peirce in these desperate times
was his old friend William James
dedicating his Will to Believe
(1897) to Peirce, and
arranging for Peirce to be paid to give four series of lectures at
or near Harvard (1898, 1903, 1907). Most important, each year from
1898 until his death in 1910, James wrote to his friends in the
Boston intelligentsia, asking that they contribute financially to
help support Peirce. Peirce reciprocated by designating James's
eldest son as his heir should Juliette predecease him.Skagestad
(1981:234) and Brent (1998:315–16) said that it was in gratitude to
William James that Peirce added Santiago
James' in Spanish, to his full name, but Peirce was mentioned in
print as Charles Santiago Peirce in 1890, 1891, and 1892, years
before James's publicizing him and helping him to get lectures and
funds. Kenneth Ketner (1998:280) cited an 1890 case (brought to his
attention by Joseph Ransdell) of the heading "Peirce, Charles
S(antiago)", which was above a list of 15 C. S. Peirce papers in 11
publications starting on p. 710
in the bibliography for volume 1 of Schröder's
Vorlesungen über die Algebra der
(1890). See also for example p. 65
of the Jahrbuch über die Fortschritte der Mathematik
v. XXIV for 1892, published 1895.
The claim of some connection between "Santiago" and William James
goes back at least to William James's wife Alice, quoted in 1927 by
F.C.S. Schiller on pp. 90-91 in "William James and the Making of
Pragmatism" in The Personalist
8, April 1927, reprinted in
Schiller's 1934 Must Philosophers Disagree?
Joseph Brent (author of Charles Sanders Peirce: A Life
history professor emeritus, U District of Columbia) claimed to have
found Peirce explaining his motive as gratitude to William James in
MS 318, but other scholars don't find it there. That issue was
raised at peirce-l in 2000, where Brent wrote
on Sept. 6, 2000 and again on
Sept. 7, 2000 that he clearly remembers
MS wherein Peirce says that he adopted "Santiago" in
honor of James. (However, if Peirce adopted it for some other
reason, still possibly he revived it during some later years to
In 2007 correspondence at
peirce-l: Prof. Emeritus Joseph Ransdell
writes that while he was a Columbia
graduate student he noticed the 1890 listing of Peirce with
"Santiago" in Schröder and pointed it out to Max Fisch and, years
later, to Ketner; Prof. Jaime Nubiola, director of the Grupo de
Estudios Peirceanos ( GEP
) at U Navarra, Spain, responds adding that the
mathematician Ventura Reyes Prósper referred to Peirce's middle
name as "Santiago" in letters and two papers (1891 and 1892) and
wrote in a footnote to the 1892 paper: "Although it may seem
strange, his first name is in English and his second is in Spanish;
I do not know why." For the letters and papers, see Jaime Nubiola
and Jesús Cobo, "The Spanish Mathematician Ventura Reyes Prósper
and his connections with Charles S. Peirce and Christine
Ladd-Franklin" (version 11-6-2000), Arisbe Eprint
In MS 1611 (1903), for manuscript directory and biographical
dictionary of the Men of Science in the United States
at the Robin Catalogue), Peirce wrote: "(I
am variously listed in print as Charles Santiago Peirce, Charles
Saunders Peirce, and Charles Sanders Peirce. Under the
circumstances a noncommittal S. suits me best)" (as quoted and
sourced by Susan Howe, Pierce-Arrow
, 1999, Google
, B&N Eprint
, scroll down, click on "Features",
Peirce used "Santiago Sanders" — both middle names together — in
, v. XVI, 1906, n. 1, "Mr. Peterson's Proposed
Discussion", p. 151
; also in v. XVI (misprinted "VI"), n. 4,
"Prolegomena To an Apology For Pragmaticism", p. 546
; and in v. XVIII, 1908, n. 3, "Some Amazing
Mazes (Conclusion), Explanation of curiosity the First", p.
died destitute in Milford, Pennsylvania, twenty years before his widow.
"Beyond doubt [...] he was one of the most original minds of the
later nineteenth century, and certainly the greatest American
thinker ever." (His Principia
does not mention Peirce; Peirce's work was not
widely known till later.) A.
, while reading some of Peirce's
unpublished manuscripts soon after arriving at Harvard in 1924, was
struck by how Peirce had anticipated his own "process" thinking.
(On Peirce and process
, see the chapter by Lowe in Moore and Robin, 1964.)
viewed Peirce as "one of the
greatest philosophers of all times". Yet Peirce's accomplishments
were not immediately recognized. His imposing contemporaries
and Josiah Royce
admired him, and Cassius Jackson Keyser
and C. K.
wrote about Peirce with respect,
but to no immediate effect.
The first scholar to give Peirce his considered professional
attention was Royce's student Morris Raphael Cohen
, the editor of a
1923 anthology of Peirce's writings titled Chance, Love, and
and the author of the first bibliography of Peirce's
scattered writings. John Dewey
Peirce as an instructor at Johns Hopkins and, from 1916 onwards,
Dewey's writings repeatedly mention Peirce with deference. His 1938
Logic: The Theory of Inquiry
is Peircean through and
through. The publication of the first six volumes of the
(1931–35), the most important event to
date in Peirce studies and one that Cohen made possible by raising
the needed funds, did not prompt an outpouring of secondary
studies. The editors of those volumes, Charles Hartshorne
and Paul Weiss
, did not become Peirce
specialists. Early landmarks of the secondary literature include
the monographs by Buchler (1939), Feibleman (1946), and Goudge
(1950), the 1941 Ph.D. thesis by
Arthur W. Burks
(who went on to edit volumes 7 and 8
of the Collected Papers
), and the edited volume Wiener and
Young (1952). The Charles S.
was founded in 1946.
, an academic journal specializing in
Peirce, pragmatism, and American philosophy, has appeared since
In 1949, while doing unrelated archival work, the historian of
mathematics Carolyn Eisele
(1902–2000) chanced on an autograph letter by Peirce. Thus began
her 40 years of research on Peirce the mathematician and scientist,
culminating in Eisele (1976, 1979, 1985). Beginning around 1960,
the philosopher and historian of
ideas Max Fisch
(1900–1995) emerged as
an authority on Peirce; Fisch (1986) reprints many of the relevant
articles, including a wide-ranging survey (Fisch 1986: 422-48) of
the impact of Peirce's thought through 1983.
Peirce has come to enjoy a significant international following,
marked by university research centers devoted to Peirce studies and
in BrazilCentro de Estudos Peirceanos ( CeneP) (M.
Lúcia Santaella-Braga, Pontificia Universidade Católica de São
Paulo (PUC-SP), Brazil)
, Finland, Germany
- International Research Group on Abductive Inference at
the Johann Wolfgang
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main (Uwe Wirth, Alexander
Roesler; Frankfurt, Germany).
- Theological Research Group in C.S. Peirce's Philosophy
Justus-Liebig-Universität Geissen; Wilfred Haerle,
Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany).
- Research Group on Semiotic Epistemology and Mathematics
Education, Institut für Didaktik der
Mathematik (Michael Hoffman, Michael Otte, Universität
Bielefeld, Germany)., FranceInstitut de Recherche en Sémiotique, Communication et
Éducation ( L 'I.R.S.C.E)(Gérard Deledalle, Joëlle Réthoré,
Université de Perpignan, France, 1974-2003),
SpainGrupo de Estudios
Peirceanos GEP (Jaime
Nubiola, University of Navarra, Spain), and Italy Centro Studi
Peirce, Università degli Studi di
Milano, Italy. Founded 1998 by Carlo Sini and Rossella
Fabbrichesi.. His writings have been translated into several
languages, including German, French, Finnish, Spanish, and Swedish.
Since 1950, there have been French, Italian, Spanish and British
Peirceans of note. For many years, the North American philosophy
department most devoted to Peirce was the University of
Toronto's, thanks in good part to the leadership of
Thomas Goudge and David Savan.
years, American Peirce scholars have clustered at Indiana University - Purdue University
Indianapolis, home of the Peirce Edition Project (PEP), and the
Robert Burch has commented on Peirce's current influence as
Currently, considerable interest is being taken in
Peirce's ideas from outside the arena of academic
The interest comes from industry, business, technology,
and the military; and it has resulted in the existence of a number
of agencies, institutes, and laboratories in which ongoing research
into and development of Peircean concepts is being
reputation rests largely on a number of academic papers published
in American scientific and scholarly journals such as
Proceedings of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Journal of Speculative
Philosophy, The Monist,
Popular Science Monthly,
the American Journal
of Mathematics, Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, The Nation, and
The only full-length book (neither extract nor
pamphlet) that Peirce authored and saw published in his lifetime
(1878), a 181-page monograph on the
applications of spectrographic methods to astronomy. While at Johns
Hopkins, he edited Studies in
(1883), containing chapters by himself and his
graduate students. Besides lectures during his years (1879–1884) as
Lecturer in Logic at Johns Hopkins, he gave at least nine series of
lectures, many now published; see Lectures
University bought from Peirce's widow soon after his death the
papers found in his study, but did not microfilm them until
Only after Richard Robin (1967) catalogued this
did it become
clear that Peirce had left approximately 1650 unpublished
manuscripts, totaling over 100,000 pages. Most of it remains
. For more on the vicissitudes of Peirce's papers,
see Houser (1989).
List of major articles and lectures
See Charles Sanders
for extensive list of his works, along with
links to many of them readable online.
- On a New List of
Categories (Presented 1867, his philosophy's seminal work, see
#Theory of categories
- Questions Concerning Certain Faculties Claimed for Man
- Some Consequences of Four Incapacities (1868. Rejects Cartesian
foundationalism, see #Presuppositions of logic, below.
Also argues that the general is real.)
- Grounds of Validity of the Laws of Logic: Further Consequences
of Four Incapacities (1869)
- The Harvard lectures on British logicians (1869–70)
- Description of a Notation for the Logic of Relatives
- Note on the Theory of the Economy of Research (1876)
- Illustrations of the Logic of Science (1877–78) (See #Pragmatism, below.)
- On the Algebra of Logic (1880)
- A Theory of Probable Inference. Note A: On a Limited Universe
of Marks. Note B: The Logic of Relatives (1883)
- On Small Differences in Sensation (with Joseph Jastrow, 1884)
- On the Algebra of Logic: A Contribution to the Philosophy of
Notation (presented 1884)
- A Guess at the Riddle (1887–88 MS)
- Trichotomic (1888 MS)
- The Monist Metaphysical Series (1891–93)
- The Architecture of Theories (1891)
- The Doctrine of Necessity Examined (1892)
- The Law of Mind (1892)
- Man's Glassy Essence (1892)
- Evolutionary Love (1893)
- Immortality in the Light of Synechism (1893 MS)
- The Logic of Relatives (1894)
- The lectures on "Reasoning and the Logic of Things" in
Cambridge, MA (1898, invited by William James)
- F.R.L. [First Rule of Logic] (1899 MS against barriers to
inquiry, see #Presuppositions
of logic below)
- Minute Logic (1901–02 MSS)
- Application of C. S. Peirce to the Executive Committee of the
Carnegie Institution (1902)
- The Simplest Mathematics (1902 MS)
- The Harvard lectures on pragmatism (1903)
- The Lowell lectures and syllabus on topics of logic (1903)
- Kaina Stoicheia [New Elements] (1904 MS)
- What Pragmatism Is (1905)
- Issues of Pragmaticism (1905)
- Prolegomena To an Apology For Pragmaticism (1906)
Neglected Argument for the Reality of God (1908, outlines much
of Peirce's philosophy)
The first published anthology of Peirce's articles was the
one-volume Chance, Love and Logic:
, edited by Morris Raphael Cohen
, 1923, still in
were published in 1940, 1957, 1958,
1972, and 1994, most still in print. The main posthumous editions
of Peirce's works in their long trek to light, often multi-volume,
and some still in print, have included:
1931–58: Collected Papers of
Charles Sanders Peirce
(CP), 8 volumes, includes many
published works, along with a selection of previously unpublished
work and a smattering of his correspondence. This long-time
standard work in Peirce studies is organized thematically, but
texts from different times are often stitched together, making for
contradictory pieces, requiring frequent visits to editors' notes,
and obscuring Peirce's development. Edited (1–6) by Charles Hartshorne
and Paul Weiss
and (7–8) by Arthur Burks
, in print from Harvard
and on InteLex
1975–87: Charles Sanders
Peirce: Contributions to The Nation
, 4 volumes, includes
Peirce's more than 300 reviews and articles published 1869–1908 in
. Edited by Kenneth
Laine Ketner and James Edward Cook, out of print except on InteLex
New Elements of Mathematics by Charles S. Peirce
volumes in 5, included many previously unpublished Peirce
manuscripts on mathematical subjects, along with Peirce's important
published mathematical articles. Edited by Carolyn Eisele, out of
1977: Semiotic and Significs:
The Correspondence between C. S. Peirce and Victoria Lady
(2nd edition 2001), included Peirce's entire
correspondence (1903–1912) with Victoria, Lady Welby
. Peirce's other
published correspondence is largely limited to the 14 letters
included in volume 8 of the Collected Papers
, and the
20-odd pre-1890 items included so far in the Writings
Edited by Charles S. Hardwick with James Cook, out of print.
1981–now: Writings of Charles
S. Peirce, A Chronological
(W), 6 volumes of a projected 30. The limited
coverage, and defective editing and organization, of the
led Max Fisch and others in the 1970s to
found the Peirce Edition Project (PEP), whose mission is to prepare
a more complete critical chronological edition, Only six volumes
have appeared to date, but they cover the period from 1859–1890,
when Peirce carried out much of his best-known work. W 8's
publication is planned for spring 2010; and work continues on W 7,
9, and 11. In print from Indiana University
1985: Historical Perspectives
on Peirce's Logic of Science: A History of Science
volumes. Auspitz has said, "The extent of Peirce's immersion in the
science of his day is evident in his reviews in the Nation
[...] and in his papers, grant applications, and publishers'
prospectuses in the history and practice of science", referring
latterly to Historical Perspectives
. Edited by Carolyn
Eisele, out of print.
1992: Reasoning and the Logic
collects in one place Peirce's 1898 series of
lectures invited by William James. Edited by Kenneth Laine Ketner,
with commentary by Hilary Putnam
print from Harvard
(EP), 2 volumes, is an important recent
sampler of Peirce's philosophical writings. Edited (1) by Nathan
Hauser and Christian Kloesel and (2) by PEP editors, in print
from Indiana University
1997: Pragmatism as a
Principle and Method of Right Thinking
1903 Harvard "Lectures on Pragmatism" in a study edition, including
drafts, of Peirce's lecture manuscripts, which had been previously
published in abridged form; the lectures now also appear in EP 2.
Edited by Patricia Ann Turisi, in print from SUNY
Peirce's most important work in pure mathematics was in logical and
foundational areas. He also worked on linear algebra
, various geometries, topology
and Listing numbers, Bell numbers
the four-color problem
, and the
nature of continuity
worked not only in pure areas but also on applications for
economics, engineering, and map projections (the Peirce quincuncial projection
of a sphere keeps angles true and results in less distortion of
area than in other projections), and he was especially active in
probability and statistics.
Peirce made a number of striking discoveries in foundational
mathematics, nearly all of which came to be appreciated only long
after he died. He:
|The Peirce arrow
|Peirce's symbol for
"(neither)...nor...", reflecting negation of "or"
(its standard symbol "v" is the arrowhead).
- Discovered in 1880 how Boolean algebra could be expressed
via a single binary operation, either NAND or its dual, NOR, anticipating Henry M. Sheffer by 33 years. (See also De Morgan's Laws).
- In Peirce (1881) set out the now-classic axiomatization of natural number arithmetic, a
few years before Dedekind and Peano did so. In the same paper Peirce gave, years
before Dedekind, the first purely cardinal definition of a finite
set in the sense now known as "Dedekind-finite", and implied by the same
stroke an important formal definition of an infinite set (Dedekind-infinite), as a set that can be put into a one-to-one correspondence with one
of its proper subsets.
- In Peirce (1885), set out what can be read as the first
(primitive) axiomatic set
theory, anticipating Zermelo by about
Peirce wrote drafts for an introductory textbook, allusively titled
The New Elements of Mathematics
, that presented
mathematics from a decidedly novel, if not revolutionary,
standpoint. Those drafts and many other of his previously
unpublished mathematical manuscripts finally appeared in The
New Elements of Mathematics by Charles S. Peirce
(1976), edited by mathematician and Peirce scholar Carolyn
Peirce regarded mathematics as more basic than philosophy and the
special sciences (of nature and mind), and as broadly divided into
mathematics (1) of logic, (2) of discrete series, and (3) of
pseudo-continuous series (as he called them, including the real numbers
) and continuous series. Peirce
agreed with his father Benjamin
mathematics is not just the science of quantity but is more broadly
the science which draws necessary conclusions; that it studies
purely hypothetical objects; that it aids logic, not vice versa
(Peirce criticized Dedekind
and that logic itself, which Peirce placed in philosophy, is the
drawing conclusions necessary and
Mathematics of logic
Beginning with his first paper on the "Logic of
, Peirce extended the theory of relations
that Augustus De Morgan
had just recently
awakened from its Cinderella slumbers. Much of the mathematics of
relations now taken for granted was "borrowed" from Peirce, not
always with all due credit (Anellis 1995). In 1918 the logician
C. I. Lewis
wrote, "The contributions of
C.S. Peirce to symbolic logic are more numerous and varied than
those of any other writer — at least in the nineteenth century."
Beginning in 1940, Alfred Tarski
his students rediscovered aspects of Peirce's larger vision of
relational logic, developing the perspective of relational algebra
. These theoretical
resources gradually worked their way into applications, instigated
in large part by the work of Edgar F.
, who happened to be a doctoral
student of the Peirce editor and scholar Arthur W. Burks
, on the relational model
or the relational paradigm
for implementing and using databases
On Peirce and his contemporaries Ernst Schröder
and Gottlob Frege
(1982) wrote that he found through research that, though
Frege had priority by four years, it was Peirce and his student
Oscar Howard Mitchell
effectively discovered the quantifier for the mathematical world.
The main evidence for Putnam's claims is "On the Algebra of Logic:
A Contribution to the Philosophy of Notation" (1885), published in
the premier American mathematical journal of the day. Peano
, among others, cited this article and used or adapted
Peirce's notations, which are a typographical variant of those
currently used. Peirce apparently was ignorant of Frege's work,
despite their rival achievements in logic, philosophy of language
, and the
. On how the young Bertrand Russell
, especially his
Principles of Mathematics
and Principia Mathematica
, did not do
Peirce justice, see Anellis (1995).
Peirce's other major discoveries in formal logic include:
Peirce's work on formal logic had admirers other than Ernst Schröder
Jean Van Heijenoort
in his chapter in
Brunning and Forster (1997), and Geraldine Brady (2000) divide
those who study formal (and natural) languages into two camps: the
, and the proof theorists
/ universalists. Hintikka and
Brady view Peirce as a pioneer model theorist.
A philosophy of logic, grounded in his categories and semiotic, can
be extracted from Peirce's writings and, along with Peirce's
logical work more generally, is exposited and defended in Hilary
Putnam (1982); the Introduction in Houser et al. (1997); and
Dipert's chapter in Misak (2004).
Continuity and synechism
even crucial, in Peirce's philosophy. He worked long on the
mathematics of continua, and held for many years that the real
numbers constituted a pseudocontinuum and that a true continuum of
instants was not a "multitude" (as he called it) or Cantorian
aleph, that it had, within any lapse of time, room enough for any
multitude howsoever great, and that it was the real subject matter
of that which we now call topology. In 1908 he gave up on that
particular conception of continua.
Probability and statistics
Peirce held that science achieves statistical probabilities, not
certainties, and that chance, a veering from law, is absolutely
real. He assigned probability to an argument’s conclusion rather
than to a proposition, event, etc., as such. Most of his
statistical writings promote the frequency interpretation
probability (objective ratios of cases), and many of his writings
express skepticism about (and criticize the use of) probability
when such models are not based
on objective randomization
Peirce was largely a frequentist, his possible world semantics
" theory of probability.
Peirce (sometimes with Jastrow
investigated the probability
of experimental subjects, pioneering decision analysis
Peirce was one of the founders of
. He formulated modern statistics in "Illustrations of the
Logic of Science
" (1877–8) and "A Theory of Probable
" (1883). With a repeated measures design
, controlled randomized
(before Ronald A.
). He invented optimal design
for experiments on gravity, in
which he "corrected the means
He used logistic regression
, and smoothing
. Peirce extended the work on outliers
by Benjamin Peirce
, his father. He introduced
" and "likelihood
" (before Jerzy Neyman
). (See the historical books of
It is not sufficiently recognized that Peirce’s career
was that of a scientist, not a philosopher; and that during his
lifetime he was known and valued chiefly as a scientist, only
secondarily as a logician, and scarcely at all as a philosopher.
Even his work in philosophy and logic will not be understood until
this fact becomes a standing premise of Peircean studies. (Max
Fisch, in Fisch, Moore, and Robin 1964, 486).
Peirce was a working scientist for 30 years, and arguably was a
professional philosopher only during the five years he lectured at
Johns Hopkins. He learned philosophy mainly by reading, each day, a
few pages of Kant
's Critique of Pure Reason
, in the
original German, while a Harvard undergraduate. His writings bear
on a wide array of disciplines, including astronomy
history and philosophy
. This work has enjoyed
renewed interest and approval, a revival inspired not only by his
anticipations of recent scientific developments but also by his
demonstration of how philosophy can be applied effectively to human
Peirce's philosophy includes a pervasive three-category system,
, critical common-sensism
("dismiss make-believes" such as the absolutely incognizable and
the foundational hyperbolic doubt
logic as formal semiotic, philosophical pragmatism
, which he founded, Scholastic realism
, theism, objective idealism
, and belief in the
reality of continuity and of chance, mechanical necessity, and
evolutionary love. In his work, fallibilism and pragmatism may be
seen as playing roles somewhat similar to those of skepticism
, respectively, in others' work.
However, for Peirce, fallibilism is a basis for belief in the
reality of chance and continuity, and pragmatism fortifies belief
in the reality of the general.
For Peirce, First Philosophy, which he also called cenoscopy, is
less basic than mathematics and more basic than the special
sciences (of nature and mind); it studies positive phenomena in
general, phenomena available to any person at any waking moment,
and does not seek novel phenomena or resort to special experiences
or experiments in order to settle its questions. He divided
philosophy into (1) phenomenology (which he also called
phaneroscopy or categorics), (2) normative sciences (esthetics,
ethics, and logic), and (3) metaphysics; his views on them are
discussed in order below.
Theory of categories
14, 1867, the 27-year-old Peirce presented a paper entitled "
On a New List of Categories" to the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences, which published it the following year.
paper outlined a theory of predication, involving three universal
categories which Peirce developed in reaction to his reading of
, categories which Peirce would apply
throughout philosophy and elsewhere for the rest of his life. Most
students of Peirce will readily agree about their prevalence
throughout his philosophical work. Peirce scholars generally regard
the "New List" as foundational or breaking the ground for Peirce's
"architectonic", his blueprint for a pragmatic philosophy. In the
categories one will discern, concentrated, the pattern which one
finds formed by the three grades of clearness in " How To Make Our Ideas Clear
" (1878 foundational
paper for pragmatism), and in numerous other trichotomies in his
"On a New List of Categories" is cast as a Kantian deduction; it is
short but dense and difficult to summarize. The following table is
compiled from that and later works.
Peirce's Categories (technical name: the cenopythagorean
||As universe of experience:
||Quality of feeling.
||Ideas, chance, possibility.
||Reference to a ground (a ground is a pure abstraction of a
||Essentially monadic (the quale, in the sense of the
such,A quale in this sense is a such, just as a
quality is a suchness. Cf. under "Use of Letters" in §3 of Peirce's
"Description of a Notation for the Logic of Relatives", Memoirs
of the American Academy, vol. 9, pp. 317-78 (1870), separately
reprinted (1870), from which see p. 6 via Google books, also reprinted in CP 3.63:
Now logical terms are of three grand
classes. The first embraces those whose logical form involves only
the conception of quality, and which therefore represent a thing
simply as “a —.” These discriminate objects in the most rudimentary
way, which does not involve any consciousness of
discrimination. They regard an object as it is in itself as
such (quale); for example, as horse, tree, or
man. These are absolute terms. (Peirce, 1870.
But also see "Quale-Consciousness", 1898, in CP
which has the quality).
||Reaction, resistance, (dyadic) relation.
||Brute facts, actuality.
||Singularity, discreteness, “this”.
||Reference to a correlate (by its relate).
||Essentially dyadic (the relate and the correlate).
||Habits, laws, necessity.
||Generality, continuity, "all".
||Reference to an interpretant*.
||Essentially triadic (sign, object, interpretant*).
An interpretant is an interpretation in the
sense of the product of an interpretive process or the content of
Esthetics and ethics
Peirce did not write extensively in esthetics and ethics, but held
that, together with logic in the broad sense, those studies
constituted the normative sciences. He defined esthetics as the
study of good and bad; and characterized the good as "the
admirable". He held that, as the study of good and bad, esthetics
is the study of the ends governing all conduct and comes ahead of
other normative studies.
Peirce reserved the spelling "aesthetics" for the study of artistic
Philosophy: Logic, or semiotic
Logic as philosophical
Peirce regarded logic per se
as a division of philosophy,
as a normative science after esthetics and ethics, as more basic
than metaphysics, and as "the art of devising methods of research".
More generally, as inference, "logic is rooted in the social
principle", since inference depends on a standpoint that, in a
sense, is unlimited"The Doctrine of Chances", Popular Science
, v. 12, pp. 604-615, 1878 (CP 2.645-68, W 3:276-90, EP
"...death makes the number of our risks,
the number of our inferences, finite, and so makes their mean
result uncertain. The very idea of probability and of reasoning
rests on the assumption that this number is indefinitely great.
.... ...logicality inexorably requires that our interests shall
not be limited. .... Logic is rooted in the social
. Peirce called (with no sense of deprecation) "mathematics of
logic" much of the kind of thing which, in current research and
applications, is called simply "logic". He was productive in both
(philosophical) logic and logic's mathematics, which were connected
deeply in his work and thought.
Peirce argued that logic is formal semiotic, the formal study of
signs in the broadest sense, not only signs that are artificial,
linguistic, or symbolic, but also signs that are semblances or are
indexical such as reactions. Peirce held that "all this universe is
perfused with signs, if it is not composed exclusively of signs",
along with their representational and inferential relations. He
argued that, since all thought takes time, all thought is in signs
and sign processes ("semiosis") such as the inquiry process. He
logic into: (1) speculative grammar, or stechiology, on how signs
can represent and signify and, in relation to that, what kinds of
signs there are, how they combine, and how some embody or
incorporate others; (2) logical critic, or logic proper, on the
modes of inference; and (3) speculative rhetoric, or methodeutic,
the philosophical theory of inquiry, including pragmatism.
Presuppositions of logic
In his "F.R.L." [First Rule of Logic] (1899), he states that the
first, and "in one sense, this sole", rule of reason is that,
in order to learn, one needs to desire to learn
it without resting satisfied with that which one is inclined to
think. So, the first rule is, to wonder
. Peirce proceeds
to a critical theme in the shaping of theories, not to mention
Do not block the way of inquiry.
- ...there follows one corollary which itself deserves to be
inscribed upon every wall of the city of philosophy:
Peirce adds, that method and economy are best in research but no
outright sin inheres in trying any theory in the sense that the
investigation via its trial adoption can proceed unimpeded and
undiscouraged, and that "the one unpardonable offence" is a
philosophical barricade against truth's advance, an offense to
which "metaphysicians in all ages have shown themselves the most
addicted". Peirce in many writings holds that logic precedes
metaphysics (ontological, religious, and physical).
Peirce goes on to list four common barriers to inquiry: (1)
Assertion of absolute certainty; (2) maintaining that something is
absolutely unknowable; (3) maintaining that something is absolutely
inexplicable because absolutely basic or ultimate; (4) holding that
perfect exactitude is possible, especially such as to quite
preclude unusual and anomalous phenomena. To refuse absolute
certainty is the heart of fallibilism
, which Peirce
unfolds into refusals to set up any of the listed barriers. Peirce
elsewhere argues (1897) that logic's presupposition of fallibilism
leads at length to the view that chance and continuity are very
One might have thought that, as a whole, the topic belongs within
theory of inquiry ("Methodeutic" or "Philosophical or Speculative
Rhetoric"), his third department of logic; but the First Rule of
Logic pertains to the mind's presuppositions in undertaking reason
and logic, presuppositions, for instance, that there are truth and
real things independent of what you or I think of them (see below
). He describes such ideas as, collectively,
hopes which, in particular cases, one is unable seriously to doubt.
Peirce argues that it is idle or counterproductive to start
philosophy from paper doubts, make-believe doubts, so he rejects
Cartesian foundationalism; and Peirce argues that one cannot
conceive of the absolutely incognizable, so he rejects the
conception (usually ascribed to Kant) of the unknowable
thing-in-itself. Those rejections grew into that which he called
("dismiss make-believes"), which
he regarded as a prerequisite for Pragmatism.
Logic as formal semiotic
Every mind which passes from doubt to belief must have
ideas which follow after one another in time.
Every mind which reasons must have ideas which not only
follow after others but are caused by them.
Every mind which is capable of logical criticism of its
inferences, must be aware of this determination of its ideas by
(Peirce, "On Time and Thought", W
Peirce sought, through his wide-ranging studies through the
decades, formal philosophical ways to articulate thought's
processes, and also to explain the workings of science. These
inextricably entangled questions of a dynamics of inquiry involving
nature and nurture led him to develop a theory of signs (semiotic)
with very broadened conceptions of signs and inference, and, as its
culmination, a theory of inquiry for the task of saying 'how
science works' and devising research methods. This would be logic
by the medieval definition taught for ages: art of arts, science of
sciences, having the way to the principles of all other sciences'
methods. Influences radiate from points on parallel lines of
inquiry in Aristotle
's work, in such
- * The basic terminology of psychology, in On the
- * The founding description of sign
relations, in On
- * The differentiation of the genus of reasoning into three
species of inference that are commonly
translated into English as abduction, deduction, and induction, in the Prior Analytics, as well as reasoning
by analogy (called paradeigma by Aristotle), which Peirce understood
in terms of abductive and inductive inference.
Inquiry is a special form of inference process, a specially
conducted manner of thinking. Philosophers of the pragmatic school
hold with Peirce that "all thought is in signs", where 'sign' is
the word for the broadest conceivable variety of semblances,
indices, symptoms, signals, symbols, formulas, texts, and so on up
the line, that might be imagined. Even intellectual concepts and
mental ideas are held to be a special class of signs, corresponding
to internal states of the thinking agent that result both in and
from the interpretation of external signs.
The subsumption of inquiry within inference in general and the
inclusion of thinking within the class of sign processes let us
approach the subject of inquiry from two different
- * The syllogistic approach
treats inquiry as a species of logical process, and is limited to
those of its aspects that can be related to the most basic laws of
- * The sign-theoretic approach views inquiry as a genus
of semiosis, an activity taking
place within the more general setting of sign relations.
Peirce's semiotic is philosophical logic studied in terms of signs
and sign processes. Often using examples from common experience,
Peirce defines and discusses things like assertions and
interpretations in terms of philosophical logic rather than of
psychology, linguistics, or social studies. In a formal vein,
On the Definition of Logic. Logic is
formal semiotic. A sign is something, A, which
brings something, B, its interpretant sign,
determined or created by it, into the same sort of correspondence
(or a lower implied sort) with something, C, its
object, as that in which itself stands to C. This
definition no more involves any reference to human thought than
does the definition of a line as the place within which a particle
lies during a lapse of time. It is from this definition that I
deduce the principles of logic by mathematical reasoning, and by
mathematical reasoning that, I aver, will support criticism of
Weierstrassian severity, and that is
perfectly evident. The word "formal" in the definition is also
defined. (Peirce, "Carnegie Application", NEM 4:54).
Peirce called his general study of signs semiotic
. Both terms are current in both
singular and plural forms. Peirce began writing on semiotic in the
1860s, around the time that he devised his system of three
categories. From the beginning he based his semiotic on the
understanding of a triadic sign relation
. His 1907 definition of
is "action, or influence,
which is, or involves, a cooperation of three
such as a sign, its object, and its interpretant, this tri-relative
influence not being in any way resolvable into actions between
Anything is a sign — not absolutely as itself, but instead in some
relation or other. The sign
is the key. It defines three roles encompassing
(1) the sign, (2) the sign's subject matter, called its
, and (3) the sign's meaning or ramification as
formed into a kind of effect called its interpretant
further sign, for example a translation). It is an irreducible
according to Peirce. The roles are distinct even when the things
that fill those roles are not. The roles are but three; a sign of
an object leads to one or more interpretants, and, as signs, they
lead to further interpretants.
Extension × intension = information.
approaches to sign relation, necessary though insufficient, are the
way of extension
sign's objects, also called breadth, denotation, or application)
and the way of intension
objects' characteristics, qualities, attributes referenced by the
sign, also called depth, comprehension
, significance, or
connotation). Peirce adds a third, the way of information
, including change of
information, in order to integrate the other two approaches into a
unified whole. For example, because of the equation above, if a
term's total amount of information stays the same, then the more
that the term 'intends' or signifies about objects, the fewer are
the objects to which the term 'extends' or applies. A proposition's
comprehension consists in its implications.
A sign depends on its object in such a way
as to represent its object — the object enables and, in a sense,
determines the sign. A physically causal sense of this stands out
especially when a sign consists in an indicative reaction. The
interpretant depends likewise on both the sign and the object — the
object determines the sign to determine the interpretant. But this
determination is not a succession of dyadic events, like a row of
toppling dominoes; sign determination is triadic. For example, an
interpretant does not merely represent something which represented
an object; instead an interpretant represents something as
a sign representing an object. It is an informational kind of
determination, a rendering of something more determinately
representative. Peirce used the word "determine" not in strictly
deterministic sense, but in a sense of "specializes,"
, involving variation in measure, like an
influence. Peirce came to define sign, object, and interpretant by
their (triadic) mode of determination, not by the idea of
representation, since that is part of what is being defined.Peirce,
C.S., "A Letter to Lady Welby" (1908), Semiotic and
, pp. 80-81:
I define a Sign as anything which is so
determined by something else, called its Object, and so determines
an effect upon a person, which effect I call its Interpretant, that
the latter is thereby mediately determined by the former. My
insertion of "upon a person" is a sop to Cerberus, because I
despair of making my own broader conception
The object determines the sign to determine another sign — the
interpretant — to be related to the object as the sign is
related to the object
, hence the interpretant, fulfilling its
function as sign of the object, determines a further interpretant
sign. The process is logically structured to perpetuate itself, and
is definitive of sign, object, and interpretant in general.
Peirce held there are exactly three basic elements in semiosis
- A sign (or representamen) represents, in the
broadest possible sense of "represents". It is something
interpretable as saying something about something. It is not
necessarily symbolic, linguistic, or artificial.
- An object (or semiotic object) is a subject
matter of a sign and an interpretant. It can be anything
discussable or thinkable, a thing, event, relationship, quality,
law, argument, etc., and can even be fictional, for instance
Hamlet. All of those are special or partial objects. The object
most accurately is the universe of
discourse to which the partial or special object belongs. For
instance, a perturbation of Pluto's orbit is a sign about Pluto but
ultimately not only about Pluto.
- An interpretant (or interpretant sign) is the
sign's more or less clarified meaning or ramification, a kind of
form or idea of the difference which the sign's being true or
undeceptive would make. (Peirce's sign theory concerns meaning in
the broadest sense, including logical implication, not just the
meanings of words as properly clarified by a dictionary.) The
interpretant is a sign (a) of the object and (b) of the
interpretant's "predecessor" (the interpreted sign) as being a sign
of the same object. The interpretant is an interpretation
in the sense of a product of an interpretive process or a
content in which an interpretive relation culminates, though this
product or content may itself be an act, a state of agitation, a
conduct, etc. As Peirce sometimes put it (he defined sign
at least 76 times), the sign stands for the object
to the interpretant.
Some of the understanding needed by the mind depends on familiarity
with the object. In order to know what a given sign denotes, the
mind needs some experience of that sign's object, experience
outside of, and collateral to, that sign or sign system. In that
context Peirce speaks of collateral experience, collateral
observation, collateral acquaintance, all in much the same
Classes of signs
Among Peirce's many sign typologies, three stand out, interlocked.
They depend respectively on (I) the sign itself, (II) how the sign
stands for its denoted object, and (III) how the sign stands for
its object to its interpretant. Additionally, each of the three
typologies is a three-way division, a trichotomy
, via Peirce's three
(1) quality of feeling, (2) reaction, resistance, and (3)
I. Qualisign, sinsign, legisign
(also called tone,
and also called potisign, actisign,
): This typology classifies every sign in terms of the
phenomenological category which the sign itself embodies—the
qualisign is a quality, a possibility, a "First"; the sinsign is a
reaction or resistance, a singular object, an actual event or fact,
a "Second"; and the legisign is a habit, a rule, a representational
relation, a "Third".
II. Icon, index, symbol
: This typology, the best known
one, classifies every sign by the category of the sign's way of
denoting its object—the icon (also called semblance or likeness) by
a quality of its own, the index by factual connection to its
object, and the symbol by a habit or rule for its
III. Rheme, dicisign, argument
(also called sumisign,
also seme, pheme, delome,
regarded as very broadened versions of the traditional term,
): This typology classifies every sign by
the category which the interpretant attributes to the sign's way of
referring to its object—the rheme, for example a term, is a sign
interpreted to represent its object in respect of quality; the
dicisign, for example a proposition, is a sign interpreted to
represent its object in respect of fact; and the argument is a sign
interpreted to represent its object in respect of habit or law.
This is the culminating typology of the three, where the sign is
understood as a structural element of inference.
Every sign falls under one class or another within (I) and
within (II) and
within (III). Thus each of the three
typologies is a three-valued parameter for every sign. The three
parameters are not independent of each other; many
co-classifications aren't found, for reasons pertaining to the lack
of either habit-taking or singular reaction in a quality, and the
lack of habit-taking in a singular reaction. The result is not 27
but instead ten classes of signs fully specified at this level of
Modes of inference
Borrowing a brace of concepts from Aristotle
, Peirce examined three basic modes of
reasoning that play roles in inquiry, processes currently known as
, and inductive inference
. Peirce also called abduction
"retroduction" and, earliest of all, "hypothesis". He characterized
it as guessing and as inference to the best explanation. Peirce
sometimes expounded the modes of inference by transformations of
the classical Barbara (AAA) syllogism, for example in "Deduction,
Induction, and Hypothesis" (1878, see CP 2:623). He does this by
rearranging the rule
(which serves as deduction's major
premiss), the case
(deduction's minor premiss), and the
Rule: All the beans from this bag are white.
Case: These beans are from this bag.
\therefore Result: These beans are white.
Case: These beans are [randomly selected] from this
Result: These beans are white.
\therefore Rule: All the beans from this bag are
Rule: All the beans from this bag are white.
Result: These beans are white.
\therefore Case: These beans are from this bag.
Peirce 1883 in "A Theory of Probable Inference" (Studies in
) equated hypothetical inference with the induction
of characters of objects (as he had done in effect before).
Eventually dissatisfied, by 1900 he distinguished them once and for
all and also wrote that he now took the syllogistic forms and the
doctrine of logical extension and comprehension as being less basic
than he had thought. In 1903 he presented the following logical
form for abductive inference:
The surprising fact, C, is observed;
- But if A were true, C would be a matter of course,
- Hence, there is reason to suspect that A is true.
Note that the logical form does not also cover induction, since
induction does not depend on surprise and does not propose a new
idea for its conclusion. Induction seeks facts to test a
hypothesis; abduction seeks a hypothesis to account for facts.
Peirce now regarded abduction as essentially an initiative toward
further inference and study.
In his methodeutic or theory of inquiry (see below), Peirce regards
the three modes as clarified by their coordination in essential
roles in inquiry and science, with abduction
generating a possible
to account for a surprising
the relevant necessary
predictive consequences of the
hypothesis, and induction
testing the predictions against the data to show something
in operation."Deduction proves that something
be; Induction shows that something actually
operative; Abduction merely suggests that something may
." "Lectures on Pragmatism", 1903, CP 5.171.
Peirce's recipe for pragmatic thinking, called both pragmatism
, is recapitulated in several
versions of the so-called pragmatic
. Here is one of his more emphatic reiterations
Consider what effects that might conceivably
have practical bearings you conceive the objects of your
conception to have. Then, your conception of those effects
is the whole of your conception of the object.
William James, among others, regarded
two of Peirce's papers, "The
Fixation of Belief" (1877) and "How to Make Our Ideas Clear"
(1878) as pragmatism's origin. Peirce
differed from James and the early John
Dewey, in some of their tangential enthusiasms, in being
decidedly more rationalistic and realistic, in several senses of
those terms, throughout the preponderance of his own philosophical
Peirce's pragmatism is based on the idea that belief is cognition
on which one is prepared to act. But his pragmatism is about
conceptions of objects. It equates any conception's meaning with
conceptions of its object's conceivable effects on practice. It is
a method of sorting out conceptual confusions caused, for example,
by distinctions that make formal yet not practical differences.
Peirce (CP 5.11-12), like James saw pragmatism as embodying
familiar attitudes, in philosophy and elsewhere, elaborated into a
new deliberate method of thinking and resolving dilemmas.
In "How to Make Our Ideas Clear",
Peirce discusses three grades of clearness of conception:
- 1. Clearness of a conception familiar even if unanalyzed and
- 2. Clearness as of a definition's parts, in virtue of which
logicians called a term or idea "distinct", that is, clarified by
analysis of just what makes it applicable. Elsewhere, echoing Kant,
Peirce calls such a definition "nominal" (CP 5.553).
- 3. Clearness in virtue of clearness of conceivable practical
consequences of the object as conceived of, such as can lead to
fruitful reasoning, especially on difficult problems. Here he
introduces that which he later called the Pragmatic Maxim.
By way of example of how to clarify conceptions, he addresses
conceptions about truth and the real as questions of the presuppositions of reasoning in
general. In clearness's second grade (the "nominal" grade), he
defines truth as a sign's correspondence to its object, and the
real as the object of such correspondence, such that truth and the
real are independent of that which you or I or any actual, definite
community of inquirers think.
After that needful but confined step, next in clearness's third
grade (the pragmatic, practice-oriented grade) he defines truth as
that which would be reached, sooner or later but still
inevitably, by research adequately prolonged, such that the real
does depend on that ideal final opinion—a dependence to which he
appeals in theoretical arguments elsewhere, for instance for the
long-term validity of the rule of induction. Peirce argues that
even to argue against the independence and discoverability of truth
and the real is to presuppose that there is, about that very
question under argument, a truth with just such independence and
Peirce also said more specifically, for example, that a
conception's meaning consists in "all
general modes of rational conduct" implied by "acceptance" of
the conception—that is, if one were to accept, first of all, the
conception as true, then what could one conceive to be consequent
general modes of rational conduct by all who accept the conception
as true?—the whole of such consequent general modes is the whole
meaning. His pragmatism does not equate a conception's meaning, its
intellectual purport, with the conceived benefit or cost of the
conception itself, like a meme (or, say, propaganda), outside the
perspective of its being true, nor, since a conception is general,
is its meaning equated with any definite set of actual consequences
or upshots corroborating or undermining the conception or its
worth. His pragmatism also bears no resemblance to "vulgar"
pragmatism, which misleadingly connotes a ruthless and Machiavellian search for mercenary or political
advantage. Rather, Peirce's pragmatic maxim is the heart of his
pragmatism as a method of experimentational mental reflection arriving at conceptions in
terms of conceivable confirmatory and disconfirmatory
circumstances—a method hospitable to the generation of explanatory
hypotheses, and conducive to the employment and improvement of
verification to test the truth of putative knowledge.
Peirce's pragmatism, as method and theory of definitions and
the clearness of ideas, is a department within his theory of
inquiry, which he variously called "Methodeutic" and "Philosophical
or Speculative Rhetoric". He applied his pragmatism as a method
throughout his work.
Theory of inquiry
As a method conducive to hypotheses as well as predictions and
testing, pragmatism leads beyond the usual duo of foundational
- * Deduction from
self-evident truths, or rationalism;
- * Induction from
experiential phenomena, or empiricism.
His approach is distinct from foundationalism, empiricist or otherwise, as
well as from coherentism, by the
following three dimensions:
- * Active process of theory generation, with no prior assurance
- * Subsequent application of the contingent theory, aimed toward
developing its logical and practical consequences;
- * Evaluation of the provisional theory's utility for the
anticipation of future
experience, and that in dual senses of the word: prediction and control. Peirce's
identification of these three dimensions serves to flesh out an
approach to inquiry far more solid than the standard image of
simple inductive generalization as describing a pattern observed in
phenomena. Peirce's pragmatism was the first time the scientific method was proposed as an
epistemology for philosophical
A theory that proves itself more successful than its rivals in
predicting and controlling our world is said to be nearer the
truth. This is an operational notion of truth employed by
In The Fixation of Belief
(1877), Peirce characterized inquiry not as the pursuit of truth
but more generally as the struggle to settle irritating doubts, and
outlined four methods, graded by their success at it:
Peirce held that, in practical affairs, slow and stumbling
ratiocination is often dangerously inferior to instinct, sentiment,
and tradition, and that the scientific method is best suited to
theoretical research, which in turn should not be bound to the
other methods and to practical ends. What recommends scientific method above others finally is
that it is deliberately designed to arrive, eventually, at the most
secure beliefs, upon which the most successful actions can
eventually be based. Starting from the idea that people seek not
truth per se but instead to subdue doubt's irritation,
Peirce shows how this can lead some to submit to truth.
- The method of tenacity (sticking with that which one is
inclined to think), which leads to irreconcilable
- The method of authority, which overcomes disagreements but
- The method of congruity or the a priori or the
dilettante or "what is agreeable to reason", which promotes
conformity less brutally but leads to sterile argumentation and,
like the others, gets finally nowhere.
- The method of science, the method wherein inquiry can, by its
own lights, go wrong and actually tests itself and criticizes,
corrects, and improves itself.
Peirce extracted the pragmatic model or
theory of inquiry from its raw materials in
classical logic and refined it in parallel with the early
development of symbolic logic to address problems about the nature
of scientific reasoning.
Abduction, deduction, and induction do not make complete sense in
isolation from each other but comprise a cycle understandable as a
whole insofar as they collaborate toward the end of inquiry. In the
pragmatic way of thinking in terms of conceivable practical
consequences, every thing has a purpose, and
a thing's purpose is the first thing that we should try to note
about it. Inquiry's purpose is to reduce doubt
and lead to a state of belief, which a person
in that state will usually call 'knowledge' or 'certainty'. The three kinds of inference function
systematically to reduce the uncertainties and difficulties that
occasioned the inquiry, and thus, to the extent that inquiry
succeeds, lead to an increase in the knowledge or skills, in
other words an augmentation in the
competence or performance of the agent or community engaged in
For instance, abduction guesses
toward best or most-simplifying explanations in order that deduction can explicate them into
implied consequences that induction can evaluate in tests. This
constrain abduction to
produce testable hypotheses, testable in thought, practice, or
science (as the case may warrant), since it is not just any guess
at explanation that submits itself to reason and bows out when
defeated in a match with reality. Likewise,
each of the other modes of inference
realizes its purpose only in accord with its proper role in the
whole cycle of inquiry. No matter how necessary it may be to study
these processes in abstraction from each other, the integrity of inquiry places strong limitations on
the effective modularity of
its principal components.
The question, 'What sort of constraint, exactly, does pragmatic
thinking of the end of inquiry place on our guesses?', is generally
recognized as the problem of 'giving a rule to abduction'. Peirce's overall answer was
the pragmatic maxim. In 1903 Peirce
called the question of pragmatism "the question of the logic of
Peirce outlined scientific method as follows:
1. Abduction (or retroduction). Guessing,
generation of explanatory hypothesis. From abduction, Peirce
distinguishes induction as inferring, on the basis of tests, the
proportion of truth in the hypothesis. Every inquiry, whether into
ideas, brute facts, or norms and laws, arises in the effort to
resolve the wonder of surprising observations in the given realm or
realms (for example at any stage of an inquiry already underway).
All explanatory content of theories is reached by way of abduction,
the most insecure among modes of inference. Abduction has general
inductive justification in that it works often enough and that
nothing else works, at least not quickly enough when science is
already properly rather slow, the work of indefinitely many
generations. One can hope to discover only that which time would
reveal sooner or later anyway, so, to expedite this, the economics
of research demands and even governs abductionSee MS L75.329-330,
from Draft D of Memoir 27 of Peirce's application to the
Consequently, to discover is simply to
expedite an event that would occur sooner or later, if we had not
troubled ourselves to make the discovery.
Consequently, the art of discovery is
purely a question of economics.
The economics of research is, so far as
logic is concerned, the leading doctrine with reference to the art
Consequently, the conduct of abduction,
which is chiefly a question of heuretic and is the first question
of heuretic, is to be governed by economical
, whose modicum of success, excelling that of sheer luck, depends
on one's being somehow attuned to nature by instincts developed and
likely inborn. Given the reliance on such instinct and the aim at
economy, abduction's explanatory hypotheses should have a
simplicity optimal in terms of the "facile and natural" (for which
Peirce cites Galileo and which Peirce distinguishes from "logical
simplicity"). Given that abduction is insecure guesswork, it should
imply consequences with conceivable practical bearing leading at
least to mental tests, and, in science, lending themselves to
2. Deduction. Analysis of hypothesis and deduction
of its consequences in order to test the hypothesis. Two stages:
- i. Explication. Logical analysis of the hypothesis in order to
render it as distinct as possible.
- ii. Demonstration (or deductive argumentation). Deduction of
hypothesis's consequence. Corollarial or, if needed,
3. Induction. The long-run validity of the rule of
induction is deducible from the principle (presuppositional to
reasoning in general) that the real "is only the object of the
final opinion to which sufficient investigation would lead". In
other words, if there were something to which an inductive process
involving ongoing tests or observations would never lead,
then that thing would not be real. Three stages:
- i. Classification. Classing objects of experience under general
- ii. Probation (or direct Inductive Argumentation): Crude (the
enumeration of instances) or Gradual (new estimate of proportion of
truth in the hypothesis after each test). Gradual Induction is
Qualitative or Quantitative; if Quantitative, then dependent on
measurements, or on statistics, or on countings.
- iii. Sentential Induction. "...which, by Inductive reasonings,
appraises the different Probations singly, then their combinations,
then makes self-appraisal of these very appraisals themselves, and
passes final judgment on the whole result".
Peirce divided metaphysics
into (1) ontology or general metaphysics, (2) religious
metaphysics, and (3) physical
metaphysics.Ontology. Peirce was a Scholastic
Realist, declaring for the reality of generals as early as 1868.
Regarding modalities (possibility, necessity, etc.), he came in
later years to regard himself as having wavered earlier as to just
how positively real the modalities are. In his 1897 "The Logic of
Relatives" he wrote:
I formerly defined the possible as that which in a
given state of information (real or feigned) we do not know not to
But this definition today seems to me only a twisted
phrase which, by means of two negatives, conceals an
We know in advance of experience that certain things
are not true, because we see they are impossible.
Peirce retained, as useful for some purposes, the definitions in
terms of information states, but insisted that the pragmaticist is
committed to a strong modal realism by conceiving of objects in
terms of predictive general conditional propositions about how they
would behave under certain circumstances.
Religious Metaphysics. Peirce believed in God, and
characterized such belief as founded in an instinct explorable in
musing over the worlds of ideas, brute facts, and evolving norms —
and it is a belief in God not as an actual or
existent being (in Peirce's sense of those words), but all
the same as a real being.Peirce in his 1906 "Answers to
Questions concerning my Belief in God", CP 6.495, Eprint, reprinted in part as "The Concept of God" in
Philosophical Writings of Peirce, J. Buchler, ed., 1940,
I will also take the liberty of
substituting "reality" for "existence." This is perhaps
overscrupulosity; but I myself always use exist in its
strict philosophical sense of "react with the other like things in
the environment." Of course, in that sense, it would be fetichism
to say that God "exists." The word "reality," on the contrary, is
used in ordinary parlance in its correct philosophical sense.
[....] I define the real as that which holds its
characters on such a tenure that it makes not the slightest
difference what any man or men may have thought them to
be, or ever will have thought them to be, here using
thought to include, imagining, opining, and willing (as long as
forcible means are not used); but the real thing's
characters will remain absolutely untouched"
Neglected Argument for the Reality of God" (1908), Peirce
sketches, for God's reality, an argument to a hypothesis of God as
the Necessary Being, a hypothesis which he describes in terms of
how it would tend to develop and become compelling in musement and
inquiry by a normal person who is led, by the hypothesis, to
consider as being purposed the features of the worlds of ideas,
brute facts, and evolving norms, such that the thought of such
purposefulness will "stand or fall with the hypothesis"; meanwhile,
according to Peirce, the hypothesis, in supposing an "infinitely
incomprehensible" being, starts off at odds with its own nature as
a purportively true conception, and so, no matter how much the
hypothesis grows, it both (A) inevitably regards itself as partly
true, partly vague, and as continuing to define itself without
limit, and (B) inevitably has God appearing likewise vague but
growing, though God as the Necessary Being is not vague or growing;
but the hypothesis will hold it to be more false to say
the opposite, that God is purposeless.
Physical Metaphysics. Peirce held the view, which
he called objective idealism,
that "matter is effete mind, inveterate habits becoming physical
laws". Peirce asserted the reality of (1) chance (his tychist view), (2) mechanical necessity (anancist
view), and (3) that which he called the law of love (agapist view). They embody his categories Firstness, Secondness, and
Thirdness, respectively. He held that fortuitous variation (which
he also called "sporting"), mechanical necessity, and creative love
are the three modes of evolution (modes called "tychasm",
"anancasm", and "agapasm") of the universe and its parts. He found
his conception of agapasm embodied in Lamarckian evolution; the overall idea in any
case is that of evolution tending toward an end or goal, and it
could also be the evolution of a mind or a society; it is the kind
of evolution which manifests workings of mind in some general
sense. He said that overall he was a synechist, holding with
reality of continuity, especially of space, time, and law.
Science of review
Peirce outlined two fields, "Cenoscopy" and "Science of Review",
both of which could be called "philosophy". Both included
philosophy about science. In 1903 he arranged them, from more to
less theoretically basic, thus:
- Science of Discovery.
- Cenoscopy (philosophy as discussed earlier in this
article—categorial, normative, metaphysical), as First Philosophy,
concerns positive phenomena in general, does not rely on findings
from special sciences, and includes the general study of
inquiry and scientific method.
- Idioscopy, or the Special Sciences (of nature and mind).
- Science of Review, as Ultimate Philosophy, arranges "...the
results of discovery, beginning with digests, and going on to
endeavor to form a philosophy of science". His examples included
Comte's Philosophie positive,
and Spencer's Synthetic
- Practical Science, or the Arts.
Peirce placed, within Science of Review, the work and theory of
classifying the sciences (including mathematics and philosophy).
His classifications, on which he worked for many years, draw on
argument and wide knowledge, and are of interest both as a map for
navigating his philosophy and as an accomplished polymath's survey
of research in his time.
Contemporaries associated with Peirce
For more information on editions, see #Works
- CDPT = Commens Dictionary of Peirce's Terms. (See
definition of " commens")
- CP x.y = Collected Papers of Charles
Sanders Peirce, volume x, paragraph y.
- EP x:y = The Essential Peirce: Selected
Philosophical Writings, volume x, page y.
- NEM x:y = The New Elements of Mathematics
by Charles S. Peirce, volume x, page y.
- W x:y = Writings of Charles S.
Peirce: A Chronological Edition, volume x, page y.
- "Peirce", in the case of C.S. Peirce, always rhymes with the
English-language word "terse" and so, in most dialects, is
pronounced exactly like the English-language word "purse": . See
"Note on the Pronunciation of 'Peirce'", The Peirce [Edition]
Project Newsletter, Vol. 1, Nos. 3/4, Dec. 1994, Eprint.
- Weiss, Paul (1934), "Peirce,
Charles Sanders" in the Dictionary of American Biography.
- Brent, Joseph (1998), Charles Sanders Peirce: A Life.
Revised and enlarged edition, Indiana University Press,
- Taylor, Barry N., ed. (2001), The
International System of Units, NIST Special Publication
330. Washington DC: Superintendent of Documents.
- Anellis, Irving H. (1995), "Peirce Rustled, Russell Pierced:
How Charles Peirce and Bertrand Russell Viewed Each Other's Work in
Logic, and an Assessment of Russell's Accuracy and Role in the
Historiography of Logic", Modern Logic, 5, 270–328.
- Quoted by James Bird, "A Giant's Voice from the Past",
Times Higher Education
Supplement, 8 Sept. 1989.
- Represented on the Internet by Commens: Virtual Centre for Peirce Studies at the
University of Helsinki
- Burch, Robert (2001), " Charles
Sanders Peirce" in the Stanford Encyclopedia of
Philosophy. Revised, Summer 2006.
- Robin, Richard S. (1967) Annotated Catalogue of the Papers
of Charles S. Peirce. Amherst MA: University of Massachusetts
Press. PEP Eprint.
- "The manuscript material now (1997) comes to more than a
hundred thousand pages. These contain many pages of no
philosophical interest, but the number of pages on philosophy
certainly number much more than half of that. Also, a significant
but unknown number of manuscripts have been lost." — Joseph
Ransdell, 1997, "Some Leading Ideas of Peirce's Semiotic", end note 2, 1997 light revision of 1977 version
in Semiotica 19, 1977, pp. 157-178.
- Houser, Nathan, "The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Peirce
Papers", presented to the Fourth Congress of the International
Association for Semiotic Studies, Perpignan, France, 1989.
Published in Signs of Humanity, vol. 3., Berlin: Mouton de
Gruyter, 1992, pp. 1259-1268. Eprint
- Auspitz, Josiah Lee (1994), "The Wasp Leaves the Bottle:
Charles Sanders Peirce", The American Scholar, v.63, n. 4,
autumn, 602-618. Arisbe Eprint.
- See the 1978
review by Arthur Burks.
- "A Boolean Algebra with One Constant", 1880 MS, CP
- Peirce, C. S. (1881), "On the Logic of Number", American
Journal of Mathematics v. 4, p p. 85-95. Reprinted (CP 3.252-88), (W 4:299-309). See
See Shields, Paul (1997), "Peirce’s Axiomatization of Arithmetic",
in Houser et al., eds., Studies in the Logic of
Charles S. Peirce.
- Peirce, C.S. (1898), "The Logic of Mathematics in Relation to
Education" in Educational Review v. 15, pp. 209-16,
Internet Archive Eprint. Reprinted CP 3.553-62. See also his
"The Simplest Mathematics" (1902 MS), CP 4.227–323.
- Lewis, Clarence Irving (1918), A Survey of Symbolic
Logic, se ch. 1, § 7 "Peirce", pp. 79-106, see p. 79 via Internet Archive. Note that
Lewis's bibliography lists works by Frege, tagged with asterisks as
- Putnam, Hilary (1982), "Peirce the Logician", Historia
Mathematica 9, 290–301. Reprinted, pp. 252–60 in Hilary
Putnam, Realism with a Human Face, Harvard University
Press, Cambridge, MA, 1990. Excerpt with article's last five pages:
- Peirce, C.S. (1885), "On the Algebra of Logic: A Contribution
to the Philosophy of Notation", American Journal of
Mathematics 7, two parts, first part published 1885, p
p. 180–202 (see Houser in linked paragraph in "Introduction" in W 4).
Presented, National Academy of Sciences, Newport, RI, 14–17 Oct
1884 (see EP 1, Headnote 16). 1885 is the year usually given for this
work. Reprinted (CP 3.359–403), (W 5:162–90), (EP 1:225–8, in
- Letter, Peirce to A. Marquand, W 5:421–4
- van Heijenoort, Jean (1967), "Logic as
Language and Logic as Calculus," Synthese 17: 324–30.
- Brunning, Jacqueline and Forster, Paul (1997), The Rule of
Reason: The Philosophy of C. S. Peirce, U of Toronto
- Brady, Geraldine (2000), From Peirce to Skolem: A Neglected
Chapter in the History of Logic, North-Holland/Elsevier
Science BV, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
- Houser, Nathan, Roberts, Don D., and Van Evra, James (eds.,
1997), Studies in the Logic of Charles Sanders Peirce,
Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.
- Misak, Cheryl J. (ed., 2004), The Cambridge Companion to
Peirce, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK
- Peirce, C.S., "Analysis of the Methods of Mathematical
Demonstration", Memoir 4, Draft C, Manuscript L75.90-102, see
99-100, Eprint and scroll down.
- See "Peirce's Clarifications on Continuity" by Jérôme Havenel,
Transactions Winter 2008 pp. 68-133. From p.
119: "It is on May 26, 1908, that Peirce finally gave up his idea
that in every continuum there is room for whatever collection of
any multitude. From now on, there are different kinds of continua,
which have different properties."
- Peirce condemned the use of "certain likelihoods"
even more strongly than he criticized Bayesian
methods. Indeed Peirce used Bayesian inference in criticizing
- See quotes under " Philosophy" at CDPT, such as EP 2:372-3, CP
1.183-186, and CP 1.239-241.
- "Minute Logic", CP 2.87, c.1902 and A Letter to Lady Welby, CP
8.329, 1904. See relevant quotes under " Categories, Cenopythagorean Categories" at
- The ground blackness is the pure
abstraction of the quality black which in
turn amounts to which embodies blackness
(in which phrase the quality is formulated as reference to the
ground). The point is not merely noun (the ground) versus
adjective (the quality), but whether we are considering
the black(ness) as abstracted away from application to an object,
or instead as so applied (for instance to a stove). Yet note that
Peirce's distinction here is not that between a property-general
and a property-individual (a trope). See " On a New List of Categories" (1867), in the
section appearing in CP 1.551. Regarding the ground, cf. the
Scholastic conception of a relation's foundation, Deely 1982, p. 61 (via Google Books,
registration apparently not required)
- See "Charles S. Peirce on Esthetics and Ethics: A Bibliography"
by Kelly A. Parker, of the Department of Philosophy, Grand Valley
State University, Allendale, Michigan, USA in 1999.
- Peirce (1899), "F.R.L." [First Rule of Logic], CP 1.135-140,
- Peirce, C.S., 1882, "Introductory Lecture on the Study of
Logic" delivered September 1882, Johns Hopkins University
Circulars, vol. 2, no. 19, pp. 11-12, November 1892, Google
Books Eprint. Reprinted (EP 1:214-214; W 4:378-382;
- Peirce, C. S. (1902), "MS L75: Logic, Regarded As Semeiotic
(The Carnegie application of 1902): Version 1: An Integrated
Reconstruction", Joseph Ransdell, ed., Arisbe Eprint.
- Peirce, C.S., CP 5.448 footnote, from "The Basis of
Pragmaticism" in 1906.
- "To say, therefore, that thought cannot happen in an instant,
but requires a time, is but another way of saying that every
thought must be interpreted in another, or that all thought is in
signs." Peirce, 1868, "Questions Concerning Certain Faculties
Claimed for Man", Journal of Speculative Philosophy vol. 2
(1868), pp. 103-114. Reprinted (CP 5.213-63, the quote is from
para. 253). Arisbe Eprint.
- See Classification of
the sciences .
- For a fuller discussion by Peirce of fallibilism and its
powerful ramifications, see "Fallibilism, Continuity, and
Evolution", 1897, CP 1.141-75 ( Eprint),
which the Collected Papers’s editors placed directly after
"F.R.L." (1899, CP 1.135-40).
- Peirce (1902), The Carnegie Institute Application, Memoir 10,
MS L75.361-2, Arisbe Eprint.
- Peirce, C.S. (1868), "Some Consequences of Four Incapacities",
Journal of Speculative Philosophy vol. 2, no. 3, p
p. 140–157. Reprinted CP 5.264–317, W 2:211–42
EP 1:28–55. Arisbe Eprint.
- Peirce, C. S. (1905), "What Pragmatism Is", The
Monist, vol. XV, no. 2, p p. 161-81. Reprinted CP 5.411-37.
- Regarding the evolution of the word "semiotic" and its
spellings, see Semeiotic#Literature.
- Peirce 1907, CP 5.484. Reprinted (EP 2:411 in "Pragmatism,"
- Peirce, C. S. (1867), "Upon Logical Comprehension and
Extension" (CP 2.391-426), (W 2:70-86, PEP Eprint).
- Peirce, C.S and Ladd-Franklin, Christine, "Signification (and
Application, in logic)", Dictionary of Philosophy and
Psychology v. 2, p. 528. Reprinted CP 2.431-4.
- See Peirce, C. S. (1868), "What Is Meant By 'Determined'",
Journal of Speculative Philosophy v. 2, n. 3, pp. 190-191.
Reprinted (CP 6.625-630), (W 2:155-157, PEP Eprint)."
- See " 76 definitions of the sign by C.S.Peirce",
collected by Professor Robert Marty (University of Perpignan,
- "Representamen" (properly with the "a" long and stressed: ) is
Peirce's adopted (not coined) technical term for the
sign as covered in his theory. Peirce used the technical
term in case a divergence should come to light between his
theoretical version and the popular senses of the word "sign". He
eventually stopped using "representamen". See EP 2:272-3 and
Semiotic and Significs p. 193, quotes in " Representamen" at CDPT.
- Peirce (1909), A Letter to William James, EP 2:498, viewable
under " Dynamical Object" at CDPT.
- Peirce (1909), A Letter to William James, EP 2:492, see under "
Object" at CDPT.
- See pp. 404-9 in "Pragmatism" in EP 2. Ten quotes on collateral
observation from Peirce provided by Joseph Ransdell can be viewed
here at peirce-l's Lyris archive. Note: Ransdell's
quotes from CP 8.178-9 are also in EP 2:493-4, which gives their
date as 1909; and his quote from CP 8.183 is also in EP 2:495-6,
which gives its date as 1909.
- See the following quotes under " Abduction" at CDPT: * On correction of "A
Theory of Probable Inference", see the quotes from "Minute Logic",
CP 2.102, c. 1902, and from the Carnegie Application (L75), 1902,
Historical Perspectives on Peirce's Logic of Science v. 2,
pp. 1031-1032. * On new logical form for abduction, see the quote
from Harvard Lectures on Pragmatism, 1903, CP 5.188-189. See also
Santaella, Lucia (c. 2004) "The Development of Peirce's Three Types
of Reasoning: Abduction, Deduction, and Induction". Eprint.
- James, William (1910) Pragmatism:
A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking.
- "That the rule of induction will hold good in the long run may
be deduced from the principle that reality is only the object of
the final opinion to which sufficient investigation would lead", in
Peirce, C. S. (1878 April), "The Probability of Induction", p.
718 (Internet Archive Eprint) in Popular Science
Monthly, v. 12, pp. 705-18. Reprinted (Chance, Love, and
Logic, pp. 82-105), (CP 2.669-93), (Philosophical Writings
of Peirce, pp. 174-89), (W 3:290-305), (EP 1:155-69).
- Peirce (1902), CP 5.13 note 1
- See CP 1.34 Eprint (in "The Spirit of Scholasticism"), where
Peirce attributes the success of modern science not so much to a
novel interest in verification as to the improvement of
- See Joseph Ransdell's comments and his tabular list
of titles of Peirce's proposed list of memoirs in 1902 for his
Carnegie application, Eprint
- "Philosophy and the Conduct of Life", 1898, Lecture 1 of the
Cambridge (MA) Conferences Lectures, published CP 1.616-48 in part
and in Reasoning and the Logic of Things, Ketner (ed.,
intro.) and Putnam (intro., comm.), 105-22, reprinted in EP
- Peirce, C. S. (1903), "Pragmatism -- The Logic of Abduction",
CP 5.195-205, especially para. 196. Eprint.
- Peirce, C. S. (1908), "A Neglected Argument for the Reality of
God", published in part, Hibbert Journal v. 7, 90-112,
Journal version, also at Internet Archive
Eprint. Reprinted with one or another
unpublished part in CP 6.452-485, Selected Writings pp.
358-379, EP 2:434-450, Peirce on Signs pp. 260-278.
- Peirce (c. 1906), "PAP (Prolegomena for an Apology to
Pragmatism)" (MS 293), NEM 4:319-320, see first quote under "
Abduction" at CDPT.
- In addition to Peirce's "Neglected Argument" cited above, see
Nubiola, Jaime (2004) "Il Lume Naturale: Abduction and God",
Semiotiche I/2, 91-102. Eprint.
- Peirce, C. S. (1868), "Nominalism versus Realism", Journal
of Speculative Philosophy v. 2, n. 1, p p. 57-61. Reprinted (CP 6.619-624), (W
2:144-153, PEP Eprint).
- On Peirce's moderate, then strong modal realism, see: * Peirce,
C. S. (1897), "The Logic of Relatives", The Monist, vol.
VII, No. 2 pp. 161-217, The Open Court Publishing Co., Chicago, IL,
January 1897. Reprinted (CP 3.456-552). See especially p. 206 (CP
3.527) Google Books Eprint. * Peirce, C. S. (1905), "Issues of
Pragmaticism", The Monist, vol. XV, no. 4, pp. 481–499,
The Open Court Publishing Co., Chicago, IL, October 1905. Reprinted
(CP 5.438-463), (SW 203-226). See especially pp. 495–6 (CP 5.453–7)
Google Books Eprint. * Peirce, C. S. (c. 1905), Letter to
Signor Calderoni, CP 8.205–213, especially 208. * Lane, Robert
(2007), "Peirce's Modal Shift: From Set Theory to Pragmaticism",
Journal of the History of Philosophy, v. 45, n. 4,
- Peirce, "The Architecture of Theories", The Monist 1 (1891), p
p. 161–176, see p. 170, via the Internet Archive).
Reprinted (CP 6.7–34) and (EP 1:285-297, see p. 293).
- See "tychism", "tychasm", "tychasticism", and the rest, at
- Peirce, "Evolutionary Love", The Monist, v. 3, pp.
176-200 (1893). Reprinted CP 6.278-317, EP 1:352-72.
- See p. 115 in Reasoning and the Logic of Things,
Ketner, ed., 1992, from Peirce's 1898 lectures.
- Peirce (1903), CP 1.182 Eprint and Peirce (1906) 'The Basis of Pragmaticism',
EP 2:372-3, see " Philosophy" at CDPT.
- Arisbe: The
Peirce Gateway, Joseph Ransdell, ed. 95 online works by Peirce
as of 2/17/09, with annotations. 100s of online papers on Peirce.
The peirce-l e-forum. Much else.
- Centro de
Estudos Peirceanos (CeneP) and Centro Internacional de Estudos Peirceanos
(CIEP), Lucia Santaella et al., Pontifical Catholic
U. of São Paulo (PUC-SP),
Brazil. In Portuguese, some English.
- Centro Studi
Peirce, Carlo Sini, Rossella Fabbrichesi, et al., U.
of Milan, Italy. In Italian and English.
S. Peirce Society.
- Charles S.
Studies, Brian Kariger, ed.
- Commens: Virtual Centre for Peirce Studies, U. of
Helsinki, Mats Bergman & Sami Paavola, eds. 24 papers by ten
authors as of 1/31/09. Plus the Commens Dictionary of Peirce's
Terms (CDPT) with Peirce's own definitions, often many per
term across the decades.
graphs, knowledge representation. John F. Sowa, ed. Related:
- Digital Encyclopedia of Charles S. Peirce. João Queiroz and Ricardo Gudwin, eds., Brazil,
in English. 84 authors listed, 51 papers online, more papers
listed, as of 1/31/09.
- Existential Graphs, Jay Zeman, ed., U. of Florida.
Includes works by Peirce.
- Grupo de Estudios Peirceanos, Jaime Nubiola, ed., U.
of Navarra, Spain. Big study site, in Spanish and English, many
papers, bibliography, more.
- His Glassy
Essence. Autobiographical Peirce. Kenneth Laine Ketner.
- Institute for Studies in Pragmaticism, Kenneth Laine
Ketner, Clyde Hendrick, et al.
- International Research Group on Abductive Inference,
Uwe Wirth and Alexander Roesler, eds. Uses frames. Click on link at
bottom of its home page for English.
- LAIR: Abductive Inference in Reasoning and
Perception, John R. Josephson, Ohio State U.
- Peirce at Signo: Theoretical Semiotics on the
Web, Louis Hébert, director, supported by U of Québec. Theory,
application, exercises of Peirce's Semiotics and Esthetics. English, French.
Edition Project, Indiana U.-Purdue U. Indianapolis (IUPUI).
Editors of the Writings of Charles S. Peirce v.
1–6 of a projected 30 and The Essential Peirce v. 2. Many
study aids such as introductions to EP 1–2 and W 1–6, and the Robin
Catalog of Peirce's manuscripts and letters.
- Peirce's Existential Graphs, Fritjof Dau, Germany
- Peirce's Theory of Semiosis, Joseph Esposito. Free
Cybrary, John R. Shook, ed.
- Semiotics according to Robert Marty, with 76
definitions of the sign by Peirce.
- Signs -
International Journal of Semiotics. Martin Thellefsen
& Torkild Thellefsen, chief editors.
- In the Net of Abductions (On Juliette Peirce's
Identity), Vitaly Kiryushchenko, Russia. Also see Juliette Peirce#Literature.
Sanders Peirce bibliography has numerous external
links throughout to Peirce materials readable online, including:
An earlier version of this article, by Jaime
Nubiola, was posted at Nupedia.