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Charles Sanders Peirce
Charles Sanders Peirce.jpg
BornSeptember 10, 1839
DiedApril 19, 1914 (aged 74)
Alma materHarvard University
Scientific career
Fields
InstitutionsJohns Hopkins University

Philosophy career
EraLate modern philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolPragmatism
Pragmaticism
Notable students
Main interests
Religious stanceEpiscopal (unconventional)[8]

Charles Sanders Peirce (/pɜːrs/[10][11] PURSS; September 10, 1839 – April 19, 1914) was an American philosopher, logician, mathematician, and scientist who is sometimes known as "the father of pragmatism".

Educated as a chemist and employed as a scientist for thirty years, Peirce considered himself, first and foremost, a logician. He made major contributions to logic, a subject that, for him, encompassed much of what is now called epistemology and the philosophy of science. He saw logic as the formal branch of semiotics, of which he is a founder, which foreshadowed the debate among logical positivists and proponents of philosophy of language that dominated 20th-century Western philosophy. Additionally, he defined the concept of abductive reasoning, as well as rigorously formulated mathematical induction and deductive reasoning. As early as 1886, he saw that logical operations could be carried out by electrical switching circuits. The same idea was used decades later to produce digital computers.[12]

In 1934, the philosopher Paul Weiss called Peirce "the most original and versatile of American philosophers and America's greatest logician".[13] Webster's Biographical Dictionary said in 1943 that Peirce was "now regarded as the most original thinker and greatest logician of his time".[14]

Life

/pɜːrs/[10][11] PURSS; September 10, 1839 – April 19, 1914) was an American philosopher, logician, mathematician, and scientist who is sometimes known as "the father of pragmatism".

Educated as a chemist and employed as a scientist for thirty years, Peirce considered himself, first and foremost, a logician. He made major contributions to logic, a subject that, for him, encompassed much of what is now called epistemology and the philosophy of science. He saw logic as the formal branch of semiotics, of which he is a founder, which foreshadowed the debate among logical positivists and proponents of logician. He made major contributions to logic, a subject that, for him, encompassed much of what is now called epistemology and the philosophy of science. He saw logic as the formal branch of semiotics, of which he is a founder, which foreshadowed the debate among logical positivists and proponents of philosophy of language that dominated 20th-century Western philosophy. Additionally, he defined the concept of abductive reasoning, as well as rigorously formulated mathematical induction and deductive reasoning. As early as 1886, he saw that logical operations could be carried out by electrical switching circuits. The same idea was used decades later to produce digital computers.[12]

In 1934, the philosopher Paul Weiss called Peirce "the most original and versatile of American philosophers and America's greatest logician".[13] Webster's Biographical Dictionary said in 1943 that Peirce was "now regarded as the most original thinker and greatest logician of his time".[14]

Peirce was born at 3 Phillips Place in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was the son of Sarah Hunt Mills and Benjamin Peirce, himself a professor of astronomy and mathematics at Harvard University and perhaps the first serious research mathematician in America.[citation needed] At age 12, Charles read his older brother's copy of Richard Whately's Elements of Logic, then the leading English-language text on the subject. So began his lifelong fascination with logic and reasoning.[15] He went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree (1862) from Harvard. In 1863 the Lawrence Scientific School awarded him a Bachelor of Science degree, Harvard's first summa cum laude chemistry degree.[16] His academic record was otherwise undistinguished.[17] At Harvard, he began lifelong friendships with Francis Ellingwood Abbot, Chauncey Wright, and William James.[18] One of his Harvard instructors, Charles William Eliot, formed an unfavorable opinion of Peirce. This proved fateful, because Eliot, while President of Harvard (1869–1909—a period encompassing nearly all of Peirce's working life), repeatedly vetoed Peirce's employment at the university.[19]

Peirce suffered from his late-teens onward from a nervous condition then known as "facial neuralgia", which would today be diagnosed as trigeminal neuralgia. His biographer, 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".[20] Its consequences may have led to the social isolation of his later life.

Early employment

Between 1859 and 1891, Peirce was intermittently employed in various scientific capacities by the United States Coast Survey and its successor, the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey,[21] where he enjoyed his highly influential father's protection until the latter's death in 1880.[22] That employment exempted Peirce from having to take part in the American Civil War; it would have been very awkward for him to do so, as the Boston Brahmin Peirces sympathized with the Confederacy.[23] At the Survey, he worked mainly in geodesy and gravimetry, refining the use of pendulums to determine small local variations in the Earth's gravity.[21] He was elected a resident fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in January 1867.[24] The Survey sent him to Europe five times,[25] first in 1871 as part of a group sent to observe a solar eclipse. There, he sought out Augustus De Morgan, William Stanley Jevons, and William Kingdon Clifford,[26] British 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 Milky Way.[27] On April 20, 1877 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences.[28] Also in 1877, he proposed measuring the meter as so many wavelengths of light of a certain frequency,[29] the kind of definition employed from 1960 to 1983.

During the 1880s, Peirce's indifference to bureaucratic detail waxed while his Survey work's quality and timeliness waned. Peirce took years to write reports that he should have completed in months.[according to whom?] Meanwhile, he wrote entries, ultimately thousands, during 1883–1909 on philosophy, logic, science, and other subjects for the encyclopedic Century Dictionary.[30] 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.[31] In 1891, Peirce resigned from the Coast Survey at Superintendent Thomas Corwin Mendenhall's request.[32]

Johns Hopkins University

In 1879, Peirce was appointed lecturer in logic at Johns Hopkins University, which had strong departments in areas that interested him, such as philosophy (Royce and Dewey completed their Ph.D.s 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. Sylvester, who came to admire Peirce's work on mathematics and logic). His Studies in Logic by Members of the Johns Hopkins University (1883) contained works by himself and Allan Marquand, Christine Ladd, Benjamin Ives Gilman, and Oscar Howard Mitchell, several of whom wer

Peirce suffered from his late-teens onward from a nervous condition then known as "facial neuralgia", which would today be diagnosed as trigeminal neuralgia. His biographer, 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".[20] Its consequences may have led to the social isolation of his later life.

Between 1859 and 1891, Peirce was intermittently employed in various scientific capacities by the United States Coast Survey and its successor, the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey,[21] where he enjoyed his highly influential father's protection until the latter's death in 1880.[22] That employment exempted Peirce from having to take part in the American Civil War; it would have been very awkward for him to do so, as the Boston Brahmin Peirces sympathized with the Confederacy.[23] At the Survey, he worked mainly in geodesy and gravimetry, refining the use of pendulums to determine small local variations in the Earth's gravity.[21] He was elected a resident fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in January 1867.[24] The Survey sent him to Europe five times,[25] first in 1871 as part of a group sent to observe a solar eclipse. There, he sought out Augustus De Morgan, William Stanley Jevons, and William Kingdon Clifford,[26] British 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 Milky Way.[27] On April 20, 1877 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences.[28] Also in 1877, he proposed measuring the meter as so many wavelengths of light of a certain frequency,[29] the kind of definition employed from 1960 to 1983.

During the 1880s, Peirce's indifference to bureaucratic detail waxed while his Survey work's quality and timeliness waned. Peirce took years to write reports that he should have completed in months.[[according to whom?] Meanwhile, he wrote entries, ultimately thousands, during 1883–1909 on philosophy, logic, science, and other subjects for the encyclopedic Century Dictionary.[30] 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.[31] In 1891, Peirce resigned from the Coast Survey at Superintendent Thomas Corwin Mendenhall's request.[32]

In 1879, Peirce was appointed lecturer in logic at Johns Hopkins University, which had strong departments in areas that interested him, such as philosophy (Royce and Dewey completed their Ph.D.s 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. Sylvester, who came to admire Peirce's work on mathematics and logic). His Studies in Logic by Members of the Johns Hopkins University (1883) contained works by himself and Allan Marquand, Christine Ladd, Benjamin Ives Gilman, and Oscar Howard Mitchell, several of whom were his graduate students.[7] Peirce's nontenured position at Hopkins was the only academic appointment he 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 Canadian-American scientist of the day, Simon Newcomb.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 Canadian-American scientist of the day, Simon Newcomb.[33] Peirce's efforts may also have been hampered by what Brent characterizes as "his difficult personality".[34] In contrast, Keith Devlin believes that Peirce's work was too far ahead of his time to be appreciated by the academic establishment of the day and that this played a large role in his inability to obtain a tenured position.[35]

Peirce's personal life undoubtedly worked against his professional success. After his first wife, Harriet Melusina Fay ("Zina"), left him in 1875,[36] Peirce, while still legally married, became involved with Juliette, whose last name, given variously as Froissy and Pourtalai,[37] and nationality (she spoke French)[38] remains uncertain.[39] When his divorce from Zina became final in 1883, he married Juliette.[40] 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 in January 1884.[41] Over the years Peirce sought academic employment at various universities without success.[42] He had no children by either marriage.[43]

In 1887 Peirce spent part of his inheritance from his parents to buy 2,000 acres (8 km2) of rural land near Milford, Pennsylvania, which never yielded an economic return.[44] There he had an 1854 farmhouse remodeled to his design.[45] The Peirces named the property "Arisbe". There they lived with few interruptions for the rest of their lives,[46] Charles writing prolifically, much of it unpublished to this day (see Works). Living beyond their means soon led to grave financial and legal difficulties.[47] He 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 verso 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.[48] Several people, including his brother James Mills Peirce[49] and his neighbors, relatives of Gifford Pinchot, settled his debts and paid his property taxes and mortgage.[50]

Peirce did some scientific and engineering consulting and wrote much for meager pay, mainly encyclopedic dictionary entries, and reviews for The Nation (with whose editor, Wendell Phillips Garrison, he became friendly). He did translations for the Smithsonian Institution, at its director Samuel Langley's instigation. Peirce also did substantial mathematical calculations for Langley's research on powered flight. Hoping to make money, Peirce tried inventing.[51] He began but did not complete several books.[52] In 1888, President Grover Cleveland appointed him to the Assay Commission.[53]

From 1890 on, he had a friend and admirer in Judge Francis C. Russell of Chicago,[54] who introduced Peirce to editor Paul Carus and owner Edward C. Hegeler of the pioneering American philosophy journal The Monist, which eventually published at least 14 articles by Peirce.[55] He wrote many texts in James Mark Baldwin's Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology (1901–1905); half of those credited to him appear to have been written actually by Christine Ladd-Franklin under his supervision.[56] He applied in 1902 to the newly formed Carnegie Institution for a grant to write a systematic book describing his life's work. The application was doomed; his nemesis, Newcomb, served on the Carnegie Institution executive committee, and its president had been president of Johns Hopkins at the time of Peirce's dismissal.[57]

The one who did the most to help Peirce in these desperate times was his old friend William James, dedi

Peirce did some scientific and engineering consulting and wrote much for meager pay, mainly encyclopedic dictionary entries, and reviews for The Nation (with whose editor, Wendell Phillips Garrison, he became friendly). He did translations for the Smithsonian Institution, at its director Samuel Langley's instigation. Peirce also did substantial mathematical calculations for Langley's research on powered flight. Hoping to make money, Peirce tried inventing.[51] He began but did not complete several books.[52] In 1888, President Grover Cleveland appointed him to the Assay Commission.[53]

From 1890 on, he had a friend and admirer in Judge Francis C. Russell of Chicago,[54] who introduced Peirce to editor Paul Carus and owner Edward C. Hegeler of the pioneering American philosophy journal The Monist, which eventually published at least 14 articles by Peirce.[55] He wrote many texts in James Mark Baldwin's Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology (1901–1905); half of those credited to him appear to have been written actually by Christine Ladd-Franklin under his supervision.[56] He applied in 1902 to the newly formed Carnegie Institution for a grant to write a systematic book describing his life's work. The application was doomed; his nemesis, Newcomb, served on the Carnegie Institution executive committee, and its president had been president of Johns Hopkins at the time of Peirce's dismissal.[57]

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 two series of lectures at or near Harvard (1898 and 1903).[58] Most important, each year from 1907 until James's death in 1910, James wrote to his friends in the Boston intelligentsia to request financial aid for Peirce; the fund continued even after James died. Peirce reciprocated by designating James's eldest son as his heir should Juliette predecease him.[59] It has been believed that this was also why Peirce used "Santiago" ("St. James" in English) as a middle name, but he appeared in print as early as 1890 as Charles Santiago Peirce. (See Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce for discussion and references).

Peirce died destitute in Milford, Pennsylvania, twenty years before his widow. Juliette Peirce kept the urn with Peirce's ashes at Arisbe. In 1934, Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot arranged for Juliette's burial on Milford Cemetery. The urn with Peirce's ashes was interred with Juliette.[60]

Peirce grew up in a home where white supremacy was taken for granted, and Southern slavery was considered natural.[61]

Until the outbreak of the Civil War his father described himself as a secessionist, but after the outbreak of the war, this stopped and he became a Union partisan, providing donations to the Sanitary Commission, t

Until the outbreak of the Civil War his father described himself as a secessionist, but after the outbreak of the war, this stopped and he became a Union partisan, providing donations to the Sanitary Commission, the leading Northern war charity. No members of the Peirce family volunteered or enlisted. Peirce shared his father's views and liked to use the following syllogism to illustrate the unreliability of traditional forms of logic[62] (see also: Peirce's law § Other proofs of Peirce's law):

All Men are equal in their political rights.
Negroes are Men.
Therefore, negroes are equal in political rights to whites.

Bertrand Russell (1959) wrote "Beyond doubt [...] he was one of the most original minds of the later nineteenth century and certainly the greatest American thinker ever".[63] Russell and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica, published from 1910 to 1913, does not mention Peirce (Peirce's work was not widely known until later).[64] A. N. Whitehead, 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 metaphysics, see Lowe 1964[27]). Karl Popper viewed Peirce as "one of the greatest philosophers of all times".[65] Yet Peirce's achievements were not immediately recognized. His imposing contemporaries William James and Josiah Royce[66] admired him and Cassius Jackson Keyser, at Columbia and C. K. Ogden, 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 an anthology of Peirce's writings entitled Morris Raphael Cohen, the editor of an anthology of Peirce's writings entitled Chance, Love, and Logic (1923), and the author of the first bibliography of Peirce's scattered writings.[67] John Dewey studied under Peirce at Johns Hopkins.[7] From 1916 onward, Dewey's writings repeatedly mention Peirce with deference. His 1938 Logic: The Theory of Inquiry is much influenced by Peirce.[68] The publication of the first six volumes of Collected Papers (1931–1935), the most important event to date in Peirce studies and one that Cohen made possible by raising the needed funds,[69] 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 PhD thesis by Arthur W. Burks (who went on to edit volumes 7 and 8), and the studies edited by Wiener and Young (1952). The Charles S. Peirce Society was founded in 1946. Its Transactions, an academic quarterly specializing in Peirce's pragmatism and American philosophy has appeared since 1965.[70] (See Phillips 2014, 62 for discussion of Peirce and Dewey relative to transactionalism).

In 1949, while doing unrelated archival work, the historian of mathematics Carolyn Eisele (1902–2000) chanced on an autograph letter by Peirce. So began her forty 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).[71] He includes many of his relevant articles in a survey (Fisch 1986: 422–48) of the impact of Peirce's thought through 1983.

Peirce has gained an international following, marked by university research centers devoted to Peirce studies and pragmatism in Brazil (CeneP/CIEP), Finland (HPRC and Commens), Germany (Wirth's group, Hoffman's and Otte's group, and Deuser's and Härle's group[72]), France (L'I.R.S.C.E.), Spain (GEP), and Italy (CSP). His writings have been translated into several languages, including German, French, Finnish, Spanish, and Swedish. Since 1950, there have been French, Italian, Spanish, British, and Brazilian Peirce scholars of note. For many years, the North American philosophy department most devoted to Peirce was the University of Toronto, thanks in part to the leadership of Thomas Goudge and David Savan. In recent years, U.S. Peirce scholars have clustered at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, home of the Peirce Edition Project (PEP) –, and Pennsylvania State University.

Currently, considerable interest is being taken in Peirce's ideas by researchers wholly outside the arena of academic philosophy. The interest comes from industry, business, technology, intelligence organizations, and the military; and it has resulted in the existence of a substantial number of agencies, institutes, businesses, and laboratories in which ongoing research into and development of Peircean concepts are being vigorously undertaken.

— Robert Burch, 2001, updated 2010[21]

In recent years, Peirce's In recent years, Peirce's trichotomy of signs is exploited by a growing number of practitioners for marketing and design tasks.

Works

Continuity and synechism are central in Peirce's philosophy: "I did not at first suppose that it was, as I gradually came to find it, the master-Key of philosophy".[96]

From a mathematical point of view, he embraced infinitesimals and worked long on the mathematics of continua. He long held that the real numbers constitute a pseudo-continuum;Continuity and synechism are central in Peirce's philosophy: "I did not at first suppose that it was, as I gradually came to find it, the master-Key of philosophy".[96]

From a mathematical point of view, he embraced infinitesimals and worked long on the mathematics of continua. He long held that the real numbers constitute a pseudo-continuum;[97]

From a mathematical point of view, he embraced infinitesimals and worked long on the mathematics of continua. He long held that the real numbers constitute a pseudo-continuum;[97] that a true continuum is the real subject matter of analysis situs (topology); and that a true continuum of instants exceeds—and within any lapse of time has room for—any Aleph number (any infinite multitude as he called it) of instants.[98]

In 1908 Peirce wrote that he found that a true continuum might have or lack such room. Jérôme Havenel (2008): "It is on 26 May 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."[99]

Peirce held that science achieves statistical probabilities, not certainties, and that spontaneity (absolute chance) is real (see Tychism on his view). Most of his statistical writings promote the frequency interpretation of 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.[100] Though Peirce was largely a frequentist, his possible world semantics introduced the "propensity" theory of probability before Karl Popper.[101][102] Peirce (sometimes with Joseph Jastrow) investigated the probability judgments of experimental subjects, "perhaps the very first" elicitation and estimation of subjective probabilities in experimental psychology and (what came to be called) Bayesian statistics.[2]

Peirce was one of the founders of statistics. He formulated modern statistics in "Illustrations of the Logic of Science" (1877–1878) and "founders of statistics. He formulated modern statistics in "Illustrations of the Logic of Science" (1877–1878) and "A Theory of Probable Inference" (1883). With a repeated measures design, Charles Sanders Peirce and Joseph Jastrow introduced blinded, controlled randomized experiments in 1884[103] (Hacking 1990:205)[1] (before Ronald A. Fisher).[2] He invented optimal design for experiments on gravity, in which he "corrected the means". He used correlation and smoothing. Peirce extended the work on outliers by Benjamin Peirce, his father.[2] He introduced terms "confidence" and "likelihood" (before Jerzy Neyman and Fisher). (See Stephen Stigler's historical books and Ian Hacking 1990[1].)

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 1964, p. 486.[27]

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 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 Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, in the original German, while a Harvard undergraduate. His writings bear on a wide array of disciplines, including mathematics, logic, philosophy, statistics, astronomy,[27] metrology,[3] geodesy, experimental psychology,[4] economics,[5] linguistics,[6] and the history and philosophy of science. 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 problems.

Peirce's philosophy includes (see below in related sections) a pervasive three-category system: belief that truth is immutable and is both independent from actual opinion (fallibilism) and discoverable (no radical skepticism), logic as formal semiotic on signs, on arguments, and on inquiry's ways—including philosophical pragmatism (which he founded), critical common-sensism, and scientific method—and, in metaphysics: Scholastic realism, e.g. John Duns Scotus, belief in God, freedom, and at least an attenuated immortality, objective idealism, and belief in the reality of continuity and of absolute chance, mechanical necessity, and creative love. In his work, fallibilism and pragmatism may seem to work somewhat like skepticism and positivism, respectively, in others' work. However, for Peirce, fallibilism is balanced by an anti-skepticism and is a basis for belief in the reality of absolute chance and of continuity,[104] and pragmatism commits one to anti-nominalist belief in the reality of the general (CP 5.453–57).

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 settle questions by resorting to special experiences.[105] He divided such 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.

On May 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. The paper outlined a theory of predication, involving three universal categories that Peirce developed in response to reading Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, and G. W. F. Hegel, categories that Peirce applied throughout his work for the rest of his life.[21] 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 that one finds formed by the three grades of clearness in "How To Make Our Ideas Clear" (1878 paper foundational to pragmatism), and in numerous other trichotomies in his work.

"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.[106] In 1893, Peirce restated most of it for a less advanced audience.[107]

Peirce's categories (technical n

"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.[106] In 1893, Peirce restated most of it for a less advanced audience.[107]

 *Note: An interpretant is an interpretation (human or otherwise) in the sense of the product of an interpretive process.

Aesthetics and ethics

Peirce did not write extensively in aesthetics and ethics,[114] but came by 1902 to hold that aesthetics, ethics, and logic, in that order, comprise the normative sciences.[115] He characterized aesthetics as the study of the good (grasped as the admirable), and thus of the ends governing all conduct and thought.[116]

Philosophy: logic, or semiotic