Introduction to EP Volume 1

Charles Sanders Peirce was born on 10 September 1839 in Cambridge, Massachusetts—when Darwin was only 30 years old—and he lived until 1914, the year World War I began. His father, Benjamin Peirce, was a distinguished professor at Harvard College and the most respected mathematician in America. The Peirce family was well connected in academic and scientific circles, and Charles grew up on intimate terms with the leading figures. He was regarded as a prodigy both in science and philosophy, and more brilliant in mathematics than even his father. Unfortunately for Peirce, his independence of mind, which was at first so much admired, turned out to be a severe impediment to his success. In part this was due to the times. For, as James Feibleman has pointed out, with the expansion of the United States and the rise of the great western cities, New England, and especially Boston and Cambridge, became more and more insular and conservative and grew fearful of genius and originality.(1) As great a thinker as any that America has ever produced, Peirce was thwarted at almost every turn, and only by great effort of will was he able to fulfill some of the promise he exhibited as a young man.

Peirce's importance as a thinker was not entirely lost on his own age. Among his friends and admirers were such respected philosophers as William James, Josiah Royce, and John Dewey, and the renowned mathematician and logician Ernst Schröder. Yet after a short tenure at the Johns Hopkins University as a part-time lecturer in logic (1879-1884), and a premature—and forced—retirement (1891) from the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey where he was in charge of gravity experiments and pendulum research, Peirce was unable to obtain regular employment again. He spent much of the latter third of his life struggling to make ends meet, and many of his writings of those years were done for pay. These include book reviews for newspapers and popular journals, contributions to dictionaries and encyclopedias, and translations (mainly from French and German). There were also a number of philosophical articles composed to satisfy the expectations and instructions of paying editors. For a period, beginning about 1890, Peirce's life was often dominated by one unsuccessful "get rich" scheme after another. (2) By the turn of the century, he began to worry about getting his program of philosophy and his discoveries in mathematics and logic into print, but almost all his proposals failed to win support. It was more than twenty years after his death, and only after the Harvard Philosophy Department brought out a collection of his papers, that scholars began more generally to glimpse the importance and profundity of his thought. By 1936 Alfred North Whitehead would describe America as the developing center of worthwhile philosophy, and identify Charles Peirce and William James as the founders of the American renaissance. "Of these men," Whitehead said, "W.J. is the analogue to Plato, and C.P. to Aristotle." (3)

Interest in Peirce has grown enormously in recent years, and estimates of his significance as a thinker continue to run high. His work in logic, algebraical and graphical, has come to be regarded as substantial both for its historical impact and its enduring importance for research. Hilary Putnam expressed his surprise upon discovering "how much that is quite familiar in modern logic actually became known to the logical world through the efforts of Peirce and his students," (4) and W. V. Quine dates modern logic from "the emergence of general quantification theory at the hands of Frege and Peirce." (5) More recently, John Sowa has demonstrated how Peirce's graphical system of logic (his existential graphs) improves on other logics for the representation of discourse, and the study of language generally, and he has used the existential graphs as the logical foundation for his own conceptual graphs, "which combine Peirce's logic with research on semantic networks in artificial intelligence and computational linguistics." (6) In philosophy more generally, Peirce's work has been the focus of a considerable resurgence of interest throughout the world. This is demonstrated by the growing number of books and articles about Peirce, by increasing references to his ideas, and by the testimony of respected philosophers like Karl Popper, who regards Peirce as "one of the greatest philosophers of all time." (7) Finally, in the rapidly growing field of study known as semiotics, Peirce is universally acknowledged as one of the founders, even the founder, and his theory of signs is among the most frequently studied and systematically examined of all foundational theories. The importance of semiotics for all disciplines that deal crucially with representation (among them epistemology, linguistics, anthropology, and cognitive science, and probably all the fine arts) is only beginning to be recognized. In his 1989 Jefferson Lecture, Walker Percy argued that modern science is radically incoherent—"not when it seeks to understand things and subhuman organisms and the cosmos itself, but when it seeks to understand man, not man's physiology or neurology or his bloodstream, but man qua man, man when he is peculiarly human"—but that, with his theory of signs, Peirce laid the groundwork for a coherent science of man that is yet to be worked out.(8)

Peirce developed an early interest in philosophy, particularly the writings of Kant, and in formal logic, but his training led him to experimental science, especially two sciences with a marked mathematical basis: astronomy and geodesy. His first book, Photometric Researches (1878), was the result of several years of astronomical observations at the Harvard Observatory. It included Ptolemy's catalogue of stars, in a translation Peirce made from a manuscript in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. His published many papers and monographs on geodesy, and one of these is still considered a classic in the field. He was a geodesist with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey for nearly thirty years, and later he worked for a time as a consulting chemical engineer for the St. Lawrence Power Company.

But throughout his life, committed as it was to science, he maintained a continuing research program in philosophy and logic. He delivered series of lectures at different institutions from the mid-1860s until after the turn of the century and, from 1879 to 1884, he taught logic at the Johns Hopkins University, the first true graduate school in America. When in the late 1880s he wrote definitions for the Century Dictionary, it was no doubt his enthusiasm for the Hopkins model that led him to define "university" as "an association of men for the purpose of study, which confers degrees which are acknowledged as valid throughout Christendom, is endowed, and is privileged by the state, in order that the people may receive intellectual guidance and that the theoretical problems which present themselves in the development of civilization may be resolved." The definition was the subject of an anecdote by John Jay Chapman:

Charles Peirce wrote the definition of University in the Century Dictionary. He called it an institution for purposes of study. They wrote to him that their notion had been that a university was an institution for instruction. He wrote back that if they had any such notion they were grievously mistaken, that a university had not and never had had anything to do with instruction and that until we got over this idea we should not have any university in this country. (9)

In his day, Peirce was a more international figure than is generally known. He visited Europe five times between 1870 and 1883, and although he usually traveled as a scientist—to swing pendulums and to compare American weights and measures with European standards—he met prominent mathematicians and logicians as well as scientists, including De Morgan, McColl, Jevons, Clifford, and Herbert Spencer. Peirce corresponded with most of these scholars, and also with Schrõder, Cantor, Kempe, Jourdain, Victoria Lady Welby, and others. Through Lady Welby, Peirce's letters on semiotic were occasionally passed on to C. K. Ogden who, with I. A. Richards, published some of them in their classic The Meaning of Meaning. Wittgenstein's good friend, F. P. Ramsey, was much impressed with these letters and, in his review of the Tractatus, remarked that Wittgenstein would have profited from Peirce's type-token distinction. (10)

Peirce's systematic philosophy, which is the focus of the present collection of writings, is difficult to characterize in a few words. For one thing, it consists of a number of distinct but inter-related theories and doctrines, any one of which could easily be the subject of whole books—as some, in fact, have been. Among the most characteristic of Peirce's theories are his pragmatism (or "pragmaticism," as he later called it), a method of sorting out conceptual confusions by relating meaning to consequences; semiotic, his theory of information, representation, communication, and the growth of knowledge; objective idealism, his monistic thesis that matter is effete mind (with the corollary that mind is inexplicable in terms of mechanics); fallibilism, the thesis that no inquirer can ever claim with full assurance to have reached the truth, for new evidence or information may arise that will reverberate throughout one's system of beliefs affecting even those most entrenched; tychism, the thesis that chance is really operative in the universe; synechism, the theory that continuity prevails and that the presumption of continuity is of enormous methodological importance for philosophy; and, finally, agapism, the thesis that love, or sympathy, has real influence in the world and, in fact, is "the great evolutionary agency of the universe." The last three doctrines are part of Peirce's comprehensive evolutionary cosmology.

Besides this imposing assemblage of theories, there is still another barrier to an easy characterization of Peirce's philosophy, signalled by the reference to Darwin in the opening paragraph. Peirce's philosophy does not consist of a set of static doctrines, thought up and written down once and for all; its development over his more than fifty years of scholarship appropriately represents his Darwinian motivation. Not only did he think of himself as working out an evolutionary philosophy, one that includes humankind as part of the evolving natural world, but his writings illustrate his personal commitment to the principle of evolutionary growth. Peirce was always open to the revelations of experience and was prepared to change his theories accordingly. Some of these changed dramatically over the course of his life; nearly all changed in one way or another. We cannot draw one consistent philosophy from Peirce's writings without ignoring conflicting passages. A tendency by some of Peirce's commentators to overlook this characteristic of his thought has led to much confusion. This point was made rather dramatically by the late Indiana philosopher, Arthur F. Bentley:

What one says 20 years from what one says another time, must be studied as Event-in-process....Peirce did not have a modernized post-Jamesian vocabulary for behaviors. He floundered and can show Peirce as all sorts of things. But take the full flow of Peirce's development, his 1869 essays for actuality; his relations logic—his statement about concepts in 187[8] Sci Monthly; his late effort at a functional logic nobody ever mentions, etc. You have an event in progress. It is, for me, one of the greatest event[s] among all events. (11)

It is impossible, in a short introduction, to present fully Peirce's most characteristic philosophical doctrines and theories, let alone give serious attention to the development of his thought. It is difficult to give even a satisfactory outline of his philosophical development. Over the years, scholars have described the key steps in his intellectual life in different ways. To give some chronological structure to such studies, Max Fisch has divided Peirce's philosophical activity into three periods. (1) The Cambridge period (1851-1870), from his reading of Whately's Logic to his memoir on the logic of relatives; (2) the cosmopolitan period (1870-1887), the time of his most important, when he traveled extensively in Europe, as well as in the United States and Canada; and (3) the Arisbe period (1887-1914), from his move to Milford, Pennsylvania, until his death—the longest and philosophically most productive period. (12)

Gérard Deledalle has associated these periods more directly with Peirce's philosophical activity and has given them more figurative names. (1) "Leaving the Cave" (1851-1870), the period of the evolution of Peirce's thought beginning with his critique of Kantian logic and Cartesianism; (2) "The Eclipse of the Sun" (1870-1887), the period dominated by his discovery of modern logic and pragmatism; and (3) "The Sun Set Free" (1887-1914), the period of his founding of semiotic on a phenomenology based on his logic of relations and of his working out his scientific metaphysics, the crowning-point of his philosophical achievement. (13)

A somewhat different account of the principal stages of Peirce's development is given by Murray Murphey, who associates each of Peirce's key shifts of thought with important discoveries in logic. He identifies four main phases: (1) Peirce's Kantian phase (1857-1865/66); (2) the phase beginning with the discovery of the irreducibility of the three syllogistic figures (1866-1869/70); (3) the phase beginning with the discovery of the logic of relations (1869/70-1884); and (4) the phase beginning with the discovery of quantification and of set theory (1884-1914). (14)

Probably the most significant development in Peirce's intellectual life was the evolution of his thought from its quasi-nominalist and idealist beginnings to its broadly and strongly realist conclusion. Because there are so many variants of these doctrines, a few selections from Peirce's Century Dictionary definitions will help reveal his conceptions of these terms:

Nominalism: 1. The doctrine that nothing is general but names; more specifically, the doctrine that common nouns, as man, horse, represent in their generality nothing in the real things, but are mere conveniences for speaking of many things at once, or at most necessities of human thought; individualism.

Idealism: 1. The metaphysical doctrine that the real is of the nature of thought; the doctrine that all reality is in its nature psychical.

Realist: 1. A logician who holds that the essences of natural classes have some mode of being in the real things; in this sense distinguished as a scholastic realist; opposed to nominalist. 2. A philosopher who believes in the real existence of the external world as independent of all thought about it, or, at least, of the thought of any individual or any number of individuals.

Peirce also defined "ideal-realism" as "a metaphysical doctrine which combines the principles of idealism and realism." As a variant of this term, he defined the ideal-realism of his father as "the opinion that nature and the mind have such a community as to impart to our guesses a tendency toward the truth, while at the same time they require the confirmation of empirical science."

The life-long tension between nominalism and realism in Peirce's own intellectual life is testament to the general importance he attached to it; in fact, if any single question can be said to have been viewed by Peirce as the most important philosophical question of his time, it is that of deciding between the two doctrines. Peirce concurred in this with his old schoolmate Francis Ellingwood Abbot, who in 1885 wrote that "so far was the old battle of Nominalism and Realism from being fought out by the end of the fifteenth century that it is to-day the deep, underlying problem of problems, on the right solution of which depends the life of philosophy itself in the ages to come." (15) For Peirce, as for Abott, the significance of the outcome of this "battle" was not limited to technical philosophy:

though the question of realism and nominalism has its roots in the technicalities of logic, its branches reach about our life. The question whether the genus homo has any existence except as individuals, is the question whether there is anything of any more dignity, worth, and importance than individual happiness, individual aspirations, and individual life. Whether men really have anything in common, so that the community is to be considered as an end in itself, and if so, what the relative value of the two factors is, is the most fundamental practical question in regard to every institution the constitution of which we have it in our power to influence. (item 5)

According to Fisch, Peirce's progress toward realism began early and was gradual, but there were key steps that divide it into stages. (16) Peirce took his first deliberate step in 1868 when, in the second paper of his cognition series (item 3), he "declares unobtrusively for realism." Although this step marks only a small shift in Peirce's thought—the introduction of "the long run" into his theory of reality—it is an important one, for it brings to an end his period of avowed nominalism. (17)

Peirce's second deliberate step was taken in 1871, when in his Berkeley review (item 5) he again declared for "the realism of Scotus" and recognized that realism is temporally oriented toward the future while nominalism is oriented toward the past. Fisch points out that this second declaration came, when after a period of intensive study of the schoolmen, Peirce had become well acquainted with the writings of Duns Scotus.

Peirce took his third step in mid-1872 when, in the Cambridge Metaphysical Club, he first presented his pragmatism in which the meaning of conceptions is referred to future experience: "So we say that the inkstand upon the table is heavy. And what do we mean by that? We only mean that if its support be removed it will fall to the ground.... So that ... knowledge of the thing which exists all the time, exists only by virtue of the fact that when a certain occasion arises a certain idea will come into the mind" (W3:30-31). A few months later, Peirce wrote that "no cognition ... has an intellectual significance for what it is in itself, but only for what it is in its effects upon other thoughts. And the existence of a cognition is not something actual, but consists in the fact that under certain circumstances some other cognition will arise" (W3:77). But the best known statement of the doctrine came in 1878, in the second of his "Illustrations of the Logic of Science," in the now famous version of his pragmatic maxim: "consider what effects, which might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object." Fisch stops enumerating the steps toward realism in 1872, and divides the rest of Peirce's development into two periods, the pre-Monist period (1872-1890) and the Monist period (1891-1914). He summarizes the key factors of the former period as follows:

The chief developments in the pre-Monist period whose effects on Peirce's realism will appear in the Monist period are his pragmatism; his work on the logic of relations and on truth-tables, indices, and quantification; the resulting reformulation of his categories; his work and that of Cantor and Dedekind on transfinite numbers; the appearance in 1885 of provocative books by Royce and Abbot; and, at the end of the period, a fresh review of the history of philosophy for purposes of defining philosophical terms for the Century Dictionary.

In the pre-Monist period, a step that had special importance for Peirce's philosophical development was his recognition, with the help of his Johns Hopkins student O. H. Mitchell, of the need for indices in his algebra of logic. Peirce recognized the need for indices in notations adequate for the full representation of reasoning because he had come to understand the importance of pinning down thought to actual situations. "The actual world," he said, "cannot be distinguished from a world of imagination by any description. Hence the need of pronouns and indices" (item 16). Fisch points out that Peirce's incorporation of indices into his system of logic called for a reformulation both of his theory of signs and of his general theory of categories. It was then that Peirce reintroduced the familiar icon-index-symbol trichotomy and his reformulated categories denoting three kinds of characters (singular, dual, and plural), which he associated with three kinds of fact: "fact about an object, fact about two objects (relation), fact about several objects (synthetic fact)" (W5:244).

At the end of the pre-Monist period, Peirce took a major step toward a more robust realism, a step related to his recognition of the need for indices. This was his acceptance, in about 1890, of Scotus's haecceities—the reality of actuality or of secondness. Peirce could no longer ignore the "Outward Clash," as Hegel had much to the detriment of his system of philosophy. With the acceptance of the reality of seconds, Peirce acknowledged the mode of being that distinguishes the individual from the general, and isolated his categories of fact: qualia, relations, and signs.

The Monist period began with the series of five papers that concludes the present volume. It is the first of four series of papers that Peirce contributed to the Monist which, after its founding in 1890, became his chief medium of publication. In each of these series, and in many of his other writings of the period, he continued to weed out the remaining nominalistic and many of the idealistic elements of his philosophy. Peirce took his most decisive step toward realism in 1897. Fisch has nicely illustrated this last great step by contrasting two passages, one from a January 1897 review of the third volume of Schr&3246der's Algebra und Logik der Relative, and the other from an 18 March 1897 letter to William James. In January, Peirce wrote: "I formerly [as late as October 1896] defined the possible as that which in a given state of information (real or feigned) we do not know not to be true. But this definition today seems to me only a twisted phrase which, by means of two negatives, conceals an anacoluthon" (CP 3.527). Two months later he wrote to James: "The possible is a positive universe, and the two negations happen to fit it, but that is all" (CP 8.308). Peirce thus added the possible as a third mode of being—and, in so doing, gave up his long-held, Mill-inspired frequency theory of probability—and his scheme of categories was fundamentally complete. To his categories in their form of thirdness (feeling, or signs of firstness; sense of action and reaction, or signs of secondness; and sense of learning or mediation, or signs of thirdness) and in their form of secondness (qualia, or facts of firstness; relations, or facts of secondness; and signs, or facts of thirdness), Peirce now added what might be called his ontological categories, his categories in their form of firstness: firstness, or the being of positive qualitative possibility; secondness, or the being of actual fact; and thirdness, or the being of law that will govern facts in the future (CP 1.23).

Peirce was then, in 1897, what Fisch calls a "three-category realist." He had very early accepted the reality of thirds, the universe of thought or signs. This universe was the only reality Peirce the idealist had admitted until about 1890 when he accepted the reality of seconds, the universe of facts (influenced by Scotus). Finally, in 1897 he broadened his evolving realism to accept the reality of firsts, the universe of possibility (influenced by Aristotle). Recognizing the significance of these steps for the growth of his thought, Peirce now characterized himself as "an Aristotelian of the scholastic wing, approaching Scotism, but going much further in the direction of scholastic realism" (CP 5.77n1).

One further step from the Monist period should be mentioned, for it brings together two fundamental strands of Peirce's thought: his pragmatism and his semiotic. In his third Monist series, beginning in 1905, Peirce sought to prove his doctrine of pragmatism (pragmaticism), and in the course of working out his proof, he wove his two great theories into a unified doctrine. He concluded that his semiotic pragmatism entails realism, so that a proof of pragmatism is, at the same time, a proof of realism, and that the pragmatist is "obliged to subscribe to the doctrine of a real Modality, including real Necessity and real Possibility" (CP 5.457).

Although Peirce was aware that at least some of the steps described above were important milestones in his development, he did not regard them as ushering in new systems of thought. According to Murphey, Peirce regarded each phase of his thought as merely a revision of "a single over-all architectonic system" and always preserved as much as he could from each earlier phase. His philosophy might be likened to "a house which is being continually rebuilt from within." (18)

Some scholars have not accepted the one-system account of Peirce's philosophy. Thomas Goudge, in particular, has argued that "Peirce's ideas fall naturally into two broad groups whose opposite character is a reflection of a deep conflict in his thinking" and that this opposition is the result of his conflicting commitment to both naturalism and transcendentalism. (19) By "naturalism" Goudge has in mind scientific philosophy more or less in the positivist sense, a philosophy that puts logical analysis on a pedestal and eschews speculation and system-building. Transcendentalism, on the other hand, discounts logical analysis in favor of metaphysical construction, embracing both speculation and architectonic. Peirce the naturalist tended to nominalism, while Peirce the transcendentalist tended to realism. It was Peirce the naturalist who was the pragmatist, while Peirce the transcendentalist tended to intuitionism. Goudge finds that Peirce's naturalism was the stronger tendency, which guided him in his researches in formal logic, semiotic, scientific method, phenomenology, and critical metaphysics, while the weaker transcendentalism "is most apparent in his views on cosmology, ethics, and theology." (20)

Goudge has indeed uncovered what may appear to be two Peirces, but the finding of most recent scholarship is that the tension is not as great as he thought. Peirce's philosophy is broad and subtle and appears to be able to accommodate results that would be incompatible in narrower systems of thought. It is not possible here to argue for the coherence of the various claims and doctrines that Goudge and others have found to be in conflict. The best that can be done is to outline the basic architecture of Peirce's philosophy and to give a glimpse of its overall unity.

For Peirce, as for Kant, logic was the key to philosophy. He claimed that from the age of twelve, after reading his brother's copy of Whately's Elements of Logic, he could no longer think of anything except as an exercise in logic. (21) Peirce's study of logic was not limited to the formal theory of deductive reasoning or to the foundations of mathematics, although he made important contributions to both. When he sought the professorship of physics at the Johns Hopkins (before being appointed part-time lecturer in logic), he wrote to President Daniel C. Gilman that it was as a logician that he sought to head that department and that he had learned physics in his study of logic. "The data for the generalizations of logic are the special methods of the different sciences," he pointed out, and "to penetrate these methods the logician has to study various sciences rather profoundly."

But it was not just as a theory of reasoning or as a critique of methods that logic was important for philosophy. "Philosophy," Peirce said, "seeks to explain the universe at large, and to show what there is intelligible or reasonable in it. It is therefore committed to the notion (a postulate, which however may not be completely true) that the process of nature and the process of thought are alike" (NEM 4:375). Whether completely true or not, if philosophy seeks to explain the universe at large, and if our explanations presuppose a rational organization of the universe—which, otherwise, would hardly be explicable at all—then we are, in effect, committed to the thesis that the process of nature is (or is like) a rational process. Logic, therefore, has more than heuristic value for philosophy.

It is important to bear in mind that when Peirce called himself a logician—the first and perhaps only person to have his occupation listed as "logician" in Who's Who—he was not thinking of himself as a logical technician or as a logicist who views logic as the deductive foundation for mathematics. Although his many contributions to technical logic—including his 1881 axiomatization of the natural numbers, his 1885 quantification theory and introduction of truth-functional analysis, and his life-long development of the logic of relations—have considerable importance for the foundations of mathematics, his main concern was to build an adequate theory of science and an objective theory of rationality. His general conception of logic was closer to modern-day philosophy of science, together with epistemology and philosophical logic, than to today's mathematical logic. In his later years, Peirce gave a great deal of attention to the classification and relations of the sciences and he came to associate much of what we would today call mathematical logic with mathematics; logic, on the other hand, he came to regard as a normative science concerned with intellectual goodness and, in his most developed view, it is coextensive with semiotic, which constitutes the very heart of philosophy.

Peirce's philosophy is thoroughly systematic—some might say it is systematic to a fault. Central to his system is the idea that certain conceptions are fundamental to others, those to still others, and so on; so that it is possible to analyze our various theoretical systems (our sciences) into a dependency hierarchy. At the top of this hierarchy (or at the base if we envision a ladder of conceptions) we find a set of universal categories, an idea Peirce shared with many of the greatest systematic thinkers including Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. Peirce's universal categories are three: firstness, secondness, and thirdness. Firstness is that which is as it is independently of anything else. Secondness is that which is as it is relative to something else. Thirdness is that which is as it is as mediate between two others. In Peirce's opinion, all conceptions at the most fundamental level can be reduced to these three.

This theory of categories, in its most abstracted form, belongs to mathematics, which stands at the pinnacle of the sciences. Peirce followed his father in defining mathematics as the science which deduces consequences from hypotheses—from what is given—but there is more to it than that. Mathematics is a science of discovery that investigates the realm of abstract forms, the realm of ideal objects (entia rationis). It is the mathematician who first discovers the fundamentality of triadicity by finding that monadic, dyadic, and triadic relations are irreducible, while relations of any degree (or adicity) greater than triadic can be expressed in combinations of triadic relations. This is known as Peirce's reduction thesis.

Mathematics presupposes no other science but is presupposed by all other sciences. After mathematics comes philosophy, which has three main branches: phenomenology, normative science, and metaphysics—dependent on each other in reverse order. Not surprisingly, Peirce's categories make their appearance in each of these parts of philosophy (as they must if they are universal categories). He explained this in the fifth of a series of lectures on pragmatism given at Harvard in 1903:

Philosophy has three grand divisions. The first is Phenomenology, which simply contemplates the Universal Phenomenon and discerns its ubiquitous elements, Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness, together perhaps with other series of categories. The second grand division is Normative Science, which investigates the universal and necessary laws of the relation of Phenomena to Ends, that is, perhaps, to Truth, Right, and Beauty. The third grand division is Metaphysics, which endeavors to comprehend the Reality of the Phenomena. (CP 5.121)

Before giving this division, Peirce had warned his audience: "Now I am going to make a series of assertions which will sound wild" (CP 5.120), but he stressed that it was essential to his case for pragmatism.

The three divisions of philosophy are directly related to the categories. In attending to the universal elements of phenomena in their immediate phenomenal character, phenomenology treats of phenomena as firsts. Here the categories appear as fundamental categories of experience (or consciousness): firstness is the monadic element of experience usually identified with feeling, secondness is the dyadic element identified with the sense of action and reaction, and thirdness is the triadic element identified with the sense of learning or mediation as in thought or semiosis.

In attending to the laws of the relation of phenomena to ends, normative science treats of phenomena as seconds. The three normative sciences—esthetics, ethics, logic—were associated with three kinds of goodness: esthetical goodness (esthetics considers "those things whose ends are to embody qualities of feeling"), ethical goodness (ethics considers "those things whose ends lie in action"), and logical goodness (logic considers "those things whose end is to represent something"). The normative sciences correspond to the three categories and are dependent on each other, again in reverse order. Logic (or semiotic), in turn, has three branches: speculative grammar, critic, and speculative rhetoric. (Sometimes Peirce used different names.) Speculative grammar studies what is requisite for representation of any kind; it is the study of the "general conditions of signs being signs" (CP 1.444). Critic is the formal science of the truth of representations; it is the study of the reference of signs to their objects. Speculative rhetoric studies how knowledge is transmitted; it might be called the science of interpretation. (These three branches correspond more or less to Carnap's syntactics-semantics-pragmatics triad, which he learned from Charles Morris who had probably derived it from Peirce.)

The three normative sciences are followed by metaphysics, the third and last branch of philosophy. The general task of metaphysics is "to study the most general features of reality and real objects" (item 21). In attempting to comprehend the reality of phenomena, that is, in treating of phenomena as representing something that is inherently mind-independent, metaphysics treats of phenomena as thirds. Logic (semiotic), the normative science immediately preceding metaphysics, gives structure to metaphysical investigations which are, not surprisingly, replete with triadic divisions. Among these we find possibility, actuality, destiny; chance, law, habit; and mind, matter, evolution.

Most typical of Peirce's metaphysical theories are his objective idealism and his evolutionary cosmology. In "The Architecture of Theories" (item 21), Peirce characterized objective idealism as holding that "matter is effete mind," mind that has become hide-bound with habit. According to this doctrine, matter is mind that has lost so much of the element of spontaneity through the acquisition of habits that it has taken on the dependable law-governed nature we attribute to material substance. It is the one intelligible theory of the universe, according to Peirce, a monism (or, as he calls it, neutralism) that regards psychical law as primordial, and physical law as derived and special.

Peirce's wide-ranging evolutionary cosmology is more difficult to characterize briefly. Some regard it as the weakest part of his work; W. B. Gallie called it the "white elephant" of Peirce's philosophy. (22) But others hail Peirce's cosmology as the prelude to contemporary cosmological physics. (23) It should be remembered that, according to Peirce, part of the purpose of philosophy is to explain the universe at large. In this he was a follower of the earliest Greek philosophers. In any case, Peirce's cosmological story goes roughly as follows. (24)

In the beginning there was nothing. But this primordial nothing was not the nothingness of a void or empty space, it was a no-thing-ness, the nothingness characteristic of the absence of any determination. Peirce described this state as "completely undetermined and dimensionless potentiality," which may be characterized by freedom, chance, and spontaneity (CP 6.193, 200).

The first step in the evolution of the world is the transition from undetermined and dimensionless potentiality to determined potentiality. The agency in this transition is chance or pure spontaneity. This new state is a Platonic world, a world of pure firsts, a world of qualities that are mere eternal possibilities. We have moved, Peirce says, from a state of absolute nothingness to a state of chaos.

Up to this point in the evolution of the world, all we have is real possibility, firstness; nothing is actual yet—there is no secondness. Somehow, the possibility or potentiality of the chaos is self-actualizing, and the second great step in the evolution of the world is that in which the world of actuality emerges from the Platonic world of qualities. The world of secondness is a world of events, or facts, whose being consists in the mutual interaction of actualized qualities. But this world does not yet involve thirdness, or law.

The transition to a world of thirdness, the third great step in cosmic evolution, is the result of a habit-taking tendency inherent in the world of events. Peirce liked to illustrate with dice or playing cards how single random events, if their mere occurrence established a tendency, however slight, for the reoccurrence of events of that type, could lead to large scale uniformities. A habit-taking tendency is a generalizing tendency, and the emergence of all uniformities, from time and space to physical matter and even the laws of nature, can be explained as the result of the universe's tendency to take habits. Peirce regarded this surrender of chance and freedom to habit and law as a growth toward concrete reasonableness. Although he at times envisioned an end of history marked by the crystallization of mind that has become completely law-governed and without any residual spontaneity (truly concrete reasonableness), he sometimes held that an element of freedom and originality will persist in a universe that has reached a state of equilibrium between chance and law.

This is only a partial sketch of some of the characteristic theories and doctrines of Peirce's metaphysics, the third and final division of philosophy. It does not account for the role of semiosis or the power of love in the evolution of the cosmos, nor does it distinguish between the different modes of evolution that characterize Peirce's more developed thought (as in item 25). (In his classification of the sciences, philosophy is followed by the special sciences, such as physics and psychology, then by sciences of review, and, finally, by practical sciences like pedagogics.)

The preceding summary provides a mere skeletal account of Peirce's system of philosophy, but it should suffice to convey a sense of both its breadth and unity. When viewed as a whole, Peirce's philosophy may be characterized in different ways but, however characterized, it must be said to be a scientific philosophy. This acknowledges both its empirical character and its adherence to scientific, or experimental, methodology. Certainly it is appropriate to call Peirce's philosophy an empirical philosophy, and he himself thought of his pragmatism as a prope-positivism. But Peirce should probably not be regarded, as he sometimes is, as a positivist.

Peirce asserted quite emphatically that "experience is our only teacher," and thus embraced a fundamental tenet of classical empiricism. Yet he rejected the doctrine of a tabula rasa, claiming that there "is not one drop of principle in the whole vast reservoir of established scientific theory that has sprung from any other source than the power of the human mind to originate ideas that are true." But this power to originate ideas is feeble, Peirce said, and "the truths are almost drowned in a flood of false notions." Experience enables us to "filter off" the false ideas, "letting the truth pour on in its mighty current" (CP 5.50).

Peirce's devotion to mathematics and science, his emphasis on the scientific method, and his pragmatic maxim (which sounds a lot like a verification principle) certainly suggest an affinity between pragmatism and positivism. As late as 1905, he explained the purpose of his pragmatism in a way that seems to share significant positivist concerns:

It will serve to show that almost every proposition of ontological metaphysics is either meaningless gibberish—one word being defined by other words, and they by still others, without any real conception ever being reached—or else is downright absurd; so that all such rubbish being swept away, what will remain of philosophy will be series of problems capable of investigation by the observational methods of the true sciences. (CP 5.423)

The pragmatic maxim may thus be taken as a test for whether our conceptions, and our theories, are indexed to experience, or whether they are part of a mere language game. But though there are many points in common between pragmatism and positivism, there are important differences, especially Peirce's insistence on realism and on the legitimacy of abductive reasoning, and his denial of a sharp demarcation between the language of observation and the language of theory. (25)

Peirce's general philosophy is sometimes called a pragmatic philosophy, where pragmatism is taken as more than just a theory of meaning or a method for analyzing conceptions. It combines Peirce's brand of empiricism with scientific method and the process orientation of Darwin's evolutionism—together with an Aristotelian teleological twist—into a broad philosophical program. It is a philosophy in which purpose appears to play the part for Peirce that intentionality played for Brentano. The mark of intelligence, on Peirce's view, is purpose, and purpose is always related to action. Peirce's pragmatism may thus be seen as a praxis philosophy: "The elements of every concept enter into logical thought at the gate of perception and make their exit at the gate of purposive action; and whatever cannot show its passports at both those two gates is to be arrested as unauthorized by reason" (CP 5.212).

Pragmatism, however, focuses on intellectual purport, which would seem to encompass only part of the range of possible semiosis. Consequently, pragmatism may be narrower than, or apply to only part of, Peirce's general theory of signs. Perhaps it is best to describe his philosophy as a semiotic philosophy. But is it a semiotic idealism or realism? As either alternative can be supported, the choice seems to depend on who makes it.

According to David Savan, Peirce is a semiotic idealist. Savan distinguishes between two forms of semiotic idealism: a mild variety that holds that any properties, attributes, or characteristics of whatever exists depend upon the system of signs, representations, or interpretations through which they are signified, and a strong variety that holds that the very existence of anything depends upon the system of signs, representations, and interpretations which purport to refer to it. Savan claims that Peirce is a mild semiotic idealist. (26)

According to Thomas Short, on the other hand, Peirce is a semiotic realist. (27) The decision to label Peirce one way or the other seems to reflect the relative importance one attaches to the different elements of the sign relation, and often seems to be a matter of emphasis rather than a divergence of doctrine. Since he explicitly embraced a more and more encompassing realism, it might seem more appropriate to follow Short and call Peirce a semiotic realist—especially as that reflects his pragmatic admonition that our conceptions are meaningless unless they have reference to something outside of intellect: "it is necessary that a method should be found by which our beliefs may be determined by nothing human, but by some external permanency—by something upon which our thinking has no effect" (item 7). Yet one could counter that Peirce's adherence to his doctrine of objective idealism also recommends Savan's viewpoint. It is interesting to consider whether Peirce's philosophy might be best represented in his definition of his father's ideal-realism, which "combines the principles of idealism and realism."

Peirce's theory of signs has, more than any of his other theories, attracted wide-spread attention in recent years. It was an outgrowth of many factors and influences including, perhaps primarily, his study of and reaction to Schiller but especially Kant; his study of logic, most importantly the logics of De Morgan and Boole (and also those of Aristotle and the medieval logicians); his reaction to Darwin and the idea of evolution; and, finally, the growing abstraction in mathematics, perhaps especially the development of topology and non-Euclidean geometry. Under all these influences Peirce acquired new insights and directions, and was led along paths never before traveled. But, more than anything else, it was his discovery that his sign conception could clear up many hitherto intractable philosophical problems that convinced him of the importance of signs. After rejecting certain Kantian restrictions on what could or could not be represented, he undertook an investigation of the entire range of representability and studied, among other things, conceptions of God, mathematical infinity, totality, immediacy, and necessity. As a result of these investigations Peirce developed and sharpened his semiotic ideas, and with the addition of certain phenomenological conceptions (perhaps from Schiller), he arrived at the view that "all consciousness is sign consciousness" and that in studying signs one addresses "whatever could be a subject of philosophic concern and insight." (28) Believing that in semiotic he had a better ground for philosophy than in traditional epistemology, Peirce worked at expanding his findings into a general theory of signs, and later, in considering what the universe must be like for signs (or semiosis) to be possible, he built a semiotic framework for most of his major philosophical work.

In its most abbreviated form, Peirce's theory of signs goes something like this. A sign is anything which stands for something to something. What the sign stands for is its object, what it stands to is the interpretant. The sign relation is fundamentally triadic: eliminate either the object or the interpretant and you annihilate the sign. This was the key insight of Peirce's semiotic, and one that distinguishes it from most theories of representation that attempt to make sense of signs (representations) that are related only to objects.

As his theory evolved, Peirce came to distinguish between different kinds of objects and interpretants. Every sign has two objects, a dynamic object, "the really efficient but not immediately present object," and an immediate object, "the object as the sign represents it." And every sign has three interpretants, a final (or logical) interpretant, which is the "effect that would be produced on the mind by the sign after sufficient development of thought," a dynamic interpretant, which is the "effect actually produced on the mind," and an immediate interpretant, which is the "interpretant represented or signified in the sign" (CP 8.343). Any given sign only partially reveals its dynamic object, and that partial revelation constitutes its immediate object. Similarly, the final interpretant of a sign is the result of (or is what would result from) a history of semiotic interaction with the given dynamic object, while the dynamic interpretant is the effect the sign actually produces (at a given time), and the immediate interpretant is the immediate significance of the sign independent of any previous history involving its object.

Peirce explained that signs can be divided in different ways according to this analysis of the structure of signs. If we consider the nature of any given sign (the ground of the sign), it will be found to be intrinsically either a quality (a qualisign), existent thing or event (a sinsign), or a law or habit (a legisign). If we consider a sign's relation to its dynamic object, we will find that it is like its object (an icon), that it has an actual, existential connection with its object (an index), or that it is related to its object by convention or habit (a symbol). If we consider the relation of the sign to its final interpretant—how the sign is interpreted—it will appear to be a sign of possibility (a rheme), a sign of actual existence (a dicent), or a sign of law (an argument). Since every sign is something in itself, has a relation to its object, and represents its object in some way or other, the above divisions can be used to yield a classification of signs that makes more distinctions than most rival theories.

Using only these three triadic divisions of signs, as Peirce often did, we derive a ten-fold classification of signs sufficient for most analytical purposes. For example, we can identify a paint chip (as a sign of color) as a rhematic-iconic-qualisign, a weathervane as a dicent-indexical-sinsign, and a proper name as a rhematic-indexical-legisign. But, unfortunately, as anyone knows who has tried to work out examples of Peirce's classes, it is not as easy as we might think—which either means that we do not quite understand Peirce or that his theory is a bit ambiguous.

The fact is, Peirce did not settle exclusively on his ten-fold classification of signs, but developed a more complex classification based on ten rather than three triadic divisions. In this fuller analysis Peirce considered such three-fold divisions as the nature of immediate objects (descriptives, or indefinites; designatives, or singulars; and copulatives, or generals) and the nature of the assurance afforded the interpreter (abducents, or assurance by instinct; inducents, or assurance by experience; and deducents, or assurance by form or habit). With these ten divisions, Peirce was able to isolate sixty-six distinct classes of signs and, thus, to eliminate most of the ambiguity of his more abbreviated classification. But Peirce never completed this part of his general theory, and the precise nature and order of the ten trichotomies remains an important problem for semiotic theorists to work out more fully. Perhaps in our present state of understanding of language and semiosis we have no need for such complexity—just as we once had no need for relativity physics—but where principled distinctions can be made, they will probably someday be needed.

So far, this sketch of Peirce's theory of signs has focussed on speculative grammar, which considers "in what sense and how there can be any true proposition and false proposition, and what are the general conditions to which thought or signs of any kind must conform in order to assert anything" (CP 2.206). The philosopher who concentrates on this branch of semiotic investigates representation relations (signs), seeks to work out the necessary and sufficient conditions for representing, and classifies the different possible kinds of representation. Speculative grammar is often presented as if it were the whole of Peirce's semiotic, perhaps because that is where we encounter some of his best-known trichotomies.

The second branch of semiotic, critic, is "the science of the necessary conditions of the attainment of truth" (CP 1.445). It is "that part of logic ... which, setting out with such assumptions as that every assertion is either true or false, and not both, and that some propositions may be recognized to be true, studies the constituent parts of arguments and produces a classification of arguments" (CP 2.205). By means of this classification, arguments "that are bad are thrown into one division, and those which are good into another, these divisions being defined by marks recognizable even if it be not known whether the arguments are good or bad." To complete its task, critic "has to divide good arguments by recognizable marks into those which have different orders of validity, and has to afford means for measuring the strength of arguments" (CP 2.203). Thus, in addition to investigating truth conditions in general, the philosopher who concentrates on critic will investigate Peirce's well-known division of reasoning into abduction, induction, and deduction (and the corresponding theories of abductive, inductive, and deductive logic). Much of what made up the traditional logic curriculum belongs in critic, as does much that is dealt with in philosophical logic, especially topics that concern truth and reference.

The third branch of semiotic, speculative rhetoric, is "the study of the necessary conditions of the transmission of meaning by signs from mind to mind, and from one state of mind to another" (CP 1.445). More succinctly, it studies the conditions for the development and growth of thought. The focus for the philosopher who studies this branch is the relation between representations and interpreting thoughts (or interpretations). Whereas critic is the science of the necessary conditions for the attainment of truth, speculative rhetoric is the science of the general conditions for the attainment of truth. Peirce often emphasized the study of methods of reasoning as a main concern of speculative rhetoric, and he sometimes suggested that this branch of logic might be better named "methodeutic." Questions of meaning and interpretation dominate this branch, and it may be that pragmatism, as a theory of meaning or inquiry, belongs here. So may the contemporary study of hermeneutics, something Peirce himself once suggested, although with reference to Aristotle's hermeneutic. Be that as it may, it would appear that Peirce's theory of signs encompasses much of what lies at the heart of modern philosophy, and it has significance for many other disciplines.

Peirce's analysis of the sign relation as fundamentally triadic motivated much that is unique in his philosophy. His insistence that every interpretant is related to its object through the mediation of a sign constitutes a denial of intuition; for intuition requires a direct dyadic relation between an interpretant and its object—somehow we just know something about an object (a person, a state of affairs, whatever) without the intervention of a sign. There is no good reason to suppose that we have such a faculty, as Peirce argued in the first paper of his cognition series (item 2). (And yet, in a different sense, Peirce gives us a compelling theory of intuition. With an appeal to abduction and to his belief that we are attuned to nature through centuries of evolutionary development—so that we are actual embodiments of natural principles—Peirce argues, following his father, that we have a natural inclination to the truth, a tendency to guess correctly. But this is a semiotic kind of intuition that bears the Peircean sign of the three.)

But how does an object determine its interpretant through the mediation of a sign? According to Peirce, the dynamic object, the really efficient but not immediately present object, is the object that somehow determines the sign and through the sign mediately determines an interpretant. How can an object that is external to the sign (the immediate object is the internal object) be a determining force in shaping the interpretant? Notice that this amounts to asking how objects (or the external world) can determine mind.

Every sign represents an object (in some way or other) to the interpretant. The interpretant is, or helps make up, a habit that "guides" our future (and present) actions, or thought with respect to the object in question, or objects like the one in question. If the interpretant is untrue to the object, our behavior will not be (or may not be) successful—reality will have its way with us. Not until our interpretants (our ideas or intellectual habits) are fully attuned to their objects will we avoid unexpected confrontations with a resistant reality. In this way, the real object determines or shapes our mind, our reservoir of intellectual habits.

Does this make Peirce a semiotic realist? It would seem so. Not only does the mind represent the world, it represents it in a certain way: namely, the way it is forced to represent the world by the resistance of the world to error. Surely this is a kind of realism. And it is also a semiotic account of pragmatism which, as Christopher Hookway points out, "is supposed to explain how an independent reality can constrain our opinions through perception." (29)

But this is not the whole story. There are many ways to live in the world, and intellect does not constrain us to a single path. There is far more to an intellect than the mere representation of external objects: there are plans and purposes and ideals, all of which can be infixed in intellectual habits that predetermine future behavior. And, of course, future behavior will shape the world that is to come. What is so interesting about Peirce's views is that we as individuals, we as humanity, have some measure of control over our intellectual habits. We have a choice. We can deliberately, though with effort, change our intellectual habits—which means that we can change our minds: and that means that we have some measure of control over which of the many possible futures will be ours. Perhaps this is semiotic idealism but, if so, it is an idealism compatible with semiotic realism.

Peirce's inclusion of the interpretant as fundamental in the sign relation shows that all thought is to some degree a matter of interpretation. All advanced thought uses symbols of one kind or another, and thus rests on convention. On Peirce's view, then, all advanced thinking depends on one's participation in a linguistic or semiotic community. Peirce's stress on the importance of community was a common theme throughout his work and may have grown in importance as he came to understand the importance of convention for semiosis. Peirce appealed to a community of inquirers for his theory of truth, and he regarded the identification with community as fundamental for the advancement of knowledge (the end of the highest semiosis) and, also, for the advancement of human relations. Peirce's semiotic theory of inquiry is sometimes regarded as a "logical socialism," a view supported by the following provocative remark (in item 25):

Here, then, is the issue. The gospel of Christ says that progress comes from every individual merging his individuality in sympathy with his neighbors. On the other side, the conviction of the nineteenth century is that progress takes place by virtue of every individual's striving for himself with all his might and trampling his neighbor under foot whenever he gets a chance to do so. This may accurately be called the Gospel of Greed.

The sentiment expressed here is similar to that in Peirce's statement about the significance of the nominalism-realism question for life. Clearly, his brand of realism is opposed not only to nominalism but also to the "gospel of greed" (or what is sometimes referred to as "crass materialism").

This has been, at best, a preliminary sketch of Peirce's system of thought and of some of the more characteristic of his philosophical doctrines, and much has been left out. For example, there has been no discussion of Peirce's opposition to determinism (in item 22), or of the intriguing story of his working his way to his guess at the riddle of the universe that led him to his evolutionary cosmology. (30) Little has been said about his lifelong study of mathematics and his nearly lifelong study and practice of experimental science, or of the importance of these for his philosophy. His phenomenology and his theories of esthetics and ethics have barely been mentioned, even though they offer unique and important insights and perspectives for current research, and provide essential support for other parts of his system of thought. His phenomenology has begun to attract widespread attention, and it may turn out that his phenomenological derivation of his categories is of more importance for philosophy than his mathematico-logical derivation. Finally, some scholars might highlight the evolution of his very profound religious views, which are often thought of as completing his metaphysics. It can only be hoped that what has been said here is enough to give a sense of the breadth and profundity—and unity—of Peirce's philosophical thought, and to inspire the reader to the sometimes difficult but always rewarding study of his writings.

Nathan Houser


1. James Feibleman, "The Relation of Peirce to New England Culture," American Journal of Economics and Sociology 4 (1944): 99-107.

2. For an account of some of these "get rich schemes," see Christian J. W. Kloesel, "Charles Peirce and Honoré de Clairefont," Versus 49 (1988): 5-18.

3. Whitehead to Charles Hartshorne, 2 Jan. 1936, in Victor Lowe, Alfred North Whitehead: The Man and His Work, ed. J. B. Schneewind (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990), 2:345.

4. Hilary Putnam, "Peirce the Logician," Historia Mathematica 9 (1982): 295.

5. W. V. Quine, "In the Logical Vestibule," Times Literary Supplement, 12 July 1985, p. 767.

6. John Sowa, "Matching Logical Structure to Linguistic Structure, in Studies in the Logic of Charles S. Peirce (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992).

7. Quoted by James Bird, "A Giant's Voice from the Past," Times Higher Education Supplement, 8 Sept. 1989.

8. Walker Percy, "The Fateful Rift: The San Andreas Fault in the Modern Mind," 18th Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, delivered 3 May 1989 in Washington D. C.

9. Max H. Fisch, "Peirce at the Johns Hopkins University," in Peirce, Semeiotic, and Pragmatism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), p. 36.

10. See Charles S. Hardwick, "Peirce's Influence on Some British Philosophers: A Guess at the Riddle," in Studies in Peirce's Semiotic (Peirce Studies 1, Lubbock: Institute for Studies in Pragmaticism, 1979), p. 27. Ramsey's review of Wittgenstein appeared in Mind 32:128 (1923): 465-78.

11. Arthur F. Bentley to Joseph Ratner, 1 July 1948. This letter is deposited with the Bentley Papers in the Lilly Library, Indiana University.

12. Max H. Fisch, "Peirce's Arisbe: The Greek Influence in His Later Philosophy," in Peirce, Semeiotic, and Pragmatism, p. 227.

13. Gérard Deledalle, Charles S. Peirce: An Intellectual Biography (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1990), p. xxxi.

14. Murray G. Murphey, The Development of Peirce's Philosophy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1961), p. 3.

15. Francis Ellingwood Abbot, Scientific Theism (London: Macmillan, 1885), pp. 11-12.

16. The account of Peirce's progress toward realism contained in this and the following eight paragraphs is based on Max Fisch, "Peirce's Progress from Nominalism toward Realism," in Peirce, Semeiotic, and Pragmatism, pp. 184-200; unless otherwise noted, quotations are from that essay.

17. Whether or not Peirce was ever really a thoroughgoing nominalist or only a more nominalistic realist than he would be later is discussed by Don D. Roberts in "On Peirce's Realism," Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 6 (1970): 67-83.

18. Murray G. Murphey, The Development of Peirce's Philosophy, p. 3.

19. Thomas Goudge, The Thought of C. S. Peirce (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1950), p. xx.

20. Ibid., pp. 5-7.

21. Max H. Fisch, Introduction to Writings of Charles S. Peirce (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982), 1:xviii.

22. W. B. Gallie, Peirce and Pragmatism (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1952), p. 215.

23. For example, see Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers, Order Out of Chaos (New York: Bantam, 1984), pp. 302-03.

24. My account of Peirce's cosmological theory is based, in part, on Peter T. Turley, Peirce's Cosmology (New York: Philosophical Library, 1977). Randall R. Dipert, in a review of Turley (Nature and System 1 [1979]: 134-41), warned that "by shunning key logical and mathematical issues in Peirce's writing, certain important aspects of his writing, such as his synechism, his theory of relations, and his theory of 'evolving dimensionality' of continua can hardly be discussed at all. ... Every volume of Peirce's writing should perhaps contain the warning: 'Let no one enter here who is ignorant of logic, mathematics, and the history of science.'" Dipert is no doubt correct; for without such knowledge, it is not possible to penetrate fully the depths of Peirce's metaphysics.

25. See David Gruender, "Pragmatism, Science, and Metaphysics," in The Relevance of Charles Peirce, ed. Eugene Freeman (La Salle: The Hegeler Institute, 1983): 271-90.

26. David Savan, "Toward a Refutation of Semiotic Idealism," Semiotic Inquiry 3 (1983): 1-8.

27. Thomas L. Short, "What They Said in Amsterdam: Peirce's Semiotic Today," Semiotica 60 (1986): 103-28.

28. Joseph L. Esposito, "On the Origins and Foundations of Peirce's Semiotic," in Studies in Peirce's Semiotic (Peirce Studies 1, Lubbock: Institute for Studies in Pragmaticism, 1979), p. 20. Much of this paragraph is derived from Esposito's paper, which gives a good historical introduction to Peirce's semiotic.

29. Christopher Hookway, Peirce (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985), p. 246.

30. For a brief rendition of this "intriguing story," see Fisch, "Peirce's Arisbe," in Peirce, Semeiotic, and Pragmatism, pp. 229-38.

Copyright of the Peirce Edition Project 1998