W6 Erratum

Reasoning Completed

Selection 37 in W6: 354–56, titled [Reasoning], ends with three ellipsis points within italic brackets because the editors were unable to find the sheet(s) that continued its last leaf. We have recently identified that continuation, whose brevity made it hardly noticeable among the many fragments. It is found in R 579: 12, and consists of the following five words: "so, it is bad reasoning." Readers of W6 are invited to enter this correction in their copy on p. 356, and to correct the corresponding entry in the Chronological Catalog in W6: 527 (c. 1889.1), whose first part needs to read: "Holograph, 8 sheets, Houghton, Peirce Papers, R 830: 2, R 278: 240, 243, 269, 268, 267, 266 (= R 1573: 250), R 579: 12; . . ."

W6 Revised Annotations

The Outsider Controversy in the New York Times, spring 1890

Christopher R. Versen defended a dissertation relevant to the controversy in 2006 at Florida State University; it is titled “Optimistic Liberals: Herbert Spencer, the Brooklyn Ethical Association, and the Integration of Moral Philosophy and Evolution in the Victorian Trans-Atlantic Community.” A subsection of it (pp. 236–244) is devoted to an illuminating discussion of the Outsider Controversy regarding the credibility of Spencer’s evolutionary philosophy Peirce had engineered in the New York Times (see selections 45 and 47). As a result of Versen's dissertation, the following three annotations in W6 were expanded in their online version: annotations 407.1–2, 407.3–6, and 407.14, chiefly by way of identifying plausibly who were W. H. B., R. G. E., and Kappa. Versen’s signal contribution is to provide an essential intellectual and social background to the controversy, showing in particular the role played by the ultra-Spencerian Brooklyn Ethical Association in orchestrating replies from several of its members to Outsider.

That same dissertation reveals that Peirce subsequently published a brief note of thanks in the New York Times on May 4, 1890 (p. 2, bottom of column 7). Here is its transcription.


To the Editor of the New-York Times:

I must beg the use of your columns once more, in order to thank Dr. Youmans for having demonstrated, as he clearly has, the profound respect in which Mr. Herbert Spencer is held by men of science the world over and for having shown that he has received high scientific honors, which, however, his own conception of his position has forbidden him to accept. This, without of course sufficing to put his philosophy beyond doubt, does satisfactorily answer the question to which I gave special prominence.