The Normative Thought of Charles S. Peirce

By Cornelis De Waal; Krzysztof Piotr SkowroŃski | Go to book overview
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Peirce on the Value-driven Dynamics of Human Morality

Helmut Pape

An Argument for the Ethics of Self-Control

What are values and what are values for? This is the crucial question for dealing with normativity, ideals, and values in the philosophy of C. S. Peirce.1 A good starting point is the commonsense view that values are standards for evaluation, sorting and selecting objects, actions, and so on. However, I think we should look for a more general, comprehensive, and more specific concept of value. Such a concept, it seems to me, is implicit in the overall title of this series of conferences: “American and European Values.” This title entails that values play a role because they are generally accepted in a cultural community—e.g., the European one— and that they can be contrasted with the values of a different culture—in this case the American one. This requires, however, that values can be compared relative to the local culture in which they are shared and developed in a specific way. Nevertheless, though specificity and locality of value distribution is a fact of life, in philosophy we tend to approach values in a way that is not relative to some local culture, but tends to be general, or comprehensive. Philosophers, like Peirce, are famous, if not infamous,


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