Charles Peirce and Scholastic Realism: A Study of Peirce's Relation to John Duns Scotus

Charles Peirce and Scholastic Realism: A Study of Peirce's Relation to John Duns Scotus

Charles Peirce and Scholastic Realism: A Study of Peirce's Relation to John Duns Scotus

Charles Peirce and Scholastic Realism: A Study of Peirce's Relation to John Duns Scotus

Excerpt

The question answered by realism as it is opposed to nominalism— and it is the structure of that realism which I propose to examine— is stated by Peirce as follows: "whether laws and general types are figments of the mind or are real" (1.16). If this question were as straightforward as it might seem, we would expect that Peirce could be equally straightforward about the answer. But while no one has ever denied that Peirce said he was a realist or that he said that his realism was an important aspect of his philosophy, it has been maintained, and with some justice, that it is impossible to find a clear statement of that realism in his writings.

My own interest in the topic was whetted particularly by Peirce's calling himself a Scotistic realist (as in 4.50). It seemed a strange label for a man who has been generally presented as part idealist but . . .

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