Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A Chronological Edition - Vol. 8

Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A Chronological Edition - Vol. 8

Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A Chronological Edition - Vol. 8

Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A Chronological Edition - Vol. 8


Volume 8 of this landmark edition follows Peirce from May 1890 through July 1892--a period of turmoil as his career unraveled at the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. The loss of his principal source of income meant the beginning of permanent penury and a lifelong struggle to find gainful employment. His key achievement during these years is his celebrated Monist metaphysical project, which consists of five classic articles on evolutionary cosmology. Also included are reviews and essays from The Nation in which Peirce critiques Paul Carus, William James, Auguste Comte, Cesare Lombroso, and Karl Pearson, and takes part in a famous dispute between Francis E. Abbot and Josiah Royce. Peirce's short philosophical essays, studies in non-Euclidean geometry and number theory, and his only known experiment in prose fiction complete his production during these years.

Peirce's 1883-1909 contributions to the Century Dictionary form the content of volume 7 which is forthcoming.


Volume 8 in the chronological edition of the writings of Charles S. Peirce is part of a projected 30-volume series initiated in 1975 under the leadership of Max H. Fisch and Edward C. Moore. The edition is selective but comprehensive and includes all writings, on any subject, believed to shed significant light on the development of Peirce’s thought. The selections are edited according to the guidelines of the Modern Language Association’s Committee on Scholarly Editions, and present a critical, unmodernized rendering of Peirce’s published and unpublished work in a clear text format. The “Essay on Editorial Theory and Method” provides a full discussion of the editorial procedures used in establishing the texts for this volume.

There have been three refinements in presentation since volume production began thirty years ago. The first two volumes (1982, 1984) centered on the philosophical writings in logic and metaphysics that predominated in the development of Peirce’s thought during the early years of his career. Only the most significant technical papers appeared in these initial volumes. Beginning with volume 3 (1986), the selection process was broadened to include more of the scientific, mathematical, and historical writings that, along with his philosophical papers, document the development of his thought across an ever-widening range of disciplines throughout the rest of his life.

The second stage of editorial refinement first appeared in volume 4 (1989) and involved presentation of the editorial material. Textual information was consolidated in the editorial apparatus for each selection, resulting in a clearer distinction between that apparatus and the content notes that precede it in its own section, along with the bibliography and the chronological list of Peirce’s manuscripts. Volume 5 (1993) was the last volume formatted by off-site printers; presswork for volume 6 (2000) reflected in-house advances in computing technology and a third evolution in editorial presentation that both adapts and extends the bibliographical achievements of earlier scholars. The chronological catalogs now number Peirce’s writings in their order of composition year by year, after the style of the Burks catalog in Volume 8 of the Collected Papers, and manuscripts are now identified by their Robin numbers (for Harvard’s Houghton Library collection) or by standard archive identifiers (for other collections). The preface to volume 6 and the introduction to volume 6’s chronological catalog provide a full explanation of the manuscript references now in use . . .

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