The Thought of C.S. Peirce

The Thought of C.S. Peirce

The Thought of C.S. Peirce

The Thought of C.S. Peirce

Excerpt

A number of years ago I became interested in C. S. Peirce through the account of him given in Muirhead The Platonic Tradition in Anglo-Saxon Philosophy. Shortly afterwards, my interest in him was heightened by the writings and lectures of Professor C. I. Lewis. I thus began a study of Peirce's ideas which has continued, with some major interruptions, down to the present. This book is one of the fruits of that study.

My first intention was to deal with Peirce's thought as a systematic whole. But I soon became convinced that no such whole exists, and that an adequate appraisal of his work must try to account for the obvious inconsistencies which occur in it. Accordingly, I came to adopt the hypothesis stated in the opening chapter, and have undertaken to interpret Peirce's thought in terms of a basic conflict which I believe it exhibits. By proceeding thus I have been able to survey his main ideas without brushing any of them aside as "unrepresentative" because they do not fit into a coherent system. I have also been able to take his ipsissima verba at their face value without feeling called on to construe them in such a way as to render them consistent. Every interpretation of Peirce must be to some degree controversial, and I am far from believing that what follows is the final word on the subject. It is probable that I have made mistakes in regard to specific points. But on the whole, I think that my interpretation is illuminating and in accord with the facts.

All students of Peirce are under obligation to the editors of the Collected Papers, Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss. To them, and to other commentators such as Justus Buchler, James K. Feibleman, and Philip Wiener, I must acknowledge indebtedness. Where I have differed from their estimate of Peirce, it has only been after due consideration.

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