Robert Stern
University of Sheffield
My aim in this paper is to consider one of Peirce's criticisms of Hegel, namely, that Hegel was a nominalist. Of the various criticisms of Hegel that Peirce offers, this has been little discussed, perhaps because it is puzzling to find Peirce making it at all. For, Peirce also criticises Hegel for his overzealous enthusiasm for Thirdness, where it is then hard to see how Hegel can have both faults: how can anyone who acknowledges the significance of Thirdness in Peirce's sense also fail to be a realist? I will begin by setting out this difficulty and showing how it can be resolved, and will then consider the justice of Peirce's criticism once we have a clear idea of what it amounts to. I will suggest that this criticism is unwarranted, and that in some respects it is curious to find Peirce making it, when he could just as easily have treated Hegel as an ally in the bmggle with nominalism. The issue therefore takes us to the heart of Peircean and Hegelian metaphysics, and in a way that relates to questions that are central to contemporary philosophical debates concerning the nature of realism, idealism, and anti-realism.
Keywords Charles S. Peirce  Nominalism  Realism
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DOI 10.1353/csp.2011.0025
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