A comprehensive and systematic reconstruction of the philosophy of Charles S. Peirce, perhaps America's most far-ranging and original philosopher, which reveals the unity of his complex and influential body of thought. We are still in the early stages of understanding the thought of C. S. Peirce (1839-1914). Although much good work has been done in isolated areas, relatively little considers the Peircean system as a whole. Peirce made it his life's work to construct a scientifically sophisticated and logically rigorous philosophical (...) system, culminating in a realist epistemology and a metaphysical theory ("synechism") that postulates the connectedness of all things in a universal evolutionary process. In The Continuity of Peirce's Thought, Kelly Parker shows how the principle of continuity functions in phenomenology and semeiotics, the two most novel and important of Peirce's philosophical sciences, which mediate between mathematics and metaphysics. Parker argues that Peirce's concept of continuity is the central organizing theme of the entire Peircean philosophical corpus. He explains how Peirce's unique conception of the mathematical continuum shapes the broad sweep of his thought, extending from mathematics to metaphysics and in religion. He thus provides a convenient and useful overview of Peirce's philosophical system, situating it within the history of ideas and mapping interconnections among the diverse areas of Peirce's work. This challenging yet helpful book adopts an innovative approach to achieve the ambitious goal of more fully understanding the interrelationship of all the elements in the entire corpus of Peirce's writings. Given Peirce's importance in fields ranging from philosophy to mathematics to literary and cultural studies, this new book should appeal to all who seek a fuller, unified understanding of the career and overarching contributions of Peirce, one of the key figures in the American philosophical tradition. (shrink)
Josiah Royce (1855-1916) was the leading American proponent of absolute idealism, the metaphysical view (also maintained by G. W. F. Hegel and F. H. Bradley) that all aspects of reality, including those we experience as disconnected or contradictory, are ultimately unified in the thought of a single all-encompassing consciousness. Royce also made original contributions in ethics, philosophy of community, philosophy of religion and logic. His major works include The Religious Aspect of Philosophy (1885), The World and the Individual (1899-1901), The (...) Philosophy of Loyalty (1908), and The Problem of Christianity (1913). Royce's friendly but longstanding dispute with William James, known as "The Battle of the Absolute," deeply influenced both philosophers' thought. In his later works, Royce reconceived his metaphysics as an "absolute pragmatism" grounded in semiotics. This view dispenses with the Absolute Mind of previous idealism and instead characterizes reality as a universe of ideas or signs which occur in a process of being interpreted by an infinite community of minds. These minds, and the community they constitute, may themselves be understood as signs. Royce's ethics, philosophy of community, philosophy of religion, and logic reflect this metaphysical position. (shrink)
The chapters, written by leading experts on American philosophy, reexamine Josiah Royce's work as a resource for contemporary thought. Themes include: metaphysics, phenomenology, logic; problems of individualism, loyalty, and community; practical matters of race, religious faith, and feminist epistemology, and Royce's place in the history of philosophy.
“I have a hard year, a year of effort before me. . . . I think I shall very soon be completely ruined; it seems inevitable. What I have to do is to peg away and try to do my duty, and starve if necessary. One thing I must make up my mind to clearly. I must earn some money every day” (W8 lxiv). Peirce wrote these words in his diary on New Year’s Day 1892, at 12:05 a.m. His forced (...) resignation from the Coast and Geodetic Survey, his most reliable source of income, had taken effect at midnight. On another front, he had recently published the first two articles in his landmark Monist metaphysical series (selections 22–24). A replacement for his Coast Survey income never did appear, but three more papers in the Monist .. (shrink)
Peter Hare's writings on civil disobedience suggest that he was not a "quiet man," though he was indeed soft-spoken. He was certainly earnest about matters of conscience, about doing the right thing and doing things right. He was a model of intellectual integrity for several generations of American philosophers. Moreover, when he saw a need he seldom hesitated to take it on himself: sitting on many, many dissertation committees, editing a major philosophical journal, helping found new professional associations. Time after (...) time, he generously committed himself to make things happen. He was an engaged intellectual, tuned in and ready to act in his soft-spoken, earnest, and effective way.The depth of Peter Hare's .. (shrink)
From cultural figures such as Benjamin Franklin and Wendell Berry to philosophers such as Jane Addams and William James, this collection explores the usefulness of theoretical work in American philosophy and pragmatism to resilience practices in ecology, community, rurality, and psychology.
The aim of the dissertation is to propose a new understanding of the philosophy of Charles S. Peirce. Peirce sought to construct a philosophical system applicable to all of human experience, but he never presented this system in a uniﬁed work. In the dissertation I attempt to present the strongest possible reconstruction of Peirce’s mature philosophy. My thesis is that Peirce’s philosophy is best understood as an extended exploration and application of his concept of mathematical continuity, which he called "the (...) master-key of philosophy." Many scholars have recognized that Peirce’s concept of continuity is important to his metaphysical theories. The bulk of the dissertation is devoted to examining this concept and explicating its importance throughout his philosophy. I argue that Peirce’s theory of semeiotic provides a general model of experience that elaborates the direct experience of continuity described in phenomenology. This model in turn serves as the basis for his metaphysics and evolutionary cosmology. Part I of the dissertation sketches Peirce’s response to Kant’s philosophy and presents an outline of his classiﬁcation of the sciences. Part II presents Peirce’s technical conception of continuity, showing its origins in formal logic and in his revision of Cantor’s theory of transﬁnite sets. Part III examines the role of the continuity principle in phenomenology, esthetics, ethics, and semeiotic, which bridge the rather wide gap between mathematics and metaphysics in Peirce’s system. Part IV presents an overview of Peirce’s cosmology and metaphysics, with particular attention to their methodological dependence upon semeiotic. Part IV includes consideration of two issues that emerge as crucial to the assessment of Peirce’s thought. The ﬁrst concerns the ontological status of extra-semeiotic entities, and is known as the problem of "semiotic idealism." I argue that Peirce is not a semiotic idealist. The second issue concerns the testability of Peirce’s metaphysical hypotheses.. (shrink)
My fellow panelists and I are generally searching for what Robert C. Neville calls a "high road around modernism," a road that leads out of the modernist morass while avoiding the pitfalls of Euro-style postmodernism. We seek a way toward genuine community, and toward the kind of meaningful individualism that can exist in such communities. We stake quite a lot on the Roycean model of community as perhaps the most promising path on this "high road." In the next twenty minutes, (...) I propose to do three things. The first is to outline C. S. Peirce's model of the working scientific community, which he proposed as an alternative to the Cartesian-modernist model of scientific investigation. The second is to identify the ways in which Josiah Royce developed and extended Peirce's original model to apply to other communities--particularly religious communities. Finally, I want to draw attention to some possible problems with such extensions of the basic Peircean model of scientific community. (shrink)
The ecohumanist/service-learning approach to environmental education provides a bridge between science and public policy on the one hand, and direct civic action on the other. This pedagogy appears to be a promising way to engage students and to extend the reach of environmental education beyond the classroom. This paper surveys the philosophical context for ecohumanities pedagogy, relates the key moments of teaching such a course, describes specific outcomes, and offers practical advice for those who might wish to try a similar (...) approach to environmental education. (shrink)
If there is one project definitive of recent Western philosophy, it may be the search for an alternative to the materialistic metaphysics that has come to prominence with the rise of science. While some insist that the end of metaphysics is the only valid alternative, others call instead for a thorough reconstruction of metaphysics. Such a reconstructed metaphysics must both accommodate the insights of modern science and account for the deeply felt sense that non-material mind or spirit is a real (...) aspect of the cosmos. (shrink)