Peirce's Scientific Metaphysics
The Philosophy of Chance, Law, and Evolution
Publication Year: 2002
Published by: Vanderbilt University Press
Table of Contents
Texts and Abbreviations
Charles Peirce’s metaphysical writings, in particular those dealing with his evolutionary cosmology, have not met with the same popular approval as have his contributions to symbolic logic, philosophy of science, and the theory of signs. In fact, Gallie (1952, 215) has referred to the cosmology as the “black sheep” or “white elephant”...
Chapter 1. Philosophical and Scientific Background
Modern cosmology seeks to understand the laws and the historical development of the universe at large. But it is characteristic of the modern approach to cosmology that one concentrates, first and foremost, on inorganic physical structures, only later passing on to organic structures and the necessary conditions for their possibility. ...
Chapter 2. Irreversibility in Physics
The aim of this chapter is to outline Peirce’s understanding of the physical principles and theories of the nineteenth century, with special attention being paid to his comments on the role of time as it appears in the laws of mechanics and in the principles of energy physics (dynamics). It is important to see that Peirce’s dissatisfac-...
Chapter 3. Irreversibility in Psychics
The last chapter detailed how Peirce proposed to explain the irreversibility of natural processes by appeal to the statistical principles of the kinetic theory of matter. We concluded, however, that he did not attribute the asymmetry of time itself, with respect to the difference between past and future, to any such considerations. It should...
Chapter 4. Irreversibility in Physiology and Evolution
This chapter consists of two main sections. In the first, Peirce’s molecular theory of protoplasm will be the focus of attention. In particular, we will be looking to see whether he manages to provide a convincing story of how the strong notion of final causation associated with conscious goal-seeking behavior...
Chapter 5. Cosmology and Synechism
In the last chapter, we were concerned with seeing whether Peirce had managed to reconcile the purposeless but directed behavior of stochastic systems with his neo-Lamarckian theory of evolution (agapasm). ...
Chapter 6. Chance and Law
In Peirce’s system, the fates of chance and law are inversely related. What starts off as a chaotic sequence of events gradually becomes more and more regular and lawlike, until all semblance of spontaneity and life are forever diminished. ...
There is an ongoing dispute within Peirce scholarship between those, on the one hand, who make the charge that his philosophy as a whole is inconsistent and at odds with itself in its ambitions (e.g., Goudge, 1950; Gallie, 1952; Apel, 1987; Murphy, 1993) and those, on the other, who argue that it is highly systematic and coherent (e.g., Corrington, 1993; Hausman, 1993; Rosenthal, 1994; Anderson, 1995; Parker, 1998). ...
Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2002
OCLC Number: 50321361
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