We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A Chronological Edition, Volume 8


Charles S. Peirce. Compiled by the Editors of the Peirce Edition Project

Publication Year: 1982

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.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Title Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.8 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (61.1 KB)
pp. vii-ix


pdf iconDownload PDF (42.2 KB)
pp. x-

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (97.5 KB)
pp. xi-xvii

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...


pdf iconDownload PDF (79.6 KB)
pp. xix-xxii

Bibliographical Abbreviations in Editorial Matter

pdf iconDownload PDF (54.9 KB)
pp. xxiii-xxiv

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (706.2 KB)
pp. xxv-xcvii

The period from the spring of 1890 into the summer of 1892 was a time of emotional turmoil for Peirce, a time of rash ventures and dashed hopes that would culminate in a transforming experience and a new sense of purpose.1 In the previous decade, Peirce had suffered the loss of his teaching appointment at Johns Hopkins University and the stripping away...

read more

1. Familiar Letters about the Art of Reasoning

pdf iconDownload PDF (166.2 KB)
pp. 1-12

The University of Cracow once conferred upon a very good fellow a degree for having taught the philosophical faculty to play cards. I cannot tell you in what year this happened,—perhaps it was 1499. The graduate was Thomas Murner, of whose writings Lessing said that they illustrated all the qualities of the German language; and so they do if...

read more

2. Ribot’s Psychology of Attention

pdf iconDownload PDF (85.4 KB)
pp. 13-16

Every educated man wants to know something of the new psychology. Those who have still to make acquaintance with it may well begin with Ribot’s little book on “attention,” which all who have made progress in the new science will certainly wish to read. It is the chef d’oeuvre of one of the best of those students who have at length erected...

read more

3. Six Lectures of Hints toward a Theory of the Universe

pdf iconDownload PDF (67.9 KB)
pp. 17-18

Lecture II. The ideas of philosophy must be drawn from logic, as Kant draws his categories. For so far as anything intelligible and reasonable can be found in the universe, so far the process of nature and the process of thought are at one...

read more

4. Sketch of a New Philosophy

pdf iconDownload PDF (144.1 KB)
pp. 19-22

1. It is not a historical fact that the best thinking has been done by words, or aural images. It has been performed by means of visual images and muscular imaginations. In reasoning of the best kind, an imaginary experiment is performed. The result is inwardly observed, and is as unexpected as that of a physical experiment. On the other...

read more

5. [On Framing Philosophical Theories]

pdf iconDownload PDF (75.2 KB)
pp. 23-24

Three questions, at least, I think it must be admitted, ought to form the subject of studies preliminary to the formation of any philosophical theory; namely, 1st, the purpose of the theory, 2nd, the proper method of discovering it, 3rd, the method of proving it to be true. I think, too, it can hardly be denied that it will be safer to consider these questions...

read more

6. The Non-Euclidean Geometry Made Easy

pdf iconDownload PDF (94.9 KB)
pp. 25-29

We have an a priori or natural idea of space, which by some kind of evolution has come to be very closely in accord with observations. But we find in regard to our natural ideas, in general, that while they do accord in some measure with fact, they by no means do so to such a point that we can dispense with correcting them by comparison with...

read more

7. Review of Jevons’s Pure Logic

pdf iconDownload PDF (80.4 KB)
pp. 30-32

Though called Minor, these are scientifically Jevons’s most important writings. As when they first appeared, they impress us by their clearness of thought, but not with any great power. The first piece, “Pure Logic,” followed by four years De Morgan’s Syllabus of Logic, a dynamically luminous and perfect presentation of an idea. In comparison...

read more

8. Review of Carus’s Fundamental Problems

pdf iconDownload PDF (82.2 KB)
pp. 33-35

A book of newspaper articles on metaphysics, extracted from Chicago’s weekly journal of philosophy, the Open Court, seems to a New Yorker something singular. But, granted that there is a public with aspirations to understand fundamental problems, the way in which Dr. Carus treats them is not without skill. The questions touched upon are...

read more

9. Review of Muir’s The Theory of Determinants

pdf iconDownload PDF (63.8 KB)
pp. 36-37

The only history of much interest is that of the human mind. Tales of great achievements are interesting, but belong to biography (which still remains in a prescientific stage) and do not make history, because they tell little of the general development of man and his creations. The history of mathematics, although it relates only to a narrow department of...

read more

10. Review of Fraser’s Locke

pdf iconDownload PDF (84.3 KB)
pp. 38-41

Mr. Galton’s researches have set us to asking of every distinguished personality, what were the traits of his family; although in respect, not to Mr. Galton’s eminent persons, but to the truly great—those men who, in their various directions of action, thought, and feeling, make such an impression of power that we cannot name from all history more...

read more

11. [Notes on the First Issue of the Monist]

pdf iconDownload PDF (64.8 KB)
pp. 42-43

—Many minds nowadays are turning towards high philosophy with expectations such as wide-awake men have not indulged during fifty years of Hamiltonianism, Millism, and Spencerianism; so that the establishment of a new philosophical quarterly which may prove a focus for all the agitation of thought that struggles today to illuminate...

read more

12. My Life

pdf iconDownload PDF (215.6 KB)
pp. 44-46

An extraordinary thing happened to me at a tender age,—as I now reflect upon it, a truly marvellous thing, though in my youthful heedlessness, I overlooked the wonder of it and just cried at the pickle. This occurred 1839 September 10. At that time I commenced life in the function of a baby belonging to Sarah Hunt (Mills) Peirce and Benjamin...

read more

13. Note on Pythagorean Triangles

pdf iconDownload PDF (63.4 KB)
pp. 47-

A Pythagorean triangle is a set of 3 integer numbers proportional to the legs and hypotheneuse of a right triangle. It is irreducible if the 3 integers have no common measure. The number of irreducible Pythagorean triangles of which a given number is hypotheneuse is 0, if the number contains a prime factor not of the form...

14. Hints toward the Invention of a Scale-Table

pdf iconDownload PDF (196.7 KB)
pp. 48-54

read more

15. Logical Studies of the Theory of Numbers

pdf iconDownload PDF (87.0 KB)
pp. 55-56

The object of the present investigation is to analyze carefully the logic of the theory of numbers. I especially desire to clear up the question of whether there can be fundamentally different ways of proving a theorem from given premises; and the law of reciprocity seems likely to be instructive in this respect. I also wish to know whether there is not a...

read more

16. Promptuarium of Analytical Geometry

pdf iconDownload PDF (138.2 KB)
pp. 57-62

When λ has any other value, we may assume that the expression denotes some other point, and as λ varies continuously we may assume that this point moves continuously. As λ passes through the whole series of real values, the point will describe a line; and the simplest assumption to make is that this line is straight. That we will assume

read more

17. Boolian Algebra

pdf iconDownload PDF (111.0 KB)
pp. 63-68

The algebra of logic was invented by the celebrated English mathematician, George Boole, and has subsequently been improved by the labors of a number of writers in England, France, Germany, and America. The deficiency of pronouns in English, as in every other tongue, begins to be felt as soon as there is occasion to discourse of the relations...

read more

18. Boolian Algebra. First Lection

pdf iconDownload PDF (159.8 KB)
pp. 69-77

The algebra of logic (which must be reckoned among man’s precious possessions for that it illuminates the tangled paths of thought) was given to the world in 1842; and George Boole is the name, an honoured one upon other accounts in the mathematical world, of the mortal upon whom this inspiration descended. Although there had been...

read more

19. Notes on the Question on the Existence of an External World

pdf iconDownload PDF (135.1 KB)
pp. 78-79

1. The idealistic argument turns upon the assumption that certain things are absolutely “present,” namely what we have in mind at the moment, and that nothing else can be immediately, that is, otherwise than inferentially known. When this is once granted, the idealist has no difficulty in showing that that external existence which we cannot know...

read more

20. [Note on Kant’s Refutation of Idealism]

pdf iconDownload PDF (57.2 KB)
pp. 80-

Kant’s refutation of idealism in the second edition of the Critic of the Pure Reason has been often held to be inconsistent with his main position or even to be knowingly sophistical. It appears to me to be one of the numerous passages in that work which betray an elaborated and vigorous analysis, marred in the exposition by the attempt to state the...

read more

21. [Notes on Consciousness]

pdf iconDownload PDF (59.2 KB)
pp. 81-

First let us see what we can make out by considering the nature of conscious nerve matter. It has the general properties of nerve matter. Two states a calm and an excited. In the excited state protoplasm generally has a tendency to contract; but this is little seen in nerve matter. Excited state brought on by any disturbance. Propagated through the whole mass. Growth. This is stimulated by exercise...

The Monist Metaphysical Project

read more

22. The Architecture of Theories [Initial Version]

pdf iconDownload PDF (183.9 KB)
pp. 84-97

Of the fifty or hundred systems of philosophy that have been advanced at different times of the world’s history, perhaps the larger number have been, not so much results of historical evolution, as happy thoughts which have accidentally occurred to their authors. An idea which has been found interesting and fruitful has been adopted, developed...

read more

23. The Architecture of Theories

pdf iconDownload PDF (166.5 KB)
pp. 98-110

Of the fifty or hundred systems of philosophy that have been advanced at different times of the world’s history, perhaps the larger number have been, not so much results of historical evolution, as happy thoughts which have accidentally occurred to their authors. An idea which has been found interesting and fruitful has been adopted, developed...

read more

24. The Doctrine of Necessity Examined

pdf iconDownload PDF (271.8 KB)
pp. 111-125

In the Monist for January, 1891, I endeavored to show what elementary ideas ought to enter into our view of the universe. I may mention that on those considerations I had already grounded a cosmical theory, and from it had deduced a considerable number of consequences capable of being compared with experience. This comparison is now in...

read more

25. The Law of Mind [Early Try]

pdf iconDownload PDF (83.6 KB)
pp. 126-129

In two preceding articles,1 I have considered the ideas which ought to form the chief materials of cosmology, and in particular have argued against unlimited necessitarianism. I propose next to show, by the study of the soul, that, if my previous conclusions are accepted, we shall be naturally led to the belief that the universe is governed by a father, with...

read more

26. The Law of Mind [Excursus on the Idea of Time]

pdf iconDownload PDF (104.9 KB)
pp. 130-134

Time is a system among certain relations. Anything that dures has its time-relations not completely determined in one way; that is to say, for example, Monday is in part a whole day subsequent to Sunday noon and in part not. But every space of time is separated from others by two instants, or temporal individuals; and every instant is wholly determinate...

read more

27. The Law of Mind

pdf iconDownload PDF (252.5 KB)
pp. 135-157

In an article published in the Monist for January 1891, I endeavored to show what ideas ought to form the warp of a system of philosophy, and particularly emphasized that of absolute chance. In the number for April 1892, I argued further in favor of that way of thinking, which it will be convenient to christen tychism...

read more

28. [Notes for “Man’s Glassy Essence”]

pdf iconDownload PDF (157.6 KB)
pp. 158-164

As first step toward this, let us frame a molecular theory of protoplasm. The physical properties of the vital slime must first be catalogued. It has two states. In the first, it is a solid. But when it is disturbed in certain ways, it becomes liquid. The liquidity starts at the point of disturbance and spreads. But the spreading is not uniform in all...

read more

29. Man’s Glassy Essence

pdf iconDownload PDF (330.1 KB)
pp. 165-183

In the Monist for January, 1891, I tried to show what conceptions ought to form the brick and mortar of a philosophical system. Chief among these was that of absolute chance for which I argued again in last April’s number.1 In July, I applied another fundamental idea, that of continuity, to the law of mind. Next in order, I have to elucidate, from...

read more

30. Evolutionary Love

pdf iconDownload PDF (235.9 KB)
pp. 184-205

Philosophy, when just emerging from its golden pupa-skin, mythology, proclaimed the great evolutionary agency of the universe to be Love. Or, since this pirate-lingo, English, is poor in such-like words, let us say Eros, the exuberance-love. Afterwards, Empedocles set up passionate-love and hate as the two co

Studies on the Algebra of the Copula

read more

31. [Deductions from a Definition of the Copula]

pdf iconDownload PDF (74.0 KB)
pp. 208-209

(2) The necessary scriptibility of a formula may however result from I and II. For that purpose A and B must be replaced by such formulae that if the A-formula is scriptible, the B-formula is likewise scriptible...

read more

32. Algebra of the Copula [Version 1]

pdf iconDownload PDF (92.6 KB)
pp. 210-211

Any proposition written is supposed to be true. In writing propositions parentheses are employed to enclose compounds to be treated as single letters in combining them with letters or other such compounds. These may be called clauses. Parentheses ending clauses or propositions are omitted, and the clauses they would have included are not commonly...

read more

33. Algebra of the Copula [Version 2]

pdf iconDownload PDF (126.9 KB)
pp. 212-216

With 4 copulas, there are 14 forms; with 5, 42; with 6, 132; etc. The last letter of a proposition is called its consequent; all those which are followed by copulas not under parentheses are called antecedents. In like manner, the propositions under parentheses have consequents and antecedents...

34. Examination of the Copula of Inclusion

pdf iconDownload PDF (132.3 KB)
pp. 217-221

read more

35. On the Number of Dichotomous Divisions: A Problem in Permutations

pdf iconDownload PDF (242.4 KB)
pp. 222-228

We may consider a row of letters, A, B, C, etc., which we may call the ABC, separated into two parts by a punctuation mark, and each part (not consisting of a single letter) into two parts by a subordinate punctuation mark, and so on until all the letters are separated. I shall call the resulting form an ABC-separation. The following are examples...

read more

36. Methods of Investigating the Constant of Space

pdf iconDownload PDF (49.0 KB)
pp. 229-230

1. Find that component of the proper motion which is perpendicular to the direction in which the motion of the solar system tends to make the star appear to move. Call this the first part of the proper motion. The relative numbers of stars in which this is of different magnitudes depends on the constant of space. Calculate on supposition of equable...

read more

37. James’s Psychology

pdf iconDownload PDF (124.7 KB)
pp. 231-239

Upon this vast work no definitive judgment can be passed for a long time; yet it is probably safe to say that it is the most important contribution that has been made to the subject for many years. Certainly it is one of the most weighty productions of American thought. The directness and sharpness with which we shall state some objections to it must be...

read more

38. [Morality and Church Creed]

pdf iconDownload PDF (64.6 KB)
pp. 240-241

Permit me to say something by way of reply to your editorial entitled: “A plain moral question.” This title attached to a discussion of a point of conduct wherein serious men differ is, I need not say, highly offensive. You are right in so insulting those who have reached a conclusion contrary to your own, provided you can sustain your position...

read more

39. Review of Spencer’s Essays

pdf iconDownload PDF (76.5 KB)
pp. 242-244

The theory of ethics which has latterly been taking shape under the hands of Stephen, Spencer, and others, is, from a practical point of view, one of the most important boons that philosophy has ever imparted to the world, since it supplies a worthy motive to conservative morals at a time when all is confused and endangered by the storm of...

read more

40. Abbot against Royce

pdf iconDownload PDF (74.3 KB)
pp. 245-247

From the point of view of propriety of conduct in a student of philosophy, the only adequate excuse for the first of these acts would be that the fact proclaimed was so unmistakable that there could be no two opinions about it on the part of men qualified by mature study to pass judgment on the merits of philosophical writers. In case the act were...

read more

41. Review of Chambers’s Pictorial Astronomy

pdf iconDownload PDF (82.0 KB)
pp. 248-250

There is no lack of popular books about astronomy by those who look upon the subject from the inside, as, Herschel, Secchi, Newcomb, Langley, Young, Lockyer, Ball. Mr. Chambers is none of these. He is not a scientific observer of the stars, nor has he an ordinary astronomer’s acquaintance with celestial mechanics. He is a well-known compiler...

read more

42. [Lesson in Necessary Reasoning]

pdf iconDownload PDF (146.9 KB)
pp. 251-257

What is reasoning? A question is asked. If it can be satisfactorily settled by direct observation, no reasoning is called for. If you want to know whether the other side of this sheet of paper is blue or not, you will naturally turn it over and look, and that will be better than all the reasoning in the world, if your eyes are normal. But when the question...

read more

43. The Great Men of History

pdf iconDownload PDF (178.6 KB)
pp. 258-266

The following list of men who produce upon us the impression of greatness has been drawn up with great care. Of course, different students would make somewhat different lists; but in the main they would agree. A few names have been added in brackets which, though they are not exactly great, are very extraordinary...

read more

44. The Comtist Calendar

pdf iconDownload PDF (84.4 KB)
pp. 267-270

That the contemplation of the lives and characters of great men is a salutary and invigorating spiritual exercise has always been admitted and often proved. But it is so only on condition that the heroes are apprehended in all their living reality and passion; and, unfortunately, biography is infested with pious frauds. Washed-out accounts of Washington...

read more

45. The Non-Euclidean Geometry

pdf iconDownload PDF (82.3 KB)
pp. 271-274

Lobachevski’s little book, Geometrische Untersuchungen, marks an epoch in the history of thought, that of the overthrow of the axioms of geometry. The philosophical consequences of this are undoubtedly momentous, and there are thinkers who hold that it must lead to a new conception of nature, less mechanical than that which has guided the...

46. The Sciences in Their Order of Generality

pdf iconDownload PDF (117.4 KB)
pp. 275-276

read more

47. The Man of Genius

pdf iconDownload PDF (112.3 KB)
pp. 277-283

Prof. Lombroso comes to us with a proposition not absolutely new, but which he makes claim now to prove for the first time. It is that genius is a mental disease, allied to epileptiform mania and in a lesser degree to the dementia of cranks, or mattoids, as he calls them; so that, far from being a mental perfection, it is a degenerate and diseased condition...

read more

48. The Periodic Law

pdf iconDownload PDF (66.6 KB)
pp. 284-285

If our correspondent will read carefully what the Council of the Royal Society say about Newlands, he will see that they do not commit themselves very far. In truth, the step taken by him was not a difficult one. The principal precursor of Mendel

read more

49. Keppler

pdf iconDownload PDF (99.0 KB)
pp. 286-291

Johann Keppler it was who discovered the form of the planets’ paths in coursing round the sun and the law of their varying speed. This achievement, by far the most triumphant unravelment of facts ever performed,—cunninger than any deciphering of hieroglyphics or of cuneiform inscriptions—occupied its author’s whole time from October...

read more

50. [Plan for a Scientific Dictionary]

pdf iconDownload PDF (82.2 KB)
pp. 292-295

The articles, though elementary, to be masterly summaries valuable even to specialists. C. S. Peirce to be editor and to write about a third of the whole. The other writers to be young men, specialists who have not yet achieved great reputations, but found out and selected by the editor as having exceptional mental power and special competence. These...

read more

51. Embroidered Thessaly

pdf iconDownload PDF (504.9 KB)
pp. 296-340

The writer was yesterday called into his lumber-room to pronounce upon the disposition to be made of a roll of two loom-fabrics his rummaging young people had found there. The first to be displayed was a queer tapestry, on which was embroidered in worsteds in bold, rough style, with long stitches, a view of the three mountains Pelion, Ossa...

read more

52. [Why Do We Punish Criminals?]

pdf iconDownload PDF (84.0 KB)
pp. 341-344

Sir: Why do we punish criminals? I have asked this question of many intelligent people, and have uniformly been told the security of society requires that men who have committed crime should be prevented from further wrong-doing and that those who are ready to break the law should be deterred by the spectacle of other punishment...

read more

53. Review of Buckley’s Moral Teachings of Science

pdf iconDownload PDF (80.8 KB)
pp. 345-348

Another subject so important, vast, and difficult it would be hard to name—a subject which not every philosopher of the first rank would be competent adequately to treat. Not mere clear insight into one aspect of philosophy is sufficient; a full appreciation of what belongs to the spirit of all the different leading schools of thought is required. To say that the...

read more

54. Review of Ridgeway’s The Origin of Metallic Currency

pdf iconDownload PDF (77.3 KB)
pp. 349-351

Compound arithmetic can certainly make itself very disagreeable. From the urchin writhing in the agonies of a long sum in long measure, up to Belshazzar, watching the hand write upon the wall those distressful words, “Pounds, pounds, ounces, drams,” that suggested there was an account to settle with God, mortals have doubtless undergone more...

read more

55. Review of Pearson’s The Grammar of Science

pdf iconDownload PDF (73.8 KB)
pp. 352-354

The title of this book hardly prepares the reader for its real nature. It is an attempt to elucidate, in an original train of thought, what amounts, generically speaking, to Kantian nominalism, and to show its applicability to contemporary scientific problems. Although the metaphysical doctrine from which it proceeds is all but exploded, and rests upon an...

read more

56. Review of Curry’s The Province of Expression

pdf iconDownload PDF (66.9 KB)
pp. 355-356

The name Elocution, which, even with our own early writers, was nearly equivalent to eloquence, having been subsequently transferred to the subsidiary art of delivery, is at last degraded by Dr. Curry to designate an offensive display of technique without soul or real art. This leaves him no better word than “expression” by which to designate the...

Editorial Backmatter

Editorial Symbols

pdf iconDownload PDF (69.4 KB)
pp. 359-361


pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 362-469

Bibliography of Peirce’s References

pdf iconDownload PDF (126.8 KB)
pp. 470-479

Chronological Catalog, May 1890–July 1892

pdf iconDownload PDF (334.5 KB)
pp. 480-510

Supplementary Catalog Entries

pdf iconDownload PDF (82.1 KB)
pp. 511-514

read more

Essay on Editorial Theory and Method

pdf iconDownload PDF (179.5 KB)
pp. 515-531

The structures of spoken and written language fascinated Peirce throughout his intellectual life. His early study of Shakespearean pronunciation (1864) and his comprehensive but fragmentary editor’s manual (c. 1900) bookend a lifetime of engagement with issues of presentation and publication, but Peirce also exhibited an implicit awareness of textual patterns in nearly everything he...

read more

Textual Apparatus

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.6 MB)
pp. 532-678

The Textual Apparatus provides (together with the Essay on Editorial Theory and Method) a nearly complete record of what has been done in the editing process, and it presents the necessary evidence for the editorial decisions that have been made in this critical edition. It consists of fifty-six sections, corresponding to the number of items published in the present volume, and each...

Line-End Hyphenation in the Edition Text

pdf iconDownload PDF (44.4 KB)
pp. 679-


pdf iconDownload PDF (449.0 KB)
pp. 681-724

E-ISBN-13: 9780253004215
E-ISBN-10: 0253004217
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253372086

Page Count: 824
Illustrations: 10 b&w illus., 3 maps
Publication Year: 1982