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Conversations on Peirce:Reals and Ideals

Reals and Ideals

Douglas Anderson

Publication Year: 2012

The essays in this book have grown out of conversations between the authors and their colleagues and students over the last decade and a half. Their germinal question concerned the ways in which Charles Sanders Peirce was and was not both an idealist and a realist. The dialogue began as an exploration of Peirce's explicit uses of these ideas and then turned to consider the way in which answers to the initial question shed light on other dimensions of Peirce's architectonic.The essays explore the nature of semiotic interpretation, perception, and inquiry. Moreover, considering the roles of idealism and realism in Peirce's thought led to considerations of Peirce's place in the historical development of pragmatism. The authors find his realism turning sharply against the nominalistic conceptions of science endorsed both explicitly and implicitly by his nonpragmatist contemporaries. And they find his version of pragmatism holding a middle ground between the thought of John Dewey and Josiah Royce. The essays aims to invite others to consider the import of these central themes of Peircean thought.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Series: American Philosophy

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

Carl Hausman was initially my teacher and later my colleague for several years prior to his retirement. Together we have explored the issues in this book in a wide variety of settings. We have co-taught classes on Peirce and American philosophy; we have co-written essays...


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pp. xiii-xiv


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pp. xv-xviii

Conversation I Pragmatism, Idealism, Realism

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pp. 1-2

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One Peirce on Berkeley’s Nominalistic Platonism

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pp. 3-15

The exemplary role that Bishop Berkeley played in Peirce’s conception of pragmatism is suggested by Peirce’s frequent references to Berkeley’s proto-pragmatic practice. ‘‘It was this medium [the river of pragmatism],’’ Peirce said, ‘‘and not tar water, that gave...

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Two Who’s a Pragmatist Royce, Dewey, and Peirce at the Turn of the Century

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pp. 16-43

Ultimately, it may not matter much who is or is not a pragmatist. There are some reasonable political motivations at any given time for wanting or not wanting to be counted as among the pragmatists, depending on whether pragmatism is or is not in vogue. But if we ask...

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Three Two Peircean Realisms Some Comments on Margolis

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pp. 44-57

We turn now from considering Peirce’s realism in relation to the work of his contemporaries to a consideration of a commentary by our contemporary Joseph Margolis, who in recent years has undertaken to bring analytic philosophy and pragmatism into...

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Four The Degeneration of Pragmatism Peirce, Dewey, Rorty

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pp. 58-72

Pragmatism has reached its most recent state of notoriety, for better and worse, through the writings of Richard Rorty, who claimed that he drew his inspiration, in part at least, from William James and, even more emphatically, from John Dewey. Some years...

Conversation II Perception and Inquiry

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pp. 73-74

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Five Peirce’s Dynamical Object Realism as Process Philosophy

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pp. 75-99

As noted earlier, Peirce’s conception of pragmatism has been interpreted as both a form of objective idealism and a form of realism. Objective idealism, as I understand it, insists that whatever is regarded as real must not only be mind dependent but also constituted...

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Six Another Radical Empiricism: Peirce 1903

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pp. 100-113

In 1904 William James marked his ‘‘radical empiricism’’ by maintaining that I perceive not only individual things but also the relations of conjunction and disjunction in which they appear. ‘‘To be radical,’’ he asserted, ‘‘an empiricism must neither admit into its construction...

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Seven Peirce on Interpretation

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pp. 114-131

In an earlier chapter I examined the metaphysical implications of Peirce’s dynamical or dynamic object; in this chapter I will consider its import for Peirce’s conception of interpretation. Interpretation, for whatever purpose, relates a referent or a dynamic object, that...

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Eight Peirce and Pearson The Aims of Inquiry

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pp. 132-146

Peirce and Karl Pearson, his contemporary and British counterpart in the study of statistics and the logic of inquiry, lived radically different lives. Peirce, having alienated himself from the university communities in which he might have found work, lost his full-time...

Conversation III Cultural Considerations

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pp. 147-148

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Nine The Pragmatic Importance of Peirce’s Religious Writings

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pp. 149-165

Many scholars come to Peirce’s work from backgrounds in which matters of religion are of little or no interest, and when they encounter Peirce’s religious writings, they see them as an aberration. These writings are interesting or off-putting according to one’s...

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Ten Realism and Idealism in Peirce’s Cosmogony

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pp. 166-177

As we have noted several times, Peirce often described his metaphysics as a kind of ‘‘objective idealism’’ (CP 6.24, 6.163); he believed matter to be ‘‘a specialization of the mind’’ (CP 6.268). Peirce’s testimony is borne out by a number of similarities his writings...

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Eleven Love of Nature The Generality of Peircean Concern

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pp. 178-190

Peirce’s realistic conception of God and, especially, of the love that God is, holds consequences for issues that lie beyond the boundaries of religious discourses. One such consequence has to do with what we have come to call environmentalism. Although he did...

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Twelve Developmental Theism A Peircean Response to Fundamentalism

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pp. 191-204

Having brought matters of heart and mind into relation in chapter 10, I turn here to apply this relation to an issue that that has important political import for contemporary culture. The specific issue I wish to explore—religious fundamentalism—is a complex...


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pp. 205-206

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Peirce’s Coefficient of the Science of the Method An Early Form of the Correlation Coefficient

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pp. 207-230

The history of the correlation coefficient is often thought to have begun with Sir Francis Galton. His contribution was notably his realization of the importance of the relationship between two variables for the purpose of describing or predicting some phenomenon. Research...


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pp. 231-244


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pp. 245-252


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pp. 253-256

American Philosophy

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pp. 257-258

E-ISBN-13: 9780823249329
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823234677
Print-ISBN-10: 0823234673

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: American Philosophy