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  • Peirce y el mundo hipánico: Lo que C. S. Peirce dijo sobre España y lo que el mundo hispánico ha dicho sobre Peirce
  • Daniel G. Campos
Jaime Nubiola and Fernando Zalamea Peirce y el mundo hipánico: Lo que C. S. Peirce dijo sobre España y lo que el mundo hispánico ha dicho sobre Peirce Pamplona: Ediciones Universidad de Navarra, 2006. 366 pp.

Adopting C. S. Peirce's emphasis on inquiry as a communal endeavor, the authors' stated aim is to offer a panoramic assessment of the state of research and communication in a specific academic community—the one constituted by Peirce and the Hispanic world (p. 9–10). By the Hispanic world, the authors mean the aggregate of researchers in Spain and Spanish America (Hispanoamérica) who have in various ways studied the work of C. S. Peirce and published their investigations. The book is accordingly divided into two parts. In the first, Jaime Nubiola, director of the Grupo de Estudios Peirceanos (GEP) at the Universidad de Navarra, reviews all of the references to Spain or Spaniards that he has been able to find in Peirce's published works and unpublished manuscripts and letters. In the second, Fernando Zalamea reviews all the Peircean bibliography in Spanish that the GEP has been able to identify.

It is important to recognize the difficulty of collecting all the information published in this volume. Peirce scholars are familiar with the challenges involved in tracing specific information in Peirce's unpublished manuscripts and in hunting for documents that they suspect to exist. Nubiola has patiently traced this information around multiple libraries and archives, especially in Spain and the United States. To this we must add the difficulty of collecting and indexing an academic bibliography across all of the Spanish-speaking countries. Zalamea and the GEP have done a remarkable job in this regard. Both Nubiola and Zalamea synthesize and present this information succinctly.1 Their primary objective is to inform the reader about the state of research in the Peircean Hispanic community, as it is important for a community of inquiry to have a clear panorama of what it has accomplished and where it needs to go (p. 11). To this extent, they succeed.

In the first part, Nubiola organizes what Peirce said about Spain in six sections: (1) A brief biography of Peirce as a "philosopher scientist;" (2) a detailed account of Peirce's first and only trip to Spain in 1870, on behalf of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, in order to explore [End Page 795] possible locations for a scientific team to observe the solar eclipse on December 22 of that year; (3) a complete report, including many translations, of Peirce's written annotations about Spain and the Spaniards; (4) an account of Peirce's relationship to three Spanish scientists who were his contemporaries—Carlos Ibáñez de Ibero, Ventura Reyes Prósper, and Santiago Ramón y Cajal—; (5) an overview of Peirce's references to ancient, medieval, and modern Hispanic philosophers; and (6) a report on the scholarly speculation surrounding two curious biographical enigmas, namely, Peirce's adoption of the middle name "Santiago" and his wife Juliette Froissy's alleged Spanish Gypsy origin. The result is a curious mixture of anecdotal, informative, and critical content that, in spite of the disparate material that it covers, is well-organized. Because Nubiola aims to be comprehensive, some of the reported material, such as which objects Peirce bought in Spain, risks being of interest only to the most enthusiastic Peirceans. However, the author proposes some ways in which his essay is of legitimate philosophical interest. The most important is his emphasis on assessing the articulation between responsible philosophy and life (p. 17).2 Nubiola is interested in exploring the ways in which Peirce's biography relates to his philosophy. In this regard I find that Nubiola assesses Peirce fairly and positively when the latter's life and thought, in relation to Spain, merits praise as scientist and philosopher, but fails to criticize Peirce thoroughly, on the grounds of Peirce's own philosophy, when the distinguished New Englander displays his cultural prejudices in commenting...