Part of the Martinus Nijhoff Philosophy Library book series (MNPL, volume 27)


Charles Sanders Peirce is quickly becoming the dominant figure in the history of American philosophy. The breadth and depth of his work has begun to obscure even the brightest of his contemporaries. Concerning the interpretation of his work, however, there are two distinct schools. The first holds that Peirce’s work is an aggregate of important but disconnected insights. The second school argues that his work is a systematic philosophy with many pieces of the overall picture still obscure or missing. It is this second view which seems to me the most reasonable, in part because it has been convincingly defended by other scholars, but most importantly because Peirce himself described his philosophy as systematic:

What I would recommend is that every person who wishes to form an opinion concerning fundamental problems should first of all make a complete survey of human knowledge, should take note of all the valuable ideas in each branch of science, should observe in just what respect each has been successful and where it has failed, in order that, in the light of the thorough acquaintance so attained of the available materials for a philosophical theory and of the nature and strength of each, he may proceed to the study of what the problem of philosophy consists in, and of the proper way of solving it (6.9) [1].


Scientific Thought Artistic Creativity Scientific Creativity Creative Evolution Foundational Role 
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  1. [1]
    All Peirce references are as follows: Collected Papers, ed. Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss, vol. 1–6, ed. Arthur Burks, vol. 7–8 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1931–1957). All listed by volume and paragraph number. Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A Chronological Edition, ed. Max Fisch (Bloomington, Indiana: University of Indiana Press, 1982–1984), vol. 1–3. Listed as CE with volume and page numbers. All manuscript numbers are from the Robin listing: Annotated Catalogue of the Papers of Charles S. Peirce ( Worcester, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1967 ).Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    My search has focused on the manuscript collection of Peirce’s work available on microfilm. I have also used the volumes listed in note 1 as well as Carolyn Eisele’s collection, New Elements of Mathematics by Charles S. Peirce (The Hague: Mouton, 1976), vol. 1–4.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    Hocutt, “The Logical Foundations of Peirce’s Aesthetics,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 21, 1962, p. 157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. [4]
    E. F. Kaelin, “Reflections on Peirce’s Aesthetics,” The Monist, 65, 1982. Beverley E. Kent, “Peirce’s Esthetics: A New Look,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, 12, 1976. C. M. Smith, “The Aesthetics of Charles S. Peirce,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 31, 1972.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    See, for example, Carl R. Hausman, “Freedom, Indeterminism, and Necessity in the Origination of Novelty,” The Southern Journal of Philosophy, vol. 9, 1971, p. 172.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    See, for example, Murray Murphey, The Development of Peirce’s Philosophy (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1961), pp. 395 ff.Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    Carolyn Eisele, “Mathematical Methodology in the Thought of Charles S. Peirce,” Historia Mathematica, vol. 9, 3, August 1982, p. 338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. [8]
    One example of the type of argument Peirce used for this point can be found at 1.347.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wittenberg UniversityGermany

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