Charles S. Peirce and the Philosophy of Science: Papers from the Harvard Sesquicentennial Congress

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Interest in Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914) is today worldwide. Ernest Nagel of Columbia University wrote in 1959 that "there is a fair consensus among historians of ideas that Charles Sanders Peirce remains the most original, versatile, and comprehensive philosophical mind this country has yet produced." The breadth of topics discussed in the present volume suggests that this is as true today as it was in 1959. Papers concerning Peirce's philosophy of science were given at the Harvard Congress by representatives from Italy, France, Sweden, Finland, Korea, India, Denmark, Greece, Brazil, Belgium, Spain, Germany, and the United States. The Charles S. Peirce Sesquicentennial International Congress opened at Harvard University on September 5, 1989, and concluded on the 10th - Peirce's birthday. The Congress was host to approximately 450 scholars from 26 different nations. The present volume is a compilation of selected papers presented at that Congress. The philosophy of science and its logic are themes in the work of Charles Peirce that have been of greatest interest to scholars. Peirce was himself a physical scientist. He worked as an assistant at the Harvard Astronomical Observatory from 1869 to 1872 and made a series of astronomical observations there from 1872 to 1875. Solon I. Bailey says of these observations, "The first attempt at the Harvard Observatory to determine the form of the Milky Way, or the galactic system, was made by Charles S. Peirce....The investigation was of a pioneer nature, founded on scant data." Peirce also made major contributions in fields as diverse as mathematical logic and psychology. C. I. Lewis has remarked that "the head and font of mathematical logic are found in the calculus of propositional functions as developed by Peirce and Schroeder." Peirce subsequently invented, almost from whole cloth, semiotics - the science of the meaning of signs. Ogden and Richards, the British critics, say that "by far the most elaborate and de
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Editorial Reviews

A compilation of selected papers presented in 1989 at the Charles S. Peirce Sesquicentennial International Congress at Harvard U. Though known as one of the greatest American philosophers, Peirce (1839-1914) was himself a physical scientist, and one of the themes in his work that has been of greatest interest to students of his thought centers around his view of the philosophy of science and its logic. He also made major contributions in fields as diverse as mathematical logic and psychology, and essentially invented the field of semiotics--the science of signs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817306656
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1993
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Charles S. Peirce and the Philosophy of Science 1
Pt. 1 Logic and Mathematics
1 Peirce on the Conditions of the Possibility of Science 17
2 Peirce Realistic Approach to Mathematics: Or Can One Be a Realist without Being a Platonist? 30
3 Peirce as Philosophical Topologist 49
4 Peirce and Propensities 60
5 Induction and the Evolution of Conceptual Spaces 72
6 Abduction, Justification, and Realism 89
7 Peirce and the Logic of Logical Discovery 105
8 Truth, Laudan, and Peirce: A View from the Trenches 119
9 Peirce and Statistics 130
10 Peirce's View of the Vague and the Definite 139
11 The Test of Experiment: C. S. Peirce and E. S. Pearson 161
12 Pragmatism, Abduction, and Weak Verification 175
13 Peirce's Theory of Statistical Explanation 186
14 Peirce on Problem Solving 208
Pt. 2 The Physical Sciences
15 Peirce as Participant in the Bohr-Einstein Discussion 223
16 From Peirce to Bohr: Theorematic Reasoning and Idealization in Physics 233
17 The Role of Potentiality in Peirce's Tychism and in Contemporary Discussions in Quantum Mechanics and Microphysics 246
18 Aristotle and Peirce on Chance 262
Pt. 3 The Life of the Mind
19 Peirce's Definitions of the Phaneron 279
20 An Application of Peirce's Valency of Relations to the Phenomenon of Psychological Dissociation 289
21 Knowing One's Own Mind 300
22 Peirce's Psychophysics: Then and Now 309
23 Peirce and Self-Consciousness 319
24 The Relevance of Peirce for Psychology 333
25 Peircean Benefits for Freudian Theory: The Role of Abduction in the Psychoanalytic Enterprise 350
26 The Valuation of the Interpretant 368
27 The Riddle of Brute Experience: An Argument for a Revision of Psychoanalytic Theory Based on Peircean Phenomenology 382
28 Memory Morphology, and Mathematics: Peirce and Contemporary Neurostudies 402
Index 419
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