Ideas of Charles Sanders Peirce, by Theme

[American, 1839 - 1914, Born at Cambridge, Massachusetts. Educated at Harvard. Died at Milford.]

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1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 2. Invocation to Philosophy
Everything interesting should be recorded, with records that can be rearranged
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 5. Aims of Philosophy / a. Philosophy as worldly
Sciences concern existence, but philosophy also concerns potential existence
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 5. Aims of Philosophy / e. Philosophy as reason
An idea on its own isn't an idea, because they are continuous systems
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 6. Hopes for Philosophy
Philosophy is a search for real truth
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 1. Nature of Metaphysics
Metaphysics is pointless without exact modern logic
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 3. Metaphysical Systems
Metaphysics does not rest on facts, but on what we are inclined to believe
Super-ordinate disciplines give laws or principles; subordinate disciplines give concrete cases [Atkin]
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 4. Metaphysics as Science
Metaphysics rests on observations, but ones so common we hardly notice them
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 5. Metaphysics beyond Science
Metaphysics is the science of both experience, and its general laws and types
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 6. Metaphysics as Conceptual
Metaphysical reasoning is simple enough, but the concepts are very hard
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 7. Against Metaphysics
The demonstrations of the metaphysicians are all moonshine
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 6. Logical Analysis
Metaphysics is turning into logic, and logic is becoming mathematics
1. Philosophy / G. Scientific Philosophy / 3. Scientism
I am saturated with the spirit of physical science
Philosophy is an experimental science, resting on common experience
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 4. Aims of Reason
Reason aims to discover the unknown by thinking about the known
I reason in order to avoid disappointment and surprise
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 3. Non-Contradiction
Self-contradiction doesn't reveal impossibility; it is inductive impossibility which reveals self-contradiction
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 6. Verisimilitude
The one unpardonable offence in reasoning is to block the route to further truth
3. Truth / E. Pragmatic Truth / 1. Pragmatic Truth
Truth is the opinion fated to be ultimately agreed by all investigators
Pragmatic 'truth' is a term to cover the many varied aims of enquiry [Misak]
If truth is the end of enquiry, what if it never ends, or ends prematurely? [Atkin]
Peirce did not think a belief was true if it was useful [Misak]
'Holding for true' is either practical commitment, or provisional theory
Independent truth (if there is any) is the ultimate result of sufficient enquiry
Peirce's theory offers anti-realist verificationism, but surely how things are is independent of us? [Horsten]
3. Truth / H. Deflationary Truth / 1. Redundant Truth
That a judgement is true and that we judge it true are quite different things
5. Theory of Logic / A. Overview of Logic / 3. Value of Logic
Only study logic if you think your own reasoning is deficient
5. Theory of Logic / B. Logical Consequence / 4. Semantic Consequence |=
Deduction is true when the premises facts necessarily make the conclusion fact true
5. Theory of Logic / C. Ontology of Logic / 1. Ontology of Logic
Our research always hopes that reality embodies the logic we are employing
5. Theory of Logic / C. Ontology of Logic / 3. If-Thenism
Pure mathematics deals only with hypotheses, of which the reality does not matter
Logic, unlike mathematics, is not hypothetical; it asserts categorical ends from hypothetical means
5. Theory of Logic / D. Assumptions for Logic / 1. Bivalence
Bivalence is a regulative assumption of enquiry - not a law of logic [Misak]
5. Theory of Logic / E. Structures of Logic / 6. Relations in Logic
The logic of relatives relies on objects built of any relations (rather than on classes)
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 4. Using Numbers / c. Counting procedure
Numbers are just names devised for counting
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 4. Mathematical Empiricism / c. Against mathematical empiricism
That two two-eyed people must have four eyes is a statement about numbers, not a fact
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 6. Logicism / a. Early logicism
Mathematics is close to logic, but is even more abstract
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 10. Constructivism / c. Conceptualism
We now know that mathematics only studies hypotheses, not facts
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 1. Realism
Realism is basic to the scientific method
There may be no reality; it's just our one desperate hope of knowing anything
Realism is the belief that there is something in the being of things corresponding to our reasoning
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 2. Reality
The real is the idea in which the community ultimately settles down
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 3. Anti-realism
If someone doubted reality, they would not actually feel dissatisfaction
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 7. Facts / a. Facts
Facts are hard unmoved things, unaffected by what people may think of them
8. Modes of Existence / A. Relations / 1. Nature of Relations
Peirce and others began the mapping out of relations [Hart,WD]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / d. Dispositions as occurrent
Peirce's later realism about possibilities and generalities went beyond logical positivism [Atkin]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / e. Vague objects
All communication is vague, and is outside the principle of non-contradiction
Vagueness is a neglected but important part of mathematical thought
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 1. Possibility
Some logical possibility concerns single propositions, but there is also compatibility between propositions
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 7. Chance
Is chance just unknown laws? But the laws operate the same, whatever chance occurs
Objective chance is the property of a distribution
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 8. Conditionals / d. Non-truthfunction conditionals
Truth-functional conditionals have a simple falsification, when A is true and B is false
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 8. Conditionals / e. Supposition conditionals
In ordinary language a conditional statement assumes that the antecedent is true
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 1. Possible Worlds / d. Possible worlds actualism
The possible can only be general, and the force of actuality is needed to produce a particular
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 2. Understanding
Our whole conception of an object is its possible practical consequences
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / b. Elements of beliefs
We are aware of beliefs, they appease our doubts, and they are rules of action, or habits
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / c. Aim of beliefs
The feeling of belief shows a habit which will determine our actions
A mere question does not stimulate a struggle for belief; there must be a real doubt
We are entirely satisfied with a firm belief, even if it is false
We want true beliefs, but obviously we think our beliefs are true
A 'belief' is a habit which determines how our imagination and actions proceed
We act on 'full belief' in a crisis, but 'opinion' only operates for trivial actions
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 3. Fallibilism
Inquiry is not standing on bedrock facts, but standing in hope on a shifting bog
Infallibility in science is just a joke
Reasoning is based on statistical induction, so it can't achieve certainty or precision
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 3. Innate Knowledge / a. Innate knowledge
Innate truths are very uncertain and full of error, so they certainly have exceptions
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 1. Empiricism
Experience is indeed our only source of knowledge, provided we include inner experience
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 2. Associationism
Association of ideas is the best philosophical idea of the prescientific age
We talk of 'association by resemblance' but that is wrong: the association constitutes the resemblance
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 3. Pragmatism
Instead of seeking Truth, we should seek belief that is beyond doubt
Pragmatism is a way of establishing meanings, not a theory of metaphysics or a set of truths
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 5. Empiricism Critique
The world is one of experience, but experiences are always located among our ideas
12. Knowledge Sources / E. Direct Knowledge / 3. Inspiration
If we decide an idea is inspired, we still can't be sure we have got the idea right
Only reason can establish whether some deliverance of revelation really is inspired
A truth is hard for us to understand if it rests on nothing but inspiration
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 2. Pragmatic justification
We need our beliefs to be determined by some external inhuman permanency
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 3. Evidentialism / a. Evidence
Scientists will give up any conclusion, if experience opposes it
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 4. Foundationalism / b. Basic beliefs
Demonstration does not rest on first principles of reason or sensation, but on freedom from actual doubt
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 1. External Justification
Doubts should be satisfied by some external permanency upon which thinking has no effect
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 6. Scepticism Critique
Once doubt ceases, there is no point in continuing to argue
14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 2. Demonstration
If each inference slightly reduced our certainty, science would soon be in trouble
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 1. Scientific Theory
Duns Scotus offers perhaps the best logic and metaphysics for modern physical science
I classify science by level of abstraction; principles derive from above, and data from below
14. Science / C. Induction / 2. Aims of Induction
'Induction' doesn't capture Greek 'epagoge', which is singulars in a mass producing the general
14. Science / C. Induction / 3. Limits of Induction
How does induction get started?
Induction can never prove that laws have no exceptions
The worst fallacy in induction is generalising one recondite property from a sample
14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / a. Best explanation
'Abduction' is beginning a hypothesis, particularly if it includes preference of one explanation over others
Abduction involves original suggestions, and not just the testing involved in induction
14. Science / D. Explanation / 4. Explanation Doubts / b. Rejecting explanation
Men often answer inner 'whys' by treating unconscious instincts as if they were reasons
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 7. Animal Minds
We may think animals reason very little, but they hardly ever make mistakes!
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 2. Imagination
Only imagination can connect phenomena together in a rational way
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 5. Generalisation by mind
Generalization is the true end of life
Generalisation is the great law of mind
16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 2. Knowing the Self
'Know yourself' is not introspection; it is grasping how others see you
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 1. Dualism
Physical and psychical laws of mind are either independent, or derived in one or other direction
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 3. Panpsychism
Whatever is First must be sentient
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 5. Rationality / a. Rationality
Reasoning involves observation, experiment, and habituation
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 5. Rationality / b. Human rationality
Everybody overrates their own reasoning, so it is clearly superficial
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 3. Ontology of Concepts / b. Concepts as abilities
A 'conception', the rational implication of a word, lies in its bearing upon the conduct of life
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 4. Structure of Concepts / b. Analysis of concepts
The definition of a concept is just its experimental implications
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 1. Meaning
The meaning or purport of a symbol is all the rational conduct it would lead to
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 5. Meaning as Verification
Non-positivist verificationism says only take a hypothesis seriously if it is scientifically based and testable [Ladyman/Ross]
19. Language / B. Reference / 1. Reference theories
Icons resemble their subject, an index is a natural sign, and symbols are conventional [Maund]
19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 9. Indexical Semantics
Indexicals are unusual words, because they stimulate the hearer to look around
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / d. Death
Is there any such thing as death among the lower organisms?
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / b. Defining ethics
Ethics is the science of aims
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 2. Duty
People should follow what lies before them, and is within their power
25. Social Practice / E. Policies / 5. Education / b. Education principles
We are not inspired by other people's knowledge; a sense of our ignorance motivates study
26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 1. Natural Kinds
Chemists rely on a single experiment to establish a fact; repetition is pointless
26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 2. Defining Kinds
What is true of one piece of copper is true of another (unlike brass)
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 1. Laws of Nature
The world is full of variety, but laws seem to produce uniformity
Our laws of nature may be the result of evolution
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 4. Regularities / a. Regularity theory
If the world is just mechanical, its whole specification has no more explanation than mere chance
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 11. Against Laws of Nature
The more precise the observations, the less reliable appear to be the laws of nature
27. Natural Reality / G. Biology / 3. Evolution
Natural selection might well fill an animal's mind with pleasing thoughts rather than true ones
Darwinian evolution is chance, with the destruction of bad results
28. God / B. Proving God / 2. Proofs of Reason / d. Pascal's Wager
If death is annihilation, belief in heaven is a cheap pleasure with no disappointment