Charles S. Peirce: Logic and the Classification of the Sciences
C.S. Peirce, the American philosopher and a principal figure in the development of the modern study of semiotics, struggled, mostly during his later years, to work out a systematic method for classifying sciences. By doing this, he hoped to define more clearly the various tasks of these sciences by showing how their individual effects are interrelated and how these effects, considered in their interrelations, establish pragmatic meanings for each individual science. Much of his work was centered on the meaning and function of logic in relation to other areas of human knowledge. By rightly defining the work of logic, Peirce argued, the work of the other sciences could be pursued with more rigorous reasoning. Beverley Kent closely examines the published and unpublished writings of Peirce and carefully attends to the chronological development of his systems of classification; she thereby shows for the first time in the scholarly literature how seeming contradictions in Peirce's evolving classification are really part of an increasingly clear position. Logic (or ?normative semiotic”), Peirce came to understand, is actually dependent on ethics and aesthetics for its principles. Kent shows how Peirce's working out of the classification of logic in relation to other sciences is a clue to the significant differences between his early and late philosophy and, perhaps even more important, to a reading of his more general claims for a philosophy of ?pragmaticism.” This work will be of interest to readers of Peirce and American philosophy, to historians of logic and semiotics, and to those more generally interested in the history of systems of knowledge-classification.
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