Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce

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Harvard University Press, 1974 - Philosophy - 944 pages
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Volumes I-VI of the Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce are being reissued in response to a growing interest in Peirce's thought--a development that was prophesied by John Dewey when he reviewed the first volume of these papers on their appearance in 1931. Writing in The New Republic, Mr. Dewey said, "Nothing much will happen in philosophy as long as a main object among philosophers is defense of some formulated historical position. I do not know of any other thinker more calculated than Peirce to give emancipation from the intellectual fortifications of the past and to arouse a fresh imagination."

 

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Contents

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About the author (1974)

Charles Sanders Peirce was the son of the eminent mathematician and Harvard professor Benjamin Peirce. The young Peirce attended Harvard University, where he studied science, mathematics, and philosophy. For 30 years he worked for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. Because of personal difficulties---he was overbearing and eccentric---he taught only briefly as a lecturer at Harvard (1864-65, 1869-71) and at Johns Hopkins University (1879--84). He wrote no books and published very little during his lifetime, mostly articles and encyclopedia entries, but many collections of his articles and unpublished papers have appeared. Peirce was a brilliant logician and creative metaphysician. His papers, many published long after his death, are of great importance in the philosophical literature.

Charles Hartshorne was educated at Harvard University, where he coedited with Paul Weiss the first six volumes of The Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce (1931--36) and became associated with Alfred North Whitehead. He has taught at Harvard, the University of Chicago, Emory University, and the University of Texas-Austin. Hartshorne is the undisputed leader in the development of process philosophy and theology since the death of Whitehead. A consummate metaphysician, Hartshorne has resurrected the ontological argument for the existence of God, reframing it in terms of contemporary modal logic. He has espoused a doctrine of panpsychism, according to which mind (with feeling) permeates all things, and has defended the compatibility of this doctrine with contemporary physics. A pantheist, Hartshorne has proposed a complex theory of God, which views divinity as a relative, processional kind of being, with an abstract eternal nature and a concrete nature subject to change and suffering. He has presented his process theology in his widely read book The Divine Relativity. In addition to his labors as teacher and philosophical author, Hartshorne is an avid birdwatcher and has written a prizewinning book, Born to Sing: An Interpretation and World Survey of Bird Song.

Born in New York City, the son of a laborer (Samuel), Weiss was educated at the City College of New York and Harvard University, where he prepared his doctoral dissertation in the late 1920s under the supervision of Alfred North Whitehead. Paul Weiss has taught at Bryn Mawr College, Yale University, and the Catholic University of America. Founding editor of the Review of Metaphysics and founding first president of the Metaphysical Society of America, Weiss has been the leading advocate of speculative philosophy in the English-speaking world since World War II. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1938 and the Townshend Harris Medal in 1964. His work may be divided into three stages. During the first stage, Weiss labored as a logician whose earliest publications were devoted to the nature of systems as logical wholes. During this period, he coedited with Charles Hartshorne The Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce (1931--58). As he matured, however, he became increasingly interested in metaphysical and ethical questions, as manifest in his books Reality (1938), Nature and Man (1947), and Man's Freedom (1950). The concern with ethical questions caused him to revise radically his early metaphysics. This led to the second stage of his development, capped with the publication of Modes of Being (1958). In his modal philosophy Weiss presented and justified dialectically four modes of being:actuality, ideality, existence, and God. Thereafter he explored the concrete manifestations and interplay of these modes in history, art, education, sport, and so forth. As Weiss progressed in these investigations, he entered the third stage of his development---the postmodal phase in which he revised his four-mode metaphysics by acknowledging additional principles. His books Beyond All Appearances (1974), First Considerations (1977), and Creative Ventures (1992) are landmarks, in this final stage. Weiss now acknowledges seven ultimate principles. These include the two modes of being, actuality and existence, and their five finalities or conditions: substance, being, voluminousness, ideality, and God. His recently discovered seventh principle is the dunamis, a cosmic dynamic creativity. During Weiss's latest period, he has further advanced his investigation into the realities and norms for persons and the social order. Weiss's multivolume Philosophy in Process, a remarkable document, in which the philosopher reveals how he thinks about the topics and themes as he writes the books on them, shows the intellectual wrestlings of an important thinker at work.

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