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Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914) was the greatest American philosopher of the 19th century and the founder of philosophical pragmatism. He is best known for his distinctive conception of philosophical method (his ‘pragmatic maxim’, a rule for the clarification of ‘intellectual concepts’, reflecting his highly original theory of meaning), his ‘semeiotic’ or theory of signs, his conception of truth as indefeasible belief, and his profound contributions to philosophical logic. He is also known for anticipating numerous significant developments in philosophy and other disciplines, many of them only fully realized long after his death. Sometimes dubbed ‘the American Aristotle’, he was “a prolific and perpetually over-extended polymath” (Crease), the scale of whose work is staggering and virtually impossible to summarize. Even today, Peirce’s work has yet enjoy a fraction of the attention or recognition it deserves. There are numerous reasons for this: his work is often extremely technical, his papers were left in disarray for decades after his death, and the majority of them remain unpublished; he also had a fraught, scandal-ridden career. He died ‘in abject poverty and almost completely forgotten’ (de Waal). Interest in and appreciation for Peirce has only grown in recent decades, however, and Peirce scholarship is an unusually lively field in the history of philosophy.  

Key works

Despite his systematic ambitions, Peirce never succeeded in producing a single comprehensive statement of his philosophical views.  As such, Peirce’s interpreters have had to reconstruct them from a series of lectures and articles scattered across various journals over several decades, along with a vast wealth of unpublished material. His most important published works are as follows: 1) The three “Cognition series” essays published in the Journal of Speculative Philosophy (1868-9): 1868, 1868, and 1869; in which Peirce critiques Cartesianism and seeks to outline an alternative. 2) The “Berkeley Review” of Alexander Campbell Fraser’s The Works of George Berkeley, published in North American Review (1871); in which Peirce expresses sympathy for a Kantian methodology which secures empirical realism by way of a ‘Copernican’ or ‘anthropocentric’ turn. 3) The six “Illustrations of the Logic of Science” essays, originally published in Popular Science Monthly (1877-8), but collected in 2014 in which Peirce outlines his theory of inquiry and scientific reasoning. The first two papers of the series were later described by William James as providing the “birth-certificate” of American pragmatism. 1878 contains the earliest public statement of what would later become known as “the Pragmatic Maxim”. 4) The five “Monist Metaphysical Series” essays published in The Monist (1891-3): 1891, 1892, 1892, 1892, and 1893; in which Peirce develops a speculative idealist metaphysics inspired by Schelling and Hegel. (5) The “Cambridge Conference Lectures” (1898), available in 1992; in which Peirce responds to James’s invitation to give a series of popular lectures. Peirce is understood to have resented the recommendation that he speak on “matters of vital importance” and the first of the lectures, “Philosophy and the Conduct of Life” is a source of considerable disagreement amongst his interpreters. 6) The “Harvard Lectures on Pragmatism” (1903) in 1997; in which Peirce offers an outline of his architectonic system. 7) The “Lowell Lectures” delivered under the title “Some Topics of Logic Bearing on Questions Now Vexed” (1903); in which Peirce further addresses matters of scientific reasoning and distinguishes his position from others then popular. The two-volume The Essential Peirce: Selected Philosophical Writings is an ideal introductory compilation of Peirce’s works. The principal resources for scholars of Peirce’s thought are the eight-volume Writings of Charles S. Peirce and the eight-volume Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce.

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  1. Theological Insights Into the Notion of Order in Physics and the Natural Sciences.Timothy Rogers - manuscript
    An exploration of the metaphysics of process-ordering in Quantum Theory and Relativity Theory that is guided by Bohm, Peirce, Levinas, and Torrance.
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  2. Coherence of Inferences.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    It is usually accepted that deductions are non-informative and monotonic, inductions are informative and nonmonotonic, abductions create hypotheses but are epistemically irrelevant, and both deductions and inductions can’t provide new insights. In this article, I attempt to provide a more cohesive view of the subject with the following hypotheses: (1) the paradigmatic examples of deductions, such as modus ponens and hypothetical syllogism, are not inferential forms, but coherence requirements for inferences; (2) since any reasoner aims to be coherent, any inference (...)
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  3. Peirce’s Imaginative Community: On the Esthetic Grounds of Inquiry.Bernardo Andrade - forthcoming - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society.
    Departing from Anderson’s (2016) suggestion that there are three communities in Peirce’s thought corresponding to his three normative sciences of logic, ethics, and esthetics, I argue that these communities partake in a relationship of dependence similar to that found among the normative sciences. In this way, just as logic relies on ethics which relies on esthetics, so too would a logical community of inquirers rely on an ethical community of love, which would rely on an esthetic community of artists. A (...)
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  4. Peirce's Speculative Grammar: Logic as Semiotics.A. K. Atkin - forthcoming - History and Philosophy of Logic:1-2.
    In 1897, Peirce famously avows that ‘Logic, in its general sense, is, as I believe I have shown, only another name for semiotic’. Moreover, in his later attempts to classify di...
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  5. Peirce's Theory of Semiotics.Albert Atkin - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  6. Pierce's Theory of Science.A. Atkins - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  7. The Inferences That Never Were: Peirce, Perception, and Bernstein's The Pragmatic Turn.Richard Kenneth Atkins - forthcoming - In Judith Green (ed.), Richard J. Bernstein and the Pragmatist Turn in Contemporary Philosophy. Palgrave-Macmillan.
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  8. On Three Levels of Abstractness in Peirce’s Beta Graphs.Richard Kenneth Atkins - forthcoming - History and Philosophy of Logic:1-17.
    Peirce’s beta graphs are roughly equivalent to our first-order predicate logic. However, Bellucci and Pietarinen have recently argued that the beta graphs are not well-equipped to handle asymmetric...
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  9. Peirce’s Triadic Logic and Its (Overlooked) Connexive Expansion.Alex Belikov - forthcoming - Logic and Logical Philosophy:1.
    In this paper, we present two variants of Peirce’s Triadic Logic within a language containing only conjunction, disjunction, and negation. The peculiarity of our systems is that conjunction and disjunction are interpreted by means of Peirce’s mysterious binary operations Ψ and Φ from his ‘Logical Notebook’. We show that semantic conditions that can be extracted from the definitions of Ψ and Φ agree (in some sense) with the traditional view on the semantic conditions of conjunction and disjunction. Thus, we support (...)
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  10. “The Application of the ‘Pragmatic Maxim’ in Jewish Tradition: The Case of R. Ḥayyim Hirschensohn”.Nadav S. Berman - forthcoming - Journal of Religion.
    This article argues that certain interpretive trajectories within Jewish tradition – both halakhic (nomos) and aggadic (narrative) – can be illuminated vis-a-vis classical American pragmatism (CAP). Contrary to a prevalent belief, Peirce, James, and Dewey were neither anti-metaphysical nor anti-traditional. They contended, in different ways, that the ‘pragmatic maxim’ (PM) – “truth is what works” in James’s phrasing – is not a narrowly instrumentalist truth test. The PM rather implies that ideas and beliefs (philosophical and religious alike) should be examined (...)
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  11. What’s in a Face? Making Sense of Tangible Information Systems in Terms of Peircean Semiotics.Paul Beynon-Davies - forthcoming - European Journal of Information Systems.
    Within this paper, we utilise a delimited area of philosophy to help make sense of a delimited area of design science as it pertains to a class of contemporary information systems. The philosophy is taken from that of Charles Sanders Peirce; the design science is directed at the construction of visual devices in that area known as visual management. The utilisation of such devices within their wider visual management systems we take to be instances of what we refer to as (...)
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  12. Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Members January 23, 2008 Laguna Hills Community Center.Nancy Bruce, DeeDee Gollwitzer, Gerald Zettel, Gary Steinberg & Karen Boepple - forthcoming - Laguna.
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  13. Charles Sanders Peirce: 10. Mind and Semeiotic.Robert W. Burch - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University. Available At: Http://Plato. Stanford. Edu/Entries/Peirce/# Mind.
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  14. The Structure of C. S. Peirce's Neglected Argument for the Reality of God: A Critical Assessment.ClantonJ Caleb - forthcoming - .
    Despite the attention it has received in recent years, C. S. Peirce's so-called neglected argument for God's reality remains somewhat obscure. The aim of this essay is to clarify the basic structure of Peirce's three-part argument and to show how it falls prey to several objections. I argue that his overall argument is ultimately unsuccessful in demonstrating the reality of God, even if it provides some degree of warrant for the belief in God's reality to those who are uncontrollably drawn (...)
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  15. A Pragmatic-Semiotic Defence of Bivalence.Marc Champagne - forthcoming - History and Philosophy of Logic:1-15.
    Since Peirce defined the first operators for three-valued logic, it is usually assumed that he rejected the principle of bivalence. However, I argue that, because bivalence is a principle, the stra...
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  16. Session of the Charles S. Peirce Society.S. Charles - forthcoming - Semiotics.
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  17. PEIRCE, LE LANGAGE ET L'ACTION: Sur la Théorie Peircienne de L'Assertion.Christiane Chauviré - forthcoming - Les Etudes Philosophiques.
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  18. A: Gerard de Nerval: Oeuvres-In.Carlo-ree Cordié - forthcoming - Paideia.
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  19. Peirce and Aesthetic Education.Julianaacosta López de Mesa - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy of Education.
  20. Review of Cheryl Misak's 'The American Pragmatists'. [REVIEW]Jeremy Dunham - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
  21. Topology of Modal Propositions Depicted by Peirce’s Gamma Graphs: Line, Square, Cube, and Four-Dimensional Polyhedron.Jorge Alejandro Flórez - forthcoming - Logic and Logical Philosophy:1-14.
    This paper presents the topological arrangements in four geometrical figures of modal propositions and their derivative relations by means of Peirce's gamma graphs and their rules of transformation. The idea of arraying the gamma graphs in a geometric and symmetrical order comes from Peirce himself who in a manuscript drew two cubes in which he presented the derivative relations of some gamma graphs. Therefore, Peirce's insights of a topological order of gamma graphs are extended here backwards from the cube to (...)
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  22. A Peircean Contribution to the Sensorimotor Account of Perception.R. Fusaroli - forthcoming - Acta Philosophica Fennica.
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  23. A Peircean Contribution to the Contemporary Debate on Perception: The Sensorimotor Theory and Diagrams.Riccardo Fusaroli - forthcoming - Acta Philosophica Fennica.
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  24. Peirce on the Uses of History, Written by Tullio Viola.Serge Grigoriev - forthcoming - Journal of the Philosophy of History:1-4.
  25. On Peirce's Methodology of Logic and Philosophy.Leila Haaparanta - forthcoming - Cognitio: Revista Deffilosofia.
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  26. “Pragmatism’s Family Feud: Peirce, James and the Spirit of 1872”.Jackman Henry - forthcoming - In Robert Talisse & Scott Aikin (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Pragmatism. New York City: Routledge.
    While William James and Charles Sanders Peirce are considered the two fathers of American Pragmatism, Peircian Pragmatism is often being presented as the comparatively ‘objective’ alternative to metaphysical realism, with the Jamesian version being castigated as an overly ‘subjective’ departure from Peirce’s position. However, while James clearly does put more of an emphasis on ‘subjective’ factors than does Peirce, his doing so is often the result of his simply drawing out consequences of the framework that Peirce presented in an 1872 (...)
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  27. Nature Semiotics: The Icons of Nature.Y. L. Kergosien - forthcoming - Biosemiotics.
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  28. Semantic Contents and Pragmatic Perspectives: The Social and the Real in Brandom and Peirce.Vitaly Kiryushchenko - forthcoming - Pragmatism Today.
    This paper compares Charles Peirce’s and Robert Brandom’s conceptions of normative objectivity. According to Brandom, discursive norms are instituted by practical attitudes of the members of a community, and yet the objectivity of these norms is not reducible to social consensus. Peirce’s conception of normative objectivity, on the contrary, is rooted in his idea of a community of inquiry, which presupposes a consensus achievable in the long run. The central challenge in both cases is to explain how the norms that (...)
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  29. How To Do Things With Signs: Semiotics in Legal Theory, Practice, and Education.Harold Anthony Lloyd - forthcoming - University of Richmond Law Review.
    Note: This draft was updated on November 10, 2020. Discussing federal statutes, Justice Scalia tells us that “[t]he stark reality is that the only thing that one can say for sure was agreed to by both houses and the president (on signing the bill) is the text of the statute. The rest is legal fiction." How should we take this claim? If we take "text" to mean the printed text, that text without more is just a series of marks. If (...)
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  30. Gerard Deledalle Ur. W Marcq-En-Baroeul 17 Października 1921 R., Zm. W Montpellier 11 Czerwca 2003 R. Gćrard Deledalle Pojawił Się W Społeczności Iass (International Associa-Tion for Semiotic Studies—Association Internationale de Sćmiotique) Sto. [REVIEW]Jerzy Pelc - forthcoming - Studia Semiotyczne.
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  31. Charles Sanders Peirce, OEuvres I: Pragmatisme et pragmaticisme.R. Pouivet - forthcoming - Revue Internationale de Philosophie.
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  32. Democratic Freedom as an Aesthetic Achievement: Peirce, Schiller and Cavell on Aesthetic Experience, Play and Democratic Freedom.Michael Räber - forthcoming - Philosophy and Social Criticism:019145372110668.
    Philosophy & Social Criticism, Ahead of Print. In this essay, I reconsider the constitution of democratic freedom in aesthetic terms. My interest is in articulating a conception of aesthetic freedom that can be mapped onto a conception of democratic freedom. For this purpose, I bring together Charles Sanders Peirce’s ontology, which comprises fragments of an aesthetic theory, Friedrich Schiller’s concept of aesthetic play and Stanley Cavell’s democratic perfectionism. By providing a philosophical framework for constructing an aesthetics and politics that supports (...)
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  33. Democratic Freedom as an Aesthetic Achievement: Peirce, Schiller and Cavell on Aesthetic Experience, Play and Democratic Freedom.Michael Räber - forthcoming - Sage Publications Ltd: Philosophy and Social Criticism.
    Philosophy & Social Criticism, Ahead of Print. In this essay, I reconsider the constitution of democratic freedom in aesthetic terms. My interest is in articulating a conception of aesthetic freedom that can be mapped onto a conception of democratic freedom. For this purpose, I bring together Charles Sanders Peirce’s ontology, which comprises fragments of an aesthetic theory, Friedrich Schiller’s concept of aesthetic play and Stanley Cavell’s democratic perfectionism. By providing a philosophical framework for constructing an aesthetics and politics that supports (...)
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  34. Democratic Freedom as an Aesthetic Achievement: Peirce, Schiller and Cavell on Aesthetic Experience, Play and Democratic Freedom.Michael Räber - forthcoming - Philosophy and Social Criticism.
    Philosophy & Social Criticism, Ahead of Print. In this essay, I reconsider the constitution of democratic freedom in aesthetic terms. My interest is in articulating a conception of aesthetic freedom that can be mapped onto a conception of democratic freedom. For this purpose, I bring together Charles Sanders Peirce’s ontology, which comprises fragments of an aesthetic theory, Friedrich Schiller’s concept of aesthetic play and Stanley Cavell’s democratic perfectionism. By providing a philosophical framework for constructing an aesthetics and politics that supports (...)
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  35. Democratic Freedom as an Aesthetic Achievement: Peirce, Schiller and Cavell on Aesthetic Experience, Play and Democratic Freedom.Michael Räber - forthcoming - Sage Journals: Philosophy and Social Criticism.
    Philosophy & Social Criticism, Ahead of Print. In this essay, I reconsider the constitution of democratic freedom in aesthetic terms. My interest is in articulating a conception of aesthetic freedom that can be mapped onto a conception of democratic freedom. For this purpose, I bring together Charles Sanders Peirce’s ontology, which comprises fragments of an aesthetic theory, Friedrich Schiller’s concept of aesthetic play and Stanley Cavell’s democratic perfectionism. By providing a philosophical framework for constructing an aesthetics and politics that supports (...)
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  36. Peircean Realism: A Primer.Bridget Ritz - forthcoming - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour.
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  37. Metaphysical Fundamentality as a Fundamental Problem for CS Peirce and Zhu Xi.James Dominic Rooney - forthcoming - Philosophy East and West.
    While the American pragmatist CS Peirce and the twelfth-century Confucian thinker Zhu Xi (朱熹) lived and worked in radically different contexts, there are nevertheless striking parallels in their view of knowledge and inquiry. Both reject the strict separation of theoretical and practical knowledge, conceiving of theoretical inquiry in a way that closely parallels practical reasoning, and they appeal to the fundamental nature of reality in order to draw conclusions about the way in which inquiry can be a component of the (...)
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  38. Vi. Deconstructive Interpretations of Semiosis.Deconstructive Interpretations Of Semiosis - forthcoming - Semiotics.
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  39. Peirce's Logic.Sun-Joo Shin - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  40. Peirce, Pedigree, Probability.Rush T. Stewart & Tom F. Sterkenburg - forthcoming - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society.
    An aspect of Peirce’s thought that may still be underappreciated is his resistance to what Levi calls _pedigree epistemology_, to the idea that a central focus in epistemology should be the justification of current beliefs. Somewhat more widely appreciated is his rejection of the subjective view of probability. We argue that Peirce’s criticisms of subjectivism, to the extent they grant such a conception of probability is viable at all, revert back to pedigree epistemology. A thoroughgoing rejection of pedigree in the (...)
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  41. The Peirce Quote Book.Torkild Thellefsen & Bent Sorensen (eds.) - forthcoming - De Gruyter Mouton.
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  42. Varieties of Semiosis.T. Von Uexküll - forthcoming - Biosemiotics: The Semiotic Web.
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  43. Minutes of the Meeting of the Academic Council of Duke University on 21 April, 1988.Richard L. Watson - forthcoming - Minerva.
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  44. Corrections to: Natural Deduction for the Sheffer Stroke and Peirce’s Arrow.Richard Zach - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-1.
    A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10992-022-09665-5.
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  45. Charles S. Peirce and Religion: Biographic Elements and Main Writings.Sara Barrena - 2022 - Human Review. International Humanities Review / Revista Internacional de Humanidades 11 (1):1-10.
    Peirce's relationship with religion, both in his personal life and in his thought, was deeper than has been considered so far. The question of God was for him more important than it might seem at first glance. His writings contain numerous references to religious issues, closely linked to his most important notions of philosophy and science. In this article, the most important biographical data to understand Peirce's relationship with religion are provided; his main notions about God are also examined and, (...)
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  46. Pragmatism’s Evolution: Organism and Environment in American Philosophy: By Trevor Pearce, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2020, 384 Pp., $35.00 (Paperback), ISBN 9780226719917. [REVIEW]Brandon Beasley - 2022 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 30 (1):105-108.
    Trevor Pearce has done something remarkable and all too rare: written a book at the intersection of philosophy, science, and history that is equally excellent in all three respects.
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  47. Reflections on the Present of Peirce.Teresa Aizpún Bobadilla - 2022 - Human Review. International Humanities Review / Revista Internacional de Humanidades 11 (1):59-70.
    Science is for Peirce a social activity. In which way can we justify this sentence from our current perspective and what implications does it have?
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  48. Pragmatist Philosophy and Dance: Interdisciplinary Dance Research in the American South by Eric Mullis.Aili Bresnahan - 2022 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 57 (3):402-405.
    Eric Mullis' Pragmatist Philosophy and Dance is a thoroughly multi-disciplinary and transdisciplinary book that is centered on and deeply engaged in the experimental and lived experience of Pentecostal dance in the American and Appalachian South. The focal point for Mullis' research is not observation and critique of dance as embodied religious practice from a critical distance but from the inside, embedding his own person and body into the environment with all the resources of the unifying self that he has at (...)
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  49. La Comunidad Abierta de Peirce a la Luz Del Sentimentalismo y Las Ciencias Normativas.Jorge Alejandro Flórez & Juliana Acosta López de Mesa - 2022 - Estudios de Filosofía 65:177-192.
    Peirce’s idea of an unlimited community has been usually analyzed from its role in science and the normative ideal of truth. However, it is essential to understand the role of the community of inquiry in light of the other normative sciences, aesthetics and ethics, since according to Peirce, any endeavor to know that is not guided by the esthetical ideal of admirable per se should not be considered as proper science, but as a power tool to benefit some elite. This (...)
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  50. A Generic Figures Reconstruction of Peirce’s Existential Graphs.Rocco Gangle, Gianluca Caterina & Fernando Tohme - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (2):623-656.
    We present a category-theoretical analysis, based on the concept of generic figures, of a diagrammatic system for propositional logic ). The straightforward construction of a presheaf category \ of cuts-only Existential Graphs provides a basis for the further construction of the category \ which introduces variables in a reconstructedly generic, or label-free, mode. Morphisms in these categories represent syntactical embeddings or, equivalently but dually, extensions. Through the example of Peirce’s system, it is shown how the generic figures approach facilitates the (...)
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