Kant, Boole and Peirce's early metaphysics

Synthese 113 (1):43-70 (1997)
Charles Peirce is often credited for being among the first, perhaps even the first, to develop a scientific metaphysics of indeterminism. After rejecting the received view that Peirce developed his views from Darwin and Maxwell, I argue that Peirce's view results from his synthesis of Immanuel Kant's critical philosophy and George Boole's contributions to formal logic. Specifically, I claim that Kant's conception of the laws of logic as the basis for his architectonic, when combined with Boole's view of probability, yields Peirce's metaphysics of probabilistic laws. Indeterminism provides, therefore, an excellent illustration of how Peirce attempted to use logic to clarify metaphysical problems.Since everyone must have conceptions of things in general, it is most important that they should be carefully constructed. I shall enter into no criticism of the different methods of metaphysical research, but shall merely say that in the opinions of several great thinkers, the only successful mode yet lighted upon is that of adopting our logic as our metaphysics. (W1: 490, 1866)2.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
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DOI 10.1023/A:1005012100305
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