On Peirce’s Early Realism

It is well known that C. S. Peirce eventually accepted an "extreme scholastic realism" about "generals" and "vagues." But it has been a subject of debate among Peirce scholars whether he was a nominalist early on. In particular, it remains unsettled whether Peirce's earliest position regarding generals was one of antirealism or whether he was a realist about generals from the very beginning. In this essay I argue that despite first appearances, the textual evidence does not support the claim that Peirce moved from a position of antirealism to one of realism about generals. His earliest statements on the subject are compatible with a moderate, nonmodal realism about generality.
Keywords Peirce  realism  vagueness  generality
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