Measurement and philosophy

Cognitio 9 (1):111-124 (2008)

Peirce earned his keep making measurements, mainly of gravity but also astronomical, and he made several contributions to the science of measurement. It has been said that his experience measuring had philosophical consequences: his adoption of fallibilism, his argument against necessitarianism, and his conception of inquiry as converging on the truth have all been mentioned. But not much attention has been paid to the curious episode of his making “the study of great men” part of a course in logic: students were asked to rank a long list of men by order of greatness. That was at Johns Hopkins in 1883. I shall argue that that study, together with his reflections on pre-instrumental estimates of stars’ brightness, bears directly on the method of phaneroscopy formulated nearly two decades later. In each case, the problem is to show how objectivity is possible under conditions in which it must seem that objectivity is impossible.
Keywords Measurement  Observation  Objectivity  Phaneroscopy  Peirce
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Broadening Peirce's Phaneroscopy: Part One. Atkins - 2012 - The Pluralist 7 (2):1-29.

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