“In order to study any philosophy with due profit it is necessary to understand it; and, in order to understand it, it is necessary to begin by placing one’s self in the state of mind of the author at the beginning of his speculations and follow out the course of his thoughts.”
In nearly forty years of existence, the Peirce Project has accumulated important resources in American philosophy and culture, including nationally significant collections of correspondence and papers by Max Fisch, Charles Morris, Carolyn Eisele, Arthur Burks; a substantial library on American thought that consolidates several collections, including those that belonged to Fisch, Eisele, Morris, Paul Weiss, Peter Hare, Irving Anellis, and other Peirce scholars; and a vast quantity of material directly relating to the life of Charles S. Peirce. To these collections we have recently added a new major archive, received in July 2015: the papers and library of the late Gérard Deledalle, the French historian of philosophy who introduced both John Dewey (as a full-blown philosopher) and Charles S. Peirce to France, the European continent, and the African continent. The Deledalle papers cast a rich light on the reception of American philosophy, including Peirce’s pragmatism and Peirce’s semiotics, in France and other countries throughout the twentieth century. See the Resources tab for a more detailed description of our holdings.
This combination of resources and scholarly potential has long served as a magnet for scholars and students who are working on Peirce or in areas related to his interests (a broad range of areas including American thought in general as well as semiotics, history and philosophy of science, history and philosophy of logic and mathematics, pragmatism, and more).
The Peirce Project has been noted as an important center in several journals and books, in print or online, and its helpfulness has been recognized in a multitude of thankful acknowledgements in hundreds of papers, books, and dissertations. About 250 scholars from twenty-seven countries have visited the Peirce Project since 1993: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada (including Québec), China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Uruguay. About fifty graduate students known to have worked on or completed Ph.D. dissertations on Peirce over the last three decades have conducted research at the Peirce Project. We have hosted six Fulbright fellows as well for extended stays.
Please consult the menus on the left side to learn more about the Peirce Project as a research center renowned for the generous welcome it has extended and continues to extend to scholars, young or established, who burn with the kind of “desire to learn” that Peirce believed to be “the first and, in one sense the sole, rule of reason” (EP2: 48). Researchers who visit the Project are encouraged to present the results of their inquiry (whether preliminary or advanced) within the special venue known as the Indianapolis Peirce Seminar—a venue where many prodding questions have been asked, and sometimes truly well answered.
“It is easy enough to mention a question the answer to which is not known to me today. But to aver that that answer will not be known tomorrow is somewhat risky; for oftentimes it is precisely the least expected truth which is turned up under the ploughshare of research.”
“Although it is better to be methodical in our investigations, and to consider the Economics of Research, yet there is no positive sin against logic in trying any theory which may come into our heads, so long as it is adopted in such a sense as to permit the investigation to go on unimpeded and undiscouraged."
The Peirce Project is truly a fantastic place to conduct research. Here you will find expertise and resources that will help you answer more readily all sorts of questions regarding every aspect of Peirce’s writings, and of such other leading scholars are Charles W. Morris, Max H. Fisch, Carolyn Eisele, and Gérard Deledalle. All inquirers need to realize the inescapable fact that time flies faster than light when one’s brain gets deeply engrossed in the reading of a manuscript. It is a physical reality that days in our center are shorter than in the outside world. Hence, when planning a visit, and especially seeking funding for it, it is always better to make it as long as can be afforded.
The Project welcomes incidental visitors who happen to come through the city, on the simple condition of sending us an email announcing your planned short visit, explaining its purpose, and inquiring about the appropriate time to drop by if there is no inconvenience or calendar conflict.
Neither the Peirce Project nor the Institute for American Thought can provide any sort of funding or financial assistance to researchers. We are neither budgeted nor endowed to provide such support. All visiting researchers must therefore make sure to have the financial means to travel to and stay in Indianapolis. Our administrative assistants are ready to provide advice about accommodations in the city or on campus.
As far as coming to the Project in order to use our resources and conduct extensive research, we make a distinction between short-term and long-term research visits.
Short-term visits last no more than six weeks. The expectation is that short-term researchers have a clear, definite, and well-targeted research plan. You have a pretty good idea of what documents you want to examine, and have drawn some sort of realistic timetable that will allow you to complete the research within the time you allotted it. Short-term visitors need only send an email to the Project Director briefly introducing yourselves, describing the research purpose, stating the length of your stay and the proposed time of arrival. The Director will consider your request, indicate whether the Center is a good fit for the proposed research, and confirm whether the proposed dates are acceptable (based on calendar and available space).
Long-term visitors (more than six weeks) write instead directly to Professor Marianne Wokeck, the Director of the Institute for American Thought of which the Peirce Project is a unit. Your email should include the following information:
The text of the email should act as a cover letter in which you introduce yourself, outline briefly your research plan, indicate to what extent our resources would be useful for the fulfillment of your research goals, what would be the timeframe of your stay (this is important because we have a number of visitors and need to make sure we have sufficient space), and what funding source will be covering your expenses. If you are applying for a grant, indicate the institution you are applying to and whether you would need a letter of invitation to support that application.
Please attach a complete curriculum vitae.
Please attach a detailed research project delineating the interesting topic you mention, emphasizing the Peirce-related side of your research, with a tentative outline and a timeline spread over the duration of your stay. This will allow us to confirm whether our resources will be a good fit for your scholarly needs.
Please also provide a letter of recommendation from a professor who is familiar with your academic accomplishments. That letter can be emailed directly to Prof. Wokeck by the recommender, but you can also attach it to your email.
Please cc that email to the Project Director as well, noting that he will study your materials before making a recommendation to the IAT Director. If all goes well, we will send you an email of acceptance with a description of our expectations and of further administrative steps (if you need a visa, for instance).
International researchers, please visit the website of IUPUI’s Office of International Affairs to learn more about living in Indianapolis, visas, health insurance, banking, administrative matters, and much else. That very competent and congenial Office happens to be located in the same building as the Peirce Project, on the second floor.
“As modifying what is already known, the average effect of the ordinary research may be said to be insignificant. Nevertheless, as these modifications are not fortuitous but are for the most part movements toward the truth, there is no doubt that from decade to decade, even without any splendid discoveries or great studies, science would advance very perceptibly.”
Dr. Liuhua Zhang is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Eastern China Normal University in Shanghai. He has long conceived himself as a Chinese Peircean, and indeed he wrote his MA thesis on “Peirce’s Philosophy of Logical Notation,” and his PhD dissertation on “The Logic-Facet of Peirce’s Philosophical System.” He has been in active contact with a number of Peirce scholars since 2002.
He published two essays on “Understanding the Great Founders of Notorious Pragmatism” and “The First Pragmatist and His Tragic Life” in influential academic weeklies in China, a review of Cornelis de Waal’s book On Peirce, an article “On the Phenomena of Reasoning” in Charles S. Peirce in His Own Words. He also published in 2012 a revision of his dissertation: The Logic-Facet of Peirce’s Philosophical System: Focusing on His Work in Mathematics, Semiotics, and Pragmatism (Shanghai People’s Publishing House). That impressive work provides an extended presentation of many key concepts and theories central to Peirce’s thought. A member of the International Advisory Board of the Peirce Society, he recently received an Honorable Mention for the paper “A Plea for a Peircean Turn in Justifying Logic” submitted to the 2014-15 Peirce Society Essay Contest.
The recipient of a Chinese Scholarship Council scholarship, Dr. Zhang arrived at the Peirce Project in the middle of March 2015. His research stay will last one full year, and will be facilitated by his appointment as “International Scholar and Visiting Research Associate at the Institute for American Thought” received from the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts. He will spend it conducting an extensive examination of the details of Peirce’s comprehensive theory of reasoning, with the idea of enlarging that study to other pragmatists later on. Beginning such an ambitious research with Peirce was evidently the logical thing to do.
Dr. Lianglin Zhang is Professor and Vice Dean of the School of Foreign Languages, Changshu Institute of Technology, Changshu City (Jiangsu). The recipient of several academic awards, he is a research fellow at the Semiotic Centre of Tianjing Foreign Studies, and executive director of the Chinese Language and Semiotic Association. Professor Zhang published one book on Search for the Meaning-producing Mechanism of Linguistic Signs (Suzhou University Press, 2008) and two dozen articles notably on semiotics, Morris, Carnap, Mead, structuralist literary criticism, information communication, metaphor, arbitrariness, iconicity, and linguistic signs.
Lianglin Zhang arrived at the Project at the end of May 2015 for a one-year stay, and has been appointed “International Scholar and Visiting Research Associate at the Institute for American Thought” by the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts. His major focus bears on the semiotic ideas of Charles S. Peirce and Charles W. Morris.
He will conduct a comparative analysis, working out in detail what Morris took from Peirce’s semiotic theory, what he modified, and how he innovated. He will especially examine the extent to which Morris’s syntactics, semantics, and pragmatics owe legitimately anything to Peirce. He also intends to research theoretical connections between Morris and Charles Kay Ogden, I. A. Richards, Rudolf Carnap, and George Herbert Mead.
If there is any time left, he will also gauge the influence Morris had over later semioticians, including Thomas A. Sebeok, what advantages Morris’s semiotics might have over the Saussurean tradition, and what it could bring to linguistic and literary studies.
“We individually cannot reasonably hope to attain the ultimate philosophy which we pursue; we can only seek it, therefore, for the community of philosophers.”
The alphabetical list of nearly 250 names below is not exhaustive, being based on imperfect guestbook records. Some names are omitted: those that are not legible, and those of non-researchers. A large number of visitors have returned several times across the years, and/or within a same year, to avail themselves of our abundant resources. Professor Charles Seibert—may he be here saluted—has been our most frequent visitor by far. The lengths of visits range from one day to a few days, a week, several weeks, several months, a year, and even two years.
We are grateful to all scholars who have brought us the joy of their presence, shared with us the thrill of their own research, and made us the beneficiaries of their pertinent conclusions. It is a rewarding privilege for us to welcome all of you. We retain very fond memories of your stays, short or long, among us. Your visits confirm and validate the significance, usefulness, and richness of our resources. They also keep reenergizing us, for visitors are a permanent reminder of how much the work we are doing, the labor and daily grind, is worth all the effort we put into it. Many doctoral dissertations, and a few MA theses, were born or furthered in the Peirce Project. Quite a few books, whether of innovative scholarship or of translation, got decisively improved or received a definite impulse toward completion in our premisses.
Please keep in touch with us, let us know how you are doing, and do encourage others to follow the same path that took you to Indianapolis.
“Science does not advance by revolutions, warfare, and cataclysms, but by coöperation, by each researcher's taking advantage of his predecessors' achievements, and by his joining his own work in one continuous piece to that already done.”
The Indianapolis Peirce Seminar was created in the fall of 1999. Professor Helmut Pape gave the inaugural lecture on 14 October 1999, on “The Ontology of Emergent Time: Peirce in 1898”—a fitting celebration of the centennial of Peirce’s evolutionary cosmology, and of its ability to live up to the promise explicitly stated in Peirce’s pragmatism: “to clarify and explain the overall and pervasive features of reality in terms of the relational structures and concepts implicit in all experience” (as Pape put it at the end of that inaugural talk).
The purpose of the seminar is to enable visiting scholars, from budding to well established, to present their work to a specialized audience that has a strong interest in the work of Charles S. Peirce. It meets on an irregular basis (depending on visiting scholars’ readiness and availability) at the offices of the Peirce Edition Project: 902 West New York Street, ES 0010, Indianapolis, IUPUI campus.
To receive advance notice of talks by email please contact the organizer, Professor André De Tienne.
We list below, in reverse chronological order, the 62 presentations that have so far been made in this special venue. There was no presentation in 2014, the year of Peirce’s Centennial.