“I have six times published my views [about the three kinds of inferences], in 1867, 1869, 1878, 1883, 1892, and 1902. The last of these publications, compared with my present brief abstract, shows that my last week of years has by no means been an idle one.”
The Peirce Project staff occasionally produces documents, articles, and presentations that reflect on various aspects of our work, report on its progress, extoll its virtues, explain its challenges, discuss its methods and the logic or philosophy that sustain them, ask the scholarship prodding questions, share answers received, draw attention to intriguing oddities in Peirce’s writings, or announce noteworthy events or accomplishments. This area of our website is intended to make them available as occasion allows.
The menu on the left will grow over time. At the moment it consists of a few items:
A presentation of the Peirce Project-sponsored series at Indiana University Press (“Selections of the Writings of Charles S. Peirce”) and of its inaugural book, Matthew Moore’s edition of Peirce’s selected writings in the Philosophy of Mathematics—other books are in the works and will be announced when they are on the verge of publication.
A slide show titled “1914–2014: One Hundred Years of Editing and Publishing Peirce,” prepared for and presented at the 2014 Peirce Centennial Congress in Lowell, MA.
A section called “Archives,” currently holding a unique document related to Peirce’s afterlife.
A place where past Peirce Project newsletters are made available. We do not plan to resume production of a newsletter for lack of time and resources. The present website will compensate for it in dynamic ways that will be implemented in 2016.
A place for what used to be a significant section of the newsletters, “Book Notices.” Books and dissertations sent to us by the Peirce scholarship will be noticed in that section, in addition to the archive of past notices. Works received are added to the Max Fisch Library of the Institute for American Thought, and are made available for consultation and reading to all library users, especially the many visiting national and international scholars.
“If the concept of publication is understood to include printed items in books and periodicals, public lectures for which written versions may or may not exist, privately printed and circulated brochures and monographs, and papers read before learned societies (with later printed versions or not, with surviving manuscript versions or not)—then a quick survey of Part One of this bibliography will suffice to establish the fact that Peirce published an ENORMOUS amount of material during his lifetime.”
A joint initiative of Indiana University Press and the Peirce Edition Project, “Selections from the Writings of Charles S. Peirce” is an IUP series of PEP-sponsored books that seek to complement the critical edition’s efforts in publishing Peirce. Scholars seeking to put together and publish untranslated collections of Peirce’s texts (published or unpublished, whole or excerpted) united by a general topic of inquiry of long-term interest to a wide educated readership would do well to contact the Project and inform us of their project, inquire about its viability, and ask about the possibility of publication in the IUP/PEP series.
The first (and still only) book in that series is titled Philosophy of Mathematics: Selected Writings (xli + 290 pages), by Charles S. Peirce, and edited by Professor Matthew E. Moore (Brooklyn College), well known for his interest in Peirce’s philosophy of mathematics, and especially Peirce’s interactions with Cantor’s works on continuity. This book took many years of careful preparation and deep thinking. The result is truly impressive and should attract considerable attention. It is conceived in the same spirit as the two volumes of The Essential Peirce, to which it constitutes a worthy companion. It begins with a substantial and engaging introduction that discusses both the role mathematics plays in Peirce’s philosophy, and the many lessons Peirce can still teach us today, philosophers and mathematicians alike, through his own approaches, methods, and perspectives, all of which are anchored in an epistemic and metaphysical system that is far from having fallen into obsolescence.
The book continues with twenty-nine selections organized chronologically within six rough groupings (rough because Peirce’s texts escape monocategorization). The majority of selections are excerpts from longer documents, and their lengths vary from very short to not very long. In selections 1–4, Peirce discusses the nature of mathematics as a science and its place in human knowledge, including the classification of sciences; selections 5–10 treat of mathematical ontology and epistemology, including the role of diagrams; selections 11–13 treat of the methods and objects of set (collection) theory; selections 14–15 of arithmetic (its analytical but also experiential nature, and the semiotics of it); selections 16–17 of geometry (topology, and the metaphysics of its entia); and finally selections 18–29—more than a third of the Peirce text—are devoted to all things synechistic: multiangled discussions of continuity, infinites, and infinitesimals make the latter part of the volume a convenient gathering of essential pronouncements from a philosopher who held synechism to be the key to every fundamental hypothesis. Important to mention with much praise is that Moore has prefaced each selection with generous introductory comments that testify to his ingrained helpfulness: all usefully illuminate the selections they introduce, summarizing them, explaining unusual terms, or mapping the texts’ sometimes intricate structure. Thirty-five pages of well-researched notes to the text follow the selections and precede a serviceable bibliography and an index.
We heartily congratulate Matthew Moore on this signal accomplishment and momentous service to Peirce studies. Philosophy of Mathematics is available in both paperback ($29.95 at Indiana University Press) and hardcover ($80.00).
From the back cover:
The philosophy of mathematics plays a vital role in the mature philosophy of Charles S. Peirce. Peirce received rigorous mathematical training from his father and his philosophy carries on in decidedly mathematical and symbolic veins. For Peirce, math was a philosophical tool and many of his most productive ideas rest firmly on the foundation of mathematical principles. This volume collects Peirce’s most important writings on the subject, many appearing in print for the first time. Peirce’s determination to understand matter, the cosmos, and “the grand design” of the universe remain relevant for contemporary students of science, technology, and symbolic logic.
Matthew E. Moore is Professor of Philosophy and Associate Provost for Faculty and Administration at Brooklyn College. He is the editor of New Essays on Peirce’s Mathematical Philosophy.
These slides accompanied a presentation delivered by André de Tienne on the now over 100-year-long effort to organize and edit Peirce’s manuscripts.
Edward C. Moore and Arthur W. Burks published an article titled “Three Notes on the Editing of the Works of Charles S. Peirce” in the winter 1992 issue of the Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society (pp. 83–106). The first paragraph opened in this way:
“One of the most remarkable features of the Charles S. Peirce Sesquicentennial International Congress held at Harvard University on September 5–10, 1989, was the presence of so many persons who had served, in one way or another, as editors or compilers of the manuscripts of Charles Peirce—persons to whom, it might almost be said, the congress owed its very being. For had Peirce’s papers not been made available through the efforts of editors, the authors of the papers presented at the Congress might never have had access to Peirce’s thought.”
Ed Moore listed twelve editors who were present at Harvard, eight of whom are no longer alive: Charles Hartshorne, Max Fisch, Arthur Burks, Carolyn Eisele, Edward Moore himself, Richard Robin, Christian Kloesel, and Joseph Ransdell.
The slide presentation accessible above pays homage to them as well as to their own many predecessors. For Ed Moore got it exactly right: the 2014 Peirce International Centennial Congress also owed its very being to even more editors or compilers of the manuscripts of Charles Peirce. Indeed we are now a quarter century later, and over the last 25 years the editorial landscape has considerably evolved, bringing with them the same old but also brand-new challenges, already tapped but also many untapped possibilities, the whole set of which was, in their growing complexity, hardly imaginable when the critical edition started back in 1976. Technologies have been evolving over the last decades faster than they ever did in human history, bringing with them steep learning curves, cycles of rapid obsolescence combined with the reinvention or re-adaptation of editorial methods and practices, in a spiraling swirl of ever-revised encoding standards, scholarly expectations, and dissemination schemes.
Some of those challenges are addressed elsewhere on this website. The principal aim of this presentation is first and foremost to express our collective gratitude to all those who gave years and decades of their lives to sorting out Peirce’s papers and attempting to edit and publish them for the sake of preserving and sharing the legacy of a genuine giant in the history of human thinking. The slide show begins at a point in time when the entire editorial history began, one century ago, in July 1914, when Juliette Peirce, grieving the loss of her beloved husband, contacted Josiah Royce (through Joseph Jastrow) and inquired about the possibility of donating the papers and library of Charles Sanders Peirce to Harvard University.
On April 19, 2019, the 105th anniversary of Peirce’s death, members of the Peirce Society gathered in Milford, PA, for a one-day conference. The day began with the solemn inauguration of a new monument in the Milford cemetery, a prominent gravestone designed to bring the old small gravestone to far greater presence. No longer will it be difficult to locate the Peirces’ grave. The most versatile and seminal intellect in US history deserved a better index pointing to the place of his last repose. We may thank the Peirce Society and the Peirce Foundation for having anchored such an index (designed by Céline Poisson).
The day continued with several papers presented by participants at the Hotel Fauchère, and with a visit to Arisbe that was particularly thorough since it included the attic, the basement, and the ruined cellar outside. The day ended with a grand dinner at the hotel’s Delmonico Room, followed by a special and most fitting postprandial entertainment: a seance over the course of which Charles Peirce’s spirit was effectively summoned and asked a series of questions about his current metaphysical condition. The conversation took an unexpected turn, when “Luminous Charles” began teaching an advanced course in post-vital metaphysics.
The transcript of this historical (or post-historical) seance was fortunately recorded with great care. It is made available here in a downloadable PDF. May it spark further discussion regarding a most promising branch of speculative metaphysics.
In this section we publish short descriptive notices of recent books about Peirce or subjects likely to interest our readers. We cannot survey all new publications or prepare critical reviews, so we notice only those books sent by authors and publishers.
When available, we reprint notices supplied with the books (often edited and supplemented with text from prefaces or introductions); otherwise we prepare our own brief announcements. Please note: we notice books only if they are sent as review copies to be deposited in the Project library.
Click the link below to view them.