SAAP Annual Meeting 2014

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Peirce, Grounding, Regress & Circularity

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This paper is a contribution to the long-standing debate over the coherence of Peirce’s overall system of philosophy. It approaches that issue through the lens of a contemporary debate over the notion of metaphysical grounding. The central question concerns how we can take seriously what we shall call Peirce’s Rule - that nothing can be admitted to be absolutely inexplicable - without being vulnerable to a vicious regress or equally vicious circularity. It argues that in Peirce’s early work he offers a quietist conception of grounding that provides a persuasive and ground-breaking answer to this central question. It then argues that in Peirce’s later work we find a metaphysical conception of grounding that fails to answer that question, and is thus inconsistent with his earlier work.


Andrew Howat    
California State University, Fullerton
United States


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