SAAP Annual Meeting 2014

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Peirce on the relationship between life and theory: the ideas of social reality and scientific truth in early pragmatism

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As Peirce’s diary suggests, from very early on Peirce had a certain “theory”, which to a great extent structured the inner mechanics of his life decisions. Peirce seemed to believe both theoretical and life interests to be dependent on the same architectonic principle which is constituted by their indiscernibility points, habita that control thought and action simultaneously. This paper is aimed to show how Peirce’s early thoughts on the relationship between life and theory influenced his pragmatism. The principle argument of the paper is that, instead of suggesting this or that ready-made abstraction characterizing Peirce’s personality, we need to pay attention to a set of theories that had been influencing Peirce since his earliest period. As an example of the interaction between theory and life I will consider Peirce’s relations with his father and his views on the nature of mathematics and statistical methods.


Vitaly Kiryushchenko    
Higher chool of Economics (St. Petersburg, Russia); York University (Toronto, Canada)


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