Charles Peirce

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In existographies, Charles Peirce (117-41 BE) (1838-1914 ACM) (IQ:150|#896) (RGM:591|1,350+) (Becker 139:51|6L) (Stokes 100:60) (Listal 100:35) (GAG:#)[1] (CR:16) (LH:#) (TL:#), pronounced: ‘purse’ (Everett, 2019), was an American chance-based philosopher and logician, "American Aristotle" (Whitehead, c.1930)[2], characterized an noted for []



In 1868, Peirce, in a number of articles, supposedly, launched a systematic attack on the basic tenets of positivism.[3]

Chance | Tychism

In 1891, Peirce began to position an explicit and overt chance-based philosophy; the following year, he coined the term “tychism”[4] to define this ideology or belief:

“In an article published in The Monist for January, 1891, I endeavored to show what ideas ought to form the warp of a system of philosophy, and particularly emphasized that of absolute chance. In the number of April, 1892, I argued further in favor of that way of thinking, which it will be convenient to christen tychism (from tyché, chance). A serious student of philosophy will be in no haste to accept or reject this doctrine; but he will see in it one of the chief attitudes which speculative thought may take, feeling that it is not for an individual, nor for an age, to pronounce upon a fundamental question of philosophy. That is a task for a whole era to work out. I have begun by showing that tychism must give birth to an evolutionary cosmology, in which all the regularities of nature and of mind are regarded as products of growth, and to a Schelling-fashioned idealism which holds matter to be mere specialized and partially deadened mind.”
— Charles Pierce (1892), “The Law of Mind” [5]

This, of course, is the polar opposite of anti-chance philosophy.


Peirce was deeply religious and an unwavering Christian throughout his days. His philosophical development was a closeted attempts to argue for the “reality of god” via some type of linguistic pragmatism (Ward, 2018).

“I desperately desire to get my logic published so I may hear all ‘those wonderful words’ [Matthew 25:21: well done, good and faithful servant’ you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master] that will  be better by far than any kind of heaven I have heard of.”
— Charles Peirce (1908), “Letter to Lady Welby” [6]

In his 1893 Monist essay “Evolutionary Love”, he wrote that agapistic evolution demands a “personal creator”. Peirce’s underlying scheme was the view that signs of faith are present in the progress of science, logic, and philosophy, or something to this effect. This obedience to belief in god, can be seen in his anti-positivism and pro-chance ideologies, discussed below.



Peirce has been classified, by David Skrbina (2005), as a noted western panpsychist philosopher, along with: Friedrich Schelling, William Clifford, Gustav Fechner, Paul Carus, Empedocles, Epicurus, William Gilbert, William James, Gottfried Leibniz, Carl von Nageli, Josiah Royce (mentor to John Boodin), and the Stoics, each of whom were read and cited by Peirce.[7]


Peirce influenced: influenced John Boodin, Charles Hansen, and Matthew Segall.


Quotes | On

The following are quotes on Peirce:

“Peirce’s fame will shine like that of Leibniz or Aristotle into all the thousands of years to come.”
— Ernst Schroder (c.1895), Publication [8]
“Who is the most original and the most versatile intellect that the Americas have so far produced? The answer ‘Charles Peirce’ is uncontested, because any second would be so far behind as not to be worth nominating. Mathematician, astronomer, chemist, geodesist, surveyor, cartographer, metrologist, spectroscopist, engineer, inventor; psychologist, philologist, lexicographer, historian of science, mathematical economist, lifelong student of medicine; book reviewer, dramatist, actor, short-story writer; phenomenologist, semiotician, logician, rhetorician [and] metaphysician.”
— Max Fisch (1981), Publication [8]
“Peirce and Emerson have been deemed, I believe correctly, our ‘American Aristotle’ and our ‘American Plato’, respectively.”
— Nicholas Guardiano (2017), Aesthetic Transcendentalism (pg. xxi)

Quotes | By

The following are quotes by Peirce:

“It is a common observation that a science first begins to be ‘exact’ when it is quantitatively treated. What are called the exact sciences are no others than the mathematical ones.”
— Charles Peirce (1878), On the Doctrine of Chances [9]
“The discovery of the law of conservation or persistence of energy is the greatest that science has ever made, and nothing that can be discovered hereafter (unless it be of a supernatural kind) can equal it in importance.”
— Charles Peirce (c.1885), Writings (Ѻ)(Ѻ)
“The undertaking to which this volume inaugurates is to make a philosophy like that of Aristotle, that is to say, to outline a theory so comprehensive that, for a long time to come, the entire work of human reason, in philosophy of every school and kind, in mathematics, in psychology, in physical science, in history, in sociology and in whatever other department there may be, shall appear as the filling up of its details.”
— Charles Peirce (1886), “A Guess at the Riddle” (Ѻ)
“I have read and thought more about Aristotle than any other man.”
— Charles Peirce (1894), “My Reading in Philosophy” (Ѻ)
“Three elements are active in the world, first: chance, second: law, and third: habit making.”
— Charles Peirce (c.1890), “Article” (Ѻ)
“Every plank of science’s advance is first laid by the spontaneous conjectures of instinctive reason.”
— Charles Peirce (c.1890), Publication; cited by Henry Swan (1974) in Thermoregulation and Bioenergetics (pg. ix)

End matter


  1. American genius – Hmolpedia 2020.
  2. Whitehead, Alfred. (c.1930). "Letter to Charles Hartshorne", Publisher.
  3. Brown, Richard H. (1977). A Poetic for Sociology: Toward a Logic of Discovery for the Human Sciences (pg. 27). University of Chicago Press, 1989.
  4. Tychism – Wikipedia.
  5. Pierce, Charles. (1892). “The Law of Mind” (Ѻ), The Monist, 2(4):533-59.
  6. Ward, Roger. (2018). Peirce and Religion: Knowledge, Transformation, and the Reality of God (pg. xiii). Rowman.
  7. (a) Skrbina, David. (2005). Panpsychism in the West (thermodynamics, pgs. 13, 151; panpsychist philosophers, pg. 155). MIT Press. (b) Skrbina, David. (2017). Panpsychism in the West: Revised Edition (Carus, 4+ pgs; read by Peirce, pg. 190). MIT Press.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Everett, Daniel. (2019). “The American Aristotle: Charles Sanders Peirce was a brilliant philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. His polymathic work should be better known” (Ѻ),, Aug 15.
  9. (a) Peirce, Charles S. (1878). On the Doctrine of Chances, with Later Reflections (pg. 61). Publisher.
    (b) Bynum, W.F. and Porter, Roy. (2005). Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations (pgs. 488-89). Oxford University Press.

External links

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