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Thursday, March 26, 2009

All that ism

It could be a parlour game, among some, to list all of Peirce's isms. He, who was quining distinctions before Quine was a gleam in any eyes, and who was careful to leave doors open and anticipate his own future thought, was also "ismatic" to a fault.

The next level is to say where, in his classifications, his isms belong.

So what I have omitted or misplaced? How well do you know Peirce?


  • Phenomenology or Phaneroscopy. Tri-categorialism, trichotomism, triadism.
  • Normative Sciences.
    • Esthetics.
    • Ethics.
    • Logic. Presuppositons of logic: Fallibilism (refusal of absolute certainty).
      • Speculative Grammar, or Philosophical or Universal Grammar, or Stechiology (includes classification of signs).
      • Critic, or Logical Critic, or Logic Proper (includes study of the modes of inference).
      • Anti-intuitionism (that all cognition results from inference, some of which is unconscious). Anti-foundationalism here? And where is "here"? Stechiology? Critic? Methodeutic?
      • Critical common-sensism (Thomas Reid's common-sensism combined with fallibilism). Again, Stechiology? Critic? Methodeutic?
      • Methodeutic, or Philosohical Rhetoric, (the theory of inquiry). Pragmatism, Pragmaticism (that one's conception of a thing consists in one's conception of the thing's conceivable practical consequences). Synechism (importance of it to hypotheses.). Or does synechism come earlier in logic? Or earlier than logic?)
  • Metaphysics.
    • General Metaphysics, or Ontology. Scholastic Realism about generals and about modalities.
    • Religious Metaphysics.
      • On God. Monotheism. Moreover, God is the necessary being, real although not an actually existent individual or reactive.
      • On the soul. Anti-necessitarianism (we are free, though destinies solicit us)
      • On immortality. (The soul persists though perhaps in indefinitely attenuated form)
    • Physical Metaphysics. Objective Idealism (that matter is effete mind, inveterate habits becoming laws). Tychism (that chance is real). Anancism (that mechanical necessity is real). Agapism (that creative love is real)
    Peirce opposed:
    Nominalism, Materialism, Idealism Absolute Idealism (thank you for the correction, Joe!), Dualism, Foundationalism, Necessitarianism, and...?

    This is useful to me for the Charles Sanders Peirce article at Wikipedia. Its account of his thoughts is organized along his classifications; so, in order to outline his critical common-sensism, I need to know where it belongs in his classification.

    Any help here would be appreciated.


    Anonymous said...

    I remember an essay by Peirce where he classified various isms, but pretty much dismissed the idea of getting pinned down in any one of them.

    I don't remember where I saw that, though.

    P.S. Typo on "Frithjof".

    Ben Udell said...

    Maybe that was "Seven Systems of Metaphysics." Peirce didn't want to pin things down in ways that bar inquiry, but he clearly did like to take stands, stands which he often characterized by isms. At least sometimes (as in the "Seven Systems") Peirce tended to combine isms into a stable structure in which their oppositions were resolved without dissipating their tensions and component spirits. Or sumpn like that.

    Thanks for the correction on "Frithjof."

    Joe Ransdell said...


    Where you have "idealism" in your list of isms opposed, it should be qualified as "absolute idealism".

    Ben Udell said...

    Thank you for the correction to absolute idealism. Now corrected in the post.