TOPPeirce NEWS at other sitesVia ARISBE:FAQsPapers by PeircePeirce-related PapersSpecial Resources

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What is meant by 'in the mind'? (part 3)

In the third of his 1903 Lowell Lectures, Peirce has the highest praise for Kant (CP 1.522). Yet he includes Kant in his remark that ‘all modern philosophy of every sect has been nominalistic’ (CP 1.19). ‘Kant was a nominalist; although his philosophy would have been rendered compacter, more consistent, and stronger if its author had taken up realism, as he certainly would have done if he had read Scotus’. Of course Peirce himself was a realist, as he went on to explain (CP 1.20):

In a long notice of Frazer's Berkeley, in the North American Review for October, 1871, I declared for realism. I have since very carefully and thoroughly revised my philosophical opinions more than half a dozen times, and have modified them more or less on most topics; but I have never been able to think differently on that question of nominalism and realism.

According to Peirce's Berkeley review, a realist like himself will ‘deny that there is any reality which is absolutely incognizable in itself, so that it cannot be taken into the mind’ (CP 8.13). Thus he would reject the idea of a ‘Kantian thing-in-itself’ (CP 6.108, 1892). Is this where Peirce parted company with Kant? He wrote in 1905 that the ‘Kantist has only to abjure from the bottom of his heart the proposition that a thing-in-itself can, however indirectly, be conceived; and then correct the details of Kant's doctrine accordingly, and he will find himself to have become a Critical Common-sensist’ (CP 5.452).

Yet Peirce appears to take a different perspective on Kant in the 1871 Berkeley review itself (CP 8.15):

what Kant called his Copernican step was precisely the passage from the nominalistic to the realistic view of reality. It was the essence of his philosophy to regard the real object as determined by the mind. That was nothing else than to consider every conception and intuition which enters necessarily into the experience of an object, and which is not transitory and accidental, as having objective validity. In short, it was to regard the reality as the normal product of mental action, and not as the incognizable cause of it.

Is this compatible with Peirce's later remarks about Kant's nominalism and the ‘Kantian thing-in-itself’? We might try to account for the differences by guessing that he changed his mind about Kant after 1871. But in a later lecture from the same 1903 Lowell series quoted above, Peirce returned to the subject of Kant in a fashion very similar to his 1871 remarks. He did so in a passage which he described in advance as ‘so brief that only the most thorough student of philosophy could fully grasp the meaning of it at the single hearing.’ Since it is so brief, i will quote it here in full:

The first thing to be taken into consideration is the general upshot of Kant's Critic of the Pure Reason. The first step of Kant's thought – the first moment of it, if you like that phraseology – is to recognize that all our knowledge is, and forever must be, relative to human experience and to the nature of the human mind. That conception being well digested, the second moment of the reasoning becomes evident, namely, that as soon as it has been shown concerning any conception that it is essentially involved in the very forms of logic or other forms of knowing, from that moment there can no longer be any rational hesitation about fully accepting that conception as valid for the universe of our possible experience. To repeat an example I have given before, you look at an object and say ‘That is red.’ I ask you how you prove that. You tell me you see it. Yes, you see something; but you do not see that it is red; because that it is red is a proposition; and you do not see a proposition. What you see is an image and has no resemblance to a proposition, and there is no logic in saying that your proposition is proved by the image. For a proposition can only be logically based on a premiss and a premiss is a proposition. To this you very properly reply, with Kant's aid, that my objections allege what is perfectly true, but that instead of showing that you have no right to say the thing is red they conclusively prove that you are logically justified in doing so. At this point, the idealist appears before the tribunal of your reason with the suggestion that since these metaphysical conceptions, that repose upon their being involved in the forms of logic, are only valid for experience and since all our knowledge is relative to the human mind, they are not valid for things as they objectively are; and since the conception of existence is preeminently a conception of that description, it is a mere fairy tale to say that outward objects exist, the only objects of possible experience being our own ideas. Hereupon comes the third moment of Kant's thought, which was only made prominent in the second edition, not, as Kant truly says, that it was not already in the book, but that it was an idea in which Kant's mind was so completely immersed that he failed to see the necessity of making an explicit statement of it, until Fichte misinterpreted him. It is really a most luminous and central element of Kant's thought. I may say that it is the very sun round which all the rest revolves. This third moment consists in the flat denial that the metaphysical conceptions do not apply to things in themselves. Kant never said that. What he said is that these conceptions do not apply beyond the limits of possible experience. But we have direct experience of things in themselves. Nothing can be more completely false than that we can experience only our own ideas. That is indeed without exaggeration the very epitome of all falsity. Our knowledge of things in themselves is entirely relative, it is true; but all experience and all knowledge is knowledge of that which is, independently of being represented. Even lies invariably contain this much truth, that they represent themselves to be referring to something whose mode of being is independent of its being represented. This is true even if the proposition relates to an object of representation as such. At the same time, no proposition can relate, or even thoroughly pretend to relate, to any object otherwise than as that object is represented. These things are utterly unintelligible as long as your thoughts are mere dreams. But as soon as you take into account that Secondness that jabs you perpetually in the ribs, you become awake to their truth. Duns Scotus and Kant are the great assertors of this doctrine, for which Thomas Reid deserves some credit too. But Kant failed to work out all the consequences of this third moment of thought and considerable retractions are called for, accordingly, from some of the positions of his Transcendental Dialectic. Nor in other respects must it be supposed that I assent to everything either in Scotus or in Kant. We all commit our blunders.
(CP 6.95)

Perhaps it is my blunder to suggest that the various remarks about Kant quoted above are somehow incompatible. But i confess that i don't quite see how they can all be included in a single consistent view. On the other hand, i can't take very seriously the idea that Peirce changed his mind about Kant's nominalism and then changed it back again. Probably i am missing some nuances of Peirce's logic here, or just don't understand how his realism relates to Kant's nominalism. If so, maybe some intrepid blog reader (nobody else would have got this far!) can straighten it all out for me (and possibly for others too).

Even if that doesn't happen, i think the long quote just above (CP 6.95) is worth several readings, as an elucidation of Peirce's realism. So maybe that's enough to justify this post.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Peirce Pages

In the sidebar you'll find links to a Peirce Blog adjunct The Peirce Pages at . (I would have put "csp3" into the URL but Google Sites demands at least six characters for the folder name. The "mem" is for "memory".) Right now there are just a few things there, and I've been wondering what else I could put or start there in the short term.

Joe gave me an idea with his recent post here when he said, "...this is an excellent definition of "normal" and it should be picked up on for the Commens definitions of Peirce's terminology." If I gather enough such definitions I could start a miniature supplement to the Commens Dictionary of Peirce's Terms with the understanding that the definitions in the "supplement" would not necessarily reflect, as the Commens entries seem to reflect, a thoroughgoing search for definitions of a given word. They would be material for such, that's all.

Umm...does anybody have any other ideas? If so, please post a comment on it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What is meant by 'in the mind'? (part 2)

Ben's post of last Wednesday quotes a key passage from Peirce's 1871 review of a new edition of Berkeley, in which he explained the scholastic debate between realists and nominalists on the reality of universals. According to Peirce, nominalists and realists differ in their concept of reality, and ‘the distinction between these two views of the real – one as the fountain of the current of human thought, the other as the unmoving form to which it is flowing – is what really occasions their disagreement on the question concerning universals’ (EP1:91). For the nominalist, anything real must be external to the mind, and anything internal to the mind can't be also external to it. The realist also believes in an external reality, but not that an object's being internal to the mind necessarily disqualifies it as real. ‘When a thing is in such a relation to the individual mind that that mind cognizes it, it is in the mind; and its being so in the mind will not in the least diminish its external existence.’

In one of his last writings on logic, Peirce returned to the difference between reality and externality. According to the CP editors, this was written for the 1908-9 Monist series ‘Some Amazing Mazes’, but not published at the time. I would recommend reading the whole text beginning at CP 6.318, but that's a bit much for a blog post, so i will jump to CP 6.327-8:

What is meant by calling anything real? I can tell you in what sense I always use the word. According to my use of it, there is a certain resemblance between the Real and the External which renders the discrimination of each from the other important for right reason. Any object whose attributes, i.e. all that may truly be predicated, or asserted, of it, will, and always would, remain exactly what they are, unchanged, though you or I or any man or men should think or should have thought as variously as you please, I term external, in contradistinction to mental. For example, a dream is mental, because it depends upon what passed in the thoughts of the dreamer whether it be true that the dream was of a dog or was of the Round Table of King Arthur or of anything else. On the other hand, the colors of objects of human experience and in particular the contrast between the color of the petals of a Jaqueminot rose and that of the leaves of the bush, although it is relative to the sense of sight, is not mental, in my sense of that word.

[I omit here Peirce's discussion of the ‘difference between a color and a sensation of color’.]

Color, therefore, is a quite remarkably vague quality, as well as being relative to the normal sense of sight. If by ‘normal’ were meant merely the average (or any other kind of mean) of actually occurring instances, say the average sensation of all the inhabitants of the globe on a certain date, then this might have been modified by some disease affecting a large part of the people who happened to be living at the time; and since ‘color’ refers to normal chromatic sense, it would depend upon what passed in the minds of a certain body of men. But, in fact, the ‘normal’ is not the average (or any other kind of mean) of what actually occurs, but of what would, in the long run, occur under certain circumstances. Now what would be, can, it is true, only be learned through observation of what happens to be; but nevertheless no collection of happenings can constitute one trillionth of one per cent of what might be, and would be under supposable conditions; and therefore, though it might conceivably prevent many generations from rightly determining what is normal, it could not affect the true – and ultimately ascertainable (provided there were anybody to ascertain it) – mean and normal; and thus, the result is that no such accident could affect the normal or the true color. So, in general, what I mean by the external might vary with how persons of a given general description would think under supposable circumstances; but it will not vary with how any finite body of individuals have thought, do now think, or will actually think.

So much for what I mean by the external. The main difference between the external, as I use the term, and the real, as I employ that term, seems to be that the question whether anything is external or not is the question of what a word or other symbol or concept (for thinking proper is always conducted in general signs of some sort) is, I say, a question of what a symbol signifies; while the question of whether anything is real or is a figment is the question what a word or other symbol or concept denotes. If the attributes of or possible true assertions about an object could vary according to the way in which you or I or any man or actual body of single men, living at any time or times, might think about that object, then that object is what I call a figment. But if even although its attributes, or what is true of it, should possibly vary according to what some man or men might think, yet if no attribute could vary between being true and being false, according to what any plural of single men could think about that thing, then, and though it were accordingly not external but mental, it would nevertheless be real, since precisely that is what I mean by calling an object real.

This might have some bearing on the question Ben posed in the Addendum to his message: ‘what would be the practical difference between the immediate object and the dynamic object of a TRUE proposition?’ My guess is that there would be no difference at the end of inquiry, but the difference does make a difference in the actual practice of inquiry, because that process can never be known to have reached its end, which is truth itself.

I have another question arising from Peirce's Berkeley review, specifically his comments about Kant's view of reality as Peirce describes it there and in some later writings. But i'd better save that for another post.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


My fellow four-ist (though not always the same fours!), Hyatt Carter, aware of my Peircean proclivities, has alerted me, by an email titled like this post, to an article appearing in the current issue (45.2) of The James Joyce Quarterly:
“The Index Nothing Affirmeth”: The Semiotic Formation of a Literary Mandate in James Joyce’s “The Sisters”

by Murray McArthur

My purpose in this essay is to consider certain aspects of the way James Joyce discovers and deploys the central semiotic resource of literary language, indexicality, to stage in “The Sisters” the—to adapt a Hollywoodism to Giambattista Vico’s writing—precorso of his literary mandate. [….] Specifically, I am interested in that “certain signifying formation” as it manifests itself in the disposition of the index in Joyce’s opening frame. To focus on this disposition, I want to examine closely three scenes: the first from Stephen Hero that represents directly the “certain signifying formation” of the artistic mandate and the second and third from “The Sisters.” In these scenes, the “signifying formation” disposes itself in a triune or trinitarian structure of the sign that C. S. Peirce, an American forty years older than Joyce and completely unknown to him, was defining, in his major contribution to semiotics, as the index. The index, as Peirce so strikingly describes it in the passage cited below, is itself the sign type that compels attention.

In 1903 and 1904, Peirce was beginning the last great revision of and addition to his triadic classification of the sign, starting with his Lowell Institute Lectures in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in October 1903. Peirce divided semiosis or sign-making and sign-interpreting into a firstness or icon or resemblance, a secondness or index or indication, and a thirdness or symbol or arbitrariness [….]
Quibble: (There's always a quibble.) McArthur's version of Peirce's conception of the symbol sounds more like Saussure's than Peirce's but you can't have everything. The symbol is any sign which is "arbitrary" or independent with respect to resemblance or actual connection to its object. It signifies, nevertheless, because of how it will be interpreted, that is to say that it signifies as an interpretive norm or habit (in a system of same) and is not eminently arbitrary or independent with respect either to itself, or to the symbol system in which it participates, or to logical / semiotic / representational relations to its object

Anyway, let me attempt a self-fulfilling prophecy (why should only Joe Ransdell be able to do them?). A Joycean among us desires to look into Murray McArthur's article and report back!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What is meant by 'in the mind'?

(Quote of the Day.)

The realist will hold that the very same objects which are immediately present in our minds in experience really exist just as they are experienced out of the mind; that is, he will maintain a doctrine of immediate perception. He will not, therefore, sunder existence out of the mind and being in the mind as two wholly improportionable modes. When a thing is in such a relation to the individual mind that that mind cognizes it, it is in the mind; and its being so in the mind will not in the least diminish its external existence. For he does not think of the mind as a receptacle, which if a thing is in, it ceases to be out of. To make a distinction between the true conception of a thing and the thing itself is, he will say, only to regard one and the same thing from two different points of view; for the immediate object of thought in a true judgment is the reality.
—Charles S. Peirce, Collected Papers 8.16 (1871), and still timely.

Addendum. Suddenly I was struck by Peirce's use of the phrase "immediate object." By "immediate", Peirce means "immediate to something" in the sense of "in or at something". Peirce came, many years after the above quotation, to use the phrase "immediate object" as a technical term for the object as it is represented by the sign, the object as it is in the sign. (Quotes thanks to the Commens Dictionary of Peirce's Terms.)
"... the requaesitum which we have been seeking is simply that which the sign "stands for," or the idea of that which it is calculated to awaken. [---]
This requaesitum I term the Object of the sign; - the immediate object, if it be the idea which the sign is built upon, the real object, if it be that real thing or circumstance upon which that idea is founded, as on bedrock." ('Pragmatism', EP 2:407, 1907).
"... we have to distinguish the Immediate Object, which is the Object as the Sign itself represents it, and whose Being is thus dependent upon the Representation of it in the Sign, from the Dynamical Object, which is the Reality which by some means contrives to determine the Sign to its Representation." ('Prolegomena to an Apology for Pragmaticism', CP 4.536, 1906)
Peirce came consistently to call the real object the "dynamic object" or "dynamoid object", etc., rather than the "real object", since that object could be altogether fictive, for example Hamlet. Anyway, would Peirce hold that the immediate object and the dynamic object are one and the same when they're the object of a true thought? (For Peirce, a thought is a sign.)

This post's first quotation is from 1871. In 1868, Peirce wrote:
"Every cognition involves something represented, or that of which we are conscious, and some action or passion of the self whereby it becomes represented. The former shall be termed the objective, the latter the subjective, element of the cognition. The cognition itself is an intuition of its objective element, which may therefore be called, also, the immediate object." ('Questions Concerning Certain Faculties Claimed for Man', W 2:204, 1868)
That doesn't seem the quite the same conception as in the quotes from 1906 and 1907 . Yet, what would be the practical difference between the immediate object and the dynamic object of a TRUE proposition?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Charles S. Peirce at the Johns Hopkins, by Christine Ladd-Franklin

The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods

Vol. XIII. No.26: December 21, 1916. Pages 715–723.

Charles S. Peirce at the Johns Hopkins

The keenest pleasure which can offer itself to the university student who is about to grapple with the profoundest thinking that the world has done and is doing is his when he finds himself by chance in the actual presence of one of the creators of the world’s store of thought. This had been the happy lot of the students of the Johns Hopkins University from its opening days. They felt, with reason, that they were assisting at the foundation of an important new development in university life in this country. For the first time the atmosphere of the great European centers of research had been created in America. Departments headed by such men as Sylvester, Gildersleeve, Remsen, Rowland, Martin, a group of scholars all fitted to inspire their students with the ardor of research—this was something new. To this atmosphere the students of those early days, reinforced by enthusiastic young docents fresh from their experience of the then simple and ideal German university life, responded with due appreciation of the lucky days upon which they had fallen. Probably there has never been in this country a center of learning where the conditions were more ideal for producing in its best form the joy of the intellectual life—nor a group of students better fitted to profit by their novel opportunities. To share the life of this ardent body of workers was, they one and all felt, an experience to be remembered.

To this group of students, eager for intellectual adventure, came, in 1880–1881, Charles S. Peirce. His reputation had preceded him, and his hearers were quickly receptive to the inspiration to be had from one more master mind. Sylvester and Peirce both possessed recognized elements of the temperament of genius a thing which adds much to the effectiveness of personal intercourse with a great man but that temperament was exhibited in them in very different forms. Sylvester was as oblivious as Peirce of the presence of his audience (though he did once by chance discover, to his evident amazement, that his most distinguished auditor, Professor Cayley, was fast asleep, his bald head frankly covered with his handkerchief), but he had a boyish enthusiasm which was in full harmony with his fresh English color and his nervous Jewish temperament. He was always brimming over with the importance of his subject-matter, which had usually been produced during the three days’ interval between his lectures, and which was brought forth with the keen joy of the immediate discoverer. Peirce, on the contrary, was of the brooding type. He sat when he addressed his handful of students (who turned out afterwards, however, to be a not unimportant handful) and he had all the air, as has been noted by Professor Jastrow, of the typical philosopher who is engaged, at the moment, in bringing fresh truth by divination out of some inexhaustible well. He got his effect not by anything that could be called an inspiring personality, in the usual sense of the term, but rather by creating the impression that we had before us a profound, original, dispassionate and impassioned seeker of truth. No effort was made to create a connected and not inconsistent whole out of the matter of each lecture. In fact, so devious and unpredictable was his course that he once, to the delight of his students, proposed at the end of his lecture, that we should form (for greater freedom of discussion) a Metaphysical Club, though he had begun the lecture by defining metaphysics to be “the science of unclear thinking.”

Several of Professor Sylvester’s students—understanding that the New Logic which Professor Peirce professed had connections with existing mathematics and that, even if it had not, it was something which, unlike the mechanical logical exercises of the schools, was expected to have a vivifying and clarifying effect upon one’s actual reasoning processes—joined his class in logic, composed otherwise, of course, of students of philosophy. This mixed character of the audience, as is too often the case in lectures on modern logic, made it impossible for the lecturer to adapt his subject-matter with exactness to the needs of either part. Peirce’s lectures did not go very extensively into the details of his mathematical logic (Symbol Logic, I maintain, is the only proper name for it, and I note with pleasure that Dr. Karl Schmidt has adopted this term). His lectures on philosophical logic we should doubtless have followed to much greater advantage if he had recommended to us to read his masterly series of articles on the subject which had already appeared in the Popular Science Monthly in 1878 under the title “Some Illustrations of the Logic of Science.” We should have had from these at first hand a better idea of “how to make our ideas clear” concerning the methods of science as he understood them. But that, in spite of his apparent aloofness and air of irresponsibility, he really had the interests of his hearers deeply at heart will appear from a sympathetic letter which he wrote me some years later, when I came to lecture myself on logic at the Johns Hopkins University:

Milford, Pa.
Thanksgiving Day, 1902
My dear Mrs. Franklin: It gives me joy to learn that you are to lecture on logic at the Johns Hopkins. But, oh, you will not have such a wonderful and charming class as I had, especially the first year. In those days I knew very little about logic, and did not even thoroughly understand upon what logic is based. I was not in possession of the proof that the science of logic must be based on the science of ethics, although I more or less perceived that sound reasoning depends more on sound morals than anything else. I at any rate tried hard to see what I was about, and not to build logic upon anything that must on the contrary be built upon it. In a certain measure I appreciated the precise nature of the utility of logic, and rated it high; but I did not know what I know now. I am finding out every day something new to me in logic. I wish most earnestly that you may succeed in animating your students with the true spirit of science and of logic, and that is the very greatest happiness I could wish for you. Whether you do or not depends chiefly on how much you care to do so. I return Keynes.
Very faithfully,
C. S. Peirce.
P. S. I hope that Schröder's manuscripts will be printed. I would do anything in my power to that end. Can't you find out what is needed?

The following letter, which I have quoted in part, indicates, among other things, the extreme value which Peirce attributed to his form of pragmatism. The important collection of his reprints which he presented to me at this time, I have now deposited in the library of Columbia University. This letter, too, is not so much a personal letter as it is a definitive setting out of some of his views and experiences; if he has left no complete autobiography, it should furnish important material concerning the wonderful intellectual life which he took part in, in Cambridge, during his early years.

My dear Mrs. Franklin: It is most kind of you to think of me and of doing what you propose, and it happens that, just at this time, it would be very serviceable to me. For in a forthcoming number of the Monist, I am to have an article about pragmatism, explaining what I conceive it to be. Although James calls himself a pragmatist, and no doubt he derived his ideas on the subject from me, yet there is a most essential difference between his pragmatism and mine. My point is that the meaning of a concept . . . lies in the manner in which it could conceivably modify purposive action, and in this alone. James, on the contrary, whose natural turn of mind is away from generals, and who is besides so soaked in ultra-sensationalist psychology that like most modern psychologists he has almost lost the power of regarding matters from the logical point of view, in defining pragmatism, speaks of it as referring ideas to experiences, meaning evidently the sensational side of experience, while I regard concepts as affairs of habit or disposition, and of how we should react. Without particularly referring to him, my Monist article (already sent in and accepted) is to explain what my position is; and I desire to follow it up by two others, of which the first shall show how this principle at once affords solutions of a great variety of problems, and shall show what the general color of those solutions is, while the third article shall show what facts and phenomena I appeal to as proving the truth of the pragmatist principle. But it is altogether problematical whether the second and third articles ever appear. It all depends upon whether the readers of the Monist are interested in the first article. Now if you were to write what you propose, it would call attention to the first article, increase the sales of that number of the Monist, and render the acceptance of a second much more likely. I have no fears but that the second should excite of itself sufficient interest to insure the third; but the first, being a definition of an individual opinion, is not calculated to attract new readers.

It is true that I have not received much credit either for pragmatism or any other part of my work. However, as it was not done for the sake of anything of that kind, I have no reason to complain. What I expected to gain when I did it, I have gained. I began on the scale of printing a logical research every month. My motive then was a mixed one. I wanted the statement of my results in print for my own convenience in referring to them, and I thought it would be a gain to civilization to have my entire logical system. But after a very few months, I found that nobody took any notice of my papers, and I lost all interest in their publication, and simply filed away my mss. for my own use.

It must have been about 1857 when I first made the acquaintance of Chauncey Wright, a mind about on the level of J. S. Mill. He was a thorough mathematician of the species that flourished at that time, when dynamics was regarded (in America) as the top of mathematics. He had a most penetrating intellect. There were a lot of superior men in Cambridge at that time. I doubt if they could have been matched in any other society as small that existed at that time anywhere in the world. Wright, whose acquaintance I made at the house of Mrs. Lowell, was at that time a thorough Hamiltonian; but soon after he turned and became a great admirer of Mill. He and I used to have long and very lively and close disputations lasting two or three hours daily for many years. In the sixties I started a little club called the Metaphysical Club. It seldom if ever had more than half a dozen present. Wright was the strongest member and probably I was next. Nicholas St. John Green was a marvelously strong intelligence. Then there were Frank Abbott, William James, and others. It was there that the name and the doctrine of pragmatism saw the light. There was in particular one paper of mine that was much admired and the ms. went around to different members who wished to go over it more closely than they could do in hearing it read. While I was in charge of the Coast Survey office in 1873, I employed some Sundays in putting that piece into a literary form, though without any intention of printing it. But in 1875 or 1876 I met old William Appleton, the publisher, on a steamer, and he offered me a good round price for some articles for the Popular Science Monthly. I patched up the piece I speak of for the first; and it appeared in November, 1877. In the autumn of 1877 I went abroad in order to urge a certain truth upon the Geodetical Association. As I should have to speak in French and conduct a discussion in that language, by way of practise I began and finished on the voyage between Hoboken and Plymouth an article about pragmatism in French. I afterward translated into French my article of November, 1877, and these two appeared in the Revue Philosophique, about Volume VI. I left in the library of the J. H. University a bound volume of my pieces containing these two. I have not a copy of either now. I should say that the word pragmatism does not appear in that article, nor did I insert it in the Century Dictionary or ever use it in print previous to the article in Baldwin’s Dictionary. I translated the steamer article into English and in that dress it appeared in the Popular Science of January, 1878, some time previous to the publication of the original text.

There never was the smallest disloyalty on James’s part. On the contrary, he has dragged in mention of me whenever he could.

In the spring of 1903 I was invited, by the influence of James, Royce, and Münsterberg, to give a course of lectures in Harvard University on Pragmatism. I had intended to print them; but James said he could not understand them himself and could not recommend their being printed. I do not myself think there is any difficulty in understanding them, but all modern psychologists are so soaked with sensationalism that they can not understand anything that does not mean that, and mistranslate into the ideas of Wundt whatever one says about logic. . . . How can I, to whom nothing seems so thoroughly real as generals, and who regard Truth and Justice as literally the most powerful powers in the world, expect to be understood by the thoroughgoing Wundtian? But the curious thing is to see Absolute Idealists tainted with this disease, or men who, like John Dewey, hover between Absolute Idealism and Sensationalism. Royce’s opinions as developed in his “World and Individual” are extremely near to mine. His insistence on the element of purpose in intellectual concepts is essentially the pragmatistic position. . . .

Pragmatism is one of the results of my study of the formal laws of signs, a study guided by mathematics and by the familiar facts of everyday experience and by no other science whatever. It is a maxim of logic from which issues a metaphysics very easily. It solves almost all problems of metaphysics in short metre and it solves them in such a way as never to bar the way of any positive inquiry. It also has the gratifying effect of encouraging the simplest ideas of religion and anthropomorphic conceptions of the Absolute.

I have some of my quarto papers bound up together and I am sending you this volume begging your acceptance of it. I wish I had copies of some of my octavo papers bound up; but I have not. I have some loose copies of some of them which I would have bound for you; but one never knows when a binder is going to send one’s books home. One only knows that he will try to do so in time to get the bill paid before both parties die. So I send such papers as I can find, as they are, along with a few newspapers containing articles on “French Academy,” “Napoleon Bonaparte,” “Great Men of the Nineteenth Century,” etc.

With best regards to Mr. Franklin,

Very faithfully,
C. S. Peirce.

Professor Peirce had a mind of great originality and productiveness; he lacked, no doubt, as do too many geniuses, that keen self-criticism which would have enabled him to distinguish rigidly, in what he produced, between the wheat and the chaff. Much of what he wrote, especially during the later years of his life, was incomprehensible beyond even the privilege of the maker of new philosophies; articles in the Monist which William James has said will be a rich mine for the future student will just as probably remain forever indecipherable by him. Once when I was in search of an article of his which had lately appeared in the Monist, entitled, in Shakespeare’s phrase, “Man’s Glassy Essence,” and could not remember its name, the young librarian who assisted me said, “Oh yes,—you mean the article on ‘Glacial Man’”—a title which would doubtless have served as well as the other. Indeed, many of his contributions to the philosophical dictionary were of the purely cabalistic type. The second part of the article on Symbolic Logic, for instance, was finally, against the urgent advice of Professor Couturat, who had himself contributed the admirable first part, sent to the printer, though it is doubtful if any one will ever be able to read it.¹ But it will never be known what reams of closely written matter were excluded! Professor Peirce had already completed a great part of a book on logic, largely medieval logic, which (save for what came out in the Dictionary) he was never in a position to publish: his future disciples will no doubt see to it that this great work is eventually given to the press. So difficult at the time, however, was the rejection, in the interest of sanity, of such a mass of closely written pages that at last I found it necessary to call in the aid of my husband, who undertook to play the traditionally unpleasant rôle of the candid friend. The ingrained sweetness of Peirce’s character—an essential to the acceptance of irksome criticism—is here brought into evidence; in fact, this bit of correspondence may perhaps be regarded as a model of its type,—no easy type.

¹ The death of Professor Couturat, who was run over by a military autotruck at the beginning of the war, is one of the many irreparable losses of the European war.

[Milford, Pa., Nov., 1900.]
My dear Mrs. Franklin:
I want you kindly to read the enclosed article Exact Logic and show it to your husband whose judgment I have much faith in, if he will be so good as to look at it. I told Prof. Baldwin when I took up this work that I should expect “unlimited swing” in exact logic. Still, I don’t know but it is too much to ask him to print this; and I don’t want to ask what is not right. The purpose of it is to put Exact Logic in its place as a branch of philosophy. It is an extremely careful statement of the small ground it covers. I do not see how I could say less without reducing it to a general statement that would be without force. I am too close to it to get a good mental sight at it. I request you to read it and tell me plainly whether it seems to you and your husband calculated to do the cause of exact logic any good, . . . also whether there are any modifications you can suggest, especially to shorten it. A short vocabulary of terms omitted in Vol. I. of the Dictionary will have to be added. You had better, I should think, follow my example in this respect in your articles, inserting, for instance, . . . I should not wonder, if you look into my Virgo symbol, but you might find it resulted in a valuable rule of elimination.
Very faithfully,
C. S. Peirce.
My dear Mr. Peirce,
. . . I feel bound to say that, according to my notion of such a work—one, to be sure, very commonplace in comparison with that which you entertain—an article in a cooperative dictionary such as this should not be devoted to pioneer work, however eminent the writer of it, but to the exposition of what is either fairly well established and current or, if not, is capable of being so expressed within the necessary limits as to be intelligible to the ordinary properly-equipped reader. Now, the views which you lay down in your article seem to me absolutely to require for their adequately intelligible presentation far more space than you have given to them, and, a fortiori, far more space than the dictionary can spare. . . .
Very faithfully yours,
F. Franklin
Milford, Pa., 1900, Nov.
My dear Franklin: Your letter is at hand. I asked of you a disagreeable thing, and I thank you for having done it so faithfully. Would there were more courage between friends! You give me wholesome counsel, and I shall follow it, notwithstanding the suggestions of the Evil One.
Yours faithfully
C. S. Peirce.

This same advice, might, I have no doubt, have been repeated to advantage under later letters of the alphabet.

If Charles S. Peirce had happened to have a longer period of activity at the Johns Hopkins University—if the years had not been cut off during which he was kept upon the solid ground of intelligible reason by discussions with a constantly growing group of level-minded students,—there is no doubt that his work would have been of more certain value than it can be affirmed to be now; it is probable, for instance, that his grateful pupil, William James, would not have found his generously provided for Lowell lectures too incomprehensible to be printed at the time. At the meetings of the Philosophical Congresse in Göttingen, in 1908, Peirce had two warm defenders of his views, as against the James form of pragmatism, in the Italian philosophers, Calderoni and Vailati. Vailati, a man of most acute intellect, is no longer living; Calderoni would no doubt be able to throw much illumination more perhaps than any other living writer upon the real bearing of the philosophical views of Mr. Peirce.

Christine Ladd-Franklin.
Columbia University.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

In Memoriam Charles S. Peirce, by Francis C. Russell

The Monist     Vol. XXIV.     July 1914     No. 3.     Pages 469–472.

In Memoriam Charles S. Peirce.
(Born 1839, died 1914.)

Concerning genius, its advent discovery and nurture, history informs us that with rare exceptions its worldly case is one of the utmost austerity. On reflection this appears not at all strange. Pro re nata, genius issues as an outlaw. It breaks over and through the accustomed rules and conceptions to the confusion and perplexity of a world otherwise comfortable in conventions regarded by it as settled possessions. Hence it is unwelcome. Hence the futility of all extant provisions in its favor. Had any Nobel foundation been in existence in 1841, would any of its benefits have found its way to Hermann Grassmann? Not in a thousand years. His case is typical of the general case of genius. Neglect and poverty are its portion in life. Then afterwards lapse of time reveals to a stupid, jealous and oftentimes spiteful world that it has conspired for the suffocation of a divine messenger.

In the late sixties the distinguished Prof. Benjamin Peirce of Harvard, lecturing before the Boston “Radical Club” on “The Impossible in Mathematics,” spoke of his son Charles and of his expectations that the latter would develop and fertilize the vistas he had been able only to glimpse. On April 19, 1914, after at least a half century of assiduous probings into the most recondite and the most consequential of all human concerns, in a mountain hut overlooking the serene Delaware, in privation and obscurity, in pain and forsakenness, that son, Charles S. Peirce, left this world and left also a volume of product the eminent value of which will sooner or later be discovered, perhaps only after it has been rediscovered. For his issues have so far anticipated the ordinary scope of even professional intellectual exercise that most of them are still only in manuscript. Publishers want “best sellers.” At least they want sellers that will pay the expenses of publication, and buyers of printing that calls for laborious mental application are scarce. Let me here with the utmost solicitude beg all to whom it falls to handle his books and papers to beware how they venture to cast away any script left by him.

Is this panegyric unwarranted? If so, then why should Professor James in his Varieties of Religious Experience call Mr. Peirce “our great American philosopher”? Why should Professor Schroeder base his great work “Exact Logic” on the prior work of Mr. Peirce? Why should the editors of the great Century Dictionary employ Mr. Peirce to write so many of its logical, mathematical and scientific definitions? Why should the editors of Baldwin’s Dictionary make a similar draft? Why should the editors of the New York Evening Post and of The Nation for years refer their books of serious import to Mr. Peirce for examination and review? Why should Dr. Carus recognize in Mr. Peirce a foeman worthy of his incisive steel on the fundamental problem of necessity?

Of course genius is unconformable. “’T is its nature to.” It is often very hard to get along with. It tries the patience to the limit. It is so immersed in and so saturated with the inspiration of non-conformity that it often neglects to observe what is really and plainly only a merely defensive right on the part of the world of conformity. There ought to prevail a mutual spirit of forgiveness. If much is to be forgiven because of much love why should not much be forgiven to much promising and well directed power?

Mr. Peirce died a faithful man. His earlier studies led him far towards the goal of materialism, but in the course of those studies he was led to the discovery of that touchstone of values, that at first until the conception and word became mangled and aborted out of its true intent and utility he called Pragmatism, the principle that all rational significance of conceptions and of the terms embodying the same lies between the four corners of their conceived consequences in and to actual practice mental and otherwise. Since all logic is only a comparison and criticism of conceptions, this principle affects and effects our whole rational life and conduct. He was thus led to his conception of reality as that which has the natural prerogative of persistence as a possession forever. He perceived that intellectual entities, like, say, the law of gravitation or the ratio of the radius to the circumference of a circle, have just as abiding a persistence as any material entity and hence just as real an obtaining. Hence actual medieval realism, when better introduced and explained, is more pragmatically valuable than any case of nominalism or conceptualism can possibly be. The recognition of ideal realities opens out into the recognition that all existence is grounded in and upon that ideal substance the best names for which are Form, alias Reason, alias Mind, alias Truth, alias the Good, alias Beauty. The perception of Reason immanently in and throughout the universe and identical in nature with human reason solves at once the vexed question of the relation of body and mind, invites the soul to faith and repose and at the same time stimulates the soul to a vivid aspiration after cooperation with the Universal Spirit in accordance with its course of procession.

So lives Charles S. Peirce. The Universal Spirit has him and the world that neglected him will care for him—after many days perhaps, but most assuredly.

Francis C. Russell.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Charles S. Peirce as a Teacher, by Joseph Jastrow

The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods

Vol. XIII. No.26: December 21, 1916. Pages 723–726.

Charles S. Peirce As a Teacher

TO record an impression of Charles S. Peirce as a teacher is a grateful opportunity. A deep conviction of the significance of the problems presented and a mastery of the intellectual processes were his sole and adequate pedagogical equipment. The logical quality was the dominant trait of his thinking; rectitude became a rational virtue. In the deductive field where premises were sharply defined and under control, the orderly development of conclusions was the true function of the well-trained mind, and the mark of the scholar. The “Algebra of Logic” was an expert tool usable only by the expert and extending the scope of the logical grasp. Deeply mathematical, his thinking had not the trace of a scholastic quality; there was no love of the tool for its own sake, but an admiration of its cutting edge as the issue of human care and skill. His interests were comprehensive, though not scattered. In the field of inductive problems the fertility of his resources imparted a breadth to his treatment that brought to the student the constant leadership of a rich mind. His knowledge never gave the impression of a burden, but of strength. His command of the history of science was encyclopedic in the best sense of the word. The hypotheses of the great thinkers of the past were transformed into logical exercises for the present-day student. The great advances of science were due as much (if not more) to an increased hold over the logical instrument as to an enlarged realm of observation. The history of science was a record of man’s growth in logical stature. In dealing with the more fluid and versatile considerations of induction, as in the more rigid and closed systems of deductive reasoning, the skilled focusing of his mind excited admiration. The irrelevant was discarded, the significant composition revealed. The chips fell away and the statue in the block appeared. This sense of masterly analysis accomplished with neatness and dispatch, all seemingly easy, but actually the quality of the highest type of keen thinking remains as the central impression of a lecture by Professor Peirce.

When I came to the Johns Hopkins University in the autumn of 1882, Mr. Peirce’s career was well established. He had inspired a remarkable group of young men, now leaders in intellectual affairs; a group to which is to be added the name of Christine Ladd-Franklin, whose exceptional abilities secured for her exceptional privileges. The “Studies in Logic” by “Members of the Johns Hopkins University” appeared in 1883. The concluding paper which Mr. Peirce contributed to the volume on “A Theory of Probable Inference” exhibits the qualities of his teaching and the charm and lucidity of his language, and remains an admirable example of the construction of his thought and the finish of his art. I refer to it because it reflects the interplay of logical and psychological trends, which he developed as a fertile principle of interpretation. Logic was an emanation of habit; the trend was biological, the product required the schooling of discipline and the inspiration of genius. It was this side of his teaching that gave the humanistic value; out of it grew the insight that made him the father of pragmatism. The doctrine had a distinct pedagogical value; it made the student feel the reality of the discussions by adding a moderate insight to a growing capacity. “In point of fact a syllogism in Barbara virtually takes place when we irritate the foot of a decapitated frog.” After developing the idea, he concludes : “Although these analogies, like all very broad generalizations, may seem very fanciful at first sight, yet the more the reader reflects upon them, the more profoundly true I am confident they will appear. They give a significance to the ancient system of formal logic which no other can at all share.”

My predilections at that formative period were, I must confess, rather negative. My college course had left me with a series of dislikes, not violent, but distinctive. By elimination I enrolled as a student in philosophy. Mr. Peirce’s courses in logic gave me my first real experience of intellectual muscle. Though I promptly took to the laboratory of psychology when that was established by Stanley Hall, it was Peirce who gave me my first training in the handling of a psychological problem, and at the same time stimulated my self-esteem by entrusting me, then fairly innocent of any laboratory habits, with a real bit of research. He borrowed the apparatus for me, which I took to my room, installed at my window, and with which, when conditions of illumination were right, I took the observations. The results were published over our joint names in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. The demonstration that traces of sensory effect too slight to make any registry in consciousness could none the less influence judgment, may itself have been a persistent motive that induced me years later to undertake a book on “The Subconscious.”

As a further illustration of his fertile suggestiveness and use of cooperative stimulus I mention his study of great men. He prepared an elaborate question-sheet regarding the ancestry, qualities of mind and body, mode of work, stages of growth, etc., of the great men of all times. He invited a small group of students to join him in reading the chief biographies of great men and extracting the data that might furnish the entries for the syllabus. We then held conferences for the discussion and tabulation of the results. The project was never completed. A number of years later, I was permitted to formulate two rather simple conclusions, the one relating to “Longevity,” the other to “Precocity.” This was done at a time when such studies were not general, though Galton’s work was known. Such a conclusion as that later associated with Dr. Osier’s misquoted verdict regarding the correlation of early manhood with germinal ideas, was anticipated in this study. Such were his methods.

Mr. Peirce’s personality was affected by a superficial reticence often associated with the scientific temperament. He readily gave the impression of being unsocial, possibly cold, more truly retiring. At bottom the trait was in the nature of a refined shyness, an embarrassment in the presence of the small talk and introductory salutations intruded by convention to start one’s mind. His nature was generously hospitable; he was an intellectual host. In that respect he was eminently fitted to become the leader of a select band of disciples. Under more fortunate circumstances, his academic usefulness might have been vastly extended. For he had the pedagogic gift to an unusual degree, had it by dower of nature, as some men handle a pencil and others the bow of a violin. It may be an inevitable result of the conventional system of education, but it is none the less a sad one, that his type of ability does not flourish readily in an institutionalized atmosphere ; and no university had a more wholesome atmosphere than had Johns Hopkins in those days. The moral, if there be one, is that systems must give way to personalities, if the best talents of the best men are to be available.

The young men in my group who were admitted to his circle found him a most agreeable companion. The terms of equality upon which he met us were not in the way of flattery, for they were too spontaneous and sincere. We were members of his “scientific” fraternity; greetings were brief, and we proceeded to the business that brought us together, in which he and we found more pleasure than in anything else. This type of cooperation and delegation of responsibility came as near to a pedagogical device as any method that he used. One instance of it stands out with embarrassing clearness. To my consternation I was informed by Mr. Peirce that he would be absent at the time of the next lecture in logic, and that he would like me to present the next stage in the development of his topic to the class of graduate students. About half the hour was over, when Mr. Peirce walked in, took his place and insisted upon my concluding the exercise. I know of no more enlightening comment upon the atmosphere of the place and the day than that the procedure was accepted naturally by all concerned except myself.

It should be mentioned that during these years Mr. Peirce was continuing his work in the Geodetic Survey and was thus carrying on a considerable range of scientific work of quite different scope. He came of a family of exact scientific men with academic traditions. It needed no change of manner or interest to set his activities in the professorial direction. By those who knew him in other relations I am confirmed in my impression that he had more pleasure in the academic pursuits. To these he turned when he retired, recognizing in his work as a scholar surveying broadly the field of intellect, the strongest bent of his versatile mind. To those who believe that for the training of the leaders of men, nothing is more inspiring and more helpful than training by example—than the privilege of association in the cooperative spirit with a master mind—the example of Charles S. Peirce will continue to remain a cherished memory. An educational policy that makes it possible to find a place for such men as Peirce in the faculties of the great universities is a worthy ambition for those who control the educational future of America.

Joseph Jastrow.
University of Wisconsin.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


This post is intended as a standing reference about Peirce's middle name "Santiago", linked from the sidebar, and subject to revision and addition. It is an expansion of the footnote which I wrote on "Santiago" in the Wikipedia article "Charles Sanders Peirce" (see the Creative Commons license, which covers the footnote. Update: I expanded that footnote into a Wikipedia article Wikipedia article "Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce". End of update.

The one who did the most to help Peirce in his desperate later times was his old friend William James, who

  • dedicated his book Will to Believe to Peirce in 1897;
  • arranged for Peirce to be paid to give two series of lectures at or near Harvard
  • and, most importantly, each year from 1907 until his death in 1910, wrote to his friends in the Boston intelligentsia, asking that they make a financial contribution to help support Peirce. Peirce reciprocated by designating James's eldest son as his heir should Juliette predecease him. Brent (1998) wrote that the fund continued after James's death.
It has been said that this was also Peirce's motive for adding "Santiago", "Saint James" in Spanish, to his full name. Sources for this claim include William James's wife Alice as quoted by F.C.S Schiller (1927). Others followed with the same idea, including the Collected Papers editors (Charles Hartshorne & Paul Weiss) in CP 6 (1934), Ralph Barton Perry (1935), Peter Skagestad (1981), and Joseph Brent (1998). Skagestad said that it began in 1910, Brent said 1909, but Peirce is mentioned in print as Charles Santiago Peirce in 1890, 1891, and 1892 — some years even before James's Will to Believe dedication, the lecture series, and James's gathering of funds for Peirce. Peirce typically used "Charles Sanders Peirce" in his articles but started using the name "Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce" in Monist articles in 1906.

"Santiago" 1890
In a November 2007 thread at peirce-l, Joseph Ransdell wrote:
Ben asks;

"Where did Peirce use "Santiago" in 1890, and in that decade? I just looked at the following Monists (the ones that are easy for me to check) and the earliest use in those was 1906."

The source probably isn't on-line, but it is in the third volume of Ernst Schroeder's Vorlesungen Ueber die Algebra der Logik (if I've got my "dies" and "ders" right, which I probably don't), where that is given as Peirce's middle name in the bibliography. I think I was the first to notice this, way back when I was still a grad student at Columbia and ran across it while browsing through stuff in the library stacks there. (It was in the original edition of the book.) I passed the info on to Max Fisch at that time but I don't know that Max ever did anything with it. Then I told Ken Ketner about it some years later, when he was writing the first volume of his biography of Peirce.

Note: Joe got the year 1890 right but meant Volume 1, the only volume published in 1890 of Schröder's Vorlesungen über die Algebra der Logik (exakte Logik). In it, below "Peirce, Benjamin (gesprochen: Pörss)", appears "Peirce, Charles S(antiago)", followed by a list of 15 published C. S. Peirce papers in 11 publications, beginning on page 710 in the bibliography; see it at the link. (Meanwhile Volume 3 (they're both online now in 2009) was published in 1905, and refers only to Charles S. Peirce, not Charles Santiago Peirce.) In a comment on the present post (in an earlier version), Joe adds that it was back in 1965 that he passed the information to Fisch. In his 1998 Peirce biography His Glassy Essence, Ketner on page 280 describes the 1890 Schröder reference to "S(antiago)" and mentions Ransdell's bringing it to his attention (thanks on November 8, 2009 to Harold L. Orbach for the Ketner information).

Jaime Nubiola added in email to the same 2007 thread, that "I can confirm also that the first mention in print of the "Santiago" is in the p. 710 of Ernst Schroeder, Vorlessungen ueber die Algebra der Logik (Leipzig: Teubner, 1890)"; also that Andre DeTienne, in a message to peirce-l of 16 May 1995 (from the years lost from the archives) said, that the first apparent "Santiago" signature is on the manuscript of the last of the 1903 Harvard Pragmatism Lectures, MS 316a, dated 15 May 1903. Nubiola added that the reason for Peirce's adoption of "Santiago" remains a mystery. He said: "My latest finding on this issue has been -thanks to Andre de Tienne- the letter of CSP's cousin Mary E. Huntington of January 31, 1909, in which she asks to Peirce: "What is the meaning of the Santiago in your name?". Perhaps Peirce gave some explanation to Mary in his answer, but the letter is not kept."

"Santiago" 1891 & 1892
Nubiola found published papers by the mathematician Ventura Reyes Prósper which use "Charles Santiago Peirce": the paper "Christine Ladd Franklin" in El Progreso Matemático 12, pp. 297-300 (20 December 1891) and the paper "CHARLES SANTIAGO [*] PEIRCE y OSCAR HOWARD MITCHELL" in El Progreso Matemático 18, pp. 170-173 (15 June 1892). Prósper's footnote to the astrisk, as translated by Nubiola, says: "[*] Although it may seem strange, his first name is in English and his second is in Spanish; I do not know why." For the letters and papers, see Jaime Nubiola and Jesús Cobo, "The Spanish Mathematician Ventura Reyes Prósper and his connections with Charles S. Peirce and Christine Ladd-Franklin" (version 11-6-2000).

Before the days of Google Book Search
Joseph Brent, history professor at the U District of Columbia, on pages 315–16 of his Charles Sanders Peirce: A Life, revised & enlarged edition, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 1998, wrote:
"William James died in August 1910, leaving Peirce without the company of his one great friend although James's goodwill lived on in the Peirce fund, which went on without him. Peirce had taken the name Santiago (St. James) in May 1909, and thereafter often styled himself Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce.[122]

122. MS 318.
Brent in emails to the peirce-l forum claimed to have found Peirce explaining his motive in MS 318, but other scholars don't find it there. The issue was raised at peirce-l back in 2000. Brent at peirce-l wrote on September 6, 2000 and again on September 7, 2000 that he clearly remembers some manuscript wherein Peirce does say that he adopted "Santiago" in honor of William James. Brent suspected a manuscript numbering problem. Now, Peirce's use of the name "Santiago" before he had any reason for gratitude to James does not preclude that Brent read, somewhere, something similar to that which he remembers. The Peirce manuscript collection is vast. Maybe somewhere Peirce wrote that he retained (as opposed to adopted) the middle name "Santiago" in honor of James. I haven't heard that Brent has found the relevant manuscript.

Peter Skagestad's Endnote 1 (page 234) for Chapter 4 of The Road to Inquiry (1981) consists in the sentence:

After James' death in 1910, Peirce began signing his own name Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce, thereby canonizing his old friend 'Santiago,' i.e. St. James.
Brent said that it was May 1909, Skagestad said that it was 1910. Not so far apart. Might Skagestad have seen the manuscript that Brent seemed to remember? Responding to a question asked about it on peirce-l 28 years later (2009), Skagestad says, that the claim was quite uncontroversial at the time and he no longer remembers his source clearly but he talked with a great many people about Peirce in the late 1970s and it may have been oral tradition; he vaguely remembers hearing it from Henry David Aiken, who was a student of Ralph Barton Perry.

The claim of a gratitude connection between "Santiago" and William James goes back at least to William James's wife Alice, quoted in 1927 by F.C.S. Schiller on pp. 90-91 in "William James and the Making of Pragmatism" in The Personalist 8, April 1927: "In one of the last quinquennial catalogues, Peirce changed his middle name from Saunders to Santiago. It was long before I understood that it was a way of calling himself St. James, but there it stands Charles Santiago Peirce." (I gleaned that much from the Internet. I'm too lazy to shlep to the big libraries in Manhattan.) Anyway, the earliest Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Harvard University which mentions Peirce with the middle name Santiago is 1910:

"Charles Sanders Peirce"

"Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce," "Charles S. Sanders Peirce," "Charles Sanders Peirce"

Here via Google Books you can see Peirce mentioned as "Charles Santiago Peirce" on Page 65 in the Jahrbuch über die Fortschritte der Mathematik, Yearbook on the Progress of Mathematics It says, in German, "Volume XXIV. Vintage(?) 1892 Berlin. Printing and Publishing by Georg Reimer. 1895." Here is the entry on Page 65:

Capitel 2. Philosophie und Pädagogik. 65
V. REYES y PRÓSPER. Charles Santiago Peirce y Oscar
Honward Mitchell. Progreso mat. II. 170-173.
Notiz über die auf die mathematische Logik bezüglichen Ar-
beiten dieser beiden Schriftsteller.
Tx. (Lp.)

In MS 1611 (1903), for manuscript directory and biographical dictionary of the Men of Science in the United States (see page at the Robin Catalogue), Peirce wrote: "(I am variously listed in print as Charles Santiago Peirce, Charles Saunders Peirce, and Charles Sanders Peirce. Under the circumstances a noncommittal S. suits me best)" (as quoted and sourced by Susan Howe, Pierce-Arrow, 1999, page 7, here via Google Book Search, and here (scroll down, click on "Features", scroll down) via Barnes & Noble).

Why "Santiago"?
Did it start as somebody's misprint which Peirce let stand? Ken Ketner has another theory on it in his biography (His Glassy Essence, p. 279ff, h/t Joe Ransdell), having to do with his hypothesis about Peirce's second wife being of Gypsy origins. Harold L. Orbach, in his November 2009 peirce-l post also linked a few paragraphs above, writes:
I will not attempt to summarize or paraphrase Ketner's discussion of why the apocryphal story that the adoption of _Santiago_ was a tribute to William James is erroneous, nor his presentation of the basis for viewing it as "informally ... paying tribute to his wife ... and to her cultural origins as a Spanish woman who was a Gitano, or Spanish Gypsy of Andalusia." It involves the historical relationship of the movement of the Gypsys into Spain along the famous pilgimage to Santiago de Compostella, Santiago as the patron Saint of Spain, Julliette Peirce's being in Spain at the time Schroeder's _Logik_ was published, and other reasons which everyone interested in the matter should read in Ketner's own words in the full context of his discussion of Mrs. Peirce's background and the origins and character of their relationship and marriage.

I will note that some thirteen years ago I was travelling with two French friends in the backroads of Dordogne and we passed along a number of historical sites that formed part of the route used by those making pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, all having plaques or other forms of identifying these parts of the route through southern France.
For my part, I turned up something that leads to the conjecture that the name "Santiago" has something to do with a visit by Louis Agassiz to Chile. Agassiz arrived in Santiago, Chile, to find news of winning a high honor which the Emperor of Brazil had sought for him. Agassiz was a close friend of Benjamin Peirce, and Charles studied under Agassiz. Charles likely heard a lot about that trip.


In 1906 and later, Peirce used "Santiago Sanders" -- both middle names together.

1906: "Mr. Peterson's Proposed Discussion", The Monist, vol. XVI, no. 1, pp. 147 to 151: "Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce".
1906: "Prolegomena To an Apology For Pragmaticism", The Monist, vol. XVI (misprinted "VI"), no. 4 , pp. 492 to 546 "Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce".
1908: "Some Amazing Mazes", The Monist, vol. XVIII, No. 2, pp. 227 to 241 "Charles S. S. Peirce"
1908: "Some Amazing Mazes (Conclusion), Explanation of curiosity the First", The Monist, vol. XVIII, No. 3, pp. 416 to 464: on p. 461: "Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce".
1910: Passage from letter to Francis C. Russell quoted in Carus, Paul, "On the Nature of Logical and Mathematical Thought", The Monist, vol. XX, no. 1, pp. 33-75, quote on on p. 45, Carus mentions "Charles S. S. Peirce".
1910: Added explanatory note quoted in Carus, Paul, "Non-Aristotelian Logic", The Monist, vol. XX, no. 1 on pp. 158 - 159, Carus mentions "Charles S. S. Peirce".