C. S. Peirce on Logic — Introductory

Stephen C. Rose
Nov 15, 2015 · 2 min read

Peirce: CP 2 Epigram p xii

. . . All that you can find in print of my work on logic are simply scattered outcroppings here and there of a rich vein which remains unpublished. Most of it I suppose has been written down; but no human being could ever put together the fragments. I could not myself do so. — 1903 Peirce: CP 2.1 Cross-Ref:††

While this is no doubt true, I am hoping to cast light on the subject of logic by mining Peirce’s outcroppings and veins. The locus of my source is called CP 2 which is an online collection of some of Peirce’s substantial output on logic.

My reason for doing this is two-fold.

First the sheer joy of encounter with perhaps the greatest mind on this subject since Aristotle. Before such a mind all pretensions must take a seat somewhere beyond the last row.

At the same time, this vantage point provides a second reason.

Since I make no claim to represent or speak for or even to understand Peirce, nor to embrace or pass on his philosophy, I can ruthlessly and with no shame react to these quotations with statements that speak only for me. And for what I have come to believe.

Just as, regarding Aristotle, I dare to say that he has been a negative force in the matter of ethics, I can say of Peirce that he has spawned a huge academic pool of those whose work threatens to lead one endlessly in the direction of doing what Peirce himself said was impossible. To honor Peirce, the first step may be to disassociate entirely and allow him the same space we give to Shakespeare and Aristotle.

Claim not to know what they thought or who they were or any such impossible knowledge.

Let their gems inspire you in what you need to say. And leave for others to bounce off.

This is what I seek to do. With a mea culpa to Aristotle!

Ultimately logic is what you assume is foundational and inevitable.

If something is logical it follows.

Peirce thought as deeply about logic as anyone. This is about what I make of it.

Stephen C. Rose is the author of Triadic Philosophy . He writes daily on Medium . His books are available on Kindle . Twitter is the center of his activities online.

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