Charles W. Morris (1903-1979)


Source of the picture:
  • Semiotics

Research Interests

  • Philosophy of language
  • Logic

Notable Ideas


  • George H. Mead, Charles S. Peirce


Charles William Morris was born on 23 May 1903 in Denver, Colorado. After receiving his Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University, he studied with George H. Mead at Chicago University, receiving his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1925. His academic appointments were:

  • 1925-1931, Instructor at Rice Institute;
  • 1931-1947, Associate Professor at the University of Chicago;
  • 1948-1958, Lecturer at the University of Chicago;
  • 1958-1971, Research Professor at the University of Florida.

Morris developed an original form of pragmatism that flowered from his seminal work on semiotics. Morris became deeply involved with the Vienna Circle of logical positivism in the 1930s, and participated in the Unity of Science Movement. He organized the Fifth and Sixth International Congresses for the Unity of Science, and his relationships with its German philosophers was essential to bringing many of them to America on outbreak of World War II. Morris was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and served as President of the Western Division of the American Philosophical Association in 1936-37. Morris died in Gainesville, Florida on 15 January 1979.

Main Publications

  • Morris, C. (1971). Writings on the General Theory of Signs. The Hague: Mouton.

  • Morris, C. (1970). The Pragmatic Movement in American Philosophy. New York: George Braziller.

  • Morris, C. (1964). Signification and Significance. Cambridge, Mass: M.I.T. Press.

  • Morris, C. (1956). Varieties of Human Value. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Morris, C. (1948). The Open Self. New York: Prentice-Hall Book Co., Inc..

  • Morris, C. (1946). Signs, Language, and Behavior. New York: George Braziller.

  • Morris, C. (1934). Mind, Self, and Society, a collection of George H. Mead's lectures. Paths of Life: Preface to a World Religion. Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press.

  • Morris, C. (1938). Foundations of the Theory of Signs. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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