Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914)


  • Philosophy, Semiotics

Research Interests

  • Research methodology, the philosophy of science, epistemology, and metaphysics,

Notable Ideas

  • Logic as a branch of semiotics, Pragmatism

Academic Life

A major thinker in a number of fields, Peirce is recognized as the originator of the modern form of semiotics and the first American experimental psychologist. He had a difficult and tumultuous life, died in poverty, and left many fragmentary manuscripts. The only book published during his lifetime was Photometric Researches (1878), in which Peirce originated the technique of using light waves to measure length.

In all, Peirce made significant contributions to chemistry, physics, astronomy, geodesy, meteorology, engineering, cartography, psychology, philology, the history and philosophy of science and mathematics, phenomenology, and logic.

Regarding logic as the beginning of all philosophical study, Peirce felt that the meaning of an idea was to be found in an examination of the consequences to which the idea would lead. This principle was published in 1878 in Popular Science Monthly, using the term pragmatism.

Main Publications

  • Peirce, C. S. (1931-1958). Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, 8 vols. Edited by Charles Hartshorne, Paul Weiss, and Arthur Burks (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Peirce, C. S. (1997). Pragmatism as a Principle and Method of Right Thinking: the 1903 Harvard Lectures on Pragmatism by Charles Sanders Peirce. Edited by Patricia Ann Turrisi (State University of New York Press, Albany, New York).
  • Peirce, C. S. (1992). Reasoning and the Logic of Things: the Cambridge Conferences Lectures of 1898. Edited by Kenneth Laine Ketner (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts).
  • Peirce, C. S. (1982, 1984, 1986, 1989, 1993). Writings of Charles S. Peirce: a Chronological Edition, Volume I 1857-1866, Volume II 1867-1871, Volume III 1872-1878, Volume IV 1879-1884, Volume V 1884-1886. Edited by the Peirce Edition Project (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana).

Categories: People