In Futuro: A Sketch of the Task of Logic in Immanuel Kant and Charles Peirce

Conarroe, Roger Graydon, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Ochs, Peter, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Bouchard, Larry, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

Sketch of 'Self' iv Preface Explicitly, this paper is almost entirely focused on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, and nearly all of my original critical arguments are centered on that work. As such, Peirce may seem in this paper to be little more than an awkward bookend to an otherwise complete analysis-and a bookend who hardly merits equal footing with Kant in the title. A reader who, on reading the title, (appropriately) expects a parallel analysis of these two thinkers will unfortunately be disappointed. For it is overtly a paper about Kant. Yet Peirce maintains a subtle ubiquity behind the scenes. This does not mean, however, that this is a paper about Peirce's criticisms of Kant-at least not in any intentional sense. Peirce's criticisms will, however, crop up on occasion. This paper is rather, most simply, an attempt to clarify the answer to a simple question: what is the task of logic? And it is this central question towards which all the technical criticisms of Kant are oriented. In this sense, my paper is not chiefly an argument about what is true, but is rather an attempt to clarify a plan of action, and in doing so, clarify the meaning of difficult words involved in that task. Readers familiar with Peirce may detect an allusion to the "father of pragmatism" in this proposed project. In 1907 Peirce defined pragmatism as follows: "pragmatism is, in itself, no doctrine of metaphysics, no attempt to determine any truth of things. It is merely a method of ascertaining the meanings of hard words and of abstract concepts. All pragmatists of whatever stripe will cordially assent to that statement. As to the ulterior and indirect effects of practicing the pragmatistic method, that is quite another affair" (Peirce, Pragmatism, The Essential Peirce, Vol. 2, 400). 1 As Peirce wryly suggests, each proponent of a "pragmatistic method" will, no doubt, have his own motivations. Overtly, my chief motive in this paper is to seek clarityindeed Kant and Peirce are both "clarifiers" in a significant way. For that reason, it may seem ironic that one of the primary conclusions of the paper is that, in logic we ought to seek clarity. In a way, that encapsulates the whole task of the discipline.

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MA (Master of Arts)
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