The Pragmatic Maxim: Essays on Peirce and Pragmatism

ISBN : 9780199588381

Christopher Hookway
256 Pages
162 x 240 mm
Pub date
Nov 2012
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Christopher Hookway presents a series of essays on the philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1913), the 'founder of pragmatism' and one of the most important and original American philosophers. Peirce made significant contributions to the development of formal logic and to the study of the normative standards we should follow in carrying out inquiries and enhancing our knowledge in science and mathematics. In The Pragmatic Maxim, Hookway explores Peirce's writings on truth, science, and the nature of meaning, which have become steadily more influential over recent decades. He demonstrates how Peirce's ideas can contribute to and inform philosophical understanding in debates that continue today. The first seven chapters explore the framework of Peirce's thought, especially his fallibilism and his rejection of scepticism, and his contributions to the pragmatist understanding of truth and reality. Like Frege and Husserl, among others, Peirce rejected psychologism and used phenomenological foundations to defend the system of categories. The final three chapters are concerned with 'the pragmatic maxim', a rule for clarifying the contents of concepts and ideas. Hookway explores the different strategies Peirce employed to demonstrate the correctness of the maxim, and thus of pragmatism. As well as studying and evaluating Peirce's views, The Pragmatic Maxim discusses the relations between the views of Peirce and other pragmatist philosophers such as William James, C. I. Lewis, and Richard Rorty.


Texts and abbreviations
Introduction: The pragmatist maxim, the method of science, and representation
1. Peirce and scepticism
2. Fallibilism and the aim of inquiry
3. Truth, reality, and convergence
4. Normative logic and psychology: Peirce's rejection of psychologism
5. Interrogatives and uncontrollable abductions
6. 'The form of a relation': Peirce and mathematical structuralism
7. 'A sort of composite photograph': pragmatism, ideas, and schematism
8. Pragmatism and the given: C.I. Lewis, Quine, and Peirce
9. The principle of pragmatism: Peirce's formulations and illustrations
10. Logical principles and philosophical attitudes: Peirce's response to James's pragmatism
11. How Peirce argued for his pragmatist maxim

About the author: 

Christopher Hookway has been Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield since 1995, having previously taught at the University of Birmingham. In 1995 he was President of the Charles S. Peirce Society. He is the editor of The European Journal of Philosophy.

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