Dissertation Abstract




C. S. Peirce's Final Realism:

An Analysis Of The Post-1895 Writings On Universals


Lesley A. Friedman



Degree:          PH.D.

Year:             1993

Pages:            00297

Institution:      State University Of New York At Buffalo; 0656

Advisor:           Peter H. Hare


Source:           DAI, 54, no. 09A, (1993): 3466


My focus in this work is on giving an analysis of Peirce's post-1895 remarks about realism and the realism/nominalism debate. I argue that there is a consistent position to be found in these writings, yet in order to understand his position we must look not only at Peirce's remarks on realism, but also to the various themes connected with his realism, viz. to his discussion of the categories, pragmatism, and opposing views.

          From Peirce's direct remarks on realism we learn that there are two kinds of universals, viz., laws and possibilities (qualities), both of which are independent of mind. Peirce's claim that Firsts are real as possibilities, and Thirds are real as that to which Seconds conform, constitutes his universal-realism (and, perhaps, his "extreme scholastic realism"). Thirds, however, are laws, that which science seeks to discover. The subjunctive conditionals which express scientific theories are either true or false, and the entities to which they refer are real or figments. In this consists Peirce's scientific realism, or "scholastic realism".

          From Peirce's discussions of the categories and of nominalism, we learn that there are two kinds of qualities: embodied and unembodied. The latter are uninstantiated universals, the former are dispositions. Peirce's doctrine of pragmaticism is an analysis of embodied qualities, i.e., what it means to say that "an object possesses a character." (CP, 5.457, 1905) I suggest that Peirce insists

that uninstantiables are necessary for realism about laws because they ground the counterfactuals which law-statements support.

          Because Peirce has both uninstantiated universals, and because he also believes that there is a sense in which universals really are "in" things as parts, he is neither Transcendental nor Immanent Realist exclusively.



Descriptor:       PHILOSOPHY

Accession No:     AAG9404808

Provider:        OCLC

Database:         Dissertations