Charles Peirce and the
Logic Of Community
Hubert Phillip Joswick
Source: DAI, 48, no. 10A, (1987): 2662
dissertation examines the nature of Peirce's community of inquiry as a function
of his semiotic theory. I argue that the process of interpretation itself
defines the community and that Peirce's semiotic attempts to describe that
process by which the interpretive community is led to the final, true opinion.
In my first chapter, I show that Peirce's doctrine of signs can be applied to
his own texts. I argue that his comments on reading embody and enact notions of
community. In Chapter Two, I discuss the relation of Peirce's biography to the
meaning of community.
for Peirce is founded upon the inner life of inquiry which semiotic describes;
I argue that Peirce himself lived out a life of inquiry in complicated ways.
Chapter Three examines traditional criticisms of Peirce's social theory of
truth and meaning. I argue that the idea of community ultimately depends on the
identification of individual interpreters with the interest of scientific
inquiry; I then suggest that Peirce's reading strategies are designed to
educate the reader to this internal life of inquiry. In Chapter Four I show how
semiotic is a theory of reasoning which differs from the formal logic of
Russell and the transcendental logic of Kant. I then suggest that Peirce wants
to apply mathematical ideas to the reading of philosophy. Chapter five analyzes
the nature of the sign and the role of the icon in semiosis. I show how the
dialogical structure of the sign is reflected in Peirce's semiotic
classifications. I conclude in Chapter Six with Peirce's ethics of terminology
and stress the interconnection between sign, community and interpreter. I
argue, finally, that the logical inner life of the interpreter is the most
essential aspect of Peirce's theory of community.
Descriptor: AMERICAN STUDIES