Dissertation Abstract




Charles S. Peirce's Evolutionary Metaphysics:

The Growth Of Reasonableness In Nature, Mind And Science


Turrisi, Patricia Ann


Degree:           PH.D.

Year:             1986

Pages:            00206



Source:           DAI, 47, no. 04A, (1986): 1358


The thesis that the summum bonum is the progressive evolution of Reason is presented. An explanation of how human conduct furthers this development presupposes a doctrine of the general nature of evolution. Peirce's writings frame these issues: How is the growth of nature and mind possible? What is the unit of such growth? What are the modes of the evolution of these units? How are human agents both creative of and subject to evolutionary growth?

Chapter One evaluates Peirce's criticism of Darwin, Darwinism and Lamarck. Peirce approves Darwin's doctrine of random variation and the natural selection of adaptive variations, but he disapproves the Darwinists' exclusion of the deliberate selection of characteristics not immediately adaptive. Peirce endorses Lamarck's explanation of the role of endeavor because it recognizes a purposive continuity between organism and environment. Neither the Darwinian nor Lamarckian positions can account for the radical creativity of thought in cosmic evolution.

Chapter Two discusses Peirce's distinction between the practical man and the scientist. The practical man wants knowledge as a means of adaptive advantage, while the scientist desires truth for its own sake and because the laws of the cosmos are intrinsically admirable. The scientist participates in the creative growth of the universe by deliberately promoting its rationality with the growth of his own.

Chapter Three examines how the growth of science is possible. Peirce's realism and his refutation of nominalism explain what permits the correspondence between scientific knowledge and the world. Real generals constitute the units of the evolution of nature and mind. The correspondence between these generals in nature and these same generals in the mind is the basis of scientific progress. The scientific knowledge of these generals creatively advances cosmic evolution.

Chapter Four delineates the three modes of the evolution of real generals. Tychasm and Anancasm coincide with probable inference. Agapasm elicits the abductive mode of reason which originates new generals. Abduction in the advance of scientific reasonableness represents radical creativity in evolution.

These chapters advance the thesis that Peirce finds there is a tendency towards progress in the direction of the rationalization of the universe.



Descriptor:       PHILOSOPHY

Accession No:     AAG8615259

Provider:        OCLC

Database:         Dissertations