Dissertation Abstract




Science Of Reality:

A Study Of The Metaphysics Of Charles Sanders Peirce


John Thomas Vallayil



Degree:          Ph.D.

Year:             1992

Pages:            382

Institution:     Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana (Vatican)


Source:           DAI, 54, no. 02C, (1992): 0377


This dissertation plans to investigate analytically and assess critically the metaphysics of Charles Sanders Peirce, one of the greatest philosophers of America. The relevance of Peirce's metaphysics stems from the unusual fact that Peirce, himself the founder of pragmatism and a thorough-going scientist, dealt with metaphysical topics and called himself an Aristotelian of the scholastic wing. Further he wanted to make philosophy scientific and defined metaphysics as "the science of reality". It was an instance of great boldness on the part of Peirce to declare metaphysics to be the science of reality, at a time when metaphysics was despised and was pushed aside as inconsistent with the spirit of the scientific milieu. Peirce's desire was to present metaphysics and philosophy as a scientific enterprise. Hence this study purports to find out what is the kind of metaphysics that a pragmatist and scientist tried to construct.

The first chapter introduces Peirce the philosopher, providing a short sketch of his life and works. The task of the second chapter is to reveal the place of metaphysics in the over-all Peircean philosophical architectonic, and then to examine its definition and methodology. According to Peirce's classification, the two branches of philosophy that go immediately before metaphysics are phenomenology and normative sciences, which provide the speculative categories that are necessary for any metaphysical reflection. Hence, the third chapter is devoted to an analysis of those two main branches of philosophy. The fourth and fifth chapters deal with the various sub-divisions of metaphysics as such. The sixth and final chapter, besides giving a summary and synthesis of the thesis, furnishes a critical evaluation of the merits and demerits of some of the basic doctrines of Peircean metaphysics.

According to Peirce the task of any science, including metaphysics, is to articulate the content of our instinctive beliefs which are fundamentally vague and indeterminate. Therefore all our knowledge, in whatever discipline, will always remain fallible until the community of investigators reach the irreversible final opinion. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)



Descriptor:       PHILOSOPHY

Accession No:     AAGC283732

Provider:        OCLC

Database:         Dissertations