An Interpretation Of Peirce's Ontology
Kelly Jo Wells
Advisor: Adviser: RICHARD J. BLACKWELL
Source: DAI, 56, no. 06A, (1994): 2272
This dissertation has two fundamental objectives. The first objective, which is undertaken in Part I, is to develop an interpretation of the ontology of Charles Sanders Peirce. This interpretation is needed because Peirce who founded pragmatism and at the same time espoused realism has, because of this, been the subject of much misunderstanding. The proposed interpretation of Part I thus stands exegetically and philosophically entirely on its own merits.
The second objective, undertaken in Part II, is to relate the interpretation of Peirce given in Part I to what is identified as the thermodynamic explanatory mode. The thermodynamic explanatory mode, it is argued, possesses many of the characteristics of Peirce's architectonic approach to the construction of philosophic systems. For example both the thermodynamic explanatory mode and Peirce's architectonic incorporate the methodology of a "closed system" which includes the relevant and excludes the irrelevant. In addition both approaches are reductive in a similar manner. The reductions proposed by the standards contained in the pragmatic maxim and thermodynamic reduction, the goal of the thermodynamic explanatory mode, are both explicitly qualitative. That is they both employ a method entirely different from the traditional, atomistic or quantitative reduction. If the pragmatic system developed in Part I is right, and if the association drawn between it and the thermodynamic explanatory mode holds, then the suggestion arises that the expanding use of the thermodynamic explanatory mode in contemporary science can be understood as providing support for not only scientific metaphysics as such but a metaphysics peculiar to the Peircean ontology. However Part II stands as only an illustration of the interpretation o f Peirce's ontology given in Part I, and its success or lack thereof can have no impact on the validity of Part I.
Accession No: AAI9531427