A Sketch of Logical Critics

Thirtieth Selection, pp. 451-462.

MS 675.

Origin of the Text

In the spring of 1909, two friends of Victoria Lady Welby, John Willis Slaughter and George Frederick Stout, decided to honor her by publishing a collection of essays on "Significs," the main focus of her research. Peirce was glad to accept the invitation to contribute a chapter, which Lady Welby was especially anxious to see printed. Unfortunately, ill health and a host of other preoccupations prevented Peirce from completing his essay in due time, as a result of which the editors kept postponing the book's publication. In April 1911 Slaughter sent Peirce a reminder. Peirce was at the time trying to write a book on "A Logical Criticism of Essential Articles of Religious Faith" (MSS 846856), whose first part was to be on "logical critic." Slaughter's letter gave him a new impetus, and in early August he announced to Lady Welby that, although he wanted at first to write an abstract of his entire system of logic, constraints of space and time were forcing him to limit himself to "Logical Critics, that is, to the quality or grade of assurance that the three classes of reasoning afford." MSS 669-670, titled "Assurance Through Reasoning," may be part of an earlier effort. MSS 673-677, all titled "A Sketch of Logical Critic[s]," are Peirce's different unsuccessful attempts to write the paper, probably in August 1911. MS 675 is one of the more polished versions; as it was left unfinished, the last five sheets of the document are not printed in EP2 to give the text a better ending.