Excerpts from Letters to William James

Thirty-third Selection, pp. 492502.

L 224 and William James Papers, Houghton Library.

Origin of the Text

Peirce loved to write long and frequent letters on all manners of topics to his staunch friend and supporter William James. This part of the appendix includes excerpts of four letters composed in the course of 1909, the year preceding James's death. The first excerpt comes from pp. 6-14 of an unsent draft Peirce began to write on 26 February 1909 (L224:90-98, published in CP 8.177-185 with some omissions, and in NEM 3:839-844). The letter became so large and unwieldy that Peirce sent James two other letters instead, one on March 9 and the other on March 14. The second excerpt comes from the latter document (pp. 6-10 of it, published in part in CP 8.314). The third excerpt consists of pp. 19-22 of a letter sent on 1 April 1909 (= CP 8.315). The first eight pages of a letter begun on Christmas day, 1909, constitute the last extract (published in NEM 3:867-71). All four documents provide useful precisions on semiotic and logical matters.