Date of Award

Spring 2000

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Harrison, Stanley M.

Second Advisor

Starr, William

Third Advisor

Prindergast, Thomas S.


Charles Sanders Peirce was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1839, the second son of the highly respected Harvard mathematician Benjamin Peirce. Charles Peirce was in many ways his father's favorite and, also like his father, had tendencies toward unorthodox beliefs and behaviors. Peirce graduated from Harvard College and later received an M.A. in mathematics and chemistry. He worked for three years at the Harvard astronomical observatory. For thirty years, from 1861 to 1891, he worked at and led scientific expeditions for the United States Coastal and Geodetic Survey. Peirce's primary interest was in logic and the philosophical implications of views about thinking. He published widely in logic, mathematics, and scientific research. Peirce wrote dozens of philosophical essays for leading journals from the age of twenty eight until his death in 1914. For a while he taught logic at Johns Hopkins University (a young John Dewey was his student). But Peirce, partly because of the scandal of marital infidelities and partly from an irascible and probably misunderstood character, never was able to gain the permanent academic position he needed to settle down and synthesize his diverse thoughts and interests into a coherent account. Finally, in 1898, he and his second wife Juliette settled into their isolated farmhouse in the woods of Milford, Pennsylvania. There he worked tirelessly on his own philosophy, but was forced to write hundreds of book reviews for the Nation to make a little bit of money. Eventually, Peirce was so poor and in such ill health that he had to subsist on the good will and generosity of William James and Josiah Royce...



Restricted Access Item

Having trouble?