Charles sanders peirce

Charles Sanders Pierce: The Father of Pragmatism

  • Who is Charles Sanders Pierce?

    Who is Charles Sanders Pierce?
    Charles Sanders Pierce, also know as the Father of Pragmatism, was born on September 10, 1839 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Pierce's life work was defined by a series of papers dedicated to mathematics, physical sciences, as well as topics such as phycology, and economics. Pierce died in Milford, Pennsylvania, April 19, 1914. "His published works run to about 12,000 printed pages and his known unpublished manuscripts run to about 80,000 handwritten pages."
  • Summa Cum Laude

    Summa Cum Laude
    Pierce graduated from Harvard University in 1863, from which his father taught as a Professor in Mathematics. He earned a bachelors degree in chemistry and graduated summa cum laude, also known as "with the highest distinction". While he excelled in the world of science, Pierce's grades suffered in other areas. Peirce was a poor student, typically in the bottom third of his class. Obviously, the standard curriculum bored him, so that he mostly avoided doing seriously its required work."
  • Jack of All Trades

    Jack of All Trades
    Following his education, Pierce took interest in a variety of scientific studies. He was admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in January of 1867, and then in 1869-1872 he was an astronomy research student at the Harvard Observatory. After his years of learning, Pierce worked a surveyor for the U.S. Coast Survey measuring gravitational force around the world in order to determine the shape of the Earth.
  • Professor and Publications

    Professor and Publications
    In April of 1877 Pierce published the first of his astronomy research in the book Photometric Researches, at the National Academy of Sciences. In 1879 Pierce's popularity amongst the science community earned him a spot as a Lecturer of Logic in the Department of Mathematics at John Hopkins University. "He then extended his father's work on associative algebras and worked on mathematical logic, topology and set theory."
  • Unemployed and Unpublished

    Unemployed and Unpublished
    Pierce was forced to leave his position at John Hopkins due to an adulterous relationship, losing his teaching position. Following the infidelity he worked for the Coast and Geodetic Survey, continuing his work in gravitational measurements. In 1890 Pierce completed his work but his publication was denied unless he made substantial revisions. Eventually, he was fired and worked independently as a researcher and writer. Though, Pierce did not have great success and never taught again.
  • The Father of Pragmatism

    The Father of Pragmatism
    Charles Sanders Pierce's work is best known today for a later accomplishment which he did not live to see the success of, pragmatism. "He had in mind that a meaningful conception must have some experiential "cash value," capable of being specified as some sort of collection of possible empirical observations under specifiable conditions. Peirce insisted that the entire meaning of a meaningful conception consisted in the totality of such specifications of possible observations."
  • A Legacy Unseen

    A Legacy Unseen
    The most renowned work Pierce published was "The Fixation of Belief” and the second is entitled “How to Make Our Ideas Clear.” In the first of these papers Peirce defended, in a manner consistent with not accepting naïve realism, the superiority of the scientific method over other methods of overcoming doubt and “fixing belief.” In the second of these papers Peirce defended a “pragmatic” notion of clear concepts." These papers are what awarded him the title of a great philosopher.