Charles S. Peirce (10.11.00)

Arisbe, Milford, Pa.
1900 Nov 10

My dear Willie :

I do not know where you are or what your condition of health is. I wish to do so, and have long had an intention of writing to you to find out, but it was one of those pavement resolutions, I fear.

Now, however, I have a particular occasion to write. Baldwin, arrived at J in his dictionary, suddenly calls on me to do the rest of the logic, in the utmost haste, and various questions of terminology come up1.

Who originated the term pragmatism, I or you? Where did it first appear in print? What do you understand by it?

In your Principle I 273 (? I give the page from memory) you make a distinction (original is it not?) between substantive and transitive elements of thought2. It is of utmost importance in Logic; but the terms wont do there. To begin with there is no familiar & well recognized balance between them. Then transitive is already used in one sense in logic & in another in mathematics, most inconveniently. Yours makes a third. Substantive is good, very good, in itself. Still, it is too near the grammatical word & yet just differs enough from it to threaten future inconvenience. I will suggest a very familiar pair of words to which no philosophical meaning has been attached, & yet which would readily stick in the memory. The are fantastic; but then your standing is such you could afford for once to use such terms. Homer, you know, speaks often of έπεα πτεροέντα and at other time of έπεα απτεροέντα winged words and unwinged words. Of course, he did not mean what you do; but what he did mean I don't think anybody knows for certain. Why not speak of apteroentic and pteroentic parts of the thought. If you approve, I will put it in under pteroentic3.

very lovingly
C. S. Peirce

If you don't approve of my suggestion, will you not kindly furnish some new pair of designations



1. Reference is to the Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology [Nota de The Correspondence of William James, XI, p.365].

2. WJ. The Principles of Psychology, 2 vols. (New York: Henry Holt, 1890), 1: 243 (pp. 236) [Nota de The Correspondence of William James, XI, p. 356].

3. The Greek terms proposed by Peirce were not included in the Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology. Instead, WJ contributed a brief entry for Substantive and Transitive States (2:614). This item is not found in bibliographies of WJ's work [Nota de The Correspondence of William James, XI, p. 356].

Fin de: "L 224: Letter to William James" (10.11.00). Fuente textual en I. Skrupskelis y E. Berkeley (eds.), The Correspondence of William James, Charlottesvile, University of Virginia Press, 2003, XI, pp. 355-356.

Fecha del documento: 21 de agosto 2006
Última actualización: 9 de enero 2011

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