(MS 1604)

Charles S. Peirce (1894)


Spanish translation & annotations



My reading in Philosophy1

Sep., 1894


In Logic have studied every important system except the second edition of Sigwart. Perhaps there may be a few recent things I don't know about.

Have paid little attention to the philosophy of the beautiful and some other special branches.

Do not care for theology, but have been obliged to read a good deal.

Have a pretty good reading in psychology. Though I do not consider myself very thoroughly versed in it.

I'm most devoted to the theory of knowledge and after that to cosmology.

Have also paid considerable attention to ethics.

But this paper relates to my reading in Metaphysics and general philosophy.

1. Have read the fragments of early Greek philosophers. All in Aristotle about them. Translation of Diogenes Laertius with an old commentary (Menage?). Have read Cudworth, Röth, Zeller, Brandis, Erdmann, and a great deal about them. Have at one time or another specially got up most of them.


Have examined the fragments of Pherecydes and Zimmermann's book.

Have studied all I could about Thales in relation to his life (about which I have an interpretation of my own) his mathematics, his theories.

Have made a very particular study of Pythagoras. Have read connectedly all the passages of Aristotle. The life by Jamblichus, and nearly every passage relating to him in ancient authors (some only in trans.) in their context. [Have never read Porphyry's life of Pythagoras. A serious omission. But have read in it]. Have read a dozen or so modern authors about him. In the light of ______' s argument that his doctrines were Indian, which I assent to, I have got a way of reconciling the statements of ancient authorities about his life; and this affords a key by which I estimate the value of the statements concerning his philosophy. I consider my work on this a fine pièce of logic.

My reading in the atomistic philosophy will be mentioned below.

2. Plato. Have read Plato only in translation; only a dialogue or two in Greek. Never was intensely interested in Plato. Have read Zeller, Grote, and many special discussions. My description of Platonism was written at Niagara Falls without a single book to refer to. It was subsequently revised but not much changed.


3. Aristotle. Have read and thought more about Aristotle than about any other man. Have minutely and painfully gone through in the original with such commentaries as seemed the most instructive (always two at least on every part) the whole Organon, all but a small part of the Metaphysics, and the De Anima. Have also read in the original with inferior commentaries the .

[Also the book about sensation].

Have also read in the original the de memoria et reminiscentia, and I think the book about sleep, and that about life and death. I have looked over the Problems. Have read the Nicomachaean Ethics in translation & skimmed a translation of the Politics. The Rhetoric I have only read in in the original. The Poetry I know nothing about. The de Caelo and De Generatione I have only read in, I guess, though as different times a good deal. The Meteorologica I know still less about. There are various Natural History things I have hardly looked at.

I have run over the whole collection picking out special things I rambled, especially about the history of human thought.

I have read many of the Scholia and other comments included in the Berlin edition. I'm quite familiar with the Comment of Averroes.

Never found any modern commentary which

seemed to me to be at all correct. Most of those I have studied were by Germans. Trendelenburg in my opinion is the best. His de anima is good.

Have read various general studies of Aristotle.

4. Stoics. Most superficial philosophy this. More like New York and the Nation than anything I know. Yet I have faithfully read a good deal Seneca's letters, the Enchiridion of Epictetus (trans.), translation of Marcus Aurelius, probably all there is in Cicero, a good deal in transl. of Plutarch. There is also much about Stoicism in Sextus which I have studied on good deal.

5. Epicureanims and atomism. One of my pets in philosophy. It is remarkable how much I still have to do in this disection's but still I have done a good deal. I never read Lucretius! Of course, I have read parts, but I never felt like undertaking a real study such as I ought to make. It is one of my great desiderata. I haven't a copy of it for one thing.

Empedocles, Democritus and Anaxagoras I do not know as I ought to. I have studied parts of Karsten, Mullach (three books), and Ersch and Grüber's articles with great care, booking up all the ancient texts with context. The Ersch and Gruber article about Epicureism is also meritorious.

Some of the Epicurean works I have studied with the greatest attention. I devoted


months to the study of the small treatise of Philodemus

I have probably been near a year app and on reading Sextus adr. Math , and this contains much about the Epicureans. Also the Hypotyposes.

I have given a good deal of time to other Herculaneum papyre of Epicurean contents (beside the greek text).

Have read Gassendi's Exercitationes and Syntagma Epicuri.

Of modern books on Epicureans, I have read nothing except such things as Zeller's wretched account of the doctrine. The truth is the doctrine is little understood or appreciated. A doctrine so unboastful, so emphasizing uncertainly, cannot be valued except by these who go to the substance; and that only highly trained scholars are able to do with perfect confidence.


Transcription by Rocío Rodríguez-Tapia (2013)
Una de las ventajas de los textos en formato electrónico respecto de los textos impresos es que pueden corregirse con gran facilidad mediante la colaboración activa de los lectores que adviertan erratas, errores o simplemente mejores transcripciones. En este sentido agradeceríamos que se enviaran todas las sugerencias y correcciones a

Fecha del documento:21 de mayo 2014
Última actualización: 21 de mayo 2014

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