Letter from Charles S. Peirce to William James
(Paris, 21.11.1875)



Spanish translation & annotations

 

Paris 1875 Nov 21.

My dear Willie

Your letter led me to look up your brother whose presence here is a great thing for me as I am lonely & excessively depressed.

Your notice of Wright is good. As to his being obscure & all that, he was as well known as a philosopher need desire. It is only when a philosopher has something very elementary to say that he seeks the great public or the great public him. And as for Cambridge being a village, it is no doubt but the only reason is that is doesn't believe in

 


the possibility of any great advances in science or philosophy being made there & thinks the highest thing it can be is a school. A place may be far more out of the world & yet be as good a centre for philosophy as London or Berlin. As for Berlin, I really dont see that it has much claim to be thought a place for clean thought. The Germans always muddle whatever can be muddled.

You are very kind in wishing me back in Cambridge. I dont know whether I shall ever live there or not. I like the place but there is something about it too which I find very antagonistic to me. I had ambition once to be a Professor

 

there, which I have outgrown.  Why put myself in such a position of obloquy almost if I could —why be Charley Eliot's man when I have already a position where I am engaged in original research & where even that is my duty & is counted positively for me—. As for the observatory, it is of all situations I know of the one which has the most of thankless, and utterly mechanical drudgery, together with vexatious interference from two different sources, certain members of the committee & the president. I speak of Directorship of it, for my own connection with it was most delightful. [*] Winlock was charming, I am not quite through with it because my book of photometric researches is n't out

[*]But dont let me speak as if I did not feel the warmest gratitude to you & my friends who wanted to get me into the observatory. I dont know that I would have declined it even although it does not seem to me altogether desirable. But I always speak too strongly when I think of Eliot.

 

& they began at once after Winlock's death to try to nag at me, but fortunately I am too far off.

I wish I was in Cambridge for one thing. I should like to have some talks about Wright & about his ideas & see if we could n’t get up a memorial of him. His memory deserves it for he did a great deal for everyone of us. I dont speak of Warner & such philosophical canaille but I mean you, Frank Abbot, & myself. Other of his friends, Gurney, Norton, Peter Leslie Asa Gray etc. would be wanted to do the personal & other relations. But what I am thinking of [dont purpose anything] is to give some resumé of his ideas & of the history of his thought.

Your brother is looking pretty well, but looks a little serious. He is a fine fellow. I have always thought I should admire him if I knew him better & now I shall find out—.

Your affectionately,

C. S. Peirce


Transcription by Izaskun Martínez, based in Ignas K. Skrupkelis and Elizabeth M. Berkeley edition (2013). See also Perry's transcription.
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 sbarrena@unav.es
Proyecto de investigación "Charles S. Peirce en Europa (1875-76): comunidad científica y correspondencia" (MCI: FFI2011-24340)

Fecha del documento: 14 de octubre 2013
Última actualización: 7 de noviembre 2013

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