Charles S. Peirce (01.12.03)

6 Prescott Hall, Cambridge, Ma.
1903 Dec. 1

My dear Lady Victoria:

I receive this morning your deeply interesting letter of Nov. 18, being here delivering some lectures of which I enclose a list1. As soon as I get back to Pike County whither I intend to start on the night of Dec. 17 (though I may be detained) I mean to hunt up a solitary copy which I think I possess of my original paper on the three categories published in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Boston) for 1867 May 14;2 for I perceive that it will interest you. So you shall have the last copy. I will also get a part of what I said at my lecture last night on the subject typewritten & send that. I mean also to load you with a Syllabus of some parts of logic which I am now getting printed. For all these relate to triads, & I am confident they will interest you.

As to Bertrand Russell's book, I have as yet made but a slight examination of it; but it is sufficient to show me that whatever merit it may have as a digest of what others have done, it is pretentious & pedantic, -attributing to its author merit that cannot be accorded to him. Your ladyship perhaps did not notice that I hinted at this in the Nation, in saying your book was such a contrast to his. The man is Dr. Georg Cantor3. Besides his strictly mathematical presentations, there is an interesting set of letters by him to philosophers in the Zeitschrift für Phil. u phil. Kritik for 18904. I am myself working on the doctrine of multitude & that is one reason why I have not read what Whitehead & Russell have written. I don't want my own train of thought shunted for the present.

You may remark that not only do triads turn up in abundance in all sorts of true doctrines, but they are even more abundant in false ones, so that we must always suspect a triad to be of subjective provenance until it can show positive credentials.

It seems to me that the objections that have been made to my word 'pragmatism' are very trifling. It is the doctrine that truth consists in future serviceableness for our ends. 'Pragmatism' seems to me to express this. I might have called it 'practism', or 'practicism' πρακτικός being rather more classical than πραγματικός, but pragmatism is more sonorous.

My heart always warms toward the very few who do not think themselves deeply aggrieved by my notices of their books; but I have a much more deeply-seated sympathy with your ladyship & with your ideas.

Believe me

very faithfully yours
C. S. Peirce

1. Peirce had prepared an eight-part outline for his Lowell Lectures (see Robin, Ms. 470). The titles of the eight lectures given were: I. What Makes a Reasoning Sound?; II. A System of Diagrams for Studying Logical Relations; III. The Three Universal Categories and their Utility; IV. Exposition of the System of Diagrams Completed; V. The Doctrine of Multitude, Infinity and Continuity; VI. What is Chance?; VII. Induction as Doing, not mere Cogitation; VIII. How to Theorize. See Burks, "Bibliography", G-1903-2 [Nota de SS].

2. C. S. Peirce, "On A New List of Categories", Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 7 (May 1867), pp. 287-289. Reprinted in Collected Papers 1.545-567 [Nota de SS].

3. Georg Cantor (1845-1918), mathematician, logician, and founder of set theory [Nota de SS].

4. Published in Zeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik for 1887 and 1888 as "Mitteilungen zur Lehre von Transfiniten" [Nota de SS].



Fin de: "L 463: Letter to Lady Welby" (01.12.03). Fuente textual en SS 8-10.

Fecha del documento: 28 de agosto 2006
Última actualización: 11 de enero 2011

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