Charles S. Peirce (14.05.05)

Arisbe, Milford, Pa.
1905 May 14

My dear Lady Welby:

I will not let a steamer go without writing to you to say that in consequence of information we have received during the last few days, we have pretty much given up all expectation of selling the place this year, and therefore shall be unable to avail ourselves of your ladyship's hospitality.

There are parties buying up "options" i.e. agreements to sell real estate, covering the whole valley. Pipe-wells are being sunk to a great depth, there is much mystery, and unless we receive a very tempting positive offer, we had better wait developments before parting with the only really good residence in the valley.

I received a letter from Mr. Schiller and at once wrote him as amiable a reply as I could —moved in part by his being a friend of yours, —but then I shouldn't & indeed couldn't answer otherwise than I did. Garrison1 had sent me for review "Personal Idealism" & I was much struck, of course, by "Axioms as Postulates"2. But Garrison never sends me anything to review without saying 'Don't be heavy, and don't discuss philosophy'. His readers wont stand it & he himself detests it. So my notice was light & almost bantering3. After it was written, I reflected that sharp wits are generally excessively sensitive to the least pleasantry & I submitted my notice separately to two of Schiller's most closest friends in this country. Both assured me it was all right & I sent it to Garrison. But further consideration made me feel that it was not all right & that it was really not a proper notice & I wrote to Garrison to send it back. But he replied that I wrote nonsense, that the article was right & that the kind I wanted to substitute would not be acceptable and to close the discussion he printed it. [All that is said from memory. There may very likely be some slight inaccuracies; but that is right as far as I can now recall].

I heard afterward that Schiller has protested, & his Humanism4 was sent to James to notice, I suppose. I noticed that it contained a remark about my work that nobody but an angry man could think veracious5. In my April paper6 it was stated that what he had said was not true, with mentioning him. I also had a sentence which to those who knew his comic Mind would convey my opinion of that. And both together amounted to saying, what I think, that he introduces his personal passions into philosophy in a reprehensible way. In another passage I alluded to him by name as one that a school of philosophy could be proud to include, —or something to that effect. There was another remark alluding to something I had read but had but a vague recollection of. It may possibly have been by him.

Anyway his letter, which I received yesterday morning contained an attempt to put upon Baldwin & James the responsibility of what he had said about me without directly stating his object. I politely showed him that it was impossible that Baldwin could have said anything more than my printed article would justify.

As for James I must admit that in his desire to bring out his meaning he is sometimes unconsciously one-sided; but Schiller being such a great friend of James, I ventured on telling him that I had remonstrated with James about some statement, I could not yesterday think what. But I now remember. It was on the first and second pages of his article 'Humanism and Truth' in Mind No 527, where he conveys the idea that I do not insist that the truth of any statement consists in what flows from the proposition [But note James's illogic. He speaks of this as a broader doctrine than his own]. I am entirely with Schiller on that point & so I told James. He seemed surprised that I should care for so very slight a misrepresentation, another proof of his inability to understand my thought.

I thought it proper that I should inform you, dear Lady Welby, how the matter is in my mind. I hope Schiller will let it rest. I shall do so. I do not doubt he is a very lovable man as James is; and of the two perhaps Schiller is stronger in philosophy. But I have not a very high admiration for the philosophical calibre of pluralists.

I have a terrible pile of letters to answer & urgent work to do; and this uninteresting letter had better had better be closed.

very faithfully
C. S. Peirce


1. Wendell Phillips Garrison (1840-1907), editor of The Nation from 1865 until 1906 [Nota de SS].

2. Personal Idealism: Essays by Eight Members of the University of Oxford, ed. Henry Cecil Sturt, Macmillan, 1902. The second of these essays is "Axioms as Postulates" by F. C. S. Schiller [Nota de SS].

3. For Peirce's review see The Nation 76 (4 June 1903), 462-463. Also see Frederich J. Down Scott, "Peirce and Schiller and Their Correspondence", Journal of the History of Philosophy, Vol. XI, No. 3 (July 1973), pp. 363-386 [Nota de SS].

4. F. C. S. Schiller, Humanism, Macmillan and Co., London, 1903 [Nota de SS].

5. In Humanism Schiller remarks that James gave pragmatism its name. To the remark he appends this note: "Strictly speaking, I am reminded, it was Mr. C. S. Peirce, but it would seem to follow from pragmatist principles that a doctrine belongs to him who makes an effective use of it" [Nota de SS].

6. Peirce, "What Pragmatism Is". For specific references to Schiller by Peirce, see Collected Papers, 5.414, 416 [Nota de SS].

7. William James, "Humanism and Truth", Mind, Vol. 13 ns, No. 52 (October 1904), pp. 457-475 [Nota de SS].


Fin de: "L 463: Letter to Lady Welby" (14.05.05). Fuente textual en SS 54-57.

Fecha del documento: 26 de septiembre 2006
Última actualización: 26 de enero 2011

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