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Prolegomena to a Science of Reasoning

Phaneroscopy, Semeiotic, Logic

Charles S. Peirce

Edited By Elize Bisanz

Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914), American Scientist, Mathematician, and Logician, developed much of the logic widely used today. Using copies of his unpublished manuscripts, this book provides a comprehensive collection of Peirce’s writings on Phaneroscopy and the outlines of his project to develop a Science of Reasoning. The collection is focused on three main fields: Phaneroscopy, the science of observation, Semeiotic, the science of sign relations, and Logic, the science of inferences. Peirce understands all thought to be mediated in and through signs and its essence to be diagrammatic. The book serves as a timely contribution for the introduction of Peirce’s Phaneroscopy to the emerging research field of Image Sciences.
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Logic as the General Theory of Signs of all Kinds


I have a difficult task before me to render these four lectures profitable to you. It would be less so if we came without a single idea on the subject. But everybody, every butcher and baker, have ideas of logic and even used the technical terminology of the subject. He says he deals in articles of “prime necessity”. Perhaps he would be surprised to learn that the phrase “prime necessity” was invented by logicians to express a logical conception which has now become in common mouths very vague, it is true; but which still has a little of the original concept in a vague form clinging to it.

If I had a class in logic to conduct for a year, I should have still, as I used to do at the Johns Hopkins, upon the maientic character of my office,—which means that I should do all I could to make my hearer think for themselves, by which I earned the gratitude of men who are useful to mankind. I should insist, that they must not suppose that my opinions were bound to correct, but must work out their own ways of thinking. But now that there are but four lectures, and all falling in one week, the case is otherwise. I must beg you to remember that comprehension comes first and criticism later. It will be as much as you can possibly do in this week with diligent endeavors, to understand what I mean by...

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