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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 Using copies of his unpublished manuscripts, this book provides a comprehensive collection of Peirce’s writings on Phaneroscopy and the outlines of his project to develop a Science of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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Signs, Thoughts, Reasoning



A variety of mob-madness to which we all seem to be more or less subject is manifested in taking up vague opinions about which our associates and companions seem strenuous. I am apt, in some moments, to be wary of admitting doctrines of which no definition can be given. An eminent and admirable physiologist concludes a volume of great interest with this sentence: “The idea that mutation is working in a definite direction is a mere anthropomorphism, and like all anthropomorphisms is in contradiction with the facts.”69 If I were to attack a definite reasoning to “anthropomorphism”, I should think it stood to reason that a man could not have any idea that was not anthropomorphic, and that it was simply to repeat the error of Kant to attempt to escape anthropomorphism. At the same time, I am confident a man can pretty well understand the thoughts of his horse, his jocose parrot, and his canary-bird, so full of espièglerie; and though his representation of those thoughts must I suppose, be more or less falsified by anthropomorphism, yet that there is a good deal more truth than falsity in them,—and more than if he were to attempt the impossible task of eliminating the anthropomorphism, I am for the present sufficiently convinced. I am led to these remarks from reflecting that a good many persons who told themselves that they hold anthropomorphism in reprobation will nevertheless opine (though not in these terms,) that I am...

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