Two Neglected Arguments for a Pragmatist Metaphysics: Peirce and James on Individuals and Generals

Author/s Michela Bella, Maria Regina Brioschi
Publishing Year 2022 Issue 2022/3
Language English Pages 25 P. 511-535 File size 233 KB
DOI 10.3280/SF2022-003010
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This article proposes an integrative reading of Peirce’s and James’s philosophies, which aims to figure out the main features of a shared pragmatist metaphysics. Two methodologies are adopted to reach this goal: a historical scrutiny of sources (letters, works, manuscripts), prevalent in the first part, and a theoretical investigation of Peirce’s and James’s philosophies, in the second and third parts. The first part analyzes Peirce’s and James’s proximity, which lies in their common understanding of pragmatism as an anti-dogmatic method in philosophy, and their alleged main difference, which is represented by the issue of nominalism/anti-nominalism, and pivots around the concepts of individuals and generals. The article challenges the mainstream interpretation that sees Peirce as a champion of generality and continuity, whereas James is known for being an ardent defender of individuality. The arguments supporting such an unconventional interpretation are offered in the second part, which explores Peirce’s view of individuality in logic, and the third one, dedicated to James’s view of continuity in psychology. As a conclusion, Peirce and James’s shared pragmatic metaphysics turns out to be centered on the dynamical bonding between individuals and generals.

Keywords: Charles S. Peirce, William James, metaphysics, logic, psychology, individuality, continuity.

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Michela Bella, Maria Regina Brioschi, Two Neglected Arguments for a Pragmatist Metaphysics: Peirce and James on Individuals and Generals in "RIVISTA DI STORIA DELLA FILOSOFIA" 3/2022, pp 511-535, DOI: 10.3280/SF2022-003010