Peirce's Scientific Metaphysics: The Philosophy of Chance, by Andrew Reynolds

By Andrew Reynolds

Peirce's clinical Metaphysics is the 1st ebook dedicated to knowing Charles Sanders Peirce's (1839-1914) metaphysics from the point of view of the clinical questions that encouraged his considering. whereas supplying a close account of the clinical principles and theories crucial for figuring out Peirce's metaphysical approach, this e-book is written in a fashion obtainable to the non-specialist.

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Additional info for Peirce's Scientific Metaphysics: The Philosophy of Chance, Law, and Evolution (The Vanderbilt Library of American Philosophy)

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22 A metaphysical philosophy, in the sense of that which is to be definitively accepted in advance of scientific inquiry, is, or should be, a system of pigeon holes in which facts are to be filed away. Its first merit is to give a place to every possible fact. Whatever could conceivably be Philosophical and Scientific Background settled by experiment, metaphysics should abstain from settling in advance. (N1, 201) A Summary Statement of the Cosmology Before we move on to more specific issues, it would be appropriate to look at some particular expression of the cosmology to guide us as we enter into the finer details to be considered in subsequent chapters.

Whatever motion takes place under the influence of conservative forces alone might take place under the same forces in precisely the reverse order, the velocities being the same, but opposite in direction. (C, 2319; italics mine) So it is that the law of vis viva implies that those systems to which it applies are reversible. In an unfinished manuscript intended as a text book on mechanics, “The Principles of Mechanics” (ca. 1878), Peirce wrote that “the fundamental law of mechanics is as follows.

11 What is more pertinent is that Peirce believed that nature is, in many respects, continuous. Space and time are both continuous. Memory is continuous in time, just as sensation or feeling is continuously extended in space. According to Peirce, laws of nature, too, are continuous in the sense that they involve constants with continuous values. From this, it follows that any determination of physical laws and constants by experimental observation must be prone to some error and 17 18 Peirce’s Scientific Metaphysics imprecision.

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