Philosophical skepticism is a philosophical school of thought that questions the possibility of certainty in knowledge. Skeptic philosophers from different historical periods adopted different principles and arguments, but their ideology can be generalized as either the denial of possibility of all knowledge or the suspension of judgement due to the inadequacy of evidence. Skepticism covers a range of different positions. In the ancient world there were two main skeptical traditions. Academic skepticism took the dogmatic position. Radical skepticism ends in the paradoxical claim that one cannot know anything—including that one cannot know about knowing anything. Skepticism can be classified according to its scope. Local skepticism involves being skeptical about particular areas of knowledge, e.g. moral skepticism, skepticism about the external world, or skepticism about other minds, whereas global skepticism is skeptical about the possibility of any knowledge at all. Skepticism can be classified according to its method.
In the Western tradition there are two basic approaches to skepticism. Cartesian skepticism —named somewhat misleadingly after René Descartes, not a skeptic but used some traditional skeptical arguments in his Meditations to help establish his rationalist approach to knowledge— attempts to show that any proposed knowledge claim can be doubted. Agrippan skepticism focuses on the process of justification rather than the possibility of doubt. According to this view there are three ways in which one might attempt to justify a claim but none of them are adequate: one can keep on providing further justification but this leads to an infinite regress. Philosophical skepticism is distinguished from methodological skepticism in that philosophical skepticism is an approach that questions the possibility of certainty in knowledge, whereas methodological skepticism is an approach that subjects all knowledge claims to scrutiny with the goal of sorting out true from false claims. Philosophical skepticism begins with the claim that the skeptic does not have knowledge.
Some adherents maintain. It could be argued, he appears to have thought that if people continue to ask questions they might come to have knowledge. Some skeptics have gone further and claimed that true knowledge is impossible, for example the Academic school in Ancient Greece well after the time of Carneades. A third skeptical approach would be neither to reject the possibility of knowledge. Skepticism can be either about particular areas. A'global' skeptic argues that he does not know anything to be either true or false. Academic global skepticism has great difficulty in supporting this claim while maintaining philosophical rigor, since it seems to require that nothing can be known—except for the knowledge that nothing can be known, though in its probabilistic form it can use and support the notion of weight of evidence. Thus, some probabilists avoid extreme skepticism by maintaining that they are'reasonably certain' some things are real or true; as for using probabilistic arguments to defend skepticism, in a sense this enlarges or increases scepticism, while the defence of empiricism by Empiricus weakens skepticism and strengthens dogmatism by alleging that sensory appearances are beyond doubt.
Much Kant would re-define "dogmatism" to make indirect realism about the external world seem objectionable. While many Hellenists, outside of Empiricus, would maintain that everyone, not sceptical about everything is a dogmatist, this position would seem too extreme for most philosophers. A Pyrrhonian global skeptic labors under no such modern constraint, since Pyrrho only alleged that he did not know anything, he made no statement about the possibility of knowledge. Nor did Arcesilaus feel bound, since he corrected Socrates's "I only know that I know nothing" by adding "I don't know that", thus more rejecting dogmatism. Local skeptics deny that people can have knowledge of a particular area, they may be skeptical about the possibility of one form of knowledge without doubting other forms. Different kinds of local skepticism may emerge, depending on the area. A person may doubt the truth value of different types of journalism, for example, depending on the types of media they trust. In Islamic philosophy, skepticism was established by Al-Ghazali, known in the West as "Algazel", as part of the Ash'ari school of Islamic theology.
Francisco Sanches's That Nothing is Known is one of the crucial texts of Renaissance skepticism. Skepticism, as an epistemological argument, poses the question of whether knowledge, in the first place, is possible. Skeptics argue that the belief in something does not justify an assertion of knowledge of it. In this, skeptics oppose dogmatic foundationalism, which states that there have to be some basic positions that are self-justified or beyond justification, without reference to others; the skeptical response to this can take several approaches. First, claiming that "basic positions" must exist amounts to the logical fallacy of argument from ignorance combined with the slippery slope. Among other arguments, skeptics used Agrippa's trilemma, named after Agrippa the
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a German philosopher, cultural critic, poet and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual history. He began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy, he became the youngest to hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel in 1869 at the age of 24. Nietzsche resigned in 1879 due to health problems. In 1889 at age 44, he suffered a collapse and afterward, a complete loss of his mental faculties, he lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897 and with his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche. Nietzsche died in 1900. Nietzsche's body of work touched a wide range of topics, including art, history, tragedy and science, his writing spans philosophical polemics, cultural criticism and fiction while displaying a fondness for aphorism and irony. His early inspiration was drawn from figures such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Richard Wagner and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Prominent elements of his philosophy include his radical critique of truth in favor of perspectivism. He developed influential concepts such as the Übermensch and the doctrine of eternal return. In his work, he became preoccupied with the creative powers of the individual to overcome social and moral contexts in pursuit of new values and aesthetic health. After his death, his sister Elisabeth became the curator and editor of Nietzsche's manuscripts, reworking his unpublished writings to fit her own German nationalist ideology while contradicting or obfuscating Nietzsche's stated opinions, which were explicitly opposed to antisemitism and nationalism. Through her published editions, Nietzsche's work became associated with Nazism. Nietzsche's thought enjoyed renewed popularity in the 1960s and his ideas have since had a profound impact on 20th and early-21st century thinkers across philosophy—especially in schools of continental philosophy such as existentialism and post-structuralism—as well as art, psychology and popular culture.
Born on 15 October 1844, Nietzsche grew up in the small town of Röcken, near Leipzig, in the Prussian Province of Saxony. He was named after King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, who turned 49 on the day of Nietzsche's birth. Nietzsche's Carl Ludwig Nietzsche, a Lutheran pastor and former teacher, they had two other children: a daughter, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, born in 1846. Nietzsche's father died from a brain ailment in 1849; the family moved to Naumburg, where they lived with Nietzsche's maternal grandmother and his father's two unmarried sisters. After the death of Nietzsche's grandmother in 1856, the family moved into their own house, now Nietzsche-Haus, a museum and Nietzsche study centre. Nietzsche attended a boys' school and a private school, where he became friends with Gustav Krug, Rudolf Wagner and Wilhelm Pinder, all of whom came from respected families. In 1854, he began to attend Domgymnasium in Naumburg; because his father had worked for the state the now-fatherless Nietzsche was offered a scholarship to study at the internationally recognized Schulpforta.
He transferred and studied there from 1858 to 1864, becoming friends with Paul Deussen and Carl von Gersdorff. He found time to work on poems and musical compositions. Nietzsche led a music and literature club, during his summers in Naumburg. At Schulpforta, Nietzsche received an important grounding in languages—Greek, Latin and French—so as to be able to read important primary sources, his end-of-semester exams in March 1864 showed a 1 in German. While at Pforta, Nietzsche had a penchant for pursuing subjects, he became acquainted with the work of the almost-unknown poet Friedrich Hölderlin, calling him "my favorite poet" and composing an essay in which he said that the mad poet raised consciousness to "the most sublime ideality." The teacher who corrected the essay gave it a good mark but commented that Nietzsche should concern himself in the future with healthier, more lucid, more "German" writers. Additionally, he became acquainted with Ernst Ortlepp, an eccentric and drunken poet, found dead in a ditch weeks after meeting the young Nietzsche but who may have introduced Nietzsche to the music and writing of Rich
John Deely was an American philosopher and semiotician. He was a professor of philosophy at Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Prior to this, he held the Rudman Chair of Graduate Philosophy at the Center for Thomistic Studies, located at the University of St. Thomas, his main research concerned the role of semiosis in mediating things. He investigated the manner in which experience itself is a dynamic structure woven of triadic relations whose elements or terms interchange positions and roles over time in the spiral of semiosis, he was 2006–2007 Executive Director of the Semiotic Society of America. Deely was married to the Maritain scholar Brooke Williams Smith. John Deely first became aware of semiotics as a distinct subject matter during the course of his work on language at the Institute for Philosophical Research as a senior research fellow under the direction of Mortimer J. Adler, through reading Jacques Maritain and John Poinsot, which led to his original contact with Thomas Sebeok in 1968 with a proposal to prepare a critical edition of Poinsot's Tractatus de Signis as the earliest full systematization of an inquiry into the being proper to signs.
This proposal turned out to require 15 years to complete. Deely and Sebeok became close associates, notably in the 1975 founding of the Semiotic Society of America, in which project Sebeok had Deely function as secretary of the committee drafting the constitution. In 1980, Sebeok asked Deely to take charge of the development of the SSA annual proceedings volumes, to which end Deely developed the distinctive SSA Style Sheet, which takes as its principle foundation the fact that no one writes after they die, as a consequence of which primary source dates should always come from the lifetime of the cited source—the principle of historical layering—because it reveals the layers of discourse just as the layers of rocks reveal the history of the Earth to a trained geologist. Sebeok in his foreword to Deely's 1982 Introducing Semiotics, identified Deely's work on Poinsot's Tractatus de Signis as the'missing link' between the ancients and the moderns in the history of semiotic, a pivot as well as a divide between two huge intellective landscapes the ecology of neither of which could be appreciated prior to this major publishing event.
This 1982 work of Deely's was based upon his 1981 essay, "The relation of logic to semiotics," which won the first Mouton D'or Award for Best Essay in the Field in the Calendar Year. In 1990, Deely published a work titled Basics of Semiotics, which Sebeok called "the only successful modern English introduction to semiotics." Sebeok himself, beginning in 1963, had argued that the prevailing name for the study of signs—semiology—in fact concealed a fallacy of mistaking a part for a larger whole. Like Locke and Jakobson, Sebeok considered that'semiotics' was the proper name for a whole in which'semiology' focuses only on the anthropocentric part, that the action of signs extends well beyond the realm of culture to include the whole realm of living things, a view summarized today in the term biosemiotics. Deely, notably in Basics of Semiotics, laid down the argument that the action of signs extends further than life, that semiosis as an influence of the future played a role in the shaping of the physical universe prior to the advent of life, a role for which Deely coined the term physiosemiosis.
Thus the argument whether the manner in which the action of signs permeates the universe includes the nonliving as well as the living stands, as it were, as determining the "final frontier" of semiotics. Deely's argument, which he first expressed at the 1989 Charles Sanders Peirce Sesquicentennial International Congress at Harvard University, if successful, would render nugatory Peirce's "sop to Cerberus." Deely's Basics of Semiotics, of which so far six expanded editions have been published across nine languages, deals with semiotics in this expansive sense. In his most recent work, Medieval Philosophy Redefined, Deely employed Peirce's notion of semiotics as a cenoscopic science to show how the Latin Age, from St. Augustine to John Poinsot, marked the first florescence of semiotic consciousness—only to be eclipsed in philosophy by the modern "subjective turn" to'epistemology', which Sebeok called the "cryptosemiotic" period; the full return to semiotic consciousness, Deely argued, was launched by the work of Charles S. Peirce, beginning most notably with his New List of Categories.
In his other work of 2010, Semiotics Seen Synchronically, Deely described semiotics as a contemporary phenomenon of intellectual culture consolidated through the organizational and literary work of Thomas Sebeok himself. "Theses on Semiology and Semiotics", The American Journal of Semiotics 26.1–4, 17–25. Introducing Semiotic: Its History and Doctrine. Basics of Semiotics: 1st ed. published in English and Portuguese. Bazele Semioticii, trans. Mariana Neţ. Basics of Semiotics, Japanese edition. Subsequent expanded editions listed in following entries. 2nd ed. Los Fundamentos de la Semiotica, trans. José Luis Caivano and Mauricio Beuchot. Ukrainian edition, trans. Anatolij Karas (Lviv Un
Post-processual archaeology, sometimes alternately referred to as the interpretative archaeologies by its adherents, is a movement in archaeological theory that emphasizes the subjectivity of archaeological interpretations. Despite having a vague series of similarities, post-processualism consists of "very diverse strands of thought coalesced into a loose cluster of traditions". Within the post-processualist movement, a wide variety of theoretical viewpoints have been embraced, including structuralism and Neo-Marxism, as have a variety of different archaeological techniques, such as phenomenology; the post-processual movement originated in the United Kingdom during the late 1970s and early 1980s, pioneered by archaeologists such as Ian Hodder, Daniel Miller, Christopher Tilley and Peter Ucko, who were influenced by French Marxist anthropology and similar trends in sociocultural anthropology. Parallel developments soon followed in the United States. Post-processualism was a reaction to and critique of processual archaeology, a paradigm developed in the 1960s by'New Archaeologists' such as Lewis Binford, which had become dominant in Anglophone archaeology by the 1970s.
Post-processualism was critical of a key tenet of processualism, namely its assertion that archaeological interpretations could, if the scientific method was applied, come to objective conclusions. Post-processualists criticized previous archaeological work for overemphasizing materialist interpretations of the past and being ethically and politically irresponsible. In the United States, archaeologists see post-processualism as an accompaniment to the processual movement, while in the United Kingdom, they remain thought of as separate and opposing theoretical movements. In other parts of the world, post-processualism has made less of an impact on archaeological thought; the post-processualists' approach to archaeology is diametrically opposed to that of the processualists. The processualists, as positivists, believed that the scientific method should and could apply to archaeological investigation, therefore allowing archaeologists to present objective statements about past societies based upon the evidence.
Post-processual archaeology, questioned this stance, instead emphasized that archaeology was subjective rather than objective, that what truth could be ascertained from the archaeological record was relative to the viewpoint of the archaeologist responsible for unearthing and presenting the data. As the archaeologist Matthew Johnson noted, "Postprocessualists suggest that we can never confront theory and data. Due to the fact that they believe archaeology to be inherently subjective, post-processualists argue that "all archaeologists... whether they overtly admit it or not", always impose their own views and bias into their interpretations of the archaeological data. In many cases, they hold. Post-processualist Daniel Miller believed that the positivist approach of the processualists, in holding that only that which could be sensed and predicted was valid, only sought to produce technical knowledge that facilitated the oppression of ordinary people by elites. In a similar criticism and Chris Tilley believed that by putting forward the concept that human societies were irresistibly shaped by external influences and pressures, archaeologists were tacitly accepting social injustice.
Many processualists took this further and criticised the fact that archaeologists from wealthy, western countries were studying and writing the histories of poorer nations in the second and third worlds. Ian Hodder stated that archaeologists had no right to interpret the prehistories of other ethnic or cultural groups, that instead they should provide individuals from these groups with the ability to construct their own views of the past. While Hodder's viewpoint was not universally accepted among post-processualists, there was enough support for opposing racism and professional elitism within the discipline that in 1986 the World Archaeological Congress was established. A number of post-processualists, such as Michael Shanks, Christopher Tilley and Peter Ucko, undermined "archaeology's claims to be an authoritative source of knowledge about the past", thereby "encourag people to question and resist all forms of authority… This position was hailed by its supporters as democratizing archaeology and purging it… of elitist pretensions".
Whereas the processualists had been firm materialists, the culture-historical archaeologists had, by contrast, been idealists, the post-processualists argued that past societies should be interpreted through both materialist and idealist ideas. As Johnson noted, "Many postprocessualists claim that we should reject the whole opposition between material and ideal in the first place." While recognizing that past societies would have interpreted the world around them in a materialistic way, the post-processualists argue that many historic societies have placed a great emphasis on ideology in both interpreting their world and influencing their behaviour. Examples of this can be seen in the work of Bernard Knapp, who examined how the social elite manipulated ideology to maintain their political and economic control, of Mike Parker Pearson, who asserted that tools were just as much a product of ideology as were a crown or a law code. Using an example to explain this belief in materialist-idealist unity, the archaeologist Matthew Johnson looked at the idea of landscape among past societies.
He argued that: On the one hand, a materialist view of landscape tends to stress how it may be seen in terms of a set of resources, for example for hunt
In philosophy and models of scientific inquiry, postpositivism is a metatheoretical stance that critiques and amends positivism. While positivists emphasize independence between the researcher and the researched person, postpositivists accept that theories, background and values of the researcher can influence what is observed. Postpositivists pursue objectivity by recognizing the possible effects of biases. While positivists emphasize quantitative methods, postpositivists consider both quantitative and qualitative methods to be valid approaches. Postpositivists believe that human knowledge is based not on a priori assessments from an objective individual, but rather upon human conjectures; as human knowledge is thus unavoidably conjectural, the assertion of these conjectures are warranted, or more justified by a set of warrants, which can be modified or withdrawn in the light of further investigation. However, postpositivism is not a form of relativism, retains the idea of objective truth. Postpositivists believe that a reality exists, unlike positivists, they believe reality can be known only imperfectly and probabilistically.
Postpositivists draw from social constructionism in forming their understanding and definition of reality. While positivists believe that research is or can be value-free or value-neutral, postpositivists take the position that bias is undesired but inevitable, therefore the investigator must work to detect and try to correct it. Postpositivists work to understand how their axiology may have influenced their research, including through their choice of measures, populations and definitions, as well as through their interpretation and analysis of their work. Historians identify two types of positivism: classical positivism, an empirical tradition first described by Henri de Saint-Simon and Auguste Comte, logical positivism, most associated with the Vienna Circle, which met near Vienna, Austria, in the 1920s and 1930s. Postpositivism is the name D. C. Phillips gave to a group of amendments which apply to both forms of positivism. One of the first thinkers to criticize logical positivism was Sir Karl Popper.
He advanced falsification in lieu of the logical positivist idea of verificationism.. Falsificationism argues that it is impossible to verify that beliefs about universals or unobservables are true, though it is possible to reject false beliefs if they are phrased in a way amenable to falsification. Thomas Kuhn's idea of paradigm shifts offers a broader critique of logical positivism, arguing that it is not individual theories but whole worldviews that must shift in response to evidence. Postpositivism is not a rejection of the scientific method, but rather a reformation of positivism to meet these critiques, it reintroduces the basic assumptions of positivism: the possibility and desirability of objective truth, the use of experimental methodology. The work of philosophers Nancy Cartwright and Ian Hacking are representative of these ideas. Postpositivism of this type is described in social science guides to research methods. Robert Dubin describes the basic components of a postpositivist theory as being composed of basic "units" or ideas and topics of interest, "laws of interactions" among the units, a description of the "boundaries" for the theory.
A postpositivist theory includes "empirical indicators" to connect the theory to observable phenomena, hypotheses that are testable using the scientific method. According to Thomas Kuhn, a postpositivist theory can be assessed on the basis of whether it is "accurate", "consistent", "has broad scope", "parsimonious", "fruitful". Karl Popper Logik der Forschung, rewritten in English as The Logic of Scientific Discovery Thomas Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Karl Popper Conjectures and Refutations Ian Hacking Representing and Intervening Andrew Pickering Constructing Quarks Peter Galison How Experiments End Nancy Cartwright Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement Antipositivism Philosophy of science Scientism Sociology of scientific knowledge Alexander, J. C. Fin De Siecle Social Theory: Relativism and The Problem of Reason, London. Phillips, D. C. & Nicholas C. Burbules: Postpositivism and Educational Research. Lanham & Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Zammito, John H.: A Nice Derangement of Epistemes.
Post-positivism in the study of Science from Quine to Latour. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press. Popper, K. Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge, London. Moore, R. Towards the Sociology of Truth, London. Positivism and Post-positivism
Modernism is a philosophical movement that, along with cultural trends and changes, arose from wide-scale and far-reaching transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among the factors that shaped modernism were the development of modern industrial societies and the rapid growth of cities, followed by reactions of horror to World War I. Modernism rejected the certainty of Enlightenment thinking, many modernists rejected religious belief. Modernism, in general, includes the activities and creations of those who felt the traditional forms of art, literature, religious faith, social organization, activities of daily life, sciences, were becoming ill-fitted to their tasks and outdated in the new economic and political environment of an emerging industrialized world; the poet Ezra Pound's 1934 injunction to "Make it new!" was the touchstone of the movement's approach towards what it saw as the now obsolete culture of the past. In this spirit, its innovations, like the stream-of-consciousness novel and twelve-tone music, divisionist painting and abstract art, all had precursors in the 19th century.
A notable characteristic of modernism is self-consciousness and irony concerning literary and social traditions, which led to experiments with form, along with the use of techniques that drew attention to the processes and materials used in creating a painting, building, etc. Modernism explicitly rejected the ideology of realism and made use of the works of the past by the employment of reprise, rewriting, recapitulation and parody; some commentators define modernism as a mode of thinking—one or more philosophically defined characteristics, like self-consciousness or self-reference, that run across all the novelties in the arts and the disciplines. More common in the West, are those who see it as a progressive trend of thought that affirms the power of human beings to create and reshape their environment with the aid of practical experimentation, scientific knowledge, or technology. From this perspective, modernism encouraged the re-examination of every aspect of existence, from commerce to philosophy, with the goal of finding that which was'holding back' progress, replacing it with new ways of reaching the same end.
Others focus on modernism as an aesthetic introspection. This facilitates consideration of specific reactions to the use of technology in the First World War, anti-technological and nihilistic aspects of the works of diverse thinkers and artists spanning the period from Friedrich Nietzsche to Samuel Beckett. While some scholars see modernism continuing into the twenty first century, others see it evolving into late modernism or high modernism. Postmodernism refutes its basic assumptions. According to one critic, modernism developed out of Romanticism's revolt against the effects of the Industrial Revolution and bourgeois values: "The ground motive of modernism, Graff asserts, was criticism of the nineteenth-century bourgeois social order and its world view the modernists, carrying the torch of romanticism." While J. M. W. Turner, one of the greatest landscape painters of the 19th century, was a member of the Romantic movement, as "a pioneer in the study of light and atmosphere", he "anticipated the French Impressionists" and therefore modernism "in breaking down conventional formulas of representation.
The dominant trends of industrial Victorian England were opposed, from about 1850, by the English poets and painters that constituted the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, because of their "opposition to technical skill without inspiration." They were influenced by the writings of the art critic John Ruskin, who had strong feelings about the role of art in helping to improve the lives of the urban working classes, in the expanding industrial cities of Britain. Art critic Clement Greenberg describes the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood as proto-Modernists: "There the proto-Modernists were, of all people, the pre-Raphaelites; the Pre-Raphaelites foreshadowed Manet, with whom Modernist painting most begins. They acted on a dissatisfaction with painting as practiced in their time, holding that its realism wasn't truthful enough." Rationalism has had opponents in the philosophers Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche, both of whom had significant influence on existentialism. However, the Industrial Revolution continued.
Influential innovations included steam-powered industrialization, the development of railways, starting in Britain in the 1830s, the subsequent advancements in physics and architecture associated with this. A major 19th-century engineering achievement was The Crystal Palace, the huge cast-iron and plate glass exhibition hall built for The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. Glass and iron were used in a similar monumental style in the construction of major railway terminals in London, such as Paddington Station and King's Cross station; these technological advances led to the building of structures like the Brooklyn Bridge and the Eiffel Tower. The latter broke all previous limitations on; these engineering marvels radically altered the 19th-century urban environment and the daily lives of people. The human experience of time itself was altered, with the development of the electric telegraph from 1837, the adoption
Charles Sanders Peirce
Charles Sanders Peirce was an American philosopher, logician and scientist, sometimes known as "the father of pragmatism". He was employed as a scientist for thirty years. Today he is appreciated for his contributions to logic, philosophy, scientific methodology and for his founding of pragmatism. An innovator in mathematics, philosophy, research methodology, various sciences, Peirce considered himself and foremost, a logician, he made major contributions to logic, but logic for him encompassed much of that, now called epistemology and philosophy of science. He saw logic as the formal branch of semiotics, of which he is a founder, which foreshadowed the debate among logical positivists and proponents of philosophy of language that dominated 20th century Western philosophy. Additionally, he defined the concept of abductive reasoning, as well as rigorously formulated mathematical induction and deductive reasoning; as early as 1886 he saw that logical operations could be carried out by electrical switching circuits.
The same idea was used decades to produce digital computers. In 1934, the philosopher Paul Weiss called Peirce "the most original and versatile of American philosophers and America's greatest logician". Webster's Biographical Dictionary said in 1943 that Peirce was "now regarded as the most original thinker and greatest logician of his time." Keith Devlin referred to Peirce as one of the greatest philosophers ever. Peirce was born at 3 Phillips Place in Massachusetts, he was the son of Sarah Hunt Mills and Benjamin Peirce, himself a professor of astronomy and mathematics at Harvard University and the first serious research mathematician in America. At age 12, Charles read his older brother's copy of Richard Whately's Elements of Logic the leading English-language text on the subject. So began his lifelong fascination with logic and reasoning, he went on to earn a A. B. and a A. M. from Harvard. In 1863 the Lawrence Scientific School awarded him a B. Sc. Harvard's first summa cum laude chemistry degree.
His academic record was otherwise undistinguished. At Harvard, he began lifelong friendships with Francis Ellingwood Abbot, Chauncey Wright, William James. One of his Harvard instructors, Charles William Eliot, formed an unfavorable opinion of Peirce; this proved fateful, because Eliot, while President of Harvard (1869–1909—a period encompassing nearly all of Peirce's working life—repeatedly vetoed Peirce'e employment at the university. Peirce suffered from his late-teens onward from a nervous condition known as "facial neuralgia", which would today be diagnosed as trigeminal neuralgia, his biographer, Joseph Brent, says that when in the throes of its pain "he was, at first stupefied, aloof, depressed suspicious, impatient of the slightest crossing, subject to violent outbursts of temper". Its consequences may have led to the social isolation which made his life's years so tragic. Between 1859 and 1891, Peirce was intermittently employed in various scientific capacities by the United States Coast Survey and its successor, the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, where he enjoyed his influential father's protection until the latter's death in 1880.
That employment exempted Peirce from having to take part in the American Civil War. At the Survey, he worked in geodesy and gravimetry, refining the use of pendulums to determine small local variations in the Earth's gravity, he was elected a resident fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in January 1867. The Survey sent him to Europe five times, first in 1871 as part of a group sent to observe a solar eclipse. There, he sought out Augustus De Morgan, William Stanley Jevons, William Kingdon Clifford, British mathematicians and logicians whose turn of mind resembled his own. From 1869 to 1872, he was employed as an Assistant in Harvard's astronomical observatory, doing important work on determining the brightness of stars and the shape of the Milky Way. On April 20, 1877 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences. In 1877, he proposed measuring the meter as so many wavelengths of light of a certain frequency, the kind of definition employed from 1960 to 1983. During the 1880s, Peirce's indifference to bureaucratic detail waxed while his Survey work's quality and timeliness waned.
Peirce took years to write reports. Meanwhile, he wrote entries thousands during 1883–1909, on philosophy, logic and other subjects for the encyclopedic Century Dictionary. In 1885, an investigation by the Allison Commission exonerated Peirce, but led to the dismissal of Superintendent Julius Hilgard and several other Coast Survey employees for misuse of public funds. In 1891, Peirce resigned from the Coast Survey at Superintendent Thomas Corwin Mendenhall's request, he never again held regular employment. In 1879, Peirce was appointed Lecturer in logic at Johns Hopkins University, which had strong departments in a number of areas that interested him, such as philosophy and mathematics, his Studies in Logic by Members of the Johns Hopkins University contained works by himself and Allan Marquand, Christine Ladd, Benjamin Ives Gilman, Oscar Howard Mitchell, several of whom were his graduate students. Peirce's nonte