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Conversations on PeirceReals and Ideals$

Douglas Anderson and Carl Hausman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823234677

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823234677.001.0001

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Peirce on Berkeley's Nominalistic Platonism

Peirce on Berkeley's Nominalistic Platonism

(p.3) One Peirce on Berkeley's Nominalistic Platonism
Conversations on Peirce

Doug Anderson

Peter Groff

Fordham University Press

Abstract and Keywords

Peirce sought sources for his own version of realism in the history of western thought. In this chapter, his “scholastic” realism is considered in light of the influences of Bishop Berkeley and Duns Scotus. Berkeley is seen to be a Peircean pragmatist in some respects but not all.

Keywords:   Bishop Berkeley, nominalism, Peirce, realism, Scotus

Peter Groff and I began this piece with a discussion of nominalism in the work of William James. As early as 1915 John Dewey had argued that James was more nominalistic than was Peirce, and that this had some effect on their particular versions of pragmatism. This led us to a consideration of Peirce's attribution of nominalism to a variety of modern thinkers. We came to focus on Berkeley because his work so clearly exemplified the ambiguity of Peirce's response to the British tradition.1

The exemplary role that Bishop Berkeley played in Peirce's conception of pragmatism is suggested by Peirce's frequent references to Berkeley's proto-pragmatic practice. “It was this medium [the river of pragmatism],” Peirce said, “and not tar water, that gave health and strength to Berkeley's earlier works, his Theory of Vision and what remains of his Principles” (CP 5.11). On another occasion he remarked: “In 1871, in a Metaphysical Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I used to preach this principle as a sort of logical gospel, (p.4) representing the unformulated method followed by Berkeley, and in conversation about it I called it ‘Pragmatism’” (CP 6.482). This continuity in pragmatic practice has been noted by a number of commentators. However, although he sought to appropriate Berkeley's proto-pragmatism, Peirce also consistently resisted what he saw as the nominalistic features of Berkeley's earlier works. He went so far as to identify Berkeley as one of the four great nominalists of the modern period (CP 4.1). Peirce's double-edged response to Berkeley's work was of both historical and contemporary importance to him. On the one hand, Berkeley worked in the tradition of nominalism that Peirce believed took its impetus from Ockham's response to the Scotists: thus, Berkeley was for Peirce an important link in the British tradition that developed and maintained an alliance between “scientific” philosophy and nominalism. It is an alliance that is still maintained by both physical realists and some neo-pragmatists in American thought.2 Peirce took this alliance, which informed the work of nineteenth-century scientific philosophers such as John Stuart Mill and Peirce's contemporaries Karl Pearson and T. H. Huxley, to be both accidental and mistaken. Thus, the historical interest led directly into Peirce's own immediate interest: pragmatism and the aims and methods of scientific inquiry. Peirce hoped to bring his own version of scholastic realism back to life as an important ally of science and pragmatism. As Peirce argued:

There are certain questions commonly reckoned as metaphysical, and which certainly are so … which as soon as pragmatism is once sincerely accepted, cannot logically resist settlement. These are for example, What is reality? Are necessity and contingency real modes of being? Are the laws of nature real? Can they be assumed to be immutable or are they presumably results of evolution? Is there any real chance, or departure from real law? (EP 2: 420)

Berkeley was important to this project because 1) his thinking had a pragmatic streak in it that led in the direction of, though never arrived at, a version of scholastic realism; and 2) his work revealed some (p.5) difficulties in maintaining a marriage of pragmatism and nominalism, a fact Peirce hoped would not be lost on his pragmatic contemporaries William James and F. C. S. Schiller.

The focus on Berkeley clearly raises a number of important issues in interpreting Peirce's own thinking. We limit our discussion here, however, to examining what Peirce had in mind when he identified Berkeley's idealism as a nominalistic Platonism. Our thesis is that Peirce saw Berkeley as a kind of mirror image of Scotus. Scotus, Peirce argued, marked out a position that was just the breadth of a hair from nominalism. As we see it, Peirce understood Berkeley's nominalistic idealism to be a hair's breadth from realism. Thus, by examining this assessment of Berkeley, we can hope to see more clearly just what was at stake for Peirce in retaining his realist stance over against the likes of Pearson, James, and Schiller.

Peirce often identified himself as a Scotistic or scholastic realist, but he just as often noted that Scotus's realism was as close as one could get to nominalism without being a nominalist.3 He maintained that Scotus was “inclined toward nominalism” (CP 1.560) and that Scotus's realism was separated from nominalism “by a hair” (CP 8.11). Through his notion of a formal distinction, Scotus raised the possibility of saying that a quality, for example, was real without also being an independent existent. Despite his praise of Scotus, Peirce eventually found himself moving beyond Scotistic realism: “Even Duns Scotus is too nominalistic when he says that universals are contracted to the mode of individuality in singulars, meaning as he does, by singulars, ordinary existing things. The pragmaticist cannot admit that” (CP 8.208).4 Ultimately, even the hair's breadth that kept Scotus a “realist” was insufficient for Peirce, who acknowledged that he maintained an “unqualified” realism (MS 641, p. 12).

It was an analogous problem that led Peirce to view Berkeley's thought—despite its emphasis on ideas—as nominalistic.5 Berkeley, even more than Scotus, was unable to see the importance of generality.6 For Peirce, part of the question was “whether laws and general types are figments of the mind or are real” (CP 1.16). Berkeley leaned (p.6) toward the first option, and as a nominalist saw all reals as “singulars,” as existent things. What remains important in assessing Berkeley, however, is that his nominalism remained intact while his pragmatic thinking was enroute to a broader, more inclusive conception of the real; he simply did not pursue the avenue he opened in the direction of realism.

Peirce's objections to Berkeley's thought are, as noted, to be found in part in his identification of Berkeley as a nominalistic Platonist. “Berkeley,” he stated, “is an admirable illustration of this national character, as well as of that strange union of nominalism with Platonism, which has repeatedly appeared in history, and has been such a stumbling block to the historians of philosophy” (CP 8: 10). Peirce suspected this “strange union” began with earlier medieval thinkers, including Abelard and John of Salisbury (CP 8: 30), and he believed it represented the inability of nominalists to make a distinction between existence and reality:

Individualists [nominalists] are apt to fall into the almost incredible misunderstanding that all other men are individualists, too—even the scholastic realists, who, they suppose, thought that “universals exist.” It is true that there are indications of there having been some who thought so in that greater darkness before the dawn of Aristotle's Analytics and Topics, when such grotesque weldings of doctrine as that of nominalistic Platonism are heard of, and when Roscellin may possibly have said that universals were flatus vocis. (CP 5.503)

For Peirce, the “real is that which is not whatever we happen to think it, but is unaffected by what we may think of it” (CP 8.12; see also 5.430); existence, on the other hand, “is a special mode of reality, which, whatever other characteristics it possesses, has that of being absolutely determinate” (CP 6.349; see also 5.503). Berkeley, as did other nominalistic Platonists, failed to make this distinction, and thus found himself forced to collapse the real into the existent. The conflation left him with inadequate resources, as Peirce saw it, for dealing with meaning, communication, and most centrally, the practice of (p.7) inquiry, all of which require the real generality of relation and semeiosis, or sign activity.

Peirce's assessment of Berkeley's nominalistic Platonism can be approached from two distinct, though related, directions, one with an epistemological emphasis, the other with an ontological emphasis. The first has been developed insightfully and in some detail by Cornelis de Waal. We begin with a brief look at this approach before turning to the second.

De Waal, following Peirce, points out that one pragmatic difference between nominalism and realism is marked by the respective ways in which they describe the locus of constraint on finite thinkers. As de Waal puts it, “nominalism and realism are two rival hypotheses that try to give an account of the constraints upon the mind.”7 Both the nominalist and the realist look for a way to account for this constraint. As de Waal shows, for Peirce, the nominalistic answer is that the mind must be constrained by something external to it—something that is “independent” of mind by being actually separated from it. The commonsense notion that material objects serve as external constraints on thought is perhaps the most common version of such nominalism. Peirce states the nominalist's case as follows:

Where is the real, the thing independent of how we think it, to be found? There must be such a thing, for we find our opinions constrained; there is something, therefore, which influences our thoughts, and is not created by them. We have, it is true, nothing immediately present to us but thoughts. These thoughts, however, have been caused by sensations, and those sensations are constrained by something out of the mind. This thing out of the mind, which directly influences sensation, and through sensation thought, because it is out of the mind, is independent of how we think of it, and is, in short, the real. Here is one view of reality, a very familiar one. And from this point it is clear that the nominalistic answer must be given to the question concerning universals. (CP 8.12)

Thus, in searching for that which is independent of the mind, nominalists—and materialists especially—seek it in that which is external (p.8) to and not like the mind. Thus, as de Waal points out: “It appears that the nominalist assumes that the only way in which something can be independent of the mind is by being external to it.”8

Although Berkeley was a nominalist, he was a nominalist of a peculiar stripe. He rejected the most common form of nominalism—materialism—by asserting that taking material things as the constraining, external others is superfluous from a pragmatic point of view:

I say it is granted on all hands—and what happens in dreams, frenzies, and the like, puts it beyond dispute—that it is possible we might be affected with all the ideas we have now, though there were no bodies existing without resembling them. Hence, it is evident the supposition of external bodies is not necessary for the producing our ideas; since it is granted they are produced sometimes, and might possibly be produced always in the same order we see them in at present, without their concurrence.9

After rejecting material bodies in this fashion, Berkeley sought to locate the constraint on our ideas—the real—elsewhere, in something that seems to have more natural affinity with our ideas. He therefore turned to the divine spirit, or God's ideas: “[I]t remains therefore that the cause of ideas is an incorporeal active substance or Spirit.”10 More generally, as Fraser puts it, “[i]n and through God, or Active Reason, the material world becomes an intelligible world.”11 In some ways, this is, for Peirce, a step in the right direction: it moves toward his own realism, which locates the independent in the “final opinion” of inquiry, which “is independent, not indeed of thought in general, but of all that is arbitrary and individual in thought” (CP 8.12; see also W 2: 239 and Turrisi, p. 143).12 However, as de Waal shows, from Peirce's perspective Berkeley's move, while overcoming materialism, does not get beyond nominalism. The difficulty is that God, or God's mind, remains an external entity—like matter, it stands over against our minds with no clear route of access. Here Peirce, framing a Berkeleyan ontology, found the epistemological dimension of Berkeley's nominalistic Platonism:

(p.9) In the usual sense of the word reality, therefore, Berkeley's doctrine is that the reality of sensible things resides only in their archetypes in the divine mind. This is Platonistic, but it is not realistic. On the contrary, since it places reality wholly out of the mind in the cause of sensations, and since it denies reality (in the true sense of the word) to sensible things in so far as they are sensible, it is distinctly nominalistic. (CP 8.30)

So, despite the fact that Berkeley shifted the locus of constraint to the divine mind, thus making thought or reason central to the intelligibility of our ideas and moving in the direction of Peirce's realism, he remained a nominalist. As de Waal remarks, “the danger of this approach … is that it situates reality again outside our reach. Even though reality is now by definition conceivable, it remains utterly unknowable unless we either have a direct and independent access to the mind of God, or can distinguish intuitively which ideas are imprinted upon our mind by God and which are fictions of our fancy.”13

To be sure, Berkeley suggested several ways by which we might come to know the divine mind, but each of these from Peirce's perspective requires the introduction of an element of real and imperceptible generality into Berkeley's scheme: analogy, symbol, relation, and so forth.14 In replying to objections to his principles, for example, Berkeley stated that we know God by way of those ideas of ours which disclose the general “order and concatenation” of ideas, for they are “the immediate effects of a free spirit.”15 He developed this solution further in the fourth dialogue of Alciphron, where he discussed the possibility of these effects being signs of God.16 Berkeley also introduced his conception of a “notion” of God, which, because it cannot be mediated by ideas, appears to exhibit a reliance on intuition. It is, de Waal points out, precisely his intuitionism at this juncture that allows Berkeley to remain nominalist—to keep God external to finite minds. From Peirce's perspective, Berkeley, whether he relies on intuition or knowledge through effects, fails to be consistent. Peirce notably rejected intuition as being inadequate to our actual experience of cognition (W 2: 193–211). But even on Berkeley's own terms, a notion, as distinct from an idea, seems to require a self-consciousness or self-awareness; thus, to know God notionally, we must either experience (p.10) our own God-consciousness, or work analogically from our own self-awareness to an awareness of God. The former seems experientially false, except perhaps for mystics; moreover, if it were true, it would seem to depend on a continuity of minds, which, as Peirce saw it, would endorse the very realism Berkeley intended to avoid. The latter returns us to a semiotic process, as is the case with our knowing by way of effects. Peirce's complaint about knowing by way of effects and/or analogy is, once again, that generality is already at work in these operations and that, therefore, if Berkeley wants to hold on to this way of knowing, he must give up his insistence that all things are singular existents. Not only God but also the ways of knowing God are themselves imperceptible; thus, where epistemology is considered, Berkeley's nominalistic Platonism seems to have to move beyond its own limits.

In his review of Fraser's Berkeley, Peirce stated his concern for the epistemic inadequacy of Berkeley's nominalism in terms of his rejection of that which is “absolutely incognizable” (CP 8.16). As did Ockham, Berkeley began with the belief “that reality is something independent of representative relation” (W 2: 240). Consequently, Berkeley's God and the divine ideas, in being external, individual existents, seem to be in principle unknowable and, therefore, inadequate as the conditions for knowing, as the loci of constraint on finite thought. God, in effect, becomes “a thing in itself, a thing existing independent of all relation to the mind's conception of it” (CP 8.16).

Although this is not the place to pursue Peirce's general rejection of the notion of a thing in itself, this way of framing the issue reveals how for Peirce the epistemological concern is linked to Berkeley's ontology; this opens up the second approach to Peirce's assessment of Berkeley's nominalism. As Peirce saw it, Berkeley put himself in an ontologically odd position with his shift to idealism. He introduced something “real” that is not perceptible, creating an internal tension in his thought, one that later critics such as Hume would work to their advantage. Peirce noted this tension:

Of course, many things that are Real are not capable of being directly perceived. Berkeley himself admits this; for he makes spirits, (p.11) or Minds, to be Real, notwithstanding his esse est percipi. In #89 of the second edition of his Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge he further acknowledges that there are real Relations between things. (MS 641, p. 23)

In terms of Peirce's own categories or modes of being—firstness, secondness, and thirdness—Berkeley's rejection of materialism and adoption of idealism appear to generate a metaphysics that involves both the firstness of qualities and the thirdness of laws or general ideas. Peirce said as much in his own overview of metaphysical systems:

The Berkeleyans, for whom there are but two kinds of entities, souls, or centres of determinable thought, and ideas in the souls, these ideas being regarded as pure statical entities, little or nothing else than Qualities of Feeling, seem to admit Categories First and Third and to deny Secondness, which they wish to replace by Divine Creative Influence, which certainly has all the flavor of Thirdness. (CP 5.81)

Berkeley was moving in the direction of Peirce's own triadic ontology and offers “the flavor of Thirdness,” Peirce's category of real generality.17 However, Berkeley did not follow his own lead; his move toward realism was stunted by his fundamentally nominalistic outlook, leaving him with a nominalistic Platonism—a Platonism in which the divine spirit and its ideas are taken to be existent individuals, devoid of generality. So, his transition from an emphasis on secondness (matter) to an emphasis on firstness and thirdness (ideas and divine spirit) is stifled by his retention of secondness—actual existence—as the category through which everything is to be made intelligible.

Berkeley's nominalism, of course, began with his rejection of the reality of abstract general ideas. His claim was that all ideas are actual sensations and that these are all particular existents. What we call “abstract general ideas” have no status; they are entirely dependent on particular ideas, having no reality of their own. They are for Berkeley mere signs of particulars: “it seems that a word becomes general by being made the sign, not of an abstract general idea, but of several particular ideas, any one of which it indifferently suggests (p.12) to the mind.”18 To bring this point home, Berkeley denied that we can “frame an abstract, general, and consistent idea of a triangle.”19 Berkeley brought this same commitment to his idealism; if there are no referents for what we call general signs, then the ideas of God must also be particular and existent. As we noted earlier, “Berkeley's doctrine is that the reality of sensible things resides only in their archetypes in the divine mind …” and at the same time “it denies reality (in the true sense of the word) to sensible things in so far as they are sensible …” (CP 8.30). Thus, Berkeley's thinking is analogous to the nominalistic Platonism Peirce found in Fredigisus's claim that “darkness is a thing” (CP 5.215, n. 1); for Berkeley, divine archetypes are things (see MS 641, p. 14).

Peirce responded to Berkeley at this juncture by appealing once again to his own modes of being and to his distinction between reality and existence.20 He responded specifically to Berkeley's denial of the reality of a triangle in general:

Berkeley and nominalists of his stripe deny that we have any idea at all of a triangle in general, which is neither equilateral, isosceles, nor scalene. But he cannot deny that there are propositions about triangles in general, which propositions are either true or false; and as long as that is the case, whether I have an idea of a triangle in some psychological sense or not, I do not, as a logician, care. I have an intellectus, a meaning, of which the triangle in general is an element. (CP 5.181)

Despite his implicit attempts to outflank himself by using his conception of a “notion,” Berkeley, through his nominalism, confined himself to the “psychological sense” of an immediate, existent sensation.

Peirce took Berkeley's emphasis on one mode of being—existence—to produce other unwelcome consequences across the range of his philosophical concerns. One such problem arises if we consider how Berkeley's nominalistic Platonism might address cosmology or, in traditional terms, the question of God's purpose. Insofar as God's ideas are existents, they are also specified and determinate, or what Peirce sometimes called concrete. What, then, might the divine mind's purpose or telos be in Berkeley's world? On his grounds, in its (p.13) specificity this telos can have no inherent generality. Again, in traditional terms, Berkeley's divine mind has foreknowledge precisely because its telos, as an idea, is already determinate—it is fixed. There is no free play here under a general heading as we suppose there is, to use a Peircean example, when one of us wants to make an apple pie. The real generality of our aim, “apple pie,” allows it to be specified in any number of ways (see CP 1.341).21 It was just this conception of real generality that enabled Peirce to adopt an evolutionary cosmology and what he called a developmental teleology, ideas he took to be reasonably consistent with late-nineteenth-century science (CP 6.156). As he saw it, Berkeley's nominalism left no room for development or growth, because it required the world to be determinate at the outset. He lodged his complaint to his contemporaries in somewhat dramatic fashion:

Get rid, thoughtful Reader, of the Ockhamist prejudice of political partizenship that in thought, in being, and in development the indefinite is due to a degeneration from a primal state of perfect definiteness. … [T]he unsettled is the primal state, and … definiteness and determinateness, the two poles of settledness, are, in the large, approximations, developmentally, epistemologically, and metaphysically. (CP 6.348; see also 6.189f and MS 641)

Berkeley, who was in the tradition of the Ockhamists, at least on this score, left no room, as Peirce saw it, either for individual creativity or for development in the cosmos.22

Another consequence of Berkeley's nominalism was the limitation it placed on our ability to understand semeiosis. On the one hand, Peirce routinely praised Berkeley for his pragmatic insight “that every thought is a sign” (CP 5.470; see also W 2: 173, 241). In one such instance he again revealed his ambiguous attachment to Berkeley:

Every competent critic will recognize in me a disciple of Berkeley, although I am utterly opposed to his Nominalism, and although his denial of Matter, bad enough in his own day, has become ridiculous in ours. His attack on infinitesimals is of a piece with his Nominalism. But the Truth of Berkeleianism lies in his hinging (p.14) all philosophy,—all Coenoscopy, to borrow Bentham's excellent word,—on the concept SIGN. (MS 641, p. 18)

Berkeley began by noting that our ideas are themselves signs23 and then played this into his idealism so that, as Fraser maintained, “Natural causation is natural symbolism, dependent on, and expressive of, the perfect reason and will of God.”24 Our world, literally, becomes a world of signs.

This pervasiveness of semeiosis was, of course, attractive to Peirce. But again Berkeley's nominalism interfered with his insight. For Peirce, signs are general, but for Berkeley they bear no generality (see, for example, CP 6.344 and Turrisi, p. 149). At best, from Peirce's perspective, Berkeley can generate a semeiotic of indexicality or reference, though even this, as Peirce saw it, involves relation and therefore generality. Realism, in admitting generality, offers a considerably more powerful semeiotic. For the realist, “general conceptions enter into all judgments, and therefore into true opinions” (CP 8.14). The consequence of Berkeley's nominalistic Platonism, then, is not only an impoverished semeiotic but the loss of the ordinary features of human reasoning: “But the sense of Berkeley's implication would be that there is no truth and no judgments but propositions spoken or on paper” (CP 8.26, n. 9).25 It is precisely this consequence that made Peirce resist the alliance of nominalism and science.

There were a variety of key ideas that Peirce thought important for late-nineteenth-century science and for which he believed Berkeley's nominalism made no room: continuity, growth, evolution, and perhaps most important, species and law. As Peirce saw it, the “most important reals” of our everyday world “have the mode of being of what the nominalist calls ‘mere’ words, that is, general types and would-bes. The nominalists are right in saying that these reals are substantially of the nature of words; but their ‘mere’ reveals a complete misunderstanding of what our everyday world consists of” (CP 8.191). The wider quarrel Peirce had with Berkeley's nominalistic Platonism that is evidenced in these examples is that it was unable to do what it set out to do: to establish an adequate constraint on our ideas (p.15) that is not completely foreign to them, and to make our ideas—our world—intelligible. The central reason Peirce saw for this failure was the inadequacy inherent in Berkeley's reliance on existence as the single category or mode of being. Peirce took his own realism to be more inclusive and thus more adequate for addressing human experience. As Edward Moore notes, the distinction between reals and existents is crucial: “firsts are real (5.118), seconds are real (6.349), and thirds are real (5.122). But only seconds exist (5.429).”26

In Berkeley, Peirce saw both a kindred, pragmatic spirit working his way back toward a scholastic realism, and a nominalistic Platonist foreshadowing Peirce's nominalistic, scientistic contemporaries who “recognize but one mode of being, the being of an individual thing or fact” (CP 1.21). Peirce had a genuine historical interest in Berkeley, but his interest was more than historical. Berkeley served also as a marker of nominalism's failure, and was thus useful in Peirce's own battles with the likes of Karl Pearson, whose nominalism led to the assertion that “it is we who make the Laws of Nature” (MS 641, p. 22). In concert with his assessment of Berkeley's nominalistic Platonism, Peirce was able to say in response to Pearson, as we will detail in chapter 8, that with his three modes of being, he embraced a realism that is inclusive of the nominalist's existents, that maintains an independent constraint on individual thought in the “would be” final opinion of an indefinite inquiry, and that authorizes science's quest for laws that are of nature and not of our making.

Peirce's resistance to Berkeley as a nominalistic pragmatist reveals his insistence on the linkage between pragmatism and scholastic realism. When we turn to the historical development of pragmatism in its American setting, the notion of scholastic realism becomes a useful tool for assessing similarities and differences between Peirce's outlook and those of other self-professed pragmatists.


(1.) A number of scholars have tracked Peirce's accounts of nominalism and realism in full detail. Among other texts, we recommend John Boler's Charles Peirce and Scholastic Realism (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1963); Rosa Mayorga's From Realism to “Realicism” (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2007); Claudine Engel-Tiercelin's “Vagueness and the Unity of C. S. Peirce's Realism,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 28, no. 1 (1992): 51–82; and Cornelis de Waal's “Peirce's Nominalist-Realist Distinction, an Untenable Dualism,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 34, no. 1 (1998): 183–202. Boler provides good historical background for Peirce's version of realism. Though we think de Waal focuses a bit too exclusively on the distinction between externality and internality, both he and Mayorga show clearly that Peirce s version of realism is more complex than is sometimes supposed. Finally, Engel-Tiercelin's essay develops the crucial links between Peirce's realism and his account of indeterminacy.

(2.) Realists such as R. B. Perry and R. W. Sellars took nominalism to be at the heart of their thinking. Some recent pragmatists, such as Richard Rorty, make nominalism (at least implicitly) central to their emphasis on contingency.

(3.) For an excellent treatment of Peirce s realism and its relation to that of Scotus and other scholastics, see Boler, Charles Peirce and Scholastic Realism, and his “Peirce and Medieval Thought,” in Misak, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Peirce (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

(4.) Pragmaticism was a term Peirce used late in his career to distinguish his conception of pragmatism from the pragmatisms of James, Schiller, and others (CP 5.414).

(5.) It is perhaps important to keep in mind that for Peirce, borders are continua. Thus, nominalism and realism merge into each other; what becomes important, then, at the border between the two, are matters of emphasis, inflection, and direction.

(6.) Patricia Turrisi, Pragmatism as a Principle and Method of Right Thinking: The 1903 Lectures on Pragmatism (Albany: SUNY Press, 1997)

(7.) Cornelis de Waal, “The Real Issue between Nominalism and Realism: Peirce and Berkeley Reconsidered,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 32, no. 3 (summer 1996): 437

(8.) Ibid., p. 430

(9.) Alexander Campbell Fraser, Selections from Berkeley, Annotated (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1899), p. 45

(10.) Fraser, p. 51

(11.) Ibid., p. xxxiii

(12.) Peirce's realism also tries to outflank the question of externality by understanding our ideas to be dimensions of a community of thought. Peirce often tried to get at this by stating that we are in thought; thought is not in us.

(13.) de Waal, “The Real Issue,” pp. 433–34; see also Peirce, W 2: 240

(14.) Peirce draws attention to this internal inconsistency throughout Berkeley's thought. See, for example, MS 641, p.23.

(15.) Fraser, p. 74

(16.) Ibid., p. 229

(17.) Because of this movement in Berkeley's thought, Peirce occasionally suggested that his own “conditional idealism” was a modified version of Berkeley's. See, for example, MS 322, p.20.

(18.) Fraser, p. 16

(19.) Ibid., p. 22

(20.) In his fourth pragmatism lecture of 1903, Peirce examined other metaphysical systems by assessing which of his three categories they took into (p.233) account. For an extended treatment of his own alternate conception of the real, see these 1903 lectures in Turrisi. See also CP 6.237–28 and 5.430–35. For thorough secondary discussions, see Boler, Charles Peirce and Scholastic Realism, 117–44 and Christopher Hookway, Peirce (Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985), 36–40 and 112–17.

(21.) For a good discussion of this example, see Engel-Tiercelin.

(22.) Carl Hausman, Charles Peirce's Evolutionary Philosophy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993)

(23.) Fraser, pp. 17–18

(24.) Ibid., p. xxx

(25.) Vincent Colapietro's Peirce's Approach to the Self: A Semiotic Perspective on Human Subjectivity (Albany: SUNY Press, 1989)

(26.) Edward C. Moore, “The Influence of Duns Scotus on Peirce,” Studies in the Philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce: Second Series, ed. R. Robin and E. Moore (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1964), p. 409