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The Philosophical Psychology of Charles S. Peirce

Cristalli, Claudia; (2020) The Philosophical Psychology of Charles S. Peirce. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This work is about the philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914) and nineteenth century psychology. More precisely, it is about the interactions between Peirce’s scientific practice as an experimental psychologist and the development of his philosophical reflection, especially his epistemology. The main thesis of this work is that Peirce’s theory of perception is inferential, and that this has far-reaching consequences on his account of the self, on his reflection on the method of science and on what counts as a scientific fact. This latter point also connects his theory of inquiry with his distinctive metaphysics of continuity. I defend my thesis as follows. In the first chapter, I explore the early development of an inferential account of perception in Peirce and its connections with his logic of science and his theory of inquiry more broadly. To do so, I examine Peirce’s 1865 Harvard Lectures in light of the inferential philosophy of science of William Whewell and the theory of perception as unconscious inferences presented by Wilhelm Wundt in 1862-3. In the second chapter, I bring Peirce’s inferentialism to bear on some of his better-known works: the 1868 “cognition” papers and the Illustrations of the Logic of Science of 1877-8. The third chapter further expands the context of Peirce’s inferential theory of perception by looking at German psychology and finding a new perspective from which to assess Kant’s influence on Peirce’s thought. Chapter 4 looks at Peirce’s use of experimental psychology in photometry and measurement techniques developed for astronomy in psychology. Chapter 5 engages with Peirce’s “boundary work” on science by comparing his engagement with psychical research with James’ and looking at Peirce’s metaphysics in relation to evolutionary psychology. Finally, Chapter 6 assesses Peirce’s “mature” theory of perception in light of psychical research and his metaphysics of continuity.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Philosophical Psychology of Charles S. Peirce
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: Peirce, history of philosophy, American Pragmatism, history of psychology, history of science, psychophysics, telepathy, protoplasm, metaphysics of continuity, Wundt, Helmholtz, Fechner, Herbart, psychologism, unconscious perception, unconscious judgement, William James, fixation of belief, stream of consciousness, photometry, history of astronomy, astronomy and psychology, least squares, Joseph Jastrow, On Small Differences of Sensation, Binet, Whewell, inferential perception, unconscious inferences, colligation, hypothesis, inference, Kant
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Science and Technology Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10109652
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