Philosophy of Mathematics: Selected Writings

Indiana University Press
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The philosophy of mathematics plays a vital role in the mature philosophy of Charles S. Peirce. Peirce received rigorous mathematical training from his father and his philosophy carries on in decidedly mathematical and symbolic veins. For Peirce, math was a philosophical tool and many of his most productive ideas rest firmly on the foundation of mathematical principles. This volume collects Peirce's most important writings on the subject, many appearing in print for the first time. Peirce's determination to understand matter, the cosmos, and "the grand design" of the universe remain relevant for contemporary students of science, technology, and symbolic logic.
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About the author

Charles S. Peirce (1839-1914) was one of America's most prolific philosophers. He is noted for his contributions to logic, mathematics, science, and semiotics.

Matthew E. Moore is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College. He is editor of New Essays on Peirce's Mathematical Philosophy.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Indiana University Press
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Published on
Aug 19, 2010
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9780253004697
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Logic
Philosophy / Movements / Pragmatism
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This content is DRM protected.
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"An excellent, discerning introduction. It should prove a real boon to the student of Peirce." — The Modern Schoolman
Charles S. Peirce was a thinker of great originality and power. Although unpublished in his lifetime, he was recognized as an equal by such men as William James and John Dewey and, since his death in 1914, has come to the forefront of American philosophy. This volume, prepared by the Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, formerly chairman of Columbia's philosophy department, is a carefully balanced exposition of Peirce's complete philosophical system as set forth in his own writings.
The 28 chapters, in which appropriate sections of Peirce's work are interwoven into a brilliant selection that reveals his essential ideas, cover epistemology, phenomenology, cosmology, and scientific method, with especially interesting material on logic as the theory of signs, pure chance vs, pure law in the universe, symbolic logic, common sense, pragmatism (of which he was the founder), and ethics.
Justus Buchler is author of Charles Peirce's Empiricism (1939), Philosophy: An Introduction (with J. H. Randall, Jr., 1942), and more recently, a series of books which form an ongoing philosophic structure: Toward a General Theory of Human Judgement (1951), Nature and Judgment (1855), and The Concept of Method (1961). It has been said of these volumes, "A fresh and vital system of ideas has been introduced into the world of contemporary philosophy." (Journal of Philosophy).
"It is a very signal advantage to have this collection of Peirce's most important work within the covers of a single substantial volume. We should all be very grateful to Mr. Buchler." — John Laird, Philosophy
The Freakonomics of math—a math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands

The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn’t confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do—the whole world is shot through with it.

Math allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of our world. It’s a science of not being wrong, hammered out by centuries of hard work and argument. Armed with the tools of mathematics, we can see through to the true meaning of information we take for granted: How early should you get to the airport? What does “public opinion” really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? And how likely are you, really, to develop cancer?

How Not to Be Wrong presents the surprising revelations behind all of these questions and many more, using the mathematician’s method of analyzing life and exposing the hard-won insights of the academic community to the layman—minus the jargon. Ellenberg chases mathematical threads through a vast range of time and space, from the everyday to the cosmic, encountering, among other things, baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of non-Euclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia’s views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, what Facebook can and can’t figure out about you, and the existence of God.

Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need. Math, as Ellenberg says, is “an atomic-powered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength.” With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. How Not to Be Wrong will show you how.
Charles S. Peirce in the opinion of many authorities was the most profound and original philosopher that America has produced. A master of exact science, our foremost logician, the founder of pragmatism, Peirce was one of the most remarkable and versatile minds of the 19th century, whose scattered writings made important contributions to such varied fields of logic, mathematics, geodesy, religion, astronomy, chemistry, physics, psychology, history of science, metaphysics, education, semeiotics, and more. Considered by William James the most original thinker of their generation, he exerted a tremendous influence on James, Josiah Royce, John Dewey, C. I. Lewis, Ernst Schröder, among many others.
Professor Wiener's well-balanced selections introduce the reader to the many sides of Peirce's thought. He presents such famous essays as "The Fixation of Belief," "How to Make Our Ideas Clear," "The Architecture of Theories," and others, along with several pieces that are not available elsewhere. Of particular interest today, when the problem of humanizing the sciences is the acute problem of our age, there are certain selections, previously neglected by students and editors of Peirce's work, which deal with the cultural or humanistic aspects of science and philosophy.
The 24 selections in this book are organized into five categories: science, materialism, and idealism; pragmatism (or as Peirce preferred, pragmaticism); the history of scientific thought; science and education; and science and religion. Included are articles originally published in North American Review, Journal of Speculative Philosophy, The Monist, Popular Science Monthly, and Educational Review; extracts or transcriptions of speeches; book reviews; letters; and previously unpublished manuscripts from the Smithsonian Institution, the Lowell Institute, and the Widener Library Archives in Harvard University, Professor Wiener's excellent introduction and prefaces to the selections supply the reader with important historical and analytical background material.
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