American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914)

  • Has anyone here heard of the philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce? The attached article showed up in my inbox and explores how Peirce studied Epicurus and used the idea of the swerve in some of his thinking. It would seem that his acceptance of Epicurus' ideas was very limited, but it was a pleasant surprise to come across a new name relating to Epicurus!

  • Thank you Godfrey I had never heard of any of that. Two parts I note in the article of special interest to me are:

    This is a point made in AA Long's "Chance and Natural Law in Determinism" and I have always thought it to be hugely important to keep in mind: Yes the swerve exists, but it generally does not break through to the macroscopic level so as to result in chaos. In my view people tend to talk about the significance of the swerve too broadly without noting this very important limitation.


    So in the end Pierce seems to be very far from Epicurus, as the article's conclusion admits. Sounds like he is pretty much someone who agrees with Epicurus in opposition to hard determinism, but really doesn't agree with Epicurus on much else.

  • Even if so, thanks for posting that. There's a lot to be learned from observing people who accept certain parts of Epicurus while rejecting other important parts. Seems to me that you can definitely see patterns in people picking and choosing only certain parts, and thinking about how they make those choices helps expose key questions that are very helpful to trace down and be clear on ourselves.