Peirce regarded logic per se as a division of philosophy, as a normative science after esthetics and ethics, as more basic than metaphysics, and as "the art of devising methods of research". More generally, as inference, "logic is rooted in the social principle", since inference depends on a standpoint that, in a sense, is unlimited. Peirce called (with no sense of deprecation) "mathematics of logic" much of the kind of thing which, in current research and applications, is called simply "logic". He was productive in both (philosophical) logic and logic's mathematics, which were connected deeply in his work and thought.
Peirce argued that logic is formal semiotic, the formal study of signs in the broadest sense, not only signs that are artificial, linguistic, or symbolic, but also signs that are semblances or are indexical such as reactions. Peirce held that "all this universe is perfused with signs, if it is not composed exclusively of signs", along with their representational and inferential relations. He argued that, since all thought takes time, all thought is in signs and sign processes ("semiosis") such as the inquiry process. He divided logic into: (1) speculative grammar, or stechiology, on how signs can signify and, in relation to that, what kinds of signs there are, how they combine, and how some embody or incorporate others; (2) logical critic, or logic proper, on the modes of inference; and (3) speculative rhetoric, or methodeutic, the philosophical theory of inquiry, including pragmatism.
Presuppositions of logic
In his "F.R.L." [First Rule of Logic] (1899), Peirce states that the first, and "in one sense, this sole", rule of reason is that, to learn, one needs to desire to learn and desire it without resting satisfied with that which one is inclined to think. So, the first rule is, to wonder. Peirce proceeds to a critical theme in the shaping of theories, not to mention associated practices:
Peirce adds, that method and economy are best in research but no outright sin inheres in trying any theory in the sense that the investigation via its trial adoption can proceed unimpeded and undiscouraged, and that "the one unpardonable offence" is a philosophical barricade against truth's advance, an offense to which "metaphysicians in all ages have shown themselves the most addicted". Peirce in many writings holds that logic precedes metaphysics (ontological, religious, and physical).
Peirce goes on to list four common barriers to inquiry: (1) Assertion of absolute certainty; (2) maintaining that something is absolutely unknowable; (3) maintaining that something is absolutely inexplicable because absolutely basic or ultimate; (4) holding that perfect exactitude is possible, especially such as to quite preclude unusual and anomalous phenomena. To refuse absolute certainty is the heart of fallibilism, which Peirce unfolds into refusals to set up any of the listed barriers. Peirce elsewhere argues (1897) that logic's presupposition of fallibilism leads at length to the view that chance and continuity are very real (tychism and synechism).
The First Rule of Logic pertains to the mind's presuppositions in undertaking reason and logic, presuppositions, for instance, that truth and the real do not depend on yours or my opinion of them but do depend on representational relation and consist in the destined end in investigation taken far enough (see below). He describes such ideas as, collectively, hopes which, in particular cases, one is unable seriously to doubt.
Full article ▸