Charles Peirce on Ethics

James Liszka

in The Normative Thought of Charles S. Peirce

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242443
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823250769 | DOI:

Series: American Philosophy (FUP)

Charles Peirce on Ethics

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This chapter begins with an overview of Peirce's system of ethics, particularly as a way to clarify his distinction between its theoretical and practical sides, and the interrelation among the normative sciences of logic, ethics, and esthetics. The task, then, is to give some substantive account of the normative science of ethics. Given his sketchy thoughts on this matter, the chapter experiments with an approach that models it on the organization of his semeiotic or logic. Just as semeiotic is divided into grammar, critic, and rhetoric, so we can see a grammar of ethics emerging in Peirce's thought, along with an analysis of ethical reasoning, and an ethical methodeutic. This is followed by a discussion of his practical ethics, particularly his rather promising, but undeveloped, idea of pragmatics as a way of articulating the relation between practical and theoretical ethics.

Keywords: logic; aesthetics; normative science; semiotics; grammar; practical ethics; ethical reasoning; pragmatics

Chapter.  16450 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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