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Pragmatism and Purpose

Essays Presented to Thomas A. Goudge

edited by Leonard W. Sumner; John G. Slater & Fred Wilson

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philosophy & social aspects, pragmatism, modern
list price: $44.95
category: Science
published: 1981

The essays in this volume are connected with the main areas of Thomas A. Goudge's research: Peirce studies and the philosophy of science, especially the philosophy of biology. There are two sections, each opened with an essay on Goudge's contribution to the field.


The first section deals with C.S. Peirce. Essays examine major features of his thought: his proof of pragmatism, his logic of relations, his semiotics, his theory of truth, his philosophy of induction, and his Scotist metaphysics of individuals. Other essays in this group relate pragmatism and pragmaticism to the work of others, in particular Collingwood, Descartes, and James and Santayana. Each involves substantial dialogue with Peirce, and a philosophical evaluation of his work and the work of others.


The second is concerned with the philosophy of science. Some of the essays study the nature of scientific explanation: whether there is a logic of discovery, and whether life and teleology could be fitted into the mechanistic view of the universe that arose in the early modern period of philosophy. Various problems specifically concerning the synthetic theory of evolution are also discussed: for example, is it a theory somehow intrinsically different in kind from theories in physics? Does it yield special forms of explanation? How is it related to modern genetic theory? Other essays deal with problems arising out of an evolutionary view of life and man: for example, emergence, the place of consciousness in nature, man's knowledge of necessary truths.


This is an important collection for those working in Peirce studies or the philosophy of biology, and a substantial contribution to the history of Canadian philosophy.

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About the Authors

Leonard W. Sumner

Leonard W. Sumner is a professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto.

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John G. Slater

John G. Slater is a professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto.

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Fred Wilson

FRED WILSON played a key organizing and planning role in the New Union Project, which culminated in the creation of Unifor, Canada's largest private sector union. He was the Director of Strategic Planning for Unifor during its first three years. Fred lives in Ottawa.
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