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Title: The philosophical psychology of Charles S. Peirce
Author: Cristalli, Claudia
ISNI:       0000 0004 9359 6535
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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This work is about the philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914) and nineteenth century psychology. More precisely, it is about the interactions between Peirce’s scientific practice as an experimental psychologist and the development of his philosophical reflection, especially his epistemology. The main thesis of this work is that Peirce’s theory of perception is inferential, and that this has far-reaching consequences on his account of the self, on his reflection on the method of science and on what counts as a scientific fact. This latter point also connects his theory of inquiry with his distinctive metaphysics of continuity. I defend my thesis as follows. In the first chapter, I explore the early development of an inferential account of perception in Peirce and its connections with his logic of science and his theory of inquiry more broadly. To do so, I examine Peirce’s 1865 Harvard Lectures in light of the inferential philosophy of science of William Whewell and the theory of perception as unconscious inferences presented by Wilhelm Wundt in 1862-3. In the second chapter, I bring Peirce’s inferentialism to bear on some of his better-known works: the 1868 “cognition” papers and the Illustrations of the Logic of Science of 1877-8. The third chapter further expands the context of Peirce’s inferential theory of perception by looking at German psychology and finding a new perspective from which to assess Kant’s influence on Peirce’s thought. Chapter 4 looks at Peirce’s use of experimental psychology in photometry and measurement techniques developed for astronomy in psychology. Chapter 5 engages with Peirce’s “boundary work” on science by comparing his engagement with psychical research with James’ and looking at Peirce’s metaphysics in relation to evolutionary psychology. Finally, Chapter 6 assesses Peirce’s “mature” theory of perception in light of psychical research and his metaphysics of continuity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available