Home Page      Peirce Papers      Intro to L75      L75 Version 2



  Final Version - MS L75.350-357  



      This will be a natural classification, not of possible sciences, but of sciences as they exist today; not of sciences in the sense of "systematized knowledge," but of branches of endeavor to ascertain truth. I shall not undertake to prove that there is no other natural classification of the sciences than that which I give; and this, being merely an introductory memoir, cannot have the same convincing character as the others. Every unitary classification has a leading idea or purpose, and is a natural classification in so far as that same purpose is determinative in the production of the objects classified. The purpose of this classification is nearly the same as that of Comte, namely, so to arrange a catalogue of the sciences as to exhibit the most important of |351| the relations of logical dependence among them. In fact, my classification is simply an attempt to improve upon that of Comte; first, by looking less at what has been the course of scientific history, and more at what it would have been if the theoretically best methods had been pursued; second, by supplying the shocking omissions which Comte's rage against nonsense led him to commit; and third, by carrying down the subdivision as far as my knowledge enables me to do. It was necessary for me to determine what I should call one science. For this purpose I have united under one science studies such as the same man, in the present state of science, might very well pursue. I have been guided in determining this by noting how scientists associate themselves into societies, and what contributions are commonly admitted into one journal, being on my guard against the survival of traditions from bygone states of science. A study to which men devote their lives, but not, in the present stage of development of science, so numerously as to justify exclusive societies and journals for it, I call a variety of science. That which forms the subject of the narrowest societies and journals, so that any student of any part of it ought to be pretty thoroughly informed about every part, I call a species of science. That branch of which the student of any part is well qualified to take up any other part, except that he may not be sufficiently acquainted with the facts in detail, I call a genus of science. If the only new training necessary to pass from one part to another is a mere matter of skill, the general conceptions remaining the same, I call the department a family of science. If different sorts of conceptions are dealt with in the different families of a depart|353|ment, but the general type of inquiry is the same, I call it an order of science. If the types of inquiry of the different orders of a department are different, yet these orders are connected together so that students feel that they are studying the same great subject, I call the department a class of science. If there are different classes, so that different students seem to live in different worlds, but yet there is one general animating motive, I call the department a branch of science. Of course, there will be sub-branches, sub-classes, etc., down to sub-varieties; and even sometimes sub-sub-divisions. To illustrate, I call pure science and applied science different branches, and call mathematics and the special sciences different classes; I say that general physics, biology, and geology belong to different orders of science. Astronomy and geognosy are different families. Thermotics and electrics are different families. Optics and electrics |354| are now different genera. Entomology and ichthyology are different species of one genus. The study of Kant and the study of Spinoza are different varieties of one species.

      Of course, the execution of this useful but ambitious design can, in the first instance, notwithstanding all the labor on my part that seemed economically recommended, be but a sketch. It will have fully attained all I hope for if it is respectable enough to merit serious picking to pieces in its smaller and in its larger divisions. Indeed, I may say of all these memoirs that what I most desire is that their errors should be exposed, so long as they lead to further scientific study of the subjects to which they relate. The relation of this present memoir to those which follow it in the series is that it gives, from a general survey of science, an idea of the place of logic among the sciences. I will here set down the larger divisions of the scheme as well as I remember it (not having the notes in my possession). But it will be the discussion which will form the chief value of the memoir, not the |355| scheme itself. Nearly a hundred schemes given hitherto will be criticized.

  A. Theoretical Science

      I. Science of Research

           i. Mathematics

           ii. Philosophy, or Cenoscopy
                1. Categorics [= phenomenology or phaneroscopy]
                2. Normative Science
                     a. Esthetics
                     b. Ethics
                     c. Logic [= semiotic]
                          [philosophical grammar]
                          [critical logic]
                          [philosophical rhetoric]
                3. Metaphysics

           iii. Idioscopy, or Special Science
                1. Psychognosy
                     a. Nomological or General Psychology
                     b. Classificatory
                         . Linguistics
                         . Critics
                         . Ethnology |356|
                     c. Descriptive
                         . Biography
                         . History
                         . Archeology
                2. Physiognosy
                     a. Nomological or General Physics
                         . Dynamics
                               1. Of particles
                               2. Of aggregations
                         . Elaterics and Thermotics
                         . Optics and Electrics
                     b. Classificatory
                         . Crystallography
                         . Chemistry
                         . Biology
                     c. Descriptive
                         . Astronomy
                         . Geognosy |357|

      II. Science of Review, or Synthetic Philosophy
           (Humboldt's Cosmos; Comte's Philosophie Positive)

B. Practical Science, or the Arts


EDITORIAL NOTE: Bracketed material in the above scheme is editorially supplied as a clarification. Josiah (Lee) Auspitz has objected, though, that the simple identification of logic in the broad sense with semeiotic (also spelled "semiotic" by Peirce) is not correct. His reasons for this are not clear to me and I believe the currently prevailing opinion is in agreement with my own view that they are supposed to be identical; but Lee Auspitz is a careful and talented scholar and his dissent is worth taking special note of. Perhaps he can be persuaded to write up a critical note to that effect which we can add to the present presentation by including it through a hypertext link. This invitation applies to anyone else as well who wants to take exception to any of my editorial interpretation here or simply wants to add something to it by way of commentary for further elucidation: write it up as a criticism or commentary and we will put a hypertext link-button for that note in the text itself, thus making it an addendum to the present account.

* * *

  From Draft E - MS L75.206-207  

      This [classification] would be restricted to sciences as they actually exist, with some little provision of what is sure to be brought about soon. It would consider sciences, not as "systematized knowledge," but as organizations of research, as they live today. My classification of the applied sciences, or arts, not having been very successful, I should probably not attempt to go into that subject. Moreover, such studies as Humboldt's Cosmos, and Comte's Philosophie Positive, although they are really studies of science, would not fall within the scope of my classification, which would thus be limited to the theoretical sciences. My classification is quite minute; but its leading divisions are: mathematics; philosophy or, as Bentham calls it, cenoscopic (i.e. based on universal experience); and idioscopic, or special science. The last falls into two parts, psychognosy (embracing psychology, linguistics, ethnology, history, etc.) and physiognosy |207| (embracing physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, geognosy). I divide philosophy into three parts, the categories, normative science (esthetics, ethics, and logic,) and metaphysics. Geometry and the science of time form a connecting link between metaphysics and idioscopy.

      In constructing my classification, I have carefully studied the reasons alleged for nearly a hundred other systems; so that the critical part of this memoir would be extremely laborious. Yet as my purpose is not to advance anything for which I cannot produce convincing proof, such criticism must be carefully and respectfully performed throughout all the memoirs.


  Final Version - MS L75.357  



      This is that mathematics which distinguishes only two different values, and is of great importance for logic.

* * *

  From Draft E - MS L75.207  

      This is the system which has a scale of values of only two degrees. Since these may be identified (in an application of this pure mathematical system) as the true and the false, this system calls for somewhat elaborate study as a propaedeutic to logic.



  Final Version - MS L75.357  



      Such are number, multitude, limit, infinity, infinitesimals, continuity, dimension, imaginaries, multiple algebra, measurement, etc. My former contributions, though very fragmentary, have attracted attention in Europe, although in respect to priority justice has not been done them. I bring the whole together into one system, defend the method of infinitesimals conclusively, and give many new truths established by a new and striking method.

* * *

  From Draft E - MS L75.208-209  

      My work in this direction is already somewhat known, although very imperfectly. One of the learned academies of Europe has crowned a demonstration that my definition of a finite multitude agrees with Dedekind's definition of an infinite multitude. It appears to me that the one is hardly more than a verbal modification of the other. I am usually represented as having put forth my definition as a substitute for Dedekind's. In point of fact, mine was published six years before his; and my paper contains in very brief and crabbed form all the essentials of his beautiful exposition (still more perfect as modified by Schröder). Many animadversions have been made by eminent men upon my remark, in the Century Dictionary, that the method of infinitesimals is more consonant with then (in 1883) recent studies of mathematical logic. In this memoir, I should show precisely how the calculus may be, to the advantage of simplicity, based upon the doctrine of infinitesimals. Many futile attempts have been made to define continuity. In the sense in |209| the calculus, no difficulty remains. But the whole of topical geometry remains in an exceedingly backward state and destitute of any method of proof simply because true continuity has not been mathematically defined. By a careful analysis of the conception of a collection, of which no mathematical definition has been yet published, I have succeeded in giving a demonstration of an important proposition which Cantor had missed, from which the required definition of a continuum results; and a foundation is afforded for topical geometry, which branch of geometry really embraces the whole of geometry. I have made several other advances in defining the conceptions of mathematics which illuminate the subject.



  Final Version - MS L75.357  



      I shall be glad to place early in the series so unquestionable an illustration of the great value of minute analysis as this memoir will afford. The subjects of corollarial and theorematic reasoning, of the method of abstraction, of substantive possibility, |358| and of the method of topical geometry, of which I have hitherto published mere hints, will here be fully elaborated.

* * *

  From Draft B - MS L75.19  

      [This memoir] will examine the nature of mathematical reasoning. Logic can pass no judgment upon such reasoning, because it is evident, and as such, beyond all criticism. But logic is interested in studying how mathematical reasoning proceeds. Mathematical reasoning will be analyzed and important properties of it brought out which mathematicians themselves are not aware of.

* * *

  From Draft E - MS L75.209-210  

      I have hitherto only published some slight hints of my discoveries in regard to the logical processes used in mathematics. I find that two different kinds of reasoning are used, which I |210| distinguish as the corollarial and the theorematic. This is a matter of extreme importance for the theory of cognition. It remains unpublished. I also find that the most effective kind of theorematic demonstration always involves the long despised operation of abstraction, which has been a common topic of ridicule. This is the operation by which we transform the proposition that "Opium puts people to sleep" into the proposition that "Opium has a soporific virtue". Like every other logical transformation, it can be applied in a futile manner. But I show that, without it, the mathematician would be shut off from operations upon lines, surfaces, differentials, functions, operations—and even from the consideration of cardinal numbers. I go on to define precisely what it is that this operation effects. I endeavor in this paper to enumerate, classify, and define the precise mode of effectiveness of every method employed in mathematics.

* * *

  From Draft C - MS L75.90-102  

      No science of logic is needed for mathematics beyond that which mathematics can itself supply, unless possibly it be in regard to mathematical heuretic. But the examination of the methods of mathematical demonstration shed |91| extraordinary light upon logic, such as I, for my part, never dreamed of in advance, although I ought to have guessed that there must be unexpected treasures hidden in this quite unexplored ground. That the logic of mathematics belonged to the logic of relatives, and to the logic of triadic, not of dyadic relations, was indeed obvious in advance; but beyond that I had no idea of its nature. The first things I found out were that all mathematical reasoning is diagrammatic and that all necessary reasoning is mathematical reasoning, no matter how simple it may be. By diagrammatic reasoning, I mean reasoning which constructs a diagram according to a precept expressed in general terms, performs experiments upon this diagram, notes their results, assures itself that similar experiments performed upon any diagram constructed according to the same precept would have |92| the same results, and expresses this in general terms. This was a discovery of no little importance, showing, as it does, that all knowledge without exception comes from observation.

      At this point, I intend to insert a mention of my theory of grades of reality. The general notion is old, but in modern times it has been forgotten. I undertake to prove its truth, resting on the principle that a theory which is adapted to the prediction of observational facts, and which does not lead to disappointment, is ipso facto true. This principle is proved in No. 1. Then my proof of grades of reality is inductive, and consists in often turning aside in the course of this series of memoirs to show how this theory is adapted to the expression of facts. This might be mistaken for repetitiousness; but in fact it is logically defensible, and it also has the advantage of leading the reader, step by step, to the compre|93|hension of an idea which he would not be able to grasp at once, and to the appreciation of an argument which he could not digest at one time. I will not here undertake to explain what the theory is in detail. Suffice it to say that since reality consists in this, that a real thing has whatever characters it has in its being and its having them does not consist in its being represented to have them, not even in its representing itself to have them, not even if the character consists in the thing's representing itself to represent itself; since, I say, that is the nature of reality, as all schools of philosophy now admit, there is no reason in the nature of reality why it should not have gradations of several kinds; and in point of fact, we find convincing evidences of such gradations. It is easy to see that according to this definition the square root of minus 1 possesses a certain grade of |94| reality, since all its characters except only that of being the square root of minus one are what they are whether you or I think so or not. So when Charles Dickens was half-through one of his novels, he could no longer make his characters do anything that some whim of a reader might suggest without feeling that it was false; and in point of fact the reader sometimes feels that the concluding parts of this or that novel of Dickens is false. Even here, then, there is an extremely low grade of reality. Everybody would admit that the word might be applied in such cases by an apt metaphor; but I undertake to show that there is a certain degree of sober truth in it, and that it is important for logic to recognize that the reality of the Great Pyramid, or of the Atlantic Ocean, or of the Sun itself, is nothing but a higher grade of the same thing.

      But to say that the reasoning of mathematics is |95| diagrammatic is not to penetrate in the least degree into the logical peculiarities of its procedure, because all necessary reasoning is diagrammatic.

      My first real discovery about mathematical procedure was that there are two kinds of necessary reasoning, which I call the corollarial and the theorematic, because the corollaries affixed to the propositions of Euclid are usually arguments of one kind, while the more important theorems are of the other. The peculiarity of theorematic reasoning is that it considers something not implied at all in the conceptions so far gained, which neither the definition of the object of research nor anything yet known about could of themselves suggest, although they give room for it. Euclid, for example, will add lines to |96| his diagram which are not at all required or suggested by any previous proposition, and which the conclusion that he reaches by this means says nothing about. I show that no considerable advance can be made in thought of any kind without theorematic reasoning. When we come to consider the heuretic part of mathematical procedure, the question how such suggestions are obtained will be the central point of the discussion.

      Passing over smaller discoveries, the principal result of my closer studies of it has been the very great part which an operation plays in it which throughout modern times has been taken for nothing better than a proper butt of ridicule. It is the operation of abstraction, in the proper sense of the term, which, for example, converts the |97| proposition "Opium puts people to sleep" into "Opium has a dormitive virtue". This turns out to be so essential to the greater strides of mathematical demonstration that it is proper to divide all theorematic reasoning into the non-abstractional and the abstractional. I am able to prove that the most practically important results of mathematics could not in any way be attained without this operation of abstraction. It is therefore necessary for logic to distinguish sharply between good abstraction and bad abstraction.

      It was not until I had been giving a large part of my time for several years to tracing out the ways in which mathematical demonstration makes use of abstraction that I came across a fact which a mind which had not been scrutinizing the facts so closely |98| might have seen long before, namely, that all collections are of the nature of abstractions. When we pass from saying, "Almost any American can speak English", to saying "The American nation is composed of individuals of whom the greater part speak English", we perform a special kind of abstraction. This can, I know, signify little to the person who is not acquainted with the properties of abstraction. It may, however, suggest to him that the popular contempt for "abstractions" does not aim very accurately at its mark.

      When I published a paper about number in 1882, I was already largely anticipated by Cantor, although I did not know it. I however anticipated Dedekind by about six years. Dedekind's work, although its form is admirable, has not influenced me. But ideas which I have derived from Cantor are so mixed up with ideas of my own that I could not safely undertake to say exactly where the line should be |99| drawn between what is Cantor's and what my own. From my point of view, it is not of much consequence. Like Cantor and unlike Dedekind, I begin with multitude, or as Cantor erroneously calls it, cardinal number. But it would be equally correct, perhaps preferable, to begin with ordinal number, as Dedekind does. But I pursue the method of considering multitude to the very end, while Cantor switches off to ordinal number. For that reason, it is difficult to make sure that my higher multitudes are the same as his. But I have little doubt that they are. I prove that there is an infinite series of infinite multitudes, apparently the same as Cantor's alephs. I call the first the denumerable multitude, the others the abnumerable multitudes, the first and least of which is the multitude of all the irrational numbers of analysis. There is nothing greater than these but true continua, which are not multitudes. I cannot see that Cantor has ever got the conception of a true continuum, such that in any |100| lapse of time there is room for any multitude of instants however great.

      I show that every multitude is distinguished from all greater multitudes by there being a way of reasoning about collections of that multitude which does not hold good for greater multitudes. Consequently, there is an infinite series of forms of reasoning concerning the calculus which deals only with a collection of numbers of the first abnumerable multitude which are not applicable to true continua. This, it would seem, was a sufficient explanation of the circumstance that mathematicians have never discovered any method of reasoning about topical geometry, which deals with true continua. They have not really proved a single proposition in that branch of mathematics.

      Cayley, while I was still a boy, proved that metrical geometry, the geometry of the elements, is nothing but a special |101| problem to projective geometry, or perspective. It is easy to see that projective geometry is nothing but a special problem of topical geometry. On the other hand, since every relation can be reduced to a relation of serial order, something similar to a scale of values may be applied to every kind of mathematics. Probably, if the appropriate scale were found, it would afford the best general method for the treatment of any branch. We see, for example, the power of the barycentric calculus in projective geometry. It is essentially the method of modern analytic geometry. Yet it is evident that it is not altogether an appropriate scale. I can already see some of the characters of an appropriate scale of values for topical geometry.

      My logical studies have already enabled me to prove some propositions which had arrested mathematicians of power. Yet I distinctly disclaim, for the present, all pretension to having been remarkably successful in dealing with the heuretic |102| department of mathematics. My attention has been concentrated upon the study of its procedure in demonstration, not upon its procedure in discovering demonstrations. This must come later; and it may very well be that I am not so near to a thorough understanding of it as I may hope.

      I am quite sure that the value of what I have ascertained will be acknowledged by mathematicians. I shall make one more effort to increase it, before writing this second memoir.

* * *

  From Draft C - MS L75.129-132  

      I now pass to a rough statement of my results in regard to the heuretic branch of mathematical thought. At the outset, I set up for myself a sort of landmark by which to discern whether I was making any real progress or not. Cayley had shown, while I was, as a boy, just beginning to understand such things, that metric geometry, the geometry of the Elements, is nothing but a special problem in projective geometry, or perspective, and it is easy to see that projective geometry is nothing but a special problem in topical geometry. Now ma|130|thematicians are entirely destitute of any method of reasoning about topical geometry. The 25th proposition of the 7th book of the Éléments de Géométrie of Legendre, which is strictly all that is known of the subject except some extensions of it, of which the chief is Listing's census-theorem, was demonstrated with extreme difficulty by Legendre, having exceeded the powers of Euler. Really the proof is not satisfactory, nor is Listing's. The simple proposition that four colors suffice to color a map on a spheroid has resisted the efforts of the greatest mathematicians. If, then, without particularly attending to that proposition or to topical geometry, I find that my studies of the method of discovering heuretic methods leads me naturally to the desired proof of the map-problem, I shall know that I am making progress. From time to time, as I advanced, I have tried my hand at that problem. I have not |131| proved it yet, although the last time I tried I thought I had a proof, which closer examination proved to contain a flaw. Since then, I have made, as it seems to me, a considerable advance; but I have not been induced to reexamine that subject, as I certainly should do if I were quite confident of being able to solve it with ease. I have, however, applied my logical theory directly with success to the demonstration of several other propositions which had resisted powerful mathematicians; and I have greatly improved upon Listing's theory; so that I am confident that what I have found out is of value; and I believe the same method has only to be pushed a little further to solve the map-problem.

      I can show that numbers, whether integral, fractional, or irrational, have no other use or meaning than to say which of two things comes earlier, which |133| later, in a serial arrangement. To ask, How much does this weigh? is answered as soon as we know what things among those which concern us it is heavier than [and] what it is lighter than. A system of measurement has no other purpose than that; and it appears to be the best artificial device for that purpose.

      But all relations whatever can be reduced to relations of serial order; so that every mathematical question can be looked upon as a metrical question in a broad sense; and perhaps the best and readiest way to get command of a branch of mathematics is to find what system of measurement is best adapted to it. Thus, the barycentric calculus applies to projective geometry [considered as] a sort of measurement; and in fact modern analytic geometry results from just that application. But it evidently labors under the difficulty of not being a sufficiently flexible and well-adapted system of measurement. Hermann Schubert's Cal|133|culus of Geometry gives some hint of what is wanted.


End of PART 2 of 10 of MS L75


Queries, comments, and suggestions to
Joseph Ransdell -- Dept of Philosophy
Texas Tech University, Lubbock Texas 79409

Scholarly quotation from or reference to
the content of this website will mention
the URL of the web-page where the content occurs.

The URL of the present page, which is part of the Arisbe website, is

Page last modified June 15, 1998

Top of the Page