Towards a Peircean Aesthetic
Andrew Cameron Sergienko
Advisor: Director John Lachs
Source: DAI, 62, no. 02A (2001): p. 607
Standard No: ISBN: 0-493-14454-4
This dissertation uses the resources of Peirce's philosophy to develop a framework for approaching several interrelated problems in aesthetics thereby developing what may reasonably be called Peirce's aesthetics. Drawing on his phenomenology, normative sciences, and semiotic, I develop distinctly Peircean accounts of aesthetic experience, aesthetic norms and aesthetic signs.
The place of aesthetics in Peirce's philosophy has generally been neglected by his commentators. This shift of focus from logic and the theory of inquiry to aesthetics has two philosophically significant results.
First, though Peirce is generally regarded as the founder of pragmatism, the only distinctly American intellectual tradition, his philosophy has been interpreted in ways which distance Peirce from his intellectual progeny. By examining the role of aesthetics in Peirce's thought, some points of contact between Peirce's version of pragmatism and Dewey's and James' are made clear. I also develop a pluralism inherent in Peirce's thought in an effort to show its distinctly American flavor. While this pluralistic aspect of Peirce has been discussed in relation to his philosophy of science, here it receives its first treatment in relation to value theory.
Second, I stress the centrality of cosmology and the sometimes ambivalent relation between Peirce and German Idealism. Of particular interest to my work is Peirce's conception of the infinitely distant future. The role of this conception in Peirce's thought establishes in no uncertain terms the connections between normativity, cosmology and aesthetic values. The interpretation I give of Peirce's infinitely distant future recognizes his debt to the speculative thinkers of the nineteenth century, but also shows how he has decisively improved upon their insights.
In the first three chapters I develop Peirce's phenomenological categories of first, second and third and their application to various modes of aesthetic function and appreciation. In the second group of three chapters, I develop Peirce's normative sciences (aesthetics, ethics and logic) and their relation to the aesthetic values implicit in Peirce's theory of inquiry and cosmology. The final trio of chapters develops some of the possibilities for art-interpretation to be found in Peirce's semiotic.
I have endeavored throughout to make my development of the thoughts of this bona fide genius both systematic and open-ended. I believe that my work not only shows the relative import of aesthetics in understanding Peirce's philosophy, but also provides a sound starting point for further research in this field.
Accession No: AAI3005335