Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Chronicles of Wasted Time

Charles Sanders Peirce, the founder of pragmatism, was a fly in the ointment of orthodoxy and tradition, a bat in the belfry of the church of received opinion. Unable to secure an academic position, he holed up in his neighbor's attic in Cambridge, Massachusetts to avoid creditors while he composed brilliant essays which he published in obscure journals. He wound up repudiating the pragmatism of William James, whose limp methodology and spiritualist-saturated lectures and essays so infuriated Peirce that he added an extra syllable to the name of the doctrine he had invented, calling it "Pragmaticism”--a view so ugly sounding, Peirce wrote, as to render it safe from kidnappers.

No comments: