Keyword: Idealism

Article in Journal | Posted 13/03/2017
Pape, Helmut (2002). What Thought Is For: The Problematic Identity of Mental Processes with Chance Events in Peirce's Idealistic Metaphysics
Attempts to justify the claim that Charles Peirce invented a version of idealism. Discussion on chance, evolution and logic; Information on the methodological function of absolute chance; Descriptions of idealism.
News | Posted 16/01/2017
Pragmatism and the Analytic – Continental Split

Invited Speakers (in alphabetical order):

  • Dr. Michael Bacon (Royal Holloway)
  • Prof. Shannon Dea (University of Waterloo)
  • Prof. Christopher Hookway (University of Sheffield)
  • Prof. Christopher Norris (Cardiff University)
  • Dr. Komarine Romdenh-Romluc (University of Sheffield)
  • Prof. Robert Stern (University of Sheffield)
  • Prof. Robert Talisse (Vanderbilt University)
  • Prof. James Williams (Deakin University)

We are pleased to invite abstracts for submission to the upcoming “Pragmatism and the Analytic – Continental Split” conference, to be held at the University of Sheffield on the 9th – 11th of August 2017. The conference will explore the pragmatist tradition in philosophy and its relation to the divide between analytic and continental philosophy.

Like the analytic and continental traditions, pragmatism developed around the turn of the 20th century. The early pragmatists influenced (and were influenced by) the founding thinkers on both sides of the divide, and their work contains elements which both the analytic and the continental traditions can recognise. Charles S. Peirce, for instance, developed a first-order logic alongside a sophisticated general theory of signs. James’s detailed phenomenological analyses of experiences and late metaphysical speculations have resonances within the continental tradition, whilst his philosophy of mind and meta-philosophical reflections have been taken up within the analytic tradition. In the next generation, figures such Jane Addams, John Dewey, and Alain Locke saw in pragmatism a way to use philosophy for educational and political uses, and rejected the elitism and intellectualism they saw infecting philosophy of all kinds. Contemporary pragmatists can be found on both sides of the supposed split.

Consequently, pragmatism provides a unique lens through which to view the analytic – continental split. Some have hoped that pragmatism might provide a kind of “bridge” between the two traditions, whereas others have suggested that the best aspects of pragmatism can be assimilated to one side or the other. Still others have suggested that pragmatism represents a unique option, irreducible and perhaps even superior to either side.

We invite submissions of abstracts on the conference topic, of up to 500 words (for some ideas on possible topics, see below). We welcome speakers from all traditions within philosophy, and from areas of cross-disciplinary interest. Speakers will be allowed approximately 20 minutes for presentation, followed by 10 minutes of questions.

For more information, please visit our website or email us at pacsconf [at]

Submissions: We will be accepting abstracts of up to 500 words. Please prepare abstracts for blind review, and send to pacsconf [at] by the 16th of April. Formats preferred are .doc, .pdf, or .txt. Cover sheets should include your name, email address, institutional affiliation, and the title of your proposed paper.

Important Dates:

Deadline for submissions: 16th of April 2017 Notification of acceptance: by 5th of June 2017 Date of conference: 9th – 11th of August 2017

Possible topics include:

  • Early analytic and continental responses to pragmatism
  • Pragmatism’s influence on analytic or continental philosophy
  • Pragmatism and Critical Theory
  • Relations to idealism in the three traditions
  • Phenomenology in pragmatist inquiry
  • Post-structuralism and pragmatism
  • Semiotic analysis in the three traditions
  • The importance of language in philosophical methodology
  • The types and importance of “experience” in the three traditions
  • The types and importance of “realism” in the three traditions
  • The place of metaphysics in philosophical inquiry
  • The role of the community in philosophical inquiry
  • The possibility of normative inquiry
  • Philosophy’s relation to science
  • Should philosophy be useful?
Article in Journal | Posted 29/12/2015
Margolis, Joseph (2007). Rethinking Peirce's Fallibilism
The article explores the doctrine of fallibilism of philosopher Charles S. Peirce. Peirce was committed to the grounds of realism and idealism. His fallibilism focused on truth, the natural world, intelligibility and human understanding, Secondness and Thirdness, on cosmic teleology and mind and matter. Three themes summarize Peirce's fallibilism and these are fallibility, self-corrective inquiry and an enabling metaphysics. The need for a strategically positioned definition of reality represented the arguments of Peirce. He wanted to invoke that real things are independent of any human opinion and that the fact that what is true about reality must be unique.
Article in Journal | Posted 21/12/2015
Burks, Arthur W. (1996). Peirce's Evolutionary Pragmatic Idealism
Keywords: Idealism, Evolution
Article in Journal | Posted 09/12/2015
Kaag, John J. (2015). The Lot of the Beautiful: Pragmatism and Aesthetic Ideals
This article focuses on the intimate relationship between German aesthetic theory, particularly the philosophies of Kant and Schiller, and the pragmatic tradition of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I argue that many aspects of Kantian aesthetic theory – his development of reflective judgement, genius, and common sense – are reflected in the thinking of C. S. Peirce. I conclude, however, that such a comparison risks selling short the way that German idealism influenced American thinkers and instead suggest that it is more fruitful to concentrate on ‘aesthetic experience’. I argue that attending to the aesthetic dimensions of experience might re-orient contemporary approaches to pragmatism that continue to focus on the way that pragmatism might intervene in debates in epistemology and philosophy of language.
Article in Journal | Posted 09/12/2015
Franks, Paul (2015). Peirce's ‘Schelling-Fashioned Idealism’ and ‘the Monstrous Mysticism of the East’
Peirce remarks on several occasions in the 1790s on affinities between his evolutionary metaphysics and Schelling's Idealism, behind which, he avers, lies ‘the monstrous mysticism of the East’. What are these affinities? Why are they affinities with Schelling rather than with Hegel? And what is the mysticism in question? I argue that Schelling, like Peirce but unlike Hegel, is committed to evolution, not only across species boundaries, but also across the boundary between the inorganic and the organic. Moreover, Schelling, like Peirce but unlike Hegel, embeds this account of evolution in an account of the evolution of God through love. The monstrous mysticism of the East, I argue, is Lurianic kabbalah, to which Schelling is demonstrably indebted, and which is committed to an evolutionary theism on which is based, if not an account of natural evolution, an account of reincarnation as a mechanism by which life-forms progress from inorganic to organic bodies as they develop their consciousness. Publicized by Christian kabbalists such as Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont, incarnationism prepared the way for evolutionism. Peirce's remarks show his awareness, not only of his debt to Schelling's Idealism, but also of Idealism's debt to kabbalah.
Article in Journal | Posted 09/12/2015
Dea, Shannon (2015). A House at War Against Itself: Absolute Versus Pluralistic Idealism in Spinoza, Peirce, James and Royce
In this paper, I elaborate affinities between Peirce, Spinoza and Royce, in order to illuminate the division between Peirce's and James's expressions of idealism. James contrasted Spinoza's and Royce's absolute idealism with his and Peirce's pluralistic idealism. I triangulate among Peirce, Spinoza and Royce to show that, contra James's view, Peirce himself was more at home in the absolutistic camp. In Section 2, I survey Peirce's discussions of Spinoza's pragmatism and of the divide within pragmatism Peirce perceived to obtain. In Section 3, I elaborate two early twentieth-century accounts (one of them by James) of the idealistic division within pragmatism, and James's criticisms of absolute idealism in Spinoza and Royce. In Section 4, we turn our attention to Peirce's discussions of the absolute, and to the role of the absolute and the infinite in the thought of Spinoza, Royce and James. In the classification of pragmatist idealisms, I argue, James stands on one side; Peirce stands on the other with Royce and Spinoza.
Dictionary Entry | Posted 06/09/2015
Quote from "Letters to William James"

…there are writers who limit consciousness to what we know of the past which they mistake for the present and who thus think it to be a question whether we are to say the external world alone is real and the internal world fiction or whether we shall say that the internal world is the real and the external world a fiction. While the true idealism, the pragmatistic idealism, is that reality consists in the future.

Dictionary Entry | Posted 20/08/2015
Quote from "Abstracts of 8 Lectures"

…Idealism, in the sense in which Objective Logic, as I understand it, is Idealism, may be defined as the doctrine that nothing exists but phenomena and what phenomena bring along with them and force upon us, that is Experience, including the reactions that experience feels and all that logically follows from experience by Deduction, Induction, and Hypothesis. And by us, we mean our neighbors, all that are embraced in the community, or society, very indefinite to our apprehension of which you and I are, as it were, histological cells.

Manuscript | Posted 19/01/2015
Peirce, Charles S. (1902 [c.]). Reason's Rules. MS [R] 599

Robin Catalogue:
A. MS., n.p., [c.1902], pp. 4-45, 31-42, and 8 pp. of fragments.
The nature of a sign. Propositions as the significations of signs which represent that some icon is applicable to that which is indicated by an index. The non-existence of propositions: propositions as merely possible. How truth and falsehood relate to propositions. Meaning as the character of a sign. Meaning and value are related: meaning as the value of a word (or the value of something for us is what that something means to us). The reference of meaning to the future.

Article in Journal | Posted 03/11/2014
Kruse, Felicia E. (2010). Peirce, God, and the "Transcendentalist Virus"
The article discusses the influence of the Transcendentalist movement on the thought of American philosopher Charles S. Peirce. It describes Peirce's references to Transcendental ideas regarding God and the mind in the articles "The Law of Mind" and "A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God." It then discusses the relationship between Peirce's metaphysics and the philosophy of American Transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, Peirce's understanding of human perception and epistemology, and the relationship between Peirce's idealism and the thought of German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling.
News | Posted 23/06/2014
Project Conference: 'Idealism & Pragmatism: Convergence or Contestation?'

Conference organised by the Idealism & Pragmatism project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and based in Sheffield.


  • Robert Brandom (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Giuseppina D’Oro (Keele University)
  • Christopher Hookway (University of Sheffield)
  • John Kaag (UMass Lowell)
  • Steven Levine (UMass Boston)
  • David MacArthur (University of Sydney)
  • Robert Pippin (University of Chicago)
  • Huw Price (University of Cambridge)
  • Ulrich Schlösser (University of Tübingen)
  • Claudine Tiercelin (Collège de France)
Keywords: Pragmatism, Idealism
Manuscript | Posted 11/06/2014
Peirce, Charles S. (1897-8). Abstracts of 8 Lectures. MS [R] 942

From the Robin Catalogue:
A. MS., n.p., n.d., pp. 1-33, incomplete, with variants and a single sheet entitled “Bifaria for 8 Lectures” (B8). The bare nothing of possibility logically leads to continuity. Continuum of possible quality. Thisness and individuality; thisness and reaction. Firstness, Secondness, Thirdness. Habit, generalization, and the laws of nature. Evolution.

Published (almost completely) as NEM 4:127-147.

News | Posted 03/12/2013
Bridging Traditions: Idealism and Pragmatism

Even though the pragmatists, both classical and contemporary, have been attentive readers of various figures in the idealist tradition, their views are normally read in opposition to what an idealist approach to philosophy is supposed to entail. Thus, it is hard to deny that Charles S. Peirce studied in depth Kant when he was a young scholar, or that Hegel was an influence on the young John Dewey. As far as contemporary pragmatists are concerned, figures like Hilary Putnam and Robert Brandom have certainly not neglected to consider some of the idealists’ ideas.

This circumstance notwithstanding, pragmatism and idealism have been normally set against each other. Of course there seems to be plenty of reasons to do so. First of all there are methodological reasons. Pragmatists normally propose an approach to philosophy that is in continuity with the sciences and that attacks a priori methods of arguing. Accordingly, they endorse a radical form of fallibilism and leave behind the search for ultimate truths. This seems to be deeply in contrast to many idealists, who certainly used a priori lines of reasoning and aimed to attain certain and stable knowledge. There are also theoretical reasons. For example, many pragmatists (of course with important differences among them) could be seen as endorsing a peculiar form of naturalism, where the human mind is seen as being in continuity with nature, while not being reduced to very basic forms of explanation. On the other hand, idealist approaches to philosophy are normally read in opposition to naturalistic points of view, insofar as they give priority to the mind and to the way in which it offers us the possibility to represent nature in the first place.

There are various reasons to question this rigid opposition. The Frankfurt conference will thus show that idealism and pragmatism have a lot in common. Just to mention some examples, Charles Peirce was surely critical of the a priori method used by the rationalists and by Kant, but he also continued to use some a priori lines of reasoning in his mathematical and logical inquiries. These inquiries provided the basic ideas for his entire philosophy. Moreover, Clarence I. Lewis, another important figure in the classical tradition of pragmatism, developed a new account of the a priori method, which he called the “pragmatic a priori”. This is only to show that the a priori method was not simply rejected by the pragmatists. Rather, some of the pragmatists tried to reinvent this method in a new framework. On the other hand, the recourse to a priori lines of reasoning or to a priori sets of concepts has been understood in very different ways in the idealist traditions. Thus, the way in which Hegel placed a priori concepts in an historical developmental framework can be associated to some pragmatist way of describing the evolution of thought. As far as naturalism is concerned, it is important to keep in mind that the kind of naturalism endorsed by the pragmatists was of a very peculiar kind. In fact, they have not ever tried to reduce mental phenomena to more basic kinds of explanation. They have only tried to read those phenomena as being in continuity with natural processes. In their form of naturalism, the pragmatists allow thus room for the kind of mental phenomena that are considered the starting points of the idealists. Moreover the pragmatists would surely agree with the idealists in saying that our thought plays an essential role in the production of our very own representation of nature.

There are so many reasons to question the customary opposition between pragmatism and idealism.The conference results from an international collaboration in which two different projects are conjoined: 1) A project on ‘Pragmatism, Kant and Transcendental Philosophy’ that Gabriele Gava is carrying out in Frankfurt as a research fellow of the Humboldt-Stiftung, and 2) A project on ‘Idealism and Pragmatism: Convergence or Contestation?’, sponsored by a grant of the Leverhulme Trust and lead by Robert Stern from the University of Sheffield. The first two days of the conference, sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, will be connected to the first project and will be dedicated to the relationship between pragmatism, Kant and transcendental philosophy, while the third day, which is part of the second project, will consist of a workshop exploring the connections between pragmatism and idealism in the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, logic and language.

Confirmed speakers (December 3, 2013):
James Conant (Chicago)
Alfredo Ferrarin (Pisa)
Sebastian Gardner (UCL)
Gabriele Gava (Frankfurt)
Daniel Herbert (Sheffield)
Christopher Hookway (Sheffield)
Wolfgang Kuhlmann (RWTH Aachen)
Catherine Legg (Waikato)
David MacArthur (Sydney)
Marcel Niquet (Frankfurt and Ceará)
James O’Shea (UCD)
Sami Pihlström (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies)
Sebastian Rödl (Leipzig)
Robert Stern (Sheffield)
Marcus Willaschek (Frankfurt)

Keywords: Pragmatism, Idealism
News | Posted 04/07/2013
Workshop: Idealism and Pragmatism: A History

The objective of this workshop is to look in detail at how the classical American pragmatists saw themselves in relation to idealism. It will also trace the continuing development of this connection through into the twentieth century, as reflected in the work of figures such as Sellars, Apel, Habermas, Putnam, Rorty and Brandom.

Provisional Programme:

Friday 25th Oct

  • 10.30-11.00 Coffee
  • 11.00-12.30 Paul Franks (Yale University) ‘The “Schelling-fashioned idealism” of C. S. Peirce’
  • 12.30-13.30 Lunch
  • 13.30-15.00 Dina Emundts (Universität Konstanz) ‘Hegel as a Pragmatist’
  • 15.00-15.15 Coffee
  • 15.15-16.45 Jeremy Dunham (University of Edinburgh) ‘Neo-Leibnizian Idealism in Nineteenth-Century France and its importance for American Pragmatism’
  • 18.00 Workshop Dinner @ Efes Turkish and Mediterranean Restaurant – £13 per head

Saturday 26th Oct

  • 09.30-11.00 Shannon Dea (University of Waterloo) ‘Peirce, Spinoza and Absolute Idealism’
  • 11.00-11.15 Coffee
  • 11.15-12.45 Kenneth Westphal (University of East Anglia) ‘“Of the Transcendental Power of Judgment as such” (KdrV B171–5): Hegel’s Pragmatic Critique and Transformation of Kant’s System of Principles’
  • 12.45-13.45 Lunch
  • 13.45-15.15 Gabriele Gava (University of Frankfurt) ‘What is Wrong with Intuitions? An Assessment of a Peircean Criticism of Kant’
  • 15.15-15.30 Coffee
  • 15.30-17.00 Paul Redding (University of Sydney) ‘An Idealist Solution to a Pragmatist Problem’

Registration to attend the workshop is not required. A number of postgraduate travel grants are available. Details of these can be found on the webpage. To apply, please download and complete the form and return to the network administrator Kim Redgrave

This is the first workshop of the ‘Idealism and Pragmatism: Convergence or Contestation?’ network. Details about the network, it’s activities and research can be found on the website

Keywords: Pragmatism, Idealism
News | Posted 25/04/2013
Idealism & Pragmatism: Convergence or Contestation?

The aim of the project is to consider the relation between two great philosophical traditions: idealism and pragmatism. The network will focus on three main themes through a series of workshops and a final conference:

  • 2013 Workshop on the history of the relation between idealism and pragmatism
  • 2014 Workshop exploring connections in metaphysics, epistemology, logic and language
  • 2015 Workshop exploring connections in ethics, social thought, and religion
  • 2015 Final conference
Keywords: Pragmatism, Idealism
Encyclopedia Article | Posted 10/01/2013
Rosenthal, Sandra: "World and Its Bi-Polar Dimensions"

Peirce never explicitly clarifies his understanding of “the real world,” though he refers to it frequently throughout his writings. This lack can well go unremarked, for it is a common sense term which slides easily into a common sense identification with “what is the case” or “what there is”, which then may receive various philosophic labels, depending upon whether one interprets Peirce as a realist, an idealist, or a phenomenalist. When such an identification is questioned, however, “the real world” fits inadequately within the confines of any of the above labels, for it is a distinctively pragmatic world. Peirce, in radically rejecting the role of humans as spectators, in understanding experience as a unity of interaction between humans and that facticity which gives itself within experience, holds at once that the real world is the perceived world, that the real world has an independence from mind, and yet that the perceived world is partially dependent upon the noetic act and is thus relative in its nature to the mind. The supposed incompatibility of these three characteristics of the relation of thought to the real world stems from a failure to radically and once and for all reject the presuppositions of a spectator theory of knowledge.

News | Posted 12/06/2012
Anderson and Hausman: "Conversations on Peirce: Reals and Ideals"

The book is a collection of chapters on the work of Charles S. Peirce that grew out of conversations between the authors over the last decade and a half. The chapters focus primarily on Peirce’s consideration of realism and idealism as philosophical outlooks. Some deal directly with Peirce’s accounts of realism and idealism; others look to the consequences of these accounts for other features of Peirce’s overall philosophical system.

Table of Contents:


  1. Peirce on Berkeley’s Nominalistic Platonism / DOUG ANDERSON AND PETER GROFF
  2. Who’s a Pragmatist: Royce, Dewey, and Peirce at the Turn of the Century / DOUG ANDERSON
  3. Two Peircean Realisms: Some Comments on Margolis / CARL R. HAUSMAN AND DOUG ANDERSON
  4. The Degeneration of Pragmatism: Peirce, Dewey, Rorty / DOUG ANDERSON


  1. Peirce’s Dynamical Object: Realism as Process Philosophy / CARL R. HAUSMAN
  2. Another Radical Empiricism: Peirce 1903 / DOUG ANDERSON
  3. Peirce on Interpretation / CARL R. HAUSMAN
  4. Peirce and Pearson: The Aims of Inquiry / DOUG ANDERSON AND MICHAEL J. ROVINE


  1. The Pragmatic Importance of Peirce’s Religious Writings / DOUG ANDERSON
  2. Realism and Idealism in Peirce’s Cosmogony / DOUG ANDERSON
  3. Love of Nature: The Generality of Peircean Concern / DOUG ANDERSON
  4. Developmental Theism: A Peircean Response to Fundamentalism / DOUG ANDERSON

ADDENDUM Peirce’s Coefficient of the Science of the Method: An Early Form of the Correlation Coefficient / MICHAEL J. ROVINE AND DOUG ANDERSON