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Publication Details

Associationism in Pragmatism: Peirce ́s Reconstruction of British Empiricism

(Original title: Asocianizmus v pragmatizme: Peirceova rekonštrukcia britského empirizmu)
Filozofia, 69 (2014), 4, 342-354.
Type of work: Papers
Publication language: Slovak

This article focuses on the consequences of Peirce’s aspiration to reconstruct crucial issues of modern epistemology inherent in Locke’s and Hume’s empiricism. His most important result is a unique doctrine of signs (semiotics), which he developed alongside his well-known doctrine of pragmatism until 1902 – 1903, when these two doctrines undergo a desired synthesis. The article offers an analysis of the difference between Locke’s and Peirce’s accounts of signification and – showis how Peirce reconstructs Hume’s idea of associationism. Peirce analyzes the phenomenon of mental association in three different areas: in psychology, logic, and in the so-called methodeutic inquiry, where logic and psychology cooperate. This inquiry had led Peirce to the point of intersection, where philosophical concept of habit and philosophical concept of inference meet. His pragmatistic and semiotic studies resulted in a truly unique conception of meaning. To sum up: Peirce’s deconstruction of Locke’s account of signification via reconstructing Hume’s associationism creates a philosophical base of Peirce’s best known project – his pragmatism.


Associationism, Empiricism, Habit, Inference, Peirce, Pragmatism, Sign

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