Kantian Journal

2016 Vol. 35. No. 4

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Ideas of Kant’s theoretical philosophy in Peirce’s graph theory



C. S. Peirce is a prominent figure in the nineteenth-century American philosophy. His contribution to philosophy and logic is enormous. The significance of some of his ideas was not realized until today. As a philosopher, Peirce was shaped by Kant, whose Critique of Pure Reason he knew almost by heart. Peirce was fascinated by the German thinker, who literally opened for him the philosophy of modern era and introduced him to the problem of cognition and increment of knowledge. Peirce was never a Kantian but the oeuvre of the Königsberg philosopher had a profound effect on all of his further works. The major elements of Kant’s theory (transcendental deduction of categories, classification of judgements, synthetic and analytic judgement dichotomy, etc.) were substantially modified by Peirce. He reduced the number of categories, changed their content, and transformed analytic and synthetic judgements into ampliative and explicative reasoning. Kant helped Peirce to overcome the doctrine of nominalism and develop the doctrine of critical realism. This paper addresses the existential graph theory, which is scrutinised from the perspective of transformations of Kant’s ideas. The graph theory was chosen, firstly, because of its chronological significance — it is the last logical theory of the American thinker. Secondly, it was greatly valued by the author, who called the theory his greatest accomplishment. The fact that the echo of Kant’s philosophy is heard in such a recent theory is an evidence of Kant’s strong influence. This thesis is proven in this work.


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