On the Significance of Ideals: Charles S. Peirce and the Good Life

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The author of this paper starts by sketching a general framework for Peirce's ethical theory: first, he discusses very briefly Peirce's phenomenological categories; then, he outlines some implications of these categories for Peirce's concept of personal identity. In the rest of the paper he discusses successively within this framework Peirce's views on the status of ethics, ideals, concrete reasonableness, evolutionary love, and the relation between the individual and the cosmos. He then argues that these notions, taken together, culminate in a non-subjective ethical theory that indicates what is a good life. The central argument that he develops is that we, according to Peirce, can only become authentic persons through a process of giving a general form to our interactions with our social and natural environment, i.e., a form that is constituted by virtue of the belief in and embodiment of common ideals, which are no less real than concrete, physical events.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)422-443
JournalTransactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • IR-101074

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