Charles Sanders Peirce is one of the most original voices in American philosophy. His scientific career and his goal of proving scientific logic provide rich material for philosophical development. Peirce was also a life-long Christian and member of the Episcopal Church. Roger Ward traces the impact of Peirce’s religion and Christianity on the development of Peirce’s philosophy. Peirce’s religious framework is a key to his development of pragmatism and normative science in terms of knowledge and moral transformation. Peirce’s argument for the reality of God is a culmination of both his religious devotion and his life-long philosophical development.
C. S. Peirce (1839-1914) is widely known among philosophers as an important, if idiosyncratic, logician. In this book Ward (Georgetown College) argues that Peirce is a religious philosopher and that his life's work was guided by his theological views. Ward proceeds both systematically through Peirce's work and biographically through the philosopher's life. Ward contends that Peirce saw religion and science (including especially logic) not as rivals or contraries, as many might expect, but as working in tandem to produce an understanding of reality. According to the author, this view of science and religion can be found in all of Peirce's work and indeed provides an interpretative key to it. Moreover, Ward suggests that this view of Peirce and his work offers a new way to look at American philosophy.
Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, researchers, faculty. * CHOICE * "The account of Peirce that [Ward] supplies in this volume is consistently illuminating." * Journal of the American Academy of Religion * Roger Ward's research on the roots of Peirce's Christianity produces great fruit for his readers -- namely a counter-narrative to those Peirce scholars in Indianapolis and in Toronto who continually conceal the significance of Peirce's Christian convictions and ways-of-thinking. This book offers a helpful and interesting contribution to American Philosophy, especially concerning the religious nature of pragmatism. In my judgment, this book ought to be taught or utilized in courses on American Philosophy. -- Jacob L. Goodson, Southwestern College Working mainly with well-known materials, Roger Ward has given us an astonishingly new vision of Peirce as a religious philosopher, a philosopher who is religious. The long-term meaning of pragmaticism is living life in obedience to the "thirdness of thirdness" as characteristic of reality, then of the community's long duration, and only very fragmentarily of a person with an individual will. Ward makes his argument in terms of the development of Peirce's logic through the years. But he relates this to Peirce's explicit relations to religion, his abandonment of his father's Unitarianism for Episcopalianism, his falling away from that with the end of his first marriage, and finally the recovery of his Trinitarian faith and life in the church until his death. This is a very deep vision of Peirce. -- Robert Cummings Neville, Boston University Peirce challenges our methods of inquiry while science challenges a religious world view. Roger Ward rises to these challenges, providing in Peirce and Religion a coherent, provocative overview of Peirce's lifelong effort to reconcile his belief in science with his enduring religious faith. A fresh, persuasive analysis of the Trinitarian framework for Peirce's triadic semiotic, logic, and methods of purposeful inquiry and practice in the context of both community and congregation. -- Robert King, Utah State University In the U.S. the relationship between science and religion remains an perennially important question. In this book, Ward explores some historical aspects of this relationship in the life and work of Charles Peirce, one of North America's most original thinkers. The story he tells is both insightful and provocative. Anyone seeking insight into the development of pragmatic thought in the U.S. should have to wrestle with Ward's reading of Peirce. -- Douglas Anderson, University of North Texas