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1. Immortality in the Light of Synechism (1893)

Edited by the Peirce Edition Project Indiana University Press ePub


MS 886. [First published in CP 7.565–78. This article, submitted on 4 May 1893, was written for the weekly magazine The Open Court and was favorably considered for The Monist, but was not published because of a misunderstanding between Peirce and their editor, Paul Carus.] In this short and provoking paper, Peirce considers synechism, his doctrine that everything is continuous, and characterizes the stance of the synechist toward various philosophical questions. He applies his doctrine to the question of immortality and finds that it is rash to assume that we only have carnal life. Peirce maintains that synechism is a purely scientific philosophy and predicts that it will help reconcile science and religion.

The word synechism is the English form of the Greek from continuous. For two centuries we have been affixing -ist and -ism to words, in order to note sects which exalt the importance of those elements which the stem-words signify. Thus, materialism is the doctrine that matter is everything, idealism the doctrine that ideas are everything, dualism the philosophy which splits everything in two. In like manner, I have proposed to make synechism mean the tendency to regard everything as continuous.*

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Natural Disaster · Fiction

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

Paula Simone Campbell

JOSH LOVES TO bake cakes. Whenever he does, he feels that he is doing something good. His favorite part is the frosting; it gives him the chance to make something smooth, perfect. And even if it is not so, any flaw in the frosting can be seen as a beautiful flourish.

In front of him is a strawberry butter cream cake that he is wrapping in a turban of pink frosting. He presses the spatula down firmly as he goes around it. He affixes strawberry slices to the top and sprinkles sugar crystals with the tips of his fingers. It is finished. Spatula still in hand, he stands back and smiles as he sucks on the sugar crystals that got stuck under his nails.

“Yeah,” he nods and smiles contently.

The broiling heat of the 95-degree day is finally dwindling down as the late afternoon sets in. Josh could have spent the day at the beach like most people, but he hates the beach and its unlimited exposure to the sun. The climate-controlled apartment and its access to the oven and baking needs is more than enough.

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24. The Axioms of Number

Peirce, Charles S. Indiana University Press PDF

Axioms of Number, 1880-81



Number is singly infinite: any number can be reached by successive minimum steps. More precisely, if every number smaller than but not smaller than a number smaller than another is in any transitive relation to that other, then every number smaller than another is in the same transitive relation to that other.


In any counting, every object of the lot counted is counted off by a number.


No number in any counting counts off anything counted off by any other number in the same counting.


No object in any counting is counted off by any number that counts off any other object in the same counting.


In any counting, every number counting off an object is less than every number that does not count off an object.


The lot counted being finite, there is a final number in every counting of it.


The final number of a count counts off an object.


In any counting, the final number of the count is greater than any other number that counts off an objec/tj

Definitions of Addition and Multiplication.

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24. The Doctrine of Necessity Examined

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF


The Doctrine of Necessity Examined

5 November 1891

Morris Library

In the Monist for January, 1891, I endeavored to show what elementary ideas ought to enter into our view of the universe. I may mention that on those considerations I had already grounded a cosmical theory, and from it had deduced a considerable number of consequences capable of being compared with experience. This comparison is now in progress, but under existing circumstances must occupy many years.

I propose here to examine the common belief that every single fact in the universe is precisely determined by law. It must not be supposed that this is a doctrine accepted everywhere and at all times by all rational men. Its first advocate appears to have been Democritus the atomist, who was led to it, as we are informed, by reflecting upon the “impenetrability, translation, and impact of matter (ajntitupiva kai; fora; kai; plhgh; th`~ u}lh~).” That is to say, having restricted his attention to a field where no influence other than mechanical constraint could possibly come before his notice, he straightway jumped to the conclusion that throughout the universe that was the sole principle of action,—a style of reasoning so usual in our day with men not unreflecting as to be more than excusable in the infancy of thought. But Epicurus, in revising the atomic doctrine and repairing its defences, found himself obliged to suppose that atoms swerve from their courses by spontaneous chance; and thereby he conferred upon the theory life and entelechy. For we now see clearly that the peculiar function of the molecular hypothesis in physics is to open an entry for the calculus of probabilities. Already, the prince of philosophers had repeatedly and emphatically condemned the dictum of Democritus (especially in the

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Three The Americanization of the Holocaust

Alvin H. Rosenfeld Indiana University Press ePub

Looking back upon the devastation of European Jewry during World War II, what is it that most people see and how do they understand it?

In an effort to discover answers to questions of this kind, the American Jewish Committee carried out a series of studies in the 1990s to determine what people in several different countries—among them, the United States, France, Germany, and Great Britain—know about the Holocaust.1 The findings were not encouraging, especially with respect to the levels of historical knowledge among Americans. When asked, “What does the term ‘the Holocaust’ refer to?” 38 percent of American adults and 53 percent of high school students either did not know or offered incorrect answers. Higher percentages of American adults (65 percent) and high school students (71 percent) seemed not to know that approximately six million Jews were killed by the Nazis and their allies. Presented with the names “Auschwitz, Dachau, and Treblinka,” 38 percent of the same adults and 51 percent of the high school students failed to recognize these as signifying concentration camps. Furthermore, 59 percent of the adults and the same percentage of the students did not know that the symbol that Jews were forced to wear during the war was the yellow star. It is little wonder, then, that the scholars who carried out this survey concluded that a “serious knowledge gap exists for both adults and youth in the United States with regard to basic information about the Holocaust.”2

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