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The Continuity of Peirce's Thought

Author(s): Kelly A. Parker

A comprehensive and systematic reconstruction of the philosophy of Charles S. Peirce, perhaps America's most far-ranging and original philosopher, which reveals the unity of his complex and influential body of thought.

We are still in the early stages of understanding the thought of C. S. Peirce (1839-1914). Although much good work has been done in isolated areas, relatively little considers the Peircean system as a whole. Peirce made it his life's work to construct a scientifically sophisticated and logically rigorous philosophical system, culminating in a realist epistemology and a metaphysical theory ("synechism") that postulates the connectedness of all things in a universal evolutionary process.

In The Continuity of Peirce's Thought, Kelly Parker shows how the principle of continuity functions in phenomenology and semeiotics, the two most novel and important of Peirce's philosophical sciences, which mediate between mathematics and metaphysics. Parker argues that Peirce's concept of continuity is the central organizing theme of the entire Peircean philosophical corpus. He explains how Peirce's unique conception of the mathematical continuum shapes the broad sweep of his thought, extending from mathematics to metaphysics and in religion. He thus provides a convenient and useful overview of Peirce's philosophical system, situating it within the history of ideas and mapping interconnections among the diverse areas of Peirce's work.

This challenging yet helpful book adopts an innovative approach to achieve the ambitious goal of more fully understanding the interrelationship of all the elements in the entire corpus of Peirce's writings. Given Peirce's importance in fields ranging from philosophy to mathematics to literary and cultural studies, this new book should appeal to all who seek a fuller, unified understanding of the career and overarching contributions of Peirce, one of the key figures in the American philosophical tradition.

Biography of Author(s)

Kelly A. Parker is assistant professor of philosophy at Grand Valley State University, in Allendale, Michigan. His research and publications focus primarily on American pragmatism and environmental philosophy


  • I know of no better introduction to Peirce. Parker's book is the first to present Peirce's philosophy fully and systematically following Peirce's own system. This is a stimulating work that should engage even the most sophisticated Peirce scholar.
    --Nathan Houser, Director of the Peirce Edition Project