Charles Sanders Peirce and John Duns Scotus

I have found a lecture on iTunes U about Peirce

Richard Candida Smith, American Studies C132B, Lecture 10: Introduction to pragmatism; Charles Sanders Peirce on community and knowledge

The lecture on YouTube

The lecturer has mentioned that Peirce’s ideas are close to that of Duns Scotus. As I have recently listened to Maarten Hoenen’s lecture about Scotus and his formal distinction (see Ancient and medieval philosophy), I wanted to find more information about that link.

On biosemiotics-list people have confirmed that Scotus’ philosophy is important to understand Peirce. Søren Brier has recommended the book John F. Boler, Charles Peirce and Scholastic Realism, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1963). John Collier has referred to Peirce’s

Fraser’s The Works of George Berkeley

After that I have found a nice short paper on the subject

Ronald Jeffrey Grace
The Realism of John Duns Scotus in the Philosophy of Charles Peirce
Berkeley, California
15 December 2000

A conclusion from that paper:

In light of this, it seems appropriate to ask the question “In what sense can Peirce be identified as someone influenced by the philosophy of Scotus?” It certainly doesn’t seem possible to maintain that Peirce developed Scotus’ philosophy from its conclusions. It’s probably more accurate to say that he adopted a position that Scotus developed, the formal distinction, and then built something new from there. He is therefore “Scotistic” in the sense that he adopted a Scotistic framework but managed to work out a philosophy that might have made Scotus a bit uncomfortable.

It’s really hard to say what Scotus would think of Peirce’s work, however, for Peirce himself points out that he is working with tools that simply weren’t available to Scotus, new developments in logic being one. When all is said and done, however, I’m sure Scotus might have been fascinated by such a supreme elucidation of the possible as we find in Charles Sanders Peirce.”

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