The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Letters to F. C. S. Schiller’


In my lectures and conversations I always made my pragmatism subordinate to what I called Anthropomorphism, in which these three propositions were prominent (I purposely state them vaguely in order to be brief). 1st. Man’s faculties, like those of any animal, are pretty nicely adjusted to the needs of his life; and he is so immersed and submerged in conceptions of the pragmatisch (I don’t say the praktisch) in such entirety that no conception, direct or indirect, can be had of an exterior standpoint, and these very words I am writing, together with all other affirmations and denials of “limits of human cognition,” are quite meaningless except so far as they predicate nonsensicality of one another. But in that, their only meaning, the denials of limits are golden truth. 2nd. “Man has not attained to any knowledge that is not either mechanical or anthropological.” (Studies in Logic, 1882, p. 181). His least imperfect ideals must therefore take human shape; and his least false understanding of that which is behind the Universe is Theism - or rather a Theistic Religion. 3rd. Human instincts ought to be implicitly trusted within their proper sphere. “All human knowledge, up to the highest flights of science, is but the development of our inborn animal instincts” (Ibid.). But Reason goes wrong perhaps oftener than it goes right.

Published in Scott, F. J. D. (1973). Peirce and Schiller and Their Correspondence. Journal of the History of Philosophy, 11(3), 363–386.
‘Anthropomorphism’ (pub. 14.01.13-17:04). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jan 14, 2013, 17:04 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Mar 20, 2016, 12:19 by Mats Bergman