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Publication Date



UM campus only

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Philosophy (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Susan Haack

Second Committee Member

Otavio Bueno

Third Committee Member

Mark Migotti

Fourth Committee Member

William Widen


A central issue in Peirce scholarship is how best to approach his philosophical views as a whole. I argue that his views are best understood as comprising a distinctive and systematic form of empiricism that has many of its roots in 17th to 19th century English, Irish, and Scottish philosophy. On my view, his pragmatism is one central component of his empiricism, and many of his metaphysical claims (which for many scholars are evidence of a rationalist strain in Peirce) are accommodated within the empiricist framework he develops. I offer a reconstruction of Peirce’s philosophy that explains its historical roots, attempts to show the coherence of his thought, and displays its relevance to the debates of the past century.


Peirce; Empiricism; Pragmatism; Reid; Locke