Thanks for taking up the discussion of Charles Sanders Peirce, Stan. Given so much breadth and depth of original philosophical material to draw from, I seldom know where to begin trying to summarize what I think I've learned from this gifted, yet tragically unappreciated (in his own time) intellectual explorer. As with all pioneers, we can readily discern them by the arrows sticking out of their backs, and Charles Sanders Peirce attracted more than his fair share of poisoned barbs. Some, he deserved; most, he didn't.
I like the way you've started the conversation with an example of Peirce's rhetorical flair. Given that his major contributions to modern philosophy come from science, logic, mathematics, and semiotics (the study of signs and signification), I find it refreshing to note that he also possessed the ability to turn an apt phrase and exploit a metaphor to excellent literary effect. I usually recommend that people begin their acquaintance of Peirce by reading his seminal essay "The Fixation of Belief," first published in Popular Science Magazine in November of 1877. For those of our claque who don't have the book by Justus Buchler that we share, I'll provide an attachment to this posting in Word document form -- that I copied from the Internet (at http://www.peirce.org/writings) -- for their reference. In the book though, Buchler provides an additional final paragraph from Peirce's Collected Papers that the original published paper lacked. In my opinion, it illustrates beautifully Peirce's gifts as a writer, over and above his other many abilities as a logical thinker. In this, one of my own favorite passages, he proclaimed:
Yes, the other methods [of fixing belief] do have their merits: a clear logical conscience does cost something -- just as any virtue, just as all that we cherish, costs us dear. But we should not desire it to be otherwise. The genius of a man's logical method should be loved and reverenced as his bride, whom he has chosen from all the world. He need not condemn the others; on the contrary, he may honor them deeply, and in doing so he only honors her the more. But she is the one that he has chosen, and he knows that he was right in making that choice. And having made it, he will work and fight for her, and will not complain that there are blows to take, hoping that there may be as many and as hard to give, and will strive to be the worthy knight and champion of her from the blaze of whose splendors he draws his inspiration and his courage.
Now back to you, Stan. ¡@