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The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 37, Issue 3/4, 2021

Addressing Precarity The New Prague School of Semiotics Visual Semiotics

Michal Karľa
Pages 267-288

On Peirce’s Earliest Conception of Metaphysics

In this paper, I explore Peirce’s initial conception of metaphysics as developed in his “Treatise on Metaphysics” (1861–2: W 1.57–84). Peirce claimed therein that the idea of metaphysics was three-fold, with its three perspectives consisting of its definition, object, and method. Since Peirce defined metaphysics as the “philosophy of primal truths” (1861: W 1.59), I initially focus on elaborating upon what these “primal truths” are and illustrate that they are analytical propositions resulting from the logical analysis of the general constitution of a mental state (an image) to its elements. Next, I give account of how Peirce’s thoughts regarding the justification of metaphysical propositions resulted in his concluding that in metaphysical knowledge, like in any other, there is an element of faith. Finally, I conclude with remarks regarding Peirce’s notion of reflexivity as it is employed in his metametaphysics.