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SAAP Annual Meeting 2018

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A Hybrid "Class of Signs": Peirce on Epiphenomenalism and the Mind-Body Problem

In a 1906 letter to Schiller, Peirce, addressing the problem of Necessitarianism, speaks of a special “class of signs” which are, at once, logical and mechanical. Studying Peirce’s doctrine of reasoning and self-control in connection to this hybrid class of signs sheds some light on Peirce’s rejection of Necessitarianism and of the connected theory of epiphenomenalism. Moreover, this reading integrates the standard interpretation of Peirce’s account of self-control by showing that this interpretation is inconclusive if it doesn’t address Peirce’s own interest in the mind-body interaction problem. I conclude by pointing out that Peirce’s solution to the mind-body interaction problem is only metaphysical and that it admittedly leaves unanswered all the scientific questions concerning how such interaction comes about.

Marco Stango
Pennsylvania State University
United States


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