Peirce, Charles S. (Charles Sanders), 1839-1914
American philosopher, scientist, and mathematician, the founder of the philosophical movement called pragmatism. Peirce was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the second son of Benjamin Peirce, who was professor of mathematics and astronomy at Harvard and one of America’s leading mathematicians. Charles Peirce studied at Harvard University and in 1863 received a degree in chemistry. In 1861 he began work with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, and remained in this service for thirty years. Simultaneously with his professional career as a scientist, Peirce worked in logic and philosophy. He lectured on philosophy and logic at various universities and institutes, but was never able to obtain a permanent academic position as a teacher of philosophy. In 1887 he retired to Milford, Pennsylvania, and devoted the rest of his life to philosophical work. He earned a meager income from occasional lectures and by writing articles for periodicals and dictionaries. He spent his last years in extreme poverty and ill health.
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