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date: 21 September 2019

Peirce, Charles Sanderslocked

(10 September 1839–19 April 1914)
  • Paul Jerome Croce

Extract

Peirce, Charles Sanders (10 September 1839–19 April 1914), scientist and philosopher, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Benjamin Peirce, a mathematician, and Sarah Hunt Mills. The large engine of Peirce’s intellect was already apparent in childhood, when he was encouraged by his father, a brilliant mathematics professor at Harvard and a national leader in the professionalization of science in America, and other family members to engage in elaborate mathematical games and scientific experiments. Without further prodding, young Peirce was already reading sophisticated logic and philosophy books by his teen years. In college he showed signs of his later difficulties in getting along with people: he did not excel in classwork, preferring to read works of his own choosing. He did find work to his liking at Harvard’s Lawrence Scientific School, where he earned a summa cum laude in chemistry in 1863. In October 1862 he had married Harriet Melusina “Zina” Fay; they would have no children....

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