Re: Peirce List Discussion • Mike Bergman
The mathematical perspectives and theories that made modern physics possible, perhaps even inevitable, were developed by many mathematicians, both abstract and applied, all throughout the 19th Century. There was a definite sea change in the way scientists began to view the relationship between mathematical models and the physical world, passing from a monolithic concept to variational choices among multiple approaches, models, perspectives, and theories.
Charles Sanders Peirce was an astute observer and active participant in this transformation but it has always been difficult to trace his true impact on its course — so much of what he contributed operated underground, rhizome like, and without recognition. But I think it’s fair to say that Peirce articulated the springs and catches of the workings of science better than any other reflective practitioner in his or subsequent times. And I think the full import of his information-theoretic and pragmatic-semiotic approaches to scientific inquiry is a task for the future to work out.