An Invitation to Publish

L387 - Francis Russell letter.pdf

Letter by Francis C. Russell to Charles S. Peirce, July 1, 1890 (Hougton Library, Harvard University)

L77 - Carus letter July 2, 1890.pdf

Letter by Paul Carus to Charles S. Peirce, July 2, 1890 (Houghton Library, Harvard University)

Letterpress of letter by Paul Carus to Charles S. Peirce, July  2, 1890

Letterpress made from original letter by Paul Carus to Charles S. Peirce, July 2, 1890

On the first two days of July 1890, Carus and Francis C. Russell separately composed letters to Peirce inviting him to publish an article in the inaugural issue of the Open Court’s newly formed philosophy journal The Monist. Russell was a mutual friend of Peirce and Carus, and helped introduce the two. Peirce, now at age 50, had a reputation as a preeminent logician in the U. S. He had published a series of original articles entitled “Illustrations of the Logic of Science” in Popular Science Monthly, 1877-1878, and was a professor of logic at Johns Hopkins University, 1879-1884. Russell was enthusiastic of Peirce's work in this area and Carus identified Peirce as a specialist in it.

“Everybody is talking about scientific matters and yet outside yourself no one as far as I can see has any definite conception as to what that scientific method consists in.” (Russell)

“I wish that in the new quarterly our most prominent American authors should be represented and shall be indebted to you for an article from your pen on ‘Modern Logic’ or some similar topic—perhaps ‘Logic and Ethics’. You may choose any theme with which you are engaged at present.” (Carus)

Because Peirce was currently developing a systematic philosophy that extended substantially beyond his specialty work in logic, he chose to follow Carus’s alternative option to write on a theme with which he was presently engaged.