American Philosophy

Charles Sanders Peirce

Why wasn’t Charles Peirce ever a professor of philosophy?

Pierce did have a job as lecturer in logic at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, from 1879 to 1891. But in 1883 he divorced Harriet Melusina Fay, to whom he had been married since 1862, and married Juliette Froissy. Froissy was thought to be a gypsy, and Peirce was said to have lived with her before their marriage. A scandal ensued, and Peirce left his academic position. Peirce’s only subsequent employment was for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, which ended in 1901 due to congressional curtailment of funding. Peirce then did odd jobs and was employed as a consultant in chemical engineering. Sometimes, William James (1842–1910) and other friends assisted him financially.


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