Abstract: Peirce’s philosophy seems quite uninterested in tracing a “theory of the subject” understood as a possible foundation for both theoretical and ethical truths. Rather, Peirce stresses the importance of comprehending the event of signs as an original possibility to get in touch with truth. Of course this implies also a metaphysical position but Peirce – taking any possible distance from the Cartesian philosophical style – does not want to allow for any metaphysics of subject. However, there are many passages in Peirce’s philosophy that sketch a sort of phenomenology of conscious subject, in which traditional concepts and problems dealing with ethical requirements emerge. Facing those problems, Peirce’s view does not seem to favour the so-called “dissolution of subject”, rather he helps for a post-cartesian way of “de-centering subject”. Many crucial and interwoven features of Peirce’s work play an important role in the makeup of such a perspective: the critique to intuitionism that he worked out in a completely original way; the epistemic notion of sociality; the constitutive function of interpersonal communication for both the development of self-consciousness and of the awareness of believes’ fallibility; the identification of the social nature of the meaning of signs and the validity of the notions of truth and reality. In a few words, what comes into play is his “logical socialism”, according to which community – with its languages and practices – has a decisive role in order to understand subjectivity and practical criteria of human action. In this paper I will try to deepen my previous analysis of the anti-dogmatic element as well as the ethical consequences of this view of subjectivity, and of their merging into a form of “externalism” representing an alternative to rational and ethical models centred on the “first person”. More precisely, based on these analysis, I will now focus on a problem representing the inevitable premise to any philosophical discussion about ethics: that is to say the problem of human responsibility. I will try to grasp its different features through some crucial passages in Peirce’s writings, including the text on normative sciences. The main question will be the following: does peircian idea of “final” logical rationality imply a problematic relationship with freedom and responsibility? The ambiguity of this idea suggests getting back to Kant’s underlining of subjective responsibility as a core element of reason’s potentialities as well its of the awareness of its limits.
Calcaterra, R.M. (2010). Logical Normativity and Individual Accountability. Remarks on Peirce’s Perspective. COGNITIO, 11(1), 11-21.