Metaphysical Fundamentality as a Fundamental Problem for C. S. Peirce and Zhu Xi

Philosophy East and West 72 (4):1045–1065 (2022)
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Abstract:While the American pragmatist C. S. Peirce and the twelfth-century Confucian thinker Zhu Xi 朱熹 lived and worked in radically different contexts, there are nevertheless striking parallels in their view of inquiry. Both appeal to the fundamental nature of reality in order to draw conclusions about the way in which inquiry can be a component of the path toward moral perfection. Yet they prominently diverge in their account not only of the fundamental nature of reality, but also of the way in which we have epistemic access to it. These connections between metaphysical fundamentality or structure and epistemology, it is proposed, have the potential to illuminate current debates in metaphysics. Contemporary approaches that appeal either to grounding relations or to joint-carving ideology in characterizing metaphysical structure, it is proposed, implicitly rest on distinct sets of epistemological presuppositions that resemble the respective views of Zhu Xi or Peirce.

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James Dominic Rooney
Hong Kong Baptist University


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