C. S. Peirce and the Square Root of Minus One: Quaternions and a Complex Approach to Classes of Signs and Categorical Degeneration

SSRN Electronic Journal 2017 (1):1-17 (2017)
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The beginning for C. S. Peirce was the reduction of the traditional categories in a list composed of a fundamental triad: quality, respect and representation. Thus, these three would be named as Firstness, Secondness and Thirdness, as well given the ability to degeneration. Here we show how this degeneration categorical is related to mathematical revolution which Peirce family, especially his father Benjamin Peirce, took part: the advent of quaternions by William Rowan Hamilton, a number system that extends the complex numbers, i.e. those numbers which consists of an imaginary unit built by the square root of minus one. This is a debate that can, and should, have contributions that take into account the role that mathematical analysis and linear algebra had in C. S. Peirce’s past.
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