Date of Award

Winter 1990

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Robert M Mennel


This study argues for the mutual impenetration of logical, legal and scientific metaphors and attempts to determine the role played by them in the construction of theory. Specifically it attempts to discover the impact which the metaphors of topical logic may have had on the construction of American ideology.

Chapter 1 offers a brief discussion of logical metaphors and their relation to the social and intellectual settings which generate them. Chapter 2 extends that discussion to principles of positive law and political order as they developed in the unstable atmosphere of 16th Century Europe. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 attempt to relate the metaphors defined in Chapters 1 and 2 to the development of the scientific models which emerged during the "scientific revolution" of the 17th Century. These chapters proceed in the context of a discussion of the interaction of Aristotelian, Cartesian and Ramean paradigms.

Chapter 6 argues for the crucial importance of topical metaphors in the establishment of order in the American colonies. Chapters 7 and 8 carry the argument for a "New England Mind" into a national setting and discuss how Ramean metaphors contributed to the construction of American conceptions of political order and physical law. These chapters attempt to identify a controlling metaphor of continuity which operated at the base of American models.

Chapter 9 claims this metaphor of continuity as the logical ground of pragmatic thought, transmitted to C. S. Peirce through the German logical tradition via Leibniz and Wolff. Chapter 10 extends that discussion to a specific investigation of Peirce's Illustrations of the Logic of Science, considered here as representative of a fundamental commitment on Peirce's part to a methodology which would underwrite the rest of his thought. Chapter 11 laments the failure of James, Dewey and Royce to appreciate the power of Peirce's model and discusses the effect which their fragmentation of his continuous reality had on American philosophy. Peirce's logic of science emerges as a fundamental expression of an "American mind" with roots sunk deep in a Ramean logical paradigm.