Dear List,

I have an increasing interest in Benjamin Peirce and his son James, Charles' 
elder brother.  I am curious about Charles' relationship with his brother, who 
continued his father's work teaching mathematics at Harvard. I wonder about the 
relationship for a number of reasons, but it is primarily to fill in the gaps 
for me concerning Charles Peirce's intellectual life and the familial/social 
climate of the time. 

There is a strong indication in the literature that James was gay and 
potentially the author (Prof X) of a particularly powerful and interesting (in 
the sense of advanced and well-considered thinking) piece on the virtues of 
homosexuality (or at least the reasons why there should be no objection to it), 
and I note no disapproval or criticism of this by Charles or his father. Given 
Charles' hardships later in life I also wonder whether James (his brother) 
provided Charles with aid or property. And given the liberal nature of the 
family I wonder about their view of Charles' later marriage. 

I continue to see the roots of many of Charles' ideas in the work of his 
father, although their vocabulary and ways of speaking differ. Benjamin's 
"Ideality In The Physical Sciences" is an especially interesting read and I 
find myself revising my initial views concerning Charles' religious background, 
that I have previously considered naive from his own writings. Benjamin Peirce 
has an especially sophisticated sensibility for traditional religious concerns 
(Kierkegaardian almost) and the relationship with science, and he speaks 
eloquently about it. His view is certainly suggestive of Charles' "unconsidered 
argument" and in many ways his view is more sophisticated. Certainly his 
conception of "God" is not the anthropomorphic conception and it is compatible 
with Charles' view in that I would not expect Benjamin to object to the 
"unconsidered argument." I am trying to decipher Benjamin's views on what I 
will call "universal will."

As the picture becomes more fleshed out, the family of Benjamin Peirce as a 
whole and Charles' "place" within it, leads me to expect that a fuller 
understanding of this family, and its combined intellectual life, is necessary 
for an understanding of Charles and his work.

Does anyone have pointers for me or suggestions about where I can find more 
help with this?

With respect,

        Dr. Steven Ericsson-Zenith
        Institute for Advanced Science & Engineering

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