Philosophy in the Laboratory

09.01.11 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

Last month Sandia National Laboratories published an unlikely account of the thought of C.S. Peirce (1839-1914), the American pragmatist philosopher.  See “Peirce, Pragmatism, and the Right Way of Thinking” (pdf) by Philip L. Campbell of the Sandia Networked Systems Survivability and Assurance Department, Sandia Report SAND2011-5583, August 2011.

What is the connection between Peirce’s philosophy and the national security mission of Sandia, or of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which sponsored the paper?  The author did not reply to an email inquiry from Secrecy News on that point yesterday.  But the paper states that “In practical terms, we can use Peirce’s lectures to build a model of how we make decisions.” (p. 12)