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Meet Dr. Ketner...

From 1971 to 2019, Dr. Kenneth Laine Ketner was the Charles Sanders Peirce Interdisciplinary Professor and founding Director of the Institute for Studies in Pragmaticism, located at Texas Tech University, the first organized research center on Peirce’s life and works.  He is now succeeded by the new Peirce Interdisciplinary Chair and Director, Dr. Elise Bisanz. 


His education includes MA (Philosophy) Oklahoma State University, MA (Folklore and Mythology) University of California Los Angeles, and Ph.D. (Philosophy of Science) University of California Santa Barbara.


Joining the faculty of Texas Tech in 1971, he has produced a number of reference works and essays on Peirce, including Reasoning and the Logic of Things (Harvard University Press 1992), an edition of Peirce's 1898 Cambridge Conferences Lectures. A collection of his correspondence with American philosophical novelist and essayist, Walker Percy, was published by the University Press of Mississippi (1995) as A Thief of Peirce: The Letters of Kenneth Laine Ketner and Walker Percy, which also documents how Percy inspired and motivated Ketner to write his next major publication, His Glassy Essence.


With the aid of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, he wrote the first volume of his life of Peirce, published in 1998 by Vanderbilt University Press as His Glassy Essence: An Autobiography of Charles Sanders Peirce.  He is a Fellow (past President) of the Peirce Society. He was instrumental in organizing the 1976 (Amsterdam) and 1989 (Harvard University) international Peirce congresses.  


In 1999, Texas Tech University honored him with an appointment to its highest professorial rank: Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Peirce Studies, in recognition of his international standing in that field of study. United States Patent 6,819,474—Quantum Switches and Circuits—was granted to Ralph G. Beil and Kenneth L. Ketner on 16 November 2004.

Research Interests


  • the life and works of Charles Sanders Peirce

  • the logic of science

  • interdisciplinary methodology

  • philosophical issues and conceptual problems in the human sciences

  • philosophical issues in technology

  • the life and works of the American writer Walker Percy

Research Interests



See Publications page for information on  Dr. Ketner's books, articles, and publications. 

The Institute for Studies in Pragmaticism

Dr. Ketner is co-founder and former director of the Institute for Studies in Pragmaticism at Texas Tech University.  

Go HERE to learn more about the work of the Institute.

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