Documentary Editing, Association for


Date of this Version

Fall 2006

Document Type



Documentary Editing, Volume 28, Number 3, Fall 2006. ISSN 0196-7134


2006 © the Association for Documentary Editing. Used by permission.


Critical editions of great thinkers and writers need excellent, comprehensive indexes. The denser the text, the deeper the index. Having indexed several volumes of the writings of the polymathic, dense-and-deep philosopher Charles S. Peirce, I have had occasion to reflect numerous times both upon the art of indexing and upon its logic. This essay will discuss less the art of it (or its mechanics) than its logic-and, by the same token, its ethics. I have good reasons to do so: first, Peirce is the American founder of the logic of signs (also known as semiotics), and one of the major types of signs that Peirce identified and analyzed is called "index;" second, Peirce is the first thinker to have demonstrated that logic rests on ethics: the desire for truth rests on the desire for the good, not the reverse.