Peirce Fixation notes-1

Peirce Fixation notes-1 - Charles Sanders Peirce, "The...

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Charles Sanders Peirce, “The Fixation of Belief” notes from Cahn This essay from Peirce appeared in 1877 and presents his theory of inquiry. Much of the epistemology in philosophy deals with doubt and belief, and here Peirce tries to set it solidly within a concept of reality as having a real source and real effects as its outcome – an obvious target is the Cartesian doubt. Lodged in this project is also the establishment of the scientific method as the one method which guarantees our inquiries will be resolved in such a way as to accord with the natural states of affairs; no other method of certainty assures us of this concurrence. The enemy, which the other methods cannot curtail, is habit; whether habits of individual taste or of a society’s common belief, the scientific method demands adherence to a method and facts, not to any other doctrinal prescripts. Of course, the method of science can still err, when incorrectly applied or not heeded or not trusted, but when correctly applied it gives the best possible (truest) results of the natural state of affairs. If something else is desired, say, validation of a government program, then the scientific method is not the best means of settling a dispute because it guarantees no support for any authority or a priori position. Moreover, the method of science meets the fundamental change of nature head on, and can be re-applied as needed. All the other methods of fixing belief maintain their results in the face of changing facts. This static quality can be positive, but ultimately Peirce believes that if one really wants to settle doubt in accord with reality, then the method of science is the best process. He presents the essay in five sections: I: historical overview of scientific thinking II: the object of reasoning and inquiry III: the nature of doubt and belief IV: Inquiry V: the four methods of fixing belief, esp. the method of science I: Historical overview of logical thought “Few people care to study logic, because everybody conceives himself to be proficient in the art of reasoning already. But I observe that this satisfaction is limited to one’s own ratiocination, and does not extend to that of other men” (1097). Roger Bacon drew on experience as a teacher, albeit the best experience was “inner”
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Peirce Fixation notes-1 - Charles Sanders Peirce, "The...

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