Truth and Reality SeparationJune 26, 2021
Peirce states that we tend to think that all our beliefs are true unless a doubt arises. If doubt arises, an interrogation begins and ends when our belief regains certainty/fixity. From this moment on, we are not concerned with whether our belief is actually true. In this context, Peirce attempts to discuss what we mean by “correct”. We can define right and wrong based on the terms belief and doubt, as Peirce did.
We can think of truth as a belief that comes closer and closer to absolute stability. Peirce states that if we want to define truth in a different way, we start talking about things whose existence we know nothing about. Here is how we can understand what Peirce means. Suppose we have a belief that we have determined to be true by all practical means. A still lingering doubt may tell us that this belief may not be in line with reality. When there is a difference between our belief and reality, but we do not have a method to detect it, we resort to Ockham’s razor. Peirce argues that to think assuming things about which we cannot know anything is to multiply being in vain.
Guillelmus de Ockham was a prominent philosopher and logician of the 14th century. A principle he developed regarding his methods of explanation was later called Ockham’s razor. According to this method principle, it is necessary to always prefer the simpler one among the explanations with the same competence and not to increase the number of existing ones unnecessarily.
To put it another way, according to Peirce, we do not judge the accuracy of our beliefs by comparing them to facts. We can never do that anyway. We cannot present a fact to ourselves independently of the beliefs and concepts we have. Therefore, we can only compare some of our current beliefs with some of our other beliefs. All of our beliefs and concepts are dependent on others to some extent. In a way, there is no pure and immediate fact independent of beliefs. The best we can do in this situation is to make our convictions as stable and stable as possible.
However, another question arises here. The basic assumption of the scientific method advocated by Peirce is that there is an external and permanent reality independent of our beliefs. The views just expressed seem to contradict this assumption. Peirce is aware of this problem. In another work, he says:
(…) everything that exists to us is a phenomenal expression of ourselves (although it is), this does not prevent that thing from being the phenomenon of something that exists without us, just as a rainbow is a manifestation of both the sun and the rain together (” Some Consequences of Four Incapacities”, p.169).
Peirce’s approach is not, as we have seen in discussing earlier methods, to present a pure and immediate type of knowledge, a pure, unmixed vision that is unaffected by our other beliefs. Peirce thinks that there can be no such certainty. What he seeks is more about the healing of beliefs than about certainty of beliefs.
But what exactly does “correctness” mean in such an approach? Since we cannot decide from the beginning what truth is and cannot define belief and doubt in terms of truth, how can we define truth?
Let’s take a look at a few definitions Peirce gave here:
“Conviction that is destined to be finally agreed upon by all researchers is what we correctly mean.” (“How to Make Our Ideas Clear”, p.268) [True] “… is a state of belief that cannot be shaken by doubt.” (“What Pragmatism Is”, p.279)
As can be seen, in Peirce’s approach, truth is defined in terms of belief and doubt. A true belief is a firm belief. However, the stability here is not a temporary fixity. It is an absolute constancy that cannot be shaken by doubt. It is the belief that those who do research on any subject will eventually agree on it if they follow the scientific method resolutely.
All that has been said, it turns out that truth is a kind of ideal. Because, whatever the researchers have agreed on for now, there is a possibility that it will change. On the other hand, it is possible that some of the beliefs we hold are true. It is not certain which belief has this status.
Another feature of truth is that it is public, that is, shareable. The accuracy is determined not by individual individuals, but by the effort of the community (scientific community) conducting the inquiry or research.
This approach of Peirce is highly compatible with the spirit of pragmatism. Truth is defined in terms of beliefs; Beliefs require certain behavioral tendencies. In this case, the right belief, the behavior we exhibit based on that belief, must be the belief that enables us to achieve what we desire at the end of this behavior. This is exactly what Peirce thinks. standing in the glass in front of me