What Does the Fixation of Faith Mean?June 26, 2021
In the late 1870s, Peirce published a series of articles in the Popular Science Monthly, and in these articles he mentioned four different methods of fixing opinions or beliefs on a subject by removing ambiguities or doubts. These methods are, in a way, the methods we use to clear our thinking of doubts and decide what we think is right.
The first of these methods is the stubbornness method. If the issue is to fix our opinion on a subject, we ask ourselves why not adopt an opinion that we prefer, and then we can insist on this opinion. We reject anything and anyone who might oppose our idea and avoid engaging in a rational discussion. According to Peirce, this method, however far from rationality, has a unique advantage: An unshakable and unalterable belief in an opinion brings with it a mental comfort. However, of course, this method is far from being a desirable method for fixation of blood. The first objection that may come to mind is that the view that a person will cling to with this method may be wrong and the person will continue to have the wrong belief or convictions in question because he avoids a rational discussion. This is not Peirce’s objection. Peirce’s reasoning in rejecting this method is quite interesting and gives us a clue to understand his pragmatism. Peirce argues that the person who adopts this method will observe that other people hold different opinions from his own, and when he can think calmly, he will realize that these different opinions are at least as good as his own, and as a result, his confidence in his own opinion or belief will be shaken. .
Therefore, according to Peirce, the most correct objection to the method of stubbornness in an opinion or belief is that this method will not serve its purpose, that is, it will not remove doubt. What is the main factor that causes a person who objects to doubt himself in this method? According to Peirce, this is a “social impulse”. According to Peirce, this urge is so powerful that no one can ultimately ignore it. We are beings influenced by the opinions of other individuals. Therefore, the method sought to fix beliefs or opinions must work not only for individuals, but also at the level of society or community in which we live.
This discussion brings us to Peirce’s second method, the authority method. This time, let’s imagine that an institution has been established within a society or community that spreads certain beliefs and beliefs, tries to prevent doubts about these beliefs, and if there is a possibility that opposing or different opinions arise, they are established. Peirce thinks that this method will be more effective than the first one in fixing opinions and beliefs. But the question to ask, according to Peirce, is whether this method will be stable. Peirce’s answer on this issue is also negative. According to Peirce, in every society, a group of people will find different approaches and views advocated in different societies or at different times, under different authorities. They will ask themselves why their own beliefs should be superior to others, and this will again lead to doubts. So this second method will not serve the desired purpose either.
Peirce names the third method in two different ways: the natural choice method or the a priori method. The main thing in this method is to accept the obvious, even if it is expressed in different ways. The aforementioned “obvious” can be described with expressions such as “reasonable – reasonable”, “clear and distinct”. Contrary to the first two methods, reflection, discussion and thus the effort to reach the irrefutable come to the fore. Peirce gives examples of metaphysical systems ranging from the history of Western philosophy from Plato to Hegel in this area. However, this method is not without problems. History has shown that what is obvious to one person may not be so to another. The thinking and discussion highlighted in this method assumes an intellectual development, just like the concept of taste, and in a way hopes that everyone will reach a certain level of appreciation and meet at a common point. However, the history of thought shows us that this did not happen. In Peirce’s own words, “the pendulum continues to swing back and forth between more materialistic and more mentalistic philosophies.”
What should we do if all these methods do not work? What we seek, according to Peirce, is the fixation of our beliefs and convictions by something inhuman, externally permanent. Although this external thing may affect everyone differently, everyone should reach one and the same result as a result of this influence. According to Peirce, this method is the method of science. Peirce expresses the main assumption of this method as follows:
There are real things whose properties are completely independent of our opinions about them; this Ger