What Is Pragmatism in Pierce?June 26, 2021
Charles Sanders Peirce is a scientist, logician, and philosopher of science who pioneered the philosophical movement known as pragmatism.
Deeply skeptical of metaphysical ideas, such as the idea that there is a “real” world beyond the world we experience, Peirce once asked his readers to consider what is wrong with the theory: “A diamond is actually soft, but only hardens when touched.”
Peirce argues that there is “nothing wrong” with this kind of thinking, because for him there is no possibility of disproving it. However, he argues that the meaning of a concept (such as “diamond” or “hard”) derives from the object or feature with which the concept is associated and the effect it has on our senses. Therefore, before trying it, it would be inappropriate to think that a diamond is “soft to the touch” or that it is “always hard”.
According to both theories, diamonds will feel the same and be used in exactly the same way. But the first theory is much more difficult to work with and therefore less valuable to us.
This idea that the meaning of a concept is the sensuous effect of its object is known as the pragmatic maxim, and has become the founding principle of pragmatism, the belief that “truth” is our most useful explanation of reality.
One of the most important things Peirce is trying to accomplish is to show that many debates in science, philosophy, and theology are pointless. He argues that these are often discussions about words rather than truth, because these debates have no effect on the senses.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook