Charles Peirce Pragmatism and Pragmaticism
Sources 1. From Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology (CP 5.2-4). Second part is from a note written in 1902 in Century Dictionary (CP5.13 n.1 Section 2). 2. “Architectonic Construction of Pragmatism” 1905 (CP5.5-10). 3. “Historical Affinities and Genesis” 1907 (CP5.11-13 and Essential Peirce 2:398-400. 4. “What Pragmatism Is” is from the Monist 15 (1905) (CP 5.411-15 and The Essential Peirce, 2:331-35.
Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology Century Dictionary Pragmatic Maxim first appeared in Popular Science Monthly 1878. The origin of the maxim is Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason In 1896 William James published “Will to Believe” and “Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Thoughts” which pushed the method to such extremes as must tend to give us pause.”
Particular vs. General: Generals Are Real Peirce criticizes James emphasis of the particular results. Peirce argues that it is the general ideas ought to be “the true interpreters of our thoughts.” The meaning of concepts does not rest in any particular reaction but rather in how those reactions contribute to that development
Synechism: Evolutionary Process “Almost everybody will now agree that the ultimate good lies in the evolutionary process in some way.” Something general, continuous and evolutionary (Synechism). Coalescence Generals Laws Reasonableness
2nd Definition Pragmatism Pragmatism is a method in philosophy, having for its purpose to render ideas clear. “The study of philosophy consists, therefore, in reflexion, and pragmatism is that method of reflexion which is guided by constantly holding in view its purpose and the purpose of the ideas it analyzes, whether these ends be of the nature and uses of action or of thought.”
2. “Architectonic Construction of Pragmatism” 1905 The purpose of pragmatism is to settle opinions To dissolve philosophical disputes that are based on the meaning of words only or because one or the view uses meaningless words. What is wanted, therefore, is a method for ascertaining the real meaning of any concept, doctrine, proposition, word, or other sign.
Sign Object: Thing or occasion Meaning: idea attached to the thing or occasion.
Idea Idea: Quality or feeling (one object) Idea: fact or happening (two objects) Idea: sign (communication conveyed from one person to another)
Sign The Meaning of a Sign? Sign A Meaning of Sign A is Idea of Sign A Sign B Sign C The Meaning of Sign B is the Idea of sign B
The Meaning of Sign The meaning of a sign cannot be given by reference to further signs. Therefore, the meanings of a sign is either a feeling or an acting or being acted upon.
Pragmatism Pragmatism is not concerned with determining the meaning of signs but only with setting forth a method of determining the meaning of signs. Mathematical method vs. Pragmatism Practical considerations involve real matters of fact. “In order to ascertain the meaning of an intellectual conception one should consider what practical consequences might conceivably result by necessity from the truth of that conception; and the sum of these consequences will constitute the entire meaning of the conception.”
3. “Historical Affinities and Genesis” 1907 Socrates, Aristotle, Locke, Spinoza, Berkeley. American Pragmatism: The Metaphysical Club The Metaphysical Club: William James, Charles Peirce, Justice Holmes, Joseph Warner, Nicholas St. John Green, Chauncey Wright, John Fiske, Francis Ellingwood Abbot. Bain’s definition of belief. Hamiltonianism, Mill Darwin.
4. “What Pragmatism Is” 1905 Experimentalist’s mind is disposed “to think about everything just as everything is thought of in the laboratory, that is, as a question of experimentation.” Experimentalism and Pragmatism Pragmatism and the connection between rational cognition and rational purpose.
Scientific Nomenclature A set or system of names for the discipline of philosophy. There should be a philosophical cannon, universally accepted. Philosophical words should be more like chemistry, botany and zoology.
Nomenclature and Pragmatism Pragmatism has obtained wider usage and its meanings has begin to evolve away from its original (1878) intent. Peirce introduces a new word to refer to his version of pragmatism, “Pragmaticism” The advantage of being able to deduce all other forms of pragmatism while avoiding some of their errors.