Cambridge pragmatism : from Peirce and James to Ramsey and by Cheryl Misak

By Cheryl Misak

Cheryl Misak deals a strikingly new view of the reception of yankee pragmatism in England. Supposedly it by no means recovered from the assaults of Russell and Moore; yet Misak indicates that Frank Ramsey, below the effect of Peirce, built a pragmatist place of significant promise, and that he transmitted that pragmatism to his pal Wittgenstein.

summary: Cheryl Misak deals a strikingly new view of the reception of yank pragmatism in England. Supposedly it by no means recovered from the assaults of Russell and Moore; yet Misak exhibits that Frank Ramsey, less than the impact of Peirce, built a pragmatist place of significant promise, and that he transmitted that pragmatism to his buddy Wittgenstein

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Additional info for Cambridge pragmatism : from Peirce and James to Ramsey and Wittgenstein

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For another, we have seen that in ‘How to Make Our Ideas Clear’ Peirce was set against the project of providing a definition of truth. When he uses the unfortunate language of destiny, he uses it not as a definiens, but as an analogy: ‘This activity of thought by which we are carried, not where we wish, but to a foreordained goal, is like the operation of destiny’ (W 3: 273, 1878). The point that Peirce is amplifying is innocent enough: ‘All the followers of science are fully persuaded that the processes of investigation, if only pushed far enough, will give one certain solution to every question to which they can be applied’ (W 3: 273, 1878).

They govern our dispositions to behave much more strongly than desires, which are general and variable and can be overridden by all sorts of considerations, including other desires. For Peirce, self-controlled action involves an ideal and an intention to formulate rules of action so as to live up to it. Peirce calls the struggle to move from the state of doubt to the state of belief ‘inquiry’, although that ‘is sometimes not a very apt designation’ (W 3: 247, 1877). An inquirer has a body of settled beliefs, which are in fact not doubted.

If we unpack the commitments we incur when we assert, we find that we have imported all these notions. Peirce, we have seen, was very careful not simply to define truth as that which satisfies our aims in inquiry. A dispute about definition, he says, is usually a ‘profitless discussion’ (CP 8. 100, 1900). 13 The pragmatist draws connections to shed light on the idea of truth. When a concept is fundamental to our way of thinking and living, this seems to be all that is possible and required to enable us to grasp it clearly.

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