Peirce’s Epistemology [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 27 (2):378-379 (1973)

Abstract
The author states that his purpose in this work is not primarily Peirce scholarship but epistemology. But the concentration is on Peirce’s theory of knowledge, a concentration which centers around what the author thinks is Peirce’s most valuable contribution to the subject—a solution to the problem of skepticism. In contrast to Descartes’ assertion that knowledge must be based on primitive intuitions, Peirce contends that all thought is in process, an organically intertwined system of inferences, a continuous flow of signs. Because thinking is a process in time, it is always fallible. Rather than this being a hindrance to knowledge, Davis sees this as the key to Peirce’s escape from skepticism, for the knowledge so described is a continuous self-corrective process, a web which, if we but make the effort to untangle it, will continue to reward us with advance toward the truth. Of more revolutionary importance to the theory of knowledge, according to Davis, is Peirce’s theory of abduction, his answer to the problem of how synthetic knowledge is possible. Abduction is the act of making up explanatory hypotheses. It issues in insights which are the outgrowth of creativity and imagination. The test of these unifying ideas is their appropriateness or ability to satisfy our sensibilities. It is instinct, or that to which we are naturally bent, which guides the abductive process. Throughout this book great emphasis is placed on the importance of this to Peirce and to an adequate epistemology of instinct, feelings, the work of the heart, or sensibility. The scientist, as Davis sees it, is thus akin in method to the creative artist. While Davis intends also to show how this aspect of Peirce is consistent with his pragmatic maxim, their relationship is never quite clarified in this work. Nevertheless, the book is a well-written and very readable treatment of Peirce’s epistemology. It also includes a great many comparisons with similar and contrasting positions as found in a wide range of contemporary and classical philosophical treatises.—B.A.M.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1973272242
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 46,425
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Knowing Truth: Peirce's Epistemology in an Educational Context.Christine L. McCarthy - 2005 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 37 (2):157–176.
Letting Reality Bite.Catherine Legg - 2008 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 44 (2):208-212.
Charles S. Peirce and the Concept of Indubitable Belief.James E. Broyles - 1965 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 1 (2):77-89.
Peirce on the Epistemology of Religious Belief.Stanley Ralph Hall - 1994 - Dissertation, Saint Louis University
Knowing Truth: Peirce's Epistemology in an Educational Context.Christine L. McCarthy - 2005 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 37 (2):157-176.
Pragmatism and Peirce's Externalist Epistemology.Robert G. Meyers - 1999 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 35 (4):638 - 653.
Peirce’s Epistemology.William Hatcher Davis - 1972 - The Hague: M. Nijhoff.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2012-03-18

Total views
23 ( #405,742 of 2,286,307 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #196,066 of 2,286,307 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes

Sign in to use this feature