Truth, Justice, and the American Pragmatist Way

In Graham Hubbs & Douglas Lind (eds.), Pragmatism, Law, and Language. Routledge. pp. 191-204 (2014)
F. Thomas Burke
University of South Carolina
Throughout his many writings Charles Sanders Peirce occasionally presented examples of how to use the pragmatist method of defining one’s terms, having insisted that pragmatism is just that: a methodological stance concerning how best to clarify one’s terminology. One of the more remarkable examples is his definition of the word ‘reality’ with the corollary definition of the word ‘truth’. It is argued here that this definition also supplies for free a corollary definition of the word ‘knowledge’. Moreover, the same type of definition (involving long-run perfectionist ideals of some sort) can be given for the words ‘democracy’ and ‘justice’.
Keywords pragmatism  reality  truth  knowledge  democracy  justice  operationalism  inferentialism  Peirce  Rawls
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