Peirce and the Spontaneous Conjectures of Instinctive Reason

In this paper, I will analyze Charles S. Peirce’s “A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God.” I want to argue for two conclusions: 1) that Peirce’s conception of spontaneous conjectures of instinctive reason allows for a rationally justified belief in the reality of God; and 2) that this belief is not the result of a sound argument or even a complete argument and thus is not a secure belief. This paper is divided into three parts. First, I will explain some Peircean philosophical notions that are essential background information for a genuine understanding of the neglected argument. Second, I will present a sketch of Peirce’s three stages of inquiry and explain each stage’s relevance to the neglected argument. Finally, I will analyze Peirce’s first stage of inquiry, also known as the humble argument for the reality of God, and show how this incomplete argument can provide a rationally justified belief in the reality of God
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Conference Proceedings  History of Philosophy  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 0065-7638
DOI 10.5840/acpaproc20027615
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