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Thomas Pierce's Pragmatic Criterion - Essay Example

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Pierce’s view in this essay is that for us to arrive at the correct and clear apprehension of an object, we must “consider what effects, which might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object.” Significance of Pierce's Pragmatic Criterion Pragmatism is based on the premise that for intelligence practice to be possible, it is important that human beings have the capability to theorize. Pierce’s pragmatic criterion is significant in that it enables the two spheres of theory and practice to be integrated together into a functional unit and thus form the basis of intelligence practice. In this way, it enables people to have a clear and distinct conception about something. It also enables them to differentiate between clear and unclear/obscure, and between distinct and confused conceptions (Haack 36). Pierce’s pragmatic criterion eliminates the chances of forming conception about an object out of haste conclusions or personal perception. This is because it calls for a thorough analysis of the object in terms of its practical effects for example, if one was to state that something is soft or hard. The person will have to consider many effects of the hard or soft object on other objects and effects of other objects on this particular object. For example, the hard object can scratch other objects but it is not easily scratched by others and a good example is a stone. On the other hand, a soft object can easily be scratched by other objects but itself, it may not be able to scratch other objects. An example of this is a mattress. The practical effects/consequences in this case refers to results from experimental practice. In Pierce’s pragmatic criterion, only the sum of the consequences posed by the object constitutes its whole meaning of the conception and not any external feeling or perceptions (Pierce 290). It is therefore reasonable to conclude that Pierce’s pragmatic criterion is a criterion of truth. That is, a means through which we can judge the accuracy and validity of claims and statements about various objects. This is important given that various people can make different claims about a single object. From the above, it is clear that Pierce’s pragmatic criterion provides evidence of certainty and intellectual conception that is important for intelligence practice. Without this evidence of certainty or results from experimental practice, it would be difficult to distinguish some objects. For example without scratching a hard and soft object, it is very difficult to tell which one among them is soft and which one among them is hard. By the outlook, a diamond crystallized in the midst of a soft cotton cushion may seem softer than a mattress. However, this is not the reality of a diamond and a mattress (Pierce 291). Bringing the two objects to test is therefore the surest way of developing the correct conception of the two objects. Reflection is important in philosophy and Pierce’s pragmatic criterion provides an important means of reflection. The ultimate end of this is that it makes ideas clear. This is achieved through a good study of logic instead of putting them aside or eliminating them with haste answers. Haack and Lane (45) explain that in Pierce’ ...Show more
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Thomas Pierce's Pragmatic Criterion In daily human life, there has to be ways to linking practical and theoretical aspects of everything they do or encounter and this forms what is called pragmatism. In pragmatism, theory is obtained from practice and the extracted theory is applied back to practice to form intelligence practice…
Thomas Pierces Pragmatic Criterion
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