Due: April 3, 2013
The Fixation of Belief by Charles S. Peirce
What are the stages? What stage is Peirce on? On what stage is Edward, Royce and Emerson on?
In the fixation of belief, Peirce examines some of the different methods that he thinks people use to determine what kind of belief is suitable for them. There are four methods that he talks about which are the method of tenacity, the method of authority, the a priori method, and the scientific method.
Firstly, the method of tenacity means that people should continue to believe the way that they have always believed and to refuse to listen to anything else or to not let anyone contradicts their beliefs. Peirce states that this kind of method is unable to hold ground. He goes on by saying; the problem with the method of tenacity is that social impulse will be against it because it exposes people to other people's thoughts. Which will cause people to be swayed from their original beliefs. I believe that Emerson has fallen into this category. Emerson is known to be a transcendentalist; which means he asserts the primacy of the spiritual and transcendental over the material and empirical. Emerson mostly believes in being self-reliant and independent.
Secondly, the method of authority is to believe something because some kind of authority has told people to believe their way. Some examples might be the church, a teacher, government, in general any type of authority. The method of authority can be applied voluntarily or it can be forced on us. Peirce says, that this method fails on many counts. One philosopher who believes in the method of authority is Edwards. Edwards believes in a higher power. In many of his essays Edwards discusses how we should use god in an everyday life whether its love, happiness, or depression.
Thirdly, the a prior method, is a bit more desirable than the other two, but it is also inadequate. It rises from thinkers conversing with one another and coming to conclusions or systems of thoughts based on what seems to be reasonable. The problem, for Peirce, with this method is that fixing people beliefs most often has no basis in any observed facts.
Lastly, Peirce says that the scientific method is the best way of fixing belief. It is the only method that can distinguish between the right and wrong beliefs. Peirce says, “there is a reality, a real world out there, which affects our senses…