University of Phoenix
Letter to a philosopher
To: C.S. Pierce
Dear Sir, First, please allow me to thank you for your contribution to philosophy and especially for your perspective on your school of thought, pragmatism. Your school of thought appealed to me initially due to your idea that there is no such thing as a fixed truth, but rather that truth is relative to time, place, and purpose and as such may change in the event of new emerging data. Hailed by Bertrand Russel as “One of the most original minds of the later nineteenth century, and certainly the greatest American thinker ever.” (wisdom of the west, Russel, 1959) And viewed by Karl Popper as “One of the greatest philosophers of all times” (objective knowledge, Popper, 1972) Your achievements were not immediately recognized by your peers, though several of them wrote of you with respect.
That the main concept of your pragmatism is that for statements to have meaning, they must also have practical bearings is very logical in it's statement. Your method of philosophy supports scientific inquiry, and clears up much of the obscurity of metaphysics.
Your ideas about the conceptual elucidation of concepts, or clarifying ideas is ground breaking in the field of philosophy, and much needed in light of the obscurity and confusion that was brought to the table by continental philosophy. The three grades of clarity that you discussed in How to make our thoughts clear (popular science 1878) which emphasize the clarifying of concepts even if unanalyzed or underdeveloped, of it's elements that make it applicable, and the practical implications of the object's effects, can lead to fruitful reasoning on problems, especially difficult ones. The first grade of clarity which is the thought that “clarity of a concept is to have an unreflective grasp of it in every day experience” (Charles sanders pierce:pragmatism, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) suggests that due to the fact that our bodies remain firmly in contact with horizontal surfaces, we have an underlying grasp of gravity, though we do not actively think about it when we are standing on the ground. The second grade of clarity is to have a definition of the concept which should be general and independent of any particular experience, so to be able to define gravity as “The force of attraction by which terrestrial bodies tend to fall toward the center of the earth.” (Merriam-Webster) represents a grade of understanding over the unreflective use of that concept. Regarding the third grade of clarity to fully understand a concept we must be able to define it and be familiar with it from daily encounter, and we must also know what to expect from holding that concept to be true. So by knowing that gravity keeps me on the ground as I walk, and I am able to define it as the force which attracts objects to the earth, I can then expect that if I release a ball from my hand, it will fall to the earth and remain there. Speaking of truth, You addressed conceptions about truth as questions of the presuppositions of reasoning (presuppositions of logic, 1899) and stated that to reason is to presuppose that the truth is independent of…