Rethinking Peirce's Fallibilism
- Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 43, Number 2, Spring 2007
- pp. 229-249
- Additional Information
Peirce's fallibilism is shown to be the "linchpin" of his mature philosophy. In passing, objections regarding a seemingly serious paradox, a textual discrepancy, and the plausibility of an alternative approach to Peirce are answered. Peirce's fallibilism is indeed a puzzling thesis, particularly in that it appears to violate familiar finitist, practical, "here and now" (pragmatist) constraints. But that's precisely where Peirce's ingenuity takes its most interesting form. The solution provided shows the paradox and aporias of Peirce's account to be no more than apparent, the textual infelicity of what would otherwise be a contradiction to be part of Peirce's rhetorical strategy (in combating the effects of James' misreading of his theory of truth), the doctrine of the continuum to be already entailed by Peirce's fallibilism, and the ultimate reconciliation between the infinite limit of inquiry and its finite phases to be essential to Peirce's theory of science cast in terms of what may be described as a Hegelianized reading of Kantian Hope—in effect, a reading of abduction as an original pragmatist version of what may be saved in the sparest way within the post-Kantian tradition.