- Peircean Polymorphism: Between Realism and Anti-realism
- Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 45, Number 3, Summer 2009
- pp. 402-421
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- Additional Information
This paper provides a framework, based on Peircean pragmatism and a supplemental metaphysical principle, for reconciling realism and anti-realism. Peircean polymorphism, the resultant position defended in the paper, is a realist position, accepting that there is a world that exists and has characteristics of its own, independently of our experience of it. The position denies, however, what I call the uniqueness assumption about truth—that it is possible for one, unique representational approach to adequately represent reality. While Peirce does not explicitly address the uniqueness assumption, his account is sufficiently ambiguous on this point to have been understood as a uniqueness account. The supplemental metaphysical principle introduced here, that reality is polymorphic, serves to fortify Peirce's pragmatism against uniqueness. Briefly, the paper outlines some implications of accepting the fortified Peircean position, including greater explanatory power and more compelling motivation for continued scientific inquiry.