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The Pragmatic MaximEssays on Peirce and pragmatism$
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Christopher Hookway

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199588381

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588381.001.0001

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How Peirce Argued for his Pragmatist Maxim

How Peirce Argued for his Pragmatist Maxim

(p.197) 11 How Peirce Argued for his Pragmatist Maxim
The Pragmatic Maxim

Christopher Hookway

Oxford University Press

The chapter evaluates the different strategies that Peirce employed to argue for his pragmatism between the 1870s and 1907. The first clarified propositions by showing what habits of action would be involved in believing them. Subsequently he doubted whether pragmatism should be grounded in belief and he insisted that what he was looking for was a proof of pragmatism. In 1903 he proposed that we clarify propositions by identifying how they should be employed in inference. The chapter explores why he came to doubt this strategy. He proposed other strategies, one of which employed his innovative contributions to formal logic, his system of Existential Graphs. A later argument focused on how we could provide complete understanding of concepts—the ‘ultimate logical interpretant’. This argument depended upon his semiotic, his general theory of signs and representations. In later work, Peirce’s aim was to provide a proof of the correctness of pragmatism.

Keywords:   Peirce, pragmatism, proof, belief, semiotic, diagrammatic reasoning, abduction, existential graph

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