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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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Truth, Reality, and Convergence

Truth, Reality, and Convergence

(p.54) 3 Truth, Reality, and Convergence
The Pragmatic Maxim

Christopher Hookway

Oxford University Press

Peirce’s pragmatist account of truth held that true propositions are those that we are fated to believe if we investigate the matter sufficiently. The objects of true propositions are real. This idea that we are fated to converge upon belief has led Hilary Putnam, among others, to hold that Peirce’s views on truth involve a commitment to what Bernard Williams says is the ‘absolute conception of reality’. The chapter argues that Peirce does not endorse the absolute commitment, and much of the chapter traces some developments in Peirce’s views about truth and reality after 1878. The chapter notes that when Peirce says something is true, he is only committed to its approximate truth, and we explore his claim that secondary qualities are real. The chapter also shows how Peirce’s logical account of truth and reality leaves open metaphysical issues about the modes of being of different kinds of realities.

Keywords:   pragmatism, truth, absolute conception of reality, secondary quality, truth, reality, Putnam

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