Unassailable Belief and Ideal-Limit Opinion: <i>Is Agreement Important for Truth?</i>

Mateusz W. Oleksy

in The Normative Thought of Charles S. Peirce

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242443
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823250769 | DOI:

Series: American Philosophy (FUP)

Unassailable Belief and Ideal-Limit Opinion: Is Agreement Important for Truth?

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Peirce has traditionally been regarded as the father of the “consensus” theory of truth. On the received view, Peirce's account of truth forms an integral component of his scholastic realism, which explicates both truth and reality in terms of agreement at the ideal limit of inquiry. The alternative to the received view does not suggest that Peirce never embraced the consensualist conception of truth (CCT) but opts for a developmental approach to his thought, in which he is portrayed as striving to replace the problematic, metaphysically inflated conception of truth associated with scholastic realism with a naturalized, down-to-earth, and genuinely pragmatist picture of truth as a belief one could not improve on in the light of evidence and argument. This chapter sets forth a defense of the received view, which depends, however, on a nonstandard interpretation and nonstandard arguments for CCT. First, it submits and elucidates the claim that Peirce's CCT invokes the notion of genuine consensus and not merely that of convergent opinion. Second, it exposes as the source of misgivings about CCT its alleged dependence on the metaphysical conception of convergence. Third, it argues that from a social-normativist perspective, CCT can be freed from troublesome metaphysical assumptions associated with scholastic realism. Finally, it presents specific arguments, derived from Peirce, for the thesis that truth as ideal consensus is indispensable to inquiry.

Keywords: truth; consensus; scholastic realism; consensualist conception of truth

Chapter.  12357 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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