Peirce and Wittgenstein on Doubt: A Comparison

Menary, Richard Peirce and Wittgenstein on Doubt: A Comparison. In: Pre-Proceedings of the 26th International Wittgenstein Symposium. Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society, Kirchberg am Wechsel, pp. 230-232.


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There are many areas of Peirce and Wittgenstein"s thought which have great affinity for one another such as: the impossibility of a private language, the distinction between believing and knowing, and the role of doubt and certainty in our epistemic practices. I shall focus on the affinity between Peirce and Wittgenstein"s thought on the role of doubt in our epistemic practices. I will argue that Peirce and Wittgenstein give us a "broadly" pragmatic account of the role of doubt and by this I mean, they are interested in the difference doubt makes to our epistemic practices (I do not mean by this that Wittgenstein is part of a philosophical movement called pragmatism). Specifically, Peirce and Wittgenstein argue against the skeptical, or Cartesian, form of doubt that has dominated epistemological discussion. They deny that universal doubt is a genuine doubt; such a "doubt" is idle, because it does not have any practical consequences for us. Genuine doubt must have a ground and of course there is no rule that can determine whether a ground for doubt is genuine in all circumstances. Doubts occur in a context, with all our prejudices and beliefs in place.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Universal Doubt; Genuine Doubt; Grounding; Peirce, C.S.; Wittgenstein, L.
Subjects: Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Epistemologie, Wissenschaftstheorie, Naturphilosophie
Philosophie > Philosophische Journale, Kongresse, Vereinigungen > Wittgenstein Symposium Kirchberg, Pre-Proceedings > Kirchberg 2003
Depositing User: Stefan Köstenbauer
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2008 11:23
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2011 18:52

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