Peirce's Critical Common Sessim Analysis

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Charles Sanders Peirce’s concept of critical common sensism and unwavering faith in the scientific method makes him stand out as a revolutionary philosopher. In this paper, the epistemological philosophies of Peirce, G. E. Moore, and Wittgenstein will be discussed in order to arrive at a more complete theory of knowledge. Peirce’s pragmatic theory of truth, though in need of some modification, best captures knowledge and conquers Cartesian skepticism. First, an important distinction must be made between Peirce’s critical common sensism and G. E. Moore’s common sensism. Moore sought to create “a proof of the existence of ‘external objects’” which are “things whose existence is not dependent upon our experience” (Baldwin). By doing this, …show more content…
In his Meditations, Descartes sought to end skeptical thought through a belief in god. He began his writing in a foundationalist manner relying on the concept of methodological doubt. Peirce says “when Descartes set about the reconstruction of philosophy, his first step was to (theoretically) permit skepticism and to discard the practice of the schoolmen of looking to authority as the ultimate source of truth” (Peirce, How to Make Our Ideas Clear). As Peirce writes, “we cannot begin with complete doubt. We must begin with all the prejudices which we actually have when we enter upon the study of philosophy. These prejudices are not to be dispelled by a maxim, for they are things which it does not occur to us can be questioned” (Peirce, Some Consequences). Thus, “this initial skepticism will be a mere self-deception, and not real doubt” and the Cartesian philosopher will be left unsatisfied attempting to recover those beliefs once cast aside. He suggests that “(the audience) not pretend to doubt in philosophy what we do not doubt in our hearts” (Peirce, Some Consequences). Wittgenstein had similar considerations as Peirce as to why methodological doubt as a foundation is flawed. By doubting something the doubter is acknowledging the existence of something. As Wittgenstein phrases it “doubt presupposes certainty”. His example was when one doubts a particular war (in our case let’s say a conspiracy theory, such as a doubt of the occurrence of 9/11) they are in turn acknowledging basic fundamental facts- such as the existence of a world in which planes fly and wars occur, the existence of a self, and more basically, the existence of existence. Thus, Wittgenstein claimed methodological doubt (theoretical skepticism) is simply impossible which meant that Descartes’

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