The Pragmatists: Peirce and James

15.1 The Pragmatist Way

  • Define pragmatism.
  • Know how a pragmatist might explicate the meaning of terms such as hard, wet, and sharp.
  • Understand the main complaint that James and Peirce lodge against traditional metaphysics.

15.2 Peirce

  • Define fallibilism.
  • Explain Peirce’s theory of meaning.
  • Evaluate Peirce’s notion of truth, a converging of opinions by competent investigators.

15.3 James

  • Define evidentialism.
  • Explain what James means by his claim that the “truth works.”
  • Evaluate James’s argument for the view that sometimes we may be justified in making a leap of faith to embrace a belief that is unsupported by evidence.
  • Understand what James means by a “genuine option.”
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