David L. Hildebrand, Ph.D., Philosophy

Article Genuine Doubt and the Community in Peirce's Theory of Inquiry

"Genuine Doubt and the Community in Peirce's Theory of Inquiry." Southwest Philosophy Review (Spring 1996) Full article may be downloaded here (PDF) Peirce defined "inquiry" as the passage from genuine doubt to settled belief; in the long run, a properly-functioning scientific community's inquiries must converge toward Truth. To explain why Peirce believed such convergence is necessary, I examine two notions: community and genuine doubt. Genuine doubt, I find, not only makes convergence possible, but also constitutes the starting point of most inquiries. The exception is philosophical inquiry, where, increasingly in Peirce's later writings, "genuine doubt" is supplanted by "cultivated doubt." This shift creates a tension in his general account of inquiry which I attempt to moderate by offering two interpretations.


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