Perception, Empiricism, and Pragmatist Realism

Contemporary Pragmatism 8 (1):191-210 (2011)
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Abstract

The essay compares Peirce's pragmatist approach to the problem of perceptual experience as a fallible foundation of knowledge to a sophisticated empiricist take on the issue. The comparison suggests that, while empiricism can accommodate the idea of perception as fallible, theoretically laden, and containing conjectural elements, the cardinal difference between pragmatism and empiricism consists in the pragmatist insistence on the intrinsic intelligibility of experience, which also serves as the ultimate source of all forms of intelligibility; whereas empiricism retains a penchant for fitting experiences into abstract conceptual schemes.

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Serge Grigoriev
Ithaca College

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