What Is Truth - Comparison of Plato and Peirce's Philosophy Essay examples

994 Words Mar 22nd, 2005 4 Pages
What is Truth?

For thousands of years, mankind has persistently pursued truth, knowledge, and understanding. For most, this pursuit is a driving force which usually doesn't end until one finds a "truth" that is satisfying to him or her. Even then, however, one may choose to look for an alternate truth that may be even more satisfying to them. This pursuit does not always follow the same path for everyone as there are different ideas as to how truth is actually obtained and which is the best way to obtain it. Two individuals and great philosophers of their time, Plato and Charles Peirce, each had their own ideas on how truth and knowledge could be obtained. One of the main differences between Plato's and Peirce's philosophies
…show more content…
Although Peirce thought the scientific method was the best approach to search for truth, he believed that it could only be used to disprove a hypothesis, and that nothing could be proven for certain. It is through this idea that his belief that knowledge can never be obtained is founded. The hypothesis is open to error through induction as was demonstrated in class through the use of the "black swan" example. No matter how many white swans are observed, there still is the possibility of a black swan existing that has not been discovered yet, so there is no absolutely certain way to say that all swans are white. Peirce believes in triadic interpretation, in which an interpretive process is used to discover truth, as opposed to mere intuition. It is through this belief that he founded his pragmatic philosophy, in which truth lies within observable practical consequences. By observing something's practical effects and habits it produces, Pierce believed the meaning of that thing could be found. If two beliefs have the same practical effect, Peirce argues that in essence they are the same belief and no further practical argument can exist. He offers an example in his article How to Make Ideas Clear of Catholics and Protestants who disagree on methods of worship but agree on the sensible effects of the worship (i.e. those who believe Jesus is the Son of God will go to Heaven).