On Pragmatism (1907) by William James and "The Fixation of Belief" (1877) and "How to Make Our Ideas Clear" (1878) by Charles Sanders Peirce.
This is a 31-minute preview of our vintage 2 hr, 8-minute episode which you can buy at partiallyexaminedlife.com/store or get for free with PEL Citizenship (see partiallyexaminedlife.com/membership). You can also purchase the full episode in the iTunes Store: Search for "Partially Pragmatism" and look under "Albums."
Is truth a primitive relation between our representations and things objectively in the world, or is it an analyzable process by which propositions "prove their worth" by being useful in some way, like by fitting well with other portions of our experience or being delicious?
Peirce, the inventor of pragmatism, focuses on the philosophy of science and thinks of inquiry as a way for us to just settle on any belief we can stomach. James, who popularized pragmatism, has a wider view that applies not only to science but to religious beliefs. If it makes you feel nice to believe in Hogwarts, should you do so?
The episode features then-guest podcaster Dylan Casey; we continued it in episode 22.
End Song: "Friend" from 1998’s Mark Lint and the Fake Johnson Trio; the whole album is now free online.