I appreciate the way Klaus Krippendorff immediately extracted one of the overarching themes of Peirce’s whole paper, indeed of his whole work. That allows us to tread lightly past a lot of verbal nit-picking about the differences among traditional concepts like belief, fact, knowledge, opinion, etc. and get right down to systems-theoretic ideas about states of information and inquiry as a process that revises those states.
Here’s a bit I wrote a few years back rubricizing Peirce’s four ways of moving from doubt to belief — from a state of information so unsettled it puzzles the will to one secure enough on which to act, should the need for action arise.
My favorite polymathematician, Charles Sanders Peirce, gave a fourfold classification of what he called “methods of fixing belief”, or “settling opinion”, most notably and seminally in his paper, “The Fixation of Belief” (1877). Adjusting his nomenclature very slightly, if only for the sake of preserving a mnemonic rhyme scheme, we may refer to his four types as Tenacity, Authority, Plausibility (à priori pleasing praiseworthiness), and full-fledged Scientific Inquiry.
- Peirce, C.S. (1877), “The Fixation of Belief”, Popular Science Monthly 12, 1–15.