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Misak, Cheryl. Truth and the End of Inquiry: A Peircean Account of Truth
2004, Oxford University Press
, Contributed by: Quentin Pharr
Publisher’s Note:
C.S. Peirce, the founder of pragmatism, argued that truth is what we would agree upon, were inquiry to be pursued as far as it could fruitfully go. In this book, Misak argues for and elucidates the pragmatic account of truth, paying attention both to Peirce's texts and to the requirements of a suitable account of truth. An important argument of the book is that we must be sensitive to the difference between offering a definition of truth and engaging in a distinctively pragmatic project. The pragmatic project spells out the relationship between truth and inquiry; it articulates the consequences of a statement's being true. The existence of a distinct pragmatic enterprise has implications for the status of the pragmatic account of truth and for the way in which philosophy should be conducted.

Comment: For students wanting to know more about Peirce's conception of truth, as it relates to the end of inquiry, Misak's book is an excellent first book to study. It is highly readable and authoritative. It is also a great book for understanding some of the major differences between Peirce and James, as early proponents of pragmatism who disagreed on the nature of truth. Prior readings of Peirce's philosophy will help - but, by and large, Misak provides everything that is needed for a first appreciation of the substance of his views. It is also a helpful guide for students to gather a sense of how pragmatists who are not necessarily Jamesians believe we should philosophize and inquire.

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