Pursuant to the discussion in Harvard involving metaphysical club members, professionals grew up understanding the connection between scientific concepts and the philosophical part. One of the oldest American philosophers who underwent this process was Sanders Peirce, a bright individual who came up with the philosophical concepts of comprehending reality. In his article, “How to make Our Ideas Clear”, he applied the same principles to the feature or nature of human conceptions of the world (Peirce, 2007). He went ahead and decried the confusion and obscurity that surrounds us on the notion or understanding of distinct and clear ideas in the traditional logical set up. He proposed a new method of thinking about the human mental contents.
According to the philosopher, there are two main guiding questions that can help any author in adopting the radical perspective crucial for discerning the ultimate meaning and reality in the work written by any philosopher. The first question is; what are the foundational doctrines of a philosopher’s thoughts? In this question, the author asks himself the aspects of a philosopher’s thoughts that are necessary for arriving at the reality and truth. The second question is the indispensable doctrines of any philosopher’s ideas or thoughts.
For the realism of Peirce, it is definite that in the case of rejecting nominalism, we have to hold a realist position. The interesting aspect of this is that since the philosopher Peirce does consider psychologism, phenomenalism and materialism and considers them as “nomalism daughters,” we should conclude that the negation of these daughters exposes or conducts us to realism too. However, this seems to be logically problematic. The problem comes about when reality is compared and contrasted to dreams and fictions (Misak, 2004). Real, according to the philosopher, is that whose features or characters are absolutely independent of what any other person may think of them to look like or to be. He asserts that “Reality…consists in the peculiar sensible effects which things partaking of it produce” (Peirce, 2007). He goes ahead saying that the only which real things do posses is causing belief in viewers. In this context, for one to believe that something is real, he/she has to get convinced enough by the object or idea. He refers to reality to consist of certain peculiar sensible effects. These are the effects that when sensed by one, the conclusion becomes positive that something or an idea is actually real. Peirce further says that several philosophers posses a feeble hold upon reality or truth. Their thoughts and ideas are governed by too much arguments, disputation, and authority to make their ideas be accepted by readers. To back up his argument, he uses an example of Scotus Erigena on Socrates. In this example, Socrates is being murdered by hellebore (Peirce, 2007). He goes ahead comparing and contrasting his example with scientists.
Scientists may differ in their methods of research or experiments but as always, their final results do move steadily together approaching a given destined outcome, value or conclusion (Misak, 2004). From this, Peirce tries to convince his readers that not everything that is read is real. Some people, mainly philosophers, come up with ideas which are mainly based on comparison trying to convince readers that they are actually real. He affirms that reality is not measured by comparison or similes but by the facts revealing themselves from the idea. Reality has to be felt just be sensing the idea or object.
Peirce says that the idea of philosophers basing their arguments on arguments and comparisons make reality depends unnecessarily on what is thought about it and not on what one does or thinks. He defines truth as the opinion which is ultimately agreed on by everyone. The object represented in such an opinion or truth is the real object. From this context, Peirce definition of reality seems to depend on unanimous agreement or opinion of the people. in other words, he demonstrates reality by ensuring that everybody agrees on a particular truth and he considers the truth or object a reality. Metaphysics is described by the philosopher as a sunken reef that enables us to steer clear of it and move on. He considers metaphysics a basic knowledge when looking for the explanation to reality.
He affirms that truth precedes reality and truth must be arrived at when there is an agreement by people that something, say a proposition is true. The point is that there must be many people considering an idea to be true before reality is attained. Social group serve the critical role of determining the truth of an idea.
In this case, one is stubborn and boldly refuses to entertain other ideas and considers one idea as the reality. Such a person considers reality as a personal perspective on an idea. With the method of authority, the government decides to classify an idea to be truth based on its own interests. Method of priori involves sentimental developments as well as subject to the logical errors (Peirce, 2007). The method of science involves the realities that are independent of our own opinions but do affect us in different ways. It is related to reality in that it is agreed upon by many people, who are mainly scientists (Brent, 1998).
Conclusively, Peirce’s definition of reality is dependent on the truth which also relies on the larger population ideas. To him, reality only exists when people consider a particular idea true.