Pragmatism and Management Inquiry: Insights from the Thought of Charles S. Peirce

By Juan Fontrodona | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Decision Criteria in
Management

In this chapter, we will study a first meaning of science as a methodological procedure for determining the characteristics of a correct line of rational argument. Our attention will be focused on the formulation of the pragmatic maxim. First, we will study the meaning of the pragmatic maxim in Peircean thought. On looking at how the pragmatic maxim helps define maxims of conduct for human action, we will see that it is necessary to formulate certain decision criteria that help define the maxim.


THE PRAGMATIC MAXIM

Peirce believed that the way to put an end to the philosophers’ lengthy disputes was to provide philosophy with a method of observation that was similar to that of the empirical sciences (CP 5.6, 5.423). This meant establishing a grade of clarity that would be superior to the concepts of clear and distinct ideas that had provided the framework for philosophical discussion since Descartes and that would enable a more perfect clarity of thought to be attained than that which had been used until then by the logicians (CP 5.390, 5.394). He found this third grade of clarity in the definition of the pragmatic maxim. Thus, pragmatism originally appeared as a method for verifying the meaning of intellectual conceptions which related the concepts’ meaning with their practical consequences.

Peirce devised a number of formulations for the pragmatic maxim. It appeared for the first time in January 1878 in “How to Make Our Ideas Clear,” the second of a series of articles published by Peirce in Popular Science

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