[percy-l] Peirce/Percy

James Piat piat1 at bellsouth.net
Tue Aug 19 19:31:02 EDT 2003

> Been thinking about Karey's remark about Peirce's methods of fixing
> belief, etc.
> I don't agree that the infallibility of the Catholic Church falls under
> Peirce's first three methods (tenacity, authority, fashion) - but I
> could be wrong.
> I say that from being familiar with Peirce's writings.

Dear Ken,  Folks-

I respect your expertise, Ken,  and I'm curious as to the specific reasons
you have reached this conclusion.   Actually  I, myself,  don't think Church
teachings are intended as a method of fixing belief but rather as a way of
clarifying for Catholics what the Church teaches to be true as regards
certain matters of faith and morals.  Whether members of the church align or
fix their beliefs accordingly  (which presumeably they do) is another
matter. OTOH, by what method or rationale those individual Church members go
about fixing their belief in accordance with Church teachings is I believe a
matter of one or some combination of the four methods Peirce outlined in his
fixing belief essay. .  Hmmm -- maybe not now that I think some more.
Perhaps there is a fifth way known only to the faithful.

I also want to amend my somewhat flip earlier comment on transubstantiation.
I think Peirce in his essay on how to make our ideas clear was making the
point that Protestants and Catholics "mean" something different by the words
wine and wafer in Holy Communion but seem to share a common meaning for the
terms outside of the context of Holy Communion.  They can't in one sense be
said to be disagreeing with one another because, in so far they are talking
about Holy Communion,  at some point they part ways and are "clearly" not
speaking the same language. That's my more careful reading of what I think
he might be saying on the issue in his fixing of belief essay.

Best wishes,

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