Peirce places emphasis on logic, which is a sensible thing as it can teach us how to make our ideas clear and be masters of our own meaning.
His first step is
to criticize the notions of 'clear' and 'distinct', saying "since it is
clearness that they were defining, I wish the logicians had made their
definition a little more plain". I had this same objection reading
Descartes, it seems Descartes just throws the terms out there without
Descartes was one of the first thinkers to try
and replace authority for the measure of truth. He, through skeptical
methods, concluded that self-consciousness decided truths based on
agree-ability with reason. This makes the mistake of allowing ideas that
seem to be 'clear' but are actually not to be accepted. To counter
this, the ideas must be 'distinct' which is to mean tested by
Perice's pragmatism comes out when he
states that Leibniz missed "the most essential point of the Cartesian
philosophy, which is, that to accept propositions which seem perfectly
evident to us is a thing which, whether it be logical or illogical, we
cannot help doing."
Belief, he states, has three properties. It
is something we are aware of, it appeases doubt, and it establishes
rules of action (or habits). Peirce then arrives at the notion that we
conceive an object based on our conception of the effects that it has.
You can't be in disagreement with someone else if you both agree in
regard "to all their sensible effects".
Peirce attempts to
dissect numerous philosophical debates by analyzing what we mean by
certain words, and how many arguments arise over a confusion of
terminology and are often just questions of the propriety of language.
"There is some vague notion afloat that a question may mean something
which the mind cannot conceive; and when some hair-splitting
philosophers have been confronted with the absurdity of such a view,
they have invented an empty distinction between positive and negative
conceptions, in the attempt to give their non-idea a form not obviously