Inquiry, Teaching, Learning

In the “First Rule of Logic” Peirce makes an important point about learning which may seem commonsense, but is almost never observed in the design of teaching, or education in the United States generally. The point is that in order to learn you must sincerely desire to learn. The sincerity of this desire is more important than your initial methods, according to Peirce, because eventually sincere inquiry will force you to correct them. Peirce links this with the “Will to Learn,” which is meant to contrast with the more subject-centered, practically oriented “Will to Believe” found in the pragmatism of William James (a contrast to Peirce’s “pragmaticism”).

How to cultivate this desire is difficult, and how to make it sincere is even more troublesome a task. But it seems obvious that current pedagogy and policy is much more obsessed with moral methods and an assumed goal of learning – whether it is teaching to the test, to cultural values (critical, religious, or common-sensical), or teaching to creativity – than it is cultivating the capacity and desire for inquiry.

This entry was posted in C.S. Peirce, Commentary and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply