The Truth and Reality in Peirce’s and James’s Pragmatism

Document Type : Scientific-research


Shahid Motahhari University



The truth and reality are two fundamental philosophical concepts upon which pragmatists have specific discussions. This paper compares Peirce’s and James’s ideas on these concepts and to answer the questions of why James has a wider reputation, his thoughts are more pursued, and is also called the founder of pragmatism, while Peirce is the founder of Pragmatism? This question rooted in these two philosophers’ point of views toward the theory of the truth. They have discussed the truth and reality and their close relationship. Therefore, investigating meaning, types, criteria, and position of the truth and reality in pragmatism reflects these philosophers’ opinions on these two concepts and also, answers the research question of this paper. Pragmatism is based on the pragmatic maxim that Peirce wrote and James also accepted. They assess the impacts and practical consequences of the concepts by the pragmatic maxim. The difference between these two philosophers is that Peirce considers it as a logical principle and connects it to the theory of meaning, and James ties it with the theory of the truth which put James’ pragmatism at the top of the later pragmatist thoughts.
In addition, in this article, we discuss whether their pragmatism in the theory of reality and truth has been able to free itself from metaphysical philosophy. The answer to this question is that Peirce and James proposed new and effective views in philosophy and challenged some of the principles of metaphysical philosophy, but they still think within the framework of metaphysical thinking.