Inquiry and Living Hypotheses

  • Brandon Daniel-Hughes


This chapter presents a Peircean theory of inquiry that, while deeply indebted to formulations of belief, doubt, and inquiry that Peirce developed throughout his career, expands on these in important ways. After reviewing Peirce’s germinal conceptions in Sect. 1.1, Sect. 1.2 engages Peirce’s characterization of the scientific fixation of belief. However, as a practicing scientist Peirce knew not to confuse the scientific ideal with the actual behavior of working scientists. This key distinction has important implications for the analysis of non-scientific forms of inquiry. Section 1.3 proposes and examines a novel implication of Peirce’s theory of inquiry, the notion that many of our most important hypotheses cannot be entertained intellectually or experimentally within the confines of controlled settings. Rather, they must be embodied or inhabited as living experiments. Here a Peircean theory of inquiry has much to learn from and contribute to the sociology of knowledge. Section 1.4 concludes the chapter with a provocative hypothesis that shapes the rest of the book, the claim that inquiry is a ubiquitous phenomenon.


Peirce Inhabited experiments Ubiquitous inquiry Doubt Habit 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brandon Daniel-Hughes
    • 1
  1. 1.John Abbott CollegeSainte-Anne-De-BellevueCanada

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