Knowledge of Education

4. Method of Science for Fixation of Belief (Disciplined Inquiry)

In Collected Papers, Peirce (1934) described fourth the method of science as a way to resolve doubt. The essence of this method is that it is repeatable by other inquirers, and if the method is properly followed, they should arrive at the same conclusion and hence the same belief.

Peirce writes:

To satisfy our doubts, therefore, it is necessary that a method should be found by which our beliefs may be determined by nothing human, but by some external permanency — by something upon which our thinking has no effect.... Such is the method of science [disciplined inquiry] (5:384).

Experience of the method has not led us to doubt it, but, on the contrary, scientific investigation has had the most wonderful triumphs in the way of settling opinion (5:384).

The test of whether I am truly following the method is not an immediate appeal to my feelings and purposes, but, on the contrary, itself involves the application of the method (5:385).

The term, disciplined inquiry, is used here in the context of educology, so as not to restrict the method of science exclusively to inquiry about subject matter often referred to as sciences such as physics, biology, and chemistry.

Peirce identified four methods of fixation of belief:

    1. Tenacity
    2. Authority
    3. Agreeableness to Reason (a Priori)
    4. Science