Knowledge of Education

1. Method of Tenacity for Fixation of Belief

In Collected Papers, Peirce (1934) described first the method of tenacity as a way to resolve doubt. We literally cling to our own beliefs steadfastly, resisting anything or anyone that might contradict those beliefs. He writes:

[T]he the settlement of opinion is ... taking as answer to a question any we may fancy, and constantly reiterating it to ourselves, dwelling on all which may conduce to that belief, and learning to turn with contempt and hatred from anything that might disturb it (5:377).

Men who pursue [the method of tenacity] are distinguished for their decision of character, which becomes very easy with such a mental rule. They do not waste time in trying to make up their minds what they want, but, fastening like lightning upon whatever alternative comes first, they hold to it to the end, whatever happens, without an instant's irresolution (5:386).

But this method of fixing belief, which may be called the method of tenacity, will be unable to hold its ground in practice. The social impulse is against it. The man who adopts it will find that other men think differently from him, and it will be apt to occur to him, in some saner moment, that their opinions are quite as good as his own, and this will shake his confidence in his belief (5:378, italics added).

Peirce identified four methods of fixation of belief:

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