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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

C.S. Peirce's Principles of Learning

Charles Sanders Peirce

"Upon this first, and in one sense this sole, rule of reason, that in order to learn you must desire to learn, and in so desiring not be satisfied with what you already incline to think, there follows one corollary which itself deserves to be inscribed upon every wall of the city of philosophy: Do not block the way of inquiry." --Charles Sanders Peirce, 1896

Related: Peter Leithart, Peircian Trinity


  1. Do you think we can "teach" or model a desire to learn? What role does the educator have in this modality?

    Aaron Magnan

  2. That's an excellent question.

    When children are nurtured in a home where there are books and a love of reading, it is common for those children to become good readers. For me, it was the love of gardening because there were gardening enthusiasts in my family. There is a desire to enter into what we see gives pleasure to those around us, especially in our immediate families. I would say that the desire to learn begins there, in the home. Sadly, there are few homes where enthusiasm for philosophical conversation exists.

    My philosophy classes tend to be small. A year long college-level course in Philosophy and Ethics is not a popular elective with high school students. Some who take the course are motivated initially by the challenge; others by what they have heard from former students: that you will learn a great deal about virtually everything! In Philosophy class, we have specific areas of exploration: metaphysics, ontology, epistemology, ethics, etc., but all things are interconnected. The educator's role is to help students see this, and to do so with the same enthusiasm as the artist painting a masterpiece or the gardener creating another Eden.