The author joins the efforts of Richard S. Robin in "Classical American Pragmatism and Pragmatism's Proof" to bring into sharp focus some of the most salient features of Peirce's elusive proof (but ones rarely, if ever, thematized in discussions of this topic). Robin offers a strongly pragmatic reading of Peirce's endeavor to prove pragmatism, taking advantage of a distinction Peirce draws himself in R 596 ("Reason's Rules"), that between elucidation and proof. He does so by attending carefully to what Peirce is doing in this endeavor (i.e., by considering critically the pragmatics of proof), going so far as to suggest that there is possibly even a performative dimension to the Peircean proof. What is the upshot? The proof of the pudding is in the eating, not in the recipe. Accordingly, a formal proof can only be part of the story; an equally important part is the largely implicit context wherein the deliberative exercise of rational agency, specifically in reference to the practice of inquiry, aims at a greater measure of heuristic self-control. But this carries implications for what form a proof of pragmatism most appropriately takes.
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