The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Notes on Religious and Scientific Infallibilism [R]’


For years [—] I used for myself to collect my ideas under the designation fallibilism; and indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness; and ninety-nine out of every hundred good heads are reduced to impotence by that malady – of whose inroads they are most strangely unaware!

Indeed, out of a contrite fallibilism, combined with a high faith in the reality of knowledge, and an intense desire to find things out, all my philosophy has always seemed to me to grow… .

1897 [c.]
CP 1.13-14
‘Fallibilism’ (pub. 08.01.13-17:42). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jan 08, 2013, 17:42 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 02, 2016, 16:20 by Mats Bergman