TITLE: Calling C. S. Peirce AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: January 22, 2010 9:23 PM DESC: ----- BODY: William Caputo channels the pragmatists:
These days, I believe the key difference between practice, value and principle (something much debated at one time in the XP community and elsewhere) is simply how likely we are to adjust them if things are going wrong for us (i.e., practices change a lot, principles rarely). But none should be immune from our consideration when our actions result in negative outcomes.
To the list of practice, value, and principle, pragmatists like Peirce, James, Dewey, and Meade would add knowledge. When we focus on their instrumental view of knowledge, it easy to forget one of the critical implications of the view: that knowledge is contingent on experience and context. What we call "knowledge" is not unchanging truth about the universe; it is only less likely to change in the face of new experience than other elements of our belief system. Caputo reminds us to be humble when we work to help others to become better software developers. The old pragmatists would concur, whether in asking us to focus on behavior over belief or to be open to continual adaptation to our environment. This guidance applies to teaching more than just software development. -----