Inner authority

Peirce observes that ‘one of the main purposes of studying history ought to be to free us from the tyranny of our preconceived notions’ (EP2:114). The same goes for the study of scriptures; the purpose of revelation and discovery alike is to free us from confinement in a cognitive bubble. Turning symbols can liberate us in this way, but only if we can free ourselves from our preconceived notions of their value and authority, and give due respect to artistic and cultural creativity.

Tolerance for creative minds as potentially prophetic, even without ready-made standards and certainly without any belief in their infallibility, seems to be a mark of the most mature societies. In the modern world, therefore, what corresponds to prophetic authority is the growth of what we called earlier a cultural pluralism, where, for example, a scientist or historian or artist may find that his subject has its own inner authority, that he makes discoveries within it that may conflict with social concern, and that he owes a loyalty to that authority even in the face of social opposition.

— Northrop Frye (1982, 128)

On that last point, Peirce was more vociferous, especially when it comes to philosophical investigations:

In philosophy, touching as it does upon matters which are, and ought to be, sacred to us, the investigator who does not stand aloof from all intent to make practical applications will not only obstruct the advance of the pure science, but, what is infinitely worse, he will endanger his own moral integrity and that of his readers.

CP 1.619, RLT 107 (1898)

Once again creative tention keeps the meaning cycle turning.

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