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Kinder- und Jugendkultur, -liter atur und -medien 101 Kinder- und Jugendkultur, -liter atur und -medien

Theorie – Geschichte – Didaktik 101 Theorie – Geschichte – Didaktik 101

S. Peirce
Iris Schäfer
Charles S. Peirce

Charles
Iris Schäfer
Charles S. Peirce
Iris Schäfer
Prolegomena to a Science of Reasoning
Von der Hysterie zur Magersucht
Prolegomena
Von der Hysterie to a

Reasoning
zurofMagersucht
Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914),
Die Adoleszenz
American
heiten einher;
Logician,
gehtMathematician,
Scientist, nicht nur mit Krank-
sie giltmuch
developed oft selbst
and
alslogic
of the eine
serves as a timely contribution for the in-
zu begegnen,
troduction
emerging
diese zuPhaneroscopy
of Peirce’s
durch körperliche
verarbeiten und
researchSignale
field of nach
to the
Imageaußen hin
Sciences.
Science
zur Magersucht of Reasoning –
Krankheit,
widely useddie durchgestanden
today. Using copieswerden
of his sichtbar zu machen. Beide Krankheiten
muss. Neigtenmanuscripts,
unpublished
Adoleszente
Peirce’s
um die Jahrhundertwende
oft zur Hysterie,
provides a comprehensive
um die Jahrtausendwende
this book
so leidenofsie
collection
vielfachand
writings on Phaneroscopy unter
the
kommunizieren über den Körper.

The Editor
Adoleszenz
Phaneroscopy, und
Semeiotic, Logic

Krankheit in Romanen
Magersucht.
outlines of hisDie Näheto
project von Adoleszenz
develop a Science Elize Bisanz holds a PhD in Commu-

a Science
und
of KrankheitThe
Reasoning. ist ein prominentes
collection Thema
is focused on Die Autorin
nication Sciences from the Technical

Hysterie
von
threeJugenderzählungen und Romanen der Iris Schäferofstudierte Allgemeine und
main fields: Phaneroscopy, the sci- University Berlin. She is an advisory
Edited by Elize Bisanz
und Erzählungen
Zeit um
ence 1900 und umSemeiotic,the
of observation, 2000. Dabei ähneln
science Vergleichende
board memberLiteraturwissenschaft
of the German Associationund
sich dierelations,
of sign literarischen Adoleszenz-
and Logic, und of
the science Germanistik an der as
of Semiotic Studies Goethe-Universität
well as a perma- in
Krankheitsdarstellungen
inferences. beiderall
Peirce understands Zeitab-
thought Frankfurt
nent am Main
research memberundofdemtheKing’s Col-
Institute

der Jahrhundert- und


schnitte auf verblüffende Weise.signs
Hysterie lege in London. Ihre Forschungsschwer-

Von derto
to be mediated in and through and for Studies in Pragmaticism at Texas Tech
und
its Magersucht
essence erscheinen jeweils
to be diagrammatic. The als
book punkte sind literarische Krankheits- bzw.
University.

Prolegomena
Strategien, den während der Adoleszenz Abweichungsnarrative im Bereich der

der Jahrtausendwende
sich einstellenden psychischen Konflikten Jugendliteratur.

ISBN 978-3-631-66878-8
978-3-631-66602-9
Kinder- und Jugendkultur, -liter atur und -medien 101 Kinder- und Jugendkultur, -liter atur und -medien
Theorie – Geschichte – Didaktik 101 Theorie – Geschichte – Didaktik 101

S. Peirce
Iris Schäfer
Charles S. Peirce

Charles
Iris Schäfer
Charles S. Peirce
Iris Schäfer
Prolegomena to a Science of Reasoning
Von der Hysterie zur Magersucht
Prolegomena
Von der Hysterie to a

zurofMagersucht
Reasoning
Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914),
Die Adoleszenz
American
Logician,
gehtMathematician,
Scientist,
heiten einher;
nicht nur mit Krank-
sie giltmuch
developed oft selbst
and
alslogic
of the eine
serves as a timely contribution for the in-
zu begegnen,
troduction diese zuPhaneroscopy
of Peirce’s
durch körperliche
emerging
verarbeiten und
researchSignale
field of nach
to the
Imageaußen hin
Sciences.
Science
zur Magersucht of Reasoning –
Krankheit,
widely useddie durchgestanden
today. Using copieswerden
of his sichtbar zu machen. Beide Krankheiten
muss. Neigtenmanuscripts,
unpublished
Adoleszente
Peirce’s
um die Jahrhundertwende
oft zur Hysterie,
provides a comprehensive
um die Jahrtausendwende
this book
so leidenofsie
collection
vielfachand
writings on Phaneroscopy unter
the
kommunizieren über den Körper.

The Editor
Adoleszenz
Phaneroscopy, und
Semeiotic, Logic

Krankheit in Romanen
Magersucht.
outlines of hisDie Näheto
project von Adoleszenz
develop a Science Elize Bisanz holds a PhD in Commu-

a Science
und
of KrankheitThe
Reasoning. ist ein prominentes
collection Thema
is focused on Die Autorin
nication Sciences from the Technical

Hysterie
von
threeJugenderzählungen und Romanen der Iris Schäferofstudierte Allgemeine und
main fields: Phaneroscopy, the sci- University Berlin. She is an advisory
Edited by Elize Bisanz
und Erzählungen
Zeit um
ence 1900 und umSemeiotic,the
of observation, 2000. Dabei ähneln
science Vergleichende
board memberLiteraturwissenschaft
of the German Associationund
sich dierelations,
of sign literarischen Adoleszenz-
and Logic, und of
the science Germanistik an der as
of Semiotic Studies Goethe-Universität
well as a perma- in
Krankheitsdarstellungen
inferences. beiderall
Peirce understands Zeitab-
thought Frankfurt
nent am Main
research memberundofdemtheKing’s Col-
Institute

der Jahrhundert- und


schnitte auf verblüffende Weise.signs
Hysterie lege in London. Ihre Forschungsschwer-

Von derto
to be mediated in and through and for Studies in Pragmaticism at Texas Tech
und
its Magersucht
essence erscheinen jeweils
to be diagrammatic. The als
book punkte sind literarische Krankheits- bzw.
University.

Prolegomena
Strategien, den während der Adoleszenz Abweichungsnarrative im Bereich der

der Jahrtausendwende
sich einstellenden psychischen Konflikten Jugendliteratur.
Prolegomena to a Science of Reasoning
Charles S. Peirce

Prolegomena to a
Science of Reasoning
Phaneroscopy, Semeiotic, Logic
Edited by Elize Bisanz
Bibliographic Information published by the Deutsche
Nationalbibliothek
The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in
the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic
data is available in the internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de.

Cover Image:
Charles Sanders Peirce, a member of the American Expedition to study
the solar eclipse, Catania, Sicily, 23.December 1870.
By permission, Preston Tuttle Collection,
Institute for Studies in Pragmaticism, Texas Tech University.

ISBN 978-3-631-66602-9 (Print)


E-ISBN 978-3-653-05900-7 (E-Book)
DOI 10.3726/978-3-653-05900-7
© Peter Lang GmbH
Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften
Frankfurt am Main 2016
All rights reserved.
Peter Lang Edition is an Imprint of Peter Lang GmbH.
Peter Lang – Frankfurt am Main ∙ Bern ∙ Bruxelles ∙ New York ∙
Oxford ∙ Warszawa ∙ Wien
All parts of this publication are protected by copyright. Any
utilisation outside the strict limits of the copyright law, without
the permission of the publisher, is forbidden and liable to
prosecution. This applies in particular to reproductions,
translations, microfilming, and storage and processing in
electronic retrieval systems.
This publication has been peer reviewed.
www.peterlang.com
As a member, I am grateful for the continuing research
collaboration and assistance of the Institute for Studies in
Pragmaticism, College of Arts and Sciences,
Texas Tech University, Lubbock.

For permission to use Peirce manuscripts, special thanks to the


department of Philosophy at Harvard University.
Charles Sanders Peirce, a member of the
American Expedition to study the solar
eclipse, Catania, Sicily, 23. December 1870. By
permission, Preston Tuttle Collection, Institute
for Studies in Pragmaticism, Texas Tech
University.

7
Diploma (Summa cum Laude) of Charles S. Peirce from the Lawrence Scientific School
(a graduate institution) at Harvard University 1863. His professors were: Benjamin
Peirce—Astronomy and Mathematics; Joseph Lovering—Mathematics and Natural
Philosophy (Physics); Asa Gray—Botany; Jeffries Wyman—Anatomy; Josiah P. Cooke Jr.—
Chemistry and Mineralogy.
By permission, Preston Tuttle Collection, Institute for Studies in Pragmaticism, Texas Tech
University.
http://www.pragmaticism.net/

9
Table of Contents

Phaneroscopy, Semeiotik, Logik. Eine Einführung����������������������������������13

Reasoning�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������25

Scientific Method���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������29

Notes for a Syllabus of Logic�����������������������������������������������������������������������������33

Exact Logic. Introduction. What is Logic?���������������������������������������������������35

Logic. The Theory of Reasoning By C.S. Peirce...........................................43

Logic Viewed as Semeiotic���������������������������������������������������������������������������������47

Logic as the General Theory of Signs of all Kinds�������������������������������������49

Phaneroscopy: Or, the Natural History of Concepts��������������������������������65

Phaneroscopy����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������77

Signs, Thoughts, Reasoning�������������������������������������������������������������������������������95

Logic. Book I. Analysis of Thought�������������������������������������������������������������� 115

Common Ground����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 123

11
How to Define������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 135

Essays toward the Full Comprehension of Reasonings. Preface������� 145

Quest of Quest. An Inquiry into the Conditions of


Success in Inquiry������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 157

An Appraisal of the Faculty of Reasoning������������������������������������������������� 169

Part II.  Mathematical Reasoning.................................................................. 173

Bibliography���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 179

Index of Technical Terms��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 183

Name Index����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 185

12
Phaneroscopy, Semeiotik, Logik
Eine Einführung

Charles S. Peirce – bekannt als der Gründer der modernen Zeichenwissenschaft –


richtet sein wissenschaftliches Interesse nicht primär auf die formale Grundlage
von Zeichen, sondern auf das Zeichen als die Objektivation von Gedankenprozes-
sen. Denkprozesse, erklärt er, bestehen aus einer Reihe von Bedeutungstransfor-
mationen, sind eingebettet im Interpretationsprozess und gestützt durch logische
Strukturen. In Peirces umfangreichem Oeuvre sind zahlreiche Hinweise und
Passagen zu finden, deren Gedankenkonzepte und Architektonik trotz der brei-
ten Zerstreuung auf ein einheitliches, mit festen theoretischen Zügen erfassbares
und inhaltlich kohärentes Werk über eine Wissenschaft des Denkens hindeuten.
Dies umreißt konstitutive Elemente eines Wissenschaftsmodells, das das Den-
ken – samt seiner Struktur und Entwicklungsdynamik – erklärt und Konzepte
von Zeichenrelationen, von Temporalität, von Bedeutungsgenerierung sowie eine
funktionale Ebene von logischen Gesetzmäßigkeiten aufweisen kann.
Alles Denken, so Peirce, beginnt und endet im Zeichen. Zeichen kommuni-
zieren Ideen, indem sie Ideen von vergangenen Gedanken mit denen der Zu-
kunft verbinden. Mehr als reine Gedanken oder imaginäre Zeichen verkörpern
sie Potentialitäten, die sowohl zu intern-mentalen wie auch extern-universalen
Zeichen transformiert werden. Zeichen entstehen im Denkprozess und sind des-
sen Manifestation und Fixierung zugleich: daraus darf allerdings nicht gefolgert
werden, dass die Wissenschaft des Denkens mit einer Wissenschaft des Zeichens
gleichzusetzen sei. Denn, das Zeichen als Resultat des Denkprozesses ist vor allem
die Repräsentation einer vergangenen Handlung, und als solche ist sie lediglich in
der Lage, die formalen Bedingtheiten von Zeichen, aber niemals den Ansatzpunkt
sowie den Prozess seiner Entstehung zu erklären. Demgegenüber verspricht eine
Wissenschaft des Denkens all dies zu verbinden; für diesen Zweck bestimmt Peirce
drei einander bedingende Bereiche: Phaneroscopy, Semeiotik und relationale Lo-
gik, jeweils begleitet mit den Funktionsfeldern des Beobachtens, des Entwerfens
und der Interpretation, sowie deren Konkretisierung in Objekt, Zeichen und In-
terpretant.
In seinem Buch Studies in Logic beendet Charles S. Peirce das Kapitel unter
dem Titel A Theory of Probable Inference mit dem folgenden Absatz:
„Side by side, with the well established proposition that all knowledge is based on expe-
rience, and that science is only advanced by the experimental verifications of theories,

13
we have to place this other equally important truth, that all human knowledge, up to
the highest flights of science, is but the development of our inborn animal instincts.”1

In dieser und in zahlreichen weiteren Passagen seines Werks zum Ausdruck ge-
brachte Verflechtung und Einbindung von Erfahrung, Experiment und von In-
stinkt bestimmtem Handeln prägt Peirces Entwurf eines Wissenschaftsmodells.
Für sein Ziel eine umfassende Erkenntnislehre zu gründen, in der sowohl das
Subjekt als Erfahrungsmoment, das Experiment als das Moment der Zeichenset-
zung sowie die Einbettung des Interpretanten in einer universalen instinktgelen-
kten Erfahrung einbezogen werden, setzt Peirce unterschiedlichste methodische
Instrumente ein. In dieser methodischen und instrumentellen Heterogenität liegt
der genuin interdisziplinäre Charakter Peirces Wissenschaftslehre; sie ist eine pol-
yphone und aus multiplen Perspektiven entworfene Annäherung an das Denken
und an dessen Folge, das Erkennen. Die erkenntnisorientierte Suche nach einer
Universalordnung des Wissens und der Drang, sie auf logischen Fundamenten zu
erfassen, bestimmen die Architektonik Peirces Gesamtwerks; allerdings folgt sein
Logik-Modell einem durch Relationen bestimmten dynamischen Prozess, in dem
die Hierarchie der Zeichenelemente situationell verhandelbar bleibt. In diesem
Modell bildet die triadische Verflechtung von Objektbestimmung, Zeichenset-
zung und Bedeutungsnormierung durch den Interpretanten eine molekulare
Kräfteeinheit, deren Wirkung zugleich durch die Potenzialität von weiteren syn-
aptischen Anschlüssen bestärkt wird. In Peirces Wissenschaftsmodell bleibt der
Anfang jedes Erkenntnisprozesses sinnlich sensuell, so auch die Kunst der Erfas-
sung von Wissen, sie beginnt mit der Beschreibung der sinnlichen Perzeption,
dem Phaneron, als die Schnittstelle, als das Interface zwischen Zeichendaten und
dem wahrnehmenden Subjekt. Mit seiner Lehre der Phaneroscopy, der Wissen-
schaft zur Erfassung des Phanerons, führt Peirce den forschenden Blick in die
strukturimmanente Architektonik und Logik von Zeichenprozessen, öffnet einen
kontemplativen Raum, aus dem heraus jeglicher phänomenologischer Prozess
der Sinnerzeugung und -erfassung ihren Ursprung hat.
Die erste Frage, die sich Phaneroscopy stellt, ist, so Peirce, die Frage nach
der Ursache der Aufmerksamkeit, als die erste Stufe des Bewusstwerdens des
Denkprozesses. Das primäre Untersuchungsobjekt der Phaneroscopy ist dem-
entsprechend das Phaneron, das Manifeste, das den Betrachter anblickt. Es
ist die Schnittstelle zwischen einer externen Wirklichkeit und deren momenta-
nen Wahrnehmung, der Ausgangspunkt der Semeiosis, mit ihren konstitutiven

1 Charles S. Peirce, Studies in Logic by Members of the Johns Hopkins University, (Boston:
Little, Brown, and Company, 1888), 181.

14
Elementen Empfindung, Wille und Gedanken, jeweils als Repräsentationen
von unterschiedlichen Bewusstseinsformen.
Charles S. Peirce gehört zu den wenigen Zeichenwissenschaftlern, die nicht das
Sprechen sondern das Sehen als die Grundlage des logischen Denkens verstan-
den und dies in einer Wissenschaft des genauen Beobachtens eingebettet haben.
Bekanntlich hat er seinen Entwurf einer Science of Reasoning und ihrer Haupt-
formen in zahlreichen Manuskripten dokumentiert; so zum Beispiel werden im
Manuskript Nr. 655, unter dem programmatischen Titel „Quest of Quest“, die
Wissenschaften in drei Kategorien unterteilt: in eine Theoretische Wissenschaft,
deren Ziel die Suche nach der Wahrheit um des Wahrheitswillens ist, eine Prak-
tische Wissenschaft, die Suche nach der Wahrheit und ihrer Zwecke, sowie eine
Angewandte Wissenschaft, deren Ziel die Erprobung und Umsetzung von the-
oretischen Erkenntnissen ist. Diese erweitert Peirce um eine „Wissenschaft der
Schlussfolgerung“, deren Architektonik vor allem drei Wissenschaftskonzepte
umfasst: eine Lehre des Beobachtens (Phaneroscopy), eine Zeichenlehre und eine
Interpretationslehre.
Die vorliegende Publikation hat sich zur Aufgabe gemacht, sich dem ersten
Teil, der Lehre des Beobachtens, sowie deren Stellung im Gesamtkontext Peirces
Wissenschaft des Denkens anzunähern. Neben ihrer hohen Relevanz für die bild-
wissenschaftliche Forschung öffnet die Lehre der Phaneroscopy einen erkennt-
nistheoretischen Zugang zu Peirces Werk, denn sie erfasst den ersten Schritt, den
Auslöser jeglichen Gedanken- und Zeichenvorgangs. Auch in dieser Hinsicht
kann Phaneroscopy die Grundmotive Peirces Denkens exemplifizieren und die
so oft proklamierte Schwierigkeit eines sachgemäßen Zugangs zumindest in be-
scheidenen Schritten entkräften.2
Die Stärke und Originalität Peirces Werks – wie es die Phaneroscopy modell-
haft darstellt – liegt in der Überwindung der Kluft zwischen dem natur- und
geisteswissenschaftlichen Denken und Wirken. Peirces ausgeprägte Nähe zu na-
turwissenschaftlich orientierten Methoden liegt auf der Hand; schon im jungen
Alter lernt er, dass konkretes Beobachten und abstrakte Folgerungen feste Be-
standteile einer Wissenschaft sind. Sein Vater Benjamin Peirce, Mathematiker und

2 Im philosophischen Kontext ist Peirces Phaneroscopy vor allem als Synonym für
Phänomenologie gelesen worden, eine Fehlinterpretation, die zwangsläufig zur the-
oretischen Unschärfe und schließlich zur Hinterfragung ihrer wissenschaftlichen
Standhaftigkeit führt. Folgende Quellen stellen einige Beispiele des philosophischen
Diskurses dar: Herbert Spiegelberg. „Husserl’s and Peirce’s Phenomenologies: Co-
incidence or Interaction,“ Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 17, No. 2
(Dec. 1956): 164–185.

15
Astronom, war an der Entdeckung der Planeten Uranus und Neptun beteiligt, war
Autor zahlreicher Studienbücher und Monographien zu den Bereichen Trigono-
metrie, Algebra, Geometrie, Astronomie und Nautik, spielte eine entscheidende
Rolle bei der Gründung des Harvard Observatoriums sowie der Gründung der
American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Somit wächst der Sohn Charles Peirce in einer von Wissenschaft und Innova-
tion geprägten Umgebung auf, hat nicht nur fundiertes Wissen über Geodäsie,
Theorie der Pendelschwingung, Kartographie, sondern ist auch als Wissenschaft-
ler an zahlreichen Studien aktiv beteiligt, wie zum Beispiel im Rahmen der as-
tronomischen Studien seines Vaters. Peirce ist ein Pionier in der Nutzung des
Spektroskops zur Beobachtung des Spektrums und der Bestimmung der Spektral-
klassen von Sternen, sowie der Entwicklung des Spektrometers zur Messung von
Spektren, für die er sogar ein eigenständiges Messverfahren entwickelt, das später
als Teil des berühmten Michelson/Morley-Experiments etabliert wird.3 Auch als
Physiker arbeitet Peirce bis 1891 für die United States Coast and Geodetic Survey,
dessen Leiter sein Vater von 1867–74 war.
All diese Erfahrungen erklären Peirces unermüdliche Suche nach einem um-
fassenden Wissenschaftsmodell, das in der Lage sein sollte, die Perspektive un-
terschiedlicher Disziplinen in zwei Kernpunkten zu bündeln: das Beobachten
von Universalstrukturen und das Beobachten von Quantenstrukturen. Eine ent-
scheidende Rolle für die Umsetzung dieser Idee spielt sein Studium der Chemie.
Peirce war ein begeisterter Schüler von Josiah Cooke, Professor für Chemie und
Mineralogie an der Harvard Universität, der für eine angewandte Wissenschaft
eintrat. Cooke, ähnlich wie später Peirce, unterteilte die Wissenschaft in zwei
gleichwertige Komponenten, eine subjektive und eine objektive:
„Objectively it is a body of facts, which we have to observe, and subjectively it is a body
of truths, conclusions, or inferences, deduced from these facts; and the two sides of the
subject should always be kept in view.”4

Drei Schwerpunkte Cookes Wissenschaftstheorie zeigen direkte Parallelen mit


Peirces Wissenschaftsmodell, es sind: die Kunst des Beobachtens Phaneroscopy,
die anwendungsorientierte Wissenschaft der Zeichenlehre und die interdisziplinäre

3 In ihrem 2003 veröffentlichten Text „Peirce, Clifford, and Quantum Theory“ zeigen Beil
und Ketner eine direkte Verbindung zwischen Peirces Logik und der Quantum Theorie.
Die Autoren schlagen eine neue Anwendung Peirces Denkens für die lineare Algebra
und Logik vor und präsentieren ein graphisches System für dessen Darstellung.
4 Josiah P. Cooke, Scientific Culture, and other Essays. (London: Macmillan and Com-
pany, 1882), 24.

16
Methodik. Cooke zählt die Fähigkeit des genauen Beobachtens zu den entschei-
denden wissenschaftlichen Qualitäten, setzt sich sogar für die Schulung dieser
Fähigkeit ein:
„We are all gifted with senses, but how few of us use them to the best advantage! ’We have
eyes and see not;’ for, although the light paints the picture on the retina, our dull percep-
tions give no attention to the details, and we retain only a confused impression of what
has passed before our eyes. ‘But how‘, you may ask, ‘are we to cultivate this sharpness
of perception?’ I answer, only by making a conscious effort to fix our attention on the
objects we study, until the habit becomes a second nature. […] It is a question of sight,
not of understanding, and all the optical theories of the cause of the luster will not help
you in the least toward seeing the difference between diamond and glass, or anglesite
and heavy spar.”5

Nicht nur die Öffnung naturwissenschaftlicher Denkgrenzen prägt Peirces me-


thodischen Ansatz. Bekanntlich machte Peirce kein Geheimnis daraus, welche
Wirkung Schillers Ästhetische Briefe auf sein Denken hatten und welche Rolle
er der Ästhetik zuschrieb: „It is now forty-seven years ago that I undertook to
expound Schiller’s Aesthetische Briefe to my dear friend, Horatio Paine. We spent
every afternoon for long months upon it, picking the matter to pieces as well as
we boys knew how to do. In those days, I read various works on esthetics; but on
the whole, I must confess that, like most logicians, I have pondered that subject far
too little. The books do seem so feeble. That affords one excuse. And then esthet-
ics and logic seem, at first blush, to belong to different universes. It is only very
recently that I have become persuaded that that seeming is illusory, and that, on
the contrary, logic needs the help of esthetics.”6
Die Spuren Schillers Denkens sind in Peirces Werk allgegenwärtig, vor allem
hinsichtlich der Kerngedanken seiner Phaneroscopy. Schiller macht die Verein-
barkeit von Empfindung und Vernunft zum zentralen Motiv der Ästhetik, deren
Verschmelzung vor allem über die ästhetische Wahrnehmung gelingen könnte.
Er definiert die ästhetische Wahrnehmung als einen Zustand der vollständigen
Freiheit, losgelöst von konkurrierenden Kräften der Natur und der Kultur, einen

5 ebd. S. 26.
6 Peirce: CP 2.197.
Weitere Hinweise zu diesem Thema in Ketner, His Glassy Essence, p. 139: „I read very
carefully Schiller’s Ästhetische Briefe. A great part of my time was taken up by a most
painstaking study of it, which was my first dip into philosophy, and its mark is still on
my soul. It produced so powerful an impression upon me, that I am unable to this day
to disabuse myself of it.”

17
Zustand der reinen Beobachtung, des emanzipierten Blicks von jeglichem na-
türlichen Trieb und jeglichem vernunftbestimmten Drang nach Materialität. Im
dritten Brief schreibt Schiller:
„Die Natur fängt mit dem Menschen nicht besser an, als mit ihren übrigen
Werken: sie handelt für ihn, wo er als freie Intelligenz noch nicht selbst handeln
kann. Aber eben das macht ihn zum Menschen, daß er bei dem nicht stille steht,
was die bloße Natur aus ihm machte, sondern die Fähigkeit besitzt, die Schritte,
welche jene mit ihm antizipierte, durch Vernunft wieder rückwärts zu thun, das
Werk der Noth in ein Werk seiner freien Wahl umzuschaffen und die physische
Nothwendigkeit zu einer moralischen zu erheben.“7
In diesem Prozess bleibt der Mensch das Bindeglied zwischen Natur und Ver-
nunft. Schiller erklärt die Natur zum „Objekt“, das durch die Prozesse der reinen
Beobachtung, der Benennung und der Interpretation geformt wird;8 diese These
der kulturellen Umwandlung durch die Formgebung von Naturzuständen fin-
den wir in ausgeprägter Form in Peirces triadischem Zeichenkonzept.
Auch die Kategorie der Erfahrung, ein weiterer Baustein Peirces Semeiotik,
erklärt Schiller zur entscheidenden Gesetzmäßigkeit für den Erhalt des Gleich-
gewichts zwischen Natur und Kultur. Denn Erfahrung sichert die sinnliche
Formgebung der unsichtbaren Gesetze.9 Sie öffnet die Möglichkeit eines „dritten
Charakters“ jenseits des reinen Naturcharakters – der materiellen Welt der will-
kürlichen physischen Eindrücke – sowie jenseits des sittlichen Charakters – der
Welt der Herrschaft der Sittlichkeit und der moralischen Gesetze. „Wenn also die
Vernunft in die physische Gesellschaft ihre moralische Einheit bringt, so darf sie
die Mannigfaltigkeit der Natur nicht verletzen. Wenn die Natur in dem morali-
schen Bau der Gesellschaft ihre Mannigfaltigkeit zu behaupten strebt, so darf der
moralischen Einheit dadurch kein Abbruch geschehen; gleich weit von Einför-
migkeit und Verwirrung ruht die siegende Form.“10
Anders als in der Phänomenologie steht im Zentrum Peirces Phaneroscopy
nicht das Phänomenon sondern das „Phaneron“ als beobachtbare Relation und
als die Bezeichnungsbewegung der Semeiosis. Peirces Entwurf einer auf Zeichen-
logik basierten Wissenschaftslehre ist zugleich eine auf das Sehen basierte, in der

7 Friedrich Schiller, Über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen, (Stuttgart: Reclam,
2000), 11.
8 ebd. S. 103.
9 ebd. S. 9.
10 ebd. S. 114.

18
das Phaneron den Übergang zum sehenden Denken markiert.11 Bereits auf der
Begriffsebene ist Peirces programmatische Unterscheidung zur Phänomenolo-
gie sichtbar; während das Suffix -ologie im Begriff Phänomenologie – -λογια als
die Untersuchung von oder das Sprechen über – auf eine disziplinäre Erzählung
hinweist, konnotiert das Suffix -scopie das mikroskopische Sehen, das vor allem
eine Tätigkeit ist, die Instrumente des Sehens, seien es auch logische, verwendet.
Phaneroscopy definiert Peirce als die Wissenschaftslehre des sehenden Denkens,
das die konkrete sinnliche Wahrnehmung des physischen Beobachtens unter-
sucht und zugleich ein auf mentales Sehen basiertes physikalisches Beobachten
ankündigt. Somit hat sie die Aufgabe, die eidetische Erscheinung einer Erstheit
im Prozess der Kommunikation bzw. des Erschließens zu untersuchen.
Während Phaneroscopy sich auf die Beschreibung des Phanerons, die Beob-
achtung und Klassifizierung der Inhalte der momentanen beobachtenden Wahr-
nehmung auf Präsenz beschränkt, umfasst die Phänomenologie, so Peirce, auch
die Untersuchung des Objektes der Beobachtung. Demgegenüber hat Phanero-
scopy allein die formalen Elemente des Phanerons, des Gesehenen im Visier:
„Phaneroscopy is the description of the phaneron; and by the phaneron I mean
the collective total of all that is in any way or in any sense present to the mind,
quite regardless of whether it corresponds to any real thing or not.”12
Phaneroscopy fungiert als Organon (das Instrument oder die Methodenlehre),
das die Entfaltung triadischer Relationen dokumentiert, gefolgt durch das Wissen
über das Zeichen – Zeichenlehre – und die Logik des Erschließens – Interpre-
tationslehre; gemeinsam bilden sie eine allgemeine Wissenschaftslehre. Insofern
bleibt ihr, sowie der Phänomenologie, ohne wissenschaftliche Instrumente (ein-
schließlich der Gedankeninstrumente) der Weg zum logischen Denken und des-
sen Analyse versperrt.
„The faculties which we must endeavor to gather for this work are three. The
first and foremost is that rare faculty, the faculty of seeing what stares one in the
face, just as it presents itself, unreplaced by any interpretation, unsophisticated
by any allowance for this or for that supposed modifying circumstance. […] The
second faculty we must strive to arm ourselves with is a resolute discrimination

11 Logik, so Peirce, muss als eine Zeichenwissenschaft verstanden werden, einschließlich


der Zeichenarten, deren Relationen, sowie die sinnliche Wahrnehmung und Emotionen,
die zu den Zeichen führen. Peirce plädiert für die Erweiterung der Logik durch den Ein-
schluss aller Elemente der Semeiotik, durch eine Logik von ikonischen, indexikalischen
wie auch symbolischen Zeichen.
12 Peirce: CP 1.284.

19
which fastens itself like a bulldog upon the particular feature that we are study-
ing, follows it wherever it may lurk, and detects it beneath all its disguises. The
third faculty we shall need is the generalizing power of the mathematician who
produces the abstract formula that comprehends the very essence of the fea-
ture under examination purified from all admixture of extraneous and irrelevant
accompaniments.”13
Mit der Idee der Logik als Werkzeug (Organon) für die Wissenschaft reiht sich
Peirce in eine lange Wissenschaftstradition ein. Diese Linie findet ihre neuzeitli-
che Formulierung in Bacons Novum Organum Scientiarum, in der, ähnlich wie in
Peirces Phaneroscopy, die Rolle der Erfahrung und der kognitiven Ordnung von
Erkenntnisprozessen hervorgehoben wird.
Auch der Erfinder des Begriffs der Phänomenologie, der Mathematiker und
Logiker Johann Heinrich Lambert, formuliert seine Wissenschaftstheorie in die-
ser Tradition. Er denkt das wissenschaftliche Werkzeug in einem unmittelbaren
Zusammenhang mit dem Sichtbaren, zu deren Quellen das Bewusstsein, das Ge-
dächtnis und die Einbildungskraft gehören: „Die Theorie des Scheins und seines
Einflusses in die Richtigkeit und Unrichtigkeit der menschlichen Erkenntnis,
macht demnach den Teil der Grundwissenschaft aus, den wir die Phänomeno-
logie nennen, und in diesem ersten Hauptstücke den Begriff davon entwickeln
werden.“14
Lambert versteht die Einbildungskraft keineswegs nur als eine geistig-emotio-
nale Empfindung, sondern als eine sinnliche Empfindung, die ihren Ursprung in
einer biologisch-physikalischen Wirklichkeit hat. Dementsprechend überprüft
seine Phänomenologie die Scheinwelt anhand dreier Fragen, nach der „Richtig-
keit der Begriffe“, nach der „Wahrheit der Urteile“ und nach der „Zulässigkeit
der Fragen“.
„§15. Sodann ist die Einbildungskraft die eigentliche Quelle jeder Hirnge-
spinster, Chimären, leeren Träume und Einbildungen. Sie unterscheidet den von
den Sinnen herrührenden Schein von dem wahren nicht, sondern setzt die Bil-
der zusammen, so unvollständig sie auch sein mögen, und lässt sie als richtig
gelten, so lange sie keine Dissonanz bemerkt, und jedesmal scheinen die Bilder
vollständig, weil die Lücken darin, als etwas Leeres, nicht empfunden werden
können. Daher sind die Ausschweifungen der Einbildungskraft und ihre Illusi-
onen und Blendwerke nicht selten, und es gebraucht viele Vernunft dazu, wenn

13 Peirce: CP 5.42.
14 Johann H. Lambert, Neues Organon oder Gedanken über die Erforschung und Bezeich-
nung des Wahren und dessen Unterscheidung vom Irrthum und Schein, 2. Band. (Leipzig:
Johann Wendler, 1764), 217.

20
man voraus bestimmen soll, wie weit man ihr könne den Lauf lassen, und wo die
Grenzlinie anfängt, da man sie wieder zurücke lenken muß, dafern man bei dem
Wahren und Zulässigen bleiben will.“15
Peirces Phaneroscopy wurde sehr häufig in Zusammenhang mit dem moder-
nen Begriff der Phänomenologie diskutiert. Dazu hat auch Peirce selbst beige-
tragen, indem er sie in zahlreichen Passagen erörtert, vor allem aber seine Kritik
äußert. Nichtsdestotrotz soll hier festgehalten werden, dass Peirces häufige An-
wendung des Begriffs Phänomenologie in Zusammenhang mit Phaneroscopy
keineswegs als deren Gleichsetzung gedacht ist. So zum Beispiel formuliert Peirce:
„I will so far follow Hegel as to call this science Phenomenology although I will not
restrict it to the observation and analysis of experience but extend it to describing
all the features that are common to whatever is experienced or might conceivably
be experienced or become an object of study in any way direct or indirect.“16
Abschließend soll hier ein kurzer Vergleich mit Husserls Phänomenologie die
Differenzen zur Phaneroscopy hervorheben. Während Husserl die Phänomenolo-
gie als die Restauration der Metaphysik der Präsenz, als die Suche nach der Wahr-
heit des Begriffs erklärt, fokussiert Peirce auf das Zeichenwerden des Zeichens,
auf die Bewegung der Semeiosis. Ähnliche Vorstellungen äußern beide Denker
zur Rolle der Logik, auch für Husserl soll Phänomenologie auf Logik basieren,
allerdings anders als Peirce sollen die phänomenologischen Analysen dazu dienen,
„das Wesen der ineinander fundierten Realitätskategorien Materie, Leib, Seele und
seelisches Ich aus den Urquellen zu schöpfen und damit den dadurch bestimmten
originären Sinn der entsprechenden Wissenschaftsgebiete zu erfassen.“17 Phäno-
menologie ist für Husserl die Wissenschaft der „Ursprünge“, die „Mutter“ aller
Erkenntnis.
Für Peirce dagegen gründet sich alles Denken auf Repräsentationen und wird
durch sinnliche Wahrnehmung und Interpretation ermöglicht. Demnach sollte
eine Erweiterung der Logik zu einer Wissenschaft des Denkens, verstanden als die
Wissenschaft des „sachorientierten Beobachtens“ (keeping to point), alle Vorgän-
ge der Semeiosis erschließen.18

15 ebd. S. 226.
16 Peirce: CP 5.37.
17 Edmund Husserl, Die Phänomenologie und die Fundamente der Wissenschaft, (Hamburg:
Meiner Verlag, 1986), 23.
18 Interdisciplinary Seminar on Peirce, “Peirce’s NonReduction and Relational Complete-
ness Claims in the Context of First-Order Predicate Logic,” Kodikas, 34 (2011): 3–14.

21
Die Auswahl der Manuskripte
Die Chronologie der ausgewählten Manuskripte, entstanden im Zeitraum 1890–
1910, folgt der Entwicklung Peirces Entwurfs einer allgemeinen Wissenschaft
des Denkens unter dessen Obhut die Texte zu den Schwerpunkten Phaneroscopy
und Reasoning in ihrer Originalfassung zusammengebracht werden. Des Weite-
ren sind zwei Texte mit den Titeln Reasoning und Scientific Method aus Peirces
umfangreichen Beiträgen für den Baldwin-Dictionary hinzugefügt worden.19
Diese erleichtern den sach- und inhaltsorientierten Einstieg in die Thematik
und fungieren zugleich als eine kurze Zusammenfassung und Vorschau für die
in den Manuskripten behandelten Schwerpunkte zu den Themen Phaneroscopy,
Semeiotik und Logik als wissenschaftliche Kategorien.
Die Gedankenfäden sämtlicher dargestellter Kategorien und Begriffe der aus-
gewählten Texte führen zur Analyse des logischen Denkens. Alles Denken basiert
nach Peirce auf Repräsentationen und wird ermöglicht durch die sinnliche Wahr-
nehmung und durch Interpretation. Demnach soll eine Erweiterung der Logik
zu einer Wissenschaft des Denkens führen, verstanden als die Wissenschaft des
„sachorientierten Beobachtens“, die alle Elemente der Semeiosis erschließt.
Sowohl die Wissenschaft der Logik wie auch der Prozess des Denkens basieren
auf Zeichen. Denkvorgänge können in unterschiedlichen Formen zum Ausdruck
gebracht werden, die ähnliche logische Eigenschaften mit deren Repräsentati-
onen teilen. Denken ist eine Tätigkeit des Gehirns, seine Prämisse sowie seine
Schlussfolgerung sind Repräsentationen der Wirklichkeit, sie sind stets und aus-
schließlich Repräsentationen der Welt und niemals identisch mit der Welt.
Eine weitere prominente Stellung in der Textreihe wie auch in Peirces Ge-
samtwerk hat sein Verständnis der Wissenschaft; sie ist, so seine Definition, pri-
mär die Suche nach der Wahrheit. Hier wird zunächst auf zwei Unterteilungen
der bestehenden Wissenschaften hingewiesen: auf einer Metaebene die Unter-
scheidung zwischen Kritik oder Taktik, deren Aufgabe ist Wissen zu strukturie-
ren und eine reine Wissenschaft der Erfindung. Die Wissenschaft des Denkens
dagegen strukturiert Peirce in drei Bereiche: Phaneroscopy, Psychologie (die in
späteren Texten durch Semeiotik ersetzt wird) und schließlich Logik in ihrer er-
weiterten Form der relationalen Logik. Phaneroscopy beobachtet und fragt nach

Interdisciplinary Seminar on Peirce, “Betagraphic: An Alternative Formulation of


Predicate Calculus,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, Vol. 51, No. 2, (2015):
137–172.
19 Peirce veröffentlichte zahlreiche Beiträge für den Baldwin Dictionary of Philosophy
and Psychology.

22
den Voraussetzungen des Bewusstseins, Semeiotik sucht nach den formalen Ge-
gebenheiten des Denkens und schließlich formuliert Logik Theorien zur Erklä-
rung von hypothetischen Relationen; die letztere bleibt für Peirce das formale
Feld der Wissenschaft des Denkens. Der Logiker weist auf Phänomene hin und
analysiert die konstitutiven Bestandteile des Denkvorgangs und des Denkens im
Allgemeinen. Daraus folgt, dass Logik als Teil der Zeichenwissenschaft zu ver-
stehen ist, einschließlich der Zeichenarten, deren Relationen, sowie die sinnliche
Wahrnehmung und Empfindungen, die zu den Zeichen führen.
Jede Wissenschaft, so Peirce, braucht Instrumente, die Strukturen und Prozes-
se manifestieren können; das Visualisierungsinstrument der Logik des Denkens
ist für ihn das Diagramm.20 Diagramme erklärt er als ikonische Darstellungen von
logischen und nachvollziehbaren Relationen zu den Objekten, die die Eigenschaft
besitzen, sowohl die Korrelate von Relationen wie auch ihre Objekte darzustel-
len. Im Gegensatz zu Indizes, die auf Objekte hinweisen, und Symbole, die auf
Konventionen und Gewohnheiten basieren, visualisieren Diagramme das Nach-
vollziehbare, indem sie die Schlussfolgerungen, die Ergebnisse des logischen Pro-
zesses in ihrer Gesamtheit zeigen. Das Objekt der logischen Untersuchung ist das
Zeichen; denn Denken, so Peirce, ist primär eine Tätigkeit der Repräsentation,
ein Zeichengewebe, dessen Ausgangspunkt und Grundlage die Erfahrung bildet.
Nicht zuletzt soll hier abschließend auf zwei weitere Kategorien hingewiesen
werden, die nahezu in jedem Manuskript zur Sprache kommen. Alles Wissen,
so Peirce, entstammt aus Erfahrung; diese erklärt er als den kognitiven Zustand,
eigene Handlungen bewusst wahrzunehmen. Erfahrung unterscheidet sich von
Wahrnehmung dadurch, dass sie diejenige geistige Tätigkeit ist, die eine Verän-
derung im Denken hervorbringt. Wir nehmen Objekte der Wirklichkeit wahr,
wir erfahren die Wirklichkeit durch ein Ereignis und unterscheiden schließlich
die qualitativen Besonderheiten von Erfahrungen mittels unserer Empfindung.

20 Die folgende Definition von Peirce gibt ergänzende Einsichten zum besseren Verständ-
nis des bildhaften Charakters der Logik: „Imaging: (in Logic) Abbildung, (in Math-
ematics) représentation.
A term proposed to translate Abbildung in its logical use. In order to apprehend this
meaning, it is indispensable to be acquainted with the history of the meanings of Ab-
bildung.
Since Bild is always translated image, imaging will answer very well for Abbildung.
Any mathematical function of one variable may be regarded as an image of its variable
according to some mode of imaging. For the real and imaginary quantities correspond,
one to one and continuously, to the assignable points on a sphere.“
John Baldwin, Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, (New York: Macmillan, 1902).

23
Eine weitere, diesmal stilistische Besonderheit der hier mehrheitlich zum ers-
ten Mal transkribierten und publizierten Texte ist ihre essayistische Natur und
die erfrischend kritisch-ironische Rhetorik. Trotz der manchmal fehlenden Pas-
sagen und Textunterbrechungen gehören die Texte zu den Kernmotiven Peirces
Denkens, mit denen der aufmerksame Leser entscheidende Leerstellen der an-
dauernden Peirce-Forschung ergänzen kann.
Die vorliegende Manuskriptreihe präsentiert die wichtigsten Texte zur Wissen-
schaftsmethodik Phaneroscopy – die Wissenschft des Sehens und des Blickens –,
die Peirce als Ausgangspunkt jeglichen Denkprozesses erklärt; daher bietet die
Textreihe auch für die bildwissenschaftliche Forschung überzeugende Gedanken-
elemente, Peirces Stärke nicht in seinem zeichnerischen Talent, das er bekannt-
lich nicht besaß, sondern in seinem Bemühen zu sehen, den Denkprozess samt
Anfang, Entfaltung und Fixierung in Zeichen primär als einen visuellen Prozess
zu erklären.21, 22

21 Als weitere Lektüre zum Schwerpunkt Bild im Kontext der Peirce-Forschung ist die
folgende Publikation zu empfehlen: Nöth Winfried, „Warum Bilder Zeichen sind“, Bild-
Zeichen: Perspektiven einer Wissenschaft vom Bild, ed. Stefan Majetschak, (München:
Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2005).
22 Für ausführliche Quellen siehe: http://www.pragmaticism.net.

24
Reasoning23

Reasoning is the process in which the reasoner is conscious that a judgment or


judgments, the premises, according to a general habit of thought, which he may
not be able precisely to formulate, but which he approves as conducive to true
knowledge. By true knowledge he means, though he is not usually able to analyze
his meaning, the ultimate knowledge in which he hopes that belief may ultimately
rest, undisturbed by doubt, in regard to the particular subject to which his conclu-
sion relates. Without this logical approval, the process, although it may be closely
analogous to reasoning in other respects, lacks the essence of reasoning. Every
reasoner, therefore, since he approves certain habits, and consequently methods,
of reasoning, accepts a logical doctrine, called his logica utens. Reasoning does
not begin until a judgment has been formed; for the antecedent cognitive opera-
tions are not subject to logical approval or disapproval, being subconscious, or
not sufficiently near the surface of consciousness, and therefore uncontrollable.
Reasoning, therefore, begins with premises which are adopted as representing
percepts, or generalizations of such percepts. All the reasoner’s conclusions ought
to refer solely to the percepts, or rather to propositions expressing facts of percep-
tion. But this is not to say that the general conceptions to which he attains have
no value in themselves.
Reasoning is of three elementary kinds; but mixed reasonings are more com-
mon. These three kinds are induction, deduction, and presumption (for which the
present writer proposes the name abduction).24
Induction takes place when the reasoner already holds a theory more or less
problematically (ranging from a pure interrogative apprehension to a strong
leaning mixed with ever so little doubt); and having reflected that if that theory
be true, then under certain conditions certain phenomena ought to appear (the
stranger and less antecedently credible the better), proceeds to experiment, that
is, to realize those conditions and watch for the predicted phenomena. Upon

23 [Editor: Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology edited by J.M. Baldwin, New York:
Macmillan, 1902.].
24 [Editor: Peirce introduced the term “abduction” in his work on the logic of science to
denote a type of non-deductive inference. Further reading on this topic, see: Fann, K.T.
Peirce’s Theory of Abduction 1970. For the numerous changes in Peirce’s terminology
see: Kenneth L. Ketner, “Peirce’s Ethics of Termionology”. In: Transactions of the Charles
S. Peirce Society. Vol 17. No. 4. Fall, 1981.].

25
their appearance he accepts the theory with a modality which recognizes it pro-
visionally as approximately true. The logical warrant for this is that this method
persistently applied to the problem must in the long run produce a convergence
(though irregular) to the truth; for the truth of a theory consists very largely in
this, that every perceptual deduction from it is verified. It is of the essence of
induction that the consequence of the theory should be drawn first in regard to
the unknown, or virtually unknown, result of experiment; and that this in regard
to the unknown, or virtually unknown, result of experiment; and that this should
virtually be only ascertained afterward. For if we look over the phenomena to
find agreements with the theory, it is a mere question of ingenuity and industry
how many we shall find. Induction (at least, in its typical forms) contributes noth-
ing to our knowledge except to tell us approximately how often, in the course
of such experience as our experiments go towards constituting: a given sort of
event occurs. It thus simply evaluates an objective probability. Its reality does not
depend upon the uniformity of nature, or anything of that kind. The uniformity
of nature may tend to give the probability evaluated an extremely great or small
value; but even if nature were not uniform, induction would be sure to find it out,
so long as inductive reasoning could be performed at all. Of course a certain degree
of special uniformity is requisite for that.
But all the above is at variance with the doctrine of almost all logicians; and, in
particular, they commonly teach that the inductive conclusion approximates to
the truth because of the uniformity of nature. They only contemplate as inductive
reasoning cases in which, from finding that certain individuals of a class have
certain characters, the reasoned concludes that every single individual of the class
has the same character. According to the definition here given, that inference is
not inductive, but is a mixture of deduction and presumption, Of INDUCTION,
and PROBABLE INFERENCE.
On the methods of inductive reasoning see DIFFERENCE (method of), CON-
COMITANCE (logical), AGREEMENT (method of), and Elimination under
SCIENTIFIC METHOD. For Eliminative Reasoning (Ausschlussverfahren—
Eisler) see SYLLOGISM.
Presumption, or, more precisely, abduction (which the present writer believes
to have been what Aristotle’s twenty-fifth chapter of the second Prior Analytics
imperfectly described under the name of άπαγωγή, until Apellicon substituted a
single wrong word and thus disturbed the sense of the whole), furnishes the rea-
soned with the problematic theory which induction verifies. Upon finding him-
self confronted with a phenomenon unlike what he would have expected under
the circumstances, he looks over its features and notices some remarkable char-
acter or relation among them, which he at once recognizes as being characteristic

26
of some conception with which his mind is already stored, so that a theory is sug-
gested which would explain (that is, render necessary) that which is surprising in
the phenomena.
He therefore accepts that theory so far as to give it a high place in the list of
theories of those phenomena which call for further examination. If this is all his
conclusion amounts to, it may be asked: What need of reasoning was there? Is he
not free to examine what theories he likes? The answer is that it is a question of
economy. If he examines all the foolish theories he might imagine, he never will
(short of a miracle) light upon the true one. Indeed, even with the most rational
procedure, he never would do so, were there not an affinity between his ideas and
nature’s ways. However, if there be any attainable truth, as he hopes, it is plain that
the only way in which it is to be attained is by trying the hypotheses which seem
reasonable and which lead to such consequences as are observed.
Presumption is the only kind of reasoning which supplies new ideas, the
only kind which is, in this sense, synthetic. Induction is justified as a method
which must in the long run lead up to the truth, and that, by gradual modi-
fication of the actual conclusion. There is no such warrant for presumption.
The hypothesis which it problematically concludes is frequently utterly wrong
itself, and even the method need not ever lead to the truth; for it may be that
the features of the phenomena which it aims to explain have no rational expla-
nation at all. Its only justification is that its method is the only way in which
there can be any hope of attaining a rational explanation. This doctrine agrees
substantially at variance with a common theory and with a common practice.
This prescribes that the reasoned should be guided by balancing probabili-
ties, according to the doctrine of inverse PROBABILITY (q.v.). This depends
upon knowing antecedent probabilities. If these antecedent probabilities were
solid statistical facts, like those upon which the insurance business rests, the
ordinary precepts and practice would be sound. But they are not and cannot,
in the nature of things, be statistical facts. What is the antecedent probability
that matter should be composed of atoms? Can we take statistics of a multitude
of different universes? An objective probability is the ration of frequency of a
specific to a generic event in the ordinary course of experience. Of a fact per se
it is absurd to speak of objective probability. All that is attainable are subjective
probabilities, or likelihoods, which express nothing but the conformity of a
new suggestion to our prepossessions; and these are the source of most of the
errors into which man falls, and of all the worst of them. An instance of what
the method of balancing likelihoods leads to is the ‘higher criticism’ of ancient
history, upon which the archeologist’s spade has inflicted so many wounds. Cf.
PRESUMPTIVE INFERENCE.

27
The third elementary way of reasoning is deduction, of which the warrant is
that the facts presented in the premises could not under any imaginable circum-
stances be true without involving the truth of the conclusion, which is therefore
accepted with necessary modality. But though it be necessary in the modality, it
does not by any means follow that the conclusion is certainly true. When we are
reasoning about purely hypothetical states of things, as in mathematics, and can
make it one of our hypotheses that what is true shall depend only on a certain
kind of condition—so that, for example, what is true of equations written in black
ink would certainly be equally true if they were written in red—we can be certain
of our conclusions, provided no blunders have been committed. This is ‘demon-
strative reasoning.’ Fallacies in pure mathematics have gone undetected for many
centuries. It is to ideal states of things alone—or to real states of things as ideally
conceived, always more or less departing from the reality—that deduction ap-
plies. The process is as follows, at least in many cases:
We form in the imagination some sort of diagrammatic, that is, iconic repre-
sentation of the facts, as skeletonized as possible. The impression of the present
writer is that with ordinary persons this is always a visual image, or mixed visual
and muscular; but this is an opinion not founded on any systematic examination.
If visual, it will either be geometrical, that is, such that familiar spatial relations
stand for the relations asserted in the premises, or it will be algebraical, where
the relations are expressed by objects which are imagined to be subject to certain
rules, whether conventional or experiential. This diagram, which are abstractly
expressed in the premises, is then observed, and a hypothesis suggests itself that
there is a certain relation between some of its parts—or perhaps this hypoth-
esis had already been suggested. In order to test this, various experiments are
made upon the diagram, which is changed in various ways. This is a processing
extremely similar to induction, from which, however, it differs widely, in that it
does not deal with a course of experience, but with whether or not a certain state
of things can be imagined. Now, since it is part of the hypothesis that only a very
limited kind of condition can affect the result, the necessary experimentation can
be very quickly completed; and it is seen that the conclusion is compelled to be
true by the conditions of the construction of the diagram. This is called ‘dagram-
matic or schematic, reasoning.’
Literature: F.A. Lange, Logische Stud. (1877, unfinished); J.S. Mill, A System
of Logic (1842); treatises on logic generally; many treatises on psychology, in loc.

28
Scientific Method25

Ger. wisseschaftliche Methode; Fr. méthode scientifique. Ital. Metodo scientifico.


The general method of successful scientific research. The following are some of
the characteristics.
(1) The student’s first step is to form a perfectly definite and consistent idea
of what the problem really is; then he ought to develop the mathematics of the
subject in hand as fast as possible; and to establish a mathematical method ap-
propriate to the particular problem, if it be one which allows exact treatment. As
examples and models of what is meant, may be mentioned Maxwell’s researches
on colour sensation in the Philos. Trans. for 1860, Flinders Petrie’s book Inductive
Metrology, the last chapters of Pearson’s Grammar of Science. Of course, as the
student’s understanding of the matter advance, he will return to this first task, and
continually improve upon his first essays.
The second step will be to consider the logic and methodeutic of the research
in hand, unless it is itself a question of pure mathematics, where the logic is in-
separable from the mathematics. He will do well to study the manner in which
questions somewhat analogous to his own have been successfully resolved in
widely different fields; for the greatest advantage has accrued from the extension
of methods from one subject to a widely different one, especially from simple to
intricate matters.
The third step should be to reform his metaphysics, if the question is a broad
one. Perhaps he thinks he has no metaphysics, and does not wish to have any.
That will be a sure sign that he is badly handicapped with metaphysics of the
crudest quality. The only way to disburden himself of it is to direct his atten-
tion to it. But he cannot reduce himself for anything like absolute skepticism in
metaphysics without arresting his work. (This is especially true and important for
psychologists.—J.M.B.)
The fourth step will be to study the laws of the phenomena dealt with, so far as
they can be made out at this stage. The general order of discovery in the nomo-
logical sciences is first to pick up the phenomena by excursions in these fields in
which they are to be found, with alertness of observation, with those clear ideas
that makes the new fact instantly recognizable as new, and with the energy that
seizes upon the faint trace and follows it up. Witness the manner in which all the

25 [Editor: Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, J.M. Baldwin, New York: Macmillan,
1902.].

29
new phenomena of radiation have been brought to light during the last genera-
tion: cathode rays, X rays, Becquerel rays, etc. After making some acquaintance
with the phenomena, the next discovery is of their laws (nomological). In the
light of one’s metaphysics and general conception of the department of truth dealt
with, one considers what different hypotheses have any claims to investigation.
The leading considerations here will be those of the ‘economics’ of research. If,
for example, a hypothesis would necessitate an experimental result that can be
cheaply refuted if it is not true, or would be greatly at variance with preconceived
ideas, that hypothesis has a strong claim to early examination. But one must not
give up a hypothesis too readily. Many a discovery has been missed by that fault.
Gravitation would have been known a decade earlier if Newton had not lastly
thought it refuted, and so set back all the subsequent history of physics by some-
thing like that amount of time lost. It is likely that thousands of persons more
will be of consumption—as remote as that may seem—than would have died if
he had not made that error. The testing of the hypothesis proceeds by deducing
from it experimental consequences almost incredible, and finding that they re-
ally happen, or that some modification of the theory is required, or else that it
must be entirely abandoned. The law of the phenomena once made out, it only
remains to measure with precision the values of the coefficients in the equation
which expresses it.
The problem under investigation may not be of a nomological kind. Not that
the phenomena are not conceivably subject to law, so that the subject may ulti-
mately be received into the nomological sciences,—as chemistry, for example,
promises some day to mature into a nomological science; but in the present state
of knowledge the question, we will suppose, cannot be so studied. Still, a certain
amount of nomological study is a necessary preliminary to engaging with the
problem itself. Biology calls for aid from physiology. The student who is studying
the growth of languages must avail himself of all the knowledge that there is about
the physics of speech sounds. In case, then, the question has not yet reached the
nomological stage. But such orderlinesses as ‘Grimm’s Law’ (see GENDER) and
‘Mendeléefs Law’ are not laws in the sense in which the association of ideas and
the three laws of motion are laws. They are not satisfactory for a minute. They are
nothing that can blend with our metaphysics; they are not of a universal kind; and
they are not precise. You may imagine that there might be a chain of more and
more universal, precise, and reasonable regularities leading from these to those.
But there is, in fact, a great gap, which has to be acknowledged. A hypothesis
may be made about the cause of the three laws of motion; but we can have no
present hopes of satisfactorily proving the truth of such a thing; while we at once
set to work with great hopes of making considerable steps towards explaining

30
Mendeléef ’s Law and Grimm’s Law. But the most important distinction between
true laws and such regularities lies in the very different way in which we proceed
to the discovery of the one and of the other. The whole attitude of mind is so dif-
ferent that it is difficult to believe that the same man would have great success in
the two tasks. We have seen in our day the establishment of a great example of
each kind, the Law of the CONSERVATION OF ENERGY (q.v.) and the Periodic
Law. The one dealt with a small number of observations. Exactitude was the main
thing. The hypothesis itself sprang almost immediately from the natural light of
reason. In the other case, it was necessary with a positive effort to put ideas of
exactitude aside and to find order in a great tangle of facts.
Perhaps the problem in hand relates to one of those sciences basely called
descriptive, that is, sciences which study, not classes of facts, but individual facts,
such as history, descriptive astronomy, geography. No science is merely descriptive.
These sciences are investigations of causes. The historian’s facts of observation are
not these contained in his text, but those mentioned in the foot-notes—the docu-
ments and monuments. It is the supposed causes of them which make the text.
Nor is he contented with a mere chronicle of striking public events; he endeavours
to show what hidden causes of them were. So the astronomer’s real business is to
prove the NEBULAR HYPOTHESIS (g.v.) or whatever ought to replace it. The ge-
ologist does not merely make a geological map, but shows how the existing state of
things must have come to pass. To do this the historian has to be a profound psy-
chologist, the geologist a master of physics and dynamics. Just as the classificatory
sciences tend to become nomological, so the descriptive, or explanatory, sciences
tend to become classificatory. The astronomer finds so many examples of systems
in formation that he can formulate the cycle of events through which they gener-
ally pass; as the historian formulates cycles through which communities usually
pass, and the geologist formulates cycles through which continents commonly
pass. These are analogous to the cyclical laws of the classificatory sciences.
But perhaps the problem before the student is not one of theoretical physics
or of theoretical psychics, but a practical problem. He wishes to invent. In that
case he ought to have a great knowledge both of facts about men’s minds and of
facts about matter; for he has to adapt the one to the other. He ought to know
more than any pure scientist can be expected to know. Of course, as the world
goes, he does not.
(2) The most vital factors in the method of modern science have not been the
following of this or that logical prescription—although these have had their value
too—but they have been the moral factors. First of there has been the genuine
love of truth and conviction that nothing else could long endure. Given that men
strive after the truth, and, in the nature of things, they will get it in a measure.

31
The greatest difference between the scientific state of the modern scientific era
from Copernicus and the middle ages, is that now the whole concern of students
is to find out the truth; while then it was to put into a rational light the faith of
which they were already possessed. The chief obstacle to the advance of science
among students of science in the modern era has been that they were teachers,
and feared the effect of this or that theory. But the salvation from this danger
has been the fact that there was no vast institution which anybody for a moment
hoped could withstand the mighty tide of fact. The next most vital factor of the
method of modern science is that it has been made social. On the one hand,
what a scientific man recognizes as a fact of science must be something open to
anybody to observe, provided he fulfills the necessary conditions, external and
internal. As long as only one man has been able to see a marking upon the planet
Venus, it is not an established fact. Ghost stories and all that cannot become the
subject of genuine science until they can in some way be welded to ordinary ex-
perience. On the other hand, the method of modern science is social in respect to
the solidarity of its efforts. The scientific world is like a colony of insects, in that
the individual strives to produce that which he himself cannot hope to enjoy. One
generation collects premises in order that a distant generation may discover what
they mean. When a problem comes before the scientific world, a hundred men
immediately set all their energies to work upon it. One contributes this, another
that. Another company, standing upon the shoulders of the first, strike a little
higher, until at last the parapet is attained. Still another moral factor of method of
science, perhaps even more vital than the last, is the self-confidence of it. In order
to appreciate this, it is to be remembered that the entire fabric of science has to
be built up out of surmises at truth. All that experiment can do is to tell us when
we have surmised wrong. The right surmise is left for us to produce. The ancient
world under these circumstances, with the exception of a few men born out of
their time, looked upon physics as something about which only vague surmises
could be made, and upon which close study would be thrown away. So, ventur-
ing nothing, they naturally could gain nothing. But modern science has never
faltered in its confidence that it would ultimately find out the truth concerning
any question in which it could apply the check of experiment.
These are some of the more vital factors of the method of modern science. For
the purely logical elements the reader should consult special topics, e.g. REASON-
ING, PROBABLE INFERENCE, PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHODS, ERRORS OF
OBSERVATION, EMPIRICAL LOGIC, VARIATION, &c. (C.S.P., J.M.B.).

32
Notes for a Syllabus of Logic26

1. Division of Human Life into life of Enjoyment, life of Ambition, and Life of
Research
2. Division of Science into Heuretic, Cartographic and Applied
3. Division of Heuresis into Mathematics, Cenoscopy, and Idioscopy
4. Remarks on Mathematics
5. Division of Cenoscopy in Phaneroscopy, Nomology, and Metaphysics
6. Remarks on Phaneroscopy
7. Division of Nomology into Esthetics, Ethics, and Logic
8. Remarks on Esthetics
9. Remarks on Ethics
10. Division into Positive and Negative Ethics
11. Division of Logic and Stechiology, Critic, and Methods
12. Nature of Signs
13. Divisions of Signs
14. Relations of the Divisions
15. General Principles of Critic
16. Scientific Reasonings and Practical Reasoning
17. Divisions of Scientific Reasoning
18. Abduction
19. Deduction Corellarial and Theorematic, also Necessary and Probable
20. Induction and its Varieties
21. Practical Reasoning
22. Methodeutic
In the sum total of all of which we have in mind,—which total I call the phaneron,
and this is necessarily and intentionally a vague term,—we can discern a multi-
tude of ingredients, and we notice too, that these are of several widely different
kinds. In order to put the meanings of these two remarks beyond danger of being
mistaken, the writer will at once set down some of the things that have been in his
mind during the last few minutes.
Being a little out of his usual health he was aware of certain sensations in the
truth of his body. Then the delightful cool warmth of the June afternoon, the
charming sunshine half shaded up by the green bushes outside his windows,

26 [Editor: MS 477, dated 1903.]

33
the absolute quiet of his study, gave him feelings of joy and of gratitude. The idea
came to bring that all it was for selfish and too idle. No doubt he was making
an intense effort to get these sentences compose and set down,—no such easy
task as one might suppose. He cannot say that he was immediately aware of that
effort, as he was of these feelings. To have a feeling and not to be conscious of
it would be at once to feel and not to feel. The words make nonsense. But it is
entirely possible to exert an intense effort without being at all aware of doing so.
Such effort is particularly effectual. Not that nothing passes in the mind, espe-
cially in case the effort is a mental one. What is the peculiar quality of conscious-
ness in effort? There is a sort of superposition of the idea of the state of things
one is trying to bring about, upon the perception of the state of things one is
trying to annul. I will leave it to the psychologists to say more precisely what the
quality of consciousness is. Suffice it to say that it is a sort of duplicate idea. One
contemplates the actual through a transparent image of the object desired. One
anticipates the time when the desired object shall be perceived with the super-
seded state lying behind it in memory.
But the writer was thinking more particularly of a subsequent part of this book,
which, it seemed to him was going to be disjointed, out of harmonious connection
with the rest. He was trying to think what he should do about that. But after think-
ing of the matter a few moments, he perceived that the very feature of that part
which he thought was going to put it out of joint would, on the contrary, if were
only developed in a certain way give the whole a much firmer consistency; and
thereupon he formed the resolution that he would so develop that feature; and he
took some pains to weave that purpose into his plan. What was this weaving ac-
tion of the mind? His soul was teaching itself a trick, much as he might teach a dog
or a parrot. It was certainly not more feeling; and was quite opposed in character
to the uneasiness of effort. For it was, on the contrary, decidedly a comfortable and
comforting process.
If we call whatever is in the mind, whether as feelings, as stresses, or efforts,
as habits, or habit growths, or of whatever other kind they may be by the name
of ingredients of the Phaneron, then we may obviously say that no things what-
ever can differ more from one another than ingredients of the Phaneron may
differ; since whatever we at all know we must know through ingredients of the
Phaneron, and we cannot say things differ at all if we have no notions whatever
of them.27

27 [Editor: The main text ends at this point. The manuscript includes additional pages
about diverse topics.]

34
Exact Logic28
Introduction. What is Logic?

Logic is the Theory of Reasoning. Its main business is to ascertain the conditions
upon which the just strength of reasoning depends. Such has always been under-
stood to be its nature, at any rate, approximately; so that this statement, though
it may be superseded as a scientific definition, yet like the meaning popularly
attached to any common word, must forever be respected as alone authoritative
in a vague sense.

28 [Editor: MS 735, not dated. The manuscript is a collection of three different versions
around the topic EXACT LOGIC with the following subtitles:
a. Introduction. What is Logic?
b. The Theory of Reasoning.
c. Of the Place of Logic among the Sciences.
It includes also a fourth section under the title EXACT LOGIC. Introduction. What
is Logic? which is a slightly different version of the first part.
The following letter sent to his student Christine Ladd-Franklin and dated Nov. 1900,
gives the approximate date of the Ms.
In: Charles S. Peirce at the Johns Hopkins, The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and
Scientific Methods. Vol. XIII. No. 26: Dec. 21, 1916 pp. 715–723.
My dear Mrs. Franklin:
I want you kindly to read the enclosed article Exact Logic and show it to your husband
whose judgment I have much faith in, if he will be so good as to look at it. I told Prof.
Baldwin when I took up this work that I should expect “unlimited swing” in exact logic.
Still, I don’t know but it is too much to ask him to print this; and I don’t want to ask what
is not right. The purpose of it is to put Exact Logic in its place as a branch of philoso-
phy. It is an extremely careful statement of the small ground it covers. I do not see how
I could say less without reducing it to a general statement that would be without force.
I am too close to it to get a good mental sight at it. I request you to read it and tell me
plainly whether it seems to you and your husband calculated to do the cause of exact
logic any good, … also whether there are any modifications you can suggest, especially
to shorten it. A short vocabulary of terms omitted in Vol. I. of the Dictionary will have
to be added. You had better, I should think, follow my example in this respect in your
articles, inserting, for instance, … I should not wonder, if you look into my Virgo sym-
bol, but you might find it resulted in a valuable rule of elimination.
 Very faithfully,
 C.S. Peirce.]

35
If a more exact definition is asked for, logicians of different schools will give
different replies.
Throughout the nineteenth century, the professors of logic in the universities
have for the most part followed the lead of Kant although with innumerable di-
vergences in every direction. If a logical doctrine of one of these sects (which we
may collect under the designation of critical logic, giving them the appellative of
Kant’s metaphysics) be attacked, it will be defended either by an ipse dixit, as self-
evident, or by a remark about some language (most often German), or directly
by some physiological phenomenon, or by a metaphysics or theory of cognition
founded on psychology.
During a considerable part of the century, and outside of the universities, the
most influential conception of logic has been that of John Stuart Mill. Although
his book was written entirely in the interest of a metaphysics quite similar to that
of Kant and founded mainly upon the psychological doctrine of association, Mill
does not build his logical system upon psychology but upon what he enounces as
a law of nature, namely that nature is uniform.29
There have been, besides, several logical doctrines, hardly to be called systems
of logic, which have been founded upon the history of science. Among these,
those of Auguste Comte and of William Whewell may be mentioned.30
(The present work belongs to a fourth sect; small in the number of its adher-
ents, but not so small in the value of their logical discoveries.) The method is to
deduce the rules of reasoning by mathematical reasoning from initial properties
which ordinary observation forces upon every man and which must be true if
there is any such thing as true reasoning. The principal achievements of that
method hitherto have been three. The first is the doctrine of chances, which ger-
minating in a mere act of gaming, has grown up to be the veritable logic of the
physical sciences, and is developing into something more general and impor-
tant. The second is the logic of relatives which De Morgan in 1860 first rendered
important and which shed such a flood of light upon every part of logic as alto-
gether to reform all our conceptions of the subject. The third is the algebraical
method put forth by Boole in 1847, and since considerably developed. To those
three achievements there will soon be added the full elucidation of the logic of
continuity. The general conception of logic, which has already proved itself so

29 [Editor: Peirce refers to John Stuart Mill and his book A system of logic, ratiocinative
and inductive, being a connected view of the principles of evidence and the methods of
scientific investigation, published 1859.]
30 [Editor: Comte, A. Cours de philosophie positive, 1830.
Whewell, W. The History of Scientific Ideas, in two volumes, 1858.]

36
useful may be called Exact Logic, not at all by way of an unseemly Teutonic brast,
but simply in the sense in which we speak of the exact sciences, meaning those
whose exactitude is guaranteed by their mathematical methods.
The exact logician can have no positive objection to the historical logic of
Comte or Whewell. He must admit that their labors have been extremely helpful.
Only there is no reason at all to believe than any general outline of the whole of
logic could be produced by that method. Comte’s maxim that hypotheses ought
to be verifiable is excellent as far as it was. But he never explains what ought to be
understood by “verifiable.” Probably no precise definition of it could be worked
out by Comte’s method. Whewell made the great discovery that the process of sci-
ence must at any stage await the growth of appropriate ideas. This explains many
things, but it does not show us what is good reasoning and what bad. Nor, as
Whewell succeeded in throwing any light upon that matter by his methods.
The logic of Mill in one important respect commands the approach of the ex-
act logician. Namely, he sees that the question whether a given reasoning is good
or bad is not a question of a way of thinking or of a tendency to think in any way,
but is a question of truth and of fact. Mill may be and is mistaken as to the matter
of the fact which makes the virtue of reasoning. He says that it is the uniformity
of nature. But, at any rate, he is right in saying that it must be some real fact of
the universe. Take the following as an illustration:
Premise. Enoch and Elijah are men; and all men die.
Conclusion. Enoch and Elijah die.

The premise may not be true; but that will not make the reasoning process bad.
But if there is any state of things, whether it to be natural constitution of the uni-
verse, or any world of dreams or of fiction, in which such a premise as that is
true while the conclusion related to that premise as the above conclusion is to
its premise is not true, then the reasoning is bad; while if in every possible world
the truth of such a premise would ipso facto constitute the truth of the conclusion
the reasoning is good. For the purpose of reasoning is to proceed from the truth.
Hence Mill is quite right in maintaining that the circumstance that the uniformity
of nature is only discovered by reasoning is no objection to basing the validity of
reasoning upon the uniformity of nature. For it is not what men think to be true,
but what is true, which makes the conclusion to be true if the premiss is so. The
fault of Mill’s Logic is that, with all his extraordinary ocumen, he is so blinded by
his psychological doctrine of a tabula rasa and his rationalistic prejudices that his
thought becomes vague at critical points; and this vagueness hides errors which
make his whole system and all his maxims of reasoning worthless or worse. Who-
ever, having already attentively read Mill’s System of Logic will carefully reperuse

37
it with special reference to the questions, what does Mill mean by a “uniformity,”
and what by “uniformity of nature,” how far are we assured that that uniformity
of nature exists, and what is its relation to the validity of reasoning, will find that
the book is not nearly so perspicuous and convincing as it had, at first, seemed to
be. He will find that at one time Mill speaks of “uniformities” as if he meant what
others call laws of nature, but which he prefers to call uniformities to indicate that
there is no real generality, but that they are merely the bringing together by the
mind of similar facts. But if the phenomena explained as due to laws of nature had
no other bond of connection than our own classing them together, their resem-
blance would be merely fortuitous, and there would be no reason at all to expect
that events would continue to happen, Mill seems to mean by a uniformity the
tendency of certain characters to extend through a whole genus if they belong to
any species of it. His “uniformity of nature,” however, must be a real generality and
not a merely factitious one, if it is to lend any support to reasoning. He tells us that
by the uniformity of nature, he means that under like circumstances like events
will occur. But we constantly see unlike events occurring under circumstances
very much alike, and circumstances precisely alike can never be found at all. Mill,
with the subtlety that never deserts him, says that he means that under circum-
stances sufficiently familiar events are alike. But I would ask whether he means
all sorts of events or only some events. Every event is a relation. Does he then
mean that under circumstances sufficiently similar all men whose names begin
with G will do right? If so, that is as much to say that every kind of circumstance
contributes to every kind of result, a proposition not at all in accordance with
experience. If, on the other hand, he merely means that under sufficiently similar
circumstances, some results will be similar, this at least as an approximate state-
ment, cannot be questioned by anybody. But this will not establish the validity of
any kind of reasoning, until some criterion is found for distinguishing such events
from others. Now this principle itself cannot by itself produce such a criterion,
and consequently cannot make any kind or reasoning just. Much more might be
brought against Mill’s logical method; but the above may serve as an example of
its defects.
Only one theory of logic can be true; and therefore it is not surprising that
faults are found with all but one. (But as to the two theories just criticized, it must
be granted that they are in important respects correct and that they have served
a good purpose. I cannot say as much for the schools of critical logic.) Hav-
ing studied an incredible number of their treatises on exact logic with the most
respectful consideration, to find the principal lesson I have learned from them
is how small a factor reason is and how large a factor fashion is in determining
what shall be taught from German philosophical chairs. I have often thought of

38
writing a book in order to show how many warning absurdities are to be found in
the best of those works. But it is sufficient here to mention one error which most
of them share. It is that of imagining that the aspect under which a fact is regard-
ed, or even the form of words in which it is expressed, can make the difference of
another fact following logically from it or not. For example, perhaps no book is
so often mentioned in terms of high laudation by critical logicians as a brochure
by Kant entitled “Die falsche Spitzfindigkeit der vier syllogistischen Figuren.”
It is written in a world-shattering style, as if what the author had to say made
a great revolution in logic. Yet all the effort of the argument is applied to prove
a doctrine held by all logicians since Aristotle, namely that all syllogism can be
reduced to direct syllogism in the first figure; while the principal new doctrine of
the book, that it follows from the reduction that no other syllogisms involve any
logical principle other than that of the direct syllogisms of the first figure, is not
argued at all. Another doctrine of the book is that every reasoning, or Schluss,
has two premises. And how is this established? Very simply; by merely calling
reasoning from a single premise by another name, inference, or Einführung, in-
stead of Schlüsse! This is the kind of stuff that the whole body of critical logicians
extols as almost superhuman.

In this treatise Kant insists that from the premises


Every spirit is simple,
Everything simple is incorruptible,

It does not follow that


Something incorruptible is a spirit;

Although he admits that from the premises it follows that


Every spirit is incorruptible,

And from this that


Some thing incorruptible is a spirit.

This is a good specimen of the absurdities into which these logicians are betrayed
who think the validity of an argument depends upon how it is thought.
If we turn to one of the latest and most admired treatises of the critical class,
the second edition of the logic of Sigwart, we find large sections of it taken up with
discussions of grammatical constructions which are treated as coextensive with
logic. Although they are not universal, even in the languages of Western Europe.
Although in Irish it is usual to put the subject of a verb in the genitive case, and
although languages are scattered all over the globe in which the subject of a verb is

39
treated like its direct and indirect objects and is not set off into contrast with them,
yet Sigwart uncritically accepts the conception of those languages with which he
is familiar that the subject is something quite familiar.
Somebody may ask what great harm there can be in adding to the science of
logic something extra that does not strictly belong to it. The answer is that in
the science of reasoning, everything depends upon keeping to the point. If in
considering the strength of a reasoning the attention is carried to something ir-
relevant, it is perforce removed from that which alone is relevant. Accordingly,
we find Sigwart making the value of reasoning consist in nothing at bottom but
the feeling of conviction. Were this really all, there would be no science of logic,
because good reasoning would be nothing more than what seemed good. But it
is not all. For if a rule of reasoning be such that it may not lead to truth on the
whole, although truth be attainable, that rule is bad, no matter how convincing it
may seem; while in the contrary case the rule is a good one however indisposed
we may feel to following it.
The critical logicians have been much affiliated to the theological seminaries.
About the thinking that goes on in laboratories they have known nothing. Now
the seminarists and religionists generally, have at all times and places set their
faces against the idea of continuous growth. That disposition of the intellect is
the most catholic element of religion.
Religion’s truth having been once defined is never to be altered in the most
minute particular; and theology being held as queen of the sciences, the religion
is to have bitterly fought by fire and tortures all great advances in the true sci-
ences; and if there be no true continuous growth in men’s ideas where else in the
world should it be looked for? Hence, we find this folk setting up hard lines of
demarcation, or great gulfs, contrary to all observations, between good men and
bad, between the wise and foolish, between the spirit and the flesh, between all
the different kinds of objects, between one quantity and the next. So, shut up are
they in this conception of the world that when the seminarist Hegel discovered
that the universe is everywhere permeated with continuous growth (for that, and
nothing else, is the “secret of Hegel”) it was supposed to be an entirely new idea, a
century and a half after the differential calculus had been in working order. Were
their conception just, a sense of constraint to think in a certain way (though it
would be more than a mere feeling) would be an indication of an impossible
barrier in thought, which would be absolute truth in its pity way. But he who
really desires to learn,—and not merely to teach,—is constrained to hope and
is encouraged by all experience to hope that constraints upon thought are mere
temporary bars to progress. Even if there are any that are eternal, they cannot be
distinguished from others by an immediate feeling as history abundantly proves.

40
The above seem to be sufficient reasons for not accepting current concep-
tions of logic. Let us now remark that not everything that may be true about
reasoning is necessarily pertinent to logic. To take an extreme and unquestion-
able example, it is certainly true of reasoning that the English word for it begins
with an R; but this has nothing to do with logic. In like manner, it may perhaps
be true that reasoning can only be performed by a mind more or less like that
of man, although there are machines which will produce the conclusions from
certain premises. But reasonings can be expressed in words, in algebraic formu-
lae, and in diagrams; and such expressions have the same logical characteristics
that the mental representations have. Logic, therefore, concerns itself as directly
with the outward, as with the inward representations. On the other hand, among
the characters of reasoning which are pertinent to logic, one of the chief is that
reasoning is essentially of the nature of a representation or sign. In saying this,
I anticipate one of the results of the study of logic, and the reasons which lead to
this conclusion cannot be fully appreciated in advance of such study. The prem-
ise of a reasoning is supposed to be true, and as such it represents the real world,
although only in part. The conclusion represents the very same world. Neither is
the world; for one is no more so than the other; and were both the same world
they would be identical. They are alike representations, or signs, of the world.
But the reasoning does not lie in the premise nor in the conclusion nor in their
mere aggregations. It lies in the representation that in every world an analogous
conclusion would, either invariably or mostly, be true for every similar premiss
that was true. Reasoning is therefore not only a representation, but a representa-
tion of possibilities.
Now what are possibilities, what mode of being have they but the mode of
being of representations? Whether or not they have any real mode of being, I do
not ask; for it is not here a pertinent question. I only say that so far as they are
real, the real is of the nature of a representation.

41
Logic
The Theory of Reasoning by C.S. Peirce

Part I. Exact Logic


Part II. The Traditional Logic
Part III. Examination of diverse logical Doctrines

Part I. Exact Logic


Book I. The Facts
Book II. Necessary Reasoning
Book III. Probable Reasoning
Book IV. Applications

Exact Logic
Introduction. Of the Place of Logic among the Sciences
Logic proper is the theory of reasoning. That is to say, it is the study which aims
to ascertain what must be the perceptible relations between possible facts in or-
der that the knowledge that certain ones are true may warrant us in assuming
that certain others are not true.
This definition is opposed to the treatment of logic as a branch of psychology
or as founded upon psychology. For according to our definition, it makes no dif-
ference to the logician whether a fact is thought in this way or in that way unless
the distinction will alter our right to draw a conclusion. If it be true that Enoch
and Elijah were men and that all men die, then it is true that Enoch and Elijah
die, no matter how or what we think. If I endeavor to separate the fundamental
stars into two equal classes such that the stars of the first class shall be generally
nearer to us than those of the second by putting into the first all those stars which
have any two of the following quantities greater than the majority of the funda-
mental stars, namely, 1st, their brightness, 2nd, their proper motion perpendicular
to the suns path, 3rd, their proper motion along the sun’s path, then it is logically
pertinent to inquire how I came to pick out these criteria, and whether or not,
the parallaxes of the stars are not known.
To such extent and no further is it true that logic has to consider how a fact
is thought. But even the English logics are perpetually arguing as if logical ques-
tions could be settled by an appeal to the construction of some language, generally
the English, while to read the most admired German treatises one would imagine

43
that logic different from German grammar chiefly in its extreme vagueness. Every
kind of reasoning can be translated into every language on the globe and remains
the very same argument, although the ways of thinking are utterly different. Most
of the writers alluded to treat forms of speech common to French, English, Ger-
man, Latin, and Greek as if thought could not go on without them, quite forgetting
that those five languages are very much alike and very peculiar in their characters
among the languages of mankind.

Exact Logic
Introduction. What is Logic?
Logic is the Theory of Reasoning. That is to say, its main business is to ascertain
the conditions upon which the just strength of reasoning depends. This is the
statement of what logic has always been understood to be, at least approximately,
and of how the word ought always to be used, so far the exigencies of science will
permit. It embodies the original charter of the term; and though it may be super-
seded as a scientific definition, must, like the definition of a fish as any aquatic
vertebrate, forever be respected as alone authoritative in a rough way.
Let us consider the following reasoning:
Premiss. All men die, and Enoch and Elijah are men.
Conclusion. Enoch and Elijah die.

The question of whether this reasoning is sound or not, is the question of whether
in any world, whichever, be it the world of reality, or a world of dreams, or any
supposable world, it is possible for the premise to be true without the conclusion
being true. It is a question of the relation between the truth of two supposed facts.
In what language these supposed facts may be expressed, or what aspect they may
be viewed, are matters altogether aside from the logicality of the reasoning.
This is evident enough; yet since it is virtually denied by the majority of the
logicians of our day, I will endeavor to make it still more manifest. Logic, then,
is a science and as such aims to ascertain what really is the truth, whether people
believe it to be the truth or not. It, therefore, supposes that the distinction be-
tween good and bad reasoning subsists independently of opinions about it. Is the
fact expressed in the conclusion of our example ipso facto real as soon as the fact
expressed in the premiss is real? Then the reasoning is good, although any man
or men should be under a blind “necessity of thought” to believe it’s bad. But if
the fact expressed in the conclusion is not ipso facto real wherever the premise
of fact is real, the reasoning is bad, however irresistible maybe the tendency to

44
think it’s good. For otherwise, reasoning could only show us how we feel and
think, but could never give us any assurance of the truth.
I shall be told that I am uncritical, because a man can never escape from his
own thoughts, so that a logic such as I conceive would be utterly inscrutable. I
reply that it is not I but the so-called “critical philosophy” which is uncritical and
drifts about without a rudder, in consequence of a confusion of ideas. The confu-
sion is between thought, in general, and a particular man’s thought in a particu-
lar stage of development. I grant that a man cannot think without thoughts; but
every man is perpetually growing out of his thoughts. Our hope is, in reference to
any particular object of study, that this development would in time result in the
man’s being more and more drawn out of the ways of thinking that are peculiarly
his, and brought toward the same result toward which every other man would be
brought. This ultimate destiny of opinion is quite independent of how you, I, or
any men may persist in thinking. It is thought, but it is not my thought or yours,
but is the thought that will conquer. It is that every student hopes for. It is the
truth; and the reality of this truth lies, not at all in its being thought, but in the
compulsion with which every thinker will be made to bow to it, a compulsion
which constitutes it to be exterior to his thought. If this hope is altogether vain,
if there is no such compulsion, or externality, then there is no true knowledge
at all and reasoning is altogether idle. If the hope is destined only partially to be
realized, then there is an approximate reality and truth, which is not exact.
This hope constitutes a hypothesis of mathematical definiteness from which,
together with a few facts of ordinary experience, can be deduced with math-
ematical certainty rules for reasoning. Logic developed by this method is called
Exact Logic, not by way of a rude Teutonic boast, but in the sense in which other
sciences which repose largely upon mathematics are called exact sciences.
Like other branches of genuine science, exact logic, once started upon the
practicable path, was able to make important progress before its nature was thor-
oughly understood even by those who pursued it with the most brilliant success.
It began with the doctrine of chances, which from a theory of gaming developed
into the veritable logic of the physical sciences. Boole in 1847 produced his logi-
cal algebra, a wonderful stroke of genius which has immensely facilitated further
progress. De Morgan’s studies, all of which are of positive value, began to appear
in 1846. In 1860, he published the first important work upon the Logic of Rela-
tives, which throws an entirely new light upon the science of logic. Those incep-
tors have been succeeded by a school of some two dozen students, none of them
university professors of logic, all of whom have made positive contributions to
our knowledge of reasoning.

45
The priests of logic in the universities during the nineteenth century have
mostly followed the lead of Kant, but with innumerable divergencies in every
direction. All these doctrines may be classed together under the name of critical
logic. The rules of reasoning deduced by exact logic are much more stringent
than those of critical logic and the theory of the former departs widely from all
those of the latter. Especially, in the matter of classification of logical concep-
tions, upon which Kant insisted very strenuously, the critical logicians have fol-
lowed him, without giving any serious reasons for doing so, though he himself
dismissed the subject in a few words, not marked by much exactitude or profun-
dity; while the exact logicians have come to conclusions while opposed to the
ideas of Kant.
The critical school found logic either directly upon psychology, or else upon
a metaphysics or a theory of cognition which itself rests upon psychology. The
same thing is true of the logic of Mill. In the view of the exact school psychology
and metaphysics more than other sciences need to repose upon a correct theory
of logic, so that if logic in its turn is made to rest upon them, neither it nor they
have a solid basis.

46
Logic Viewed as Semeiotic
Introduction Nr. 2. Phaneroscopy31

Chapter I
The word φανερόν, in Greek, means manifest. Now the manifest I take to be that
which we find ourselves forced to admit rather than persuaded in deliberate rea-
soning to admit, yet under the belief in which we are so far from chafing that it
seems to us more satisfactory than any ulterior reason could render it. It is that
the compulsion does not seem to come from within ourselves, in which case it
might be due to a too narrow association of ideas, that is, a defective experience,
but seems to be the positive action upon us of the object we wish to know, which
is just what makes it surely knowledge, whatever misapprehension we may per-
haps have mingled with it. We reach against the compulsion, no doubt; for oth-
erwise we should not feel ourselves to be forced. But we only react just enough
to assure ourselves that it is veritably to the force of reality that we yield. Once
convinced recognizing the source of the force, we are only too glad to yield to
it, because experience has shown us that it is our own impulse toward believing
this or that are our only enemies, while the majesty of reality our true friend.
As an example of the most manifest sort of thing there is, we may take a case in
which we look at an object and judge that it seems red. If anybody should ask
how we can be so sure that it seems red, we shall reply “Do we not see it? Seeing
is believing.” Yet we certainly do not see that it seems red. What we see is an im-
age; what we say is a judgment, and is as utterly disparate to any image as can be.
But we have a sense that it is the perceptual image that determines the judgment
somewhat as the real object determines the percept.
Such being, as I conceive the matter, the primitive implications of the Greek
word I beg the privilege, in the interests of that exactitude of technical terminol-
ogy without which no study can become scientific, of creating an English word,
phaneron, to denote whatever is entirely open to assured observation, in all the
entirety of its being, even if this observation be not quite as direct as that of a
percept is. An external reality is not a phaneron because it is not entirely open

31 [Editor: MS 337, dated 1904.]

47
to observation. The phaneron resembles rather what many English philosophers
call an idea.32
When I say a phaneron is open to observation, I use the word “observation”
in a pretty broad sense. Whatever, whether in a purposive or cognitive sense, we
mean, or rather, when this is any distinction, what we think we mean is a phan-
eron, although it maybe vague and is usually general, so that it cannot react upon
us as a percept does, is a phaneron.
Again, that which is observed, as a percept is absent, must be objectified, while
mere tones of consciousness are phanerons. But though subject and object are
not discriminated in these feelings, yet it is that element of them which becomes
developed into the immediate object which is the phaneron.

32 I find various objections to using that word in place of phaneron, some of them com-
monplace enough. The psychological connotations that we mixed with it. I desire par-
ticularly to avoid. An idea is generally supposed to be entirely present consciousness in
an instant, while a phaneron may not be capable of being so known. Perhaps the objec-
tion that weighs most with me is that the English philosopher have a habit of saying
that there is such idea as this or that, when in the very same breath they describe such
an object. Thus, Berkeley says there is no such “idea” as that of a triangle in general, yet
when he uses this phrase he supposes its meaning to be understood. Now that meaning
is a phaneron.

48
Lecture I to the Adirondack
Summer School 190533

Logic as the General Theory of Signs of all Kinds


I have a difficult task before me to render these four lectures profitable to you. It
would be less so if we came without a single idea on the subject. But everybody,
every butcher and baker, have ideas of logic and even used the technical termi-
nology of the subject. He says he deals in articles of “prime necessity”. Perhaps
he would be surprised to learn that the phrase “prime necessity” was invented
by logicians to express a logical conception which has now become in common
mouths very vague, it is true; but which still has a little of the original concept in
a vague form clinging to it.
If I had a class in logic to conduct for a year, I should have still, as I used to do
at the Johns Hopkins, upon the maientic character of my office,—which means
that I should do all I could to make my hearer think for themselves, by which
I earned the gratitude of men who are useful to mankind. I should insist, that
they must not suppose that my opinions were bound to correct, but must work
out their own ways of thinking. But now that there are but four lectures, and all
falling in one week, the case is otherwise. I must beg you to remember that com-
prehension comes first and criticism later. It will be as much as you can possibly
do in this week with diligent endeavors, to understand what I mean by logic and
what the general outline of my system is. In order to do as much as that you must
endeavor to take up a sympathetic attitude,—to try to catch what it is that I am
driving at, and to store up in your minds an outline of my theory which you will
subject to criticism in the months to come.
In order that you may understand me, that you may for this one week put
yourselves, as far as you can, in my intellectual shoes,—leaving ourselves to de-
cide only after you have worn them for a while whether they really fit or not,—
that I am going to begin by telling you something about any classification of the
sciences; because it will aid you in the difficult task of imbibing my notion of the
kind of science that I hold logic to be.
I have gained an unfortunate reputation as a writer upon the algebra of logic.
It is generally understood that I hold logical algebra to be the main part of logic.
But that is quite a mistake. I am in the world, but not of the world of formal logic. A

33 [Editor: Ms 1334, dated 1905. The subtitle has been added by the editor].

49
calculus, even in mathematics proper, is like the sword, that our warriors by sea
and land to carry at their sides. Having it there at hand marks the mathematician as
the sword marks the officer. Moreover, it is like a sword a most handy instrument.
There is a traditional use of the calculus just as there is a traditional sword practice.
But just as words as far as genetical use goes one more to the purpose in opening
tomato cans than men’s abdomens, so the calculus is put by real mathematicians to
use the inventor little dreamed of. Which, if this is true of the differential calculus,
it is a hundred times more true of any logical calculus.
Professor Dedekind, one of the leading logico-mathematicians,—but like
the rest a mathematician in fact, and not a logician,—urges that mathematics is
nothing but a particular branch of logic he is quite mistaken.34 Having no inside
acquaintance with the logical household, he does not know as to do from having
been an inmate of both houses, that the logician’s aims and ideals are entirely
foreign to the mathematician’s, and the mathematician to the logician. The math-
ematician is intent on finding ways of making intricacies intelligible. He wants
to facilitate reasoning. The logician does not care a straw about that. He wants to
know what the essential ingredients of reasoning and thought in general are. Far
from wishing to abridge reasonings, as the mathematician is perpetually doing
where he can, the logician prefers to have them cumbrous so that no element
may be overlooked. This difference is striking enough, even where the logician
is upon the mathematical ground. I should not, however, have mentioned it in
these lectures for any other purpose than to say how much nearer the mathema-
tician comes to understanding the nature of logic than do the psychologists or
even the greater part of those who call themselves logicians. I refer to those who
think that logic, if not a branch of psychology, is founded on psychology, since it
deals with human thought. Yes, it deals with human thought just as the theory of
the quadratic equation deals with human thought,—just so much and no more.
I have not the slightest doubt that if pure mathematics had not so developed itself
that it was perfectly hopeless to attempt to give it a new direction, the present
race of thinkers would make that to be founded on psychology. They would have
the same reason to do so that they have to dig a similar foundation for logic.
But my classification of the sciences will give you a first inkling of my notion
of the position that logic holds among the sciences.
This classification adopts the general ideas of the classification called Comte’s.
When I speak of it as “the classification called Comte’s,” I must state that of my own

34 [Editor: Richard Dedekind was Carl Friedrich Gauss’s doctoral student in Göttingen.
His main book is: Stetigkeit und irrationale Zahlen (1872).]

50
knowledge, I know no reason for not simply calling it Comte’s classification. But
Dr. Robert Flint and other writers are very solemnly, “If that classification possess
any merits they must be ascribed to Dr. Bentham, who conceived it and to Saint-
Simon, who first received and published it; and not to Comte, although he showed
how much could be made of it.” Notwithstanding the scoundelly character of cleri-
cal profession in times past, I cannot believe that! Dr. Flint would use such lan-
guage without conclusive proof of its truth, convincing to every mind. I am sorry
that I cannot quite suppress a lingering suggestion of doubt in my mind owing to
the unspeakable mendacity of the cloth, in times too recent. I certainly cannot for
an instant believe that Comte was a conscious plagiarist.35
This scheme, as you know, arranges what are called by Comte the “abstract
sciences” in a ladder, with the idea that each derives its principles from the dis-
coveries of the mere abstract science that occupies the rung above, while all are
at the same time pressing upwards in the endeavor to become more “abstract.”
Since Comte first set forth that scheme, many others have been proposed;
but among the score or more which have seemed to me to be at all deserving of
study, including all that are widely known, I have not found one which was not
manifestly founded upon that which goes by Comte’s name; and if my own has
no other distinction, it shall have that of honestly owning a filiation to a system
of philosophy to which I am profoundly opposed,—a filiation of which too many
of its offspring seem to be basely ashamed to own.
This, however, is not the only peculiarity of my classification. In order to make
it useful I wished it to be a natural classification, that is, I wished it to embody the

35 [Editor: Comte was known primarily as the founder of philosophy and history of sci-
ence. His classification examines six fundamental sciences: mathematics, astronomy,
physics, chemistry, biology, sociology. Peirce developed his classification of sciences
according to Comte’s classification which had the basic idea of an interdependence of
sciences on fundamental principles. He compared Comte’s philosophy of science with
Willhelm v. Humboldts Cosmos as well as Spencer’s Synthetic Philosophy as “science of
review.” Main topics which are mentioned in this context are Infalibility, Pragmatism,
Abduction. Nevertheless Peirce criticized the lack of verifying methods in Comte’s
work. For further reading see Peirce, C.S. (Winter 1867–1868). Critique of Positivism.
Unpublished manuscript, Charles S. Peirce Papers (MS 146). Institute for Studies in
Pragmaticism. Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX. Beverley Kent Charles S. Peirce:
Logic and the Classification of the Sciences. McGill-Queen’s University Press (1987), also
Kenneth L. Ketner “Charles S. Peirce: Interdisciplinary Scientist” in Charles S. Peirce.
The Logic of Interdisciplinarity, 35–57. (Bisanz, 2009). About the topic Comte vs. CSP
see Mathew Fairbanks “Peirce and the Positivists on Knowledge” in Transactions of
the Charles S. Peirce Society 6 (2) 111–122 (1970).]

51
chief facts of the relationship between the sciences so far as they present them-
selves to scientific and observational study. Now to my apprehension, it is only
natural experiential objects that lend themselves to such a natural classification.
I do not think, for example, that we can make a natural classification of plane
curves or of any other mere, possibilities. We do classify them, or rather, divide
them, according to their orders and classes or their so-called deficiencies. This
is a mere enumeration of the logically possible cases. It embodies, no positive
information or cannot therefore serve the same purpose as a natural classifica-
tion. My notion is that what we call “natural classification” is, from the nature of
things limited to natural objects. Now the vast majority of classifications of the
sciences are classifications of possible sciences, which are certainly not natural
objects. What is a science as a natural object? It is the actual living occupation of
an actual group of living men. It is in that sense only that I presume to attempt
any classification of the sciences. A very considerable proportion of all the so
called classifications of the sciences are classifications of Scientia, or ἐπιστήμαι
in the ancient sense of perfect knowledge. Others are classifications of not of sci-
ence, but of the objects of systematized knowledge.
But what I mean by a “science,” both for the purpose of this classification in
general, is the life devoted to the pursuit of truth according to the best known
methods on the part of a group of men who understand one another’s ideas and
works as no outsider can. It is not what they have already found out which makes
their business a science; it is that they are pursuing a branch of truth according,
I will not say, to the best methods, but according to the best methods that are
known at all time. I do not call the solitary studies of a single man a science. It
is only when a group of men, more or less in intercommunication, is aiding and
stimulating one another by their understanding of a particular group of stud-
ies as outsiders cannot understand them, that I call their life a science. It is not
necessary that they should all be at work upon the same problem, or that all
should be fully acquainted with all that it is needful for another of them to know;
but their studies must be closely allied that any one of them could take up the
problem of any other after some months of special preparation that each should
understand pretty minutely what it is that each one’s or the others work consists
in; so that any two of them meeting together shall be thoroughly conversant
with each other’s ideas and the language he talks and should feel each other to be
brothers. In particular, one thing which commonly unites them is their common
skill unpossessed by outsiders, in the use of certain instruments, their common
skill in performing certain kinds of work. The men of that group have dealings
with the men of another group whose studies are more abstract, to whom they go

52
for information about principles that the men of the second group understand
better, but which the men of the first group need to apply. At the same time the
men of this first group will probably have far more skills in their special ap-
plications of these principles than have the members of the second group who
understand better the principles themselves. Thus the astronomer reports to the
student of optics, who understands the principles of optics better than he does.
But he understands the application of the principles to astronomical instruments
and to work them far better than the pure optical student does. One group may
be on such wise dependent upon several other groups. Now I do not pretend
that all the ramifications of dependence of one science upon another can be fully
represented by any scheme of arrangement of the names of these sciences, even
if we limit the kind of dependence that we seek and represent to dependence for
principles. But I do undertake to represent somewhat vaguely the dependence for
principles only of each science and each group of sciences upon others after the
manner of Comte, or Charles Burdin or whoever was that made that wonderful
discovery.
All human lives separate themselves and segregate themselves into three
grand groups whose members understand one another in a general way, but can
for the life of them understand sympathetically the pursuits or aims of the oth-
ers. The first group consists of the devotees of enjoyment who devote themselves
to earning their bread eating as fine bread as they can and who seek the higher
enjoyments of themselves and their felons. This is the largest and most necessary
class. The second group despises such a life and cannot fully understand it. Their
notion of life is to accomplish results. They build up great concerns, they go into
politics, not as the healer does, for a living, but in order to wield the forces of
state, they undertake reforms of one and another kind. This group makes civili-
zation. The men of the third group who are comparatively few cannot conceive
at all a life of enjoyment and look down upon a life of action. Their purpose is
to worship God in the development of ideas and of truth. These are the men of
science. They again segregate themselves into three great groups distinguished
by their different conceptions of the purpose of science. There are those who
look upon themselves as the tutors and superiors of the doers. Science to their
minds tells how the world’s work is to be done; and the sciences they cultivate
are the Practical Sciences. But in order to develop any practical science, a man
must have the equivalent of a digest of science. A systematized account of all hu-
man knowledge. Therefore, there must be a second class of men whose purpose
it is to produce such digests, one working upon one part of it and another upon
another. For these men, science is what Coleridge defined it as being, organized

53
knowledge.36 This very business I am engaged in, of classifying the sciences is a
necessary part of this work of systematizing and digesting human knowledge.
I have called such sciences the Sciences of Review, and also Tactics, or Taxospu-
de, the endeavor to arrange science. The third great division of science I call
heuretics or heurospude, the endeavor of discovery. It is true that all scientific
men are engaged upon nothing else than the endeavor to discover. This is true of
taxospudists and the prattospudists as much as of the heurospudists. But the dif-
ference is that the prattospudists endeavor to discover for the ultimate purpose
of doing, and the taxospudists endeavor to discover for the purpose of applying
knowledge in any way, be it in action or more especially in cognition. But the
heurospudists look upon discovery as making acquaintance with God and as the
very purpose for which the human race was created. Indeed, as the very purpose
of God in creating the world at all. They think it’s a matter of no consequence
whether the human race subsists and enjoys or whether it be exterminated, as it
[in] time very happily will be, as soon as it has subserved its purpose of develop-
ing a new type of mind that can love and worship God better.
You must not think that I mean to say in any wooden sense that God’s notion
of creating the world was to have somebody to admire him. We cannot possibly
put ourselves in God’s shoes, even so far as to say in any definite, wooden sense
that God is. I only mean that the purpose of creation as it must appear to us in
our highest approaches to an understanding of it, is to make an answering mind.
It is God’s movement toward self reproduction. And when I say that God is,
I mean that the conception of a God is the highest flight toward an understand-
ing of the original of the whole physico-psychical universe that we can make. It
has the advantage over the agnostics and other views of offering to our apprehen-
sion an object to be loved. Now the heurospudist has an imperative need of find-
ing in nature an object to love. His science cannot subsist without it. For science
to him must be worshipped in order not to fall down before the feet of some idol
of human workmanship. Remember that the human race is but an ephemeral
thing. In a little while it will be altogether done with and cast aside. Even now it
is merely dominant on one small planet of one insignificant star, while all that
our sight embraces on a starry night is to the universe far less than a single cell
of brains is to the whole man.

36 [Editor: Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s philosophical ideas included philosophy of science


as well as romantic medicine as the philosophy of life sciences. Romantic philosophy
developed a new theory of knowledge based on the study of both natura naturata and
natura naturans (inert and vital nature).]

54
So the three great branches of science are Heurospude, Taxospude and the
Prattospude. I have drawn up a very elaborate classification of the Practical Sci-
ences; but I could not take up time with any account of that. I have never yet at-
tempted any classification of the Sciences of Review. But it is Heurospude, or Pure
Science which concerns us. Now pure science as it now exists, happens to have
three grand divisions. There is Idioscopy, or the Special Sciences, such as Sociol-
ogy, Astronomy, and the like, the great business of which is to discover and study
hitherto unknown phenomena. Secondly, there is Philosophy, or Cenoscopy,
which does not bother with novel phenomena, but finds enough to do in endeav-
oring to understand those which are brought before every grown person every
day of his life; and finally there is Mathematics, which never makes a single posi-
tive assertion of fact, but merely invents hypothetical states of things and says that
if such and such were the case, not caring a snap of the fingers whether it be so or
not, though usually it is not the case, then such and such would therein be true.
An opinion, which I ask nobody to share, is that in the future Heurospude will
divide into Mathematics, Positive Science, and another branch hitherto undevel-
oped, the Natural History of Thought, Pure Science consisting only of Cenoscopy
and Idioscopy. Now idioscopy, or special science, has two wings the physical and
the psychical. The psychical depends on the physical. Yet on the whole, it is truer
to regard them as two parallel rings. Each has its nomological, its taxonomic, and
its descriptive divisions. The nomological sciences are pure physics on the physi-
cal side, general psychology, general sociology, general economics, on the psychi-
cal side. These sciences all tend to pass into metaphysics on which they depend.
The taxonomic or classificatory sciences are chemistry, crystallography, mineral-
ogy, ethnology, and special psychology on the psychical side. The classificatory
sciences tend to become nomological. Chemistry and physiology tend to pass
into general physics, parts of linguistics to become general psychology, etc. The
descriptive sciences, so called, endeavor not only to describe but also to account
for the characters of individual objects. They are astronomy and geognosy on the
physical side, history, archeology, etc. on the psychical side.
We now come to what particularly concerns us, Cenoscopy, or Philosophy.
You will observe that I make this a branch of science upon which all special sci-
ence, including psychology depends, while the empirical philosophers generally,
Comte, followed by his […] ([for] all their violent opposition to him only marks
their dependency more strongly) Spencer and Fiske, and as well as Wundt and
many others, make philosophy to depend upon the special sciences. I do not
however so totally disagree with them as would appear at first glance. On the
contrary, I quite acknowledge that there is such science as they call positive phi-
losophy or Synthetic Philosophy or Cosmic Philosophy, or by some other such

55
name. That science stands in my opinion at the head of the Sciences of Review.
But all these philosophers make one of the most disastrous mistakes possible in
confounding science with Cenoscopy, which must not depend upon the special
sciences in as much as they, on the contrary, need depend upon it.37
The reason that I hold this unification of widely separated sciences to be disas-
trous is that it leads to the most important questions, especially logical questions,
never receiving any serious consideration at any time. One branch of cenoscopy
is logic, and one branch of logic is methodeutic which should investigate the
general principles upon which scientific studies should be carried on. But under
the plan of these philosophers, logic is to be founded upon the study of all the
other sciences. That is to say you are first to make your researches and after that
inquire how they ought to be made, locking the barn door after the horse is al-
ready stolen. To be sure, these philosophers maintain that two sciences can be
reciprocally dependent upon each other. But the question of whether they can
be so dependant or not, them which no question is of greater importance to the
well-being of science, never receives at their hands any serious study. The ques-
tion is asked in the vaguest terms, without any exact determination of what kind
of dependence is referred to; and is answered on the basis of a loose analogy to
cases in which when the number of observations exceeds the number required to
draw a conclusion the conclusion is utilized to correct the observations. They do
not analyze the conditions under which such a thing is possible. For the reason
that under their method they first assume an answer to it without any serious
examination; and then having asked upon that hasty answer throughout, it has
naturally lost all practical importance, and so never does get any serious consid-
eration. If they were to analyze the case which they fancy sustains their notion
of reciprocal dependence, they would see that, far from sustaining that idea, it
is quite opposed to it. A student of one subject say Dr. A may go to a student of
another subject, say Dr. B, and ask him a question and make use of his answer;
and subsequently Dr. B who gave the answer may ask a question of Dr. A, and
if it is a wholly independent question there is no reason why he should not de-
rive solid information from him. But the idea that Doctors A and B can each
supply the other with the very same information or with information virtually
the same is ridiculous. I maintain that no two sciences can depend each upon
the results of the other for principles without which it cannot exist as a science.

37 [Editor: The term cenoscopy goes back to Jeremy Bentham whose students were among
others James Mill and his son John Stuart Mill. Bentham’s main work An Introduction
to the Principles of Morals and Legistlation was published in 1789. Peirce adopted the
term cenoscopy, as the theory of common experience, for his classification of sciences.]

56
Now all the special sciences,—in particular, dynamics the most fundamental
of the physical sciences and the science of association the most fundamental
of the psychical sciences, depend for their existence as sciences upon princi-
ples which only the metaphysician properly discuss. To show how differently
the ultra-empiricists think, I will quote a sentence from the second-edition of
Wundt’s “System der Philosophie.” He says: “Ich muss zugeben: wenn man es
als ein Axiom betrachtet, metaphysische Systeme müssten unabhängig von allen
Einflüssen des Einzelwissens, sozusagen durch eine wissenschaftliche generatio
aequivoca, entstehen, so lässt sich gegen jene Meinung nicht viel einwenden. In
der That glaube ich, dass es einen Unterschied macht, wo man anfängt, und wo
man aufhört. Da ich von den Naturwissenschaften ausgegangen und dann durch
die Beschäftigung mit empirischer Psychologie zur Philosophie gekommen bin,
so würde es mir unmöglich erscheinen anders zu philosophieren als nach eine
Methode, die dieser Folge der Probleme entspricht.“38 It [is] that dur about the
generatio aequivoca that I wish to call attention, which implies that a doctrine
which is not based upon a result of one of the Einzelwissenschaften, or special
sciences, has no basis at all. Now all such results depend upon logical principles
without which no special science would have any credibility. It would therefore
follow that logical principles are based on nothing at all, and that the special
sciences which are based on these baseless principles have no solid basis, were
it not that Wundt thinks that Logic and the Special Sciences, like two lying wit-
nesses in court, sustain each other’s credit. But according to me there are certain
principles that no man doubts,—that you do not doubt in the least degree. Very
vague, I confess, or rather insist, that they are, but still not entirely nonsensical;
and it is upon these Principles of Common Sense that Logic and all Cenoscopy
must rest; and since they are absolutely indubitable there can be no consistent
dissatisfaction with them. These are not the results of any special science, but
on the contrary, antecede all scientific research and are taken for granted by all
scientists. For scientific men are not sophists and wranglers over nothing, but
are eminently men of Common Sense, that is of Human Instinct, beyond the
gates of which it is impossible for men to push their criticism. I could not ask
for more convincing support of this Common Sensism than is furnished by the
ultra-empiricist Ernst Mach in his book “Die Mechanik in ihrer Entwicklung
historisch-kritisch dargestellt.”

38 [Editor: Wilhelm Wundt known as the founder of experimental psychology was a cen-
tral figure in Peirce’s thoughts concerning psychology. His main works include: Beiträge
zur Theorie der Sinneswahrnehmung, 1862, as well as Logik. Eine Untersuchung der
Principien der Erkenntniss und der Methoden wissenschaftlicher Forschung, 1880–1883.]

57
My views of Cenoscopy are, no doubt, immature. I have only been working on
the problem some forty odd years and what can be expected from an infant? Give
me a few more years, more of vigor, be it in this body you see before you, or in
that of some young man who will take up the work and find a successor, and we
shall have something better than vague guessing. The division I guess ought to
be, into three parts: Phaneroscopy, or Protoscopy, Deuteroscopy, and Tritoscopy.
Phaneroscopy is the description of the phaneron; and by the phaneron I mean
the collective total of all that is in any way or in any sense present to the mind
quite regardless of whether it corresponds to any real thing or not. If you ask pre-
sent when, and to whose mind, I reply that I leave these questions unanswered,
never having entertained a doubt that these features of the phaneron that I have
found in my mind are present at all times and to all mind. So far as I have de-
veloped this science of phaneroscopy it is occupied with the formal elements of
the phaneron. I know that there is another series of elements imperfectly rep-
resented by Hegel’s categories. But I have been unable to give any satisfactory
account of them.39
The second division of Cenoscopy, or Deuteroscopy must, I think, break away
from Phaneroscopy in distinguishing between what is as a fact and what appar-
ently might be, but isn’t. It thus strikes its dominant note of duality on its first
inception. In harmony with this duality, in its substance, I think it should divide
into two problems, Ontology, which recognizes two kinds of existent, Mind and
Matter, and Normative Science. The normative sciences are usually said to be
esthetics, ethics, and logic; but Herbart and others put esthetics and ethics to-
gether, perhaps rightly.40 They are all largely and to my say principally occupied
with a dual distinction, the distinction of the approved and the unapproved. Es-
thetics relate to the immediately contemplated; ethics to doings; logic of thought.
But remembering that we are in the region of cenoscopy, the idea of ethics
is too narrow. How can there be a science of ethics before psychology is under-
stood? As a cenoscopic science, I think it must be broader and include then exist-
ent generally. Moreover, I do not see how there can be any rational approval or
disapproval of a mere idea in itself and therefore I think there can be no esthetics
until something is to be done with the idea. Esthetics, therefore, can be nothing

39 [Editor: Peirce refers to Hegel’s book Wissenschaft der Logik which was published
between 1812–16.]
40 [Editor: Johann Friedrich Herbart the prominent nineteenth century pedagogist; for
further reading, Psychologie als Wissenschaft (1816), Allgemeine Praktische Philosophie
(1808). Also in James E. Cook C.S. Peirce Contributions to The Nation 2, “Herbart and
Herbartians” (1978) 103–105, by Charles DeGarmo.]

58
but a branch of ethics. It is not very easy to seize the exact meaning of the phrase
normative science. It means the science of the approvable and unapprovable, or
better the blamable and the unblamable.
These sciences are distinguished from most others by involving dual distinc-
tion. But it would be easy to exaggerate its prominence in them. This prominence
is greatest in ethics, least in esthetics.
There arose in the Lyceum after the death of Aristotle as to whether Logic was
a speculative or Practical Science, an Art, or an Organon.41 This not worthwhile
to explain the meanings of these terms, the dispute, like many others, continued
long after its meaning had been forgotten; and to this day Normative Sciences
are frequently confronted with Practical Sciences. They are, however, properly
speaking pure sciences, although practical studies are joined to them, so that in
part they are truly Practical Sciences. But the normative science proper is not a
practical science, but is a study in the pure interest of theory. The conception of
a family of sciences of that description is, I believe, due to Herbart, together with
the word normative. If we are to admit only two normative sciences, the first of
these, which for convenience, we call ethics relating to control of the excellent,
or say to actualization, and the second to thought, then that first ethics must
have two sections, one on the ultimate aims, or summum bonum, which will be
the same as esthetics, if esthetics is not to be confined to sensuous beauty, but is
to relate to the admirable and adorable generally, while the other, which may be
called critical ethics treats of the conditions of conformity to the ideal.
If a new word must be made to designate that first section, I will suggest that
axiagastics be the name of the science of the worthy of adoration. For I hold that
the science must consist in the analysis of that which is admirable, without any
ulterior reason for being admirable, or in other words the analysis of what it is
that excites that feeling akin to worship that fills one’s whole life in the contem-
plation of an idea that excites this feeling. We must suppose that primitive or bar-
barous people hardly have this idea, since hardly any word in any language (as far
as I know) expresses it. The French beau approaches it, but is poor and cold. The
primitive man found too much reason to think of the divine not as something to
be passionately loved, but as something to be feared. Only the Greek ἄγαμαι is an
exception, a glorious verb expressing how the common people in primitive times
looked up to their leaders with passionate admiration and devotion, and comes

41 [Editor: The Organon is the standard collection Aristotle’s six works on Logic: Catego-
ries, De Interpretatione, Prior Analytics, Posterior Analytics, Topics, Sophistical Refuta-
tions.]

59
nearest to expressing the idea. Repeating the root, although the linguists do not
say they are the same, it makes the word axiagastics, as the science of that which
is worthy to be admired and adored.
But I am not thoroughly persuaded that Baumgarten’s word esthetics will be
too unwarrantably wrenched in being given this meaning. Critical ethics will be
the science of the general conditions of control; and it is easy to see that it comes
chiefly to the doctrine of self-control.
Logic takes its start in that. It is but an application of ethics to thought. For
reasoning differs from the formation of a new belief by the action of the associa-
tion of ideas only by being a deliberate, controlled, piece of conduct.
However, the one sole way to success in logic is to regard it as a science of
signs; and I defined it in 1867 as the theory of the relation of symbols to their ob-
jects. Further experience has convinced me that the best plan is to consider logic
as embracing more than that, and the general theory of all kinds, not merely in
their relation to their objects but in every way.
This way of looking upon logic is the one salvation for the science. You will ob-
ject, you will say, “What have not these signs got to be understood by some mind?”
I reply, yes, undoubtedly. But when you speak vaguely of some minds understand-
ing them, you mingle confusedly many circumstances, some of them essential, but
furnishing no science until they are separated and each is definitely recognized in
its precise functions and the merely accidental circumstances cleared away. What
is thinking? It can only take place in signs. What is to understand a sign? It is
merely that the sign is interpreted in a sign in your minds. The whole function of
the mind is to make a sign interpret itself in another sign and ultimately perhaps
in an action or in an emotion. But the emotion is an idle thing unless it leads to an
action. The action is an idle thing unless it produces a result which agrees with a
sign through a sign. The whole problem is of signs; and if a mind has to be taken
into account, it should be considered in its relation to signs.
There will be no preparation for understanding these lectures, which, judging
by great psychologists, are not easy to understand, and I may say I am sure they
are quite impossible to understand from the psychological standpoint since they
turn principally upon elements of experience that the psychologist takes pains to
shut out from view,—I say there is no better preparations than that of spending
an hour more or less, remembering for how very short a time attention can be
on the sketch without relaxation, in spending then the remnants of an hour most
of it given to next and to bringing attention back, in thinking how thought is a
discourse of the self that has been to the critical self that is coming. “I say to my-
self,” say the wise unlearned. Thought is nothing but a tissue of signs. The objects
concerning which thought is occupied are signs. To try to strip the signs and get

60
down to the very meaning itself is like trying to peel an onion and get down to
the very onion itself “You may get down, however, to actions,” say some of the
pragmatists. I beg their pardon. You may get down to resolutions to act. But they
are not actions, but signs of action. Get down to the very actions themselves and
you can no longer find in them the meaning of the signs. Let us talk about the
word chair. “Chair” is a word. It is a sign. The chair is a sign. What will you have?
Get down to the very impressions of sense, and there is no chair there. The life
we lead is a life of signs. Sign under sign endlessly. In one of my early papers, in
the second volume of The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, I compared the case
to the dipping of an ivory object down into water.42 There will be at any instant,
as the dipping proceeds, a water line, or locus which is at once occupied by air,
water, and ivory. No matter of how early an instant in the dipping process, we
snap our mental camera, there will have been lines already. Where there has been
no line already there is no line, but only a point.
Some men, like our dear James and like Thomas Davidson, the founder of this
school, think that this is absurd.43 They think there must be a first line. That is,
against the testimony of the sense or imagination they invoke logic. Well, we say
to them, put the arguments, if there be one into any syllogistic form. They are
unable to do so. Very well, we say, if it cannot be put into any of the recognized
forms of syllogism, tell us under what new form of reasoning you can put the
argument that makes the testimony of fact absurd,—that makes it absurd that
Achilles should overtake the tortoise,—for that is the same thing. They are un-
able to do that. Then, we say do you mean to say that the real Achilles will not
overtake the real tortoise as a fact? No, they admit that he will. So then, we say,
we and all mathematicians, who are the only exact reasoners see no absurdity
at all in this. But you have an inscrutable logic, which cannot be reduced to any
principle, which requires you from true premises to insist upon what you your-
selves admit to be a false conclusion. What is logic for, if not to prevent the pas-
sage from two premises to false conclusions? To this, they have nothing to say,
but they go their way still insisting that it is absurd that Achilles should overtake

42 [Editor: The following articles by Peirce were published in The Journal of Speculative
Philosophy:
“Questions Concerning Certain Faculties Claimed for Man.” 1868, 103–114;
“Some Consequences of Four Incapacities.” 1868, 140–157.
“Grounds of Validity of the Laws of Logic: Further Consequences of Four Incapacities.”
1869, 193–208.]
43 [Editor: Thomas Davidson was a Scottish-American philosopher (1840–1900). His
writings focused mostly on art, education and religion.]

61
the tortoise. “Absurd” we call after them in a last appeal, should mean contrary to
reason, and you are unable to formulate this reason. Why not give up this kind of
logic and adapt that of all mathematicians? But it is all in vain. More ineradicable
with them than reason itself, is that tendency of theirs to consider the general,
the law, as an existent thing. I do not see what remains to us, to whom the whole
matter is perfectly clear, but to say that they are minds congenitally incapable of
a necessary form of thought. Certainly a logic which leads one from premises to
admittedly false conclusions appears to us to be poor form of logic; and when
that logic is unable to formulate itself we are tempted to call it mental incapacity.
Yet they base their whole philosophy up this unhesitatingly. I for my part prefer
to cast my lot with the mathematicians whose logic does not kick up such capers,
and able to give an account of itself.44
[…]
Coming at last to signs, let us begin by asking what is a sign. It is easy enough
to say if one speaks of men’s signs. But if one asks what is essential to the form of
a sign it is hard to say. A sign is something which is in a triadic relation to two
things being a sign of an object for an interprete. Its relation to its object is such
as to determine the sign while producing little or no change in the object; at least,

44 [Editor: The following paragraphs from sheet Nrs 50, 52, 53 have been excluded from
the main text. A further uncompleted paragraph from sheet 50, as well as Verso pages
49V, 50V and sheet Nrs 54, 55 are left out.]
“Well,” says James, “I hate logic.” I reply that I am sorry, but a philosophy ought not to
be based upon that sentiment.
But though these gentlemen are unable to formulate their own logic, we have no dif-
ficulty at all in formulating it for them. They sometimes think that it is continuity only
that they object to. They are mistaken. Continuity is not necessarily involved in what they
pronounce absurd. What they find absurd is the endless. The very idea of the future, as
endless, is to them absurd, though they may not at once see that it is. In short, though
they think in signs like the rest of us, they do not really think in general signs, but only
in such imperfect interpretations as can be made into images and slight inhibited efforts.
Logic has three branches, The first which treats the condition of signs, what for exam-
ple it is that […] distinguishes a proposition from a name, is called in scholastic logic
peri hermeneias and grammatical speculative in German logics Elementar Lehre in
English stecheology. The second part which I call logical critic is also called syllogistic,
prior analytics, etc. The third part is called Method, or Methodeutic, or Methodology,
or posterior Analytics.
Tritocenoscopy is a subject of which a few problems have had some light thrown upon
them such as the nature of the different limits of causation, the nature of time, etc. while
the greater part of them such as the reason why the number of dimensions of space
should be three, are still unpenetrated.

62
the sign must actually be affected as by an object. But it is not essential that it
should be more than fit to have an interprete. In order that the sign may actually
function as a sign it must have an interprete, but it is not essential that it should
so function. It may suffice that it fits so to function. Toward its interprete the sign
is agent, the interprete patient. That is the sign essentially affects the interprete
without being much affected itself. The relation of the sign to its object may be
only dyadic, though in the case of symbols it is triadic. But the relation of the sign
to its interprete is essentially triadic and consists in determining the interprete to
a relation to the object corresponding the relation of the sign itself to that object.
In fact the interprete usually becomes itself a sign, in the case it is equivalent to
an assertion or to an argument is a sign of itself for its interprete. Thus, there are
two relations in which the sign stands for its object.
1. The object as independent of the sign, is regarded as acting on it, really or
virtually.
2. The object is represented by the sign to the interpretant and as such has a
representing being in them.
And there are three relations of the sign to its interprete.
1. The sign, if it functions as such, acts on the interprete
2. The interprete represents the object for an actual or possible interprete
3. The sign may represent itself to its interprete.
In consequence of these relations there are two aspects of the object:
1. The object as acting on the sign. That is called the real object
2. The object as represented in the sign, or the immediate object.
And there are three aspects of the interprete45
[…]
A sign. A tertian, say for example a law, is also by a special appropriateness a
sign.
We might therefore divide signs according to the nature of their being. But
this would not be a division of the modes of being representative. This, however,
points to such a division. Let us ask whether there are not different modes of
representation referentially to the different elements of the sign’s being.
Can anything be a sign by virtue of its character?
Can anything become a sign by force of its brute actions and reactions?

45 [Editor: Page 54 is missing.]

63
Can a thing become a sign by its intellectual relations?
It may be so; and if it be so there is a threefold division of signs.
Next, consider signs in their relations to their objects. First, in regard to their
immediate objects, the objects as represented in the sign.
Can a sign be a sign in representing its object in its character simply as some-
thing possible in itself?
Can a sign be a sign in representing its object in its brute existence acting
upon the sign?
Can a sign be a sign in representing its object in its intellectual character as
informing the sign?
Yes a predicate, a subject, a copula
Secondly, consider signs in regard to their real objects, their objects in so far
they act on their signs.
Can a sign be a sign of a given real object simply by virtue of partaking a
character of that object?
Can a sign be a sign of a given real object by virtue of a constant action of that
object upon it?
Can a sign be a sign of a given real object by virtue of being interested as being
a sign of that object?
Next, consider signs in the relations to their interpretants. First as to their
internal interpretants, that is to their interpretants
As these are represented in the sign.
Can the sign act on the interprete by community of being?
Can the sign act on the interprete by compulsion?
Can the sign act on the interprete as a representation of the mind acts on
matter, as a judge can appoint a constable and arrest him to use force or as a law
acts upon fact.
Secondly, in this way
Can a sign intend its interpretant to represent it as to all intents and purposes,
the object, or as a substitute for the object?
Can a sign intend its interpretant to represent it as an effect of its object?
Can a sign intend its interpretant to regard it as a sign of its object?
Thirdly, this way,
Can a sign be interpreted in a feeling?
Can a sign be interpreted in an action?
Can a sign be interpreted in a sign?
Here is a hypothesis, our scheme of possibilities. Now let us see what facts we
can find that seem to accord with.

64
Phaneroscopy: Or, the Natural
History of Concepts46

Every undertaking begins,—its purpose being determined beforehand,—with a


review of the materials and other means at one’s command. Now science, in the
sense in which I have defined that word,—namely, as the cooperative business,
or life-occupation, of finding out and making sure of the truth by the speediest
methods known,—is an undertaking. Whence, etc.
We have to consider that the great body of truth can only be discovered and as-
certained by specially devised observations made by specially trained senses with
specially informed intelligences behind them. I follow Jeremy Bentham in calling
all that business by the name of Idioscopy. But in its entirety and in every part,
Idioscopy presupposes a considerable body of other truth, which may be roughly
described as instinctive, that is, traditionally hereditary, but familiarized by the
everyday experience of everybody. As it first comes to us, this fundamental and
unscientific knowledge is immeasurably more trustworthy than any scientific re-
sults ever can be; for the scientist rests his whole procedure upon propositions
that form parts of it, and that hardly anything can drive him even to correct a lit-
tle, and that nothing at all can induce him to deny. But that fundamental knowl-
edge as we first find ourselves possessed of it is exceedingly vague. It answers well
as a guide in everyday life; but when we come to scientific theory, it is insufficient
and must be subjected to criticism. That criticism has, however, unfortunately
hitherto yielded only doubtful and actually much doubted results. Yet without
it, all scientific conclusions are uninsured against disastrous fallacies. It must be
completely done over again with the utmost thoroughness. That is, no step must
be taken without first thoroughly considering the proper method to be pursued;
and the proper method of determining that method; and so on until we reach (as
we probably may) a point at which the results of all further questioning along that
endless line can be evidently foreseen, and its limitary upshot ascertained. That
study, by which that upshot is to be so ascertained that all men must assent to it,
will constitute the department of science that Bentham called Cenoscopy for the
reason that it rests on the experience of all men distributively taken, and must be
acknowledged by all.

46 [Editor: MS 299, dated 1906.]

65
Let us inquire what this science or cluster of sciences called Cenoscopy has to
do. There are several ways of investigating this question that lead to one result.
I will take the simplest of these. This consists in finding out what such a study as
Cenoscopy can discover, and then setting down the whole of that and nothing
more as Cenoscopy’s task.
But we here find ourselves regarding Cenoscopy as a single department of Sci-
ence. We have adopted a definition for science in general; but what are we to
understand by A science, and what shall be the boundaries of any single science?
Science, in our view, is a life-occupation, a business. A question analogous to that
just formulated might be asked about business in general. Namely, knowing what
business is collectively can we say what A single business consists in? It would not
quite suffice to say that A Business is so much of the grand total of Business47 as
one man or company conducts or might [conduct]. For an old friend of mine was
a world-renowned poetical translator of La Divina Commedia and at the same
time was a dentist.48 But were these two pursuits parts of one business? I trow
not, since neither could contribute to the other except indirectly as a recreation
and relief from it. So A science is usually so much of the totality of science as one
social group of men either do or can with direct advantage devote their lives to
prosecuting. To be sure, every man of the group will have paid special attention
to certain problems; which he will understand better than his colleagues do; and
undoubtedly, every growing science tends to undergo a process of segmentation.
Yet each member of the group comprehends the work of every other in all but its
minutest details. Sciences are kept separate by their prosecution requiring dif-
ferent environments, different natural gifts, and different trainings. These three
terms (like most of my expressions, in such discussions), must here be under-
stood in wide senses. The Cenoscopist, in so far as he has employed his time
exclusively in developing his capacities as a Cenoscopist, neither carries in his
skull the ready encyclopædia of facts that every kind of Idioscopist possesses, nor
has he the dexterity in making microscopically thin slices through hard and soft,
that the Biologist needs nor the Chemist’s beautiful manipulative neatness, nor
the scent of the historical investigator for records, monumental or documentary.
His science rests upon experience, no doubt, no less than does the Idioscopist’s.
But with him it rests not upon any peculiar personal experience of his own, but
upon the experience of all men.

47 Remember I always use this word in the sense of life-occupation, without reference to
any extrinsic gain.
48 [Editor: By the “old friend” Peirce probably means the American writer Henry Wads-
worth Longfellow who was the first American to translate Dante’s The Divine Comedy.]

66
What do we mean by ‘Experience’? Surely, a correct and precise analysis of that
will be worth more than a little pain, as long as we hold that all human knowledge,
and especially all assurance of knowledge, springs from the soil of Experience. I
answer the question thus: Experience is that state of cognition which the course
of life, by some part thereof, has forced upon the recognition of the experience,
or person who undergoes the experience, under conditions due usually, in part,
at least, to his own action; and the Immediate object of the cognition of Experi-
ence is understood to be what I call it ‘Dynamical’, that is, its real object. I fear
this statement stands nearly as much in need of elucidation as the term it defines.
Objections, too, will at once array themselves against it; and one or two of them
ought to be met or flanked without delay. But I begin with the explanations. By a
“cognitive” state, as opposed to a state markedly involving only elements of feeling
and volition, I mean a state which, as it is in itself, and not as it may be represented
reflectively, is a sign of an object for an interpretant state, which last may involve
feeling, volition, or cognition, alone or in combination with either of the other of
these elements of mental life. Even this familiar triad [feeling, volition, cognition]
calls for a word of comment. For through all I write upon this subject I find myself
in the plight that has incommoded every man who has attempted a thorough revi-
sion of philosophy; namely, that the old landmarks are so clean washed away that
he knows not how to begin a description of any field of thought. If (to change the
figure), he clothes an unfamiliar concept in the ready-made language of philoso-
phy, he will get a horrible misfit. If, once a few categories are made clear, he resorts
to definitions for the rest, even if he surmounts the difficulty of analysis, the very
greatest of human minds will be apt to blunder in executing the correlative syn-
thesis of an unfamiliar notion. He may, no doubt, explain himself by conducting
his reader along the same path which he himself followed in reaching his new
concept, the reader’s mind, being hurried in as many minutes over the course as
the days, or perhaps weeks, that the pioneer’s exploration consumed, will be kept
tense so long that, by an inexfugible law of chemistry, the brain becomes fatigued,
and the thread of meaning gets lost. The whole difficulty reminds me of the dif-
ficulty of representing the geographical features of our Globe in a plane map. Each
map-projection has its own characteristic failure; and perhaps that projection is
best which has the faults of all the others, but has no one fault in so objectionable
a degree as it must have had if that one had been its only fault.49 In like manner,

49 [Editor: Peirce was an expert on map projection and cartography; see Carolyn Eisele,
Studies in the Scientific and Mathematical Philosophy of Charles S. Peirce (The Hague,
1979), pp. 145–159.]

67
I incline to think that the philosophist who has original conceptions to commu-
nicate will do best to reunite all three of the faults above-mentioned, in different
judicious proportions in different cases.
The triad, feeling, volition, cognition, is usually regarded as a purely psycho-
logical division. Long series of carefully planned self-experiments, persistent
and much varied, though only qualitative, have left me little doubt, if any, that
there are in those elements three quite disparate modes of awareness. That is a
psychological proposition; but that which now concerns us is not psychologi-
cal, particularly: namely the differences between that of which we are aware in
feeling, volition, and cognition. Feeling is a quality, but so far as there is mere
feeling, the quality is not limited to any definite subject. We hear of a man
whose mind is jaundiced. That phrase well expresses feeling without reason.
Feeling also as such is unanalyzed. Volition is through and through dual. There
is the duality of agent and patient, of effort and resistance, of active effort and
inhibition, of acting on self and on external objects. Moreover, there are active
volition and passive volition, or inertia, the volition of reform and the volition
of conservatism. That shock which we experience when anything particularly
unexpected forces itself upon our recognition (which has a cognitive utility
as being a call for an explanation of the presentment), is simply the sense of
the volitional inertia of expectation, which strikes a blow like a water-hammer
when it is checked; and the force of this blow, if one could measure it, would
be the measure of the energy of the conservative volition that gets checked.
Low grades of this shock doubtless accompany all unexpected perceptions; and
every perception is more or less unexpected. Its lower grades are, as I opine,
not without experimental tests of the hypothesis, that sense of externality, of
the presence of a non-ego, which accompanies perception generally and helps
to distinguish it from dreaming. This is present in all Sensation, meaning by
Sensation the initiation of a state of feeling;—for by Feeling I mean nothing
but sensation minus the attribution of it to any particular subject. In my use of
words, when an ear-splitting, soul-bursting locomotive whistle starts, there is
a sensation, which ceases when the screech has been going on for some con-
siderable fraction of a minute; and at the instant it stops there is a second
sensation. Between them there is a state of feeling. As for pleasure and pain
which Kant and others have represented to be of the essence of feeling, wheth-
er it be merely because they and the section of the psychological world for
which at this moment I have the presumption to speak apply the word feeling
to different modifications of awareness, or whether there be faulty analysis on
the one part or the other, we certainly do not think that unadulterated Feel-
ing, if that element could be isolated, would have any relation to pain or to

68
pleasure.50 For in our opinion, if there be any quality of feeling common to all
pleasurable experiences or components of experience, and another one qual-
ity of feeling common to all that is painful (which we are inclined to doubt,
to say the least), then we hold the opinion that the one is the feeling of being
attracted, the other that of being repelled, by the present state of experience. If
there be two such feelings, they are feelings of states of volition. But perhaps
pleasure and pain are nothing more than names for the state of being attracted
and that of being repelled by present experience. Of course, feelings accom-
pany them, but under the latter hypothesis, no feeling would be common to all
pleasures, and none to all pains. If we are right, the position of the hedonists is
preposterous, in that they make mere feelings to be active agencies, instead of
being merely conscious indications of real determinations of our subconscious
volitional beings.
{I may mention that their talk (however it may be with their thought), is fur-
ther preposterous as seeming to make pain a mere privation of pleasure, although
it is plain that it is pain that indicates an active, and pleasure only a passive, de-
termination of our volitional being.} As for volition, I would limit the term in
one way and extend it in another. I would limit it to the momentary direct dyadic
consciousness of an ego and a non-ego then and there present and reacting each
upon the other. In one, the action is generally more active, in the other more
passive; but precisely what this difference consists in I do not feel sure. I think,
however, that the will to produce a change is active, the will to resist a change is
passive. All sensation is essentially, by its very definition active. The objection to
this is that, according to it, the voluntary inhibition of a reflex should not give a
sense of effort; and probably the definition of the distinction between the sense
of externality in willing and in perception requires a supplement or other slight
modification on this account. But the important point [is], that the sense of exter-
nality in perception consists in a sense of powerlessness before the overwhelming
force of perception. Now the only way in which any force can be learned is by
something like trying to oppose it. That we do something like this is shown by the
shock we receive from any unexpected experience. It is the inertia of the mind,
which tends to remain in the state in which it is. No doubt there is a marked
difference between the active and intentional volition of muscular contraction
and the passive and unintentional volition that gives the shock of surprise and
the sense of externality. But the two are to be classed together as alike modes of

50 [Editor: Further reading on this topic in: Kant, I., Beobachtungen über das Gefühl des
Schönen und Erhabenen, 1764, Bd. 5.]

69
double consciousness, that is, of awareness, at once and in the same awareness, of
an ego and a non-ego.
The next phrase of my definition of experience,—to the effort that it is forced
upon a percipient mind by “the course of life”,—is the kernel of the definition.
But the brief phrase fails to convey all that must be understood in order to un-
derstand the definition; and there are two parts of this phrase that require com-
ment; namely, the “course of life” and “forced upon” the percipient. I will first say
something to elucidate the meaning behind the phrase “course of life.”
The essence of anything that has an essence, and whose constituents are not
thrown together promiscuously, consists in the function that is proper to it,—its
virtual purpose. This is more than its ultimate purpose: it includes all the details
of the particular way in which the thing in question must carry out that ultimate
purpose.
The function of a person is twofold; or perhaps I should say threefold; to work
out his own nature and impulses, to aid others, and to contribute to the fulfill-
ment of the destiny of his generation. The ultimate utility to him of his experi-
ence is to enable him to do this. But experience has no existence apart from the
person to whom it attaches; and therefore its utility to that person is its whole
function. But it tends to lead to that purpose in a particular way; namely, by fur-
nishing the person premisses of knowledge. Thus, the essence of experience lies
in the manner in which it contributes to knowledge.
Now the manner in which experience contributes to knowledge is very pecu-
liar, and has not been generally recognized.
Two characters of reasoning from experience have, however, become, as we
may say, proverbial. That is, without any accurate understanding of these char-
acters, philosophists (a word I use without the least shade of disdain, for I call
myself by this name, which I [prefer] to “philosopher,” because the latter seems
to me rather pretentious), and men of science are in the habit of using phrases
which, vaguely and with some admixture of error express true characters of such
reasoning. One of these is to the effect that inferences from experience can be no
more than probable, the other that the proper method of reasoning from experi-
ence is by induction. It is convenient to call the modern scientific method of rea-
soning from observation the Inductive Method; and this name is justified by the
fact that it is largely by careful induction that it is distinguished from the methods
of the principal schools of Athens. But it consists of two steps of entirely different
natures by one of which the theory is framed while by the other it is tested. It is
this latter only, that is, strictly speaking, inductive. The other, which goes before
it, is inference from a consequent to a previously unrecognized antecedent. I have
called it, when I did not well understand it, hypothesis, and later abduction. But

70
recently I have used the term retroduction as avoiding some objection to abduc-
tion. The higher, and more characteristic kinds of induction, and the only ones
of any great probative weight, far from depending for their validity upon any
general “uniformity of nature,” as usually supposed, but very vaguely, since those
who talk glibly of the uniformity of nature would, for the most part, be quite non-
plussed were one to press them for any exact explanation of what they mean by it,
and would probably betray their embarrassment by a loss of temper, and it would
ultimately appear that they mean little or nothing about “nature,” but when they
are nearest the truth are using the phrase to denote an adaption of the mind to
its environment, which renders inductions possible but, granted their possibil-
ity, does little or nothing for their validity after they are made,—for, I say from
depending on any such order in experience, the really strong inductions depend
on the absence of order, on the promiscuity of experience. For example, if there
were any ascertainable law,—and I speak of an unascertainable law would be a
contradiction in adjecto,—connecting the number of years, which an applicant
for life-insurance had to live and the ordinal number of his entrance into the
building, it is obvious that the business of life insurance, as it now exists, would be
at an end. If there were any exact law by which we could know what children were
to be born on each day, and how long each was to live, the observations on which
natal statistics are based would come to an end. If there were a certain fixed order
of succession of the throws of a pair of dice, calculations of chances would lose
all significance in this case. These illustrations sufficiently show that probabili-
ties depend upon the promiscuity of the course of events. Now the higher and
more valuable kinds of induction depend upon, and conclude in, probabilities.
It is possible to reason by induction concerning the integer numbers.51 The kind
of reasoning which is sometimes abusively called ‘mathematical induction’, but
which ought to be called ‘Fermatian inference’, is not inductive, since Inductive
inference, as I understand the term is the acceptance of the provisional result of
such a method that if it provisionally leads to any error will if sufficiently per-
sisted incorrect any definite error to which it may have provisionally led. Fer-
matian inference is not of this kind because it claims its conclusion to be final
and irreversible.52 It is Deductive, or necessary, inference having two associated

51 [Editor: Peirce had intended a footnote at this place, which he obviously did not insert
later.]
52 [Editor: More about the topic CSP and Mathematics in: Carolyn Eisele, Charles S.
Peirce. The New Elements of Mathematics. Four volumes in five books: Arithmetic,
Algebra and Geometry, Mathematical Miscellanea, Mathematical Philosophy (The
Hague: Mouton, 1976).]

71
peculiarities which render the logical account of it difficult. One of these is that it
turns upon the concept of relation of a plural to its singulars; and this is a difficult
relation to define. For example, a neophyte in logic might think it sufficient to say
that X being any common noun, ‘the Xs’ is that the object of which everything
can be predicted which is predicable of any X you please. But anybody fit to teach
elementary logic would at once ask him how that applied to the predicate ‘is an
indecomposable individual’. Suppose that every X is an indecomposable individ-
ual. Does this prove that all Xs collectively form an indecomposable individual?
The second difficulty of the Fermatian inference is that it applies the collective
mode of conception to a succession of operations. After the race in which Achil-
les was so ignominiously defeated by the tortoise, he retired to his tent to talk the
matter over with his friend. “Why, you see,” said Patroclus, “that the whole diffi-
culty lies in the impossibility of motion. If you persuade your divine mother with
her friends Hera and Athena, who have such a pull with Zeus, to confer on you
the power of instantly absenting yourself from one place and simultaneously ap-
pearing in any other vacant place, you will not have the impossibility of continu-
ity to grapple with and will easily overtake the tortoise.” Achilles had no difficulty
in obtaining his simple request, and challenged the champion tortoise, honestly
explaining his purpose. The tortoise assented readily, with the proviso he should
have to start of one mile and that Achilles should never skip over an interval
without first performing some part of it, for otherwise it would not be a race at all.
This being agreed to, the tortoise stood stock still. Now said he you might begin
by doing the first half mile. It was no sooner said than done. Next said he you will
do some fraction of the remainder, say to the end of the first 2/3 of a mile. It was
done. Now said he did some fraction of the remainder. When Achilles had done
999999 millionths of a mile he gave up, and went to see his mother. ‘Why’, said
she, ‘if your head were as swift as your heels, you would see that continuity is not
in question at all.’ But nothing can ever be done that requires something else to be
previously done. That does not so much as to suppose even indefinite divisibility
except at the end of the performance. And full infinite divisibility is not continu-
ity, as the series of rational fractions shows. By a suitable application of these
conceptions Fermatian Inference may be reduced to ordinary relative deduction,
as is shown in a note appended to this paper.
Sound induction, as I have defined it, has several grades; for while it is per-
fectly sound and logical, it may be extremely weak; so that it would cease to be
sound if any close approach to certainty were claimed for it. The weakest of all
sound inductions is like this: “No apparition of a ghost or a phoenix has ever
been satisfactorily proved. Hence, we may assume that no such thing will ever be
proved.” For if this conclusion is wrong persistent inquiry along the line indicated

72
will certainly lay bare the error. It is a very weak and yet an entirely indispensable
mode of reasoning. The strongest kind of induction is that which rests upon the
cautious application of numerical probabilities, and which concludes a probabil-
ity not generally numerical. For the doctrine of Laplace and others that induction
can be reduced to mathematical probability has been proved to be fallacious.53
Nevertheless a probability may be proved by induction. Finally, I will remark that
an induction of a weak kind may nevertheless be a strong inference, while an
induction of a strong kind may be a weak inference, owing to the greater or less
multitude and variety of the instances, and owing to [being] supported or op-
posed by other reasonings.
In pure mathematics there is, properly speaking, no such thing as mathemati-
cal probability, unless a special hypothesis introduces it. What is called local prob-
ability is again merely a variety of deduction. It follows that the strong kind of
induction has no place in pure mathematics. For there is nothing like experience
there, since there is no appeal to promiscuous instances of a course of life.
There remain two or three clauses of the definition that require examination.
It is stated that cognition is forced upon the experiment, willy-nilly, and yet that
it is due in part to his own action. For a man who lies, “viridi membra sub arbuto
stratus,” in entire passivity, as gazing on vacancy without a thought or any ten-
dency to act, can receive no cognitive shock until he has first been roused; since
no force can be expended upon an object that presents no resistance. It is nothing
surprising to see men putting month’s of hard work and spending besides many
thousands that somebody must have earned by the sweat of his brow, in order to
undergo the compulsory experience of a solar eclipse that rarely lasts as long as
five minutes; and how much effort has been made to undergo the experience of
being at the North Pole, which, after all, is just like any other place well within
the arctic circle. This illustrates the necessity of action in order to be subjected to
any given experience.
We are here confronted by a question which touches the very vitals of the defi-
nition. What is the nature of the distinction between that which is experienced
and that which is imagined, or those phenomena of a cognitive kind which are
not experienced?

53 [Editor: Pierre-Simon Marquis de Laplace was a french scholar, mathematician and


astronomer. His work Théorie analytique des probabilités, issued in 1812, was about
probability and statistical methods. Laplace’s inductive reasoning is based on his prob-
ability theory discussed in his Essai philosophique sur les probabilités published later in
1816. Peirce refers to his work in many of his manuscripts.]

73
Now it must be borne in mind that this definition of experience is designed
to give an exact and scientifically valuable signification to a word which students
of philosophy have hitherto employ in a somewhat vague way. The desire is to
conform as closely to philosophic usage as the necessity of precision of thought
and as philosophical utility will permit. Some writers insist that all experience
consists in sense-perception; and I think it is probably true that every element of
experience is in the first instance applied to an external object. A man who gets
up out of the wrong side of the bed, for example, attributes wrongness to almost
every object he perceives. That is the way in which he experiences his bad tem-
per. It cannot, however, be said that he perceives the perversity which he wrongly
attributes to outward objects.
We perceive objects brought before us; but that which we especially experi-
ence,—the kind of thing to which the word experience is more particularly
applied,—is an event. We cannot accurately be said to perceive events; for this
requires what Kant called the “synthesis of apprehension,” not, however, by any
means, making the needful discriminations. A whistling locomotive passes at
high speed close beside me. As it passes the note of the whistle is suddenly low-
ered, from a well-understood cause. I perceive the whistle, if you will. I have, at
any rate, a sensation of it. But I cannot be said to have a sensation of the change
of note. I have a sensation of the lower note. But the cognition of the change is of
a more intellectual kind. That I experience rather than perceive. It is [a] special
field of experience, to acquaint us with events, with changes of perception. Now
that which particularly characterizes sudden changes of perception, is a shock. A
shock is a volitional phenomenon. The long whistle of the approaching locomo-
tive, however disagreeable it may be, has set up in me a certain inertia, so that the
sudden lowering of the note meets with a certain resistance. That must be the fact;
because if there were no such resistance there could be no shock when the change
of note occurs. Now this shock is quite unmistakable. It is more particularly to
changes and contrasts of perception that we apply the word experience. We ex-
perience vicissitudes, especially. We cannot experience the vicissitude without
experiencing the perception which undergoes the change; but the concept of ex-
perience is broader than that of perception, and includes much that is not, strictly
speaking, an object of perception. It is the compulsion, the absolute constraint
upon us to think otherwise than we have been thinking that constitutes experi-
ence. Now constraint and compulsion cannot exist without resistance, and re-
sistance is effort opposing change. Therefore, there must be an element of effort
in experience; and it is this which gives it its peculiar character. But we are so
disposed to yield to it as soon as we can detect it, that it is extremely difficult to
convince ourselves that we have exerted any resistance at all. It may be said that

74
we hardly know it except through the axiom that there can be no force where
there is no resistance or inertia. Whoever may be dissatisfied with my statement
will do well to sit down and cipher out the matter for himself. He may be able to
formulate the nature of the oppositional element in experience and its relation to
ordinary volition better than I have done; but that there is an oppositional ele-
ment in it, logically not easily distinguished from volition will, I make no doubt
at all, be his ultimate conclusion.
Of course we must distinguish between knowing by experience and experi-
encing itself. We know all the actual facts that we do know by experience; but
our experience itself is limited to that which we are irrationally immediate, and
absolutely, constrained to accept.54

54 [Editor: The sentence is followed by the words “I say irrationally because” and is inter-
rupted at this point. The manuscript includes further copies and different drafts of the
identical excerpts.]

75
Phaneroscopy55

I.  The Gist of the Argument


My parting word to you, Reader, in the number for October, 1906,56 was a prom-
ise that in the present article the relevancy of the system of Existential Graphs to
the question of the truth of Pragmaticism should be disclosed. Today, I straight-
way proceed to redeem that promise. I have already explained to you what Prag-
maticism is; so that you are already aware that it is a theory in regard to the
common nature of the meanings of all concepts. But you have seen (or should
you not be satisfied with it, the next following sections of this article shall make
it clear to you), that Existential Graphs furnish a moving picture of the action of
the mind in thought,—that is, to so much of that as is common to thoughts on
all subjects. The study of that system, then, must reveal whatever common nature
is necessarily shared by the significations of all thoughts. You ‘catch on’, I hope.
I mean, you apprehend in what way the system of Existential Graphs is to furnish
a test of the truth or falsity of Pragmaticism. Namely, a sufficient study of the
Graphs should show what nature is truly common to all significations of con-
cepts; whereupon a comparison will show whether this nature be or be not the
very ilk that Pragmaticism (by the definition of it) avers that it is. It is true that
the two terms of this comparison, while in substance identical, yet might make
their appearance under such different garbs that the student might fail to rec-
ognize their identity. At any rate, the possibility of such a result has to be taken
into account; and there with it must be acknowledged that, on its negative side,
the argument may not turn out to be sufficient. For example, quâ Graph, a con-
cept might be regarded as the passive object of a geometrical intuitus, although
Pragmaticism certainly makes the essence of every concept to be exhibited in an
influence on possible conduct; and a student might fail to perceive that these two
aspects of the concept are quite compatible.
But, on the other hand, should the theory of Pragmaticism be erroneous, the
student would only have to compare concept after concept, each one, first, in the
light of Existential Graphs, and then as Pragmaticism would interpret it, and it

55 [Editor: MS 298, dated 1906. Following the contents this manuscript is probably the
second part of Phaneroscopy.]
56 [Editor: Peirce refers to the Text “Prolegomena to an Apology for Pragmaticism” one of
his Monist articles, also published in Elize Bisanz (ed.), The Logic of Interdisciplinarity.
Charles S. Peirce. The Monist Series. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2009).]

77
could not but be that before long he would come upon a concept whose analyses
from these two widely separated points of view unmistakably conflicted. In the
present article mention can be made of but a small percentage of the concepts
whose analyses have been subjected by me to such examination. For we shall
manage to dispense with scrutinizing them one by one; and the presented state-
ment represents merely the general drift of my argument. It will be of service,
however; and the more so, in that the argument itself is of somewhat complex
structure, is very long, and carries a number of subsidiary arguments of some
difficulty; so that, without the guidance of the general statement, the clearest
minded reader might lose his bearings, and run aground; and even with this aid
some supplementary resumés will not come amiss.

II.  Thought and Thought-sign


The first point to be made in the argument,—the first position secured,—is that
Existential Graphs afford a moving-picture of thought in all its essential details.
But the proposition in this abridged enunciation leaves room for several miscon-
ceptions of vital importance against which I must take care that the reader is well
guarded before I attempt to convince him of its truth.57
To begin with, then it is not pretended that the system of Existential Graphs
is indispensable to such an analysis of thought as may serve as a pattern to which
Pragmaticism, in order to be true, must conform. Indeed, for many years before
my own possession of this system, and while I, as yet, had nothing but only the
traditionary methods of logic for my implements, I had succeeded in making
myself acquainted with the principal points in the substance of teachings of this
system, recognizing them as true though I could know nothing of their resulting
from any such picture of mind.
I do not claim that the Graphs furnish a perfect picture of any reasoning in
respect to being photographically detailed, or that they fully represent all kinds
of reasoning (though they approach doing this closer than might be supposed),
or finally, that in their present state they are free from all faults. Nor, as appears
from what I have been saying, can I claim for the system that it is indispensable
to achieving a comprehension of the structure and working of thought; but what
I can, and do, claim for it is that it provides a singular and signal facilitation of

57 [Editor: For a close reading and understanding of this topic including the implementa-
tion of the Existential Graphs as well as a comprehensive bibliography see: Kenneth L.
Ketner, Elements of Logic. An Introduction to Peirce’s Existential Graphs. 1996, Arisbe
Associates, Lubbock Texas, contact: info@thecopyoutlet.com.]

78
that achievement, by so imaging the otherwise nebulous, ghostlike, dubious ab-
stractions of metaphysics as to endure them with something of the distinctness
of geometrical diagrams and with much of the convincingness of working models.
Only, in order that this result should be attained, it is requisite that the reader
should fully understand the relation of Thought in itself to thinking, on the one
hand, and to graphs, on the other hand. Those relations being once magisteri-
ally grasped, it will be seen that the Graphs break to pieces all the really serious
barriers, not only to the logical analysis of thought, but also to the digestion of a
different lesson by rendering literally visible before one’s very eyes the operation
of thinking in actu. In order that the fact should come to light that the method
of Graphs really accomplishes this marvelous result, it is first of all needful, or
at least highly desirable, that the reader should have thoroughly assimilated,
in all its parts, the truth that thinking always proceeds in form of dialogue,—
a dialogue between different phases of the ego,—so that, being dialogical, it is
essentially composed of signs, as its Matter, in the sense in which a game of
chess has the chessmen for its matter. Not that the particular signs employed
are themselves the thought! Oh, no; no whit more than the skins of an onion are
the onion. (About as much so, however) One selfsame thought may be carried
upon the vehicle of English, German, Greek, or Gaelic; in diagrams, or in equa-
tions, or in graphs: all these are but so many skins of the onion, its inessential
accidents. Yet that the thought should have some possible expression to some
possible interpreter, is the very being of its being. Do I hear a mutter, something
like this? “If he intends that thought is the meaning of the signs, I wonder what
he can mean by his strange phrase, ‘the meaning of a concept’!” “Well, wonder
on,” says the bully Bottom, “till Truth make all things plain;”58 that is, until the
green-curtain of intellectual experience shall have rolled up and fully disclosed
to you what the word “meaning” means.
An unpenetrating study of the rules of Graphs would not much more aid
a person to comprehend the common nature of significance of thoughts than
would an unpenetrating study of Greek or Gaelic grammar, that which would in
its turn avail for some purpose not very much more than would an unpenetrat-
ing study of the psychology of thinking. Now that would advance the problems,
no whit more than would the examination of the brain under a microscope, pro-
vided we could manage two things; first, to see how the whips of the brain-cells

58 [Editor: Bottom (a weaver by trade) is a character in Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s


Dream; this line is from act v, scene i. Peirce’s adjective bully expressed admiration for
the character. The remark below about a green curtain may be an allusion to the open-
ing curtain of a play, as a prelude to whatever truth the play, like research, will reveal.]

79
are thrashed about in life; and secondly, to recognize the significance of each
lash. Those two things would, I dare say, do wonders for psychology; but they
would probably not answer our logical purpose so well as will the study of the
graphs.
How many writers of our generation (if I must call names, in order to direct
the reader to further acquaintance with a generally described character let it in
this case be the distinguished name of Husserl), after underscored protestations
that their discourse shall be of logic exclusively and not by any means of psychol-
ogy (almost all logicians now put that protest on file), forthwith become intent
upon those elements of the process of thinking which seem to be special to a
mind like that of the human race as we find it, to too great neglect of those ele-
ments which must belong as much to any one as to any other mode of embody-
ing the same thought. It is one of the chief advantages of Existential Graphs, as
a guide to Pragmaticism, that it holds up thought to our contemplation with the
wrong side out, as it were; showing its construction in the barest and plainest
manner, so that it neither seduces us into the bye-path of distinctively English
logicians,—nor does it lead us into the divarications of those who know no other
logic than a “Natural History” of thought. As to this remark, I pray you, that
“Natural History” is the term applied to the descriptive sciences of nature, that
is to say, to sciences which describe different kind of objects and classify them
as well as they can while they still remain ignorant of their essences and of the
ultimate agencies of their production and which seek to explain the properties
of those kinds by means of laws which another branch of science called “Natural
Philosophy” has established. Thus, a logic which is a natural history merely, has
done no more than observe that certain conditions have been found attached to
sound thought, but has no means of ascertaining whether the attachment be ac-
cidental or essential; and quite ignoring the circumstance that the very essence
of thought lies open to our study; which study alone it is that men have always
called “logic,” or “dialectic.”
Accordingly, when I say that Existential Graphs put before us moving pictures
of thought, I mean of thought in its essence free from physiological and other
accidents. But why do you still clamour, Reader, for further elucidation of what
I mean by “Thought”? Has not my metaphor of the onion told you? You remind
me of some athlete, capable of doing a lot of wonderful feats upon the trapeze and
the slackrope, able to balance a long pole upon his nose with a glass of wine stand-
ing unspilled on the end of it, but who has now been vainly trying for a quarter of
an hour to thread a cambric needle, and whose unfailing failures would provoke
my laughter, if I were not myself so intent upon seeing him succeed. It is that he
is too right-handed as to the use of his eyes, and looking at the needle with his

80
right eye alone, though he sees it with both, while this eye being off at one side, he
always misses the eye of the needle. Do, for God’s sake, and for the sake of God’s
truth, try to look with that unpracticed eye of your mind! Learn to look with both
eyes at once! Good, my heart warms to you at seeing your cool and active perse-
verance! I must try if a fresh metaphor will not help you. This one shall be redolent
of a different aroma; so that you shall not be surfeited with monstrous delight!
A soul, as most men rightly think, cannot live without a body, though it
will preserve its identity through all metapsychoses and through all the obliv-
ia thereto appertaining; whether this body be of that kind that we can readily
comprehend;—I mean the spiritual body,—to the existence of which the spiritu-
alists at last begin to awaken my torpid intelligence,59 or whether the body be of

59 It was the consideration of the utter inadaptability of the theory of telepathy to explain
the assumed facts that it was framed to explain, that first made me see that spiritualism
alone could explain many of those facts, assuming them to be such. It was not that I
had any a priori objection to telepathy; for on the contrary, it seemed then to me, as
it does now, that there must be such a faculty in some minute degree; and when the
whip of one brain-cell is attracted to another cell (and, though no man has seen it or
can as yet see it, Ramón y Cajal’s idea that it does happen is irresistible), what can this
be, internally viewed, but telepathy? I had, however, hardly heard some dim rumor of
wonderful preparations that Ramón y Cajal put before our eyes at Clark University
in 1899, when I was quite otherwise led to the conviction that there must be some
phenomena, whether observable or not, of the nature of telepathy. How for example
could speech ever have come into existence without a preexisting basis of other signs
ultimately resting properly on a basis of telepathy? But when Meyer invented this word
in order to explain certain manifestations, I was greatly struck with the singular incon-
gruency between the character of the explanation and that of the facts it was proposed
to explain. And this phenomenal incongruency I could only explain by an irration
aversive to admitting the existence of spirit-fleshed souls. This led me to consider that
hypothesis apart from any evidence; and the more I considered it, the better it satisfied
my logical conception of what a hypothesis should be, provided only that there were
any good evidence. All the evidence I was acquainted with, however, seemed to me
then and does now, to be of the most suspicious category possible. Still, I had to admit
that there might be even in this suspicious class of evidence, instances of such force as
more than to counter balance that general suspiciousness, and several narratives that
I subsequently became acquainted with I found to be irresistible. Finally, I found an
entirely new kind of evidence of the utmost weight for a pragmaticist in the influence
of the belief upon character. Plainly the [?thing?] must involve the most precious truth
by no means to be let slip no matter with how much dross it may be mixed up.
There is still another argument, albeit a difficult one. We are already acquainted with a
sort of semeiotic life beyond the grave in the continued influence of individual charac-
ter. But it can be shown from the fact that the soul is itself of the nature of a sign, that

81
that mysterious nature that we call “matter.” The soul without the body is simply
an impossibility and an absurdity. The soul in the body certainly has characters
utterly incongruous to those of a body without a soul, however. A sign must have
an interpretation, or interpretant as I call it, this [interpretant,] this significa-
tion is simply a metempsychosis into another body; a translation into another
language. This new version of the thought receives, [in turn] an interpretation,
[and] so on, until an interpretant appears which is no longer of the nature of a
sign; and this I am to show to you by good evidence is, for one class of signs, a
[quality,] and for another, a deed; but for intellectual concepts, is a conditional
determination of the soul as to how it would conduct itself under conceivable
circumstances. (I here merely give a roughly simplified statement that must re-
ceive fine corrections further on, in a part of my argument which I am relegat-
ing to another article.) That ultimate, definitive, and final (i.e. eventually to be
reached), interpretant (final I mean, in the logical sense of attaining the purpose,
is also final in the sense of bringing the series of translations [to a stop] for the
obvious reason that it is not itself a sign) is to be regarded as the ultimate signi-
fication of the [sign]. But this perfect fruit of thought can hardly itself be called
thought, since it has no signification and does not belong to the faculty of cogni-
tion at all; but rather to the character.
Besides, these present themselves, at this stage of our meditation, some curi-
ous distinctions for which no parallels occur to me beyond the sphere of thought.
Namely, we have, in the first place, to distinguish between waking thought,—
thought clothed and in its right mind,—thought in full possession of its own
essential faculties,—and what I may call hypnotic thought, which is confined to

such semeiotic life there could not be unless there were a substantial and conscious
life as the basis of it.
[Editor: Santiago Ramon y Cajal (1852–1934), Spanish neuroanatomist, Professor of
Histology and Rector of the University of Madrid. Shared the sixth Nobel Prize for
Medicine in 1906 with Camillo Golgi. Cajal developed many of the key conceptual
insights and much of the empirical support for the Neuron Doctrine, the principle
that the nervous system is made up of discrete signaling elements: neurons. He estab-
lished that adjacent nerve-cells did not actually join each other no matter how close
their fibres might be, and suggested that nerve impulses passed from the axon of one
neuron to the dendrite of the next and not in the opposite direction. Cajal described
histologically a specialized contact zone where one neuron communicates with an-
other. No doubt this empirical evidence for cellular communication was an exciting
result for Peirce in view of his hypotheses about sign relations. In Science (P 751)
Peirce reviewed Cajal’s long set of lectures published in Clark University, 1889–1899,
Decennial Celebration (see pp. 310–382).]

82
thinking what has been explicitly and very imperatively suggested to it to think,
and can think of nothing else. You may object that the so-called hypnotic thought
has either not been deprived of any essential character of thought, as I talk as
if it had, or else, by the definition of the term “essential,” is not properly called
“thought,” at all. Well, well; the fixing up of its phrases belongs to the decora-
tive department of the edification: at present we have the work of science,—or
its ecodomesis, if I may borrow a word from Plato, who, I fancy, copied it from
Thucydides;—at present, we have not come to that stage of the work, being still
occupied with structural parts. I do not see anything exorbitant in my petition to
be allowed to use the word ‘thought’, as it is often used, though not with very ac-
curate discrimination, to denote the only thing that is stowed or on board of what
all the world calls a “vehicle of thought,” especially since I engage not to produce
confusion by calling anything else by the same name. The word so used means
that which can only be known to us by thinking, just as ‘a sight’ is anything which
can only be known by seeing, a percept, is that which can only be known by per-
ceiving; a ‘concept’ is that which can only be known by conceiving; and there may
very [well] be other similar formations; since people have taken kindly to the in-
stances I have named. A certain class of thoughts which we call “resolutions,” are
called up, and dwelt upon, with iteration and with a certain kind of effort called
putting into expectation that the thinker may thereby cause himself to behave
promptly upon occasion in the same way as he would behave if he had time to go
through a long process of meditation before acting. That real effect upon a man,
which he might hope that this vast formation, and dwelling upon, and putting a
shine upon a resolution will determine, that is will effect, may properly be called
a “determination of the soul” or briefly a “determination” when no kind of effect
will happen to be meant. This is indeed the usual vernacular meaning of “deter-
mination.” Only in the vernacular the use is limited to cases in which the man has
actually formed a resolution; while I propose to extend the meaning so as to cover
any state of a man having an accidental cause in which he would behave upon oc-
casion in a way more special than men in general or even the person in question
would usually be at all certain to behave in the absence of the special cause. By
calling this cause accidental, I mean that it does not arise according to any general
law of man’s biological ontology being or even according to any such law that
is special to that man, independently of circumstances that might not have oc-
curred. For example, I should not say that the fact that a person has erotic dreams
argues any determination of his soul; but if he or she falls in love, I should say that
the society of the person whom he or she loves has caused a “determination of the
soul,” in its general faculty of love, to excite a passion for that particular person.
The words “of the soul” in this phrase, as used by me, are not intended to imply

83
the existence of the substance called the soul (although personally I do believe in
it), but merely to show that the word “determination” does not here bear any of its
other senses, of which there are just a dozen, not counting three that are obsolete;
as shown by these examples drawn from the Oxford Dictionary: 1. Stubbs in 1874,
….tes “The war …. seeming year by year further removed from a determination.”
2. An act of Parliament reads: “Determination of tenancy means the cesser of a
contract of tenancy by reason of efflusion of time or from any other cause.” The
last eleven words are what is termed “legal verbage.” 3. Sir R.V. Williams in 1891,
uses another legal sense, thus: “The general question of the right of the licensee
was not essential to the determination of that case.” Here it means a settlement by
authority of what had before been undecided. 4. The promulgation of a decision.
T. Balguy in 1785 has the words, “To harken to our Saviour’s determination,­—‘He
that is without sin’.” 5. The fifth meaning is really a collection of meanings, as is
not unusual in this Dictionary. It is a statement or decree fixing the boundaries of
space or any other circumstance that would otherwise in the statement or in be-
ing have been indefinite, or is something that in some sense excludes what would
otherwise be a possible alternative. 6. Sir W. Hamilton in 1838 writes: “Ever series
of concepts which has been obtained by abstraction may be reproduced in an in-
verted order when .… we, step by step, add on the several characters from which
we have abstracted in our ascent. This process .… is call Determination.” 7. Bow-
en, in 1864, writes: “Unless one is regarded as an attribute, or determination, of
the other.” 8. The ascertainment of the precise description of a thing in a certain
respect, so as to negative all other descriptions in that respect. The examples refer
to the ‘determination’ of biological forms, meaning the ascertainment of their
species; the manner of defining a physical property as a force; the determinations
of an [ordinary] meaning the ascertainment of all its elements; the determination
of a chemical ingredient, meaning the ascertainment of the percentage in which
it is present in a given compound; the determination of a quantity meaning the
ascertainment of its value. 9. A statement resulting from an attempt scientifically
to ascertain in any of the above respects. 10. A real tendency of some inanimate
object to grow, move, or otherwise change in a particular direction. The same for
an involuntary tendency of a mind or body of minds (orig. No. 7). [Editor: 11 not
given.] 12. The state of a bodily fluid which has excessively flowed to a particular
part of the body [thereby rendering impossible its going to another part].60

60 [Editor: There is a gap in the manuscript at this point. The material given within < … >
is from MS 298:58, and may be close to the sentences needed, although it is not a fully
satisfactory fit.]

84
< So, then, when I say that Existential Graphs furnish a moving picture of the
intellect, I do not mean of human thinking, to which sundry physiological ac-
cidents attach; but I take it into consideration that all thought is dialogical, and
is embodied in signs. These signs are not such as those of memory, which are
constituted signs by themselves partaking of the characters they signify, that is,
of the ideas they excite in the interpreting mind, nor are they symptoms, or such
signs as are in fact connected with the objects of which they are the deputies or
representatives, but they are such signs as [are] constituted signs by the knowl-
edge that they will be interpreted as signs, and are >.
The characters that they signify, that is, that they are intended, or virtually
profess to be intended, to excite in the interpreter of them,—and therefore do
excite in the correct interpreter; nor are they symptoms or subjects or vehicles,
of symptoms, as that goodman and housewife who alternately come forth from
and retire into their hygroscopic cottage,61 are subjects of [behavior,] which is
symptomatic moisture or dryness, being brute effects of the events they signal-
ize. No, thought-signs belong to that class of signs which the prince of logicians
has termed symbols;62 namely, these signs which are made to be signs, and to
be precisely the signs that they are, neither by possessing any decisive qualities
nor by embodying effects of any special causation, but merely by the certainty
that they will be interpreted as signs, and as just such and such signs. Now I use
the term Thought in such a sense that I speak of any two symbols which are in-
tended, or profess to be intended, to be representative of the same real object, be
it thing, event, or law, and which further signify, or are intended to call forth the
same response, or interpretation, be it an emotion, an obedient act, or another
sign, I speak of these, I say, as being, or embodying, the same Thought, in differ-
ent guises. (The highest kind of symbol is one which signifies a growth, or self-
development, of thought, and it is of that alone that a moving representation is
possible; and accordingly the central problem of logic is to say whether one given
thought is truly, i.e. is adapted to be, a development of a given other or not. In

61 [Editor: In English today this popular household novelty is known as a weather house.
It is shaped as a cottage front through which two figures on a small armature are sus-
pended from a strip of rawhide which is sensitive to humidity changes. When humidity
is low, the hide twists in one direction, thus a particular figure emerges while the other
retreats inside; but when humidity is high, the hide twists in the opposite direction
thus pushing the other figure to the front.]
62 [Editor: By the term “the prince of logicians” is most probably meant Aristotle; in On
Interpretation, the second text of the Organon he explains the concept of the symbolon
as a connexion between two correlates based on an agreement.]

85
other words, it is the critic of arguments. Accordingly, in my early papers I limited
logic to the study of this problem. But since then, I have formed the opinion that
the proper sphere of any science in a given stage of development of science is
the study of such questions as one social group of men can properly devote their
lives to answering; and it seems to me that in the present state of our knowledge
of signs, the whole doctrine of the classification of signs and of what is essential
to a given kind of sign, must be studied by one group of investigators. Therefore,
I extend logic to embrace all the necessary principles of semeiotic, and I recog-
nize a logic of icons, and a logic of indices as well as a logic of symbols; and in this
last I recognize three divisions; Stechéotic (or stoicheiology), which I formerly
called Speculative Grammar; Critic, which I formerly called Logic; and Metho-
deutic, which I formerly called Speculative Rhetoric.) A fallacy is, for me, a sup-
posititious thinking, a thinking that parades as a self-development of thought but
is in fact begotten by some other sire than reason; and this has substantially been
the usual view of modern logicians. For reasoning ceases to be Reason when it is
no longer reasonable: thinking ceases to be Thought when true thought discovers
it. A self-development of Thought takes the course that thinking will take, that is
sufficiently deliberate, and is not truly a self-development if it slips from being the
thought of one object-thought to being the thought of another object-thought. It
is, in the geological sense, a “fault”;­—an inconformability in the strata of think-
ing. The discussion of it does not appertain to pure logic, but to the application of
logic to psychology. I only notice it here, as throwing a light upon what I do not
mean by “Thought.”
I trust by this time, Reader, that you are conscious of having some idea, which
perhaps is not so dim as it seems to you to be, of what I mean by calling Exis-
tential Graphs a moving-picture of Thought. Please note that I have not called
it a perfect picture. I am aware that it is not so: indeed, that is quite obvious. But
I hold that it is considerably more nearly perfect than it seems to be at first glance,
and quite sufficiently so to be called a portraiture of Thought. Yet very likely you
may be indisposed to admit this except in some very gross sense. Certainly, no
true scholar of mine in any science, least of all in logic, for all my having sometimes
playfully called my fundamental principle “Ceno-pythagoreanism” (“ceno” =
καινός, new), at all knows the dialect of “αὐτός ἔφη”; and I should feel ashamed if
he did. It behooves me, therefore, to put before you some apology for that high-
sounding title, “a moving-picture of Thought,” or “of the Mind.” There are several
conclusive reasons against my developing here the theory upon which I base
this boast in my own mind, of which I need mention but two, First, that it is so
elaborate and so unfamiliar in substance, that any tolerably clear exposition of it
would occupy more pages than it would be decent to ask our good and admirable

86
editor to allow to one article; so that it would lead us completely away from our
main subject. Another reason is that that theory, even if it were developed, would
probably seem still more dubious to you than does the proposition that, to my
mind, it sufficiently justifies. I am thus driven to the objectionable resort of en-
deavouring to persuade you of the truth of a vague proposition by considerations
that are confessedly and manifestly of a secondary relevance.
I may as well, at once, acknowledge that, in Existential Graphs, the representa-
tion of Modality (possibility, necessity, etc.) lacks almost entirely that pictorial,
or Iconic, a character which is so striking in the representation in the same sys-
tem of every feature of propositions de inesse. Perhaps it is in the nature of things
that it should be so in such wise that for Modality to be iconically represented in
that same “pictorial” way in which the other features are represented would con-
stitute a falsity in the representation. If so, it is a perfect vindication of the system
upon whose accusers, I suppose, the burden of proof lies. Still, I confess I suspect
there is in the heraldic representation of modality as set forth in my paper on the
System (Monist, Vol. XVI, pp. 525–527)63 a defect capable of being remedied. If
it be not so, if the lack of “pictorialness” in the representation of modality cannot
be remedied, it is because modality has, in truth, the nature which I opined it
has (which opinion I expressed toward the end of the footnote on p. 525 of the
article just refered to); and if that be the case, Modality is not, properly speak-
ing, conceivable at all, but the difference, for example, between possibility and
actuality is only recognizable, much in the same way as we recognize the dif-
ference between a dream and a waking experience, supposing the dream to be
ever so detailed, reasonable, and thoroughly consistent with itself and with all
the rest of the dreamer’s experience. Namely, it still would not be so “vivid” as
waking experience. Now what is “vividness”? Hume, in the “Treatise,” confounds
it with the intenseness of the feeling. They certainly cannot be the same since,
although memory is notoriously dimmer, i.e. less vivid, than perception, we do
not remember a gamboge yellow as olive-color, nor a somewhat warmer yellow
as brown. A slight experimental investigation, which I made in 18..,64 afterward
supplemented in various ways, has led to the following conclusions:

63 [Editor: the paper has the title “Prolegomena to an Apology for Pragmaticism”. Also
published in: Elize Bisanz (ed.), The Logic of Interdisciplinarity. Charles S. Peirce. The
Monist Series. pp. 307–342 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2009).]
64 [Editor: It is likely that Peirce was referring to experiments conducted by Fechner,
which was reported in 1884 in “On Minimum Differences of Sensibility,” see also vari-
ous other studies by Peirce on color sensation cited in Comprehensive Bibliography.]

87
1. A slight psychological connexion only exists between vividness with its op-
posite, faintness, and intenseness of feeling with its opposite, dullness; in that when
a genuinely warm interest and attention had greatly increased the vividness of the
sensation of a particular object, according to the direct introspective testimony
of consciousness, measurement showed a very slight increase of its intenseness,
an increase perhaps allied to hallucination, while it is common experience that
an increase of the intensity of a sensation due to an increase of the rate of physical
expenditure of energy (“power,” or “action”) there is a consequent considerable
increase of vividness. It is possible directly to distinguish between intenseness and
vividness, although they are less readily distinguished than is the luminosity, or
true intensity of a light-sensation from the chroma, or height of color, or depar-
ture from grey.
2. There is no phenomenon in the relation between the vividness of a feeling
and its causes that corresponds with that discontinuity in the relation between
the intenseness of the feeling and its cause, the excitation, which is called the
‘threshold’ or ‘Schwelle’, of the sensation (or, less properly, of the excitation). With
diminished attention, the feeling becomes fainter, without discoverable limit. As
long as a feeling has any intenseness, however dull, a sufficient exertion of atten-
tion will bring out some degree of vividness. In its relation to time (which is of
special pertinency to the problem of modality), we find no past, so distant (short
of babyhood) that immediate unreckoned memory may not recall; nor is there
any remembered event so recent that when it was still more recent the memory of
it, if it were called up, was not still more vivid. However, possibly this fact ought
not be classed as relating to vividness, proper. It does not quite conflict with the
doctrine of the span of time; yet I do not find that doctrine to be absolutely true.
Indeed, regarded otherwise than as merely an approximate statement, it is plainly
self-contradictory. Moreover, I have found that by mounting two seconds’ pen-
dulums on one stand, with their knife-edges in one straight line; the stand being
so stiff that their mutual influence is negligible for the purposes of the experi-
ment; by then placing halfway between them a lens four times whose focal length
equals the distance between the centres of the two pendulums diminished by the
thickness of the lens; and thus bringing the image of a scale upon the one juxta-
position with a vernier carried on the other, the time of coincidence of phase can
always be noted (with a fine reading-telescope), within one second, as is shown
by the perfect equality of the intervals, although the difference of periods is only
one three hundredth part of a second. It appears that the perfect regularity of the
intervals, except for a difference of one second at regular intervals, implies that
lapses of time of less than a sixtieth of a second are accurately observed; which
seems to conflict with any intelligible definition of the time-space as an exactly

88
definite quantity unless it be deprived of all utility in helping to account for any
observed phenomenon.
It only remains under this head to notice that rare as it is for any degree of
interest to create a hallucination, or outward sensation not excited, even in part,
by any physical cause, yet there is reasonably sufficient evidence that in certain
states of mind some peculiar persons not only experience hallucinations, but that
these may be vehicles of true information; so that the phenomenon sometimes
goes by the name of clairvoyance and by far the most satisfactory explanation of
this is to suppose them to be communications from intellectual beings the matter
of whose bodies is of a non-chemical vaguely, called a “spiritual,” nature. But we
remain in dense ignorance of this department of science owing to its having been
cultivated by cheats and dupes, while physicists, who are all specialists, and as
such incompetent to investigate phenomena so radically unlike those with which
they are acquainted, in addition to being mostly university professors, and so be-
ing prevented by the obligation to support their dignity from admitting their real
ignorance, that which is, in all cases, the first step toward any knowledge radically
novel to the student. It may be added that many of those who carry the most au-
thority with the general public owe this to their having made the acquisition of
such authority, regardless of its voracity, the chief object of their lives.65
3. By a Feeling, I mean an instance of that kind of consciousness which in-
volves no analysis, comparison or any process whatsoever, nor consists, in whole
or in part of any act by which one stretch of consciousness is distinguished from
another, which has its own positive quality which consists in nothing else, and
which is of itself all that it is, however it may have been brought about; so that if
this Feeling is present during a lapse of time, it is wholly and equally present at
every moment of that time. To reduce this description to a simple definition, I will
say that by a Feeling I mean an instance of that sort of element of consciousness
which is all that it is positively, in itself, regardless of anything else.
A Feeling, then, is not an event, a happening, a coming to pass, since a com-
ing to pass cannot be such unless there was a time when it had not come to pass;
and so it is not in itself all that it is, but is relative to a previous state. A Feeling is

65 I formally knew positively of one’s devoting several hours daily in practicing imposing
deportment before a pier-glass, and the result was a manner so irresistibly winning as
well as imposing, that though I heard others, who only guessed what I secretly knew,
make him the constant butt of contemptuous ridicule, I myself was quite under his
charm, and so were most people, more or less. I would not, for the world, divulge his
name, even now that he has passed to a world where we imagine the secrets of all hearts
to lie exposed to the view of all.

89
a state, which is in its entirety in every moment of time as long as it endures. But
a Feeling is not a single state which is other than an exact reproduction of itself.
For if that reproduction is in the same mind it must be at a different time and
then the Being of the Feeling would be relative to the particular time in which it
occurred, which would be something different from the Feeling itself, violating
the definition which makes the Feeling to be all that it is regardless of anything
else. Or, if the reproduction were simultaneous with the Feeling, it must be in
another mind, and thus the identity of the Feeling would depend upon the mind
in which it was, which is other than the Feeling; and again the definition would
be violated in the same way. Thus, any Feeling must be identical with any exact
duplicate of it, which is as much as to say the Feeling is simply a Quality of im-
mediate consciousness.
But it must be admitted that a Feeling experienced in an outward sensation
may be reproduced in memory. For to deny this would be idle nonsense. For in-
stance, you experience, let us say, a certain color-sensation due to red-lead. It has
a definite hue, luminosity, and chroma. These three elements,—which are not
separate in the Feeling, it is true, and are not, therefore, in the Feeling at all, but
are said to be in it, as a way of expressing the results which would follow, accord-
ing to the principles of chromatics, from certain experiments with a color-disk,
color-box, or other similar apparatus. In that sense, the color-sensation which
you derive from looking at the red-lead has a certain hue, luminosity, and chro-
ma which completely define the quality of the color. The vividness, however, is
independent of all three of these elements; and it is very different in the memory
of the color a quarter of a second after the actual sensation from what it is in the
sensation itself, although this memory is conceivably perfectly true as to hue,
luminosity, and chroma, which truth constitutes it an exact reproduction of the
entire Quality of the Feeling.66

66 [Editor: Peirce’s interest in color theories had direct impact on the work of his student
Christine Ladd-Franklin. Ladd-Franklin was deeply engaged in theories of visual
perception which she developed within the spirit of Peirceean logic. During 1891–92
she attended the seminars of physicians such as G.E. Müller in Göttingen, as well as
H.v. Helmholtz and Arthur König in Berlin, two diverging positions in psychophysics
of vision and developed her own evolutionary theory of color sensation. In 1892 she
published her article „Eine neue Theorie der Lichtempfindungen“ in the Zeitschrift
für Psychologie und Physiologie der Sinnesorgane. Her latest contribution was 1924,
her epilogue for the second edition of H.v. Helmholtz’s Treatise on Physiological
Optics.]

90
It follows that since the vividness of a Feeling;—which would be more accu-
rately described as the vividness of a consciousness of the Feeling,—is independ-
ent of every component of the Quality of that consciousness, and consequently
is independent of the resultant of those components, which resultant Quality
is the Feeling itself. We thus learn what Vividness is not; and it only remains to
ascertain what else it is.
To this end, two remarks will be useful. The first is that of whatever is in the
mind in any mode of consciousness, there is necessarily an immediate conscious-
ness and consequently a Feeling. The proof of this proposition is very instructive
as to the nature of Feeling; for it shows that, if by ‘Psychology’ we mean the posi-
tive, or observational, science of the mind or of consciousness, then although the
entire consciousness at any one instant is nothing but a Feeling, yet Psychology
can teach me nothing of the nature of Feeling, nor can we gain knowledge of any
Feeling by introspection, the Feeling being completely veiled from introspection,
for the very reason that it is our immediate consciousness. Possibly this curious
truth was what Emerson was trying to grasp,—but if so, pretty unsuccessfully,—
when he wrote the lines,
The old Sphinx bit her thick lip,—
Said, “Who taught thee me to name?
I am thy spirit, yoke-fellow,
Of thine eye I am eyebeam.
“Thou art the unanswered question;
Couldst see thy proper eye,
Alway it asketh, asketh;
And each answer is a lie.”67

But whatever he may have meant, it is plain enough that all that is immediately
present to a man is what is on his mind in the present instant. His whole life is
in the present. But when he asks what is the content of the present instant, his
question always comes too late. The present has gone by, and what remains of it
is greatly metamorphosed. He can, it is true, recognize that he was [at] that time,
for example, looking at a specimen of red-lead, and must have seen that color,
which, he perceives, is something positive and sui-generis, of the nature of Feeling.
But nobody’s immediate consciousness, unless when he was much more than half

67 [Editor: This is an excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem The Sphinx, (1803–1882)
an American poet and a central figure of the literary and philosophical group known as
the American Transcendentalists, who shared the idea that individuals could transcend
the physical world of the senses into deeper spiritual experience through free will and
intuition.]

91
asleep, ever consisted wholly of a color-sensation; and since, a feeling is absolutely
simple and without parts,—as it evidently is, since it is whatever it is regardless
of anything else, and therefore regardless of any part, which would be something
other than the whole,—it follows that if the red color-sensation was not the whole
feeling of the instant it has nothing in common with the feeling of the instant.
Indeed, although a Feeling is immediate consciousness, that is, is whatever of con-
sciousness, there may be that is immediately present, yet there is no consciousness
in it because it is instantaneous. For we have seen already that Feeling is nothing
but a Quality, and a Quality is not conscious: it is a mere possibility. We can, it is
true, see what a Feeling in general is like; that, for example, this or that red is a
Feeling; and it is perfectly conceivable that a being should have that color for its
entire consciousness, throughout a lapse of time, and therefore at every instant of
that time. But such a being could never know anything about its own conscious-
ness. It could not think anything that is expressible as a proposition. It could have
no idea of such a thing. It would be confined to feeling that color. True, if you
perceive that you must at the instant in question have been looking at a given
specimen of red-lead, you know that that color has some resemblance to your feel-
ing at that instant. But this only means that when the feeling gives place to com-
parison this resemblance appears. But there is no resemblance at all in Feeling,
since Feeling is whatever it is, positively and regardless of anything else, while the
resemblance of anything lies in the comparison of that thing with something else.
If all this which I am saying to you seems hardly intelligible, allow me to re-
mind you, dear Reader, that there is no royal road to thought. If one person, A,
has an idea, and it is deemed desirable that another person, B, should have it too,
there is absolutely no other way than for B to go through substantially the same
process of thought is that A has gone through; and if it happens that the particular
mode of thought is one in which B is more or less unpracticed, there necessarily
will be a certain awkwardness in his attempts to follow A’s thought. A can arrange
the different stimuli to the thought so as to make the path somewhat easy, if B will
only keep to that path. But he will stumble more or less because he has not been
trained to going over that kind of ground. At first, the difficulties may be great; but
at last he will get the knack of it, and it will become comparatively easy, although
there will be a certain amount of mental energy to be expended, even when the
unnecessary friction has been got rid of.
Every operation of the mind, however complex, has its absolutely simple feel-
ing, the emotion of the tout ensemble. This is a secondary feeling or sensation
excited from within the mind, just as the qualities of outward sense are excited
by something psychic without us. It seems at first glance unaccountable that a
mere slight difference in the speed of vibration should make such a difference

92
of quality as that between deep vermillion and violet blue. But then it is to be
remembered that it is doubtless our imperfect knowledge of those vibrations
which has led us to represent them abstractly as differing only in quantity. There
is already a hint in the behaviour of electrons that a lower speed and a greater
one have differences which we have not been aware of. People wonder, too, how
dead matter can excite feelings in the mind. For my part, instead of wondering
how it can be, I feel much disposed to deny downright that it is possible. These
new discoveries have reminded us how very little we know of the constitution of
matter; and I prefer to guess that it is a psychic feeling of red without us which
arouses a sympathetic feeling of red in our senses.

93
Signs, Thoughts, Reasoning68

A variety of mob-madness to which we all seem to be more or less subject is


manifested in taking up vague opinions about which our associates and com-
panions seem strenuous. I am apt, in some moments, to be wary of admitting
doctrines of which no definition can be given. An eminent and admirable physi-
ologist concludes a volume of great interest with this sentence: “The idea that
mutation is working in a definite direction is a mere anthropomorphism, and like
all anthropomorphisms is in contradiction with the facts.”69 If I were to attack a
definite reasoning to “anthropomorphism”, I should think it stood to reason that
a man could not have any idea that was not anthropomorphic, and that it was
simply to repeat the error of Kant to attempt to escape anthropomorphism. At
the same time, I am confident a man can pretty well understand the thoughts of
his horse, his jocose parrot, and his canary-bird, so full of espièglerie; and though
his representation of those thoughts must I suppose, be more or less falsified
by anthropomorphism, yet that there is a good deal more truth than falsity in
them,—and more than if he were to attempt the impossible task of eliminating
the anthropomorphism, I am for the present sufficiently convinced. I am led to
these remarks from reflecting that a good many persons who told themselves that
they hold anthropomorphism in reprobation will nevertheless opine (though not
in these terms,) that I am not anthropomorphic enough in my account of logic
as a science of signs and in describing signs without making any explicit allusion
to the human mind.
A line of bricks stands on end upon a floor; each facing the next one of the
line. And one is tilted so as to fall over upon the next; and so they all successively

68 [Editor: MS 293, dated 1906, a title is added by the editor.]


69 [Editor: This is a perfect example which shows how Peirce was engaged in the scientific
discourses of biology and physical sciences in general. The “eminent and admirable
physiologist” is Jacques Loeb, the quote is taken from the book The Dynamics of Liv-
ing Matter, Columbia University Press 1906, published in the same year as the present
manuscript. The book is based on a lecture series at Columbia University held in 1902.
It includes chapters about: general chemistry of life phenomena, general physical con-
stitution of living matter, the role of electrolytes in the formation of living matter, and
the dynamics of regenerative processes.
Jacques Loeb was a German-American physiologist and biologist, his work was mainly
about the physiology of the brain and animal tropisms. His classic text was The Mecha-
nistic Conception of Life, published 1912.]

95
fall. The mechanical statement of the phenomenon is that a portion of the sum of
the energy of motion that each brick had at the instant its center of gravity was
directly over its supporting edge, added to the energy of its fall is transformed into
an energy of motion of the next brick. Now I assert no more than this, but less,
since I do not say whether it was mechanical energy, or what it was that was com-
municated, when, applying my definition of sign, I assert (as I do), that each brick
is a sign, (namely an index) to the succeeding bricks of the line, of the original ef-
fect produced on the first brick. I freely concede that there is an anthropomorphic
constituent in that statement; but there is none that is not equally present in the
mechanical statement, since this asserts all that the other form asserts. Until you
see this, you do not grasp the meaning that I attach to the word “sign”.
I maintain that nothing but confusion can result from using in logic a more
anthropomorphic conception than that. To ask how we think when we reason has
no more to do with the security of the particular form of argumentation that may
be under criticism than the histology of the cortex of the brain has to do with
the same question of security. Here you may ask, “How does this gibe with your
former statement that reasoning is self-controlled thought? There is no differ-
ence between Thought and Thinking, is there?” I reply, there is indeed, ‘Thinking’
is a fabled ‘operation of mind’ by which an imaginary object is brought before
one’s gaze. If that object is a sign upon which an argument may turn, we call it
a Thought. All that we know of the ‘Thinking’ is that we afterward remember
that our attention was actively on the stretch, and that we deemed to be creat-
ing objects or transformations of objects while noting that analogy to something
supposed to be real. We choose to call an ‘operation of the mind’; and we are, of
course, quite justified in doing so, provided be well understood that its being so
consists merely in our so regarding it, just as Alexander Hannibal, Caessar, and
Napoleon constitute a single quaterion, or plural of four, as long as we put them
together in thought. The ‘operation of the mind’ is an ens rationis. That is my suf-
ficient excuse for speaking of it a ‘fabled’.
All necessary reasoning is diagrammatic; and the assurance furnished by all
reasoning must be based upon necessary reasoning. In this sense, all reasoning
depends directly or indirectly upon diagrams. Only it is necessary to distinguish
reasoning, properly so called, where the acceptance conclusion in the sense in
which it is drawn, is seen evidently to be justified, from cases in which a rule
of inference is followed because it has been found to work well, which I call
following a rule of thumbs, and accepting a conclusion without seeing why fur-
ther than that the impulse to do so seems irresistible. In both those cases, there
might be a sound argument to defend the acceptance of the conclusion; but to
accept the conclusion without any criticism or supporting argument is not what

96
I call reasoning. For example, a person having been accustomed to considering
finite collections only might contract a habit of using the syllogism of transposed
quantity, of which the following is an instance
Every Hottentot kills a Hottentot
No Hottentot is killed by more than one Hottentot
Therefore, every Hottentot is killed by a Hottentot

Later forgetting why this necessarily follows for finite collection (if he ever did
understand it) this person might by mere force of habit apply the same kind of
reasoning to endless generations or other infinite class; or he might apply it to
a finite class, but with so little understanding that, only luck would present his
applying to infinite collections. Such a case is an application of a rule of thumb
and is not reasoning. Many persons are deceived by the catch about Achilles and
the Tortoise; and I know one extremely bright man who could not, for the life of
him, perceive our fault in this reasoning:
It either rains or it doesn’t rain;
It rains;
Therefore, it doesn’t rain

Such people appear to mistake the rule of thumb for reasoning.


Descartes, in one of his letters, is quite explicit that his Je pense, donc je suis is
not a syllogism with a suppressed premiss. I infer, then, that he thought it not im-
possible that an imaginary being should think (i.e. be conscious) albeit he had no
real existence. Of course, there would be a fallacy here, but not one that Descartes
might not easily fall into. In the same fallacious manner; I suppose he said, It
would be quite possible antecedently that I had never existed. But when he tried
to suppose, not of a being in general, who might be imaginary, but of himself, that
he was conscious without existing, he found that quite impossible; while yet he
had no reason or principle that could sense as major premiss in the argument, this
confused inability to suppose his being false, as long as he thought, was not, in my
terminology, Reasoning, because Reasoning renders the truth of its conclusion
plain and comprehensible, and does not, like the plagiaristic formula of Descartes,
stumble in the dark against an invisible wall of inability to conceive something.
In order to expound fully my proposition that all necessary reasoning is dia-
grammatic, I ought to explain exactly what I mean by a Diagram. But at present
it would be extremely difficult to do quite that. At a later place in this paper
I will endeavor to do so; but just now, I think it will better meet the reader’s needs
to give an exposition that shall cover the main points, and to leave the others,
whose usefulness is only perceived after a deep study, to follow when the need
of them comes out.

97
To begin with, then, a Diagram is an Icon of a set of rationally related objects.
By rationally related, I mean that there is between them, not merely one of those
relations which we know by experiences, but know not how to comprehend, but
one of the relations which anybody who reasons at all must have an inward ac-
quaintance with. This is not a sufficient definition, but just now will go no further,
except that I will say that the Diagram not only represents the related correlates,
but also, and much more definitely represents the relations between them, as so
many objects of the Icon. Now necessary reasoning makes its conclusion evident.
What is this “Evidence”? It consists in the fact that the truth of the conclusion is
perceived, in all its generality, and in the generality that how and why of the truth
is perceived. What sort of a Sign can communicate their Evidence?
No Index, surely, can it be; since it is by brute force that the Index thrusts its
object into the field of Interpretation, the consciousness, as if disdaining gentle
“evidence”. No Symbol can do more than apply a “rule of thumb” resting as it does
entirely on Habit (Including under this term natural disposition); and a Habit is
no evidence. I suppose it would be the general opinion of logicians, as it certainly
was being mine, that the Syllogism is a Symbol, because of its Generality.
But there is inaccurate analysis and confusion of thought at the bottom of that
view; for so understood it would fail to furnish Evidence. It is true that ordinary
Icons,- the only class of signs that remains for necessary inference,—merely sug-
gest the possibility of that which they represent, being percepts minus the insisten-
cy and percussivity of percepts. In themselves, they are mere semes, predicating of
nothing, not even so much as interrogatively. It is, therefore, a very extraordinary
feature of Diagrams that they show. As literally show as a Percept shows the percep-
tual Judgment to be true,—that a consequence does follow, and moiré marvelous
yet, that it would follow under all varieties of circumstances accompanying the
premises. It is not, however, the statical Diagram-icon that directly shows this; but
the Diagram-icon having been constructed with an Intention, involving a Symbol
of which it is the Interpretant (as Euclid, for example, first announces in general
terms the proposition he intends to prove, and then proceeds to draw a diagram,
analyze a figure, to exhibit the antecedent condition thereof) which Intention, like
every other, is General as to its Object, in the light of this Intention determines
an initial Symbolic Interpretant. Meantime, the Diagram remains in the field of
perception or imagination; and so the iconic Diagram and its initial Symbolic In-
terpretant taken together constitute what we shall not too much wrench Kant’s
term in calling a Schema, which is on the one side an object capable of being ob-
served while on the other side it is general. (of course, I always use ‘general’ in the
usual sense of general as to its object. If I wish to say that a sign is general as to

98
its matter, I call it a type, or typical.) Now let us see how the Diagram entrains its
consequence. The Diagram sufficiently partakes of the percursivity of a percept to
determine, as its Dynamic, or visible Interpretant, a state activity in the Interpreter,
mingled with curiosity. As usual, this mixture leads to Experimentation. It is the
normal logical effect; that is to say, it not only happens in the cortex of the human
brain, but must plainly happen in every Quasi-mind in which Signs of all kinds
have a vitality of their own. Now, sometimes in one way, sometimes in another,
we need not pause to enumerate the ways, certain modes of transformation of
Diagrams of the system of diagrammatization used have become recognized as
permissible very likely the recognition descender from some former Induction,
remarkably strong owing to the cheapness of mere mental experimentation. Some
circumstance connected with the purpose which first prompted the construction
of the diagram contributes to the determination of the permissible transformation
that actually gets performed. The Schema sees, as we may say, that the transformate
Diagram is substantially contained in the transformand Diagram,—and in the
significant features of it, regardless of the accidents, that remains after a deletion
from the Phemic Sheet is contained in the Graph originally there, and would do so
whatever colored ink were employed. The transformate Diagram is the Eventual,
or Rational, Interpretant of the transformand Diagram, at the same time being a
new Diagram of which the Initial Interpretant, or signification, is the Symbolic
statement, or statement in general terms, of the conclusion. By this labyrinthine
path, and by no other, it is possible to attain to evidence; and evidence belongs to
every necessary conclusion.
There are at least two other entirely different lines of argumentation each very
nearly, and perhaps quite, as conclusive as the above, though less instructive, to
prove that all necessary reasoning is by diagrams. One of these shows that every
step of such an argumentation can be represented, but usually much more ana-
lytically, by Existential Graphs. Now to say that the graphical procedure is more
analytical than another is to say that it demonstrates what the other virtually
assumes without proof. Hence, the graphical method, which is diagrammatic, is
the sounder form of the same argumentation. The other proof consists in taking
up, one by one, each form of necessary reasoning, and showing that the diagram-
matic exhibition of it does it perfect justice.
Let us now consider non-necessary reasoning. This divides itself, according
to the different ways in which it may be valid, into three classes, probable de-
duction; experimental reasoning which I now call Induction; and processes of
thought capable of producing no conclusion more definitive than a conjecture,
which I now call Abduction. I examined this subject in an essay in the volume

99
of “Studies in Logic by members of the Johns Hopkins University”, published in
1883;70 and have since made three independent and laborious investigations of
the question of validity, and others connected with it. As my latest work has been
written out for the press and may sometime be printed, I will limit what I say here
as much as possible. The general principle of the validity of Induction is correctly
stated in the Johns Hopkins essay, but is too narrowly defined. All the forms of
reasoning there principally considered come under the class of Inductions, as
I now define it. Much could now be added to the essay. The validity of Induction
consists in the fact that it proceeds according to a method which, though it may
give provisional results that are incorrect will yet, if steadily pursued eventually
correct any such error. The two propositions that all Induction processes this
kind of validity, and that no Induction processes any other kind that is more than
a further determination of this kind, are both susceptible of demonstration by
necessary reasoning. The demonstrations are given in my Johns Hopkins paper;
and although the description of the mode of validity there is too narrow, yet it
covers the strongest inductions and most of the reasoning generally recognized
as Inductions. It is characteristic of the present state of logic that no attempt has
been made to refute the demonstrations, but the old talk, conclusively refuted by
me goes on just the same. To say that the validity of Induction rests on necessary
Reasoning is as much as to say that Induction separated from the deduction of
its validity does not make it evident that its conclusion has the kind of justifica-
tion to which it lays claim. This being the case, it is not surprising that Induction
separated from the deduction of its validity, makes no essential use of diagrams.
But instead of experimenting on Diagrams it experiments upon the very objects
concerning which it reasons. That is to say: it does so in an easily extended sense
of the term “experiment”; the sense in which I commonly employ the word in
the critical part of logic.
The third mode of non-necessary reasoning, if we are to count the deduction
of probabilities as a class, though it ought not to be reckoned such is Abduction.
Abduction is no more nor less than guessing, a faculty attributed to Yankees.71
Such validity as this consists in the generalization that no new truth is ever oth-
erwise reached while some new truths are thus reached. This is a result of Induc-
tion; and therefore in a remote way Abduction rests upon diagrammatic reasoning.

70 [Editor: the mentioned essay has the title “A Theory of Probable Inference”.]
71 In point of fact, the three most remarkable, because most apparently unfounded,
guesses I know of were made of English men. They were Bacon’s guess that heat was
a move of motion, Dalton’s of chemical atoms, and Young’s (or was it Wallaton’s) that
violet green (and not yellow, as the painters said) and red were the fundamental colors.

100
The System of Existential Graphs the development of which has only been be-
gun by a solitary student, furnishes already the best diagram of the contents of
the logical Quasi-mind that has ever yet been found and promises much future
perfectionment. Let us call the collective whole of all that could ever be present
to the mind in any way or in any sense, the Phaneron. Then the substance of
every thought (and of much beside thought proper) will be a constituent of the
Phaneron. The Phaneron being itself far too elusive for direct observation, there
can be no better method of studying it than through the Diagram of it which
the system of existential graphs puts at our disposition. We have already tested
the fruit-fruits of the method, we shall soon gather more, and I, for my part, am
in confident hope that by-and-by (not in my brief time,) a rich harvest may be
cornered by this means.
What, in a general way, does the diagram of existential graphs represent the
mode of the structure of the Phaneron to be like? The question calls for a com-
parison, and in answering it a little flight of fancy will be in order. It represents
the structure of the Phaneron to be quite like that of mechanical compound. In
the imagined representation of the Phaneron, (for we shall not, as yet, under-
take actually to construct such a graph,) in place of the ordinary spots, which are
Graphs not represented as compound, we shall have Instances of the absolutely
indecomposable elements of the Phaneron, (supposing it has any ultimate con-
stituents, which, of course, remains to be seen, until we come to the question of
their matter, and as long as we are, as at present, discursive only of their possible
forms, their being may be presumed,) which close enough analogues of the atoms
in the chemical graph or “Relation Formula”. Each elementary graph like each
chemical element, has its definite valency.72 The number of peas on the periph-
ery of its instance,- and the lines of identity (which never branch) will be, quite
analogous to the chemical bonds. Thus is resemblance enough. It is true that in
existential graphs we have cuts, to which nothing in this chemical graph cor-
responds. Not yet, at any rate. We are now just beginning to rend away the veil
that has hitherto enshrouded the constitution of the protein bodies; but whatever
I may conjecture as to those vast super-molecules, some containing fifteen thou-
sand molecules, whether it seems probable on chemical grounds or not, that they
contain groups of opposite polarity from the residues outside those groups, and
whether or not similar polar submolecules appear within the complex inorganic

72 [Editor: Chemical methods had a central role in Peirce’s work; his chemistry teacher
at the Lawrence school was Josiah Parsons Cooke, also an associate of the Florentine
Academy. Further details about this topic see: His Glassy Essence by Kenneth L. Ketner.
234–35, 243, 255, 258, 261. (Nashville and London: Vanderbilt University Press, 1998.)]

101
acids, it is certainly too early to take these into account in helping the exposition
of the constitution of the phaneron. Were such ideas ought to be laid aside as solid
as they are in fact vaporous, until we have first thoroughly learned the lessons of
that analogy between the constitution of the phaneron and that of chemical bod-
ies which consists in both the one and the other being composed of elements of
definite valency.
In all natural classifications of form, once recognized, take precedence over
differences of matter. Who would now throw Iron, with its valency, perhaps of
eight, as used to be done, into the same class with manganese of valency seven,
chromium, with its valency of six (though these three all belong to the even
fourth series,) and aluminium, with valency three and in the odd series three
rather than with nickel and cobalt and even along with ruthenium, rhodium,
and palladium of the sixth series, and with the tenth-series osmium, sodium,
and platinum? Or who would for one instant liken ordinary alcohol to methyl
ether (which has the same material composition) instead of with the alcoholates?
The same procedure of form over matter is seen in the classification of physical
products. Some of Rafael’s greatest pictures,—the Christ bearing the cross for
example,—are suffused with a brick red tinge intended, I doubt not, to correct
for the violet blueness of the deep shade of the chapels in which they were meant
to be hung. But who would classify Rafael’s paintings according to things pre-
dominant tinges instead of according to the nature of the composition, or the
stages of Rafael’s development? There is no need of insisting upon a matter so
obvious. Besides, there is a rational explanation of the procedure of form over
matter in natural classifications. For such classifications are intended to render
the composition of the entire classified collection intelligible,—no matter what
else they may be intended to show, and rationally form is something that the
mind can “take in”, assimilate, and comprehend, while matter is always foreign
to it, and though recognizable, is incomprehensible. The reason of this, again, is
plain enough: matter is that by virtue of which an object is connected with an
object gains existence, a fact known only by an index, which is connected with
the object only by brute force; while form, being that by which object is such as
it is, is comprehensible. It follows that, assuming that there are any indecompos-
able constituents of the phaneron, since each of these has a definite valency, or
number of pegs to its graph-instance, this is the only form, or at any rate the only
intelligible form, the elements of the phaneron can have, the classification of
elements of the phaneron must in the first place, be classified according to their
valency, just as are the chemical elements.
We call a spot a medad, monad, dyad, triad, tetrad, or by some other such
name, according as its Valency, or the number of its Pegs, is 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. It is

102
to be remarked that a Graph not only has attachments to the Graphs through its
Pegs and through Lines of Identity, but is also attached to the Area on which it
is scribed, this Area being a Sign of Logical Universe. But it is not the same kind
of attachment, since the Entire Graph of the Area is after a fashion predicated by
that Universe, while the Lines of Identity represent individual subjects of which
the two connected Spots are predicated either being regarded as determining
the other. There would therefore be a confusion of thought in adding one to the
number of Pegs and calling the sum of the Valency. It would rather be the sum
of two different categories of Valency. But in the case of the Medad, where there
is no Peg, the possibility of scribing the Graph upon an Area is the only Valency
that spot has—the only circumstance that brings it and other thoughts together.
For this reason, we can, without other than a Verbal inconsistency, due to the
incompleteness of our terminology, speak of a Medad as a Monad. For some
purposes, it is indispensible so to regard it.

I am now going to make a few notes which may be useful to a person in reflecting
upon this subject, even if I am not led to make here any further remarks upon
them.
It is likely to prove convenient to have at one’s disposition a certain formula
which follows as a Corollary from Listing’s Census-Theorem.73 The formula is, 2
(k + s – x) = V – L; or, in words, for any Graph which is separated from others,
twice the sum of the Cyclosis, K, added to the excess of the number of spots, S,
over the Chorisis, X, is equal to the excess of the sum of the Valencies of all the
Spots in the Graph, V, over the number of Loose Ends, L. The Chorisis, X, is the
number of separate pieces which go to make up the Graph. The Cyclosis, K, is
the number of Lines of Identity in the Graph which might be severed without
increasing the Chorisis.
A Loose End is an extremity of a Line of Identity not abutting upon any Spot.
Such is the end of a Line of Identity on the Area of a Cut which abuts upon the
Cut, itself. Since the Reader may not be familiar with the Census Theorem, I will
give an immediate demonstration of the truth of the formula. Taking any Graph
whatever, let the Capital letters, K, S, X, V, L, denote respectively its Cyclosis,

73 [Editor: Peirce was an expert on the works of Johann Benedict Listing, a mathematician
and student of Carl Friedrich Gauß. Listing is the founder of the term topology.
Further reading on this matter in: Reasoning and the Logic of Things. The Cambridge
Conferences Lectures of 1898. “Consequences of Mathematics”, by Kenneth L. Ketner
and Hilary Putnam, 1–54. Harvard University Press, 1992.]

103
number of Spots, Chorisis, Total Valency of its Spot, and number of Loose Ends.
Lever every Line of Identity in the Graph at one point.
(But it will not be necessary to cut any that has a loose end. Observe moreover,
that we assume without proof that the number of lines of identity is finite. Ob-
serve, too, that a point of teridentity must be regarded as a spot.) Let the little let-
ters k, s, x, v, l, refer to the Graph resulting from this operation, each letter having
the same predictive signification as the corresponding capital. There will now be
no Cyclosis: k = D. The Spots will be the same as before: s = S. The Chorisis will
be the same as the number of Spots: x = S. The total Valency will not have been
altered: v = V. There will be loose end for every Peg: l = V. Thus, both members
of the proposed formula will vanish; namely both 2 (k + s – x) = 2(0 + s – S); and
v – l = V – V; and thus the formula verifies itself for this state of extreme dissec-
tion. Now restore the original graph by bringing together the two loose ends that
have resulted from severing each line of identity. Mend the lines one by one, in
any order of succession you like. Each such act of mending will leave the total
valency unaltered, but will diminish the number of loose ends by 2; thus increas-
ing the value of the second member of the formula by 2. If the two loose ends
brought together belong, at the time when they are brought together, to separate
pieces of the graph, the mending cannot effect the Cŷclosis, nor the number of
spots, but will diminish the Chorisis by 1, thus increasing the first member of the
equation, 2 (k + s – x), by 2. If, however the loose ends brought together do not
belong to separate pieces, or the time they are brought together, they belong to
the same piece; and the mending will increase the Cyclosis by 1, while leaving the
number of spots and the Chorisis is unchanged; thus again increasing the first
member of the equation by 2. Thus, both members of the equation are increased
by the same amount at each step of the operation, and the equation remains as
true after the step as before. Hence, it remains as true after all the mendings as
it was in its extreme dissection. But it was then true; and is therefore true at the
end. At the end it is the original graph again; which was any graph we pleased.
Hence, the formula is true of any graph we please, so long as the lines of identity
are finite in number.
The formula does not teach one much; but perhaps it will help to keep on in
mind of what sort of work a really scientific research into the Phaneron must be.
It must be a work of diagrammatic thinking, first and last.
Logic requires great subtlety of thought, throughout; and especially in distin-
guishing those characters which belong to the diagram with which one works,
but which are not significant features of it considered as the diagram it is taken
for, from those that testify as to the form represented. For not only may a dia-
gram have features that are not significant at all, such as its being drawn upon

104
“laid” or upon “wove” paper; not only may it have features that are significant
but are not diagrammatically so; but one and the same construction may be,
when regarded in two different ways, two altogether different diagrams; and that
to which it testifies in the one capacity it must not be considered as testifying to
in the other capacity. For example, the entire existential graph of a phemic sheet
in any state of it, is a diagram of the logical universe, as it is also a diagram of a
quasi mind; but it must not, on that account, be considered as testifying to the
identity of those two. It is like a telescope eye piece which at one focus exhibits
a star at which the instrument is pointed, and at another exhibits all the faults of
the objective lens.
Among existential graphs there are two that are remarkable for being truly
continuous both in their matter and in their corresponding signification. There
would be nothing remarkable in their being continuous in either, or in both re-
spects; but that the continuity of the matter should correspond to that of the
signification is sufficiently remarkable to limit these graphs to two; the graph
of identity represented by the line of identity, and the graph of coexistence, rep-
resented by the blank. Here, reader, moreover, you asking what I mean by this
continuity. If I miss-hear, it is because I am expecting you to ask the logical ques-
tion—for questions may logically follow, as well as assertions.
Well, reader, I reply, in asking me that question, “What I mean by true con-
tinuity?” you are asking one of the most difficult questions of logic. We know
very well that the continuity of functions, which I call pseudo-continuity, is a
certain order among the individual members of a collection whose multitude is
the same as that of the collection of all possible collections of integer numbers.
But between any two points of what I call a truly continuous line there is room
for any multitude of points whatsoever, and therefore of an endless series of mul-
titudes all infinitely greater than the total multitude of points of which the linear
pseudo-continuum consists. Now logicians have always rightly said that no col-
lection of individuals, whatever is adequate for presenting all the possible vari-
ations of a general term; and consequently the points of true linear continuum
cannot be actual constituent parts of it. Its only parts, as Kant says, are homoge-
neous [in respect to those qualities which belong to all the parts] with the whole
and those homogeneous parts are indeterminate, in that each may end and the
next begin where you will. This is why every continuum may be regarded as the
actualization of a generalized relation having the form of the relation of three
(or four?) points upon a line. But it is quite evident that Kant is right (though
his nominalism made the truth appear to him more psychological than logical,
as it truly is) in making the primitive relation to be of the form of the relation of
two instants of time, or what is the same thing as the relation between a logical

105
antecedent and consequents. The reason that in order to define the relation of a
point upon a line to another point it is necessary to speak of a third, if not also of
a fourth, point is that on the line one does not distinguish, as in the sequence of
time and in that of logic, one direction from the other. But here we come upon
a disputed question among exact logicians; namely, which is the more primi-
tive (or fundamental, or simple) form of relation, that of an equiparance [i.e. a
reciprocal relation,) or that of a disquiparance? I say that it is the disquiparance,
or rather, it is the opponency, or relation of which a specialization may be a dis-
quiparance. All the arguments in favor of the primitivity of the equiparance will
be found upon analysis to amount substantially and in principle to this: though
“is a cousin of ” and “is a companion of ” are both equiparances, yet “is a cousin
of a companion of ” is a disquiparance; and thus a disquiparence is a compound
of two equiparances. Mr. Kempe in his great memoir published in the Philosophi-
cal Transactions in 1886 has a system of graphs in which the spots have no defi-
nite valency, and there is usually but one kind of line, which signifies whatever
equiparance may have been agreed upon. Now he places on such a line two spots
of different colors, as shown in fig. 1

And remarking that this compounded line signifies a disquiparance (as it mani-
festly usually will,) he regards that as proof that an undirected line is simpler
than a directed line. But I propose to show that if this has any semblance of a
sound argument, it must be so understood as to be a mere variant of the argu-
ment about the cousin of a companion. For representing fig. 1 in an existential
graph, and putting, l, for the equiparant relation signified by Kempe’s plain line,
g for the gules spot, and x for the azure spot, the graph represented must be one
or other of the three of fig. 2, or else some other, to which the same remarks

106
will apply. The first and third of these graph-instances can be severed in the
middle so as to separate each into two equiparents similar to “is cousin of ” and
“companion of ”. But the second cannot be separated into two equipments and
therefore afford no semblance of an argument; and the same is true of the third, if
it be cut elsewhere than the middle. For an equiparant is a general description of
relation which, if it describes the relation of any individual object, A, to another,
B, in every case also describes the relation of B to A. Let l be such a relation, then
the effect of joining z to it in the manner shown in the third graph is to make the
relation inapplicable to the relation of A to B unless B happens to be described
by z, which of course cannot always be the case, if z has any definite signification.
If this will (or may) leave the description applicable to the relation of B to A yet
inapplicable to that of A to B. In short, this fragment of the graph will (or may)
signify a disquiparant relation; and there will be no semblance of arguments.
I will now refute the argument from the cousin of a companion in two distinct
ways. In the first place, when a relation forms the predicate of a proposition, it is,
in a certain sense, specialized. That is to say it is only a special case of the relation
that has any relevancy to the two subjects of the proposition; and the relation as it
is in the proposition only has that limited extension. An equiparance, however, is
such only in the full generality, and usually ceases to be equiparant when limited
to a special relate and correlate. That obviously is the reason why (to make use, for
a moment, of the general Algebra of logic) the relative product of two equipments
such as A:B Ψ B:A and A:C Ψ C:A, gives in one order B:C and in the other order
C:B. That is, in first order, the A:B of one and the C:A of the other are irrelevant,
while in the other order, the A:C of one and the B:A of the other are irrelevant and
might as well be absent. Rectify this by making every index of an individual that
occurs in either occur also in the other, as in
(A:B Ψ B:A Ψ C:D Ψ D:C)(A:C Ψ C:A Ψ B:D Ψ D:B)
and the product will be equiparant: A:D Ψ B:C Ψ C:B Ψ D:A. That is one answer
to the arguments. In the second place, it cannot be that the fact that the relative
product of the equiparants may be a disquiparant,—and it is not always so, nor
ever so if either of the equiparants is a concurrent,—cannot suffice to prove that
equiparance is more primitive, fundamental, or simple than disquiparance, inas-
much as any disquiparant whatsoever relatively multiplied into its own converse,
which is equally disquiparant, will give an equiparant product; and that without
any specialization at all; so that the method of argumentation that any opponents
have adapted much rather tend to prove my contention than theirs. When I speak
of them as opponents, I mean they are accidentally so, as regards some particular
questions. They are exact logicians, toiling in the honest and sincere scientific

107
way. That and their great genius commands any respect. I think them somewhat
incautious and liable to fallacious thinking; but of all of us logicians that is the
peculiar danger, owing to the nature of our subject of thought. In the discussion
of this particular question the method mentioned comprises their entire armory
of reason. They are given to applying it in most involved forms, notwithstanding
the manifest danger of fallacy’s lurking complicated argumentation to prove any
proposition that relates solely to extremely simple constituents of thought. That
method of theirs makes decidedly in my favour. Nevertheless, I do not altogether
approve of it. It seems to me to involve doubtful assumptions. I do not, to begin
with, think that the distinction between equiparance and disquiparance has any
just claim to primacy among divisions Dyadic Relative Terms. If I were quite
sure that any formal division of them could lay such claim, I should unhesitat-
ingly give my vote for the distinction between opponents and concurrents. Op-
ponents are terms expressing relations in which one individual object can stand
to another concurrents are mere specializations of identity. Ordinary objections
are concurrents. In the next place, I conceive the question of the most important
decision of signs of dyadic relation to be subordinate to the question of the forms
of dyadism, or twoness, itself. Now dyadism itself has no generality. We should
come down to the most specialized possible relatives. These are manifestly the
relation of a single designate individual to another and the relation of such an
individual to itself, (A:B) and (A:A). The latter form I hold to be degenerate, that
is to say, it is eviscerated of the kernel of twoness, and is a mere empty shell of
twoness. It is, therefore, a derived idea. But I do not see that it is, on that account,
necessarily composite, in any proper and usual sense. Yet since (A:A) is the mat-
ter of oneness masquerading under the guise of twoness, while (A:B) is simply
twoness in its own proper guise, I conceive the latter to be more direct and in the
only sense in which either is composite, to be decidedly the simpler. Since dis-
quiparants are assimilated to (A:B), and equiparants to (A:A), the disquiparant
appears to me to be the primitive, and the equiparant to be the degenerate, form.
I have thus given a distant hint, and no more, of the way in which, as it seems to
me, this question ought to be treated. At this state of our study of the Phaneron,
I could not present the method, as it really is.
This question being settled the nature of continuity may be regarded as suffi-
ciently understood for our purpose. Let us return then to the continuous graphs,
which are the blank and the line of identity. I will begin with the latter. The im-
mediate interpretant of identity is, I think, simple. If it were the so-called “nu-
merical” identity only that the line signified, perhaps it might not be so, since
that sort of identity implies existence and apparently something more. But the
line of identity is not confined to metallic areas: it is also scribed on color.

108
Now a possibility, not having existence, cannot be a subject of numerical iden-
tity. Nor can we say that the identity signified by the line of identity is the most
special agreement possible; for we should not hesitate to employ the line to ex-
press that the same man who fought the battle of Leipzig fought the battle of
Waterloo. Now, years having elapsed, it was certainly not in entire strictness the
same individual; for an individual is determinate in all respects, and therefore in
Sets. The eventual interpretant of the assertion “A is identical with B” is, “A will
serve all purposes instead of B”, or in other words “Whatever is true of A is true
of B”, and the “all purposes” and “whatever is true” refer to limited logical uni-
verses of purposes or (what is the same at the bottom) of predicates. In form, this
is the statement of a disquiparance. It is equiparant only because the denial of
an assertion is itself an assertion and fitness for one purpose is unfitness for the
reverse purpose. Hereupon you will remark that if the relation to be expressed is
thus disquiparant in form but rendered equiparant by its Matter, then a perfect
diagram of it should have its two extremities unlike in form, yet like in matter,—
if any meaning can be attached to that; and you will ask how to make out that to
be true of the line of identity. I answer that I am not hired as an advocate of exis-
tential graphs. I suppose, like some other human inventions of which antiquaries
can tell us, that it has its imperfections; and I am desirous of finding them out
and expressing them to the comment of all my dear neighbours. Should you say,
“if the system is as imperfect as that, its inventor, who has so many years upon it,
must be very nearly an idiot;” your consequence will be very wrong, but nowhere
in this world could you find more heartfelt assent to your consequent than in my
solitary study. By no means accept anything that inventor says about logic, un-
less you see for yourself that it is true. Yet let me tell you that, fool as he is, he has
important truth to communicate that is not quite smothered in blunders. A line
of identity that abuts upon a cut, whether on its area or on its place may look alike
at two ends; but an essential part of every diagram is the convention by which it
is interpreted; and the principle that graphs are Endoporeutic in interpretation,
as they naturally will be in the process of scribing, confer a definite sens, as the
French say, a definite way of facing, a definite front and back, to the line. If a line
of identity does not abut upon a cut, then that extremity of it from which the
motion of graphical pencil starts will be its hinder end, and while the extremity
at which the motion ceases will be the forward end. But since the Interpreter is at
liberty to take it the other way, it would be a grave logical fault to add any barb or
other mark to show which way the line faced, because it would be introducing a
rhetorical element into what is designed to be a purely logical diagram. If you ask
how I make out that the line faces one way in form but the matter obliterates the
distinction, I ask you to see all the definitions of matter and form that go back to

109
Aristotle (though it is hard to believe they are not earlier; and the metaphysical
application of δλη sounds to me like some late Ionic philosopher and not a bit
like Aristotle, whom it would also have been more like to claim it, if it were his,)
form is that which makes anything such as it is, while matter makes it to be.
From this pair of beautiful generalizations are born a numerous family of har-
monious and interresemblant acceptions of the two words. In speaking of Graphs
we may well call the Principles of their Interpretation (such as Endoporeutic
Principle,) form; the way of shaping and scribing them (such as leaving the line
without barbs,) the matter. Nothing could be in better accord with the general
definitions of form and of matter.
I have already, in a former chapter, shown how a continuous line of some
thickness necessarily signifies identity in the system of existential graphs. The
necessary character of this interpretation may win a pardon for any slight im-
perfection in the Diagrammatization in it. Kant, in one of his most characteristic
familiarly sanded chapters, beginning S. 642 of the “Critik der reinen Vernunft”74
the well-known “Anhang zur transzendentalen Dialektik, (which treats) von dem
regulativen Gebrauch der Ideen der reinen Vernunft,“ sets up a sharp distinction
between the constitutive and the regulative application of concepts, and lays
down, as regulative principles, three laws, of which one, the Gesetz der Affinität,75
becomes highly pertinent to our present question, provided, in the first place,
we understand his “continuierlicher Übergang” from one concept to another in
the sense of True Continuity, as we should, and, in the second place, if we rec-
ognize, as we must, that Kant’s distinction is not absolute, inasmuch as all the
so-called “constitutive” applications of principles are at bottom, regulative. The
reader will find means, I hope to admit the latter condition problematically. He
cannot yet be expected to grant its truth, inasmuch as it is almost an exact defi-
nition of Pragmaticism; but in that sense of a hypothesis, as a proposition that
may possibly be true, it seems to me he virtually has granted it in concenting to
read a defense of pragmatician). In order to illustrate what it would mean to say
that identity is a continuous relation,—that is, continuous in meaning,—we may
compare it with another. To say that he who commanded the French in battle of
Leipzig commanded them in the final battle of Waterloo, is not merely a state-
ment of identity, it is a statement of becoming. There is an existential continuity
in time between the two events. But so understood, the statement asserts no
significative identity, inasmuch as the intervening continuum is a continuum

74 [Editor: Peirce insisted on spelling this word with “C”.]


75 [Editor: this topic has been also discussed in the Monist paper „The Law of Mind“.]

110
of assertion. Now upon a continuous line there are no points, (where the line
is continuous,) there is only room for points,—possibilities of points. Yet it is
through that continuum, that line of generalization of possibilities that the actual
point at one extremity necessarily leads to the actual point at the other extremity.
The actualization of the two extremities consists in the two facts that at the first,
without any general reason the continuum there begins while at the last, equally
without reason, it is brutally, i.e. irrationally but forcibly cut off.

Keep for reference 10–18 inclusive76


Renders the truth of its conclusion plain and comprehensible, and does not like
Descartes’ plagiaristic formula stumble in the dark against a hard wall of inability
to conceive something.
In order to expand my proposition that all necessary reasoning is diagram-
matic, it is requisite that I explain exactly what I mean by a Diagram, a word
which I employ in a wider sense than is usual. A Diagram, in my sense, is in the
first place a Token, or singular object used as a sign; that is, it denotes a general
object. It is, indeed, constructed with that intention, and thus represents the ob-
ject of that intention. Now the object of an intention, purpose, or desire is always
general. The diagram represents a definite form of relation. This relation is usu-
ally one which actually exists, as in a map, or is intended to exist, as in a plan. But
this is so far from being essential to the diagram as such, that if details are added
to represent existential or experiential peculiarities, such additions are distinctly
of an undiagrammatic nature. The pure diagram is designed to represent and
render intelligible the form of relation merely. Consequently, diagrams are re-
stricted to the representation of a certain class of relations; namely, those that
are intelligible. We may make a diagram of the battle of Gettysburgh, because in
certain, it may thus be rendered comprehensible. But we do not make a diagram
simply to represent the relation of killer to the killed, though it would not be
impossible to represent this relation in a graph instance; and the reason we do
not is that there is little or nothing in that relation that is rationally comprehen-
sible. It is shown as a fact, and that is all. I believe I may venture to affirm that
an intelligible relation, that is, a relation of thought, is created only by the act of
representing it. I do not mean to say that if we should someday find out the meta-
physical nature of the relation of killing, that intelligible relation would thereby

76 [Editor: the following pages included in the manuscript show no direct relations to the
context of the original text, nevertheless, they allow interesting insights to the general
topic.]

111
be created. For if such be the nature of killing, such it always was, from the date
of a certain “difficulty” and consurrection in a harvest-field. No; for the intelli-
gible relation has been signified, thought not read by man, since the first killing
was done, if not long before. The thought of God,—if the anthropomorphism is
too distasteful to you, you can say the thought in the universe had represented it.
At any rate, a diagram is clearly in every case a sign of an ordered collection of
plural,—or, more accurately, of the ordered plurality or multitude, or of an order
in plurality. Now a plural,—say, for example, Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and
Napoleon,—seems unquestionably to be an ens rationis, that is to be created by
the very representation of it; and order appears to be of the same nature; that is,
to be on respect, or the result of taking account of things in a certain way. But
these are subtle points, and I should like to give the question mature consid-
eration before risking much on the corrections of my solutions. No such doubt
bedims our perception that it is as an icon of them that the diagram represents
the definite form of intelligible relation which constitutes its object, that is, that
it represents that form by a more or less vague resemblance to thereto. There is
not usually much vagueness, but I use that word because the diagram does not
itself define just how far the likeness extends, and in some characteristic cases
such definition would be impossible, although the form of relation is in itself
definite, since it is general. It is, however, a very essential feature of the diagram
per se that while it is as a whole an icon, it yet contains parts which are capable of
being recognized and distinguished by the affixion to each of a distinct seman-
tic index (or indicatory sense, if you prefer this phrase.) Letters of the alphabet
commonly fulfill this office. How characteristic these indices are of the diagram
is shown by the fact that though in one form or another, they are indispensible
in using the diagram, yet they are seldom wanted for the general enunciation
of the proposition which the diagram is used for demonstrating. That which is
most of all requisitionable from a definition of an artificial contrivance such as
a diagram is, is that it should state what the definition does and what it is for; so
that these points must now be touched upon even at the risk that this definition
of a diagram might be threatened with danger to its absolute preminence over all
others, of what sort soever; that ever have been or ever shall be given, in respect
to the chief grace of definitions, that of brevity. That which every sign does is
determine its interpretant. The responsive interpretant, or signification, of one
kind of signs is a vague presentation, of another kind is an action, while of a
third is involved in a habit and is general in its nature. It is to this third class that
a diagram belongs. It has to be interpreted according to conventions embodied
in habits. One contemplates the diagram, and one at once prescinds from the
accidental characters that have no significance. They disappear altogether from

112
one’s understanding of the diagram; and although they be of a sort which no vis-
ible thing be without (I am supposing the diagram to be of the visual kind) yet
their disappearance77 is only an understood disappearance and does not present
the features of the diagram, now become a schema, from being subjected to the
scrutiny of observation. By what psychical apparatus this may get affected the lo-
gician does not inquire. It suffices for him, that one can contemplate the diagram
and perceive that it has certain features which would always belong to it however
its insignificant features might be changed. What is true of the geometrical dia-
gram drawn on paper would be equally true of the same diagram when put on
the blackboard. The assurance is the same as that of any description of what we
see before our eyes. But the action of the diagram does not stop here. It has the
same percussive action on the interpreter that any other experience has. It does
not stimulate any immediate counter-action, nor does it, in its function as a dia-
gram contribute particularly to any expectations. As diagram, it excites curiosity
as to the effect of a transformation of it.78

77 [Editorial correction].
78 [Editor: The Manuscript involves several additional sheets 67–114, most of them omitted
versions of reedited pages.]

113
Logic79
Book I. Analysis of Thought

Chapter I.  Common Ground.


§1. Those enormous numbers which some popular writers on science are wont to
parade never particularly struck me, partly because a million is a multitude which,
though I understood, I cannot imagine; and I disbelieve those writers doing so.
The stars visible in the sky make, I guess, about as large a multitude as anybody
can directly imagine. Now the number of stars that can be seen with the naked
eye at once, without such close scrutiny as one can bestow only upon a very small
part of heavens at a time, is the average number of stars above the fifth magnitude
that are over 15° from the true horizon; and that number is a trifle less than 500.
At different sidereal hours the numbers will be more or less. Imagine as many
small objects, then, as one can see of stars in the sky, and the number of single
objects in this second collection will be (500)² = 250 000. Next, imagine as many
of these collections as there are stars in the sky, and the number of single objects
in this third collection will be (500)³ = 125 million. Continue this proceeding,
and when you reach the fifteenth collection, the number of suits in it will be about
one tenth of the number of times that the radius of an election will go into the
distance of an average twentieth magnitude star. The third collection is about six
times as great as the number of electron-radii in a wavelength of light in the mid-
dle of the pure green of the spectrum, at the line E. Now when I consider that we
can reason alike about electron and about the whole stellar system, so as to make
predictions that the facts of observation will bear out; so that, if we use the word
Mind to denote that agency which causes the behavior of any object to conform
to general principles, we must recognize one Mind animating alike the electron
and the entire stellar system as a whole, I am overwhelmed with deepest awe. The
mere fact that waves of light set out from the twentieth magnitude star and reach
us without getting all confused nor broken up is a great marvel; but it does not
compare in majesty to the other fact about reasoning. But then, when I consider
that the individual human soul, you or I, can interpret the ways of that creative
Mind; and to that extent is made in the image of its maker; I am led to pronounce
the theory of reasoning to be one of divider of the sciences. There is food for deep
reflexions as we are approaching the parties of this temple called logic.

79 [Editor: MS 615, dated 1908.]

115
§2. I do not mean to define logic as the theory of reasoning. For in the first place,
a definition must not involve any ambiguity, the word “theory” in the phrase “the-
ory of reasoning” is very seriously equivocal. In my opinion almost all the schools
of German Logic and more than one of the American schools, however interest-
ing their studies may be, are quite mistaken in supposing that those studies have
any essential bearing upon what all the world calls logic, or upon any subject
nearly so fundamental; and this I must endeavor to lead you to see before I can
take up the proper subject of this chapter. But the pathway to the point of view
from which this will clearly appear will be somewhat longer.
In the second place, the science of logic should deal, as it always has, with
some topics that are without the borders of a theory of reasoning. My general
intention in this chapter is to take my stand upon common sense and to use
words in their ordinary senses, without attempting to give them any unusually
precise meanings. However, since this intention applies particularly to logical
terms, and the word ‘science’ is not a term of logic, the opportunity of illustrat-
ing upon this outlying word, the method I intend to pursue in selecting single
precise meanings to be each exclusively attached to a single term of logic, and
of showing you the kind of considerations which will govern me in these selec-
tions of meanings. I need hardly remark, however, that I should not indulge in
these excuses if it were not going carry you along that pathway of which I have
just now spoken.
Under the word scientia. The latin lexicon (and let it be understood, once for
all, that whatever I may say of the history of non-logical words will usually have
been borrowed from dictionaries, histories of science, and the like; for it is only
within the faith of logic that I have made much thorough research of my own into
such matters) the lexicon, I say, furnishes no examples of this word earlier than
Cicero, who sometimes uses it in ways which remind me of how in my boyhood
the great American people, and the great West, I suppose, in more recent days
used to speak of ‘scientific’ hair-cutting, and ‘scientific’ gambling; and the Greek
equivalent ἐπιστήμη was applied by Siphocles to archery. But long before Latin
literature began, the Greek word had been restricted so as to be a term of science,
and soon the Latin word exactly translated the Greek except that it was also used
of jurisprudence and by quintillion of rhetoric. As terms of science both words
were used in an abstract sense, and were also applied in the concrete to such bod-
ies of doctrine as possessed the character denoted by the same words when used
as abstract. The abstract meaning was substantially what we call ‘comprehension’,
that is, not merely knowing a thing to be a fact, but also knowing according
to what general principle it was a fact. Thus, Cicero speaks of habere scientium
magnarum.

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The Aristotelians defined it as knowing anything in its causes, i.e. in its matter,
its form or essence, its efficient cause, and its purpose or function. This contin-
ued to be the meaning of the word until well into the days of modern science.
The second definition that the word ‘science’received, I have been able (in lack of
books) to trace back further than Coleridge’s Introduction to the Encyclopaedia
Metropolitana, which appeared in 1810 (?). The definition to which I refer and
which is still frequently given makes science to consist in systematized knowl-
edge, although Coleridge’s phrase, if I rightly recollect, is “organized knowledge”,
which is several degrees less bad. According to the former phrase, a person who
should learn a handbook of chemistry by heart, without having performed or
even seen a single experiment, and without the faintest idea of the method of
chemical discovery, would possess the Science of chemistry. The definition, if
not by Coleridge, evidently originated with some equally unscientific person.
I can testify that men of science, in conversation with one another, uniformly
use the word in a definite but, totally different sense, and in entire disregard of
its etymology, a circumstance which shows how much need they had of a word
to express their meaning. That meaning agrees, accepting in two respects, with
that which is generally assumed to have been the original meaning of Philosophia
φιλοσοφία, love of knowledge. The first of the exceptions is that not the mere love
of knowledge, but the more than diligent, the devoted pursuit of it is understood
when scientific men talk of science and beside that, it is understood that this
pursuit is conducted according to well approved methods. The second exception
is that nothing is considered as belonging to science until it is so published as to
be open to the criticism, kind, but searching and inflexible, of the members of
that social group that comprises all those who are qualified by their life’s devotion
to inquiries nearly in the same line to make such criticisms. If the work sustains
such criticism, its result is admitted with unanimity by the group, and is said to
be ‘established.’
I shall make great use of the word science in this writing. It will be one of my
most indispensable tools, and I must be permitted to whittle at its meaning a lit-
tle to fit it to my hand. That it may become a practical tool, I wish it to imply an
actual state of things, a living fact widely répandu, no monument to dead discov-
eries, nor yet involving any vain pretension to know what future knowledge is to
be like, but a human affair of today. I wish you to know that when I use this word,
I am not thinking of a self-important professor, sitting in his armchair
With purpose to be drest in an opinion
Of wisedome, gravity, profound conceit,
As who should say, I am, sir, an oracle,
And when I ope my lips, let no dogge barke.

117
For that it bears no resemblance to the man of science. But I am thinking of
groups of men who have been drawn together because each knows of every other
that he is one of the very few who, like himself, is deeply interested in getting
to the bottom of a certain line of problems. They do not expect, themselves, to
learn the solutions of the majority of those problems, but they expect that they
and some generations of students after them by diligently working at them will
enable a still later generation to find the solutions. There is not a bit of sentimen-
tality about them. At Pope’s saying
The undevout astronomer is mad,

they give a little laugh, well-knowing that the astronomer is the only man who
has no opportunity to note the sublimity of the heavens, since whenever there “is
any seeing,” he must be completely absorbed in making his measures. The spirit
in which they work that posterity may know what they never can, is rather like
that of disciplined troops who advance upon the walls of a fort, with the idea that
when the dead are piled high enough those behind will be able to reach the ram-
parts. They knew when they took up the Scientific life that it meant poverty and
hardship; but they felt that somebody ought to do the work, and that they were
able to do it better than others. Naturally, they are drawn to one another, each one
particularly to those who are studying problems which he himself knows pretty
well how to attack, but also to every man of science, because he knows that such a
man has the same code of honor as himself, which other men do not comprehend.
Therefore, in any foreign city he sends in his card to a scientific man with no sort
of introduction, and knows that he will be received as a brother. He is not a poet,
but an intellectual man, a reasoned and above all an observer. He may not entirely
understand himself, but he has a sort of deep, unemotional worship for whatever
it may be that has made the universe; but he looks facts straight in the face, and he
does not believe in there being any facts that are inherently inexplicable; though
for himself he does not speculate upon the explanations of very broad principles,
such as the laws of motion, as the metaphysician does. He does not, because he
does not see how to attack such problems. So he leaves them alone.
Now I propose to employ the word Science to mean the collective and coop-
erative activity both of all and or of any group of such men. In the former accep-
tion, I shall use it rather loosely. Yet there is one distinction that I shall insist upon
in both acceptions, and which you will at first think rather piddling, though I trust
you will come to see the importance of it. For I insist that Logic does not repose in
any degree of or any special science nor upon metaphysics. Nevertheless, I shall
admit that it supposes a number of truths which are ordinarily reckoned as parts
of special sciences, especially of psychology. I do not admit that the fact that the

118
moon goes through its changes in 29 or 30 days was taught us by astronomy or can
be attributed to the science of astronomy. I grant that the science of astronomy has
established the fact that the average lengths of a lunation is 29 days 12 hours
43 minutes and 27 seconds; but that the moon goes through its familiar changes
in a day or two more than four weeks, far from being due to astronomy, was one
of the facts curiosity about which just simulated some men to become astrono-
mers and thus gave birth to that science. Truths that ordinary observation teaches
every intelligent person or that have been handed down from generation to gen-
eration from prescientific ages as common sense do not belong to any science nor
to science generally, though science may be in part founded on them. It would not
be basing logic on psychology, or on any science, in any degree, though I should
admit that it were based on such truths as that one sees things in special relations,
that one can recall past experiences, that one can imagine things one never expe-
rienced, that recollections and fancies are not accompanied with that insistence
called “vividness” in anything like the degree that experiences are, even when they
had been expected, far less when they are unexpected, that repetitions of the same
kind of action produce facility in like actions afterward, and that repeatedly acting
in any determinate general ways upon occasions of experiencing certain kinds of
objects or even upon imagining such occasions give rise to “habits”, or tendencies
so to act upon, future such occasions; that a certain kind of effort called “making
a resolution” will tend to cause determinations of our dispositions so that we shall
be apt to behave in accordance with our resolutions, etc., etc. For every person not
on the borders of idiocy knows these things, science or no science. But when I
speak of a science how much shall I include? Shall I, for example, make organic
and inorganic chemistry, the new physical chemistry, radioactive chemistry, the
determination of atomic weight and crystallography one science or six or how
many? My answer is that it must depend on the states of mind of the chemists. An
organic chemist feels himself more at home in the company of organic chemists
than with inorganic chemists, yet more at home with these than with the students
of radioactivity, with these again rather than with chrystallographers, and with
these rather than with students of the distribution of gravity or with those who
devote themselves to the lunar theory. In short the difficulties of scientific are
some more, some less; and this more and less is not that of a smooth slope, but is
broken into unequal steps with landings, flights, and so on, in consequence of
which I think of science as having its species, genera, families and so on. It is not
necessary that I should give the whole scheme. Suffice it to say that I recognize
three great branches of science; first theoretical science, secondly science of re-
view, such as Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer and Alexander von Humboldt
studied together with the whole activity of those who classify the sciences and

119
those who compile handbooks and other digests; and thirdly, the practical sci-
ences, whose cultivators are aided by the digests of the second branch, while those
who further depend upon the published works of theoretical science. In this last
branch, I recognize two great clefts dividing the men of theoretical science, by
their usual inability really to know the ways of working, except each those of the
class to which he himself belongs. The first class is mathematics, whose devotees
merely deduce the consequences of imaginary states of things, which they term
their hypothesis, without observing anything but their diagrams, mostly mental,
some of them arrays of letters, others composed of lines, all of them embodying or
instancing their hypotheses. The second class of theoretical science is philosophy,
more exactly called, after Bentham, Cenoscopy κοινοσκέψις, whose cultivator’s in-
quire into categorical truth, but who make no special observations, but derive
such results as they can from ordinary unscientific observations made by all men.
The third class of theoretical science is the activity of those whose principal oc-
cupation is to observe hitherto unknown facts. This class is divided into two
wings. The one consists in observing inanimate things and phenomena of matter,
Hyloscepsy (pronounce hailoskep’sῐ). The other observes the things that men and
other intelligences do and make. I will call it Noescepsy. It embraces psychology,
anthropology, ethnology, linguistics, economics, archeology, history, biography
(especially comparative biography), physical research, etc. These two wings are
divided each into three orders of science which are perfectly parallel with those of
the other wing. Hyloscepsy began by studying single things and seeking to explain
their origins. Astronomy and Geognosy were the first sciences. The latter is now
divided into geodesy (in the sense of the study of the form, and size, of the entire
level surface of which the sea level is a part, together with the explanation of its
having that form), physical geography, hydrography and oceanography, the sci-
ence of the tides, geology, etc. Such studies, which form the third and lowest order,
are called descriptive sciences; but a better designation would be explanatory sci-
ences; for more description without explanation is the goal of an art rather than of
a science. We must, however within this third order of sciences distinguish a de-
scriptive family of science and an explanatory family. As an explanatory science
progresses, it becomes acquainted with great numbers of more or less similar ob-
jects, and thus tends to pass into the second order, that of the classificatory sci-
ences. Each such science seeks, in the first place, to form a scheme of classification
which shall truly represent the degrees, kinds, and ranks of importance of all the
resemblances that it finds among the single objects of the general type that it stud-
ies. It also gives a common name to the single object of each of the groups that it
recognizes. So far, its work is almost exactly like the first part of the work of the
sciences of the third order. The chief difference is that a character may belong to a

120
different proportion of a classificatory group in different degrees. Having carried
out this descriptive work more or less thoroughly, making a strictly classificatory
family of science, corresponding to descriptive family of the third order, students
of the second order become interested more and more in two new kinds of ques-
tions, giving rise to two new families of classificatory science. The first of these
kinds of questions relates to how the objects of their study become separated into
distinct classes with comparatively sparse or perhaps no intermediate forms. This
makes the evolutionary family of classificatory science. In the second kind of
questions, just as the third order of hyloscepcy tends to pass from studying indi-
vidual things to noticing more and more classes of like things, so now the second
order tends to pass from studying groups of things to noticing with more and
more attention the single characters and kinds of phenomena, complexes of which
distinguish those groups. They begin to ask why these phenomena should be con-
nected as they are found to be. Thus arises the physiological family of classifica-
tory science which tends to pass into the first, or nomological order of hyloscepsy.
The first order of either wing of idioscopy (Bentham’s term for special science,)
is nomological; that is to say, in its first family it discovers new (i.e. previously
unknown) phenomena or new conditions under which old phenomena appear
and describes them in their varieties. This is the descriptive family. The second
family makes out the general laws connecting phenomena with their conditions
or with other phenomena. This is the nomic family of the nomological order of
idioscopy. The third and last family measures the quantities involved in the law,
in difficult cases. This is the metrical family.
The classes of idioscopy so far examined are distinguished by the different
sorts of questions that they investigate. Meantime, there is a cross-classification,
of subsidiary importance, it is true, to the families so far noticed, but perhaps
more important than any subdivisions of those families. This cross-classification
depends upon the different natures of the single objects observed. Here we can-
not expect to find a much analogy between the classes of hyloscepsy and those of
neoscepsy. In hyloscepsy there are recognized by physicist two enduring sorts of
things, matter and vortices; but the latter are, for the present of no importance.
Matter, so far as the physicists recognize it, is of two main kinds only, ordinary
matter in atoms, and electrons, which are also contained in the atoms, and as
some imagine compose the whole atom. The atoms are probably of about 600
kinds; but only 82 kinds, including coronium, are believed to be known. Coro-
nium is apparently not capable of being held down by the earth’s gravity; and
there are likely to be 500 other species of which this is true. A number of other
kinds of atoms have been announced by reputable chemists, but their distinct
existence not established.

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The things that are composed of ordinary matter have three kinds of composi-
tion; to wit: 1st, things composed of essential parts and having essential shapes;
2nd, things not composed of essential parts, but which nevertheless take proper
shapes; and 3rd, mere aggregations of matter of no proper shape. Of the first of
these three genera, there seem to be three species, to wit: 1st, things made under
the control of mind such as bird’s nests which are, accordingly, objects Noes-
cepsy; not of hyloscepsy; 2nd, single molecules and such more complex wholes as
may exist in protoplasms; but neither name of the species can as yet be examined
singly; 3rd, wholes formed largely of protoplasms and capable of growth. These
last are called Organisms. Of the second genus, there are various species all of lit-
tle importance excepting crystals, of which there are 32 classes. The third genus,
consisting of mere accidental aggregations of matter, needs no further several
genera of scientific groups exist not because there seems to be much reason for
them in the nature of things, but because of the habits of the men they actu-
ally exist; that is to say, as a matter of fact certain classes of scientists are little
acquainted with the work that is going on in the fields which seem to be much
related to their own. For example, the proportion of accomplished chemists who
could enumerate off-hand the 32 classes of crystals, to say nothing of being able
to discriminate between them, is probably small; although it is not easy to see
why crystallography ought not to be a branch of chemistry. Another difficulty
is that of two groups; call them the A-ists and B-ists,—almost every A-ist is well
prepared to pass judgment on almost every research by a B-ist, while very few
B-ists know anything about important parts of the activity of the A-ist. The rea-
son may, for example, be that it is so notorious that the branch cultivated by the
A-ists absolutely requires a prodigious memory that nobody who is not more
than usually gifted in that way will take up the study of it, and still less will he
think of keeping himself informed of the general progress of that science from
year to year, especially if the number of workers in it is very great. I suppose that
every chemist of eminence could pass a good examination in all the undisputed
parts of physics, and even in regard to them would know in what the doubt con-
sists, and could moreover mention the two or three most important contribu-
tions to physics of the past twelve months; while I fancy that if a dozen physicists
taken at random from a list of the most eminent were to attempt without special
preparation to pass an examination in chemistry and were to find the first ques-
tion were so old a story as “explain Perkins’s reaction,” there would hardly be two
of the dozen who would answer with much honors. But there will be few such
cases. A scheme of classification is of its essence too simple in form to exhibit all
the intricate relations between the sciences. But its simplicity is a great virtue or
rather is a requirement that cannot be dispensed with.

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Chapter I:  Common Ground80

There are some points concerning which you and I are thoroughly agreed, at the
very outset. For instance, that you know the English language—at least, tolerably.
I am positively sure that you cannot deny that,—at any rate, not in English. There
is much more that it will not be unreasonable to assure that you will assent to;
such as that, you know the rudiments of grammar,—meaning, of course, Aryan
grammar, which is often called “universal grammar”;—that you have most of the
leading attributes of the genus homo, as set down in the looks of physiology and
of psychology. Nay, far more than that, you have had, I will wager, an experience
of life quite similar in a general way, as regards the smaller and more elementary
items of experience to mine. Among these I can instance this, that you, like me,
have acquired considerable control not only of the movements of your limbs but
also over your thoughts. If we were to meet in the flesh, we should both take it
for granted. I should know that it was so, and know that you knew it, and know
that I knew that you knew it; and so on ad infinitum and vice versa. Surely, all
these commonly acknowledged information ought to afford us an amply suf-
ficient ποῦσεῶ, in acting each upon all ordinary topics, or, at least, upon ques-
tions concerning our meaning in using familiar words such as knowledge, truth,
and reality. Yet, strange to say, those very three questions, what do we mean by
“Knowledge”? What by “Truth”? What by “Reality”? are much vexed. Is there
really any need of their being so?
I do not believe we can settle them unless we settle some other points first.
I mentioned the phenomena of self-control as among the most familiar items of
common knowledge. When a boy reaches the age of which the need of his ex-
ercising a far more vigorous, better schemed, and better organized government
over himself strikes every intelligent boy as urgent, he will reflect, if he has any
capacity for reflexion, that, considering how often he has already found himself
mistaken, in spite of his never having seriously made business of finding out all
his errors, it must almost inevitably be that many opinions that he still holds are
erroneous, though he does not know which opinions those are; and it would be
absurd to suppose he should. There they must be, however, and he will be satis-
fied, if he has as much of the philosopher in him as native good sense would im-
plant, that he will not succeed in achieving his purposes,—nay, that he will not be
able so much as to form purposes that would be permanently, satisfactory to him

80 [Editor: MS 612, dated 1908.]

123
in case he should achieve them, unless, having instituted, the sooner the better,
and then energetically carried out a systematic re-examination of his opinions,
he thereafter industriously keeps them weeded out by the best methods he can.
Thinking so, and carrying out the idea may be not far removed in an ardent
lad. But when by his own activity or by the adroit suggestions of a wise and tact-
ful governor he has been led to undertake such a reform, he can hardly begin
better than by asking himself, ‘what are the different sorts of objects of which
I am directly aware; that is to say of which I am aware not as being involved in
or indicated by something else, even though, as a matter of fact, they be so in-
volved or indicated, but as being themselves present?’ His reason for drawing up
such a list, whether it is clear to him or not, will be that it must be from among
objects of such sorts that he must, whether with or without design, draw the
raw materials of which any new opinions are to be constructed; and the form of
any constructed thing as well as the method of constructing it ought to be, and
indeed must be, dependent in some measure upon the properties of the available
materials. His catalogue of the kinds of object of which he is directly aware will
run somewhat as in the following list, in which I shall number the items, so that
I may be able to insert remarks on the different items without confusing you.
Although I shall not write out the list in inconsiderate haste; yet I am conscious
that it could not be nearly freed from errors and other faults without vastly more
labour than I care to bestow upon it; since I do not propose to put it to any use
for which it would be better adapted if it were faultless, so long as it fairly shows
the general kinds of variety that there are in a mode of immediate awareness.
I think it will conduce to perspicuity to invent the noun ‘phaneron’ (φανερόν
being the commonest Greek adjective that means apparent, containing the same
root as phenomenon, phantom, fancy, face, bare, bold, etc. it was the same as that
of Latin fari, Greek φἠυαι, to say, the idea of clearness was conveyed by it from
the very first,) to denote an object of any kind of which a person is aware not
merely in being first aware in something else, but directly. This word ‘directly’ is
not expressive, and needs to be illustrated. Yet there will be a serious difficulty
in attempting to elucidate my meaning in that way. It is that you may think that
objects which I adduce as examples of objects of which our awareness is not di-
rect, in truth so manifestly have the character which I have in mind when I say of
objects that one is directly aware of them that it will seem to you inconceivable
that I should use the term in that sense when I deny of my instances their being
directly apprehended.
The reverse misunderstanding may equally occur. I must therefore explain
why I consider such object instanced to be one of which we are directly aware,
or else indirectly; and thus giving a reason for my putting the object into one

124
pigeonhole or the other, I must appeal to a definition, or logical analysis of the
idea of direct apprehension. But such an abstract explanation is particularly open
to misunderstanding. The two methods should be mixed. By direct awareness
I mean awareness not altogether through awareness of a sign of the object, but in
part at least independently of any such sign. By a sign, I mean anything that is,
on the one hand, in some way determined by an object and, on the other hand,
which determined some awareness, and this in such a manner that the awareness
is thus determined by that object. Take, for example, one’s awareness of a single
object that has a proper name. The first time I hear or read that name there will
probably be some circumstance in the context that is a sign to me of its being a
proper name; and more likely than not something in the sign or its context will
show whether it is the name of a person, a geographical feature, a star, an abstract
quality or form, a general kind might be called by a proper name. In addition,
there will be something in the mention of it that furnishes me with more specific
knowledge about the object, until I am quite familiar with it. Subsequently, per-
haps, the object of the name may itself be presented to my vision; and this will
considerably increase my acquaintance with it. I vividly remember, for example,
how, thirty years ago, I first saw Etna, of which I had read so much in the classics
and in modern books, above the line of the horizon, an obtuse isosceles triangle.
I then was first directly aware of it, I was on shipboard, and it stood up very im-
pressing. I should not wonder if you were disposed to dispute this last statement;
and if I were sure that a beginner in this line of thought were really so disposed,
I should be much encouraged, and should say, it is you who so dispute me whom
I am addressing in the second person; for I cannot communicate what I have to
communicate to any but a critical reader;—a critical reader who will gladly yield
when his objections shall be fairly met, but not before. Let us all hear, what you
have to say. Let me insert little dialogues when objections occur to me.

You. I should be inclined to say that what you were directly aware of was rather
the appearance of an obtuse isosceles triangle than Etna itself; although I do not
promise to grant without argument that you were directly aware of the isosceles
triangle.
I. Why, you are quite right as to my being aware that what I saw that Etna of
which I had heard so much. For it was only by such signs as our having been
steaming due east or a little north of that since we had pass[ed] Taenarium that
I knew we must by that time have got about to where Etna would be visible in
the west, and so that that obtuse isosceles triangle I saw must be Etna, which
without such signs I should not have known. Nevertheless, it remains true that

125
I was directly aware of some object, and equally so that that object of which
I was directly aware was Etna; and that would have been true if I had been quite
ignorant of geography. In that sense, I was directly aware of Etna, that is, of what
really was Etna.
You. It is not a very correct form of expression.
I. Your criticism is very hard steel tempered to straw-color and chilled in liq-
uid helium. But it is all right: that is just the stuff for us anatomist of thought to
make our scalpels of; which, though they are not the only dissecting instruments
we have, for they will not answer for making microscopic sections, are the most
serviceable of our tools for our ordinary cuttings,—I mean words, brought to
the finest and smoothest edge that definition can effect. So, the chillier the head
of any disciple of mine, the more my heart will warm to him. “Give me the man
that is not passion’s slave.” As for my phrase “to be directly aware of an object,” if
it lacks the elegance my Longinus would wish for, I shall at least impart scientific
perspicuity to it, by explaining that, as I use it, it is equivalent to a transitive verb
whose direct object does not denote an assertion nor the possession of any char-
acter but is equivalent to a noun that may be the subject of assertions, and that it
is as such subject, denoting a thing in the widest sense of that word, an ens of no
matter what kind be it an existent, or a possibility (or more accurately a possible),
or a real tendency, a disposition. I was directly aware of a thing, and the thing I
was directly aware of was Etna, although I was not directly aware of the fact that
it was Etna. Your objection was pertinent and a real help as well considered objec-
tions always are. You see, however, that I have obviated it. Yet I seem to discern a
look of dissatisfaction still on your countenance. What is the matter? You have no
further objection to make to what I say, have you?
You. Yes, I have; and to be frank, it appears to me conclusive. It is this. All our
knowledge, all our ‘awareness’, as you call it, comes to us through experience,
and this experience takes the form of sensations arising, as it appears to us, from
excitations of our different afferent nerves. I do not care whether this be a decep-
tive appearance or not. It seems to me that, in any case, every such sensation is
merely the access to that kind of awareness that we call a feeling. Now my objec-
tion is that every feeling is, in itself entirely simple. I will present one argument
at a time in support of this assertion. If you succeed in refuting it, I will offer
another; and if you refute that I shall have still another; and we shall see whether
my arguments or your refutations become exhausted first. You certainly cannot
admit what everyone of these arguments seems to prove without renouncing
what you have just said, to wit, that you were ever ‘directly aware’ of Etna, since

126
Etna is large, and therefore has parts; so that the awareness of it cannot be a feel-
ing, but is, on the contrary, derived from a synthesis of many feelings, which are
the ‘signs’, as you call them, of Etna; and so, as I said, you are not ‘directly aware
of ’ Etna, and never were.
I. Upon my word, what you say seems quite true. It is true and I am dumbfound-
ed. Give me a few moments to think how I shall wriggle out of my dilemma.
You. Mr Peirce, lend me your ear: I am entitled to it, and you shall listen to
what I have to say. I came to you because I am suffering from the most dreadful
of human maladies, ignorance, and that in the most hideous of all its varieties,
ignorance of reason, and because you profess to exercise a medicine mentis of
exceptional power. It never occurred to me that my physician would jeer at my
complaint. Yes, you do: that is just what you are doing, when you talk as if my
objection had taken you by surprise. Haven’t you written this book, and was it
not you that put the objection into my mouth, and then made believe to be sur-
prised at its force, merely in order to render your triumph over it more striking.
What am I, at all, but a puppet of your fabrication,—a puppet cat with whose paw
you delight to pull your hot chestnuts out much less for the poor nutriment they
afford than for the cruel sport of forcing me to take them. But let me tell you that
when you created me, you overreached yourself in one particular. For when you
manufactured me, in order to make my motions ape life more perfectly, you clev-
erly introduced a principle into my make up whereby every one of them without
exception, is subject to an automatic motion of regulation, giving that critical
effect you speak of, and of course each such motion of the automatic regulator
is, by the same principle itself controlled in the same manner by another motion.
It was the circumstance that my being is merely the being of an idea,—some-
thing consisting in a capability of being represented independently of whether
or not has a capacity for representing it, that made it possible, and easy too, for
my creator to introduce that principle into my constitution. By this endowment,
although I am absolutely subject to all your freaks, yet my consistent appeals to
your reason may turn out as important in the end. The endowment constitutes
what obese unwieldy intelligences call “free-will”, what Prince Siddhártha came
to know as nirvana and emancipation from existence, and what you call my icy,
hard, and passionless temper of criticism.81 I criticize your creation of me, and

81 [Editor: Prince Siddhártha is known as the founder of Buddhism. Further reading on


the topic Peirce and Buddhism see: Charles Hartshorne, “The Relevance of Charles
Peirce”, The Monist. Vol. 63, No. 3, 1980, pp. 277–289.]

127
the whole method of throwing philosophical discussion into the form of dia-
logue. For a philosopher ought above all things to be sincere and to say just what
he means. Now a philosophical dialogue is always a make-believe lower than
playacting. It is just a puppet-show, in which Punch knocks Judy and the police-
man and all the rest of the wooden things over the head, and then makes fun of
all his lawless doings and of all his victims.
I. Well, well, there was plenty of latent heat in the cold steel.
You shall be convinced that I was not making fun of you, by any means, al-
though I will not promise not to make fun of your declaration (which you didn’t
believe) that you are only a figment of my creation and at the same time that you
are an idea, both of which are decidedly funny. On the contrary, you are a living
man, capable of being convinced (as an idea would not be,) as you know quite as
well as I do; and furthermore you are a man that is not passion’s slave; and how
thoroughly true it is that I hold you in my heart’s core you shall discover. Your
specific objection shall be obviated too; but you have said much else, and I prefer
to begin by considering your most general remark, and to descend from that
consideration to particulars.
In the first place, then, the plan of setting forth philosophical doctrines in
the form of a dialogue involves no such insincerity as you, seem to think it does.
I divide such expositions, very unequally, into two great classes, according to the
way in which the plan is carried out. The first class, which embraces all the great
philosophical dialogues, those of Plato, the Italian works of the XVIth century,
beginning with those of Pietro Aretino, the most perfect of all but Plato’s from the
literary point of view, followed by those of Giordano Bruno, Gallileo, and many
others, then those of Berkeley and Shaftesbury’s Moralists, either narrate actual
dialogues, or compress into one a number of such actual conversations. The dif-
ferent speakers were intended to represent as many different ways of thinking
that were current in the writer’s time; but in fact the dialogues were no doubt
reminiscences of conversations in which the writer had taken part, filled out,
where they must be, by his understanding of what different types of minds would
have replied to certain questions. They are, therefore, historical records intended
to be veracious. The other way of carrying out the general plan is the one that I in-
tend to pursue in such scraps of talk between you and me as I may have occasion
to introduce. It depends upon two principles, each consisting of several clauses,
or points. The first point of the first principle is that, when a man meditates, he
does not, as my master Kant (my attitude toward whom is substantially such as
I would have my disciple take toward me, namely, a critical attitude,) says he
does, incessantly repeating “I think”, although it is true that, when he reaches a

128
decided belief, he may perform an exertion of the kind called a Resolution of will,
with a view to producing in his constitution and determination, i.e. a tendency to
conduct himself in harmony with that belief. Otherwise, he only thinks of himself
as being ignorant, or as having fallen into error, or as having comported himself
ill. When he gathers his attention upon an idea it is not of himself that he thinks:
it is rather to the idea that he addresses a command, “Come on, now; play your
part in the situation.” The second point of the principle is that although the object
of which he is thinking is not himself, nevertheless what he thinks is addressed
to himself. By that I mean he is, all along, appealing to his subsequent self, the
self who shall have thought the matter out and come to a definitive conversation,
each is aware of what is passing in the other’s mind by substantially the same
means by which he is aware of what is passing in his own, though I do not say he
is as completely cognizant of the one as of the other. He no more thinks about
the other’s mind than he does his own. What these means are we shall minutely
consider later; but even now we must consider them a little. In doing so, I must
use, in a more general sense, a word which I have just now used in a special sense,
and must carefully explain this more general sense, inasmuch as it is one of the
most important terms in every branch of science: it is the word determination.
Before a man has determined what his conduct shall be, it may on one occasion
be of one sort and on another be of another sort. It may at one time, for example,
be just, so far as he can discern what justice would dictate, while another time it
may be such that the man shall say to himself, “what I am going to do will not be
just; but I don’t care for that; it will be a satisfaction to me to do it, and I will do it.”
But if that man ever becomes determined to do what is just, so far as he can make
out what would be the just cause, so long as that determination lasts he will never
wittingly do what is unjust. We may state the matter thus: let there be two charac-
ters, or suchnesses, (in this case, the being such as justice permits and the being
such as justice forbids,) which are incompossible, i.e. are such that they can both
be possessed only by something whose being consists in a mere possibility and
cannot actually be carried out without some restriction, while that which actually
occurs, single, as well as, and that is general, i.e. which allows some latitude in its
actualization can at most possess but one of those characters. The two characters
to be instanced are further to be together exhaustive, i.e. only that which whose
being consists in something general, can fail to possess one or other of them, and
that which is either Actual or merely Possible must possess one. In short the two
characters are to be in the relation of contradictories, each of the other; i.e. they
are to be at once incompossible and exhaustive. That being the case, any general
subject, a subject being anything concerning which an assertion may be made or
proposed, if it possesses neither of these characters is said to be indeterminate in

129
respect to them, while if it possesses one but not both, it is said to be determined
in that respect. If a mere possibility possesses both characters, it is said to be in-
definite in respect to them. Having thus explained what I mean by determination,
I go on to explain what I mean by one thing being determined to accord with
another: If a subject, M, possesses a character, μ, and if any kind of state of things
that includes the actual state of things, if M possesses μ, then so does υ while if
the actual state of things has not been such that N would possess ų if M possesses
it, then N would not have μ; or if M possesses μ, and the general state of things is
such that in whatever more special state of things M may possess μ it will likewise
be the case that N possesses the character υ although if the possession of μ by M
had not so entailed the possession of “by N, N would not have possesses”; or if the
following five conditions are fulfilled, namely 1st, that L possess the character λ,
2nd, that the existing state of things is of such a kind that every more specific state
of things in which L should possess the character λ, would be a state of things in
which N would possess the character υ, 3rd, that the actual state of things is such
that whenever the second condition were not, fulfilled N would not be υ, 4th, that
the actual state of things is such that whenever the third condition were fulfilled,
M’s being μ would entail L’s being, and 5th, that actual state of things is such that
if the fourth condition were not fulfilled M’s being μ would not entail L’s being λ,
in any of these cases and in no others I shall say that N is determined in accord
with M’s being μ. This definition is so intricate that you will probably be unable
to follow it without the aid of a diagrammatic representation of it backed up by
examples drawn from history.82
I have been so careful in defining ‘Determination’, for the reason that I have to
use it in defining an even more important expression, ‘Determination after’ any-
thing. But before defining this I must call your attention to the most important
conception in the whole range of thought, which is that which is expressed by
the word ‘After’. For there is no science and no department of life in which it does
not fulfill a commanding office. Words have different kinds of meanings. I use
the term meaning as a general name for the office of any word, sentence, para-
graph, book, symptom, token, diagram, portrait, or in short, of any sort of sign,
In order to point out to you a somewhat surprising property of the word ‘after’
and of the concept that word expresses, I shall have to call your attention to three
different kinds of meaning instances of all three which attach to different parts
of every assertion as well as the most, if not all other sentences. But I need only
notice assertions. You are familiar with assertions, and you will not, at present,

82 to be used but reformed!!

130
need to know very exactly what they consist of. It will suffice to point out a few
obvious characters. In the first place, they belong to that class of signs which can
be called uttered, i.e. that one, can either scribe (i.e. write, or draw or typewrite,
or print, on a visible surface) or sound by a person whom I determinate utterer.
This, however, does not mean that the assertion itself, as I mean the word, can
be rendered visible or audible, since in my sense the very same assertion can be
both scribed and sounded; and it may be sounded over and over again in differ-
ent keys, sometimes in a whisper, sometimes shouted through a megaphone, and
can be scribed in black ink, in red, in blue, or with pencils of many colors.
It is plain then that what is visible and what is audible are each many differ-
ent visible and audible objects, or percepts, which are representatives, or as I say,
‘Instances’, of the one assertion. I call the person who perceives an instance of an
assertion, and who, on doing so, understands the assertion itself the interpreter.
Now I maintain, what you may at first think is a mistake, that in order that the
interpreter may gather to what the assertion or as I phrase it, what its subjects are
provided. The first of these means is that the assertion should be provided either
one or other of two alternative means must be as parts of it or in so close un-
derstood relations to it, as to amount virtually to that, with one or more (almost
invariably at least two) proper names, or what functions or functions as such. By
a proper name, I mean a name of anything considered as a single thing; and this
thing which the proper name denominates must have been one with which the
interpreter was already acquainted by direct or indirect experience. The process
of gaining this experience either one of two, or is some mixture of these. The
first of the two is that the interpreter should first by his own personal experience
become sufficiently acquainted with that to which the Proper Name applies, and
subsequently with the Proper Name as denominating that thing. The second of
the processes is that by overhearing various assertions into which the Proper
Name enters, he should discover, first, that it is a Proper Name, and then of what
sort of object it is a name, and finally that he should gain a greater or less mass
of information about the history of the single object, sufficient to make it stand
out in his indirect experience as contrasting with other things of the same sort.
The other alternative means to the same end is that the assertion should con-
tain or be accompanied with directions for gaining experience of each object to
which it relates, or an equivalent to such directions. Each of those single objects
I call a ‘Subject’ of the assertion and a set of them I call a ‘Collective Subject’ of
the assertion, and the whole of them, of which I shall have more to say, I call the
‘Entire Collective Subject’ of assertion. My use of the word subject thus differs
from that of the grammarians in two respects; first in that they apply it to a noun
and I to the thing which the noun denotes, and secondly, in that they restrict

131
the term ‘Subject’ to the Subject Nominative, while I extend it to that which is
denoted by the direct object, and to that which is denoted by the indirect object,
and to everything else with which one must be already acquainted in order to
interpret the assertion. Does not all that I have so far said about the subjects of
assertions seem to you to be true?
You. I do not know. What should you say were the two or more proper names
that form a part of, or are connected with, the assertion that all blood is red?
I. This assertion virtually gives a direction for finding one of the subjects, but still
two Proper Names are connected with it. The direction to the Interpreter is to
take whatever he phrases for one subject; the interpreter having made is selec-
tion, the assertion is that if that subject possesses the character of blood, it pos-
sesses the character of redness. Both these characters being conceived as single
are virtually denoted by Proper Names.
You. Oh. I have not been in the habit of thinking of characters as real things or as
anything more than oblique cases of nouns.
I. But don’t you reckon Brian, Cadmus, Mars, Caliban, and Titiana among the
Proper Names? They denote, not single existents it is true, but single ideas. Now
ideas are objects, none the less that some of them are not real. I capitalize the
term ‘Proper Name’ to show that I take it in a definite sense herein explained;
and I define it as a noun denoting anything regarded as single. In my sense,
therefore, a fictitious object if regarded as single, must be denoted, if at all, by a
Proper Name.
You. Well, it does not seem worthwhile to contest that point, since you might say
that the assertion is equivalent to “Whatever the interpreter may please to select,
if it be in the collection of all masses of blood is in the collection of all things.[”]
But is that the form in which we necessarily think the assertion? That seems to
me to be doubtful, or more than doubtful.
I. That is very true; but the gist of our studies, the sole point that we aim at, ex-
cept as secondary, is whether or not one truth follows from another. Now this
depends on what the fact is that our assertions represent and not on the form of
the thinking. That we may leave to be studied by the psychologists. For whatever
follow from all blood is red follows from the fact, in whatever form it be thought,
and if all blood is red follows from any other assertion every form of thinking it
follows or none. That is the logical point of view, which has been missed very of-
ten since Wundt’s Vorlesungen über Menschen und Thierseele in 1862 turned the
thoughts of every philosophical mind toward psychology. I rate the importance

132
of the scientific study of psychology as high as anybody possibly can, although
I think the class of minds which have been devoting themselves to it have shown
but a moderate bent of genius in that direction. Since that epoch, or that of Fech-
ner’s great work, the logical point of views has seemed unscientific; but I hope to
convince you that it is the proper one in logic.83

83 [Editor: Gustav Theodor Fechner, co-founder of experimental psychology along with


Hermann von Helmholtz and Wilhelm Wundt, Elemente der Psychophysik, (1860).
Peirce had profound knowledge about Fechner’s work and discussed his theories in
many manuscripts, mostly in comparison with Wundt and Helmholtz.]

133
How to Define84

Three studies that are needlessly and very unhappily confounded: Phaneroscopy
(as I call it, or Phenomenology), Logic, and Psychology Proper. One of the three
is a Science, though youthful and immature: that is Psychology Proper, one is an
embryo-science, so I rate Logic, because it still lacks that considerable body of
well-drilled workers pursuing methods acknowledged by all, taking advantage of
one another’s discoveries to push research still on and on, and turning out new
discoveries at a healthy rate, all of which I take to be essential to a developed sci-
ence. The third, Phaneroscopy, is still in the condition of a science-egg, hardly any
details of it being as yet distinguishable, though enough to assure the student of
it that, under the fostering care that it is sure to enjoy, if human culture continues
long, it surely will in the future become a strong and beneficent science.
By Psychology Proper I mean the Empirical Science of the workings and
growths of minds and their relations to the animal or other organisms in which
Psychical phenomena can be detected. In short, it is a sort of Physiology of the
soul. By Logic I mean the study of the distinction between Truth and Falsity, and
the theory of how to attain the former together with all that the investigator of
that theory must make his business to probe: It comes, for the solution of the
problem in my opinion, in the present state of science, to a study of the general
nature of Signs and the leading kinds of Signs. By Phaneroscopy I mean the study
of whatever consciousness puts into one’s immediate and complete possession
or in other words, the study of whatever becomes directly aware of in. For such
direct objects of consciousness, I venture to coin the term “Prebits.” Some may
think this word would idly cumber the dictionary in the unlikely contingency
of its ever coming intense. They will regard it as a superfluous synonym of “ap-
pearances”, or “phenomena”, or “data”, etc. etc. I admit that “datum” might do.
But then many other things are called “data”; and as for the word “phenomenon”,
I think that is better reserved to express those more special meanings to which
it is usually restricted; as for example, to denote any fact that consists in the uni-
formity with which something peculiar and perceivable to the senses (without or
with instrumental aid), will result from the fulfillment of certain definite condi-
tions, especially if it can be repeated indefinitely. Thus, the fact that small bits of
paper or anything else that is light enough will be attracted to a rod of shellac,
glass, vulcanite, etc. provided this has been just before been briskly rubbed upon

84 [Editor: MS 645, dated 1909.]

135
a soft surface of suitable material with a heavier backing is one single phenom-
enon, while the fact that a rod of steel or of one of a few other substances will
attract small filings or other bits of iron, as magnetite, etc. is a different single
phenomenon. By a “Prebit” I do not mean anything of that nature, but a single ob-
ject of immediate consciousness, though usually indefinitely denoted. As for the
word “appearance”, it would be stretched in an inconvenient and quite unexpect-
able way, if it should be applied to some of the objects I call prebits. Before he has
read many pages the reader will come upon an example that will bring the truth
of this home to him. In the above definition of “Prebit”, the adjective “Immediate”
is not to be understood in a broadly psychological sense, as if it were intended to
exclude the case of my becoming aware of the Prebit in consequence of becoming
aware of another thing, whether Prebit or not; but what I do mean is that once
I do become aware of the Prebit, I am aware of not merely before a sign of it or
substitute for it, or any sort of proxy, vicar, attorney, succedenium […], dummy,
or representative of it, but am put facie ad faciem […] before the very prebit itself.
The importance of distinguishing between the three studies is due in the first
place to the diversity of their general aims. Phaneroscopy asks what are the pos-
sibilities of consciousness. Psychology endeavors to make known the positive
facts of the workings of the mind. Logic inquires into the theory [of] what must
follow or is likely, or a warrantable assumption in hypothetical cases, and all the
difficulties of the other Empirical Sciences. In the second place, the methods
of the three inquiries are as divergent as their aims. In Phaneroscopy there is
little reasoning. Its questions are only settled by the finest of keen observation.
Logic on the other hand, involves no more and of subtle distinctions. Psychology
Proper again is as purely empirical and uses all the methods and involves all the
difficulties of all the other empirical sciences. Practically, for the purposes of the
present essay, however, the most urgent reason for distinguishing these studies
from one another, and more especially the two that are most apt to be confound-
ed—Phaneroscopy and Psychology Proper, is that, on the one hand, the main
interest of the essay, must be founded on the results of the Phaneroscopy, so that
the Phaneroscopist has no right to appeal to the science of logic; while on the other
hand, Psychology Proper, more than any other study, excepting only metaphys-
ics, depends for its support upon the science of logic, in consequence of which
the logician is forbidden to appeal for support to Psychology Proper. Moreover;
Psychology Proper thus mediately rests on Phaneroscopy and can furnish no sup-
port to the latter. Still less can it question the latter’s results, which would be no
more nor less than sawing off the bough on which it is astride.
I have often heard psychologists allude with contempt, pity, or disdain, of that
division of the functions of the mind or parts of the Soul into Feeling, Volition

136
and thought, which has recommended itself to so many and many thinkers, since
Kant gave his sanction. For my part, I cannot believe that an idea of that sort
that has recommended itself to so great a variety of minds,—minds, too, both
vigorous and broad; in general pretty strikingly in contrast both ways with the
sneerers,—to a variety to express a truth, should have no ingredients whatever
of truth in it; and it seems to my own self- observation firstly, that feelings, voli-
tions and thoughts are prebits, that there are in truth in those three Prebit forms
three utterly different kinds of awareness, phaneroscopic elements that appear as
so many and no more, that are several contained in those three kinds of prebits,
mentioned.85 Beginning with feeling, in order to show what qualifications I have
for describing it, I may mention that for more than twenty years, from before
1865 to after 1885, I was almost daily training myself to recognize and analyze
by immediate consciousness the different elements and respects of difference of
colors, odours, flavours and other sensations. I also paid a good deal of attention
to phonetics: The degree of success which I attained was considerable but by no
means extraordinary. In regard to each sense, I have met a number of persons
whose powers surpassed my own. Although my powers of distinction and recon-
struction were much above the average. I might give instances to prove this. For
instance, though I am so far from being a musician that if I attempt to sing a tune
I make my auditors laugh; they tell me I skip from one octave to another; and I
nevertheless have no difficulty in picking out three or four harmonics in a note
struck on a pianoforte. Perhaps everybody can do the same: I do not know. I also
seem to have a somewhat unusual faculty of catching the accent of a born tongue.
For example, I once desired to remain for a fortnight or so in a certain rural vicini-
ty, and inquiring who thereabouts took borders was informed that a French farm-
er and his wife not far away received a few in the summer. It was than autumn; but
their being French recommended their table to me, so I went toward the house. As
I strolled along the husband overtook me. He was evidently a Belgian but he said
his wife was a Parisian. And no doubt would be glad to take me in. I went and was
presented and we were on the point of closing the agreement when I happened to
speak of myself as an American. Instantly her manner changed. She raised various
objections, and at last said flatly she would not take me. I persisted without being
able for a long time to penetrate her objection, until finally I took the husband
aside and asked him what the real objection was. Why, you see, he said she dis-
trusts you because of your sailing under false-colours. What do you mean, I asked.
Why do you pretend to be an American! “Why! Because I am.” “Oh come!” you

85 [Editor: the preceding section has been struck out.]

137
know that I want to. “What do you think? Well, I might take your word, but my
wife says it is nonsense. He is a Parisian. No American ever spoke like him.” This
seemed to me as sincere a tribute to my French as I could easily find.86
As to feeling, by which I mean qualities of sensation and other passions, I re-
mark that most persons, David Hume, for example, reckon some kind of ingre-
dients of it a certain prebit which seems to me to form no part of feeling. I mean
the vividness of a feeling. For feeling is a quality and though it certainly has two
quantities connected with it, its total intensity and the relative intensity of its lead-
ing ingredient, both being quantities of quality, I do not recognize vividness as the
quantity of any quality or predicate at all, but simply is a non-prediction quantity.
Now what is non-predicative quantity that is a prebit? It is a force. But a quality
on the hand is entirely passive, and it is no force. Vividness therefore is no part or
essential attribute of a feeling: it is something of an utterly different nature. I have
doubted whether I was not led into an error in saying this by a psychological cor-
rection or allowance has subconsciously been applied. But this theory distinctly
does not fit the facts. In such allowances are always insufficient when they are
very large a diem, for example may seem to be of the same size at a distance of ten
inches and of three feet, but it certainly looks smaller thirty feet or a hundred feet
away. To an eye not accustomed to recognize what it sees, snow in ordinary shade
and snow in the night may be supposed to look equally white, although in fact,
the former is deep violet blue and the latter yellow, but let the case be sufficiently
exaggerated by contrasting snow almost in darkness with snow in the glare of very
clear noon, and any eye will see the difference of color once it is pointed out. But
now it makes no difference at all how dim my memory of a certain stick of sealing
wax is. If I recollect its color at all, I remember it correctly as a brilliant vermillion
or as a dull one.
Hume, then gave evidence of his being but a poor psychological observer
when he based his philosophy, in considerable part, on a confusion of vivid-
ness with the objective intensity of sensation. An experimental research of my
own has convinced me that vividness is no element of a sense-quality it is the
pervasive reaction from the making-up force of the vivid experience. It therefore
neither is, nor is an ingredient of, any feeling-quality whatever. It is a pure sense
of force. Consequently, it is not an ingredient of the peculiar characteristic of
feeling, it is something else admixed to that; and in order to cognize the peculiar
characteristic of feeling we must get rid of this admixture,—this adulteration,—
by an operation of discrimination.

86 [Editor: The preceding section is extremely difficult to decifer.]

138
You will, I suppose,—and I hope,—enquire what I mean by discrimination,
thus showing yourself to be a reader who cares for precision of thought. In the
Proceedings of the Am. Acad. of Arts and Sciences for 1867 May 14, I have ex-
plained that there are three modes of separability of elements of a thought object,
which I called, Precision (a corruption of speech for which I know the substi-
tute “precision”,) Dissociation, and Discrimination. Let there be two elements of
an object of thought, A and B. If I can imagine A to be present without B, say
I can dissociate A from B, and I can then generally dissociate B from A, too. If
I can definitely suppose A to be present without any supposition at all about the
presence or absence of B, (and, of course, without self contradiction,) I say I can
prescind A from B, and that I can abstract from A. If I can suppose one of the two
to be equally present or absent in two cases, while in the other respect, the cases
differ, I say that I can discriminate each from the other, I quite acknowledge that
it is time, this bit of analysis of forty odd years ago now sadly needs an overhaul-
ing; but in the mean time it will serve our turn for the present juncture. I cannot
imagine a feeling quality without some degree of vividness, however small, in the
experience I so imagine; but I can imagine the vividness to vary while the qual-
ity itself remains quite unchanged. If I experience a quality,—say a certain rose
color,—having previously dreamed of a perfect match for it (which will render
the experience more vivid), and some years after call up a reminiscence of that
experience; the three feelings may be closely alike as to the quality of red,—its
luminosity, its chroma (or saturation,) and its hue,—but they will surely differ
widely, almost enormously, in their vividness. But now if I think of the color of
the rose, as it would be if nobody were looking at it, or dreaming or recollecting
it, that thought will not attribute much or little vividness to it but only a capac-
ity for every degree of vividness. That pure quality, in its hue, its chroma, and its
luminosity, or feeling minus vividness, will be an example of the characteristic
ingredient of the mode of awareness that we call feeling. I will call it feeling-
quality, it is a prebit-quality.
A feeling is the only true Ding an sich. Everything else is relative, and has its
being in something else. But the color of vermillion is just what it is without
reference to blue or green. It is what it is, and there is nothing that can describe
it but itself. Everything, (as it seems, at least,) has its own flavor: Shakespeare,
Bernard Show, Rudder Grange, The Autocrat, Bach, Chopin, all have qualities
absolutely their own. Every lapse of time in one’s life, whether it be a lifetime, a
season, a waking day, a quarter of an hour, ten seconds, a fraction of a second,
makes a whole an impression of a quality absolutely simple, and entirely without
ingredients and peculiar to itself. But the universality of these statements may be
delusive. I have no right to say more than that so it seems. It is true that if two

139
qualities or more be composed, their similarities will be felt. But since everything
seems to have its feeling-quality, so has the comparison; and those similarities
are the qualities of the comparison, not of the feeling compared; for the feeling-
quality resides in itself. In saying this I am not conveying information, nor set-
ting up a doctrine to be approved or rejected: I am only explaining what I mean
by a Feeling-Quality. It is that which is immediately sensible as absolutely simple
and sui generis in every whole, to which my feeling is directed; and you have only
to feel in order to know what I mean.
But feeling-quality cannot be known in a state of purity for in itself, it does
not exist, but only may be. Existence is conferred upon it by so much vividness
as it has; and vividness is an example of the second kind of awareness, which we
find in volition. However, just as it is with volition we found it to be with feeling:
I mean that is characteristic essence is only experienced mixed with something
else. That something else in the case of volition is purpose. We never do exact our
wills without purpose. Yet the characteristic of volition is volition sans purpose:
it is just brute exertion, which I call Molition. Molition is a mode of awareness
entirely different from feeling. One does not feel it at all, as anybody can con-
vince himself by repetitions of the simplest experiments. For example, hold a
dumb-belt out at arm’s length and tell yourself at the outset not to do anything
whatever with the arm,—neither pulling it up nor putting it down,—until you
give yourself the word. After a while gravity will catch the arm in such a state that
it will take a little step down, which is not surprising, since gravity is pulling it
unceasingly, while the state of the arm is not one ceaseless inertia. But what is a
little surprising is that after each of these little descents the arm springs up a little,
although you did not tell it to. For you, I am supposing, have given the arm no
orders of any kind since you told it not to move until you gave the word. It comes
up with what appears like an elastic rebound. All this time, you have made no
exertion whatever. You have been perfectly quiet; but you have felt a certain pain.
Now that you are about to give the mental word for your arm to come down, be
on the alert to see whether you have any feeling of that giving of the word. Now,
you actually give the word, and the arm comes down so instantly that you cannot
tell which reached your brain first; the report that your order had been received
or the report that the arm was falling. You even suspect the latter report comes
first. But the significant circumstance is that there was nothing like a feeling con-
nected with giving the mental word. You were aware of doing so, as quite distinct
from being aware of purposing to do so; but there was not a trace of feeling, of
willing the arm should drop. You may vary the experiment in a hundred ways,
but such will always be the result. In saying this, I am supposing that you are
expert in performing these experiments. You may lay your hand, palm upon a

140
table with a kilo upon it or whatever weight will be sufficient to make you quite
aware of the effort of lifting it by bending your elbow, without that effort being
as great as sensibly to prevent your noticing any feelings. It will be well to have
your hand so cold that there is hardly any feeling it. It will be well for your arm
to be unclothed. Let your hand lie quiet and gather all your attention. When this
is accomplished, and while your attention is at its best (for it will have its pretty
rapid ebbs and flows,) or just coming to its rest, hold your breath, so as the bet-
ter to hold your attention, give the word (mentally) for the weight to be lifted,
and watch for anything like feeling;—that is, for anything as much of the nature
of color, or odour, or the sense of beauty or sublimity, as these feelings are like
one another. Of course you will have what is called “kinesthetic sensation,” but
to my power of discrimination that sort of consciousness has no trace of feeling
in it, though there will be skin sensations from which you must abstract your at-
tention. I expect that such experimentation, repeated and verified until you find
no more room for doubt, will bring you to the same conviction to which it has
brought me. But, of course, if your mind is of the wordy sort, and you think that
reading about an experiment, or imagining it, or performing a slouchy imitation
is just as good as a sincere course of earnest and candid experimentation, you
had better consult a book, or toss a penny in order to decide upon your verdict.
Even if you do go through the experimentation and come to my belief, it will be
well to remember that you and I may both be in the wrong, and to hold yourself,
as I shall myself, open to conviction upon this delicate question.
But in the meantime I can only go upon my own experiment-formed con-
viction, mistaken though it may be, having reached a result that seems to me
indubitable, my own practice is to let that department of my mind lie follow for
a year or more, and then to review my former reasoning and endeavor to find
flaws in it by prying into every corner of my argument that seems to be the least
suspicious, as well as by pursuing, if I can, an entirely different inquisition from
a different point of view, and this process I repeat at least once more, but oftener
several times.
There are several drawbacks to this method. I must confess that it has fos-
tered in me an exaggerated self-distrust; so that I have several times abandoned
perfect demonstrations, moved by unsound objections, sometimes put forth by
others, but oftener by myself. It has also caused me to be blamed unjustly in two
ways. Some of my friends lament my unproductiveness,—a complaint due to my
diffidence. But I think that considering how many more theories are yearly put
forward in my line than any one man could satisfactorily appraise, it ought to
be regarded as a merit that I do not ask a hearing until I have something pretty
thoroughly well-considered to say. On the other hand, that class of persons who

141
think the highest merit a book or memoir or theory can possess is that of not oc-
casioning the slightest surprise in any mind look upon me as a lover of original
opinions, as such. If they were to come to know me better, they might learn to
think me ultra-conservative. I am, for example, an old-fashioned Christian, a
believer in the efficiency of prayer, an opponent of female suffrage and of uni-
versal male suffrage, in favor of letting business-methods develop without the
interference of law, a disbeliever in democracy, etc. etc. The newness of no theory
is a recommendation of it to me, and no theory that I have ever put forward was
novel to my own mind. On the contrary, in so far as a beliefs’ being widespread
and familiar goes to show it to be instinctive, I regard its being so, as very strong
reason indeed for holding it to be approximately true. At the same time, I must
confess that I do not hold this opinion, or any other broad philosophical opinion,
on authority alone; and that is just my point of difference with the good souls
who admire as such writings put forth to support common place opinions. They
argue from authority, pure and simple, as a habit of life. In order to judge of the
merits of this habit, to which so many so passionately cling, I have carefully and
calmly studied the history in a way to compel my assent to their method. I have
received this very say and while I was writing this paragraph a letter in which
occurs the following sentence.
Although I have endeavored above to give a preliminary description of that el-
ement which I discern, or think I discern in all feelings, and although I have been
careful to add that no reader can interpret my description unless he experiments
for himself upon watching his feelings and comparing them with other modes of
awareness, yet I feel sure that a few words more are needed from me to order that
my idea may be rightly conveyed to the reader.
Without doubt, some will make the following objections to my doctrine: “You
say,” some readers will object, “that every feeling-quality is perfectly simple, or, at
least, irresoluble (for we do not see that you can have any right to say more than
that, and that it is also, in itself, sui generis.[ ) ] That being the case, it certainly
follows that no two feeling-qualities can resemble each other in any respect.
But this is plainly impossible; for such resemblance would consist in their both
partaking of a common ingredient. It is impossible that so obvious a difficulty
should have escaped you. Please say, then, how you hold that you escape it?” To
this very pertinent question, I reply by first pointing out that multitudes of pairs
of feeling-qualities are so much alike they are distinguished with difficulty. Such,
for example, are an orange-colour bordering upon red and a scarlet verging to-
ward yellow; or a turquoise blue and a very bluish green, or a cool violet and a
very violet blue. These phenomena are indisputable; and psycho-physically they
are due to the mixture of the same excitations in different proportions. But my

142
experiments and ponderings have led me to believe, as a matter, not of psychol-
ogy proper, but of Phaneroscopy, though of course I may be mistaken, in spite
of all my labour, that the resemblances do not reside in the separate feelings
compared, but in secondary feelings excited by comparing to primary feelings,
and in the interpretation of the secondary Feelings in judgments, whose Aware-
ness is of an utterly different kind from Feeling, and is only confounded with
Feeling, because it is, so to speak, of so transparent a kind that the secondary
feeling behind it is more perceptible than the awareness of judgment, itself. But
whether one thinks me right or wrong in my notions of the phaneroscopy of feel-
ing, I cannot conceive that anybody should think that all the infinite varieties of
feeling, (no one of which occurs twice,) have any quality-ingredient in common,
that there is, for example, any feeling in common excited by the sight of Mont
Blanc from the Hotel des Bergues, in its early evening flush, and the taste of a
strong old-fashioned gin cocktail! At any rate, such is not my opinion. But I think
that the general reminiscence of feeling has a character,—as far as possible from
being a feeling-quality, which distinguishes it sharply from the other modes of
awareness of which I shall speak. This character is of the nature of a concept of
a highly abstract kind, and purely phaneroscopic, i.e. relating to the awareness
as awareness simply. Namely, I think that all feeling is distinguished by its unity
in the sense of simplicity, and by its being of what Quale it is in itself purely;
and though I use two clauses to describe this character, I do not conceive it as
two characters but as one only. In other words, there is only one thing present
in feeling: it has not one aspect. The other modes of awareness we shall find to
have essentially, two or more aspects presenting themselves together, though one
may be accented by the interpreter more than the other. Look at a vermillion ob-
ject, both highly luminous and tremendously chromatic. View it as juxtaposition
with its complementary greenish blue; and ask yourself whether that vermillion
quality consists in the slightest degree in opposition to its complementary. You
will say, “No indeed; the quality is utterly regardless of the other, although the
contrast may impart a certain violence to it. But violence is not a feeling-quality.
I can judge better of the correctness or error of my observations after we[…]87

87 [Editor: The manuscript has been interrupted at this point.]

143
Essays Toward the Full Comprehension of
Reasonings Preface88

The track over which the Reader and I shall ramble in these pages is certainly
not one to suit a person fagged out with hard work or desirous of almost passive
stir. At the other extreme, should some athlete intellect imagine that the fever of
his longing to put some mighty Mt. Everest under his feet could in any degree be
allayed as a consequence of his joining our little excursion, _ grrr-rl! How sud-
denly the other paw would kick the beam! Pardon, I beg, the dislocation of the
metaphor;—‘twas the violence of the supposition that did it. No, our track is well
adapted to exercise an understanding that is both active and vigorous, without
being gifted with any extraordinary powers. Now this describes what I myself was
before five decades of thoughtful and critical reading with about three hours daily
strenuous inquiry of my own had brought my powers up to the point which my
maker had not intended they should surpass,—in this life, at any rate. Of course,
I wish they were greater. I venture to hope they may be so hereafter. But meantime
they are more than respectable, and I ought to be humbly grateful. But the point
of interest is that I may be encouraged to hope that I may succeed in rendering
these pages useful to a reader whose powers and desires are such as my own for-
merly were. Indeed, I have some positive evidence that I shall meet with some
success. For near three decades have passed since I lectured in the John Hopkins
University on the very same subject with which I deal in these pages. Now, the
subsequent three decades have been employed by me both more strenuously and
more wisely than had the two that had gone before, and I am sure if man know
much more than double what I know then. But I am confident that the majority
of my students, and I incline to think a great majority, profited very greatly, much
more than they themselves were aware (for I was determined that it should be so),
by my lectures, then;89 and I am certain that by such lectures as I should now give
a similar class would profit so very much more here, yet I am trained to that use

88 [Editor: MS 652, dated 1910.]


89 [Editor: A list of public lectures presented by Peirce:
Harvard Lectures:
The Logic of Science, 1865
British Logicians, 1869
Pragmatism, 1903
Logical Methodeutic, 1908

145
of numbers,—I should say the real profit would be from 3 to 5 times what it was
then. It must, however, be taken into account that the advantage is prodigious of
two or three lectures a week over any reading of books, assuming the lectures to be
given by a professor who will adapt them to subsequent reflexion by the scholars,
who will invite interruptions, who will hold his whole time at the disposition of
any of the scholars who may like to ask questions or discuss the soundness of lec-
tures, and who will admit scholars into his confidence in regard to any research-
es that he may be carrying on. The subject of reasoning is one which demands
perfect precision of thought. Now there is a considerable fraction of the reading
public which is composed of individuals of high and fine intelligence about some
subjects, although no mortal of them has ever had such an experience as a precise
conception. To make such persons really to grasp this subject would be a most te-
dious task for both teacher and learner, and would call for valiant perseverance on
both sides; and to bring the task to a successful issue through the medium of print
alone would involve such tedious repetitions as would quite wear out the patience
and utterly disgust the very readers who would profit most by the discussions if
the mode of presentation were less tedious, being adapted to minds accustomed
to precision of language and of thought. My Readers,—real readers,—can be but
few; but to those few, to whom I shall try as hard as I can to be of benefit, I feel a
lively attachment, though I know them only in dreams.
Among the truths that ought to be told in the Preface are these:
1. If you learn of any voluntary act that, not by any fortuitous occurrence, or cir-
cumstance, but by its own essential nature, it has in anywise helped its doer to
govern his life, conduct, or fortunes, this will be an infallible sign of that act’s
being one of Reasoning, be it disguised how it can. (Of course, this statement
must be subject to critical examination.)
2. The highest standard of excellence that has actually come to recognize and
adopted in my times not by individuals merely, but by classes of practitioners
of whichever of the great types of reasoning you will, is marked by striking im-
provements over the best that were so recognized at the time began to devote

Lowell Institute Lectures:


The Logic of Science;on Induction and Hypothesis, 1866
The History of Science, 12 Lectures, 1892
The History of Science, 12 Lectures, 1903
Johns Hopkins University Lectures in Logic, 1879-84
On the Nature and Classification of the Sciences, 1905
Cambridge MA, Conferences Lectures, Reasoning and the Logic of Things, 1898.]

146
myself to the study of reasoning. Does not this go toward warranting the hope,
at least, that our present highest standards may be raised? Does it not admon-
ish us that the whole subject of the validity of reasoning ought to be systemati-
cally overhauled? Yet two kinds of the German Logics are today going on the
assumption that all that branch of science was finished up science—by Aristo-
tle. What is finished up and done for, is the German tradition about reasoning,
which not only forgets the discoveries concerning reasonings made in other
countries, but even what Weierstraß and Cantor brought to light.
3. But notwithstanding the astounding discoveries in Logic and the amazing
improvements of our current standard of reasoning, let me tell you now, in
advance that you will soon find out that the amount of bad reasoning that is
afloat even in books that must be ranked as first rate and that have received
the most thorough revision, much exceeds what good judges, as men go, are
accustomed to think or than one would imagine possible without a special
study of the shortcomingness90 of mankind. Now don’t hastily infer from this
remark that high degree of cogency in reasoning; for a man who should, upon
a wager, be casting about for the falsest thing he could think of to say about
my logical tendencies could not, I believe, possibly do better than to say that
which I am conditioning you against thinking Nobody, or hardly anybody,
cares less for form in argumentation than I do, and I may be said to have a
decided penchant for weak arguments. That is to say, though I admit that they
are often ridiculously out of place, yet, taking them as they suggest them-
selves, I am decidedly of the opinion that their average value is much greater
than is generally supposed, and, that their suggestions are not infrequently
almost priceless. But I draw a heavy line of demarcation between an argument
that is merely weak and an argument that is unsound. By a mere weak argu-
ment I mean one that not professing to do much toward evincing the truth,
really does perform the little that it professes to do. An unsound argument
may lack but little of presenting a perfect proof; but if what it lacks was among
the things that it had more its business to bring forward, it will not atone for
this by doing things the doing of which was out of its province.
4. It is usual with those who have never studied reasonings, as well as with many
good authors,—good in other ways, I mean,—to divide all reasonings into the
necessary and the probable, necessary arguments being such as render their
conclusions absolutely certain, or rather which would do so, if there were any

90 [Editor: the word shortcomings has been deleted by Peirce and been replaced by short-
comingness.]

147
way in which we could absolutely insure ourselves against inadvertencies.91
But among the mass of reasonings that are thus huddled pell mell together un-
der the designation of “probable reasonings.” But I shall show you (i.e. shall put
you into a condition to assure yourself, quite independently of what I opine,)
that a perfectly sound argument, that is one which renders it unreasonable, in
view of what has been experienced and of how it has come to be experienced,
not to be inclined to put one’s trust in the truth of the conclusion, I shall show,
I say, that the degree of the rational inclination to trust in the truth of the con-
clusions of two such arguments may be as nearly equal as measurement can
go and yet that such rational trust may be of different kinds in the two cases,
and may manifest itself in different kinds of rational conduct. This being the
case, the habit of calling all these reasonings by one and the same name cannot
but have a deplorably confusing effect. For my part, I will restrict the adjective
“probable” to such inferences as can be justified by the doctrine of chances,
which mathematicians often call “the calculus of probabilities”; and I do not
mean by this that I will call all those inferences “probable” which the textbooks
pretend to justify that way;—very far from it, as you shall find. Those inferenc-
es the uncertainty of whose conclusions are mainly due not to their evidences
not being of the right kind, but to there not being enough of them (and very
likely to its being out of the nature of things that there should be enough) to
make those three conclusions entirely certain, I shall call likely, or verisimilar.
Inferences,—an appropriate designation, I think, because their premises are
similar to such as might absolutely prove the conclusion had it been possible
to array an infinite number of them. A little reflection will suffice, without a set
argument, to convince you that these verisimilar, or likely, inferences include
and are of the same general nature as those that are commonly called Inductive
inferences, or Inductions. I shall myself use these latter items as synonyms of
verisimilar reasonings, the only difference being that the words likely and veri-
similar draw attention more particularly to the evidence being good in kind
but insufficient in amount, while “Induction,” like the Greek word ἐπαγωγή,
in imitation of which the Latin induction was formed, makes one think of the
process as one can and leading them up in formidable array against the posi-
tion to be carried;—that is to say, against the doubts of the person to whom the
argument is addressed. You will find that our rational instinct often prompts

91 But since we cannot do so, and nothing is absolutely certain, unless it be something too
vague for direct, general, and definite expression, it follows that all demonstrations, all
necessary reasoning, refers to a purely hypothetical state of things, or else is unsound.

148
us to reasoning such that no conceivable mass of similar data would render
its conclusion either certain or, in the strict sense above defined, probable,
and it appears to be evident on examination that it is impossible absolutely to
prove that these arguments have one value whatever. Nevertheless, it seems
that many of them however almost, if not quite, irresistible persuasiveness,
that many of them have caused great discoveries and apparent great advances
in science; and finally the most decisive circumstance of all in their favor is
that unless these arguments have to tend to carry us toward new truth in the
whole, we must abandon all hope of penetrating further into the secrets of
the universe than we have done already. We thus find ourselves in a position
analogous to one that often occurs in the game of whist, when three more
rounds of a deal remain to be played. One is often at that stage able to perceive
that if the remaining cards are distributed in a certain way there is one lead,
and only one, that will give his side the odd trick and will so save the game,
while if the cards are not so placed, the game is lost whatever one leads. Whist
players are anonymous that such a situation fall warrants a player for acting on
the hopeful hypothesis. Just so, if it can be shown that unless the human mind
possesses, in some degree, a power of divining the truth, which is no more, at
its utmost, than to have some endowment of instinct such as many species of
birds, insects, and other creatures posses, we might as well abandon all hope
of making our reasoning power useful in certain directions, that is sufficient
reason for believing that we have such power; for I shall argue in the first essay
in this volume that to say we really believe in the truth of any proposition is no
more than to say we have a controlling disposition to behave as if it were true.
Still, if anybody prefers the word hope to belief in this connection, such phras-
es as ἡ ἐλπὶς ζωῆς αἰωνίου and the like, which occur frequently in the New
Testament and in the Nicene Creed, denote a pretty positive belief surely, will
bear him out. Reasonings of this kind are, by themselves, very weak, as you
will find; but nevertheless they are of extreme importance, so that the rationale
of them is a most interesting problem. I shall apply the adjective plausible to
their conclusions as well as to reasonings themselves, to express their peculiar
mode of imperfection, while I shall denominate this kind of reasoning Retro-
duction; that is, reasoning from consequent to antecedence. We have, then, to
consider, Deduction, which from a consequence and its antecedent infers the
consequent; Induction, which from antecedents and consequents infers conse-
quences; and Retroduction which from a consequent and a consequence infers
an antecedent.
5. Besides the three fundamental classes of reasoning, Retroduction, Deduction,
and Induction (to numerate them in the order of their essential complication

149
of structure) there is a class which must be regarded as more complete than
any of the fundamental three, since it involves the principles of all of these
three.
6. Induction is the only one of the three great classes of reasonings of which
the reason of its tending to yield true conclusions when it is applied to true
premises has been object of much inquiry. For deduction is so evidently nec-
essary reasoning that it is impossible to make this more evident, and it needs
an intelligence much above the common to discern the differences between a
direct proof that a thing is true and showing the reason of its being true. Kant
saw the point, of course, and stated the reason correctly; namely, that the
inference is analytical. That is as much as to say that the premisses, stated in
full and at large, directly tell us that the conclusion is true;—and this, by the
way, shows us why so many intelligent people cannot see the truth of the pons
asinarum. Retroduction with some escaped much inquiry into the grounds of
its soundness, or validity, as I usually call soundness, because it was mistaken
for reasoning from analogy, which was supposed to be closely analogous to
induction. Indeed, that which I term the class Inductions, must be distin-
guished into three Orders, Quantitative Inductions, Qualitative Inductions,
and “Crude” Induction as I call it, (ill-termed by Bacon inductio per simplicem
enumerationem); and Retroduction is naturally liable to be mistaken for the
second of these orders, while Analogy Proper is a peculiar mixed argument,
(and not a syllogism), or inference from two premises, of which as Qualitative
Induction is an ingredient. Other writers, by an error of classification, do not
regard Retroduction as an argument, at all, since it does not justify, the asser-
tion of its conclusion, but only the hope (or fear) that it is true, with such an
embryonic assertion as that passion involves. But the justification of Induction
has been a great problem, and we must examine together those of the proposed
solutions which because they have been widely accepted, or for any other
reason, seem best worth the trouble. They are those of Aristotle, the Stoics,
the Epicureans, Francis Bacon, Laplace and the mathematicians, Boole, Wil-
liam Whewell. John Stuart Mill, the Père Gratry (de l’Oratoire), although for
my accounts of four of these I am forced to trust to such recollections as a
particularly treacherous memory can report after a lapse of 40 years, unaided
by the slightest memoranda.
7. It will be indispensible, too, that, in spite of my pitiful lack of books, I should
furnish historical accounts of some instructive historical reasonings; and
I can only promise (with eyes full of tears,) that they shall be as free from
falsity as I can possibly make them. We ought to have before us good collec-
tion of specimens of reasoning; genuine historical stuff both strong and weak,

150
valid and invalid,—Retroductions, necessary Deduction, such as I call “cor-
ollarial” together with such as I call “theorematic,” and probable reasonings
(in the strict sense of probable,) Inductions of the three orders. Such was the
collection we ought to have. But the impossibility of processing a single book
beyond the few I have, together with the weakening of my memory, curtails
the usefulness of this volume in a manner that is maddening to me. I rejoice
with all my heart that there are libraries at which every tired and heartsick
shop-girl will receive the wherewithal to amuse her imagination. Yet, I cannot
help thinking that books in my hands would do more good.
Every volume of my own selection that I can possibly procure shall be utilized
to the utmost of my ability to render a future book about reasoning that I am
striving to write as full and as useful as the deplorable limitations of my powers
and my means, against which I strive with might and main, will permit to be.
Meantime in this poor succedaneum for what is needed I shall be able to give
a very much abridged, yet sufficient—barely sufficient,—accounts of those
glorious reasonings with which modern science was inaugurated, and in par-
ticular to the very greatest feat of inductive reasoning that man has hitherto
accomplished, I mean the investigation of the motions of the planet afar Mars
by Johann Keppler.92 But that you may understand just what he was driving

92 J.S. Mill affirms that the procedure of Keppler was not inference at all, but only a com-
pendious description of directly observed appearances, which is a striking example
of the slapdash ignorance which, A.D. 132, it was not considered of indecent for an
English writer on a profound subject to expose, in his own personality, but even in our
day, some Englishmen seem to imagine that such persona displays mark high breed-
ing. Every now and then one even comes across an English book whose writer coolly
mentions in his preface his ignorance of the rudiments of his subject. An American
would as soon walk into the drawing room of an acquaintance in the “altogether,” and
stretching himself on the sofa sink into a refreshing sleep. But as for the noble Briton,
For him nor moves the loud world’s evening Mock,
Nor all Amazement’s angry waves confound,
Who seems a promontory of rock,
That compassed round with bristerous sound,
In middle ocean meets the surging schock,
Tempest buffeted, citadel crowned
Do not so monstrously misunderstand me as to suppose I mean. Still the types refer
to is characteristic of any England I know, it is only a certain curious production bred
occasionally in works of that island into which modern light hardly penetrate. Return
into the great author of the modern solar system (for though Newton’s immortal work
was more epoch-making for science, it was more nearly what Mill called Keppler’s dis-
covery, an improved form of stating Keppler what was known already (since keppler);

151
at when he took up the work, I shall be obliged to explain in outline, the state
of planetary theory at that time, for it was quite unsettled, not even the main
proposition of Kopernik being universally admitted. It was not in all particular
accepted Tycho Brahe who was at first Keppler’s chief. In particular what the
real error of the existing theories of Mars amounted to, must be set forth be-
ginning with the theory of Ptolemy, which dated from about A.D. 140. Now it
is usually said in textbooks of astronomy,—or perhaps I should say that readers
usually infer from reading those text-books;—that the error of Ptolemy con-
sisted in representing the earth as being fixed in position, the truth being that
the Sun is fixed. This is a misunderstanding from beginning to end; or rather,
the only truth in it is that Ptolemy did consider the earth as fixed, which is an
error. But such error as it is, is hardly remedied by saying that the position of
the Sun is fixed, seeing that that luminary, carrying us along with it, is speed-
ing, at a rate equal to traversing the diameter of the earth’s orbit in some six
years, toward the neighborhood of (Alfa) Herculis. Besides, the opinion was
merely an incidental one on Ptolemy’s part, and had nothing to do with his
planetary system, in as much as he expressly and empathically says in the Al-
magest (the droll name by which his astronomical masterpiece generally goes
in our days), that he only claims for his planetary system nothing more than
that it “saves the appearances;” that is, that it represents the planets as moving
in such a way that if they really did move so their “appearances,” or apparent
motions, as seen from the earth would be the same that, in point or fact, they
are. Now as far as “saving the appearances” it makes not the slightest difference
what motion any single one of the visible bodies is represented as perform-
ing provided the relative motion of the others be tight. Indeed, this proviso
is far more than is requisite; and moreover the fixed star are so monstrously

P 19.²/³ [652: 00023]


Though I need not say how outrageously false it would be to say that even Newton’s
work was “merely” that. It was not that even for astronomy; for it opened the iron safe
in which all the secrets of that science (except for spectroscopy and photography) were
hidden away. But the light it shed on astronomy, by which that science was verily born
again, was the least of the light it shed. For it gave us the idea of motion at a distance,
which is just as precious a tool of science if the action be not fundamentally and directly
“at a distance,” as it is if it be so… But to return to Keppler, I only want to mention
that his name is uniformly spelled with a single l, Kepler in his Latin writings and as
uniformly (so far as I can find,) with two l-s in his vernacular writings. So, seeing that
he was not a Roman, or a Latinist by birth, but only a Schwabian baby, I write the name
as you see.

152
remote that so long as the sun, moon, and five planets, Mercury ☿, Venus ♀,
Mars ♂, Jupiter ♃, and Saturn ♄, mere so represented as moving that their di-
rections from the earth should always be right, the appearances always would
be saved, let them move to and from the earth so as to falsify their directions
relatively to one another ad libitum. But the truth is that, except for Mercury
and the Moon, which two rebels have proved refractory even to modern as-
tronomers.93 I doubt whether it is fair to say that there was any error at all
in the Ptolemic system, in view of Ptolemy’s express notification that he only
professed to save the appearances, and understanding by the “appearances”
the apparent motions as nearly as the astronomers of Ptolemy’s time could ob-
serve them, which I take to have been not closer than one-sixth of a degree, or
is; in celestial longitude, (not right ascension.) Moreover, Ptolemy, who was a
mighty strong mathematician, must have seen for himself that, be his general
system as correct as it might; no orbit that he could work out could continue
to be at all satisfactory for more than, say, a century; so that it is the reverse of
surprising that by the time of Kopernik they should all be utterly useless mere-
ly by the accumulation of the effects of the absence of small fractions in the
expressions for the rates of motion, not to mention undiscovered equations.
As a further introduction to the understanding of Keppler’s discovery, it will
be needful to draw your attention to what Kopernik and what Tycho Brahe
did. The work of the former, as far as we need consider it, was the simplest and
prettiest of retroductive inferences, which are in general lovely. It had besides,
in a high degree another general characteristic.
This class of reasonings, that of acting on our mind with a greater convincing
power than cold consideration finds good reason in the nature of things for
its doing. This mysterious convincingness which the history of science seems
to show is well borne out by the relative small proportion of good retroduc-
tions that have turned out to be quite false. This statistical argument, which, it
must be noted, is itself retroductive. (So that we must be on our guard against
a begging of the question,) is one of the supports, though by no means the
principal support, of my doctrine that the human mind has a power of divi-
nation. The occasion of having to consider the reasoning of Kopernik will be
a good one on which to give at large the ground for this mystical opinion. I

93 For even Laplace got one of its motions entirely wrong, and there is no known reason
which that motion should be exactly, what it is seen to be; while in the case of Mercury
the attraction of gravitation itself breaks down, and it has to be supposed that instead
of varying reciprocally, to the square of the distance, the exponent of the distance is a
number differing slightly from—2.

153
recommend you to consider my reasoning carefully and to form your own
independent opinion without haste. To my mind, seven years of reflexion is
now too much for a decision so momentous. If you ask what you shall do
about all the retroductions that turn up during the long incubation, I reply
that, of course you must be guided by your state of opinion at the time; and
although I mention seven years as a period after which, if it has been industri-
ously used, you can say to yourself “I have studied this question out as well as
I can, and in future my time can probably be occupied more profitably in oth-
er ways.” But you should never lose sight of the principle that aside from ques-
tions relating to past occasions and from propositions in mathematics, ethics,
a few that are past all doubt whatever in logic, and a large number belonging
to the domain of universal common sense, such as that to put one’s hand in
an ordinary flame would produce pain; a wise reasoner will never regard any
opinion of his as final, beyond and chance whatever of revisions. Mathemati-
cal propositions and a few in logic may be excepted because the reasoning is
necessary and only a blunder that would be corrected by another computer or
geometrician can occasion its falsity (though I shall in the proper place with-
out going deep into technicalities, shall give quite a list of propositions which
all mathematicians, as far as I am aware, hold to be false today.) Common-
sense teachings are excepted, because we do not judge of them by rational
criticism, for as much as the habit of belief is too strong to be combated. Ethi-
cal propositions are not really exceptions, but I treat them as such on account
of their extreme importance, and the consideration that no precaution can be
sufficient to prevent young fools from galloping to ruin on fallacies cheap and
nasty. I sometimes think that if we recognized the criminality of trying to pre-
vent their doing so, the race would soon be regenerated. But then I ask myself
where I should have been myself, if that rule had prevailed and conclude that
it would, at any rate, be ridiculous and worse than unbecoming for me to be
prominent in such a catharsy.
Tycho Brahe must receive a brief notice. For though he was a weak reasoned
on the planetary theory, yet certainly, so far as we can see, modern science
would not have come into being,—for centuries at least, if it had not been
for him. To me it seems blasphemous to suppose that God uses any means to
bring about some things other than these means; but I do not know what other
instance is so staggering to my opinion then the fact that at the moment when
it seemed the human race was in danger of perishing within half a dozen cen-
turies, and there was no time to be lost, these such unparalleled phenomena,
in their different ways, as Tycho Brahe, Galileo Galilei, and Johann Keppler to
produce modern science with such amazing celerity.

154
8. One shrinks from parching with one’s last secret. Else what an instructive his-
torical chapter could I not write! And so irresistibly funny withal. A chapter
of mistakes, mostly in retroduction. That class of inferences contains some
that looked upon with one eye seem too foolish to be mentioned on any other
page than that of a Book of Nonsense, and yet when regarded from the other
eye are all but absolutely convincing; such a difference an angle of parallax
may make. It would be an autobiographical chapter. But some things are not
told out of school.
I shall, however, give historical examples of every kind of reasoning that pur-
pose for your consideration. The most special kinds I shall not have the space
to touch upon otherwise than incidentally.94

94 [Editor: the MS includes further pages, identical copies and probably old versions of
16-17-18-19.]

155
Quest of Quest95
An Inquiry into the Conditions of Success in
Inquiry (beyond the collection and observation
of facts.)96

Looseness of expression, inexactitude is decidedly in vogue nowadays. One


might almost say it is all the rage, so assiduously it is cultivated in our thousands
of magazines and in books for “the general reader.” When that cultured person
is addressed upon any subject of natural science, this looseness cannot well be
avoided, since, not knowing the things, he could not possibly understand the im-
plications of the exact terms that describe them. Those sciences are held down to
precision, themselves, by the objects with which they are busied. The philosophi-
cal sciences, the sciences of the beautiful, the true, and the good, together with
all the department of metaphysics, not studying concrete objects, have hardly
anything to hold them with accuracy to their propositions except the exactitude
of their definitions of words, and when these are forgotten, all their really fine
work must crumble and become an occasional hazy reminiscence. But naturally
there are swarms of writers who, having done no really fruitful reasoning of their
own, can only earn some prestige for the general reader by reclothing what oth-
ers have said in other words and it is, generally in old ones misused, since they
cut the best figure. Besides, it is not everybody, by any means, who can coin a
new word that is at all attractive.

95 [Editor: MS 655, dated 1910.]


96 Throughout this whole copy, what is in RED is needed by every reader of the copy, but
is not to be set up. What is in GREEN consists of directions to the printer. What is in
BROWN is provisional. What is in BLACK (except but word, of course,) is to be set
up, corrected by the proofreader, and 2 impressions are to be sent to the author, along
with the original copy. He will carefully read it with the almost practicable dispatch.
His corrections are to be made, and it is not finally to go to press until he has OK’d a
final revise. Experience has shown that this is indispensible (unless, indeed, Mr. Carus
should care to certify that the author’s corrections have been made. This of course, is
in case the book should be published by the Open Court Company.) What is BLUE are
merely, private memoranda of the author acquire in order to keep his papers in order.
This MS. is to be used as copy for the printer only. In the event of my being cut off by
an … before I can …

157
It is only the pens of genuine eloquence that can do serious harm: It seems
strange that anybody should be so childishly thoughtless as not to see the wick-
edness of misusing the terms of philosophy. What if a mischievous boy were
to find himself alone in some great museum of zoology or botany, where there
were many “type specimens”,—that is, to say those specimens which, according
to the rules of taxonomic science, are to be examined in any case of doubt as to
the meaning of the original definitions of the names of species, as being the sole,
final authorities for the characters of the species bearing given names; and sup-
pose that boy were to spend the time during which he were to be left alone there
in pulling members of various type-specimens and transposing them. Would
not he, all his life, be looked upon as a monster of iniquity, who had brought the
life works of several great anatomists to naught? And what difference is there
between the urchin and the man who because he has an engaging style presumes
to write philosophy, without having the very moderate mental power required
to use words according to their accepted definitions. Well, I grant that this is not
as bad as the doings of my supposed boy. It is only as if the boy had contented
himself with transposing a few labels,—a dozen or so,—just as a large party of
students were about to enter the museum for the purpose of studying the mean-
ings of the names by examining the specimens to which they were attached.
I have known writers on philosophy of great following, whose minds were so
little disciplined that they had abandoned the study of one science after another
because they were unable to master them, and who had the most modeled no-
tions of reasoning, so that no problem of algebra or theorem of geometry was
within their powers, and finally had taken to philosophy, by far the most dif-
ficult of all the sciences, but the one in which it is easiest to pass off counterfeit,
upon the ignorant and upon the unwary fool. They ought either to have acquired
sufficient mastery of logic,—in spite of their aversion to accuracy,—to enable
them to reason intelligently, or else have employed their picturesque pens upon
works of imagination or upon practical moralizing,—or upon anything in the
world,—squaring the circle, inventing perpetual motions, finding the philoso-
phers’ stone,—all innocent pursuits in comparison to confusing weak or igno-
rant minds with pretended philosophy.
Everybody who presumes to write upon a philosophical subject should re-
member, that a well-understood and accurately used terminology is the only
means of saving the philosophical sciences from being swamped in nonsense;
and that thence it follows that whoever cares a straw for morality, ought to devote
some hours, now and then, to considering the sinfulness of corrupting that ter-
minology, and to reviewing their own conduct, and reforming their habits in the
light of those reflexions. The taxonomical sciences, botany, zoology, mineralogy,

158
and taxonomical chemistry are the sciences which have forced their devotees to
the most serious as well go to the most successful grappling with the difficulties
of nomenclature and terminology generally; and their methods ought to be stud-
ied by philosophists. I can not pretend to have carried any study of philosophical
terminology far enough to venture to draw up a definitive code of terminology
for philosophy. But I will propose some rules for provisional acceptance, which
will help, I hope, to render my own language clear.
The first pertinent consideration is that the language of scientific philosophy,—
I use the word philosophy to cover precisely all inquiry which is based only upon
those truths which are the common and undisputed possession of all normal hu-
man adults, such as that things move (for I hold any man who denies the reality of
motion, (i.e. of change and of time,) to be either a liar, or else muddled about the
meaning of “real”). In other words Philosophy is the science which confines itself
to such truths as are not mere mathematical as can be inferred from critical, com-
mon sense—the language of philosophy ought not to be such as to invite those to
read it that are not willing to exert themselves to think. People who cannot master
Euclid’s Elements should let Philosophy alone. They may more usefully employ
themselves in continuing the tables of prime and composite numbers, one of the
best workers at which, Dase, was hopelessly insane when he did his work. That,
therefore, is an endless task which any man may make himself a benefactor of his
race, if he loves his fellow men well enough to persist in it. Any mathematician
will show him how to do it, beginning with 10 000 001, (since tables of all the
smaller numbers have already been published). He had better not attempt, at first,
to go beyond 10999999. If he finds he is not disposed to undertake this, though
no more useful work presents itself, he can infer from the fact a measure of his
philanthropy. But in any case, he had better do anything innocent, or live for pas-
sive enjoyment, rather than write philosophy; especially, if it be of an attractive
sort; for that will be for him, a criminal business.
The second consideration is that any man who proposes to devote himself to
the study of philosophy ought to be able to read common Greek, Medieval Latin,
English, and German. I do not say that a man could not do good science without
knowing these languages, nor that there are not others, especially French, which it
could be a great pity he should not know. But these I have mentioned are generally
indispensable. Consequently, there is no objection to the borrowing of words from
these languages. For example, Anschauung in German means something very dif-
ferent from the intuitus of Anselm and later Scholastics, and it will avoid a source
of great confusion and error to allow to stand in its German form in English philo-
sophical writings, instead of using “intuition” to translate it; and perhaps it would
also be best to use intuitus instead of intuition in the other sense. But what I could

159
chiefly insist upon is that we should not avoid forming words from the Greek,
provided they are correctly formed. Such a word as biology for the science of or-
ganized creatures is ridiculous, if not worse; since it ought to mean a more philo-
sophical kind of biography. It would seem to be a good rule that no word should
be formed from any language which speakers of that language would naturally
misunderstand. A Greek could not at once catch the meaning of every word very
properly formed from the Greek, for the most of modern conceptions; but it ought
not to be such that he would be sure to think he understood it, while really quite
mistaking its meaning, as is the case with biology and surely other words.
The third proposition that I would submit for serious consideration is that
when a person introduces a concept into philosophy, and furnishes a terminol-
ogy for the expression of it, his terminology should be used on all ordinary oc-
casions, provided it be not seriously inconvenient, until the interests of science
decidedly require a different one.
The fourth proposal I shall make is that scholastic terminology be employed
according to the scholastics intentions, until some fundamental and general
change is made in the philosophical vocabulary and that, until then, it be pre-
ferred for those conceptions to which it is adequate. What recommends this rule
to me is the superior exactitude of the scholastic language within its limits.
The fifth proposal I shall offer is that generalizations of the meanings of much
philosophical terms ought to be permitted, whenever it can be shown that the
existing meaning of a philosophical term, implies two characters that are in all
important respects independent of each other, and that a term for whatever
should possess a certain one of them is needed.
Sixtly, if a word having recognized equivalents in Teutonic and Romanic
speech, but not yet received as a term of philosophy, can without too great vio-
lence to usage have its meaning, so restricted or otherwise a modified as to fill a
decided wart in philosophical terminology, is not this a desirable step?
I have still other suggestions [to make], both affirmative and negative, which
I think worth making understood; but I prefer to let them remain unmentioned
until actual examples press upon us as to their reasonableness of them. It is cer-
tain that at present the terminology of philosophy is rapidly changing, and most-
ly greatly for the worse, under the influence of indolence and the lack, on the part
of its students, of that eager desire to discover the very truth which characterizes
most of the special sciences of our time.
The chief subject of the present book is Reasoning, its chief kinds, and their
different modes and conditions of trustworthiness.
This is what was, before the XIXth century, understood by the term Logic; but
owing to its having been very erroneously, and without any careful examination

160
assumed in Germany that that science had been completely finished by Aristo-
tle, it was thought permissible to use the word Logic for any other purpose that
seemed to any writer at any moment convenient; and the consequence is that the
word has, no longer, any definite meaning in philosophy. It has gone the whole
length of that road to perdition over which indifference to truth and laziness and
the desire to dazzle large publics are rapidly carrying all philosophy along with
its nomenclature.
But I shall venture to use the word in the sense it had when it had any sense
at all.
In order to get a further insight into the general nature of this study, let us
begin by glancing over the whole field of science.
Attempts to classify the sciences have numbered over a hundred; but the only
ones that seem to me to be helpful are those which, like Comte’s, go upon the
idea that some or all of the sciences form a ladder; one furnishing principle to
another which in turn furnishes instances of the former.97 But there is one mon-
strous fault that seems to be common to all published classifications; namely, it
is that they attempt, apparently, upon a basis of experience to pronounce upon
what sciences are the only one’s possible. I shall not venture upon that attempt,
but shall confine myself to the sciences that either exist, or whose birth seems to
be premised.
But, first of all, how shall we define a science? Since I was brought up in inti-
macy with almost all the chief men of science in the United States during those
years and was always most attentive to their conversation, I think it hardly sup-
posable that I should have mistaken what they meant by that word; and if I am
right, what they meant by a science, was the business, the total principal industry
of a social group, whose whole lives or many years of them, are consecrated to
inquiries to which they are so devoted as to be drawn to every person who is
pursuing similar inquiries, and those inquiries are conducted according to the
best methods so far found out, for the prosecution of which every man [of] them
possesses special advantages. The different inquiries being so nearly of the same
nature that they thoroughly understood one another’s difficulties and merits,
and could after a brief preparation has generally each one taken up and carried
on any other’s work, though probably not with quite his success.

97 [Editor: Further reading on this topic see: Kenneth L. Ketner, “Charles S. Peirce: Inter-
disciplinary Scientist”. In: The Logic of Interdisciplinarity. Charles S. Peirce. The Monist
Series. Elize Bisanz (ed.) (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2009).]

161
It follows that the limits of a science are those of a social group, and conse-
quently from the very nature of that sort of entity, that of our classi-[fication]
is to be true and yet not confused, it cannot be at all minute. For to mention
only one of several inseparable difficulties, if that were attempted, it would be
necessary to reorganize science which should be that of Attempts to classify the
sciences have numbered over a hundred; but the only ones that seem to me to be
helpful are those which, like Comte’s, go upon the idea that some or all of the sci-
ences form a ladder; one furnishing principle to another which in turn furnishes
instances of the former.
We must recognize, in the first place, three great kingdoms of science; first,
theoretical science whose sole end is to discover new truth, for truth’s sake, then
there is Practical Science which discovers truth of a less lofty kind for the sake
of some definite purpose, or definite possible purpose, (for those who cultivate
it need not themselves contemplate applying it.) Thirdly, between these two we
must place that science which sets forth the results of theoretical science, so that
it may serve any purpose, practical, philosophically educational, or even merely
amazing. This ranges all the way from Comte’s Cour de la Philosophie positive
and Spencer’s Synthetic Philosophy, through von Humboldt’s Cosmos, and all the
dictionaries and digests, down to college textbooks and popular presentations.
We need not inquire into the divisions of the last two kingdoms.

Theoretical Science divides itself, at once, into


1. Mathematics, which merely traces out the necessary consequents of Hypoth-
eses, for the truth of which this science assumes no responsibility; nay some-
times (almost always) acknowledges the unreality or at least the exactitude.
(Cenoscopy)
2. Philosophy, which aims only at so much truth as can be inferred with likeli-
hood or plausibility from the knowledge common to all grown persons.
3. Idioscopy (I borrow the two words Cenoscopy and Idioscopy from Bentham)
or Special Science, which occupies its energies mostly in acquiring strange
experiences, and then in inferring Truth from them mostly only plausible.
Special Science divides itself into two parallel streams, the [one] only studying
the products of finite minds, especially of Men, Psychic Sciences; the other study-
ing the Material Universes, Physical Sciences. This latter kind of science is far the
more developed. Both streams have three orders of science, the divisions being
thoroughly analogous in the two streams.
That order of Idioscopy, which is naturally attached first is Descriptive Sci-
ence. This studies Actuals, either Actual courses of events, necessarily Pasts;—so

162
that it is History, or Existing Objects necessarily existing when observed. It is
called Descriptive Science because it must begin by accurately describing Indi-
vidual Objects or Narrating Single Personal Experiences. In the physical Branch
its chief objects are two: The Heavens and the Earth (Astrognosy and Geognosy).
In the Psychical Branch its objects are also mainly two: Monuments especially
writings and Personal Experiences of men. But it does not stop here. It must go
on to explain the causes of its experienced events and the origin of the single
things it describes. It is therefore Explanatory Science. Its explanations are of
first merely plausible hypotheses; but it is able with hard labor ultimately to ren-
der them more or less likely to have been true. As this order of science grows, it
describes so many individual actualities that it comes to interest itself less and
less with the singulars and more and more with the classes of can-bes; and thus it
tends to pass into the second order of idioscopy, which is Classificatory Science.
Of the classificatory science of the physical branch, Anatomy is on the border of
Descriptive Science, if, as Weissmann teaches, the germ-plasm of each race is an
individual thing. In chrystallography, on the other hand, the single forms seldom
exist in their purity. Chemistry affords a striking example of the tendency of
classificatory science to assimilate itself in its development to the third order of
Idioscopy, the study of laws or would-bes, Nomological science. In the psychical
branch the most developed classificatory science and the two groups of sciences
called Linguistics and Anthropology, are a part of this still ill- defined group of
studies[.]
The third order comprises in the physical branch the group of sciences called
collectively “General Physics,” consisting of Dynamics or Molar Physics, Ther-
motics and Elaterids, or Molecular Physics, and Electromagnetics and Optics,
or Etherial Physics. In the psychic branch, the nomological sciences are known
collectively as psychology, embracing Social psychology, which includes Eco-
nomics, etc. Human psychology, in several kinds, Animal psychology, and we
may expect other varieties in the future. These sciences having been studied with
any power, as yet, but by comparatively few persons and only for half a century,
except by isolated students, is not yet sufficiently developed to enable one to
make out very clearly its characteristic features. It is safe to say, however, that
both Physics and Psychology will, as time goes on, tend to become welded to
metaphysics.
It will not be seriously questioned that the physical classificatory sciences must
appeal to general physics for principles as Linguistics and Anthropology must to
Psychology; while Astronomy and Geognosy are already borrowing principles
from Chemistry and Crystallography, as History and Archeology ought to do
from Linguistics and from Anthropology when the classificatory sciences of the

163
psychical branch whole have become sufficiently developed. On the other hand
Data will be supplied by one order of science to another in the reverse direction,
History and Archeology to Linguistics and Anthropology, and these in turn to
Psychology; just as Geognosy and Astronomy supply already precious data to
Chemistry, Crystallography, and Taxonomic Zoology and Botany, while these
in their turn furnish aid of somewhat the same general mind to general Physics.
Turning now to Cenoscopy, or Philosophy, I find here too three orders of sci-
ence in which one can, I think, detect some analogy, though not a very definite
analogy, to the three orders of Idioscopy.
The three orders which I recognize in Cenoscopy seem to me to be so clearly
and distinctly marked, that I do not think really profound and exact thinkers
can possibly raise any objection to the division except perhaps one which I shall
shortly consider. I must first mention what the three orders of science that I seem
to discern in Cenoscopy are. I give then in the second order that seems to me to
correspond with that of any enumeration of the branch of Idioscopy, although
in both cases, this is, in my opinion, the reverse of the succession that ought to
hold on the study of them.
They are then:
1st, Metaphysics by which I mean all scientific inquiry into what is real (and not
Figment) and especially of all scientific studies that which has individual re-
ality, so far this study is based upon critical Common Sense, and upon the
principles of logic.
2nd, The Normative Sciences, Esthetics, Ethics and Logic, which are confined
respectively to ascertaining to have Feeling, Conduct, and Thought, ought
to be controlled supposing them to be subject in a measure, and only in a
measure, to self control, exercised by means of self-criticism, and the pur-
posive formation of habit, as common sense tells us they are in a measure
controllable.
3 , Phaneroscopy, or the science of what might appear or seem. I do not pre-
rd

tend to have a definite conception of this study as a whole; but I think there
must be something like, or taking the place of, a corrected version of Hegel’s
Phänomenologie des Geistes.98 It is what a boy of ideal intelligence would say
to himself on first waking up to the fact that he is;—that he is a thinking be-
ing that can measurably control his thoughts. That begins his development
as a philosopher; and the first question, perhaps, that he opens, having just
discovered his own personal reality as an inference from his mistakes and

98 [Editor: Peirce has noted to leave out sheet Nr. 26.]

164
from his ignorance, may be, what could direct effort, i.e. attention, accom-
plish and how? At any rate, it will be granted that before he could be led to
ask himself any normative questions, he must have asked himself other ques-
tions, he must have thought out answers to them, and must have entered
doubts of those answers. If he were less vigorous than we have supposed
him—thou and I, Reader,—his [offering] might have led him to discover
his own soul [parts], and have thrown himself into the error of believing he
knows the outward reality through inward reality, instead of recognizing the
truth that he only knows his own existence as a plausible theory, to account
for outermost experiences,—outward, I mean, to himself, whether outward
to his person or not. But for the present, this Phaneroscopy must be stopped
because I have not sufficiently studied it.
I have now stated, in a general way, my notion of where Logic as the science of
the principles how thought ought to be controlled, so far as it may be subject to
self-control, in the interest of truth. But what, one may ask, do I mean by “Truth”.
To this, I reply, that, at least, to a certain extent, the result of inquiry by differ-
ent men, though they may start with preconceptions ever so varied, or opposed,
and may build upon experiences (or irresistible results of outward influences)
as diverse and unlike as they may, is to bring them, in spite of their original
resolves, to one common opinion. It may be that in the long run, if they were
to persist long enough in their inquiries, there would be no limit to this result
of their coming to agreement at last. The history of modern science renders the
hypothesis that so it would be extremely plausible. Something approaching to
this is, most likely, the real fact. That it is the exact fact, I do not feel sure. But
when I say that I believe that a given assertion is “true”, what I mean is that I be-
lieve that, as regards that particular assertion, I believe that sufficiently energetic
and searching, and intelligently conducted inquiry,—could a person carry it on
endlessly,—would cause him to be fully satisfied with the assertion and never be
shaken from this satisfaction.
In 1868 I wrote a series of three articles upon the theory of cognition. They
appeared in the second volume of William Harris’s Journal of Speculative
Philosophy,99— a great gift to American people was founding and the carrying
on of that journal, by the way, every man for whom such subjects are not the
fool’s toys that the normal Anglo-Saxon dreams, them ought to hold William

99 [Editor: The Journal of Speculative Philosophy was published in from 1867–1893. It’s
program was also thoroughly interdisciplinary, including psychology and other social
sciences, as well as art and religion. Peirce had several contributions in it.]

165
Harris in grateful reverence—and I venture to think that any man the joints of
whose intellectual members are not stiffened with disuse a close reading of those
articles will bring both proud and pleasure. I wish I could find a publisher who
would reprint them with or without such new commentary as I should like now
to add to them; for, whether their conclusions are right or wrong, it would be an
education to most philosophers to create and consider their reasonings. In the
second of those papers [p. 155, second column ¾ of the way down] is to be read,
“The real, then, is that information and reasoning would finally result in, and
which is therefore independent of the vagaries of me and you.”
Then “then” shows that this definition results from reasoning set forth in the
article; and, of course, a definition of the real amounts to a definition of the truth,
which is obviously the character of a representation of the real as it really is.
Perhaps some may consider my old definition which in substantial agreement
with that which Schiller and James arrived at (subsequently, as I can testify to
a time when during a week or more, used to drop in nearly every afternoon to
keep James company, when he was tied to his reclining chair by a weak back, and
always found him studying over that same article of mine) to be a trifle more
definite than to say that the truth is that which is satisfactory, since if James had
suddenly found the malady from which he had been suffering for many months
cured, he might well have regarded that as eminently satisfaction without being
very obviously an instance of truth.
I must not be understood, for one moment to hint at anything, however re-
motely like plagiarism, since on the one hand the man never lived whose mature
heart and soul were more immune to temptation inclining toward anything re-
sembling disloyalty than James’s, on the other hand any feeling like that would
be, on my part, as arrantly ridiculous as it would be contemptible, ridiculous,
because a philosophical definition is not a patentable article, but on the contrary
something that its author ought to be only too glad to see laid hold and made
use of and contemptible in case, since in either form of expression, the particular
definition in question is as plain “as the nose as one’s face,” once one looks at
truth on a reality from that point of view called “cognitionism,” a point of view
which it is possible that both James and I were led to take by the influence of our
common friend,—not to call him our teacher,— Chauncey Wright, who unques-
tionably derived that way of thinking from John Stuart Mill whose enthusiastic
follower he was,—unless, indeed it was Mill’s cognitionism that made Wright so
enthusiastic for him. To be sure “cognitionism” is not so unusual an infection
that one can be sure, forty odd years later how he caught the germs of it.
Yet it may be that the reader will wish to say me, “Nevertheless, your tone cer-
tainly betrays some irritation or displeasure.” Now considering that that reader

166
may have taken up my book with the serious intention of learning from me, I am
bound, as his teacher, to acknowledge that he has a good reason for informing
himself concerning my disposition and those sides of my character that may af-
fect the nature of my teachings, and consequently I am obliged to acknowledge
that there is something with which I am dissatisfied, and that I ought to open
myself on the subject to that particular kind of reader while warning all others
that they will find the rest of this section entirely devoid of interest and that they
had better skip to the heading II.100
All of the matter which follows, enclosed in broun lines is to be set up in unu-
sually fine print,—say nonpareil without leads.101
A man of great natural capacity and penetration who had been born poor,
but died rich, and who was at one time disposed to befriend me, once remarked
to me that it is very easy to get rich, and that the reason why so few do so is
that the majority of men have no true love of money. Nobody that knew him
with some intimacy could have long remained ignorant that he had entirely es-
caped that deplorable failing. The remark impressed me considerably, and my
subsequent observations of men, especially in the departments of Washington
has shown me that the majority is incapable of working for money; they will
set to work from that motive, and when they are once at work, their minds are
absorbed in what they are doing, even in case they do not acquire a taste for
their particular occupation, as they will if it be one in which they can gradually
acquire skill. But it cannot be said that they are motivated by the pay they get; for
they do not become much less interested in the work, nor ask to have the […]
and foresee new connections, nor grow old, as their pay is raised; one or other
of which facts would be observable if the pay were what moved them. In that
respect, I am a true member of the common herd. Like every other member,
however, I have two or three little characters which distinguish me from the rest.
One is that in as much as my particular industry is that of thinking, and since
thinking consists in conversing with oneself, it becomes natural that my pas-
sion should be that of making myself useful by teaching others that particular
virtue of thought, teaching which I can be most useful, since it is that character
of thought in which I have found myself to be at any best. Now this character
I need not say, is essentially a humble one, disdained by the souring spirits;—not,
indeed, by the Alanders, the Caesars, the Charlemagnes, or the Napoleons,—no,
no!—but by the Victor Hugos, the Lamartines, the Cong fellows;—and it is not

100 I will put this personal passage in fine print.


101 [Editor: The following pages are written in blue.]

167
to be possessed but by drudgery, painful, slow, and persistent. It is like digging
in the ground and brings a mental character analogous to the round and lumpy
shoulders and earthward eyes of the delver. These beautiful spirits detest it, call
it pedantry. But the man of science will tell you that the power to make oneself
solidly useful is not to be attained without minute accuracy. The first, in order
of mention, then, of my intellectual characteristics is a virtue, a humble one, but
important: Unless I insisted upon that, I could not screw my self-complacency
up to confessing the other; which I will make believe is only a virtue carried
too far,—a more than just shrinking from any approach to réclame. I have often
seen men of science immensely gratified by a recognition of their merit by some
Academy, or its Council. In truth, it is an almost uniform phenomenon. Yet in
spite of its being so usual, I have seldom failed to be struck with astonishment.
I say to myself, does the man not know that the more numerous the body which
comes to any decision, the greater will be its inferiority in wisdom to that which
the average member of that body would have reached if the whole responsibility
for a decision had rested upon his wisdom alone? Or why does he not value a
judgment according to the knowledge and competence of the judge, and is not
he himself far more competent to judge his superiority than any […]102

102 [Editor: the MS has been interrupted at this point.]

168
An Appraisal of the Faculty of Reasoning103

A query lately appeared in these columns that seems worthy of being followed
out. It was whether, in case a given planet were known to be the habitation of a
race of high psychical development, and that in the direction of knowledge, it
would be safely presumable that that race was able to reason as man does.
Next after the laws of inanimate nature and after sense-perception, nothing
works so uniformly and smoothly as the instinct of the lower animals. A down-
right blunder on the part of instinct is extremely rare, to say the least, while our
reasoning goes entirely wrong and reaches conclusions quite contrary to the truth
and unwarranted by its premises with such distressing frequency that an inces-
sant watch has to be maintained against these lapses. As for small divergences
from strict logic, they are to be found in the majority of human inferences. We
may as well acknowledge that man’s self-flattery about his “reason,” though we
all indulge in it, is prodigiously exaggerated. Reason itself winks satirically in its
boasting, and broadly hints at its own mendacity; and yet were some divinity to
offer to exchange any man’s logical faculty for that “Intuition” that is usually at-
tributed to women,—the intuition promised reaching, however, the same pitch
of perfection as the instinct of bees and seals, or even so much higher, how many,
think ye, would close with the offer? Hastily to conclude that such an exchange
would result in making its subject appear as a fool would simply to furnish a new
example of reason’s blundering. Far from that, it would surely enhance the trans-
formed individual’s reputation sound judgment. If one had it in his power to col-
lect a numerous sample of the men that are today known and honored for their
intellect throughout the better informed classes of Europe and America,—only
taking care not to draw too many from the ranks of exact science,—and, having
withal authority to test their reasoning powers, were to set to each of them the
task of reasonably proving or disproving a given promising scientific hypothesis,
one would certainly find that a notable percentage of these justly respected minds
would not know at all how to go to work. Not a few of them, for example, would
begin, as we have many a time seen just such men begin, by studying with pro-
miscuous assiduity the facts upon which the hypothesis had been based, instead
of beginning, as they ought, with the study, not of the facts, but of the hypothesis,
in order to ascertain what observable consequences of the truth of the hypothesis,
in case it were true, would contrast with the consequences of its falsity, in case

103 [Editor: MS 616, not dated.]

169
it were false; and only thereafter turning to the facts, to examine them, not in a
promiscuous way, but only in these pertinent respects. When one’s purpose is to
produce a reasonable hypothesis, it is right to begin by immersing oneself in the
study of the facts until the mind is soaked through and through with the spirit
of their interrelations; but when one has to estimate the ascertainable truth in a
hypothesis already presented, it is the hypothesis that should take precedence in
one’s inquiry. The experiment supposed would not, however, be an altogether
satisfactory test of a man’s reasoning power, because the task set is too special and
peculiar, and partly because a man who had been trained in testing hypotheses
would at once set to work in the right way, even though he merely followed a
rule of thumb, without at all knowing why that way should be the right way, and
perhaps not even knowing there was any other; while the best reasoned in the
world, if the problem were novel to him, might halt and stumble in his procedure
owing to the very circumstance that he was taking his steps in the constraint and
tight boots of too much reasoning instead of in the old slippers of habit. A better
test is the ability to follow a simple mathematical demonstration; because math-
ematical conceptions are all conceptions of visible objects, and involve no other
difficulty than the extreme complexity of most of them, which, however, does not
affect the simple demonstrations; and because there is no element of mathemati-
cal reasoning which is not found in all reasoning unless forming a conjecture be
called reasoning. Nevertheless, it is well known that among those who have never
been able to cross the pons asinorum, i.e. Euclid’s demonstration that the angles
at the base of an isosceles triangle are equal, there are men who are so far from
being asses that their heads touch the very heavens of human intelligence, jurist’s
whose opinions are authoritative the world over, diplomats renowned for their
skill in unraveling the most tangled of human snarls, naturalists of the first order,
and minds who choke the senate of philosophy. It is, no doubt, true that elemen-
tary mathematics is so abominably taught that a pretty bright mind may quite
fail to apprehend the thought. He may, for example, suppose that mathematics
deals with questions of fact, instead of with questions of whether the truth of an
arbitrary hypothesis would involve the truth of another proposition or not. It is
further true that the elliptical style of writing which mathematicians have inher-
ited from the Greeks tends to veil the connexions between the different steps. But
examples can be framed which are not open to these objections. At the end of this
article will be found a little mathematical discussion which has been carefully de-
signed to serve as a test of capacity for such mathematics as is not very intricate.
The beginning of it is excessively easy; but the last part of it is not so; and who
so clearly sees the cogency of the whole may rest assured that he labors under no
mental defect in respect to mathematical reasoning.

170
The writer of this would hold himself deeply obliged, in the interests of psy-
chology, of logic, and of the pedagogy of mathematics, if those persons who are
reputed to be of superior intelligence, but who have believed their minds to be
mathematically defective, would report to him whether or not they can follow
the whole reasoning of the appended example; and if not, how far they do follow
it, and what appears to them to be the hindrance to going further.
The difficulties of different minds may be different; so that it is desirable to
enumerate the different kinds of mental processes that enter into mathematical
discussions. In the ancient style, which is still much followed, a mathematical
demonstration is prefaced by a statement of the proposition to be proved, ex-
pressed in the abstract terms of ordinary speech;—a form of expression relatively
difficult of apprehension to the mathematical mind.
Calling this the first step, the second will consist in translating the words which
denote that which the proposition supposes, or takes for granted, into diagram-
language. Thus, if the proposition was that the sum of the angles of a spherical
triangle is greater than two right angles, the diagram should show a spherical tri-
angle and two right angles. The word diagram is here used in the peculiar sense
of a concrete, but possibly changing mental image of such a thing as it represents.
A drawing or model may be employed to aid the imagination; but the essential
thing to be performed is the act of imagining. Mathematical diagrams are of two
kinds; 1st, the geometrical, which are composed of lines (for even the image of a
body having a curved surface without edges, what is mainly seen with the mind’s
eye as it is turned about, is its generating lines, such as its varying outline); and
2nd, the algebraical, which are arrays of letters and other characters whose inter-
relations are represented partly by their arrangement and partly by repetitions of
them. If these changes, it is by instantaneous metamorphoses.
The diagram language into which proposition in mathematics is translated
cannot possibly consist in nothing but a diagram, since no diagram, even if it be
a changing one can present more than a single object, while the verbal expression
of the proposition to be proved is necessarily general. To revert our example, a
proposition about any spherical triangle whatsoever, relates to something that no
single image of a spherical triangle can cover. Accordingly, every diagram must
be supplemented by certain general understandings of explicit rules, which shall
warrant the substitution for one diagram of any other conforming to certain
rules. These will be rules of permissible substitution, partly limited to the special
proposition, partly extending to an entire class of diagrams to which this one
belongs.

171
Part II.  Mathematical Reasoning104

Thus, many a pupil is mystified, and never discovers what mathematics aims to
do. However, putting aside the cases of men who on account of bad teaching
suppose they have no mathematical talent, when they may really be rather above
the average in this respect; there remain over others who, with the best of teach-
ings, never could be enabled to comprehend the pons asinorum and yet may be
profound lawyers, naturalists, or historians.
This is a most singular psychological phenomenon; because there is no ele­
ment of mathematical reasoning that is not found in all reasoning whatever,
exceptions only in logical analysis and in the formation of conjectures. If the
incapacity of high judicial and other intellects were limited for the majority of
mathematical reasonings, we might attribute it to the difficulty of grasping the
very intricate relations to which mathematical propositions usually refers. But
since this incapacity extends to the pons asinorum and other propositions which
present no such intricacy, we have to look elsewhere for the secret of it. Let us
see, then, precisely what logical operations are involved in a very simple piece of
mathematical reasoning. Suppose the question is how many rays, or unlimited
straight lines, can at most each cut four given rays that cannot all be cut by each
of an indefinitely great multitude of rays. For the sake of brevity, we will suppose
that, of the four given rays, which we will distinguish as A, B, C, and D, no two
intersect, whence no two lie on one plane. Consider any plane containing A.
The rays B and C each cut this plane in a point; and the ray through these two
points is the only ray on that plane that cuts all three of the rays A, B, and C.
Considering any second plane containing A, the same will be true. But the ray
in this second plane that cuts B and C cannot cut A at the same point where the
ray in the first plane cuts A, since it is easy to see that if it did B and C would lie
in one plane, contrary to our assumption that no two of the four lie in one plane.
Consequently, if we imagine,—for the mathematician, much more than the poet
must be “of imagination all compact,”—that the plane containing A turns round

104 [Editor: MS 617. The manuscript begins with the following passage: “another. He
even allows his readers to suppose (to take that same proposition as an example,)
that he is trying to convince the reader that, as a matter of fact, the angles of the base
of the isosceles triangle are equal, which the reader already well knows to be true,
and does not say that what he is about is to prove that this necessarily follows from
certain postulates, and how it does so.”]

173
on A as an axis, then the ray in that plane that cuts B and C will corkscrew round
A; and its “wake” will form a surface, something like that of a dice-box that has
been compressed so as to render its throat elliptical. This, to be sure, is not quite
evident. But it is clear,—it would be easy to render the whole argument rigidly
demonstrative, if we were not afraid of striking panic into the reader’s heart,—
that the surface is curved and that D may be so situated as nowhere to come near
this surface. Also that D may cut the surface at two points, and therefore inter-
mediate between these two possible positions for D, there must be one in which
it would touch the surface in a single point. Now we ask, is it possible for three
points of D to be on that surface without all the points of D lying on that surface?
If so, through each of these points there passes that ray in one of its positions,
that corkscrews round A. Let us call these three positions of that ray, X, Y, and Z.
Then no two of the three rays X, Y, Z be in one plane or have any common points.
Thus, everything is true of X, Y, and Z that we assured to be true of A, B, and C;
and consequently all that we found to be true of A, B, and C is equally true of X,
Y, and Z. But each of the rays X, Y, Z cuts each of the rays A, B, and C; and since
we found that all of the rays that cut A, B, and C, be wholly in, and indeed make
up, that supposedly dice-box shaped surface on which lies every point of A, B,
and C, it follows that every ray that cuts X, Y, and Z equally lies wholly on that
surface. Hence, D lies wholly on that surface, and through each point of it, there
passes one of these positions of the ray that corkscrews round A and cuts A, B,
and C. Thus, not more than two rays can each cut A, B, C, and D, unless there is
an infinite number of such rays making up a surface. Such is the outline of the
mathematician’s reasoning concerning this problem.
The reader will find it easy to fill out this outline so as to render every step de-
monstrative, if he likes; but for our purposes, the outline, as it stands, will suffice.
Now let us see what the general nature of this course of reasoning was. In the
first place, a problem was expressed in general terms,—in this case, in ordinary
language. In the second place, the mathematician had to translate this general
language into a concrete diagram which he had to create in his imagination, with
or without the aid of a copy of it upon paper. The diagram being a single object, it
could not, by itself, be adequate to represent the full meaning of the general lan-
guage. But the mathematician rendered it so by a supplementary understanding
that it might be freshly modified in certain respects while remaining unchanged
in others. In the third place, the mathematician proceeded to experiment upon
his diagram, especially by making additions to it, in a way not unlike the way in
which a chemist might experiment upon a specimen of that might be brought to
him for examination, especially by adding this or that reagent to it. But in one
particular, the mathematician’s experiments are decidedly unlike those of the

174
chemist’s. Namely, the latter are very costly. They cost labor, if nothing more.
At the very outset his lump of hard ore has to be reduced, with much elbow
grease, to an impalpable powder before he can do anything with it. On the other
hand, the subject of the mathematician’s experiments being his own creation
each modification of it costs him considerably less effort than saying “Presto!
Change!” would cost him. For this reason, if for no other (and perhaps there is
another reason,) he is soon enabled to say with positive certainty exactly what
the result of a given kind of experimentation upon a given kind of diagram must
be. Not the mathematician does not make experiments at random, any more
than the chemist does. Like the chemist, he seeks to conquer the difficulties by
dividing them. In our example, instead of undertaking to cope, at the outset with
the four rays, A, B, C, and D, he begins by considering only three of them; and
still further to divide the difficulty, he begins with a plane section through these
three. But it is such a plane, that by relating it round one of the rays, as an axis,
it can be made to facts through every part of space. There is an immense variety
of such devices. In fact, it is so vast that though volume after volume has been
written about them, nobody has as yet ever pretended to draw up a complete
classification of them. It is a department of logic that still awaits a master. Finally,
the mathematician, having completed his experimentation, has to retranslate his
result into ordinary languages.
Now all these processes are requisite in any exact reasoning whatsoever, un-
less it may be in logical analysis and in the forming of conjectural explanations.
Turning then to the study of those minds which are incapable of comprehending
the simplest mathematical demonstrations, we ask what one of the processes of
mathematical reasoning is it that they are unable to perform. We note, in the first
place, what we should naturally expect, that they never think with logical preci-
sion, and exhibit a dislike of precise thought, amounting to positive disgust and
abhorrence; and naturally they have no confidence in a kind of thought that they
enable themselves to follow.
If we examine the kind of reasoning,—to dignify it by that title,—which these
people themselves practice and trust to, we find that it is wholly of the kind that
is called working by a “rule of thumb.” That is to say, they trust to modes of in-
ference which produce upon them the impression of being similar to inferences
which they have found by experience to work well. The similarity is indefinite
and may have nothing to do with the success of those similar instances that they
have known to turn out well. This is mainly shown by the fact that the majority
of such minds are entrapped by the ridiculous catch of Achilles and the tortoise,
which has so little essential resemblance to any valid argument that it is only
with difficulty, if at all, that a critic, by questioning its victim, can make out in

175
what way he imagined it to be probative. A man of honour,—of which there was
understood to have been definite proof,—who was certainly not in default in
respect to mathematical imagination, since he was a noted player of blindfold
chess, was nevertheless so incapable of logical analysis that he seriously assured
the writer of this, that he could not see why the following was not logically valid
argument:
It either rains or it does not rain,
Now it rains;
Hence, it does not rain.

An almost incredible phenomenon! Evidently, he did not translate the words


into a diagram. The jingle sounded to him like a syllogism. Such men make poor
work of any positive investigation, especially in regard to theoretical questions;
but in the majority of practical affairs their judgments are cautions and conserva-
tive; and it is by those qualities, often joined to penetrating observation, that they
frequently gain great reputations for wisdom, for which the only real foundation
is their inability to reason logically. For it is just this that causes them to be so
prudent. It is the specious glitter of apparent inerrancy in their logic that betrays
the mass of mankind to foolish hopes and causes them to take undue risks.
There are, it is needless to say, many men who cannot reason about mathemat-
ics and never gain any reputation for good sense. Those cases offer no enigma,
and are not here considered. But the writer has made careful studies of the ways
of thinking of a number of men who either believe themselves to be incapable of
mathematical reasoning or else are apt to commit fallacies in such reasoning. The
latter class is composed of minds whose logical ocumen is not sufficient to enable
them always accurately to translate abstract statements into diagrams or the re-
verse. One will find them confusing quite different concepts, such as ‘every quan-
tity’ and ‘every assignable quantity’, or ‘every physically possible flying-machine’
with ‘every practically constructible flying-machine’; in the former class, the writer
has not infrequently found reason to think that the supposed incapacity was a
delusion due to bad instruction in mathematics (which is almost universal) acting
on a mind is not stimulated to activity by the meager contents of a diagram. The
writer is, of course, debarred from making public what he may have ascertained as
to the mental weaknesses of intellects which he sincerely honors in common with
the rest of the world. He can only say that he has uniformly found that where real
inability to follow even a simple mathematical demonstration in conjoined with
distinguished good sense, there has been a fine observation for circumstances sig-
nificant of human facts, and a remarkable “intuition,” or power of guessing rightly
in human matters, with a grave defect of accuracy of thought.

176
An ancient famous king is said to have made it a rule to consider every impor-
tant matter, first when sober, and afterward, when drunk; though it is more likely
that he reversed this order. The writer’s role is to consider whether a question is
one for exact reasoning and is quite beyond the jurisdiction of good sense; or
whether accuracy of thought ought to give way to sound instinct and wholesome
feeling; or whether, finally, it ought first to be carefully reasoned out, and the
reasoning then being submitted to the review of common sense.

Versos105
Thus106 the theory would be forced to predict how hitherto untried experiments
or unmade observations would turn out; and if any considerable number of such
predictions were verified, a reasonable confidence in the theory would be gained.
An unproved theory has no right to be stated otherwise than interrogatively. It
is no slight performance to put an intelligent question, and the way to do this is
to immerse the mind in the facts, until it is steeped in them and in their inter-
relations. But when it comes to finding out, as well as we can, what seems to be
the truth of such a general question to which Nature refuses any direct reply,
the only way is to come down to more specific interrogatories which she can be
compelled to answer; or in other words to combine ourselves to those observa-
tions that are pertinent to the truth of the theory. A man does not proceed in this
way his reasoning is not perfectly still, this is not a conclusive test since he may
prove right simply because the practice has taught him that it is the right way,
and though his going wrong shows his reason does not act to perfection, yet this
may be simply the awkwardness, and the temporary paralysis of reason, that a
novel situation induces.
Thus, skill in performing inductions or the many of it does not positively
decide whatever man’s power of accurate reasoning may be; a better test is his
capacity for comprehending a simple mathematical demonstration. Everybody
who has ever interested himself in the matter is familiar with the fact that there
are minds, apparently superior, men eminent in the law, in natural history, and
other intellectual pursuits, who believe themselves to be utterly incapable of un-
derstanding mathematical demonstration. Yet the conceptions of mathematics
are all conceptions of visible objects, and present no essential difficulty but that
of complexity, from which simple demonstrations are free; and there is no ele-
ment of mathematical reasoning which does not equally enter into all reasoning,

105 [Editor: The MS includes the following versos.]


106 [Editor: The page begins with the following sentence: the theory were false.]

177
unless we call the making of a guess by the name of reasoning. It is true that
elementary instruction in mathematics is usually bad that it is quite conceivable
that a pupil should never have understood what mathematical demonstrations
drive at. So many think, for example, that they are intended to establish matters
of fact, which they certainly do not, instead of establishing the consequences of
hypotheses, which they are intended to do. But this difficulty can be remedied in
a moment, and cannot be supposed to block the course of thought for a lifetime.

178
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Internet Quellen: http://www.pragmaticism.net/


Digital access to the List of Published Works of Charles S. Peirce, http://www.
pragmaticism.net/works/
Peirce’s Century Dictionary Definitions, http://www.pragmaticism.net/works/

181
Index of Technical Terms

A K
abduction  25, 26, 51, 70 knowledge  25, 54

C L
Cenoscopy  55, 58, 66 Logic 135
cognitive 67 logician  37, 43
Common Sense  57
consciousness  34, 48 M
Metaphysics 164
D Methodeutic 62
deduction  25, 28, 73, 150 mind 92
diagram 111
diagrammatic  28, 96, 111 P
phaneron  33, 34, 47, 48, 58, 124
E Phaneroscopy  33, 47, 58, 77, 135,
esthetics 58 164
ethics 58–60 possibilities 41
experience  56–67, 70, 91, 126 presumption 25
experiment  25, 32
R
F reality  45, 47
Feeling 89 Reasoning  25, 35, 41, 43, 44, 103,
146, 160, 169, 180
F
habit  48, 97, 112 S
hypothesis  70, 81 Schema 98
science  25, 40, 44, 51, 52, 54, 55, 65,
I 66, 86, 151, 152, 161, 162
iconic  28, 98
Icons 98 T
idioscopy  55, 121 thought-signs 85
image  28, 34, 47
induction  25, 26, 70, 72 V
volition 69
J
judgment  35, 47

183
Name Index

A F
Anselm 159 Fechner 133
Apellicon 26 Fiske 55
Aretino 128 Flint 51
Aristotle  26, 39, 59, 110, 147, 150,
161 G
Galilei 154
B Grange 139
Bach 139 Gratry 150
Bacon 150
Balguy 84 H
Bentham  51, 65, 120, 121, 162 Hamilton 84
Berkeley 128 Harris 165
Boole  36, 45, 150 Hegel  21, 40, 58, 164
Bowen 84 Herbart  58, 59
Brahe 152–154 Humboldt  119, 162
Bruno 128 Hume  87, 138
Burdin 53 Husserl  21, 80

C J
Cajal 81 James  61, 166
Cantor 147
Chopin 139 K
Cicero 116 Kant  36, 68, 74, 95, 98, 105, 110,
Coleridge  53, 117 128, 137, 150
Comte  36, 37, 50, 55, 119, 161, 162 Kempe 106
Copernicus 32 Keppler 151
Kopernik 152
D
Davidson 61 L
De Morgan  36, 45 Laplace  73, 150
Dedekind 50 Listing 103
Descartes  97, 111
M
E Mach 57
Emerson 91 Mill  28, 36, 37, 150, 166
Euclid  98, 159, 170

185
N Shaftesbury 128
Newton  30, 151 Shakespeare 139
Show 139
P Sigwart 39
Pearson 29 Spencer  55, 119, 162
Petrie 29 Stubbs 84
Plato  83, 128
Ptolemy 152 W
Weierstraß 147
R Whewell  36, 150
Rafael 102 Williams 84
Wright 166
S Wundt  55, 57, 132
Saint-Simon 51
Schiller 17

186