The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Adirondack Summer School Lectures’


The normative sciences are wholly said to be esthetics, ethics, and logic; but Herbart and others put esthetics & ethics together, perhaps rightly. They are all largely & I may say principally occupied with a dual distinction, the distinction of the approved and the unapproved. Esthetics relates to the immediately contemplated; ethics to doings; logic to thought. [—] 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 blameable and the unblameable.

These sciences are distinguished from most others by involving the dual distinction. But it would be easy to exaggerate its prominence in them. This prominence is greatest in ethics, least in esthetics.

MS [R] 1334:36-37
‘Normative Science’ (pub. 04.09.17-17:34). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Sep 04, 2017, 17:34 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Sep 04, 2017, 17:42 by Mats Bergman