The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘The Basis of Pragmaticism’


Two meanings of the term ‘philosophy’ call for our particular notice. The two meanings agree in making philosophical knowledge positive, that is in making it a knowledge of things real, in opposition to mathematical knowledge, which is knowledge of the consequences of arbitrary hypotheses; and they further agree in making philosophical truth extremely general. But in other respects they differ as widely as they well could. For one of them, which is better entitled (except by usage) to being distinguished as philosophia prima than is ontology, embraces all that positive science which rests upon familiar experience and does not search out occult or rare phenomena; while the other, which has been called philosophia ultima, embraces all that truth which is derivable by collating the results of the different special sciences, but which is too broad to be perfectly established by any one of them. The former is well named by Jeremy Bentham’s term cenoscopy […], the latter goes by the name of synthetic philosophy.

EP 2:372-3
‘Synthetic Philosophy’ (pub. 15.10.12-09:22). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Oct 15, 2012, 09:22 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 01:05 by Commens Admin