The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Cambridge Lectures on Reasoning and the Logic of Things: Habit’


According to those rules I am bound to use scientific terms in the senses in which they first became terms of science. Accordingly, the English associationalists having first made association a term of science, and they having been careful never to extend it to the operation or event whereby one idea calls up another into the mind, but to restrict it primarily to a habit or disposition of mind in consequence of which an idea of one description is likely to bring into comparative vividness of consciousness an idea of another description, or, when they applied the term association to any operation or event, to designate by it only that process of habituation by which such a habit or disposition of mind acquires strength, they having been punctilious in this matter, my code of rules obliges me logically and morally, to follow them. As for that mental event which corresponds, as we suppose, to the nervous discharge of one part of the cortex upon another, – or the action of one idea to render another idea which is associated with it vivid, – for that they employed the term suggestion. This word is now applied mostly to motor phenomena or to such manifestations of mind as can be observed from without; and therefore, although the two meanings doubtless are in real facts connected together, the meanings themselves are different. But here a compromise is possible; for I shall violate no rule of terminology by speaking of the “suggestion” of the associationalists as associational suggestion and that of the hypnotists as nervous suggestion. The adjectives may be dropped, – especially the former, – in cases where there is no possibility of the meaning being mistaken.

RLT 232-3; CP 7.495
‘Suggestion’ (pub. 26.07.15-19:37). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jul 26, 2015, 19:37 by Mats Bergman