The Commens Dictionary

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


The sense-quality is a feeling. Even if you say it is a slumbering feeling, that does not make it less intense; perhaps the reverse. For it is the absence of reaction, – of feeling another, – that constitutes slumber, not the absence of the immediate feeling that is all that it is in its immediacy. Imagine a magenta color. Now imagine that all the rest of your consciousness – memory, thought, everything except this feeling of magenta – is utterly wiped out, and with that is erased all possibility of comparing the magenta with anything else or of estimating it as more or less bright. That is what you must think the pure sense-quality to be. Such a definite potentiality can emerge from the indefinite potentiality only by its own vital Firstness and spontaneity. Here is this magenta color. What originally made such a quality of feeling possible? Evidently nothing but itself. It is a First.

RLT 259; CP 6.198
‘Quality of Feeling’ (pub. 14.10.15-17:04). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Oct 14, 2015, 17:04 by Mats Bergman