The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Carnegie Institution Correspondence’


I use the word belief to express any kind of holding for true or acceptance of a proposition. Belief, in this sense, is a composite thing. Its principal element is not a matter of consciousness at all; but is a habit established in the believer’s nature, in consequence of which he would act, should occasion present itself, in ceratin ways. However, not every habit is a belief. A belief is a habit with which the believer is deliberately satisfied. This implies that he is aware of it, and being aware of it does not struggle against it. A third important characteristic of belief is that while other habits are contracted by repeatedly performing the act under the conditions, belief may be, and commonly if not invariably is contracted, by merely imagining the situation and imagining what would be our experience and what our conduct in such a situation; and this mere imagination at once establishes such a habit that if the imagined case were realized we should really behave in that way.

NEM 4:39-40
‘Belief’ (pub. 24.06.14-17:53). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jun 24, 2014, 17:53 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Jun 24, 2014, 18:05 by Mats Bergman