The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Chap. XI. On Logical Breadth and Depth’


…it is necessary in Logic to pay especial attention to those terms which denote signs. Such terms are genus species &c. No thing is a genus but as there are terms such as man and tree which denote some one thing leaving it more or less indeterminate what one so we may speak of whatever may be denoted by such a general term as a genus or class. Such terms are called ‘terms of second intention’. The first intention is the mental act by which an object is conceived. The second intention is the mental act by which the first conception is made an object of conception in reference to its relation to its object. A term of second intention does not so much signify the sign itself as it signifies whatever is denoted by a sign of a certain description.

W 3:98
‘Second Intention’ (pub. 28.11.15-10:48). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Nov 28, 2015, 10:48 by Mats Bergman