The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘C.S.P.'s Lowell Lectures of 1903 2nd Draught of 3rd Lecture’


…there are three kinds of signs. The first kind consists of Icons, which like all signs are such only by virtue of being interpreted as such, but whose significant character which causes them to be so interpreted is their possessing a quality, in consequence of which they may be taken as representative of anything that may happen to exists that has that quality. Of course there are no signs that are exclusively iconic. But a geometrical diagram, for example, represents, say, a triangle, simply because it is like it.

MS [R] 462:86
‘Icon’ (pub. 25.11.14-20:16). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Nov 25, 2014, 20:16 by Mats Bergman