The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘On Existential Graphs’


An icon represents its object by being like it. It appeals to the socalled association by resemblance. This is not an accurate term, by the way, since resemblance consists precisely in different ideas being drawn together in our minds by an occult inward force. A pure icon, could such a sign exist, would present to us a pure sense-quality, without any parts nor any respects, and consequently without positive generality. But in fact there is no pure icon; and we apply the name icon to any sign in which the force of resemblance is the dominant element of its representativity.

MS [R] 484:4-5
‘Icon’ (pub. 05.03.18-15:58). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Mar 05, 2018, 15:58 by Mats Bergman