The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Forms of Consciousness [R]’


I have spoken of the first kind of medisense, abstraction, which breaks one idea away from another. There is an opposite influence by which when one idea has its vividness increased it gives an upward impulse to a number of other ideas with which it is connected so that it forms one set with them. The law of this is often called the law of the association of ideas. That is well enough. But it is inaccurate to call this phenomenon association, as Germans especially often do. Association is a different thing. More accurate German writers call the action of which we are now speaking reproduction. But even that is not free from objection. For the idea which receives an upward impulse, making it grow more vivid, was not necessarily ever so near the surface of consciousness before; or if it was, that circumstance has nothing to do with it. It is a great mistake to suppose that ideas only become associated into sets in the upper layer of consciousness, although such action is more lively there. Most English and American psychologists of today use the term Reproduction; but I prefer the older English word Suggestion, to which some of the very best writers still adhere. The only objection to it is that the word is used in another sense in reference to the phenomena of hypnotism.

What takes place in suggestion is that an idea when it rises gives an upward motion to all other ideas belonging to the same set. [—]

Medisense has three modes, Abstraction, Suggestion, Association.

1896 [c.]
CP 7.548-51
‘Suggestion’ (pub. 26.07.15-19:58). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jul 26, 2015, 19:58 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Apr 20, 2018, 08:09 by Mats Bergman