The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘The Fourth Curiosity’


Any object whose attributes, i.e. all that may truly be predicated, or asserted, of it, will, and always would, remain exactly what they are, unchanged, though you or I or any man or men should think or should have thought as variously as you please, I term external, in contradistinction to mental. [—]

The main difference between the external, as I use the term, and the real, as I employ that term, seems to be that the question whether anything is external or not is the question of what a word or other symbol or concept (for thinking proper is always conducted in general signs of some sort) is, I say, a question of what a symbol signifies; while the question of whether anything is real or is a figment is the question what a word or other symbol or concept denotes.

CP 8.327-8
‘External’ (pub. 06.09.15-12:27). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Sep 06, 2015, 12:27 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Mar 07, 2016, 10:54 by Mats Bergman