The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘The Art of Reasoning. Chapter II. What is a Sign?’


The word symbol has so many meanings that it would be an injury to the language to add a new one. I do not think that the signification I attach to it, that of a conventional sign, or one depending upon habit (acquired or inborn), is so much a new meaning as a return to the original meaning. [—]

The symbol is connected with its object by virtue of the idea of the symbol-using mind, without which no such connection would exist.

1894 [c.]
EP 2:9
‘Symbol’ (pub. 05.05.13-11:19). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
May 05, 2013, 11:19 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 02, 2016, 15:51 by Mats Bergman