The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Grand Logic 1893: Chapter X. Extension of the Aristotelian Syllogistic’


De Morgan and his followers frequently speak of a “limited universe of discourse” in logic. An unlimited universe would comprise the whole realm of the logically possible. In such a universe, every universal proposition, not tautologous, is false; every particular proposition, not absurd, is true. Our discourse seldom relates to this universe: we are either thinking of the physically possible, or of the historically existent, or of the world of some romance, or of some other limited universe.

But besides its universe of objects, our discourse also refers to a universe of characters. Thus, we might naturally say that virtue and an orange have nothing in common. It is true that the English word for each is spelt with six letters, but this is not one of the marks of the universe of our discourse.

CP 2.517-8
‘Universe of Discourse’ (pub. 25.11.12-15:30). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Nov 25, 2012, 15:30 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 01:05 by Commens Admin