The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Grand Logic: Book I. Of Reasoning in General. Introduction. The Association of Ideas’


When an idea bearing the stamp of experience suggests another, that other in many cases itself carries that same stamp, which is carried forward in suggestion and thus a derivative authority from experience is conferred upon an idea which may have neither the vividness nor the other marks of directer experience. This sort of suggestion is inference. The law of association will divide inference into inferences by contiguity and inferences by resemblance, meaning by these latter inference from the occult inward nature of ideas or of the soul.

All inferences are really performed under the influence of the law of association. But all psychical actions divide into two great classes, those which are performed under the uncontrolled governance of association and those in which by the “agency” of consciousness, – whatever that may mean, – the actions come under self-criticism and self-control. The latter class of actions may be pronounced good or bad; the former could not be otherwise than they were.

1893 [c.]
CP 7.443-4
‘Inference’ (pub. 26.07.15-11:21). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jul 26, 2015, 11:21 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Jul 26, 2015, 19:27 by Mats Bergman