The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘A Guess at the Riddle’


I think that everybody must admit that the condition of excitation of nerve-cells is. broadly speaking, the physiological basis of Feeling, and that the discharge of nerve-cells, or the movement of nervous energy, is the physiological basis of the sense of action and reaction. But almost everybody will say that these two phenomena exhaust the functions of the nerves, and leave nothing to explain mediate consciousness, for we are so restricted to the plane of dual thought in regard to physiology, that the most remarkable property of the nerves, and of living tissue generally, is commonly left out of sight. This most characteristic power is that of taking habits. It seems clear that this is the physiological basis for the consciousness of leaning.

W 6:448
‘Habit-taking’ (pub. 21.10.15-11:47). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Oct 21, 2015, 11:47 by Mats Bergman