The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Lessons of the History of Science’


In examining the reasonings of those physicists who gave to modern science the initial propulsion which has insured its healthful life ever since, we are struck with the great, though not absolutely decisive, weight they allowed to instinctive judgments. Galileo appeals to il lume naturale at the most critical stages of his reasoning. Kepler, Gilbert, and Harvey – not to speak of Copernicus – substantially rely upon an inward power, not sufficient to reach the truth by itself, but yet supplying an essential factor to the influences carrying their minds to the truth.

It is certain that the only hope of retroductive reasoning ever reaching the truth is that there may be some natural tendency toward an agreement between the ideas which suggest themselves to the human mind and those which are concerned in the laws of nature.

1896 [c.]
CP 1.80-81
‘Il Lume Naturale’ (pub. 14.06.14-17:06). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jun 14, 2014, 17:06 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Aug 04, 2014, 15:34 by Commens Admin