The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Letters to Paul Carus’


The names which I would propose for general adoption for the three different kinds of acceptability of propositions are


The last alone seems to be capable of a certain degree of exactitude or measurement


By verisimilitude I mean that kind of recommendation of a proposition which consists in evidence which is insufficient because there is not enough of it, but which will amount to proof if that evidence which is not yet examined continues to be of the same virtue as that already examined, or if the evidence not at hand and that never will be complete, should be like that which is at hand. All determinations of probability ultimately rest on such verisimilitudes. I mean that if we throw a die 216 times in order to ascertain whether the probability of its turning up a six at any one throw differs decidedly from 1/6 or not, our conclusion is an affair not of probability as Laplace would have it, by assuming that the antecedent probabilities of the different values of the probability are equal, but is a verisimilitude or as we say a “likelihood.”

1910 [c.]
ILS 274-5; CP 8.222-224
‘Verisimilitude’ (pub. 19.09.14-16:14). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Sep 19, 2014, 16:10 by Mats Bergman
Sep 19, 2014, 16:14
Last revised: 
Sep 19, 2014, 16:17 by Mats Bergman