The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘A Logical Critique of Essential Articles of Religious Faith’


Genuine doubt is a state of mind so distressing that many persons cannot support it long. If I may be allowed to use the word “Habit” to denote any state of mind by virtue of which a person would, under definite circumstances, — mostly, if not invariably, consisting in his experiencing conscious experience of some kind, — either think, or act, or feel in a definite way, […] then doubt may be defined as the state of mind in which one is stimulated to incompossible intellectuals assents. This is positive doubt, — an irritation not finding its immediate appeasement and therefore resulting (since it is a mental irritation) in conflicting inchoative judgments accompanied with pain. A negative doubt is the mere absence of a state of Belief, that is to say, of a habit of determinate expectation under definite circumstances.

MS [R] 852:8-10
‘Doubt’ (pub. 26.05.14-15:21). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
May 26, 2014, 15:21 by Mats Bergman