The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Logical Tracts. No. 2. On Existential Graphs, Euler's Diagrams, and Logical Algebra’


It is a subsidiary recommendation of a mode of diagrammatization, but one which ought to be accorded some weight, that it is one that the nature and habits of our minds will cause us at once to understand, without our being put to the trouble of remembering a rule that has no relation to our natural and habitual ways of expression. Certainly, no convention of representation could possess this merit in a higher degree than the plan of writing both of two assertions in order to express the truth of both. It is so very natural, that all who have ever used letters or almost any method of graphic communication have resorted to it. It seems almost unavoidable, although in my first invented system of graphs, which I call entitative graphs, propositions written on the sheet together were not understood to be independently asserted but to be alternatively asserted. The consequence was that a blank sheet instead of expressing only what was taken for granted had to be interpreted as an absurdity. One system seems to be about as good as the other, except that unnaturalness and aniconicity haunt every part of the system of entitative graphs, which is a curious example of how late a development simplicity is.

1903 [c.]
CP 4.434
‘Entitative Graph’ (pub. 21.04.14-15:07). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Apr 21, 2014, 15:07 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Apr 21, 2014, 15:08 by Mats Bergman