The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Minute Logic: Chapter III. The Simplest Mathematics’


The most ordinary fact of perception, such as “it is light,” involves precisive abstraction, or prescission. But hypostatic abstraction, the abstraction which transforms “it is light” into “there is light here,” which is the sense which I shall commonly attach to the word abstraction (since prescission will do for precisive abstraction) is a very special mode of thought. It consists in taking a feature of a percept or percepts (after it has already been prescinded from the other elements of the percept), so as to take propositional form in a judgment (indeed, it may operate upon any judgment whatsoever), and in conceiving this fact to consist in the relation between the subject of that judgment and another subject, which has a mode of being that merely consists in the truth of propositions of which the corresponding concrete term is the predicate. Thus, we transform the proposition, “honey is sweet,” into “honey possesses sweetness.”

CP 4.235
‘Hypostatic Abstraction’ (pub. 18.07.15-19:06). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jul 18, 2015, 19:06 by Mats Bergman