The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God (G)’


[The strongest kind of induction] investigates the interrogative suggestion of retroduction, “What is the ‘real probability’ that an individual member of a certain experiential class, say the S’s, will have a certain character, say that of being P?” This it does by first collecting, on scientific principles, a “fair sample” of the S’s, taking due account, in doing so, of the intention of using its proportion of members that possess the predesignate character of being P. This sample will contain none of those S’s on which the retroduction was founded. The induction then presumes that the value of the proportion, among the S’s of the sample, of those that are P, probably approximates, within a certain limit of approximation, to the value of the real probability in question. I propose to term such reasoning Quantitative Induction.

1908 [c.]
CP 2.758
‘Quantitative Induction’ (pub. 13.01.15-17:40). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jan 13, 2015, 17:40 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Mar 04, 2016, 12:17 by Mats Bergman