The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘New Elements (Kaina stoiceia)’


Of signs there are two different degenerate forms. But though I give them this disparaging name, they are of the greatest utility, and serve purposes that genuine signs could not. The more degenerate of the two forms (as I look upon it) is the icon. This is defined as a sign of which the character that fits it to become a sign of the sort that it is, is simply inherent in it as a quality of it.[—]

An icon is a sign fit to be used as such because it possesses the quality signified.

1904 [c.]
EP 2:306-7
‘Icon’ (pub. 28.04.13-20:01). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Apr 28, 2013, 20:01 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Nov 12, 2015, 17:48 by Mats Bergman