The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Peirce's Personal Interleaved Copy of the 'Century Dictionary' [Commens]’


Pragmatism is a method in philosophy. Philosophy is that branch of positive science (i.e., an investigating theoretical science which inquires what is the fact, in contradistinction to pure mathematics which merely seeks to know what follows from certain hypotheses) which makes no observations but contents itself with so much of experience as pours in upon every man during every hour of his waking life. The study of philosophy consists, therefore, in reflexion, and pragmatism is that method of reflexion which is guided by constantly holding in view its purpose and the purpose of the ideas it analyzes, whether these ends be of the nature and uses of action or of thought.

[—] It will be seen that pragmatism is not a Weltanschauung but is a method of reflexion having for its purpose to render ideas clear.

1902 [c.]
CP 5.13 n. 1
‘Pragmatism’ (pub. 22.04.13-18:23). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Apr 22, 2013, 18:23 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jul 23, 2015, 18:00 by Mats Bergman