The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Phaneroscopy’


By a Feeling, I mean an instance of that kind of consciousness which involves no analysis, comparison or any process whatsoever, nor consists, in whole or in part of any act by which one stretch of consciousness is distinguished from another, which has its own positive quality which consists in nothing else, and which is of itself all that it is, however it may have been brought about; so that if this Feeling is present during a lapse of time, it is wholly and equally present at every moment of that time. To reduce this description to a simple definition, I will say that by a Feeling I mean an instance of that sort of element of consciousness which is all that it is positively, in itself, regardless of anything else.

A Feeling, then, is not an event, a happening, a coming to pass, since a coming to pass cannot be such unless there was a time when it had not come to pass; and so it is not in itself all that it is, but is relative to a previous state. A Feeling is a state, which is in its entirety in every moment of time as long as it endures. But a Feeling is not a single state which is other than an exact reproduction of itself. For if that reproduction is in the same mind it must be at a different time and then the Being of the Feeling would be relative to the particular time in which it occurred, which would be something different from the Feeling itself, violating the definition which makes the Feeling to be all that it is regardless of anything else. Or, if the reproduction were simultaneous with the Feeling, it must be in another mind, and thus the identity of the Feeling would depend upon the mind in which it was, which is other than the Feeling; and again the definition would be violated in the same way. Thus, any Feeling must be identical with any exact duplicate of it, which is as much as to say the Feeling is simply a Quality of immediate consciousness.

But it must be admitted that a Feeling experienced in an outward sensation may be reproduced in memory.

LI 363
‘Feeling’ (pub. 23.10.15-18:39). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Oct 23, 2015, 18:39 by Mats Bergman