The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘(Prag) [R]’


But pragmatism does not undertake to say in what the meanings of all signs consist, but merely to lay down a method of determining the meanings of intellectual concepts, that is, of those upon which reasonings may turn.

[—] Such reasonings and all reasonings turn upon the idea that if one exerts certain kinds of volition, one will undergo in return certain compulsory perceptions. Hence is justified the maxim, belief in which constitutes pragmatism; namely,

In order to ascertain the meaning of an intellectual conception one should consider what practical consequences might conceivably result by necessity from the truth of that conception; and the sum of these consequences will constitute the entire meaning of the conception.

1907 [c.]
CP 5.8-9
‘Maxim of Pragmatism’ (pub. 07.04.13-12:52). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Apr 07, 2013, 12:52 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Apr 05, 2015, 19:00 by Mats Bergman