The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Prag [R]’


[Pragmatism] is no doctrine of the truth of things; it is only a method of finding out the meanings of hard words and hard concepts (for concepts are mental signs;) and this method is, in essence, no other than the method of experiment of the physical sciences.


I understand it to be a method of ascertaining the meanings, not of all concepts, but only of “intellectual concepts,” that is, those upon which reasonings may turn.


Pragmatism is […] nothing more than a rule for ascertaining the meanings of words, – a mere rule of methodeutic, or the doctrine of logical method. Consequently, it must be founded exclusively upon our understandings of signs, without drawing support from any principle either of metaphysics or of psychology.

1907 [c.]
MS [R] 322:7-8, 12
‘Pragmatism’ (pub. 05.04.15-18:32). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Apr 05, 2015, 18:32 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Oct 19, 2015, 16:52 by Mats Bergman