The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Pragmatism’


…philosophists are in the habit of distinguishing two objects of many signs, the immediate and the real. The former is an image, or notion, which the interpreter is supposed to have already formed in his mind before the sign is uttered. Thus, if a person, with a view to combatting an exaggerated admiration of ability, remarks that Richard III appears to have been an able ruler, it is a hundred to one that he never read any first hand testimony concerning Richard, and does not suppose that his interlocutor knows any more about the real Richard. He refers merely to the current notional Richard. The real object is, – so, at least, the conditional idealist will say, – is that figure of Richard which we should ultimately have in our minds as the result of sufficient information and reflexion.

MS [R] 318:16-7
‘Real Object’ (pub. 15.10.15-12:28). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Oct 15, 2015, 12:28 by Mats Bergman