The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Prolegomena to an Apology for Pragmaticism’


Now reasoning has to make its conclusion manifest. Therefore, it must be chiefly concerned with forms, which are the chief objects of rational insight. Accordingly, Icons are specially requisite for reasoning. A Diagram is mainly an Icon, and an Icon of intelligible relations. It is true that what must be is not to be learned by simple inspection of anything. But when we talk of deductive reasoning being necessary, we do not mean, of course, that it is infallible. But precisely what we do mean is that the conclusion follows from the form of the relations set forth in the premiss. Now since a diagram, though it will ordinarily have Symbolide Features, as well as features approaching the nature of Indices, is nevertheless in the main an Icon of the forms of relations in the constitution of its Object, the appropriateness of it for the representation of necessary inference is easily seen.

CP 4.531
‘Diagram’ (pub. 07.04.13-11:10). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Apr 07, 2013, 11:10 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 00:58 by Commens Admin