The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Reasoning’


Reasoning is a process in which the reasoner is conscious that a judgment, the conclusion, is determined by other judgment or judgments, the premisses, according to a general habit of thought, which he may not be able precisely to formulate, but which he approves as conducive to true knowledge. By true knowledge he means, though he is not usually able to analyse his meaning, the ultimate knowledge in which he hopes that belief may ultimately rest, undisturbed by doubt, in regard to the particular subject to which his conclusion relates. Without this logical approval, the process, although it may be closely analogous to reasoning in other respects, lacks the essence of reasoning. Every reasoner, therefore, since he approves certain habits, and consequently methods, of reasoning, accepts a logical doctrine, called his logica utens. Reasoning does not begin until a judgment has been formed; for the antecedent cognitive operations are not subject to logical approval or disapproval, being subconscious, or not sufficiently near the surface of consciousness, and therefore uncontrollable. Reasoning, therefore, begins with premisses which are adopted as representing percepts, or generalizations of such percepts. All the reasoner’s conclusions ought to refer solely to the percepts, or rather to propositions expressing facts of perception. But this is not to say that the general conceptions to which he attains have no value in themselves.

Reasoning is of three elementary kinds; but mixed reasonings are more common. These three kinds are induction, deduction, and presumption (for which the present writer proposes the name abduction).

CP 2.773-774
‘Reasoning’ (pub. 31.01.13-21:01). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jan 31, 2013, 21:01 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 01:00 by Commens Admin