The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Short Logic: Chapter I. Of Reasoning in General’


The first step of inference usually consists in bringing together certain propositions which we believe to be true, but which, supposing the inference to be a new one, we have hitherto not considered together, or not as united in the same way. This step is called colligation. The compound assertion resulting from colligation is a conjunctive proposition, that is, it is a proposition with a composite icon, as well as usually with a composite index. Colligation is a very important part of reasoning, calling for genius perhaps more than any other part of the process. Many logicians refuse the name of reasoning to an inferential act of which colligation forms no part. Such an inferential act they call an immediate inference. This term may be accepted; but although colligation certainly gives a higher intellectuality to inference, yet its importance is exaggerated when it is represented to be of more account than the conscious control of the operation. The latter ought to determine the title of reasoning.

EP 2:22; CP 2.442
‘Colligation’ (pub. 05.03.18-13:38). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Mar 05, 2018, 13:38 by Mats Bergman