The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘On Signs [R]’


For the purposes of this inquiry a Sign may be defined as a Medium for the communication of a Form. It is not logically necessary that anything possessing consciousness. that is, feeling of the peculiar common quality of all our feeling should be concerned. But it is necessary that there should be two, if not three quasi-minds, meaning things capable of varied determination as to forms of the kind communicated.

As a medium, the Sign is essentially in a triadic relation, to its Object which determines it, and to its Interpretant which it determines. In its relation to the Object, the Sign is passive; that is to say, its correspondence to the Object is brought about by an effect upon the Sign, the Object remaining unaffected. On the other hand, in its relation to the Interpretant the Sign is active, determining the Interpretant without being itself thereby affected.

1906 [c.]
MS [R] 793:1; EP 2:544
‘Sign’ (pub. 19.08.13-19:03). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Aug 19, 2013, 19:03 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Nov 18, 2015, 15:54 by Mats Bergman