The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Some Consequences of Four Incapacities’


At any moment we are in possession of certain information, that is, of cognitions which have been logically derived by induction and hypothesis from previous cognitions which are less general, less distinct, and of which we have a less lively consciousness. These in their turn have been derived from others still less general, less distinct, and less vivid; and so on back to the idealn first, which is quite singular, and quite out of consciousness. This ideal first is the particular thing-in-itself. It does not exist as such. That is, there is no thing which is in-itself in the sense of not being relative to the mind, though things which are relative to the mind doubtless are, apart from that relation.

nBy an ideal, I mean the limit which the possible cannot attain.

W 2:238-9; CP 5.311
‘Thing-in-itself’ (pub. 25.10.15-17:43). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Oct 25, 2015, 17:43 by Mats Bergman