The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Syllabus: Syllabus of a course of Lectures at the Lowell Institute beginning 1903, Nov. 23. On Some Topics of Logic’


…a Phenomenon, that is to say, anything that can emerge in knowledge or in fancy, has in the first place its own peculiar smell, apart from any reflexion or comparisons. But in the second place, the coming of this phenomenon is an event. It strikes me, and I am conscious that it insists on recognition. That consciousness of insistence betrays the fact that I have in conservatism resisted it. For force without reaction cannot be. Perhaps I even will it to be otherwise; and if so it will be the Phenomenon that will resist. This element is what we chiefly have in mind when we talk of experience, which is so much of a cognitive character as insists on sticking. The only remaining element of the Phenomenon is Thought. If we will to alter the phenomenon, we have to make some representation to ourselves of what we propose to do. This is thought. All representation is this third element.

MS [R] 478:5-6
‘Phenomenon’ (pub. 23.03.16-17:54). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Mar 23, 2016, 17:54 by Mats Bergman