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’


An Index or Seme is a Representamen whose Representative character consists in its being an individual second. If the Secondness is an existential relation, the Index is genuine. If the Secondness is a reference, the Index is degenerate. A genuine Index and its Object must be existent individuals (whether things or facts), and its immediate Interpretant must be of the same character. But since every individual must have characters, it follows that a genuine Index may contain a Firstness, and so an Icon as a constituent part of it. Any individual is a degenerate Index of its own characters. Examples of Indices are the hand of a clock, and the veering of a weathercock.

EP 2:274
‘Index’ (pub. 05.05.13-10:33). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
May 05, 2013, 10:33 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 00:57 by Commens Admin