The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Synechism’


Synechism. [—] That tendency of philosophical thought which insists upon the idea of continuity as of prime importance in philosophy and, in particular, upon the necessity of hypotheses involving true continuity. [—]

Synechism is not an ultimate and absolute metaphysical doctrine; it is a regulative principle of logic, prescribing what sort of hypothesis is fit to be entertained and examined. The synechist, for example, would never be satisfied with the hypothesis that matter is composed of atoms, all spherical and exactly alike. If this is the only hypothesis that the mathematicians are as yet in condition to handle, it may be supposed that it may have features of resemblance with the truth. But neither the eternity of the atoms nor their precise resemblance is, in the synechist’s view, an element of the hypothesis that is even admissible hypothetically. For that would be to attempt to explain the phenomena by means of an absolute inexplicability.

DPP 2:657; CP 6.169, 173
‘Synechism’ (pub. 09.03.13-12:19). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Mar 09, 2013, 12:19 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Aug 14, 2017, 12:18 by Mats Bergman