The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘On the System of Existential Graphs Considered as an Instrument for the Investigation of Logic’


one component, B, of the Phaneron may be quite unsupposable (at any rate, by any ordinary mind), without supposing the full and perfect presence of a certain other constituent, A; and yet it may be [that] A may be supposed to be present while B is present in widely varying degrees (or, perhaps sometimes is quite absent). In such a case, we not only get by prescission a concept of A unmixed with B, but we are able to recognize B as a constituent different from its constant and inseparable companion, A. For example, being able to imagine visual surfaces of various colors (or perhaps even colorless, as the boundary between media of widely different indices of refraction; but it is not necessary to resort to such phenomena) we come to recognize color as something quite different from visible superficies, notwithstanding the utter impossibility (for most people) of imagining color without superficial extension. I called this mode of analysis discrimination. It is highly important not to lose sight of it.

1906 [c.]
MS [R] 499(s)
‘Discrimination’ (pub. 24.08.17-14:45). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Aug 24, 2017, 14:45 by Mats Bergman