The Commens Dictionary

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


…a sign is a something which is on the one hand caused or otherwise determined by something else which is not utterly and altogether unreal, – this something else being the object of the sign. [—] But a sign is not only on the one hand determined by a more or less real object but on the other hand it determines something, – which I call its interpretant, – to be through it determined as it is by the object of the sign. The interpretants of the signs with which logic chiefly has to do are themselves signs. For every cognition is a sign as Leibniz and other nominalists have sufficiently shown and all deliberate meditation is of the nature of a dialogue as Plato represented it to be. But it is important to recognize that there are signs whose interpretants are not ipso facto signs. Such is the command of a captain of infantry “Ground arms!” [—]

The object is the sign’s determinant; the interpretant is the determinand of the sign and through the sign of the object likewise.

1906 [c.]
MS [R] 499
Editorial Annotations: 

The final eight words of this quote are from MS [R] 499(s).

‘Sign’ (pub. 24.08.17-12:24). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Aug 24, 2017, 12:24 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Aug 24, 2017, 12:45 by Mats Bergman