The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘On the Three Kinds of Reasoning [R]’


by Induction, or Inductive Reasoning, I mean all reasoning which infers that something is true of the whole of a given collection (no matter what kind of a collection it may be) because it has been found that the same thing is true of a part of that collection. [—] Pure inductive reasoning hardly ever, if indeed it ever does draw an altogether new and unanticipated conclusion. Its usual and proper business is to decide between inconsistent theories which we have been led to entertain by Retroductive Reasoning in order to account for different surprising phenomena. For we shall find that Induction is as far as Deduction from introducing into its conclusion any concept not already contained in its premisses. The true function of Induction is critical.

1910 [c.]
MS [R] 755:9-11
‘Induction’ (pub. 12.03.18-16:23). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Mar 12, 2018, 16:23 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Mar 12, 2018, 16:46 by Mats Bergman