The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Topical Geometry’


What we call a “thought,” not that which is in somebody’s mind at one moment, and is gone, but that which passes from mind to mind, say the idea of Justice, is certainly of the nature of a word. People think it is of no consequence because it needs to be embodied in a passing thought or in the habit of some person before it can be effective. That undoubtedly is true. But the image in the mind would be of no consequence if it were not governed by or conformed to the thought. The two factors are both indispensible. But the difference is, that given the word, it matters comparatively little whether it is embodied in this momentary thought or in that; the effect will be substantially the same. But it makes a good deal more difference whether the image in the mind be joined by its associations with this concept or with that.

1904 [c.]
MS [R] 137:18-9
‘Thought’ (pub. 06.03.16-15:13). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Mar 06, 2016, 15:13 by Mats Bergman