The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Truth and Falsity and Error’


These characters equally apply to pure mathematics. [—] A proposition is not a statement of perfectly pure mathematics until it is devoid of all definite meaning, and comes to this – that a property of a certain icon is pointed out and is declared to belong to anything like it, of which instances are given. The perfect truth cannot be stated, except in the sense that it confesses its imperfection. The pure mathematician deals exclusively with hypotheses. Whether or not there is any corresponding real thing, he does not care. [—] But whether there is any reality or not, the truth of the pure mathematical proposition is constituted by the impossibility of ever finding a case in which it fails. This, however, is only possible if we confess the impossibility of precisely defining it.

CP 5.567; DPP2, 718-719
‘Truth’ (pub. 14.04.13-11:48). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Apr 14, 2013, 11:48 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 00:58 by Commens Admin