The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘What Pragmatism Is’


… he [the writer of this article] framed the theory that a conception, that is, the rational purport of a word or other expression, lies exclusively in its conceivable bearing upon the conduct of life; so that, since obviously nothing that might not result from experiment can have any direct bearing upon conduct, if one can define accurately all the conceivable experimental phenomena which the affirmation or denial of a concept could imply, one will have therein a complete definition of the concept, and there is absolutely nothing more in it. For this doctrine he invented the name pragmatism. [—] Now quite the most striking feature of the new theory was its recognition of an inseparable connection between rational cognition and rational purpose; and that consideration it was which determined the preference for the name pragmatism.

EP 2:332-3; CP 5.412
‘Pragmatism’ (pub. 21.04.13-18:34). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Apr 21, 2013, 18:34 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
May 19, 2016, 10:12 by Mats Bergman