Digital Companion to C. S. Peirce
Some Wit, Wisdom & Bewilderment
Errare est humanum is of all commonplaces the most familiar. Inanimate things do not err at all; and the lower animals very little. Instinct is all but unerring; but reason in all vitally important matters is a treacherous guide. This tendency to error, when you put it under the microscope of reflection, is seen to consist of fortuitous variations of our actions in time. But it is apt to escape our attention that on such fortuitous variation our intellect is nourished and grows. For without such fortuitous variation, habit-taking would be impossible; and intellect consists in a plasticity of habit.
Reasoning and the Logic of Things, 1898