The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘The Basis of Pragmaticism’


The word “science” has three principal acceptions, to wit:

Firstly, men educated in Jesuit and similar colleges often use the term in the sense of the Greek ἐπιστήμη, the Latin scientia; that is to say, to denote knowledge for certain. [—]

Secondly, since the beginning of the nineteenth century, when Coleridge so defined it in the opening dissertation to the Encyclopaedia Metropolitana, non-scientific people have generally understood “science” to mean systematized knowledge.

Thirdly, in the mouths of scientific men themselves “science” means the concrete body of their own proper activities, in seeking such truth as seems to them highly worthy of life-long devotion, and in pursuing it by the most critically chosen methods, including all the help both general and special that they can obtain from one another’s information and reflection.

EP 2:372
‘Science’ (pub. 23.07.15-18:29). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jul 23, 2015, 18:29 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Jul 23, 2015, 18:32 by Mats Bergman