The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘The Critic of Arguments. II. The Reader is Introduced to Relatives’


Such, at least, is the doctrine I have been teaching for twenty-five years, and which, if deeply pondered, will be found to enwrap an entire philosophy. Kant taught that our fundamental conceptions are merely the ineluctable ideas of a system of logical forms; nor is any occult transcendentalism requisite to show that this is so, and must be so. Nature only appears intelligible so far as it appears rational, that is, so far as its processes are seen to be like processes of thought. I must take this for granted, for I have no space here to argue it. It follows that if we find three distinct and irreducible forms of rhemata, the ideas of these should be the three elementary conceptions of metaphysics. That there are three elementary forms of categories is the conclusion of Kant, to which Hegel subscribes; and Kant seeks to establish this from the analysis of formal logic. Unfortunately, his study of that subject was so excessively superficial that his argument is destitute of the slightest value. Nevertheless, his conclusion is correct; for the three elements permeate not only the truths of logic, but even to a great extent the very errors of the profounder logicians. I shall return to them next week. I will only mention here that the ideas which belong to the three forms of rhemata are firstness, secondness, thirdness; firstness, or spontaneity; secondness, or dependence; thirdness, or mediation.

CP 3.422
‘Categories’ (pub. 07.01.13-18:23). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jan 07, 2013, 18:23 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 01:01 by Commens Admin