The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘CSP's Lowell Lectures of 1903. 2nd Part of 3rd Draught of Lecture III’


A Firstness is exemplified in every quality of a total feeling. It is perfectly simple and without parts; and everything has its quality. Thus the tragedy of King Lear has its Firstness, its flavor sui generis. That wherein all such qualities agree is universal Firstness, the very being of Firstness. The word possibility fits it, except that possibility implies a relation to what exists, while universal Firstness is the mode of being of itself. That is why a new word was required for it. Otherwise, “possibility” would have answered the purpose.

CP 1.531
‘Firstness’ (pub. 08.01.13-20:41). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jan 08, 2013, 20:41 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 01:01 by Commens Admin