The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Deduction, Induction, and Hypothesis’


Hypothesis is where we find some very curious circumstance, which would be explained by the supposition that it was a case of a certain general rule, and thereupon adopt that supposition. Or, where we find that in certain respects two objects have a strong resemblance, and infer that they resemble one another strongly in other respects. [—]

As a general rule, hypothesis is a weak kind of argument. It often inclines our judgment so slightly toward its conclusion that we cannot say that we believe the latter to be true; we only surmise that it may be so. But there is no difference except one of degree between such an inference and that by which we are led to believe that we remember the occurrences of yesterday from our feeling as if we did so.

CP 2.624-625
‘Hypothesis [as a form of reasoning]’ (pub. 30.01.13-20:21). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jan 30, 2013, 20:21 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 01:00 by Commens Admin