The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Harvard Lectures on the Logic of Science. Lecture I’


The first and simplest kind of truth is the resemblance of a copy. It may be roughly stated to consist in a sameness of predicates. Leibniz would say that carried to its highest point, it would destroy itself by becoming identity. Whether that is true or not, all known resemblance has a limit. Hence, resemblance is always partial truth. On the other hand, no two things are so different as to resemble each other in no particular. Such a case is supposed in the proverb that Dreams go by contraries, - an absurd notion, since concretes have no contraries. A false copy is one which claims to resemble an object which it does not resemble. But this never fully occurs, for two reasons; in the first place, the falsehood does not lie in the copy itself but in the claim which is made for it, in the superscription for instance; in the second place, as there must be some resemblance between the copy and its object, this falsehood cannot be entire. Hence, there is no absolute truth or falsehood of copies.

W 1:169-170
‘Copy [in Semeiotic]’ (pub. 05.05.13-18:42). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
May 05, 2013, 18:42 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 00:57 by Commens Admin