The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Harvard Lectures on Pragmatism: Lecture III’


An icon is a representamen which fulfills the function of a representamen by virtue of a character which it possesses in itself, and would possess just the same though its object did not exist. Thus, the statue of a centaur is not, it is true, a representamen if there be no such thing as a centaur. Still, if it represents a centaur, it is by virtue of its shape; and this shape it will have, just as much, whether there be a centaur or not.

CP 5.73
‘Icon’ (pub. 28.04.13-19:53). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Apr 28, 2013, 19:53 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 00:57 by Commens Admin