The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Harvard Lectures on Pragmatism: Lecture VI’


It is true that when the Arabian romancer tells us that there was a lady named Scherherazade, he does not mean to be understood as speaking of the world of outward realities, and there is a great deal of fiction in what he is talking about. For the fictive is that whose characters depend upon what characters somebody attributes to it; and the story is, of course, the mere creation of the poet’s thought. Nevertheless, once he has imagined Scherherazade and made her young, beautiful, and endowed with a gift of spinning stories, it becomes a real fact that so he has imagined her, which fact he cannot destroy by pretending or thinking that he imagined her to be otherwise.

PPM 221-2; CP 5.152
‘Figment’ (pub. 06.09.15-11:29). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Sep 06, 2015, 11:29 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Sep 06, 2015, 12:21 by Mats Bergman