The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Letters to William James’


All that part of the understanding of the Sign which the Interpreting Mind has needed collateral observation for is outside the Interpretant. I do not mean by “collateral observation” acquaintance with the system of signs. What is so gathered is not COLLATERAL. It is on the contrary the prerequisite for getting any idea signified by the sign. But by collateral observation, I mean previous acquaintance with what the sign denotes.

EP 2:494
‘Collateral Observation’ (pub. 07.01.15-18:34). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jan 07, 2015, 18:34 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2015, 18:34 by Mats Bergman