The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Logic of Mathematics: An attempt to develop my categories from within’


…time is a continuum. For since the instants, or possible events, are as many as any collection whatever, and there is no maximum collection, it follows that they are more than any collections whatever. They must, therefore, be individually indistinguishable in their very existence – that is, are distinguishable and the parts distinguishable indefinitely, but yet not composed of individuals absolutely self-identical and distinct from one another – that is, they form a continuum. A continuum cannot be disarranged except to an insignificant extent. An instant cannot be removed. You can no more, by any decree, shorten a legal holiday by transferring its last instant to the work-day that follows that feast, than you can take away intensity from light, and keep the intensity on exhibition while the light is thrown into the ash-barrel. A limited line AB may be cut into two, AC and C’B, and its ends joined, C’ to A and C to B. That is to say, all this may be done in the imagination. We have a difficulty in imagining such a thing in regard to time.

1896 [c.]
CP 1.499
‘Continuum’ (pub. 30.03.15-13:27). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Mar 30, 2015, 13:27 by Mats Bergman