The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘A Logical Critique of Essential Articles of Religious Faith’


Now, what precisely do we mean when we assert that any thing is “real”; in other words, what is the character which we mean, or intend to cause the person whom we address to believe, is true of that thing. What we all mean is that there are predicates that are true of that thing, and would be true of it, no matter what [a] determinate person or determinate collection of persons might think or imagine to be false of that thing, in any mode of thinking whatsoever. Of course, whether the thing be real or not, there will be other predicates whose being true of it consists in their being thought to be so; for that is involved in the meaning of some predicates, as when we say that a man is “popular.” But if there be so much as a single predicate whose truth of the thing in question is quite independent of its being thought to be so, there will be many such, and that thing will have the important character we call reality.

MS [R] 852:9-11
Editorial Annotations: 

From a presumably superseded portion of MS [R] 852 (May 14, 1911). The pages are not obviously discarded; Peirce may have saved them for later use.

‘Real’ (pub. 26.05.14-16:19). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
May 26, 2014, 16:19 by Mats Bergman