The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘New Elements (Kaina stoiceia)’


A postulate is an initial hypothesis in general terms. It may be arbitrarily assumed provided that (the definitions being accepted) it does not conflict with any principle of substantive possibility or with any already adopted postulate. By a principle of substantive possibility, I mean, for example, that it would not be admissible to postulate that there was no relation whatever between two points, or to lay down the proposition that nothing whatever shall be true without exception. For though what this means involves no contradiction, it is in contradiction with the fact that it is itself asserted.

1904 [c.]
EP 2:302
‘Postulate’ (pub. 12.11.15-15:24). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Nov 12, 2015, 15:24 by Mats Bergman
Last revised: 
Nov 12, 2015, 15:25 by Mats Bergman