The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Pragmatism’


It is now necessary to point out that there are three kinds of interpretants. Our categories suggest them, and the suggestion is confirmed by careful examination. I terms them the Emotional, the Energetic, and Logical Interpretants. They consist respectively in feelings, in efforts, and in habit-changes. [—]

Every sign whatever that functions as such must have an emotional interpretant; for under that head comes the feeling of recognizing the sign as such; and it is plain that a sign not recognized is not a sign at all. The performance of a piece of music may excite musical emotions without being a sign. But if the hearer discerns in the notes the musical ideas or emotions of a composer, then the music conveys a message from the composer, and it becomes a sign.

MS [R] 318:43-4
‘Emotional Interpretant’ (pub. 13.10.15-17:08). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Oct 13, 2015, 17:08 by Mats Bergman