The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘On Signs [R]’


In consequence of every representamen being thus connected with three things, the ground, the object, and the interpretant, the science of semiotic has three branches. The first is called by Duns Scotus grammatica speculativa. We may term it pure grammar. It has for its task to ascertain what must be true of the representamen used by every scientific intelligence in order that they may embody any meaning. The second is logic proper. It is the science of what is quasi-necessarily true of the representamina of any scientific intelligence in order that they may hold good of any object, that is, may be true. Or say, logic proper is the formal science of the conditions of the truth of representations. The third, in imitation of Kant’s fashion of preserving old associations of words in finding nomenclature for new conceptions, I call pure rhetoric. Its task is to ascertain the laws by which in every scientific intelligence one sign gives birth to another, and especially one thought brings forth another.

1897 [c.]
CP 2.229
‘Logic [in the narrow sense]’ (pub. 27.01.13-15:26). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jan 27, 2013, 15:26 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
May 26, 2015, 17:27 by Mats Bergman