The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Training in Reasoning’


Observation consists of two parts which though theoretically they have much in common yet practically are of almost contrary natures. The first is a sort of subconscious induction, by which upon repeatedly reviewing an object of perception a certain element of it acquires great associational potency, – that is, has a magnified tendency to call up other ideas. [—] The other part of observation consists in moulding in the upper consciousness a more or less skeletonized idea until it is felt to respond to [the] object of observation. [—]

Observation may also be divided into three nearly independent genera according to the different natures of the elements observed. Namely, it may be directed to the qualities of objects or to experiential facts of relation, or to relations between the parts of an image one’s own phantasy has created.

RLT 182-3
‘Observation’ (pub. 05.09.15-16:56). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Sep 05, 2015, 16:56 by Mats Bergman