The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Truth and Falsity and Error’


But even if it were impossible to distinguish between truth and reality, that would not in the least prevent our defining what it is that truth consists in. Truth and falsity are characters confined to propositions. A proposition is a sign which separately indicates its object. Thus, a portrait with the name of the original below it is a proposition. It asserts that if anybody looks at it, he can form a reasonably correct idea of how the original looked. A sign is only a sign in actu by virtue of its receiving an interpretation, that is, by virtue of its determining another sign of the same object. This is as true of mental judgments as it is of external signs. To say that a proposition is true is to say that every interpretation of it is true. [—]

Thus, a false proposition is a proposition of which some interpretant represents that, on an occasion which it indicates, a percept will have a certain character, while the immediate perceptual judgment on that occasion is that the percept has not that character. A true proposition is a proposition belief in which would never lead to such disappointment so long as the proposition is not understood otherwise than it was intended.

CP 5.569; DPP2, 719
‘Truth’ (pub. 14.04.13-11:51). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Apr 14, 2013, 11:51 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 00:58 by Commens Admin