The Commens Dictionary

Quote from ‘Validity’


In the case of hypotheses adopted presumptively on probation, one of the very elements of their strength lies in the absence of any other hypothesis; so that the above definition of strength cannot be applied, even in imagination, without imagining the strength of the presumption to be considerably reduced. Perhaps we might conceive the strength, or urgency, of a hypothesis as measured by the amount of wealth, in time, thought, money, etc., that we ought to have at our disposal before it would be worth while to take up that hypothesis for examination. In that case it would be a quantity dependent upon many factors. Thus a strong instinctive inclination towards it must be allowed to be a favouring circumstance, and a disinclination an unfavourable one. Yet the fact that it would throw a great light upon many things, if it were established, would be in its favour; and the more surprising and unexpected it would be to find it true, the more light it would generally throw. The expense which the examination of it would involve must be one of the main factors of its urgency.

CP 2.780
‘Presumption [as a form of reasoning]’ (pub. 02.01.13-16:18). Quote in M. Bergman & S. Paavola (Eds.), The Commens Dictionary: Peirce's Terms in His Own Words. New Edition. Retrieved from
Jan 02, 2013, 16:18 by Sami Paavola
Last revised: 
Jan 07, 2014, 01:05 by Commens Admin