…when we speak of the interpretant of a sign, we may mean the rational interpretant which fairly and justly interprets it, or we may mean the dynamic interpretant, i.e. the way in which the sign will actually get interpreted in the mind of the person addressed in case the sign be of such a nature as necessarily to produce an interpretant, or we may mean the immediate interpretant, which the sign itself represents to be its intended interpretant.
The Immediate Object of all knowledge and all thought is, in the last analysis, the Percept. This doctrine in no wise conflicts with Pragmaticism, which holds that the Immediate Interpretant of all thought proper is Conduct.
In regard to the Interpretant we have […] to distinguish, in the first place, the Immediate Interpretant, which is the interpretant as it is revealed in the right understanding of the Sign itself, and is ordinarily called the meaning of the sign; while in the second place, we have to take note of the Dynamical Interpretant which is the actual effect which the Sign, as a Sign, really determines. Finally there is what I provisionally term the Final Interpretant, which refers to the manner in which the Sign tends to represent itself to be related to its Object. I confess that my own conception of this third interpretant is not yet quite free from mist.
The Immediate Interpretant consists in the Quality of the Impression that a sign is fit to produce, not to any actual reaction.
…suppose I awake in the morning before my wife, and that afterwards she wakes up and inquires, “What sort of a day is it?” This is a sign, whose Object, as expressed, is the weather at that time, but whose Dynamical Object is the impression which I have presumably derived from peeping between the window-curtains. Whose Interpretant, as expressed, is the quality of the weather, but whose Dynamical Interpretant, is my answering her question. But beyond that, there is a third Interpretant. The Immediate Interpretant is what the Question expresses, all that it immediately expresses, which I have imperfectly restated above. The Dynamical Interpretant is the actual effect that it has upon me, its interpreter. But the Significance of it, the Ultimate, or Final, Interpretant is her purpose in asking it, what effect its answer will have as to her plans for the ensuing day. I reply, let us suppose: “It is a stormy day.” Here is another sign. Its Immediate Object is the notion of the present weather so far as this is common to her mind and mine - not the character of it, but the identity of it. The Dynamical Object is the identity of the actual or Real meteorological conditions at the moment. The Immediate Interpretant is the schema in her imagination, i.e. the vague Image or what there is in common to the different Images of a stormy day. The Dynamical Interpretant is the disappointment or whatever actual effect it at once has upon her. The Final Interpretant is the sum of the Lessons of the reply, Moral, Scientific, etc. Now it is easy to see that my attempt to draw this three-way, “trivialis” distinction, relates to a real and important three-way distinction, and yet that it is quite hazy and needs a vast deal of study before it is rendered perfect.
I understand the [Immediate Interpretant] to be the total unanalyzed effect that the Sign is calculated to produce; and I have been accustomed to identify this with the effect the sign first produces or may produce upon a mind, without any reflection upon it. [—] I might describe my Immediate Interpretation, as so much of a Sign that would enable a person to say whether or not the Sign was applicable to anything concerning which that person had sufficient acquaintance. [—] My Immediate Interpretant is implied in the fact that each Sign must have its peculiar Interpretability before it gets any Interpreter. [—] The Immediate Interpretant is an abstraction, consisting in a Possibility.