Every cognition involves something represented, or that of which we are conscious, and some action or passion of the self whereby it becomes represented. The former shall be termed the objective, the latter the subjective, element of the cognition. The cognition itself is an intuition of its objective element, which may therefore be called, also, the immediate object.
I am now prepared to give my division of signs, as soon as I have pointed out that a sign has two objects, its object as it is represented and its object in itself.
In respect to its immediate object a sign may either be a sign of a quality, of an existent, or of a law.
This passage comes from a portion of the Adirondack lectures that has been misplaced in the microfilm edition of Peirce's manuscripts
… we have to distinguish the Immediate Object, which is the Object as the Sign itself represents it, and whose Being is thus dependent upon the Representation of it in the Sign, from the Dynamical Object, which is the Reality which by some means contrives to determine the Sign to its Representation.
…every sign has two objects. It has that object which it represents itself to have, its Immediate Object, which has no other being than that of being represented to be, a mere Representative Being, or as the Kantian logicians used to say a merely Objective Being; and on the other hand there is the Real Object which has really determined the sign[,] which I usually call the Dynamical Object, and which alone strictly conforms to the definition of the Object. The Object of a Sign is its progenitor, its father. The Dynamical Object is the Natural Father, The Objective Object is the putative father.
… the requaesitum which we have been seeking is simply that which the sign “stands for,” or the idea of that which it is calculated to awaken. [—]
This requaesitum I term the Object of the sign; - the immediate object, if it be the idea which the sign is built upon, the real object, if it be that real thing or circumstance upon which that idea is founded, as on bedrock.
…all logicians have distinguished two objects of a sign: the Immediate object or object as the sign represents it, (and without this one, a sign would not be a sign); the other [the] Real object, or object as it is independent of any particular idea representing it.
…the Immediate Object is not the Object Proper to which the collateral observation is directed, but is the consequent apprehension of the Real Object, or intelligential cause of the sign, which that collateral observation brings about.
The immediate object is the object as the sign represents it: the real object is that same object as it is, in its own mode of being, independent of the sign or any other representation. [—] Every sign must plainly have an immediate object, however indefinite, in order to be a sign. In conversation, it will often be expressed, not in words, but by the environment of the interlocutors. [—] The immediate object resembles the emotional meaning in being common to all signs and also in being subjective.
…philosophists are in the habit of distinguishing two objects of many signs, the immediate and the real. The former is an image, or notion, which the interpreter is supposed to have already formed in his mind before the sign is uttered. Thus, if a person, with a view to combatting an exaggerated admiration of ability, remarks that Richard III appears to have been an able ruler, it is a hundred to one that he never read any first hand testimony concerning Richard, and does not suppose that his interlocutor knows any more about the real Richard. He refers merely to the current notional Richard.
It is usual and proper to distinguish two Objects of a Sign, the Mediate without, and the Immediate within the Sign. Its Interpretant is all that the Sign conveys: acquaintance with its Object must be gained by collateral experience. The Mediate Object is the Object outside of the Sign; I call it the Dynamoid Object. The Sign must indicate it by a hint; and this hint, or its substance, is the Immediate Object. Each of these two Objects may be said to be capable of either of the three Modalities, though in the case of the Immediate Object, this is not quite literally true.
As to the Object of a Sign, it is to be observed that the Sign not only really is determined by its Object, – that is, for example, the name Charlemagne is in correspondence with the historic Emperor who live in the IXth century, or the name Othello is fitted to that Moorish general whom Shakespeare imagined, or the name “the Ghost in Hamlet” is fitted to that ghost of an ancient King of Denmark that Shakespeare imagined that Prince Hamlet either imagined or really saw, – but in addition, the Sign may be said to pose as a representative of its Object, that is, suggests an Idea of the Object which is distinguishable from the Object in its own Being. The former I term the Dynamoid Object (for I want the word “genuine” to express something different); the latter the Immediate Object (a well-established term of logic.) Each of these may have either of the three Modalities of Being, the former in itself, the latter in representation.
As to the Object, that may mean the Object as cognized in the Sign and therefore an Idea, or it may be the Object as it is regardless of any particular aspect of it, the Object in such relations as unlimited and final study would show it to be. The former I call the Immediate Object, the latter the Dynamical Object. For the latter is the Object that Dynamical Science (or what at this day would be called “Objective” science) can investigate.
We must distinguish between the Immediate Object, – i.e., the Object as represented in the sign, – and the Real (no, because perhaps the Object is altogether fictive, I must choose a different term; therefore:), say rather the Dynamical Object, which, from the nature of things, the Sign cannot express, which it can only indicate and leave the interpreter to find out by collateral experience.