Digital Companion to C. S. Peirce

Some Wit, Wisdom & Bewilderment

When we speak of an "idea," or "notion," or "conception of the mind," we are most usually thinking - or trying to think - of an idea abstracted from all efficiency. But a court without a sheriff, or the means of creating one, would not be a court at all; and did it ever occur to you, my reader, that an idea without efficiency is something equally absurd and unthinkable? Imagine such an idea if you can! Have you done so? Well, where did you get this idea? If it was communicated to you viva voce from another person, it must have had efficiency enough to get the particles of air vibrating. If you read it in a newspaper, it had set a monstrous printing press in motion. If you thought it out yourself, it had caused something to happen in your brain.
Minute Logic, 1902