Gary R., List:

Thanks for the reminders about Sheriff's book; it was one of my first
introductions to Peirce's thought, and I even re-read it recently, but I
need to review the portions that you mentioned in light of the discussions
in this thread.  Thanks also for the additional information on the role of
the categories in Peirce's classification of the sciences.

GR:  I would tend to disagree with you, Jon, that this ur-continutiy is
"creat*ed*" 3ns; rather, I see it as "creat*ive*" 3ns as distinguished from
the 3ns that become the habits and laws of a created universe. So, in a
word, my view is that only these laws and habits are the 'created' 3nses.

As I said, taking the blackboard to be created Thirdness is no more than a
working hypothesis at this point.  If the diagram is confined to the
blackboard itself, as Peirce's description seems to indicate, then your
characterization makes more sense.  I am still toying with a couple of
other alternatives, as well.

GR:  How can one deny Peirce's own words here?

Yes, any alleged "reading" or "interpretation" that directly contradicts
what an author explicitly states in the text is obviously untenable.


Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA
Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman -

On Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 3:29 PM, Gary Richmond <>

> Jon, Edwina, Gary F, Soren, List,
> John Sheriff, in *Charles Peirce's Guess at the Riddle: Grounds for Human
> Significance*, in commenting on what Peirce calls the "pure zero" state
> (which, in my thinking, is roughly equivalent to the later blackboard
> metaphor) quotes Peirce as follows: "So of potential being there was in
> that initial state no lack" (CP 6.217) and continues, " 'Potential', in
> Peirce's usage, means indeterminate yet capable of determination in any
> specific case" (CP 6.185-86) [Sheriff, 4). This "potential being" is, then,
> decidedly *not *the "nothing of negation," but rather "the germinal
> nothing, in which the whole universe is involved or foreshadowed" (CP
> 6.217).
> Sheriff had just prior to this written: "Peirce frequently drew the
> parallel between his theory and the Genesis account" and discusses this in
> a longish paragraph. I think it is possible to overemphasize this
> "parallel" (and, as I've commented here in the past, Peirce's "pure
> zero"--or ur-continuity in the blackboard metaphor--seems to me closer to
> the Kemetic *Nun *in the dominant Ancient Egyptian creation myth; while
> it should be noted in this regard that Peirce knew hieroglyphics and may
> well have been acquainted with this myth).
> Jon wrote:
> [M]y current working hypothesis is that "Pure mind, as creative of
> thought" (CP 6.490) is the Person who conceives the *possible *chalk
> marks and then draws *some *of them on the blackboard, rather than the
> blackboard itself as a "theater" where chalk marks somehow spontaneously
> appear; instead, the blackboard represents *created *Thirdness.  However,
> I will tentatively grant that your analysis may be closer to what Peirce
> himself had in mind.
> I would tend to disagree with you, Jon, that this ur-continutiy is "creat
> *ed*" 3ns; rather, I see it as "creat*ive*" 3ns as distinguished from the
> 3ns that become the habits and laws of a created universe. So, in a word,
> my view is that only these laws and habits are the 'created' 3nses.
> One way of considering this is via the Ancient Egyptian myths just
> mentioned. In these Kemetic myths there is "one incomprehensible Power,
> alone, unique, inherent in the Nun, the indefiniable cosmic sea, the
> infinite source of the Universe, outside of any notion of Space or Time."
> At Heliopolis this Power, the Creator, is given the name, Atum, "which
> means both All and Nothing [involving] the potential totality of the
> Universe which is as yet unformed and intangible. . . Atum must. . .
> distinguish himself from the Nun and thus annihilate the Nun in its
> original inert state." (all quotations are from Lucie Lamy's book, *Egyptian
> Mysteries: New light on ancient knowledge*, p 8, a popularization of her
> grandfather, R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz's, great scholarly work in
> Egyptology, still not as influential in that field as it ought to be in my
> opinion).
> I won't go further into this myth now except to note that even at this
> 'stage' of proto-creation that the above "first act is expressed in three
> major ways" such that A*tum*, as *tum* in Nun, "projects" himself as
> Khepri (that is, becoming, or potential). All the *neteru* ('powers'
> according to S. de Lubicz, but usually translated incorrectly as 'gods')
> will follow from that priordial 'act'.
> Although there might now be this disagreement as to what the ur-continuity
> represents, I would not disagree with you whatsoever, Jon, in your view
> that it was Peirce's belief that God is "Really creator of all three
> Universes of Experience" since opposition to this view would fly in the
> face of Peirce own words:  "The word 'God' ... is *the *definable proper
> name, signifying *Ens necessarium*; in my belief Really creator of all
> three Universes of Experience" (CP 6.452). How can one deny Peirce's own
> words here?
> Returning now to Sheriff's book, after a fascinating Preface (which, for
> one example, makes pointed reference to Stephen Hawking's essay, "A Unified
> Theory of the Universe Would Be the Ultimate Triumph of Human Reason"),
> Chapter 1, "Peirce's Cosmogonic Philosophy" opens with this quote:"[T]he
> problem of how genuine triadic relations first arose in the world is a
> better, because more definite, formulation of the problem of how life came
> about."(6.322)
> Moving on to another topic taken up in this thread, Edwina's claim that
> *everything* is semiosic does not seem to acknowledge the pervasive use
> of the categories throughout Peirce's *oevre *which does not pertain to
> semiotics as such, including his classification of the sciences (as you
> mentioned), nor the placement of the first of the cenoscopic sciences,
> viz., phenomenology, well ahead of logic as semeiotic in this
> classification, nor the content of phenomenology itself, concerned
> explicitly with categorial relations in themselves (and there is much, much
> else which Peirce emphatically associated with the categories which is not
> semeiotic).
> But considering for now just Peirce's Classification of the
> Sciences, Beverly Kent, who wrote the only book length monograph on the
> topic, *Charles S. Peirce: Logic and the Classification of the Sciences*,
> has a number of things to say about the categories in relation to the
> classification. For example, after mentioning that one of his earliest
> classification schemes was based on the categories, Kent comments: "Fearing
> that his trichotomic might be misleading him, he set it aside and developed
> alternative schemes, only to find himself ineluctably led back. Even so, it
> was some time before he conceded that the resulting divisions conformed to
> his categories" (Kent, 19). Phyllis Chiasson, as I recall, makes much the
> same point.
> Kent later remarks that regarding his final *Outline Classification of
> the Sciences* (which he stuck with, prefaced virtually all his subsequent
> works in logic with, and thought "sufficiently satisfactory" as late as
> 1911), that Peirce wrote that "most of the divisions are 'trichotomic' "
> (Kent, 121) in the sense of involving the three categories (much as Jon
> outlined them in a recent post).
> Best,
> Gary R
> [image: Gary Richmond]
> *Gary Richmond*
> *Philosophy and Critical Thinking*
> *Communication Studies*
> *LaGuardia College of the City University of New York*
> *C 745*
> *718 482-5690 <718%20482-5690>*
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