ET: I think you will have to admit that neither you nor I know for sure
which of the two arguments for the emergence of the universe are 'really
held' by Peirce.
On the contrary--I think that we do know for sure, or at least have to
assume, that Peirce "really held" what he said in "A Guess at the Riddle"
in 1887-1888, and "really held" what he said in "A Neglected Argument" in
1908. This is why I always try to include the date with any quotation from
him--it is important to recognize its timing within the overall development
of his thought, which was far from static.
The question, then, is simply whether the 1908 statements that I have cited
represent a significant *change *in his views over two decades, or if they
are *compatible *with the 1887-1888 paragraph that you quoted below.
Again, I think that CP 6.490--which also dates to 1908, and in fact was
intended precisely to serve as a supplement to "A Neglected
Argument"--strongly suggests the latter conclusion. My apologies in
advance for the lengthy excerpts this time.
A full exposition of the pragmaticistic definition of *Ens necessarium*
would require many pages; but some hints toward it may be given. A
disembodied spirit, or pure mind, has its being out of time, since all that
it is destined to think is fully in its being at any and every previous
time. But in endless time it is destined to think all that it is capable of
thinking. Order is simply thought embodied in arrangement; and thought
embodied in any other way appears objectively as a character that is a
generalization of order, and that, in the lack of any word for it, we may
call for the nonce, "Super-order." It is something like uniformity. The
idea may be caught if it is described as that of which order and uniformity
are particular varieties. Pure mind, as creative of thought, must, so far
as it is manifested in time, appear as having a character related to the
habit-taking capacity, just as super-order is related to uniformity.
I have already discussed the hint that *Ens necessarium* is "pure mind."
The rest of this passage implies that thought is always "embodied" in some
kind of "super-order," of which order and uniformity are two examples.
Peirce then draws an analogy--the thought-creating character of pure mind
is to the habit-taking capacity as super-order is to uniformity. Since he
just said that uniformity is a particular variety of super-order, the
habit-taking capacity must be a particular variety of the thought-creating
character of pure mind. Recall that the "second flash" of CP 1.412 came
about "by the principle of habit"; so evidently it was a manifestation of
pure mind, as creative of thought. Likewise for the "other successions
ever more and more closely connected, the habits and the tendency to take
them ever strengthening themselves." While CP 1.412 might plausibly be
interpreted in isolation as describing "the self-organized emergence of the
Universe" with "no metaphysical Agent" involved, CP 6.490 indicates that
the habit-taking capacity depends on there being such an Agent.
Now imagine, in such vague way as such a thing can be imagined, a perfect
cosmology of the three universes. It would prove all in relation to that
subject that reason could desiderate; and of course all that it would prove
must, in actual fact, now be true. But reason would desiderate that that
should be proved from which would follow all that is in fact true of the
three universes; and the postulate from which all this would follow must
not state any matter of fact, since such fact would thereby be left
unexplained. That perfect cosmology must therefore show that the whole
history of the three universes, as it has been and is to be, would follow
from a premiss which would not suppose them to exist at all. Moreover, such
premiss must in actual fact be true. But that premiss must represent a
state of things in which the three universes were completely nil.
Consequently, whether in time or not, the three universes must actually be
absolutely necessary results of a state of utter nothingness. We cannot
ourselves conceive of such a state of nility; but we can easily conceive
that there should be a mind that could conceive it, since, after all, no
contradiction can be involved in mere non-existence. A state in which there
should be absolutely no super-order whatsoever would be such a state of
nility. For all Being involves some kind of super-order.
This is a difficult passage, but it s me to strikes me as a kind of *reductio
ad absurdum *for any claim that the universe came about *without *the
Reality of God. A "perfect cosmology" conforming to such a claim "must not
state any matter of fact," but must instead "follow from a premiss which
would not suppose [the three universes] to exist at all." As a result,
"the three universes must actually be absolutely necessary results of a
state of utter nothingness"; that is, "A state in which there should be
absolutely no super-order whatsoever." But in such a state, absolutely
nothing is absolutely necessary; in fact, there cannot be *any *Being
whatsoever, since "all Being involves some kind of super-order." Hence the
Reality of God--an eternal Being, *Ens necessarium*--is the *only *premiss
that can account for the reality of the three universes, without
Any such super-order would be a super-habit. Any general state of things
whatsoever would be a super-order and a super-habit. In that state of
absolute nility, in or out of time, that is, before or after the evolution
of time, there must then have been a tohu bohu of which nothing whatever
affirmative or negative was true universally. There must have been,
therefore, a little of everything conceivable.
Peirce explicitly mentioned the first chapter Genesis in CP 1.412, and
invoked it again here--*tohu bohu* is the Hebrew expression in verse 2 that
is usually translated as something like "without form and void." The
notion of a state where "nothing whatever affirmative or negative was true
universally," which thus involves "a little of everything conceivable," is
consistent with Peirce's late theory of a continuum. It does not consist
of *discrete *points, as Cantor and others defined it, but of
that are welded together and thus indistinct. Even this description is
misleading, because the contiguous points do not *comprise *the continuum;
the latter is the more fundamental concept. The principles of
non-contradiction and excluded middle thus do not apply, unless and until
an *actual* point is determined, which is a *dis*continuity. Continuity is
generality, and generality of *any *kind is impossible in the absence of
super-order and super-habit; i.e., the Reality of God.
There must have been here and there a little undifferentiated tendency to
take super-habits. But such a state must tend to *increase itself*. For a
tendency to act in any way, combined with a tendency to take habits, must
increase the tendency to act in that way. Now substitute in this general
statement for "tendency to act in any way" a tendency to take habits, and
we see that that tendency would grow. It would also become differentiated
in various ways.
This really says nothing different from the last sentence of CP 1.412 that
you quoted. So it looks like Peirce has *not *changed his basic cosmology
over the intervening two decades; he has simply clarified the necessity of
the Reality of God before it ever could have gotten off the ground.
On Sat, Oct 15, 2016 at 2:35 PM, Edwina Taborsky <tabor...@primus.ca> wrote:
> Jon, list:
> I think you will have to admit that neither you nor I know for sure which
> of the two arguments for the emergence of the universe are 'really held' by
> Peirce. There is, A, the self-organized emergence and evolution of Mind
> and Matter within the axioms of the three categories - and this reference
> to the embodiment and evolution of Mind with Matter is found all through
> Peirce's writings. And, there is, B, the introduction of an a priori
> agency, God, in a later text- without any real examination of the relation
> of Mind and Matter in this god-created universe.
> Your reliance on "IF it's written at a later date, THEN, this means Peirce
> believed in its axioms even more' - is merely your view of linear writing.
> Then, there is your own open declaration of theism - and my equally open
> declaration of atheism. These have to affect each of us.
> This leads me to conclude that - as I said, neither you nor I know which
> of the two arguments is 'really held' by Peirce. I think we'll have to
> leave it at that.
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Jon Alan Schmidt <jonalanschm...@gmail.com>
> *To:* tabor...@primus.ca ; Peirce-L <email@example.com>
> *Sent:* Saturday, October 15, 2016 2:42 PM
> *Subject:* Re: Re: [PEIRCE-L] Peirce's Cosmology
> Edwina, List:
> ET: What i read from the above is the self-organized emergence of the
> Peirce wrote "A Guess at the Riddle" in 1887-1888 and "A Neglected
> Argument" in 1908. The latter, including its various drafts, states
> explicitly that in Peirce's belief, God is Really creator of all three
> Universes of Experience and everything in them, without exception. This
> means that either (a) he changed his mind at some point during the
> intervening twenty years, or (b) he saw no incompatibility between the two
> positions. His cosmological remarks in CP 6.490, written only a little
> later in 1908 than the article itself, suggest strongly that (b) is the
> Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA
> Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman
> www.LinkedIn.com/in/JonAlanSchmidt - twitter.com/JonAlanSchmidt
> On Sat, Oct 15, 2016 at 8:26 AM, Edwina Taborsky <tabor...@primus.ca>
>> Gary R - you wrote:
>> "I am not an atheist because, for one thing, I refuse to 'reduce' the
>> origins of this cosmos to an improbably singularity (a Big Bang--and, as
>> you probably know, there is not one version of this theory, but several,
>> and competing theories as well, although the current scientific dogma won't
>> allow for that).
>> Nor do I see self-organization (a sound enough principle) and
>> self-creation (whatever that may mean) as the only principles of semiosis,
>> life and evolution."
>> I certainly won't critique or comment on your rejection of atheism as
>> that's hardly my right, but I'd like to comment on the 'singularity of
>> origin of our universe' [Big Bang] and self-organization.
>> With regard to the singular explosive origin, there certainly are
>> numerous theories, including for or against the Big Bang. Since I am
>> rejecting a metaphysical origin [God] as the origin of the universe, I
>> stick with the Big Bang for now. I refer to Peirce's 'A Guess at the
>> "The original chaos, therefore, where there was no regularity, was in
>> effect a state of mere indeterminacy in which nothing existed or really
>> Our conceptions of the first stages of development, before time yet
>> existed, must be as vague and figurative as the expressions of the first
>> chapter of Genesis. Out of the womb of indeterminacy we must say that there
>> would have come something, by the principle of Firstness, which we may call
>> a flash. Then by the principle of habit there would have been a second
>> flash. Though time would not yet have been, this second flash was in some
>> sense after the first, because resulting from it. Then there would have
>> come other successions ever more and more closely connected, the habits and
>> the tendency to take them ever strengthening themselves, until the events
>> would have been bound together into something like a continuous flow.....'
>> What i read from the above is the self-organized emergence of the
>> Universe. There is no metaphysical Agent [God- which requires an a priori
>> agency, something which the Scholastics dealt with by not dealing with it
>> except within belief] - but - the basic principles of organization of the
>> three categories ARE there. And that's all three - pure spontaneity,
>> discrete instantiations, and regularity or habit-taking. These are all
>> aspects of Mind - and matter, as Peirce constantly wrote, is 'effete Mind'.
>> So, Mind seems to be primal...and even, self-organized.
>> As Peirce outlined in his examples of crystals as instantiations of Mind,
>> or the decapitated frog which, lacking a brain, 'almost reasons. The habit
>> that is in his cerebellum serves as a major premiss. The excitation of a
>> drop of acid is his minor premiss. And his conclusion is the act of wiping
>> it away. All that is of any value in the operation of ratiocination is
>> there, except only one thing. What he lacks is the power of prepatory
>> meditation" 6.286.
>> Just so- the above triad is a semiosic action - and equally applicable to
>> a crystal, which also lacks the power of prepatory meditation but does have
>> the entire semiosic act/syllogism within it.
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