ET: I consider that the two descriptions of the emergence of the universe
are not compatible.
I just offered a lengthy argument showing that they *are *compatible. This
obviously does not prove the *correctness *of either or both accounts, but
it does demonstrate that they are *not *contradictory.
ET: The 1.412 description is specific in 'the original chaos, therefore,
where there was no regularity, was in effect a state of mere indeterminacy,
in which nothing existed or really happened 1.411.
That "nothing existed or really happened" means that nothing was *actual*;
it does not entail that nothing was *real*.
ET: THought separate from matter????
Well, yes. This is not problematic at all for me--or for Peirce, since he
affirmed "the physical law as derived and special, the psychical law alone
as primordial," because "matter is effete mind"; i.e., there can be mind
without matter, but not matter without mind (CP 6.24-25). I addressed this
in the past thread about "Peirce's Objective Idealism."
ET: My reading of this - a pure disembodied mind - is that it is Platonic
- and this contradicts Peirce's basic Aristotelianism which does not allow
for Mind separated from Matter.
Although Peirce self-identified more with Aristotle, there are still
Platonic aspects of his thought, some of them quite explicit. For example,
with respect to cosmology, we have already brought up the last Cambridge
Conferences lecture, "The Logic of Continuity," in this thread.
CSP: From this point of view we must suppose that the existing universe,
with all its arbitrary secondness, is an offshoot from, or an arbitrary
determination of, a world of ideas, a Platonic world; not that our superior
logic has enabled us to reach up to a world of forms to which the real
universe, with its feebler logic, was inadequate ... The evolutionary
process is, therefore, not a mere evolution of the existing universe, but
rather a process by which the very Platonic forms themselves have become or
are becoming developed ... In short, if we are going to regard the
universe as a result of evolution at all, we must think that not merely the
existing universe, that locus in the cosmos to which our reactions are
limited, but the whole Platonic world, which in itself is equally real, is
evolutionary in its origin, too ... At the same time all this, be it
remembered, is not of the order of the existing universe, but is merely a
Platonic world, of which we are, therefore, to conceive that there are
many, both coordinated and subordinated to one another; until finally out
of one of these Platonic worlds is differentiated the particular actual
universe of existence in which we happen to be. (CP 6.192, 194, 200, 208;
Peirce clearly stated here--several times, in multiple ways--that "a world
of ideas, a Platonic world" (i.e., mind) precedes "the existing universe,
with all its arbitrary secondness" (i.e., matter). Just because something
is "Platonic" does not entail that Peirce rejected it.
ET: I think you and even Peirce are, indeed, using the arguments for the
'existence of God' from Anselm, the classical ontological argument, that If
one can think of a perfect Being, then, this perfect being is
real....and..if such a belief is common, then, this is 'evidentiary' proof
that such a being exists.
This is definitely *not *the argument that I am using, nor the one that
Peirce used. What we are discussing is more akin to the so-called
"cosmological" and "transcendental" arguments, since it is grounded
primarily in the reality of order and intelligibility in the existing
universe. It has nothing to do with what "one can think" or "a perfect
ET: I consider that this analysis is insufficient as proof ...
Who said anything about "proof"? We have different hypotheses, for which
we have marshaled our supporting evidence; and as previously agreed, "many
others have to read Peirce - and - your and my comments - and make up their
minds as to how 'accurately' we interpret him."
ET: I cannot explain these two, to my reading, very different descriptions
of the emergence and evolution of the universe of mind and matter - and
simply have to leave it as that: I cannot explain it.
You really should not give up so easily. As I am sure you are aware,
Peirce would not countenance throwing up our hands and deeming *anything* to
be inexplicable; it is one of the "solutions" that he identified as
blocking the way of inquiry. Besides, I already offered you an alternative
explanation--maybe he just changed his mind between 1887-1888 and 1908. Of
course, another is that at least one of your readings is incorrect.
On Sat, Oct 15, 2016 at 4:47 PM, Edwina Taborsky <tabor...@primus.ca> wrote:
> Jon, list - I'm going to continue to disagree with your interpretation. I
> consider that the two descriptions of the emergence of the universe are not
> compatible. But - as to why Peirce wrote the two - of course, that is
> beyond me.
> The 1.412 description is specific in 'the original chaos, therefore,
> where there was no regularity, was in effect a state of mere indeterminacy,
> in which nothing existed or really happened 1.411. And his outline of the
> emergence of both matter and mind seem to me, [I've provided the quotes
> before] a clear outline of the self-organization and evolution of both.
> There is, in this outline, no a priori Mind - pure or otherwise.
> Then, in 6.490, Peirce talks about the 'disembodied spirit or pure mind,
> has its being out of time' - This is clear - that we have here an a priori
> agency which "is destined to think all that is is capable of
> thinking".THought separate from matter???? This means, also, that this Pure
> Mind is NOT a 'state of utter nothingness'.
> My reading of this - a pure disembodied mind - is that it is Platonic -
> and this contradicts Peirce's basic Aristotelianism which does not allow
> for Mind separated from Matter.
> That is, throughout Peirce's many discussions of Mind and Matter and his
> discussion of the three categories - we do not read [as far as i can
> recollect] any hint of their separation, any suggestion that Mind is
> 'disembodied' and 'full-of-its truths'. Indeed, Thirdness is, as embedded
> within Secondness/Firstness - always able to change and evolve its habits,
> something a pure Mind would not do.
> So- my reading of these two sections is that they are two completely
> different outlines, and are incompatible with each other. I think you and
> even Peirce are, indeed, using the arguments for the 'existence of God'
> from Anselm, the classical ontological argument, that If one can think of a
> perfect Being, then, this perfect being is real....and..if such a belief is
> common, then, this is 'evidentiary' proof that such a being exists. I
> consider that this analysis is insufficient as proof - and that the very
> notion of a 'pure mind' contradicts the outline of a self-organized
> mind-matter universe that Peirce provided in 'A guess at the riddle'.
> I cannot explain these two, to my reading, very different descriptions of
> the emergence and evolution of the universe of mind and matter - and simply
> have to leave it as that: I cannot explain it. As an atheist and someone
> who accepts the power of self-organization and evolution, I admit to being
> drawn to the 1.412 Guess at the Riddle [and other outlines of agapasm and
> evolution] rather than the agential power-of-god outline. But that doesn't
> mean anything conclusive - other than an awareness of my own predeliction
> for the one outline versus the other! But - I do think they are
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Jon Alan Schmidt <jonalanschm...@gmail.com>
> *To:* Edwina Taborsky <tabor...@primus.ca>
> *Cc:* Peirce-L <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> *Sent:* Saturday, October 15, 2016 5:05 PM
> *Subject:* Re: Re: [PEIRCE-L] Peirce's Cosmology
> Edwina, List:
> 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 already
> 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 *potential
> 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
> On Sat, Oct 15, 2016 at 2:35 PM, Edwina Taborsky <tabor...@primus.ca>
>> 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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