Edwina, List:

ET:  So- I argue that indeed, everything could come from nothing, via the
actions of self-organization, as outlined by Peirce in the earlier
sections... 1.412.


Indeed, Nathan Houser's introduction to Volume 1 of *The Essential Peirce* (
http://www.peirce.iupui.edu/edition.html#introduction) provides a similar
summary of Peirce's cosmology, as follows.

NH:  In the beginning there was *nothing*. But this primordial nothing was
not the nothingness of a void or empty space, it was a *no-thing-ness*, the
nothingness characteristic of the absence of any determination. Peirce
described this state as "completely undetermined and dimensionless
potentiality," which may be characterized by freedom, chance, and
spontaneity (CP 6.193, 200).

NH:  The first step in the evolution of the world is the transition from
undetermined and dimensionless potentiality to *determined *potentiality.
The agency in this transition is chance or pure spontaneity. This new state
is a Platonic world, a world of pure firsts, a world of qualities that are
mere eternal possibilities. We have moved, Peirce says, from a state of
absolute nothingness to a state of *chaos*.

NH:  Up to this point in the evolution of the world, all we have is real
possibility, firstness; nothing is actual yet--there is no secondness.
Somehow, the possibility or potentiality of the chaos is self-actualizing,
and the second great step in the evolution of the world is that in which
the world of actuality emerges from the Platonic world of qualities. The
world of secondness is a world of events, or facts, whose being consists in
the mutual interaction of actualized qualities. But this world does not yet
involve thirdness, or law.

NH:  The transition to a world of thirdness, the third great step in cosmic
evolution, is the result of a habit-taking tendency inherent in the world
of events ... A habit-taking tendency is a generalizing tendency, and the
emergence of all uniformities, from time and space to physical matter and
even the laws of nature, can be explained as the result of the universe's
tendency to take habits.


Again, this account hinges on the plausibility of attributing "agency" to
"chance or pure spontaneity," and "self-actualizing" power to "chaos."  It
requires that "the three universes [of experience] must actually be
absolutely necessary results of a state of utter nothingness" (CP 6.490),
which I find to be absurd.  Houser's use of the word "Somehow" is telling,
in my opinion; these presuppositions are supposed to contribute to an
*explanation* of the origin of everything from nothing, and yet they are
themselves *inexplicable*!  As I have said before, Peirce would never
countenance this, because it effectively blocks the way of inquiry.

CSP:  Now, my argument is that, according to the principles of logic, we
never have a right to conclude that anything is absolutely inexplicable or
unaccountable.  For such a conclusion goes beyond what can be directly
observed, and we have no right to conclude what goes beyond what we
observe, except so far as it explains or accounts for what we observe.  But
it is no explanation or account of a fact to pronounce it inexplicable or
unaccountable, or to pronounce any other fact so. (CP 6.613; 1893)

CSP:  The third philosophical stratagem for cutting off inquiry consists in
maintaining that this, that, or the other element of science is basic,
ultimate, independent of aught else, and utterly inexplicable--not so much
from any defect in our knowing as because there is nothing beneath it to
know.  The only type of reasoning by which such a conclusion could possibly
be reached is *retroduction*.  Now nothing justifies a retroductive
inference except its affording an explanation of the facts.  It is,
however, no explanation at all of a fact to pronounce it *inexplicable*.
That, therefore, is a conclusion which no reasoning can ever justify or
excuse. (CP 1.139, EP 2.49; 1898)

CSP:  ... the postulate from which all this would follow must not state any
matter of fact, since such fact would thereby be left unexplained. (CP
6.490)


Although Houser cites CP 6.193 and 6.200, he does not incorporate the
blackboard discussion that comes just a few paragraphs later, which Peirce
explicitly intended to clarify his "wildly confused" preceding comments (CP
6.203).  The "original vague potentiality" is not *nothing*; it is, rather,
"a continuum of some indefinite multitude of dimensions," which "the clean
blackboard" represents diagrammatically with only two dimensions.  The
appearance of the first chalk mark then represents "the transition from
undetermined and dimensionless potentiality to *determined* potentiality."
 There is not even "a Platonic world," let alone "a world of events, or
facts," until multiple chalk marks acquire the habit of persistence, as
well as additional habits that merge them into "reacting systems" and
aggregates thereof.  It is only when "a discontinuous mark" appears on the
resulting whiteboard (as I am calling it) that "this Universe of Actual
Existence" comes about (NEM 4.345).

I think that my alternative account is much more consistent with Peirce's
stated desire "to secure to [T]hirdness its really commanding function" (CP
6.202).  Although "Firstness, or chance, and Secondness, or Brute reaction,
are other elements, without the independence of which Thirdness would not
have anything upon which to operate," nevertheless Thirdness is in some
sense primordial--continuity (Thirdness) is prior to spontaneity
(Firstness), and habituality (Thirdness) is prior to actuality
(Secondness).

Regards,

Jon

On Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 4:48 PM, Edwina Taborsky <tabor...@primus.ca> wrote:

> Jon - the difference between us is not merely theism/atheism - where the
> former accepts an a priori agency - but, where the latter [might] include
> not an a priori agency but instead, argues for self-organization.
>
> So- I argue that indeed, everything could come from nothing, via the
> actions of self-organization, as outlined by Peirce in the earlier
> sections... 1.412.
>
> Edwina
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Jon Alan Schmidt <jonalanschm...@gmail.com>
> *To:* Edwina Taborsky <tabor...@primus.ca>
> *Cc:* Gary Richmond <gary.richm...@gmail.com> ; Peirce-L
> <peirce-l@list.iupui.edu>
> *Sent:* Monday, October 17, 2016 5:16 PM
> *Subject:* Re: Re: [PEIRCE-L] Peirce's Cosmology
>
> Edwina, List:
>
> ET:  And that can be acceptable even if one defines these atemporal
> aspatial Platonic world[s] as nothing for in a very real sense, they WERE
> 'nothing' - being aspatial and atemporal.
>
>
> Only if you *presuppose *that only that which is spatial and temporal can
> be "something."  Peirce does not impose that requirement; in his
> terminology, the Platonic worlds are *real*, even though they do not
> *exist*.
>
> ET:  I don't see why continuity and generality require a 'super-order and
> super-habit'.
>
>
> According to Peirce in CP 6.490, it is because otherwise, "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 ... Any such
> super-order would be a super-habit. Any general state of things whatsoever
> would be a super-order and a super-habit."
>
> ET:  I think this is a basic disagreement among those of us who are
> theists vs non-theists!
>
>
> Probably so.  It seems to come down to whether one finds it plausible that 
> *everything
> *could have come from *nothing*.
>
> Regards,
>
> Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA
> Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman
> www.LinkedIn.com/in/JonAlanSchmidt - twitter.com/JonAlanSchmidt
>
> On Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 3:48 PM, Edwina Taborsky <tabor...@primus.ca>
> wrote:
>
>> Gary R, list
>> That's a nice outline.
>>
>> With reference to the Platonic world[s] ...plural...of which only ONE has
>> been existential - I'm OK with that. And that can be acceptable even if one
>> defines these atemporal aspatial Platonic world[s]  as *nothing* for in
>> a very real sense, they WERE 'nothing' - being aspatial and atemporal.
>>
>> With regard to Jon's point: 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. [see ** below]...
>>
>> I don't see this; I don't see why continuity and generality require a
>> 'super-order and super-habit'. I think they merely require
>> self-organization of order and habit and Peirce outlines this in 1.410.
>> That is, order and habit emerge WITHIN the particularization of matter.
>> They don't pre-exist. I think this is a basic disagreement among those of
>> us who are theists vs non-theists!
>>
>> Edwina
>>
>
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