Jon, list: I guess we'll just continue to disagree but I don't think the outline is really that clear in Peirce's writings. I consider from his work, that the universe began with 'nothing', in the sense that there was no determination, no agenda, ..never mind no actualization. Pure undifferentiated energy so to speak.
1) Peirce's origin seems to be 'in the utter vagueness of completely undetermined and dimensionless potentiality" 6.193. Now a good question - is this akin to Firstness? My answer to this is: No. My problem with this is that I don't consider the categories as realities -in-themselves but only as modes of organization of matter/mind. That is - they don't, in my readings, seem to even function until AFTER the appearance of matter/mind. So- I don't see this as Firstness. 2) Peirce writes; 'the evolution of forms begins or, at any rate, has for an early stage of it, a vague potentiality; and that either is or is followed by a continuum of forms having a multitude of dimensions too great for the individual dimensions to be distinct. It must be by a contraction of the vagueness of that potentiality of everything in general but of nothing in particular, that the world of forms comes about" 6.196. I read the above 'continuum of forms' as an outline of the operation of Thirdness in a mode of Secondness. Does this mean that this original 'utter vagueness' is Thirdness-as-Secondness? I don't see this either, since my view of Thirdness is that it is a post hoc process, acting as habit-formations. And as such, it is not 'utter vagueness'. 3) So- I don't see that any of the categories have a 'pre-existence' so to speak. He does suggest, in 6.197 that our current sense-qualities [Firstness] are 'but the relics of an ancient ruined continuum of qualities'...and that this 'cosmos of sense-qualities...had in an antecedent state of development a vaguer being, before the relations of its dimensions became definite and contracted" 6.197. So- my reading of this is that 'the relations of its dimensions' refers to the three categories, which are quite specific in their nature and function. These appeared AFTER that 'vaguer being' .....The 'general indefinite potentiality' 6.199 doesn't seem to describe either Firstness or Thirdness. And Peirce is specific that the emergence of existence didn't come about by 'their own inherent firstness. 'They spring up in reaction upon one another, and thus into a kind of existence" 6199. Peirce assumes all three categories as 'fundamental elements' - acting upon each other from the beginning. But - again, the pre-categorical world doesn't seem to me to be either Firstness or, as you claim, Thirdness. 4) That blackboard has no categorical mode in its makeup. No Firstness, no Secondness, No Thirdness. When I draw a line - well - where in the world did I and my action come from????Outer space? The white chalk line is a Firstness. Not the blackboard. Again- my reading of the emergence of the universe is that the three categories are post hoc fundamental elements. And what was 'there' before was obviously 'not there' [there was no time or space]...just...vagueness. The universe then self-generated and self-organized using the basic fundamental three categories. That's as far as i can go! Edwina ----- Original Message ----- From: Jon Alan Schmidt To: Edwina Taborsky Cc: Gary Richmond ; Peirce-L Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 12:16 PM Subject: Re: Re: [PEIRCE-L] Peirce's Cosmology 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 To: Edwina Taborsky Cc: Gary Richmond ; Peirce-L 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 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ----------------------------- PEIRCE-L subscribers: Click on "Reply List" or "Reply All" to REPLY ON PEIRCE-L to this message. 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