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


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