HR: Nothing cannot exist, because something that exists is, well,
something, and something is not nothing.
This led me to think of the following quote from Peirce.
CSP: We start, then, with nothing, pure zero. But this is not the nothing
of negation. For *not *means *other than*, and *other *is merely a synonym
of the ordinal numeral *second*. As such it implies a first; while the
present pure zero is prior to every first. The nothing of negation is the
nothing of death, which comes second to, or after, everything. But this
pure zero is the nothing of not having been born. There is no individual
thing, no compulsion, outward nor inward, no law. It is the germinal
nothing, in which the whole universe is involved or foreshadowed. As such,
it is absolutely undefined and unlimited possibility--boundless
possibility. There is no compulsion and no law. It is boundless freedom.
So of *potential *being there was in that initial state no lack. (CP 6.217;
What he wrote next is consistent with a point that I have been trying to
CSP: Now the question arises, what necessarily resulted from that state of
things? But the only sane answer is that where freedom was boundless
nothing in particular necessarily resulted. (CP 6.218)
The key word here is *necessarily*, since obviously Peirce's cosmology
requires that *something *resulted. He went on to contrast his approach
with Hegel's, and then gave this conclusion.
CSP: I say that nothing *necessarily *resulted from the Nothing of
boundless freedom. That is, nothing according to deductive logic. But
such is not the logic of freedom or possibility. The logic of freedom, or
potentiality, is that it shall annul itself. For if it does not annul
itself, it remains a completely idle and do-nothing potentiality; and a
completely idle potentiality is annulled by its complete idleness. I do
not mean that potentiality immediately results in actuality. Mediately
perhaps it does; but what immediately resulted was that unbounded
potentiality became potentiality of this or that sort--that is, of some
*quality*. Thus the zero of bare possibility, by evolutionary logic, leapt
into the *unit *of some quality. This was hypothetic inference. (CP
Here he used the word "freedom," which is again something that we attribute
to *persons*. He suggested that, "Mediately perhaps," bare possibility
(Firstness) results in actuality (Secondness); i.e., something (or Someone)
else must *mediate *(Thirdness) that transition. He then referred to the
immediate process of "unbounded potentiality" becoming "the unit of some
quality" as "hypothetic inference," which can only take place within a mind
HR: So I want to remain an agnostic.
I can understand the sentiment--I often say that the worst thing about any
religious group is that it is made up of flawed people--but I hope that you
will continue inquiring.
Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA
Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman
www.LinkedIn.com/in/JonAlanSchmidt - twitter.com/JonAlanSchmidt
On Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 12:05 PM, Helmut Raulien <h.raul...@gmx.de> wrote:
> Edwina, Jon, Gary, list,
> I think I am an agnostic. "Everything could come from nothing" (Edwina)
> reminds me of having read (merely) the (very) beginning of Hegels, I think
> it was "Science of logic". Hegel showed how dialectics leads to the
> evolution from "nothing" to "something", and then on to all other things,
> like life. I have understood it like: "Nothing" is a thesis, which cannot
> exists of its own, because existence requires that it is something, i.e.
> "The nothing", which means that "nothing" is "something", and there is a
> something else, which is not nothing, as antithesis. Or something like
> that. I found this argumentation quite catchy. Nothing cannot exist,
> because something that exists is, well, something, and something is not
> nothing. But now I am not still so sure of this logic. Because who said,
> that a nothing has to exist to be nothing? Maybe it did not exist, but
> merely was real? A real but nonexistent nothing might remain in its
> sleeping mode forever, if no God shows up. I cannot pin it down, but have
> the feeling, that the difference between real and existing requires theism,
> and if you do not see the difference, one (eg.I) may be an agnostic. I am,
> because I thought I had understood the terms "existing", "real", "being"
> (this thing about the predicate), but somehow lost it again. Like faith: It
> is an on-off-relationship somehow. I feel I cannot pin down God. But I like
> this state better than to be somebody who claims to know God well. These
> folks are dangerous, you just have to switch on the TV. So I want to remain
> an agnostic.
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