Ben, List:

Thank you for sharing these comments.  I will need to take a look at the
text of Heidegger's speech, and then decide whether I have anything
worthwhile to say about it myself.  For now, I am simply renaming the
thread topic for the sake of clarity going forward.



On Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 3:34 PM, Ben Novak <> wrote:

> Dear Jon, Edwina, Helmut, Jerry, Gary:
> This email chain, for me, has been one of the most interesting and useful.
> I greatly appreciate the efforts of all of you to arrive at the clarity of
> the last few emails in the chain. The reason I am writing this is because
> it seems to me that we have reached quite a turning point. For we are
> suddenly in the realm of talking about what metaphysics is, which brings
> right back around to the Neglected Argument.
> Let me explain. Helmut raised the question:
> HR:  Nothing cannot exist, because something that exists is, well,
> something, and something is not nothing.
> He also referenced Hegel's logic.
> But a whole lot of water has gone under the bridge since Hegel's insight
> into Nothing, and quite frankly, I think we need to take it into account in
> talking about what Peirce is doing. For it is possible that later thinkers,
> independently of Peirce, and sometimes from different disciplines or
> traditions of thought, may have something to offer to the discussion--even
> to the understanding of Peirce.
> On the subject that Jon so capably raised in his emails today quoting
> Nathan Houser, which I quote here simply to save you the trouble of going
> back through the chain:
> Indeed, Nathan Houser's introduction to Volume 1 of *The Essential Peirce*
>  ( 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.
> Now, many of the discussants have taken this quite further, and have
> entered into a discussion of the nothing.
> Well, I would like to propose the relevance here of Martin Heidegger's
> maiden speech, "What is Metaphysics?"  In that speech, Heidegger deals
> directly with the issue Helmut raised shortly after Jon's email:
> 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?
> Now that is precisely the issue that Heidegger deals with in his speech,
> and claims a couple of things of immediate relevance here. First, he claims
> that this nothing is the subject matter of a whole discipline and field of
> thought, i.e., metaphysics. Second, he shows how this nothing can not only
> be the subject of a discipline, but also something identified and
> experienced in daily life.
> But he even does more than that. He argues that the nothing can be
> experienced by persons in certain moods, which he identifies as anxiety and
> boredom. In a later work, *Introduction to Metaphysics*, he identifies
> more moods, such as extreme happiness (e.g., on the day of one's wedding
> for example). I suggest that this list may not he exhaustive, but may
> include the "play of amusement" that Peirce refers to in the Neglected
> Argument.
> If such a possibility is entertained, then there may be a basis for seeing
> a major clarification resulting from relating Heideggher's discussion of
> the Nothing to Peirce's comments as summarized by Houser, and further
> elaborated by Jon, as well as seeing a connection between Heidegger's
> understanding of nothing as the subject matter of metaphysics, and Peirce's
> Neglected Argument.
> Here is Heidegger's maiden speech at the University of Marburg, "What is
> Metaphysics?"
> Heidegger.Martin..What%20Is%20Metaphysics.htm
> Ben
> *Ben Novak <>*
> 5129 Taylor Drive, Ave Maria, FL 34142
> Telephone: (814) 808-5702
> *"All art is mortal, **not merely the individual artifacts, but the arts
> themselves.* *One day the last portrait of Rembrandt* *and the last bar
> of Mozart will have ceased to be—**though possibly a colored canvas and a
> sheet of notes may remain—**because the last eye and the last ear
> accessible to their message **will have gone." *Oswald Spengler
> On Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 3:27 PM, Edwina Taborsky <>
> wrote:
>> 1) Pure zero is NOT the continuum of Thirdness. Because Thirdness is made
>> up of general habits.
>> I agree that 'nothing in particular necessarily resulted' - i.e., there
>> was no agential Mind and no necessary model of the universe. Our universe
>> could have spontaneously generated some other atom/chemical/whatever as
>> basic.
>> 2) I don't confine 'freedom' to persons. Molecules and cells have it!
>> Birds, animals, insects..have freedom.
>> 3) The worst thing about a religious [or other?] group is that it is made
>> up of flawed people? I would say that is one of the best things, for 'being
>> flawed' means that we are aware of our existentiality as 'merely a version
>> of a Type'...and can enjoy our differences.
>> Edwina
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> *From:* Jon Alan Schmidt <>
>> *To:* Helmut Raulien <>
>> *Cc:* Peirce-L <>
>> *Sent:* Tuesday, October 18, 2016 2:04 PM
>> *Subject:* Re: Re: Re: [PEIRCE-L] Peirce's Cosmology
>> Helmut, List:
>> 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
>> make recently.
>> 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 6.219-220)
>> 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 (or 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.
>> Regards,
>> Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA
>> Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman
>> -
>> On Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 12:05 PM, Helmut Raulien <>
>> 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.
>>> Best,
>>> Helmut
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