Irrespective of the semiotic-relational aspects of a silicon atom with other 
atoms, molecules and crystals within a rock, a rock is not a holon (mind-body) 
to which the principles of semiotics and pragmatism can apply. The notion is 
credible within localized contexts, such as crystal formation, chemical bonds, 
or other structural interfacing reactions (such as your reference to 
diamond-hydrogen bonding). It is also credible within a QM context. But a 
rock... from a grain of sand to a massive boulder... is not a holon, and talk 
of consciousness in rocks (as opposed to the localized structures that might 
constitute them) is a category error for this reason. There is no context in 
which a rock makes choices and infers meaning. Exactly the same with a chair or 
a hat... there might be localized relational aspects (glues, organic molecules, 
micro-crystals, etc), but no chair or hat... or rock... is a holon to which 
choices matter. Hatness does not aid a hat's survival. Chairness does not aid a 
chair's survival. Rockness does not aid a rock's survival. Rocks are not 
conscious. How could this even be in question? <cringe>

-----Original Message-----
From: Jerry LR Chandler [] 
Sent: Monday, February 19, 2018 12:36 AM
To: Peirce List
Cc: John F Sowa; Stephen Jarosek
Subject: Re: [PEIRCE-L] The concept of system is just a human abstraction

List, John, Stephen:

A few technical comment from a chemist may be helpful here because the 
semiotics of chemical sciences developed a forma logic for relationships among 
all chemical elements. The logical formalism is virtually complete but minor 
enhancements are necessary from time to time as the fruits of inquiry into the 
nature of matter continue to generate exact knowledge  about the nature of 
quantum chemistry, chemistry, and biochemistry.
> On Feb 18, 2018, at 9:24 AM, John F Sowa <> wrote:
> On 2/18/2018 7:40 AM, Stephen Jarosek wrote:
>> As far as the silicon molecule is concerned, the stone has no context that 
>> is relevant to it. The silicon molecule receives no cue from the stone as to 
>> what its properties should be.

This sentence is not true.  Any stone that contains the element silicon with 
have the property that chemical and mass spectral analysis will show the 
presence of the element of silicon. This is positive evidence, far greater than 
merely a clue.

> That is not true.  A silicon atom behaves in very different ways in 
> different molecules.

This sentence is also not exactly true.  But very nearly so.
A molecule that contains the element silicon must also contain relations 
between the parts of the molecule - chemical relations that conjoin the parts 
into a whole, such that a formal name exists for the whole. 
> In minerals, it is in some molecule, such as silicon dioxide.  But 
> SiO2 may combine in more complex molecules, such as aluminum silicate.  
> And those molecules are affected by the crystals, glasses, and surface 
> interactions that affect the rock as a whole.  Heat, pressure, 
> tension, torsion, and chemical processes are transmitted to, from, and 
> through every molecule in the rock.
>> The stone is not a system, but an agglomeration of disconnected minerals.

The word “system” can be interpreted in many, many ways.
At one extreme, a stone may be a very loose collection of many mineral of 
similar composite or diverse composition. At the other extreme, a stone may be 
a crystal composed from two elements, such as a diamond. (Before anyone sends 
me a email saying that diamond in pure carbon, I would point out the the 
diamond-iod structural surface includes hydrogen bonded to the exterior carbon 
> For organic matter, the processes are even complex and organized than 
> any human can conceive.

I think this is a bit of an rhetorical exaggeration.
More than 100,000,000 organic compounds have been indexed by the American 
Chemical Society.

> And there is a continuum:
This phrase is rather misleading in its meaning in this context.

Each chemical nuclei is an individual mass and electrical unit. It is a 
discrete count that associates a specific member of the table of elements with 
its logical predicates - its physical properties.  The concept of a continuum, 
both in Peircian terms and traditional mathematics) is a mathematical term that 
relates to certain predicates of atoms with geometric lines but not to the 
names of the atoms themselves.  

>  Some inorganic processes somehow evolved into those organic 
> processes.

The genesis of organic matter as molecules from inorganic matter as atoms is 
very well known in chemistry and molecular biology. This usage is confusing to 
The central issues to be explained are the spontaneity of the dynamics of life 
and the spontaneity of reproduction.
These two issues necessary involve both quantum chemistry (Penrose twistors for 
optical isomers) and the semiotics of genetic symbols as perplex generating 
functions for the organization of life from small inorganic and organic 

>  The inorganic processes that generate the earth's weather are 
> extremely complex.  And the weather affects and is affected by all the 
> organic processes on earth.  And the earth is just one insignificant 
> rocky planet in a run-of-the-mill galaxy in one corner of an immensely 
> complex cosmos.

Fine. I concur.


> John
> -----------------------------
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