Hi Gary R, List,
I thought this exchange was very worthwhile, esp. your current
response. I have read your points multiple times and tried to think
clearly about what you said. I find that I am in 'general
agreement' with all that you have written in this response. As a
result, I changed the subject line from 'Re: Order of
Determination' to reflect my view. We have found at least one
overlap in the Venn diagram.
What I especially like is your basing your points on the
universal categories. Thirdness is the mode of habit, mediation,
generality, continuity. Genuine Thirdness must, as Peirce says
and you quote, be a medium "between a Second and its First." In
the sense I frequently use it, namely categorization of things
for knowledge representation, this is the same as saying we find
general types (Thirdness) of particulars (Secondness) by looking
at their essences and shared qualities (Firstness). I frankly do
not see why we need to use language such as "quasi-necessarily"
as Edwina poses. I can not see where habit or any of the other
senses of Thirdness may occur without Secondness and Firstness.
I also like your pointing to the use of prescission to look
at these questions. One observation I would make is that there
is a community of Peirce researchers who see their investigations
primarily through the lens of signs and semiosis. I believe
Edwina would place herself in this group. That is well and good
and in the sense of sign use and making and representation may
indeed be the best perspective. But, for me, I see the universal
categories as the governing primitives. (I believe Peirce did as
well.) For example, in the pure sense of the phaneron, the
reality of Firstness, I presently believe, is outside of the
process of semiosis. Once we try to signify Firstness, a reification
of sorts, we make it actual, which places it as a monadic idea
in Secondness. (Not dissimilar from quantum effects.) We can
talk about it and describe it, but it remains removed from the
essence of Firstness. One can take these viewpoints based on Peirce's
own statements about the categories and prescission. (CP 1.353)
I guess put another way, for me, the universal categories are
the adjudicators in how I try to think about Peirce, not
semiosis, which is a process of representation. However, of
course, from the vantage of representation, semiosis naturally
Thanks for trying to find common ground. From my perspective,
you did an admirable job.
On 4/9/2018 6:10 PM, Gary Richmond
Thanks for responding to my
post, Edwina. I'm sorry that it's taken me a couple of days to
reply, but this weekend happened to be especially busy.
In the spirit of trying to
see if it's possible to come to agreement on certain recent
points of contention, I'd like to begin my response with a
principle upon which we appear to be in agreement. You quoted
me, then commented.
3] Gary R: Similarly
Peirce uses the phrase "regulative hope" in consideration of
just those habits of thought and action which, through
hetero- and homo-correction (science as critical commonsense
writ large) tend toward a belief wholly congruent with
Reality, whatever you, I, Jon, or any given community of
inquirers might think.
Mike and John S suggested
that it might be a valuable strategy to see if through
dialogue here that there might be some significant ideas or
principles of Peircean semeiotics and philosophy more
generally with which we might come to at least some agreement.
While I'm not looking for anything like "general agreement" on
any point, I'd be interested to see if there's anyone in the
forum who disagrees that this (stated perhaps too
tersely above) is what Peirce means by the _expression_
"regulative hope," that is, in referring it to the sense of
how inquiry taken up in the scientific spirit brings us closer
to a grasp of the Real?
Now, on to the other
1] Gary R: Edwina, all the
things that you question, disagree, or reject here
will be found in Peirce. He himself, for example, says
that 'the subject
matter of normative science consists of the
relations of phenomena to ends'.
EDWINA: I'm not questioning
their being 'found' in Peirce. One can cherry pick a
zillion quotes from Peirce. I'm questioning their
pragmatic use within an analysis.
I agree in a general sense. But
in this particular matter of the quotation, 'the subject matter of
normative science consists of the relations of
phenomena to ends,' I don't believe that there
is any cherry picking going on whatsoever The subject
matter of the other two branches of cenoscopic
philosophy, phenomenology and metaphysics, are different
from that of the normative sciences. One can agree or
disagree with with what Peirce saw as the purpose of
each of these three branches, but at least in a
pragmatic analysis of his architectonic philosophy in
consideration of scientific inquiry, it is important, I
believe, to distinguish them. This is principally, I
believe, because he develops his architectonic
philosophy, outlined in his Classification of Sciences,
as an aid to pragmatic inquiry, including what you
referred to above as "their
pragmatic use within an analysis."
2] Gary R: Similarly, the 'ideal end of semiosis is
the development of habits that would never be
confounded by subsequent experience - including, but
not limited to, true beliefs' is a decidedly
Peircean notion concerning an asymptotic tendency of
scientific inquiry towards the Truth such that Truth
== Reality. It is not Hegelian whatsoever in my view
as Reality in Peirce's sense itself involves all three
categories, not just 3ns.
EDWINA: Here, I
question the view that 'the development of habits
that would never be confounded by subsequent
experience - including but not limited to, true
beliefs'. I'm not questioning this statement. I'm
questioning the view that a 'final state' exists,
where habits are no longer open to the realities
of 1ns and 2ns. Let me explain. I can, for
example, analyze the biological and chemical
nature of a lion - such that I can determine the
essentially true nature of it as a biological
species. And - this analysis would not be
'confounded by subsequent experience' of the lion
species. It's a 'scientific truth'.
I agree that a final state
does not, cannot exist in Peirce science exactly
because it involves an evolutionary philosophy. That's
why I suggested that the _expression_ 'final state'
refers to a regulative principle, and so I
earlier used the term 'asymptotic' to suggest that
while one can, perhaps, get closer and closer to the
complete facts, principles, laws regarding the truth
of any reality into which one might inquire, one can
never definitively or fully arrive
there (this is not to suggest that we can't grasp many
specific 'truths', such as the real characteristics of
an plant or animal species--see below). Peirce's term
'final' is misleading if one doesn't keep this in
mind. So, in my view Peirce's notion is not Hegelian
in the sense the 3ns is the be all and end all. For as
long is there is evolutionary growth of any sort in
the cosmos, all three categories will be
In the case of the true
(real) nature of the lion as a species, I fully agree
that what we now know represents scientific truth even
should that species evolve. Peirce suggests that there
are no doubt many of these "scientific truths," but
that we can't be certain that any one in
particular will 'hold' in the future. But there's no
reason to doubt what we've no reason to doubt as to
what science has already discovered.
ET: BUT - just because
I have analyzed the scientifically valid nature of
this species - does NOT mean that its habits are
closed to adaptation and evolution. They could -
and probably will - evolve and change. So, habit
formation and truth are not the same thing.
I agree that "habit
formation and truth are not the same thing." What I
suggested was that our human striving to understand
the nature of reality together in a scientific way is
the optimal way to arrive at whatever truths we may
ever hope to achieve in whatever areas of inquiry we
may take up. We could, of course, be wrong at any
point in our inquiry, while the history of science
will show that this has been the case any number of
times. But, again, we clearly make scientific
discoveries or we wouldn't see, for example, the
development of the technologies we've witnessed even
in our own lives--but our understandings remain
fallible especially as we continue our inquiries.
4] Gary R: It is
Peirce who says that the habit-taking tendency is
the primordial law of mind, I believe first in the
essay "The Law of Mind" (1892). Habits, 3ns, in
the involutional sense I recently commented on as
it appears in "The Logic of Mathematics," involve
the other two categories quasi-necessarily.
EDWINA: My view is
that habit-taking is ONE of the primordial laws
of Mind . Indeed, the formation of habits is
vital. . . However, I don't see that habits
'involve' the other two categories
quasi-necessarily. That is, Thirdness does not,
in its own nature, require 1ns or 2ns. . .
I am beginning to see what
you've been aiming at as regards habits in your
writing, for example:
ET (continuing): . .
.a universe made up only of habits is obviously
dead - in the sense that all life has ended, all
individuation has ended, and the universe is one
huge crystal [see 6.33]. Peirce himself saw this
only as pure theoretical speculation in the
infinite [i.e., never] future.
And I see you as actually
resolving the whole question in writing in the snippet
above that for Peirce this virtual cessation
of all life, growth, and evolution is but "speculation
in the infinite [i.e., never] future" (which is why I
just used the term 'virtual' and not 'actual').
ET: . . . [Semiosis]
exists as Mind - which functions within all three
primordial modes: 1ns, 2ns, 3ns - and I see all of
them as equal and basic primordial forces.
I wouldn't use 'exists' or
'forces' as you have here because I associate both
those terms with 2ns, but I agree that semiosis
involves all three of Peirce's categories and further
agree that they are 'equal', 'basic' and 'priordial'.
I don't, however, see them in reality as ever
occurring apart from each other even while one may (at
least seemingly) dominate in any given situation.
ET: As for 'entelechy'
- Peirce may have used the term, but what did he
mean by it?
I personally think that Peirce was clear enough by
what he meant by entelechy in writing:
. . . The
entelechy of the Universe of being, then, the
Universe qua fact,
will be that Universe in its aspect as a sign, the
“Truth” of being. The “Truth,” the fact that is
not abstracted but complete, is the ultimate
interpretant of every sign.
I expect that you'll
disagree with much of what I've written above. But I believe
that besides that one clear point of agreement at the top of
this post as well as some apparent partial agreement in a few
other points, that, with further inquiry, we might arrive at
Meanwhile, I very much look
forward to your response to this message should you offer one.
But, I think that for now I'll leave the last word to you.
Thank you again for your very thoughtful response to my last