Edwina, List:

ET:  See also "To say that there was no action is to say there was no
actuality"...before which all was absolutely motionless and dead 1.275.

Once again, it is important to examine a larger excerpt in order to
understand the full context of these comments by Peirce.

CSP:  There are two distinct questions to be answered concerning time, even
when we have accepted the doctrine that it is strictly continuous. The
first is, whether or not it has any exceptional instants in which it is
discontinuous,--any abrupt beginning and end. Philosophers there have been
who have said that such a thing is inconceivable; but it is perfectly
conceivable to a mind which takes up intelligently and seriously the task
of forming the conception ... There is no difficulty in imagining that at a
certain moment, velocity was suddenly imparted to every atom and corpuscle
of the universe; before which all was absolutely motionless and dead. To
say that there was no motion nor acceleration is to say there was no time.
To say there was no action is to say there was no actuality. However
contrary to the evidence, then, such a hypothesis may be, it is perfectly
conceivable. (CP 1.275; 1902)

He was not describing *his own* position in what you quoted and
paraphrased; he was merely affirming that a discontinuity in
time--specifically, an "abrupt beginning"--is "perfectly conceivable," even
though it is "contrary to the evidence."  Furthermore, "motionless and
dead" does not mean "nothing" or non-existent; on the contrary, in this
account the beginning of time does not correspond to the moment when "every
atom and corpuscle of the universe" came into being, but rather the moment
when "velocity was suddenly imparted to" them.  What (or Who) created them
in the first place?  What (or Who) imparted velocity to them in that first

In my published essay, I discuss at some length Peirce's concept of
"nothing," including several of the other passages that you quoted below.
I argue that his later writings clarify that the "the womb of
indeterminacy" in CP 1.412 (1887-1888) is 3ns, rather than 1ns--an infinite
*continuum *of possibilities--and that the "boundless freedom" of this
"pure zero" or "germinal nothing" is what God as *Ens necessarium* exercised
in choosing which of them to actualize.  For Peirce, the hypothesis of
God's Reality begins as "a scientific proposition" (CP 6.215; 1898)--a
legitimate attempt to explain the surprising fact that there is something,
rather than nothing--and only later becomes a belief, a habit of conduct,
religious or otherwise.

CSP:  ... the N.A. is the First Stage of a scientific inquiry, resulting in
a hypothesis of the very highest Plausibility, whose ultimate test must lie
in its value in the self-controlled growth of man's conduct of life. (CP
6.480; 1908)

CSP:  ... the humble argument is the first stage of a scientific inquiry
into the origin of the three Universes, but of an inquiry which produces,
not merely scientific belief, which is always provisional, but also a
living, practical belief, logically justified in crossing the Rubicon with
all the freightage of eternity. (CP 6.485; 1908)


Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA
Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman
<http://www.linkedin.com/in/JonAlanSchmidt> - twitter.com/JonAlanSchmidt

On Thu, May 17, 2018 at 3:13 PM, Edwina Taborsky <tabor...@primus.ca> wrote:

> Gary R, Stephen,  list:
> Peirce also said that 'nothing' existed before the 'flash' or Big Bang
> [he used the former not the latter, term]. 1.411, 412.
> See also "To say that there was no action is to say there was no
> actuality"...before which all was absolutely motionless and dead 1.275.
>  And "The initial condition, before the universe existed, was not a state
> of pure abstract being. On the contrary, it was a state of just nothing at
> all, not even a state of emptiness, for even emptiness is something. If we
> are to proceed in a logical and scientific manner, we must, in order to
> account for the whole universe, suppose an initial condition in which the
> whole universe was non-existent, and therefore, a state of absolute
> nothing" 6.215.
> "You must not let this interfere with or be interfered with by any
> religious belief. Religion is a practical matter. Its beliefs are formulae
> you will go upon. But a scientific proposition is merely something you take
> up provisionally as being the proper hypothesis to try first and endeavor
> to refute"
> "We start, then, with nothing, pure zero. But this is not the nothing of
> negation....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, now 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 now law. It
> is boundless freedom. So of potential being there was in that initial state
> no lack. 6.217
> "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" 6.218
> Then, Peirce goes on to say that he agrees [with Hegel] that the universe
> is rational - but- it is not constrained to be rational..."I will 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" 6.219
> And we must remember 1.412 - where Peirce outlines the 'flash' where this
> potentiality becomes a specific quality...and that habits, or laws and
> mediation emerged.
> I think the debate about the emergence of the universe, whether within a
> Big Bang or not - is valid and will probably go on for some time - until we
> can get some empirical evidence!
> My reading of the above outline, however, obviously does not involve any
> metaphysical Agent [God]. As Peirce wrote: " You must not let this
> interfere with or be interfered with by any religious belief. " [6.217 my
> emphasis]. And these writings are also the ground for my rejection
> of Thirdness as a priori or primary; I continue to posit that Firstness,
> understood as potentiality - is primary.
> Edwina
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