Dear Doctor Fuhrman,
The "metaphysical concerns", i.e., “internal characters of the subject in 
itself”, come directly from Deely who relies a great deal on concepts from 
Heidegger and especially from Heidegger viewed through a Thomistic lens - 
especially Aquinas and again Aquinas through Jacques Maritain. Deely's first 
book was a very good one on Heidegger, thoroughlyshowing his authentic 
grounding in scholastic metaphysics. 
Now Deely’s dealing with “metaphysics” interprets Aquinas as an extremely 
experience, sensation oriented way of thinking [all knowledge is literally 
based on sense knowledge], not of building systems like castles in the sky 
which Hegel has been unjustly accused of [but this is a difficult point to make 
since Hegel, as the epitome of ‘metaphysician’, has been interpreted in so many 
different ways – but Heidegger has written a notable essay on Hegel’s concept 
of experience in PATHMARKS (Cambridge) demonstrating, tortuously, Hegel’s 
profound and exact sense of the phenomenology of experience in the 
PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT directly involving the notion of reflexivity of 
consciousness directly developed by Aquinas – so this is a historically 
developed venture]. 
Now Pierce’s phrase “internal characters of the subject in itself” could be and 
probably is an unintentional mirror of Hegel in his PHENOMENOLOGY. Deely, on 
page 647 of his FOUR AGES OF UNDERSTANDING quotes in a string ofPeirce 
quotations which all sound like normal Peirce, as far as I know him, except for 
this one which really stood out as if a quote from Hegel since Hegel could very 
well have used exactly the same phrase. 
And Peirce himself, not only originally being a student of Kant, but also 
explicitly admired John Duns Scotus’ logic and terminology who can be as 
tortuous as Hegel simply because experience being accurately expressed by 
language is indeed tortuous which is one of the reasons Deely uses the term 
“understanding” as a species-specific distinction for human being from other 
animals. But Deely does have an explicit if not obtrusive theological agenda. 
Neither Heidegger nor Kant have such an agenda, though they both think there is 
something specifically different, specifically language, in “understanding” 
that separates humans from animals. “Understanding” is used to delineated the 
abstraction abilities of language, mathematics, and logic, without directly 
tying it down to sensation. But neither Heidegger, Kant, nor even Aquinas would 
consider “understanding” as not directly dependent upon sensation, just used in 
a different way with humans
 than animals.
That was why I have been asking if Peirce anywhere draws a strict line between 
humans and animals in the use of perception, or is human perception in Peirce 
simply a more highly developed but still purely animal ability? One can easily 
see the necessity of, let us say, a lion in its perception necessarily 
developing abstract abilities in determining estimation of the prey’s speed and 
placement since it has to estimate a possible capture point according to its 
physical abilities. So I see abstract thought as latent in a lion’s perception, 
but lacking abstractions as something separate from perception. Now, personally 
I am dubious that in reality abstraction can ever be purely “abstract” as 
subtracted literally from physical experience. Physical sensation is always 
there somewhere but necessarily so and never ‘spiritualized’ into pure 
Therefore having a clear statement of Peirce in full context on the issue, who 
I understand was sympathetic to religion [but to what extent I do not know 
either],  would be of great interest to me.
That it is hard even for an atheist like Umberto Eco to speak of language 
without his “Dynamic Object” as a kind of initial cause for propelling the 
actions of the universe I understand and sympathize with. And does not Peirce 
originate the phrase “Dynamic Object” from whom Eco derives the term?
Gary C. Moore

From: Gary Fuhrman <>
Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2012 8:39 AM
Subject: RE: [peirce-l] Fw: [peirce-l] Fw: [peirce-l] PEIRCE QUOTATION FROM 

Gary M.,
The passage in Deely to which you refer defines Peirce’s concept of Firstness 
by collecting several quotations from Peirce that refer to it. I’m not sure why 
you have singled out one of those quotations in connection with “metaphysical 
concerns”, but i think a better acquaintance with Peirce’s phaneroscopic 
(phenomenological) categories would serve you better in the task of 
interpreting both Peirce’s text and Deely’s. Both of them are referring 
primarily to logic, i.e. semiotic, and while it is true that just about any 
principle of logic “potentially refers to metaphysical concerns”, those 
concerns are secondary and derivative. Comparisons with Heidegger’s terminology 
are even more remote, in this context. I think you’d be better advised to 
peruse Selection 28 in EP2; the passage from Peirce that Deely quotes from CP 
5.469 is a variant reading from that same MS (318), the MS in which he 
introduces the term “semiosis”.
Gary F.
} The confusions which occupy us arise when language is like an engine idling, 
not when it is doing work. [Wittgenstein] { }{ gnoxic studies: Peirce
From:C S Peirce discussion list [mailto:PEIRCE-L@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU] On Behalf 
Of Gary Moore
Sent: April-26-12 2:38 AM
Subject: [peirce-l] Fw: [peirce-l] Fw: [peirce-l] PEIRCE QUOTATION FROM JOHN 
Dear Doctor Rose,
Thank you for your reply! 
The quote from John Deely had an important original context because it 
potentiallyreferred to metaphysical concerns with “positive internal characters 
of the subject”. 
Now, in my incredibly small experience with Peirce, I have noticed there are 
times when he pays strict logical attention and times when he is more 
‘colloquial’. Sometimes the ‘colloquial’ is not just ‘ordinary discourse itself 
– which I have argued elsewhere in relation to Umberto Eco ALWAYS triumphs over 
philosophical discourse [which is always a mere interruption to ‘ordinary 
discourse’ that always goes on to render philosophy insignificant] – but rather 
refers to old style ‘metaphysics’ as he does here. 
Deely has several special [to himself] issues that would put the Peirce quote 
into a completely different light possibly. One such issue is the theological 
‘soul’. Another relates to his very good book on and continuing high regard for 
Martin Heidegger. I would think neither Peirce nor Heidegger would accept 
literally the metaphysical connotation of “positive internal characters of the 
subject”. Heidegger, in whom Deely most properly and almost uniquely recognizes 
the semiotic aspect of Heidegger [something I was lucky enough to see in 
Heidegger’s 1916 doctoral thesis on the categories of John Duns Scotus whom 
Peirce admired]. 
Heidegger would unreservedly reject any literal reference to “internal” and to 
“subject” in his “Dasein” or Being-there since it is a field of experience 
presented to the human being which, as far as it is ‘known’ is completely 
‘external’ and open to be delimited by language. It would seem to me Peirce 
would do the same since it seems to me that for him experience is an 
undelimited whole or totality. But I could very well be wrong on this for 
Heidegger does recognize obscurely an unknown aspect of Dasein. But since such 
a ‘thing’ is not experienced directly and is not related to language as either 
‘ordinary’ nor ‘philosophical’ discourse, it can only be approached obliquely 
or asymptotically. The Heideggerian scholar William J. Richardson SJ does this 
with Lacanian psychoanalysis which, it seems anyway, Deely disapproves of. The 
point is, it seems with both Heidegger and Peirce, the popular phrase “What you 
see is what you get” is taken in a strict and radical sense. I think also both 
consider the ‘unconscious’ as a matter of historicity being logically being 
teased out of the long dream of language which completely overwhelms any one 
Another issue with Deely and Heidegger related to this is Deely’s seemingly 
strict separation between human consciousness, which dreams the dream of 
language, and the ‘animal’ which largely does not do so. Heidegger also 
separates the two but simply as an observation and method of trying to delimit 
language within manageable bounds, and not because of a religious agenda since 
he explicitly holds for an “atheistic methodology”. In other words, if he had 
found another animal than human being he could converse with, he would have no 
ideological or theological problem, being more attuned to Nietzsche in this 
Therefore I raise another question: “Does Peirce raise a distinct separation 
between the human being as the only linguistic animal, and if so, where, and if 
not, where?”
Gary C. Moore
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