abba's way

Charles Sanders Peirce on The Three Elements of Thinking


[. . .]The modern philosophers — one and all, unless Schelling be an exception — recognize but one mode of being, the being of an individual thing or fact, the being which consists in the object’s crowding out a place for itself in the universe, so to speak, and reacting by brute force of fact, against all other things. I call that existence.
Aristotle, on the other hand, whose system, like all the greatest systems, was evolutionary, recognized besides an embryonic kind of being, like the being of a tree in its seed, or like the being of a future contingent event, depending on how a man shall decide to act. In a few passages Aristotle seems to have a dim aperçue of a third mode of being in the entelechy. The embryonic being for Aristotle was the being he called matter, which is alike in all things, and which in the course of its development took on form. Form is an element having a different mode of being. The whole philosophy of the scholastic doctors is an attempt to mould this doctrine of Aristotle into harmony with christian truth. This harmony the different doctors attempted to bring about in different ways. But all the realists agree in reversing the order of Aristotle’s evolution by making the form come first, and the individuation of that form come later. Thus, they too recognized two modes of being; but they were not the two modes of being of Aristotle.
       My view is that there are three modes of being. I hold that we can directly observe them in elements of whatever is at any time before the mind in any way. They are the being of positive qualitative possibility, the being of actual fact, and the being of law that will govern facts in the future. CP 1.21-23
Cap tip Gary R.
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