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.
abba's way

Conscious Thought Is a Matter of Will and Validates Free Choice

This from a response in a thread on the Peirce list.

It seems to me that the thread has sought to describe how the mind works, and that Peirce thought it worked by accessing the general which I call reality and he calls first and having it bump up against an index which he calls second and which I call ethics and having it transit in some melded way to a third which he calls a third and I call aesthetics and take to be an action or expression whose effects can be empirically validated and measured. Now if Peirce’s threes do not refer to what can be a conscious process then to what do they refer? And if to a conscious process, then am I justified in saying that thinking in threes can involve accessing whatever is rising in your mind and subjecting it to an ethical challenge and then seeing that the result of that encounter issues in something that you take to aim for truth/beauty?  There are surely myriad other ways to think in threes, just as triangles can be infinitely iterated. But just as Hegel and Marx developed what we call dialectics that have influenced thought, who is to say that a mode of triadic thinking cannot come to bear on the challenges we face – the primary one being whether we can morally evolve beyond what Veblen aptly described as our predatory nature?

Affairs and Affairs and Affairs — What’s Wrong, What’s Right?

Things don’t change that much. The main thing is that now it is less a male thing. Everyone fools around. The only brakes on it are incapacity, age and scruples. The natural thing would be to have the max with anyone at any level. Multitasking isn’t new either. Our brains are more sophisticated than any computer. We can be doing one thing but if the right person is near at hand doing other things as well. All hidden in our fertile heads.

The main scruple-breach has been what we call affairs. To have a real affair you need to have promised your heart exclusively to someone. Taken vows. Be married as it were. Or at least seriously committed.  The affair comes when you sleep with someone else. I assume one could fudge it and sleep with someone and argue that because nothing happened it was not an affair. But generally if one has gone that far, whatever did or did not happen counts. Why?

Because an affair is a breach of fidelity. The reason to be literal is because if it were in the mind alone –and you could read it there — there would be no marriages.  Unless you had two mature adults who recognized this and somehow transcended it and remained faithful. Doubtless older and wiser second marriages sans affairs are in this category.

The problem is kids. Once you bring kids in, you are in an entirely different moral universe. This is why I personally believe people should have to be licensed to be parents — that is to have kids in the first place. People get married and have kids and then enter the most temptation-filled time of life.  I know numerous folk who have survived affairs because their marriages were strong enough and they were mature enough and the affairs were tangental enough to be more or less forgettable.  I know numerous others, me included, who had problems in their marriages that may have actually precipitated extracurricular activities. These marriages did not survive.

But the kid thing is the main reason why affairs do more than mess up the participants. They are tough on kids. They add betrayal to infidelity. They can and do harm children and that is a recognized, universal form of wrongdoing. Period.

The only remedy is remedial action and forgiveness. Absent this, subtract points when you judge another for doing exactly what you did or do or will likely do.

What’s wrong is a world that does not put kids first, which institutionalizes wrongdoing, which tolerates injustice.

What’s right is to enjoy one another within the limits of commitments and to recognize that when you feel an unbidden attraction you are being as normal as apple pie.


Washington Post Not Helping Newspapers To Survive

WaPo Publisher On Hot Seat for Alleged Influence Peddling

As first reported in Politico, The Washington Post had sent out a brochure offering sponsorships — a fee of $25,000 for one, or $250,000 for an entire series — for an exclusive “Washington Post salon” at Ms. Weymouth’s home in which officials from Congress and the administration, lobbyists and, yes, the paper’s own reporters could have a quiet, off-the-record dinner, discussions to be led by Marcus Brauchli, the newspaper’s editor. Theoretically, you can’t buy Washington Post reporters, but you can rent them.

Given the survival problems of newspapers, this was not likely to add to salient pushback.

drinking, ethics

An Ethic of Eating and Drinking

I wrote An Ethic of Eating and Drinking this a while back.

Jesus said not to take much thought about what you eat or drink, and in the United States obedience to this text is running high. What Jesus had in mind was that there are many concerns more important than eating or drinking: the realm of redemption, for one thing. That realm — the “Kingdom of God” — is a place of growth in grace, realized love and care of the poor and weak. In other words, it is a place where transcendent values are played out and where life conquers death. Surely, then, he would not have us ignore the ways in which our eating and drinking deter the spread of this realm in our personal and corporate lives. MORE