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The Intelligible Universe

  • Nathan Houser
Chapter
Part of the Biosemiotics book series (BSEM, volume 11)

Abstract

Early in the 20th century, Peirce began a paper on the foundations of mathematics which would validate a new approach in mathematics education. He titled his paper, “Kαινὰ στοιχεῖα” or “New Elements,” conjoining his project with the work of Euclid. Peirce never finished this paper and it remains one of his most problematic and obscure unfinished writings. Not long into his composition, Peirce surprisingly moved into semiotics and even turned to metaphysics and cosmological speculations. Peirce’s cosmological story is the subject of this study. According to Peirce, our universe is the natural outgrowth of the influx of a symbol into the primeval chaos from which the world emerged. Peirce’s acceptance of absolute chance as a factor in the development of the universe and its laws was a pioneering step for cosmology. Another pioneering step was his recognition of the power of symbols to affect the course of actual events and his bold inclusion of semiosis as an operative form of final causation. Peirce’s emphasis on the primeval role of semiosis puts biosemiotics on a cosmic scale and raises the question whether it is viable to regard the emergence of semiosis as virtually synonymous with the emergence of life, as many suppose. Peirce’s scientific philosophy, far from being a relic of 19th century thought, continues to be a rich resource for cosmologists and biosemioticians.

Keywords

Habit Formation Efficient Causation Psychic Life Opening Quotation Endless Series 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indiana UniversityIndianapolisUSA

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