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Subject: Percy-L: Literary, Religious, Scientific, and Philosophical Discussion on Walker Percy

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  • From: "James Piat" <piat1 AT>
  • To: "Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion" <percy-l AT>
  • Subject: Fw: [peirce-l] Re: Existence
  • Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2002 13:19:48 -0400

Dear Ken, Folks --

Ken, your comments got me to thinking further and I thought you might be
interested in this post I sent to the Peirce list thread on Existence.
Perhaps our views of this matter are not so far apart.


> To be is not merely to exist. The fullness of being is triadic and
> with meaning. To merely exist without meaning is a tale told by an idiot
> full of sound and fury signifiying nothing. But even less than a
> existence is that saddest of all modes known as unrealized potential.
> Potential is a form of being that lacks existence in the same way that
> existience is a form of being that lacks meaning.
> Peirce did speak of a relation less than monadic (the zero relation)
> one might suppose is mere nothingness or non being. On the other hand he
> precluded on principle a form of being beyond the triadic as it was his
> contention that the nature of meaning and of the true triad was such that
> all higher relationship were simply elaborations of the triadic pattern.
> Qualities or properties do not exist as such. To exist qualities must be
> actualized as objects. Similarly objects do not have meaning. To be
> meaningful objects must be represented or interpreted.
> I think it is important to distinguish betwen identity and equivalence.
> Identity refers to the unique relationship objects have with themselves
> that no two objects are identical any more than a single object can be in
> more that one place at the same time. Identity is a property found only
> the dyadic mode of being or existance. On the other hand equivalence is a
> property of triadic relations or meaning. Objects which are not identical
> at the level of existance (ie different objects as opposed to the same
> object in a different place) can none the less be equivalent (in a sense
> "identical") at the representational level. That is to say they are
> equivalent for all intents and purposes or for some intent or purpose.
> In my view the existentialist didn't have it quite right. Man is not
> defined by the fact that his existence preceeds his essence, but by the
> that neither essence nor existence by itself is meaningful. Meaning is the
> consequence of the triadic joining of essence and existence. Meaning
> resides in the sign or triad and man is a sign.

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