Friday, July 26, 2013

Peirce, Meillassoux, and absolute contingency: the case for an ontological fallibilism

Atheology blog has an interesting post up HERE covering Peircean fallibilism.  The post goes into some detail tracing out fallibilism as epistemological doctrine.

The point was hinted, though not explored, as to what the outcome might be when fallibilism is ontologically applied to necessity.  That is, fallibilism not necessarily taken as epistemological doctrine but as ontological fact.

I've often wondered how Peirce's "can-be" possible relates to Meillassouxian virtuality or surcontigency in this precise sense.  By a "can be" possible of course Peirce does not mean "possibility" in its traditional modal meaning of being posed against the "actual."  Rather, it resembles nearly exactly what Meillassoux means by "surcontingent" and virtual.  I think the modal nature of Firstness attests to this, as does its chaotic and creative properties that make for even the creation of time and becoming or for their potential destruction (a "would be" flat-lined ultimate generality of some sort; "death" as Peirce calls it).

I am reminded here for some reason of a comment that Latour made recently:  God is an animal containing all temporalities.   Panentheistically speaking, whatever God is - say process of cosmic development - that process's modes and temporal development constitute fallible theological knowledge, as well as necessary knowledge of contingents.

It seems that epistemologically we can have a knowledge of the absolute ("after finitude"), where in this absolute there is knowledge of a necessity regarding the contingent nature of the process of creation.  This in turn is categorically exposed in terms of fundamental modes that are necessary to the structure of contingency itself.  What's nice is that Peirce divides these modes triadically according to an (onto)logical structure.  I think that Meillassoux does this too, by according a logical principle - that of non-contradiction, which also means the law of identity and excluded middle - to the temporal process of surcontingency.