Axiomathes 32 (2):233-269 (2020)

Charles Sanders Peirce is best known as the founder of pragmatism, but the name that he preferred for his overall system of thought was ‘‘synechism’’ because the principle of continuity was its central thesis. He considered time to be the paradigmatic example and often wrote about its various aspects while discussing other topics. This essay draws from many of those widely scattered texts to formulate a distinctively Peircean philosophy of time, incorporating extensive quotations into a comprehensive and coherent synthesis. Time is not an existential subject with past, present, and future as its incompatible predicates, but rather a real law enabling things to possess contrary qualities at its different determinations, and Peirce identifies four classes of such states based on when and how they are realized. Because time is continuous, it is not composed of instants, and even the present is an indefinite lapse during which we are directly aware of constant change. The accomplished past is perpetually growing as the possibilities and conditional necessities of the future are actualized at the present, and the entire universe evolves from being utterly indeterminate toward being absolutely determinate. Nevertheless, time must return into itself even if events are limited to only a portion of it, a paradox that is resolved with the aid of projective geometry. Temporal synechism thus touches on a broad spectrum of philosophical issues including mathematics, phenomenology, logic, and metaphysics.
Keywords Charles Peirce  continuity  cosmology  instant  lapse  logic  moment  phenomenology  present  time
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Reprint years 2022
DOI 10.1007/s10516-020-09523-6
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References found in this work BETA

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