Peirce's Omega Point Theory


An Omega Point Theory says that reality is making progress from some initial state to some final state. It moves from some Alpha Point (the initial state) to some Omega Point (the final state). The progress is an increase in some quality. For example, reality is making progress from the chaotic to the orderly; or it is making progress from the simple to the complex; or from the mindless to the mental; or from evil to good. Here we focus on the Omega Point theory of Peirce. An Omega Point Theory is an evolutionary cosmology – it says that the universe is evolving from the Alpha Point to the Omega Point. Peirce refers to his evolutionary cosmology as a Cosmogonic Philosophy would suppose that in the beginning – infinitely remote – there was a chaos of unpersonalized feeling, which being without connection or regularity would properly be without existence. This feeling, sporting here and there in pure arbitrariness, would have started the germ of a generalizing tendency. Its other sportings would be evanescent, but this would have a growing virtue. Thus the tendency to habit would be started; and from this, with the other principles of evolution, all the regularities of the universe would be evolved. At any time, however, an element of pure chance survives and will remain until the world becomes an absolutely perfect, rational, and symmetrical system, in which mind is at last crystallized in the infinitely distant future. (Peirce, Collected Papers , 6.33)



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Eric Steinhart
William Paterson University of New Jersey

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