Peirce on existence and reality

In Cornelis de Waal, Peirce: A Guide for the Perplexed, it was written that Peirce has distinguished between real and existing. On biosemiotics list, Gary Richmond has recommended Kelly Parker’s, The Continuity of Peirce’s Thought on this subject. He has also quoted Peirce:

[. . .] I call your attention to the fact that reality and existence are two different things.”

Existence [. . .] is a special mode of reality, which, whatever other characteristics it possesses, has that of being absolutely determinate. Reality, in its turn, is a special mode of being, the characteristic of which is that things that are real are whatever they really are, independently of any assertion about them. If Man is the measure of things, as Protagoras said, then there is no complete reality; but being there certainly is, even then. ” CP 6.349

[. . . ] It will not be necessary to go into that question, which is one of great delicacy. It will be sufficient to point out certain respects in which reality and existence differ. Let us suppose two seeds to be exactly alike. I do not say that two seeds ever are so; but we are now merely considering the meanings of two words, and, therefore, we are free to imagine any state of things we can. We will suppose, then, that not merely to our senses, but to any conceivable senses, those seeds are precisely alike, except that they are in different places. But now we will suppose that I am really resolved to plant those two seeds in such different soil, and to treat them so differently, that they will grow into plants whose flowers will have different colors. They really will be different, whatever anybody may say or think. I have made certain dispositions, so that I myself could not now have it otherwise. Their future difference is then a reality, already. For the time has already passed at which anybody’s dictum could make the fact otherwise. Yet I have not decided what the colors of the flowers of each are to be; for one of the two seeds will be taken at random, and placed in one soil and the other in another. Now, when it comes to the existence of those flowers, the colors will be absolutely what they will be. There can be no uncertainty or ambiguity about existence. The reality, however, of my determination of the colors is not altogether certain.” CP 6.349

Charles Sanders Peirce and John Duns Scotus

Ronald Jeffrey Grace
The Realism of John Duns Scotus in the Philosophy of Charles Peirce
Berkeley, California
15 December 2000

A conclusion from that paper:

In light of this, it seems appropriate to ask the question “In what sense can Peirce be identified as someone influenced by the philosophy of Scotus?” It certainly doesn’t seem possible to maintain that Peirce developed Scotus’ philosophy from its conclusions. It’s probably more accurate to say that he adopted a position that Scotus developed, the formal distinction, and then built something new from there. He is therefore “Scotistic” in the sense that he adopted a Scotistic framework but managed to work out a philosophy that might have made Scotus a bit uncomfortable.

It’s really hard to say what Scotus would think of Peirce’s work, however, for Peirce himself points out that he is working with tools that simply weren’t available to Scotus, new developments in logic being one. When all is said and done, however, I’m sure Scotus might have been fascinated by such a supreme elucidation of the possible as we find in Charles Sanders Peirce.”

Signs, Perception and Consciousness

A quote from Frederik Stjernfelt, Natural Propositions: The Actuality of Peirce’s Doctrine of Dicisigns

p. 4 “Dicisigns, like other signs, are conceived of as independent of the particular mental, psychological or other apparatus supporting them. Thus, Peirce’s position shares a fundamental anti-psychologism with Frege and Husserl. But unlike them, his is an anti-psychologism without the linguistic turn. It is not (only) to language that we should turn in order to find logic and cognitive structure not psychologistically – it is to signs and as vehicles for thoughts in general. Thus, signs are not analyzed as derivatives of more primary perceptions, like the narrow, phenomenological notion of signs found e.g. in Husserl and much philosophy of mind. Rather, many signs are indeed simpler that perceptions, as evidenced particularly by the biosemiotic signs use in simple animals without full perceptual field, sensory integration, central nervous systems, etc. Perception and consciousness are rather to be seen as evolutionary later, more complicated phenomena, probably evolved so as to scaffold and enhance cognitive semiotic processes already functioning.”