How about going back three centuries before Cromwell
People tend to know Peirce only as the teacher of William James. It’s rare to see a great mind who I can refer to as “my fellow New Englander” – usually when I try to think about what great minds the US has produced it’s like lifting a cup to take a drink of something and there not being one drop that rolls down. Peirce systematically theorized against nominalism, which he took to be a mainstream presupposition.
I have seen the “conspiracy” voiced more than a few times in the reactosphere that “our modern woes” can be traced to the triumph of nominalism in the 1300s, or what may be termed the “Ockhamist Revolution”.
Would it sit right with you if the world you live in was decided for you by an arbitrarily-settled medieval debate?
Admittedly, it gives us a pause that Peirce suspects of nominalism practically every thinker he comments on, including Scotus, Kant, Hegel, and himself.
Wouldn’t it be funny if a “radical revolution” was carried out by Marxists only to inadvertently retain medieval convictions? Hence the importance of genealogy for aristocracy restorers too.
I’m open-minded to the possibility of this
a sweeping generalization, such as that nominalism held sway over entire modern thought, infecting even modern common sense
“Why are you talking to me about this instead of going over the basics of Farsi?” Hey, that’s a good question! Reversing a 700 year old error does seem like a futile pursuit.
Oh by the way, if you didn’t click that Dugin article I hyperlinked to yesterday you might be lost here. TLDR, nominalism is the belief that universals don’t exist, or that they “merely” exist in the mind, and not in the things themselves. Only individual things exist, they cannot be umbrella’d under a “type”. There are countless ways to approach this, and at first glance one might not see how this is all-pervasive today. For the nominalist, there are no “essences”. A cliche you often hear is “people are just people”.
Here is William of Ockham – press T to Thank
It’s interesting that we have an American who had a lifelong focus on this controversy
it is not quite correct to say that nominalists and Scotists gave different answers to the question whether universals are real, since this assumes that they understood “real” in the same way, which is not the case, according to Peirce
You can think of this through an emanationist lens. Muhammad wasn’t Muhammad, he was relaying the message of an Angel. Likewise the Angel wasn’t an Angel, it was relaying the message of God. Ockham thought it was absurd to say that a universal “becomes individual in things”. This of course lays the groundwork for our “atomized individualism” as well. One world, no nations, no God, no distinctions between people, no exceptional heroes, all “alone together”. People are just people. No, people partake of different essences, because they ARE those essences. If this is confusing that’s because that’s the nature of the subject-matter. Not so simple is it Ockham.
As a sidenote, I remind you that one of Heidegger’s earliest writings was on Duns Scotus and his doctrine of categories. “There are only beings, there is no Being.” – this is the contemporary ethos. Sure, Being isn’t “necessary” as long as you want to live an animal existence. Nations, genders, and races aren’t “necessary” in that sense either. The “simplest” observation to make after all is that people are just people. If you can’t handle substituting the word “Allah” for the word “Being” you’re just being a baby. “I’m going down with the western ship, I revel in decadence anyway!” Have fun with that.
Emerson was James’ godfather. We’re speaking here of the golden age of this failed country. No one listened to this “circle”.
The technical term for what Peirce was, speaking non-negatively as an”anti-nominalist”, was a medieval realist, and I’d label the Shi’ists similarly. And another coincidence is that James is best known for writing one of the standard texts on cross-cultural mysticism. We DO have “national resources” for ameliorating the malaise, we just don’t use them. “Who cares about national resources? Nations are made-up categories.” Yes, you’re a nominalist.
Another coincidence is that Peirceans often refer to “the extramental world”. This approximately aligns with what Corbin calls the imaginal world of Sufism. Just because you have to “imagine” the Types or Kinds or Forms doesn’t mean that they are not real.
Peirce was a modern Scotist
Scotus winds up positing no less than four kinds of formally distinct, extramental entities: the singular particular, the individual nature, the individuating difference, and the nature itself. All of these are supposed to be objectively real. For Ockham, this is three kinds of entity too many.
This is similar to how secularists grimace at the sephirothic structure. For them, only Malkhut, or “the world”, exists.
So yeah, if you saw an acute truth in that brief Dugin article from yesterday, there is a guy who goes into intricate detail about that.