§4. Protoplasm and the Categories 1)


350. Thus mathematical considerations, by which I mean study as purely a priori and necessary as thought can be, have suggested and indeed insisted upon a classification of the elements of the phaneron, and so of the functions of the mind, and of the nervous system, of protoplasm itself, which empirical science will find very convenient. Instead of the familiar division of Tetens or Kant which makes pleasure-pain, cognition, and volition the three categories of mental phenomena, we have feeling or quality, the action of opposition, and synthetic thought.

351. As to protoplasm, what the three cenopythagorean categories, as I call them, do, and what they are limited to doing, is to call attention to three very different characters of this chemical body. The first is a posse which it has in itself; for the priman stops at can-bes and never reaches to existence, which depends on interaction, or secundanity. This internal power which the category merely suggests, we recognize as that of feeling. Though it is priman, it is without any doubt dependent upon the extreme complexity of the protoplasmic molecule, if the word molecule can be applied to so intricate, unstable, and ununified a system. But it is the law of high numbers that extreme complication with a great multitude of independent similars results in a new simplicity. Next there is reactive force, a twoness, which is emphasized in the nerve cells together. It is the property by which any state of high cohesiveness tends to spread through the albuminoid matter. We usually call the property contractility. Thirdly, the categories suggest our looking for a synthetizing law; and this we find in the power of assimilation, incident to which is the habit-taking faculty. This is all the categories pretend to do. They suggest a way of thinking; and the possibility of science depends upon the fact that human thought necessarily partakes of whatever character is diffused through the whole universe, and that its natural modes have some tendency to be the modes of action of the universe.

352. In the study of logic I have found the cenopythagorean categories unlock many a secret.


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