§2. Valencies 1)


288. There can be no psychological difficulty in determining whether anything belongs to the phaneron or not; for whatever seems to be before the mind ipso facto is so, in my sense of the phrase. I invite you to consider, not everything in the phaneron, but only its indecomposable elements, that is, those that are logically indecomposable, or indecomposable to direct inspection. I wish to make out a classification, or division, of these indecomposable elements; that is, I want to sort them into their different kinds according to their real characters. I have some acquaintance with two different such classifications, both quite true; and there may be others. Of these two I know of, one is a division according to the form or structure of the elements, the other according to their matter. The two most passionately laborious years of my life were exclusively devoted to trying to ascertain something for certain about the latter; but I abandoned the attempt as beyond my powers, or, at any rate, unsuited to my genius. I had not neglected to examine what others had done but could not persuade myself that they had been more successful than I. Fortunately, however, all taxonomists of every department have found classifications according to structure to be the most important.

289. A reader may very intelligently ask, How is it possible for an indecomposable element to have any differences of structure? Of internal logical structure it would be clearly impossible. But of external structure, that is to say, structure of its possible compounds, limited differences of structure are possible; witness the chemical elements, of which the »groups,« or vertical columns of Mendeléeff's table, are universally and justly recognized as ever so much more important than the »series,« or horizontal ranks in the same table. Those columns are characterized by their several valencies, thus:

He, Ne, A, Kr, X are medads ({méden} none + the patronymic = {idés}).

H, L [Li], Na, K, Cu, Rb, Ag, Cs,-,-, Au, are monads;

G [Gl], Mg, Ca, Zn, Sr, Cd, Ba, -,-, Hg, Rd [Ra], are dyads;

B, Al, Sc, Ga, Y, In, La, -, Yb, Tc [Tl], Ac are triads;

C, Si, Ti, Ge, Zr, Sn, Co [Ce], -, -, Pc [Pb], Th, are tetrads;

N, P, V, As, Cb, Sb, Pr [Nd], -, Ta, Bi, Po [Pa], are properly pentads (as PCL[5], though owing to the junction of two pegs they often appear as triads. Their pentad character is particularly required to explain certain phenomena of albumins); O, S, Cr, Se, Mo, Te, Nd [Sm], -, W, -, U, are properly hexads (though by junction of bonds they usually appear as dyads);

F, Cl, Mn, Br, -, I, are properly heptads (usually appearing as monads);

Fe, Co, Ni, Ru, Rh, Pd, -, -, -, Os, Tr [Ir], Pt, are octads; (Sm, Eu, Gd, Er, Tb, Bz [?], Cl [Ct], are not yet placed in the table.)

290. So, then, since elements may have structure through valency, I invite the reader to join me in a direct inspection of the valency of elements of the phaneron. Why do I seem to see my reader draw back? Does he fear to be compromised by my bias, due to preconceived views? Oh, very well; yes, I do bring some convictions to the inquiry. But let us begin by subjecting these to criticism, postponing actual observation until all preconceptions are disposed of, one way or the other.

291. First, then, let us ask whether or not valency is the sole formal respect in which elements of the phaneron can possibly vary. But seeing that the possibility of such a ground of division is dependent upon the possibility of multivalence, while the possibility of a division according to valency can in nowise be regarded as a result of relations between bonds, it follows that any division by variations of such relations must be taken as secondary to the division according to valency, if such division there be. Now (my logic here may be puzzling, but it is correct), since my ten trichotomies of signs,1) should they prove to be independent of one another (which is to be sure, highly improbable), would suffice to furnish us classes of signs to the number of

 

310 = (32)5 = (10-1)5 = 105 - 5.104

+ 10.103 - 10.102

+ 5.10 - 1

= 50000

+ 9000

+ 49

= 59049

 

(Voilà a lesson in vulgar arithmetic thrown in to boot!), which calculation threatens a multitude of classes too great to be conveniently carried in one's head, rather than a group inconveniently small, we shall, I think, do well to postpone preparations for further divisions until there be prospect of such a thing being wanted.

292. If, then, there be any formal division of elements of the phaneron, there must be a division according to valency; and we may expect medads, monads, dyads, triads, tetrads, etc. Some of these, however, can be antecedently excluded, as impossible; although it is important to remember that these divisions are not exactly like the corresponding divisions of Existential Graphs,1) which have relation only to explicit indefinites. In the present application, a medad must mean an indecomposable idea altogether severed logically from every other; a monad will mean an element which, except that it is thought as applying to some subject, has no other characters than those which are complete in it without any reference to anything else; a dyad will be an elementary idea of something that would possess such characters as it does possess relatively to something else but regardless of any third object of any category; a triad would be an elementary idea of something which should be such as it were relatively to two others in different ways, but regardless of any fourth; and so on. Some of these, I repeat, are plainly impossible. A medad would be a flash of mental »heat-lightning« absolutely instantaneous, thunderless, unremembered, and altogether without effect. It can further be said in advance, not, indeed, purely a priori but with the degree of apriority that is proper to logic, namely, as a necessary deduction from the fact that there are signs, that there must be an elementary triad. For were every element of the phaneron a monad or a dyad, without the relative of teridentity 2) (which is, of course, a triad), it is evident that no triad could ever be built up. Now the relation of every sign to its object and interpretant is plainly a triad. A triad might be built up of pentads or of any higher perissad elements in many ways. But it can be proved — and really with extreme simplicity, though the statement of the general proof is confusing — that no element can have a higher valency than three.


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