§4. Dyads


452. The metaphysical categories of quality, fact, and law, being categories of the matter of phenomena, do not precisely correspond with the logical categories of the monad, the dyad, and the polyad or higher set, since these are categories of the forms of experience. The dyads of monads, being dyads, belong to the category of the dyad. But since they are composed of monads as their sole matter, they belong materially to the category of quality, or the monad in its material mode of being. It cannot be regarded as a fact that scarlet is red. It is a truth; but it is only an essential truth. It is that in being which corresponds in thought to Kant's analytical judgment. It is a dyadism latent in monads.

453. I may pause here a moment to remark that when I say nullity consists of the possibility of the monad; that the unit consists of the possibility of the dyad, and the like, such statements have a Hegelian sound. Undoubtedly they are intrinsically of that nature. I follow an order of evolution in such phrases, the possibility evolves the actuality. So does Hegel. He reaches each category from the last preceding by virtually calling »next!« What his process [is] of making the next come and of recognizing it when it emerges is, however important it may be, yet, comparatively speaking a detail, wherein I sometimes agree with the great idealist and sometimes diverge from his footsteps — for my own method has resulted from a more deliberate examination of the exact theory of logic (in which Hegel's age, and especially his own country, and more especially he himself were decidedly weak), and consequently has a broader form, capable of diversification to adapt itself to the special form of the germinal conception. It is not yet time to formulate it. I apply it; the reader follows it with approval if he can; and a later review will show what the laws of the procedure have unconsciously been.

454. The most important division of dyads is with reference to the character of their subjects. For subjects differ in regard to the nature of the dyads which they are capable of forming. They are either dyads formed merely from monads or they are dyads into which enter objects having a dyadic mode of being, that is, individual things, or units.

455. Dyads of the former kind are seen to subsist as soon as the two monads are regarded together; and arguing from knowledge to being (that is, merely abstracting from the imported idea of a knower), they do subsist in so far as the two monads are compossible, that is in so far as both are such monads as they are. When scarlet and red are contemplated together, the former as first, the latter as second, a certain aspect sui generis presents itself, like that which presents itself when toothache and ache are contemplated together, the former first, the latter second. This kind of dyadism or dyadic relation which is evolved from the very being of the subjects as soon as they are together, I call an essential dyadic relation, and the dyad so formed an essential dyad. This is the only kind of dyad that can be composed out of monads alone; because monads having no parts nor distinct features cannot, whether singly or collectively, have any characters except those which spring directly from their several beings sui generis.

456. Dyads that are accidental, that is, are collective characters of their subjects adventitious to their being, must therefore concern subjects (or one subject, at least) which is not a monad, and consequently having a mode of being over and above what its mere inward suchness involves. It must have a mode of being gained by its opposition to another, that suchness does not avail to confer. What is this mode of being in its most general terms? In order that our conception of it may embrace every variety, let it begin as soon as the mode of being of the monad ends. Combine quality with quality after quality and what is the mode of being which such determinations approach indefinitely but altogether fail ever to attain? It is, as logicians have always taught, the existence of the individual. Individual existence whether of a thing or of a fact is the first mode of being that suchness fails to confer. Suchness, or the mode of being of the monad, is the mere possibility of an existent.

457. Existence is that mode of being which lies in opposition to another. To say that a table exists is to say that it is hard, heavy, opaque, resonant, that is, produces immediate effects upon the senses, and also that it produces purely physical effects, attracts the earth (that is, is heavy), dynamically reacts against other things (that is, has inertia), resists pressure (that is, is elastic), has a definite capacity for heat, etc. To say there is a phantom table by the side of it incapable of affecting any senses or of producing any physical effects whatever, is to speak of an imaginary table. A thing without oppositions ipso facto does not exist. Of course, the question arises, if everything that exists exists by its reactions, how does the total collection of things exist? This is a legitimate and valuable question, the answer to which brings out a new idea. But this is not the time to consider it. Our purpose of developing the complete scheme of philosophical ideas is defeated unless we take up the points one by one in their due order. That question about the totality of things throws no doubt upon the manifest truth that existence lies in opposition; and the very fact that the consideration of it would lead to a still more developed philosophy is the very reason why it must be postponed until we have mastered the conception of being through opposition.1) Not only is this opposition essential to an individual thing or subject, but also to an individual fact. Its truth, or existence, is the sum of its effects.

458. Hic et nunc is the phrase perpetually in the mouth of Duns Scotus, who first elucidated individual existence. It is a forcible phrase if understood as Duns did understand it, not as describing individual existence, but as suggesting it by an example of the attributes found in this world to accompany it. Two drops of water retain each its identity and opposition to the other no matter in what or in how many respects they are alike. Even could they interpenetrate one another like optical images (which are also individual), they would nevertheless react, though perhaps not at that moment, and by virtue of that reaction would retain their identities. The point to be remarked is that the qualities of the individual thing, however permanent they may be, neither help nor hinder its identical existence. However permanent and peculiar those qualities may be, they are but accidents; that is to say, they are not involved in the mode of being of the thing; for the mode of being of the individual thing is existence; and existence lies in opposition merely.

459. We observe no life in chemical atoms. They appear to have no organs by which they could act. Nor can any action proper gain actuality, that is, a place in the world of actions, for any subject. Yet the individual atom exists, not at all in obedience to any physical law which would be violated if it never had existed, nor by virtue of any qualities whatsoever, but simply by virtue of its arbitrarily interfering with other atoms, whether in the way of attraction or repulsion. We can hardly help saying that it blindly forces a place for itself in the universe, or willfully crowds its way in.

460. No reaction among individual things can create one of those things nor destroy it; for before its existence or after it there would not be anything to react. So that the fountain of existence must be sought elsewhere.

461. Existence, though brought about by dyadism, or opposition, as its proper determination, yet, when brought about, lies abstractly and in itself considered, within itself. It is numerical identity, which is a dyadic relation of a subject to itself of which nothing but an existent individual is capable. It is to be observed that numerical identity is not empty verbiage, as the identity of a quality with itself is, but is a positive fact. This is due to the possibility of the individual's assuming different accidents. Throughout all vicissitudes its oppositions to other things remain intact, although they may be accidentally modified; and therein is manifest the positive character of identity.


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