Continuity, Heraclitean Error

In his lecture “Philosophy and the Conduct of Life,” 1898, Peirce identifies an interesting aspect of Plato’s education. Before studying with Socrates, Plato was apparently a student of Cratylus, who was a Heraclitean. This, according to Peirce, is probably the source of what he calls Plato’s Heraclitean error, which was to assume “Continuity implies Transitoriness” (my boldface).

Peirce argues the opposite in his notion of synechism, which holds things like space, time, law, and even mind are continuous and eternal. It is important to recall, in the case of “mind,” that Peirce does NOT identify mind with consciousness, ego, individual personality, etc. Mind is transitive, spanning all thinking individuals. “The Law of Mind” elaborates on this latter point.

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