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C.S. Peirce, 'Collected Papers', CP 5.119

Therefore, if you ask me what part Qualities 
can play in the economy of the universe, 
I shall reply that the universe is 
vast representamen, 
a great symbol of God's purpose,
working out its conclusions in living realities. 
Now every symbol must have, organically attached to it, 
its Indices of Reactions and its Icons of Qualities;  
and such part as these reactions and these qualities 
play in an argument that, they of course, 
play in the universe -- 
that Universe being precisely an argument.  
In the little bit that you or I 
can make out of this huge demonstration, 
our perceptual judgments are the premisses for us 
and these perceptual judgments have icons 
as their predicates, 
in which icons Qualities are immediately presented.  



But what is first for us is not first in nature.  
The premisses of Nature's own process 
are all the independent uncaused elements of facts 
that go to make up the variety of nature 
which the necessitarian supposes to have been 
all in existence from the foundation of the world, 
but which the Tychist supposes 
are continually receiving new accretions. 
These premisses of nature, however, 
though they are not the perceptual facts 
that are premisses to us, 
nevertheless must resemble them in being premisses.  
We can only imagine what they are 
by comparing them with the premisses for us.  
As premisses they must involve Qualities. 
Now as to their function in the economy of the Universe.  
The Universe as an argument is necessarily 
a great work of art, a great poem -- 
for every fine argument is a poem and a symphony --
just as every true poem is a sound argument.  
But let us compare it rather with a painting -- 
with an impressionist seashore piece -- 
then every Quality in a Premiss is one of the 
elementary colored particles of the Painting;  
they are all meant to go together 
to make up the intended Quality 
that belongs to the whole as whole.  
That total effect is beyond our ken;  
but we can appreciate in some measure 
the resultant Quality of parts of the whole -- 
which Qualities result from 
the combinations of elementary Qualities 
that belong to the premisses ...

C.S. Peirce, 'Collected Papers', CP 5.119

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