Absolute chance is a factor of the universe.- Charles Sanders Peirce

A salient quote from my favorite philosopher.

            201. Let me here say one word about Tychism, or the doctrine that absolute chance is a factor of the universe. There is one class of objectors to it who are so impressed with what they have read in popular books about the triumphs of science that they really imagine that science has proved that the universe is regulated by law down to every detail. Such men are theologians, perhaps, or perhaps they have been brought up in surroundings where everything was so minutely regulated that they have come to believe that every tendency that exists at all in Nature must be carried to its furthest limit. Or, there is I know not what other explanation of their state of mind; but I do know one thing: they cannot be real students of physical science -- they cannot be chemists, for example. They are wrong in their logic. But there is another class of objectors for whom I have more respect. They are shocked at the atheism of Lucretius and his great master. They do not perceive that that which offends them is not the Firstness in the swerving atoms, because they themselves are just as much advocates of Firstness as the ancient Atomists were. But what they cannot accept is the attribution of this firstness to things perfectly dead and material. Now I am quite with them there. I think too that whatever is First is ipso facto sentient. If I make atoms swerve -- as I do -- I make them swerve but very very little, because I conceive they are not absolutely dead. And by that I do not mean exactly that I hold them to be physically such as the materialists hold them to be, only with a small dose of sentiency superadded. For that, I grant, would be feeble enough. But what I mean is, that all that there is, is First, Feelings; Second, Efforts; Third, Habits -- all of which are more familiar to us on their psychical side than on their physical side; and that dead matter would be merely the final result of the complete induration of habit reducing the free play of feeling and the brute irrationality of effort to complete death. Now I would suppose that that result of evolution is not quite complete even in our beakers and crucibles. Thus, when I speak of chance, I only employ a mathematical term to express with accuracy the characteristics of freedom or spontaneity.
Peirce: CP 6.202 Cross-Ref:††





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