Charles Sanders Pierce
Indiana University press
The second, his «attempt to explain the laws of nature,» was a direct development of his «DESIGN ET CHANCE» lecture. There Peirce proposed a PROBALISTIC PHYSICAL UNIVERSE which brillantly anticipated the most recent cosmological hypothesis of some fundamental (or particle) physicists that the universe, including laws, has Evolved. This prescience is the more remarkable because it derived not from an examination of physical laws, but from a questioning of the « EXACT TRUTH OF AXIOMS » that is, from an analysis of the logic of science. Pierce questioned the axiom THAT NATURE IS UNIFORM:
Despite its occasional strangeness, this extraordinary lecture, written during that was, for Peirce, a difficult and chaotic time, has great importance for understanding the uncanny accuracy of Pierce’s thinking about physical reality IN THE LIGHT OF MODERN DISCOVERIES. This prescience was pointed out in 1984, one hundred years after Pierce’s lecture at Johns Hopkins titled «DESIGN AND CHANCE» by the Nobel Prize – winning Ilya Prigorine, among the few modern theoreticians of science to have read Peirce.
Prigogine showed how Pierce’s view of time and the second law of thermodynamics anticiped the «new physics» which derives order out of chaos by means of the idea that very small, chance différences can quickly created «self-organized» large-scale uniform effects – that the physical world we perceive is characterized by extremely sensitive dependence on initial conditions, a fact which Pierce has pointed out.