I am now getting ready for the upcoming opening seminar of Artefacta (a new Finnish network for artefact studies). My presentation will deal with the interesting combination of Peirce’s materialism and idealism, or objective idealism. In his 1891 article “The architecture of theories” Peirce states that “matter is effete mind”. This statement remains a bit mysterious even today. It is, however, strongly based on Peirces categories of first, second and third. For Peirce, mind is first, matter is second and evolution is third. By evolution Peirce refers to the tendency to take habits. If one tries to fit the concept of culture (a term recently rejected by some hard core materialist-realist-objectivist-naturalist archaeologists) into this system, it would certainly be third. Any material manifestation of a culture would fall to the category of second, and the mind that created those objects or artefacts would be first. That mind, however, is not the mind of any living (past or present) individual, but the ultimately first mind that so mysteriously remains first in relation to any matter.
Artefact studies NOW!