Saturday, April 22, 2017

Two Maps

From The Hunting of the Snark:

He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A map they could all understand.

“What’s the good of Mercator’s North Poles and Equators,
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?”
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
“They are merely conventional signs!

“Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But we’ve got our brave Captain to thank:”
(So the crew would protest) “that he’s bought us the best—
A perfect and absolute blank!”
From Sylvie and Bruno Concluded:

Friday, April 21, 2017

Dashed Off IX

the megalopsychic aspect of philosophy

Over time, love will findnew ways to communicate its constant faith and hope.

the Church as (1) witness and guardian of sacraments; (2) champion of the sacraments against what opposes it; (3) making the sacraments available to those who need; (4) teacher of and with and in the sacraments

the peace by which we may joyfully and openly keep the festivals of our God

"Kings have no call to make laws in the Church." Damascene

Presentation of Mary in the Temple // Presentation of Mary in the Heavenly Temple (Assumption)

forms of using words that are not meanings -- e.g., words in a word find or in Scrabble

"Assertions are essentially, and not just accidentally, speech acts that can play the role both of premises and of conclusions of inferences." Brandom

propositions that by type are analytic but by token are not (Now is now)
(perhaps 'I am' is an example of the reverse?)

It is a strange assumption of many analytic 'thought experiments' that stories can go only one way. In reality, we could elaborate, say, trolley problems, or Parfit's identity scenarios, in indefinitely many ways of varying complexity, limited only by ingenuity. The story needs something beyond itself to stay 'on track'. In reality these, because unacknowledged, are often assumed without explanation.

the moral issues of lying and the dependence of language use on moral principles

It would directly follow from both Mill's utilitarianism and Kant's deontology that language use is ethical in character, since these purport to be accounts of practical reason.

language misuse // hypocrisy

Languages grow out of friendships (in the Aristotelian sense).

canon law as a means of moral education

lying as a violation of language understood as common good

Moral progress is improvement in one's care for common good.

conscience as law and conscience as witness

antiquity as mark of the Church
(1) apostolic sees
(2) continuity to the apostles
(3) agreement with the Fathers
(4) preservation in practice of confirmable elements of antiquity
(5) responsibility for the monuments and memorials of the ancient Church

causal extrapolation
motivational extrapolation (camel's nose)
opportunity identification
justificatory slope

Start with mere muddle, end with mere muddle; to clear up a muddle, one needs to find something clear, however small it may be.

pleasure-pressure, utility-pressure, and virtue-pressure on belief formation

establishing oneself by establishing others

'Liturgy, liturgy' -- does it mean nothing more than incense and bells? If the Christian is not Christian, what does he have to do with liturgy?

the leisure for attending to liturgy and love

Logos (ratio) is one; its manifestations are many.

thematic history of philosophy and interactional history of philosophy

the Beatific Vision as the primary bulwark against the errors of the post-medieval age

the mereotopology of moving borders

poetry and the decomposition and recomposition of images

unction as sacramental hospice

meaning as speech act affinity; meaning as speech act

punishment as communication of desert (cf. Kant)

analytic philosophy as argumentative design process

rational commitment & deontic analysis of argument

incommensurable goods of reasoning

The common interest of all to live in juridical union is always broader than the scope of the instruments of governance.

Authority derives from God as (1) efficient cause of human existence, life, and reason; (2) exemplar cause in providence; (3) final cause as ultimate good.

the Aristotelian six parts of tragedy as aspects of plausibility: Spectacle, Diction, Melody, Thought, Character, Plot

Prudence is what gives all other virtues their flexibility.

That is evidence for x which the wise would regard as making X evident.

'X is true'; therefore 'Recognize X as true'

Annunciation : Finding in Temple :: Visitation : Presentation
Agony in Garden : Crucifixion :: Scourging : Carrying the Cross
Resurrection : Coronation :: Ascension : Assumption

the Golden Rule as a principle of dignity

defeaters for consensus gentium: new evidence not commonly available, evidence of imposed rather than natural consensus

Philosophy extends everywhere that friendship extends.

analogy : mutation :: confirmation : selection
the success conditions of confirmation

tradition-line fragmentation

The primary act of evangelization is always and without exception prayer.

where Solovyov says Sophia, think Shekhina.

numerables; numbers; systems of numbers; relations among systems of numbers

transubstantiation as cloistered priesthood

the cleansing of the Temple as a preparation for the Eucharist (Neusner)

We should all strive to be orthodox. But how foolish to assume that we are! It is something for which we must pray. What our striving alone can achieve has nothing of grace, and thus nothing of faith.

It is a matter worthy of some thought that St. Joseph, least of the Holy Family, was its head.

Mary the garden of Eden in whom is found the Tree of Life

Societies are built not out of the steel of legal contract but out of the softer stone of customary trust.

argument in function of ratio decidendi vs. argument in function of obiter dictum

Justice can only be maintained by rational argument.

le bon sens as required for determining how models fit together

the virtue of hope as the internal possibility of Christian martyrdom

appeal to intuitions as (sometimes) appeal to ordinary language, in the sense of ordinary language philosophy

infused fortitude & frequent confession; infused temperance & frequent communion

prudence as the skill-cultivating virtue (it cultivates skills to assist other virtues, in addition to forming them)

It's easy to think of permissibility as allowing intension and remission; this suggests that there is an intension and remission of obligation as not-permissible-not.

constancy : Box :: coherence : Diamond

conditionals as lossy measures

to treat wisdom in oneself and in others as an end in itself and never merely as a means

Appeals to hypothetical scenarios generally involve the topos of similarity.

Sacramental reconciliation confirms the forgiveness of perfect contrition and supplies what is missing for forgiveness in imperfect contrition.

the sentinel sacrament

prophets as preservers of tradition

motive of interest; motive of inquiry; motive of credibility

moral realism -> virtue ethics -> telos of moral life -> classical theism

Our passions should tinge reasoning and prayer, not dominate them.

The Confucius Sinarum Philosophus often translates junzi as 'philosophus'.
The philosopher who studies widely in tradition but holds to what is essential will not err.
If the philosopher is not dignified, he will not inspire awe, nor will his learning be anything but frivolous. He must be honest in inquiry and true of word. He must not associate with the base. When he errs, he must not be reluctant to change. To err without changing is to err indeed.
The philosopher is not of limited function, like a tool; the utility of philosophy is not circumscribed. When people ask, "What is the use of philosophy?" they mean, "To what is its use limited?" and thus err from the beginning.

Properly acting according to tradition requires finding the right exemplars.

To renew the people requires loving them.

As discourse is built out of much figurative speech, so history is built out of much figurative action.

The freedom of speech worth having is that which facilitates the virtues of speech, but the virtues of speech require room for their development and refinement over time and across different levels of experience. Only to allow virtuous speech is to prevent the development of virtuous speech.

"The denial of substance leads inevitably to the substantializing of accidents." Coffey

modes of exemplation; modalities of being exemplate

life as principle; life as facultative; life as operative

The gifts of the Holy Spirit do not perfect the theological virtues, but only their exercise.

Note Hume's explicit use of constant conjunction in T

constant conjunction as a sign of exemplarity

identity and smooth passage of resemblance

causation as the foundation of contiguity and temporal priority

Hume's account of causation requires that we be able to make an a priori distinction between the mind and its objects.

different accounts of testimony applied to moral exemplarity (role model)

incorruptibility of soul // continued existence of bodies

apparent final cause and the apparent tendency of things to continue to exist

principle of credulity // principle of imitation

moral practices as involving transindividual evaluations or norms

Doctor Magnificus

Today is the memorial of Saint Anselm of Canterbury, Doctor of the Church. From his Epistula de Sacramentis Ecclesiae (from Jasper Hopkins's translation (PDF)):

Your Reverence asks about the sacraments of the Church, because they are not everywhere performed in the same way but are dealt with differently in different places. Assuredly, if they were celebrated in one way and with one mind throughout the whole Church, it would be a good and praiseworthy thing. However, there are many differences which do not conflict with the, fundamental importance of the sacrament or with its efficacy or with faith in it; and these cannot all be brought together into one practice. Accordingly, I think that these differences ought to be harmoniously and peaceably tolerated rather than being disharmoniously and scandalously condemned. For we are taught by the holy Fathers that, provided the unity of love is preserved within the Catholic faith, a different practice does no harm. But if one asks whence these different customs arise, I deem [the source to be] nothing other than the differences of human dispositions. Even though men do not disagree about the truth and validity of the sacrament, nevertheless they do not agree on the suitability and seemliness of the manner of administration. For what one person deems to be more suitable, another often deems to be less suitable. Now, I do not believe that to disagree concerning such differences is to wander from the truth of the matter.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Jokes as Syllogisms

An interesting passage from an article about two comedians:

“Jokes are just a disruption of logic,” Keith says. Kenny takes their explanation one step further. “A joke is basically syllogistic,” he states, referencing the form of reasoning that goes: All dogs are animals, all animals have four legs, therefore all dogs have four legs. “Its premise and then the punchline would be conclusion. It’s the same shit.”

It's hard to know how strictly one should take such an equation, but this would suggest that the incongruity of the joke is its middle term, which would make sense; and it would also explain why there are so many analogies and overlaps between sophisms and jokes (e.g., see Julia Nefsky's discussion from 2005).

The Sovereign Rule of Justice

Now the first lesson social justice teaches us -- which governments nowadays have certainly not learnt nor seem to want to learn -- is that civil government with its acts and ordinances must never transgress the natural bounds of its authority, which cannot be defined without prior definition of the type of institution proper to civil government. Unless and until the sovereign rule of justice is accepted, there are no limits a government will not transgress. Utility alone, such a vague and empty word, cannot prescribe any definite limits to it because it depends on the probable evaluation of circumstances. Utility which is of its nature variable, depends on the judgment of the person who carries out the evaluation.

[Antonio Rosmini, Introduction to Philosophy, Volume 1: About the Author's Studies, Murphy, tr. Rosmini House (Durham: 2004) p. 27.]

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Music on My Mind

Mean Mary, "Iron Horse".

Far from Human Sound and Sight

Vis Medicatrix Naturae
by Alfred Austin

When Faith turns false and Fancy grows unkind,
And Fortune, more from fickleness than spite,
Takes the keen savour out of all delight,
And of sweet pulp leaves only bitter rind,
Then I the load of living leave behind,
Fleeing where, far from human sound and sight,
Over brown furrows wheels the lapwing white,
And whistles tunely with the winter wind.
For Nature's frank indifference woundeth less
Than Man's feigned smiles and simulated tears:
She is at least the egoist she appears,
Scorning to proffer or entice caress;
And, through the long reiterated years,
Endures her doom with uncomplainingness.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bell of the Intellect

We do not dispense with clocks, because from time to time they go wrong, and tell untruly. A clock, organically considered, may be perfect, yet it may require regulating. Till that needful work is done, the moment-hand may mark the half-minute, when the minute-hand is at the quarter-past, and the hour hand is just at noon, and the quarter-bell strikes the three-quarters, and the hour-bell strikes four, while the sun-dial precisely tells two o'clock. The sense of certitude may be called the bell of the intellect; and that it strikes when it should not is a proof that the clock is out of order, no proof that the bell will be untrustworthy and useless, when it comes to us adjusted and regulated from the hands of the clock-maker.

[John Henry Newman, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, Ch. VII, sect. 3.]

Monday, April 17, 2017

Evening Note for Monday, April 17

Thought for the Evening: Developing a Treasury of Ideas

Isaac Watts is best known for his hymns, and rightly so, but he also wrote a textbook on logic, which was a bestseller for years. He himself did not see any sharp division running through his hymnody, theological writings, and logical writings; the full title of his book on logic, for instance, is Logic, or The Right Use of Reason in the Enquiry After Truth With a Variety of Rules to Guard Against Error in the Affairs of Religion and Human Life. The book, published in 1724, follows a Port Royal model, dividing the field among the four intellectual operations of (1) perception/conception/apprehension, (2) judgment, (3) argumentation/reasoning, and (4) disposition.

I tend to be unimpressed with early modern logic texts, for the good reason that they tend not to be very impressive, but Watts's book is actually fairly good, and definitely deserved its twenty or so editions. I've noted before, for instance, that Watts's explanation of ad verecundiam in terms of a topos, and thus a way of classifying middle terms, is far superior to almost every other discussion of it afterward (most of which were just following Whately's less careful account of the subject). Other parts of the book, like his discussions of equivocal words, are both clear and show a serious and thoughtful consideration of the subject.

In discussing each of the operations, he gives general guidelines to help with success in each, which he calls general directives, and then also gives special rules for actually attaining that success. The general directives for conception are:

(1) Furnish yourself with a rich variety of ideas.
(2) Use the most proper methods to retain that treasure of ideas which you have acquired.
(3) As you proceed both in learning and in life, make a wise observation what are the ideas, what the discourses and the parts of knowledge, that have been more or less useful to yourself or others.
(4) Learn to acquire a government over your ideas and your thoughts, that they may come when they are called, and depart when they are bidden.

He gives three benefits for the first directive: (1) it helps with the operations that follow on conception; (2) it will help guarantee that your views are not continually shocked and upended due to your ignorance; and (3) it will make you more cautious, since you will have come across uncommon things. He also tells us how to build up this treasury of ideas:

The way of attaining such an extensive treasure of ideas, is with diligence to apply yourself to read the best books; converse with the most knowing and wisest of men; and endeavour to improve by every person in whose company you are; suffer no hour to pass away in lazy idleness, an impertinent chattering, or useless trifles : Visit other cities and countries when you have seen your own, under the care of one who can teach you to profit by travelling, and to make wise observations; indulge a just curiosity in seeing the wonders of art and nature; search into things yourselves, as well as learn them from others; be acquainted with men as well as books; learn all things as much as you can at first hand; and let as many of your ideas as possible the representations of things, and not merely the representation of other men's ideas : Thus your soul, like some noble building, shall be richly furnished with original paintings, and not with mere copies.

He also gives helps on the second directive, noting that we have to take pains to remember the important ideas. (It is in this context that he gives his famous image of some people's minds as looking-glasses, receiving images of all objects, but retaining none.) We should spend some time every day recollecting the things we have learned, talk them over with suitable people (a practice that will also help you to articulate your ideas), and commit the best and most important to writing (as in Locke's idea, influential throughout this period, of a commonplace book) and to review it at regular intervals in order to assess your progress.

The third is obviously about focusing on the genuinely advantageous. He recommends that we follow the fourth directive by having a book or a set of notes to keep us on track, but mostly just force ourselves to stick to the essential points and steps (but he also recommends that we not hold ourselves too strictly to this, lest we tire ourselves out, and keep in mind that some times are just better for thinking things through than others).

All of this is salutary advice, of course, and an excellent reminder that good reasoning is, at its root, not a technical formula or a method but an intellectual way of life.

Various Links of Note

* Daniel Kaufman shares notes on G. E. M. Anscombe's "Modern Moral Philosophy".

* Mark DelCogliano, The Christ of Analytic Theology: A Review Essay, on Tim Pawl's Conciliar Christology.

* Christopher Tollefsen, What Is Legalism?, and Ian Speir, The Calvinist Roots of American Social Order: Calvin, Witherspoon, and Madison, at "Public Discourse".

* William Briggs, Why Decision Analysis Isn't Straightforward

Currently Reading

Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility
Donald Ainslie, Hume's True Scepticism
Andrea Wulf, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World
Michael Flynn, Eifelheim

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Fortnightly Book, April 16

I was going to do Teresa of Avila, but I think I'll wait a few weeks for that. So instead we'll do Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, published anonymously in 1811. It was a success, but as Austen had to indemnify the publisher against losses, it cost her a pretty penny before she started making any money on it.

To do something a little different, if I have the time, I think I will watch the Tamil cinematic adaptation of S&S, Kandukondain Kandukondain, which is an adaptation of the novel I have certainly not yet seen; the Bollywood movie has Aishwarya Rai in it, so at least one part of it will be very watchable.

Христос воскрес!

Christ Our Pascha #999:

The Risen Christ, our Pascha, is the New Man, for by his Resurrection, death is overcome. In his glorified body, his Divine Person is the bearer of the new creation--of the new heaven and earth that God created in the beginning, but which humanity--through sin--subjected to transitory fading and vanity. The renewal of creation--"Behold, I make all things new" (Rev 21:5)--begins with the Resurrection of Christ and passes through the spiritual rebirth and renewal of each of us: "If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation" (2 Cor 5:17).

[Christ Our Pascha: Catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Synod of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (Edmonton: 2016) p. 308]

Hnizdovsky XrysVos1 Ukr
(An Easter card by Ukrainian-American painter and illustrator, Jacques Hnizdovsky)