Friday, October 07, 2005

A Bit of Serenity Online

Those of you have the technical setup can watch the first nine minutes of Serenity online.

And, of course, you should go to the theater and watch it in full. There are a few things I would have changed, but it is mighty close to being exactly what a good sci-fi action adventure should be.

Malebranche's Prayer

O eternal Wisdom, I am not a light to myself; the bodies that surround me cannot enlighten me; the intelligences themselves cannot contain in their being the Reason that renders them wise, nor can they communicate this Reason to my mind. You alone are the light of angels and of men: you alone are the universal Reason of minds: you are yourself the Wisdom of the Father, the eternal, immutable, necessary Wisdom, who renders creatures and even the Creator wise, although in different ways. O my true and only teacher, appear to me: make me to see light in your light. I address myself to none but you; I wish to consult none but you. Speak, eternal Word, Word of the Father, Word in whom all things have been spoken, who speaks and who has spoken all things: speak, and speak so loudly as to make me understand despite the confused noise that my senses and my passions ceaselessly excite in my mind.

But, O Jesus, I pray that you speak nothing in me save to your glory, and make me to know nothing save your greatness, for all the treasures of the wisdom and the knowledge of God Himself are contained in you. Those who know you, know your Father: and those who know you and your Father are perfectly happy. Therefore make me to know, O Jesus, what you are, and how all things subsist in you. Penetrate my mind with the clarity of your light: burn my heart with the ardor of your love: and give me in the course of this work, which I compose only for your glory, expressions that are clear and true, vivid and lovely, in a word, worthy of you, and such that they are able to increase in me, and in those who will meditate carefully with me, the knowledge of your greatness, and a sense of your mercies.

[This prayer prefaces Malebranche's Christian and Metaphysical Meditations; the translation is mine.]

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Free Will Blogging

Sorry to be linking so much, but I just had to link to two posts on free will. The first is Harry Potter on Compatibilism and Self-fulfilling Prophecies at "The Garden of Forking Paths". I'm not convinced that compatibilism actually comes into play, because I don't see anything in Potter's view that's particularly compatibilist. But that's perhaps because the author is reading it as a sort of Frankfurt-style example, and I take the minority view that Frankfurt-style examples don't have any relevance at all to the question of compatibilism (a claim I've suggested before on this weblog), because they aren't really relevant to much of anything. In any case, it raises interesting questions in a fun way.

The other is Free Will Blogging at "Majikthise." I basically agree (except with the claim that there have ever been convincing arguments against free will, since I've never seen one that wasn't a fairly obvious bit of handwaving and question-begging).

Forgery, Pseudepigrapha, and Apocrypha

There is a fascinating discussion on the biblioblogs that's devoted to the conceptual analysis of 'forgery', particularly as it applies to the study of ancient texts. Some of the posts in question:

* "Forgery" (deceit) or "pseudonymity" (admiration): Ehrman's take at "Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean" (Sep. 18)

* Lying and Deception: Prologue at "The Busybody" (Sep. 19)

* Lying and Deception in Homo Sapiens at "The Busybody" (Sep. 24)

* Lying and Deception in Honor-Shame Societies at "The Busybody" (Sep. 25)

* Lying and Deception in Authorship at "The Busybody" (Sep. 28)

* The Seriousness of Forgery in Late Antiquity at "Hypotyposeis" (Sep. 30)

* Ancient "forgery" debate continues on other blogs at "Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean" (Oct. 1)

* Toward an Understanding of “Forgery”: Metzger at "Hypotyposeis" (Oct. 2)

* Toward an Understanding of “Forgery”: Speyer at "Hypotyposeis" (Oct. 3)

Serendipitously, Richard has a post on Truth and Lies at "Philosophy, etc."


The wedding went well. It was at a lovely vineyard, and, except for a bit of rain, everything worked exactly as it was supposed to work. It was great fun seeing friends, of course. I also saw Serenity. It was awesome.

Bloggers were busy while I was gone. Some interesting things that floated around the blogosphere in my absence:

* Sharon discusses Ghosts, murders and providenceat EMN.

* At "Dappled Things" Father Jim discusses ethics and futurism.

* The History Carnival is up at "Apocalyptic Historian".

* Rebecca discusses the delights of potatoes at "Rebecca Writes." She also has a post on one of my favorite Biblical characters.

* Johnny-Dee muses on the possibility of whether the only real objects are fundamental particles in his post, Do Mid-Sized Objects Exist?

* Jeremy discusses moral luck in Battlestar Galactica at "Parableman."

UPDATE: First Things has a weblog. (HT: Redeem the Time)