Thursday, March 30, 2006


I'll be visiting family over the next few weeks. I should be able to get to a computer here and there, but posting will certainly be lighter than it has been recently.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Bits and Pieces

* Sunni Sister has an excellent post on women and body image, from a Muslim perspective.

* The coolest British MP in any timeline, of course, is the MP from Flydale North.

* A good discussion of Presidential signing statements at FindLaw. Also at FindLaw, a very good discussion by Sherry Colb of the somewhat absurd claim that forcing fathers to pay child support for unwanted children is sexual discrimination (see also Joanna Grossman's discussion); and John Dean discusses a very disturbing event in which a bill not passed by Congress has been treated as a law, due to faulty procedure.

* McCarraher on The Incoherence of Hannah Arendt [HT: Cliopatria]. The Library of Congress, by the way, has a great set of Hannah Arendt papers online.

* A discussion of Galileo and methodological naturalism at "Studi Galileiani".

* A must-read on immigration tensions in the U.S.: Multilingual by our own choice at "The Rhine River". Spanish is an official state language of New Mexico. Problems like the one Nathanael highlights in the post are surprisingly pervasive. I remember reading once about a Democratic rally in New Mexico, before a largely Hispanic crowd, at which Teresa Heinz said, "I'm an immigrant, too." The problem, of course, was that the crowd consisted of almost no immigrants; they were almost all middle-class and working-class Americans of Hispanic background, many of whom had probably never even been out of the country on vacation. People were not amused; Hispanics in New Mexico tend to treasure their Hispanic background and the Spanish language; but they tend not to treasure the stereotypes that Hispanics all hopped over the Rio Grande, whether legally or illegally. And who could seriously blame them? (Trivia Question: What other states besides New Mexico have non-English official languages in addition to English? A hint: the languages are French and a certain Austronesian language.)

* An interesting review of Dennett's Breaking the Spell by H. Allen Orr (HT: Prosblogion).

* In case you needed to know:

You Are 14% Evil

You are good. So good, that you make evil people squirm.
Just remember, you may need to turn to the dark side to get what you want!
[HT: AES ]


* According to Heisenberg, his cooperation with the Nazi regime grew out of a conflict. On the one hand, he had no sympathies for the regime and its more enthusiastic supporters at all (nor they for him, since he was associated in their minds with Einstein), and considered leaving. On the other hand, he didn't feel he could leave Germany, and had received advice, which seemed convincing at the time, from no less than Planck, to hunker down and wait out the storm. So he cooperated with the regime in its nuclear weapons program. While he doesn't claim to have engaged in any direct sabotage, he does claim that he regularly overestimated to the authorities how long and how expensive the relevant research would have been, and devoted what uncertain influence he had to convincing them that the focus of the research should be piles, not bombs. Such is Heisenberg's claim in published works (Physics and Beyond, if I'm not confusing it with one of his other books), and much of the story has received at least a bit of confirmation from contemporary documents and declassified files involving secretly recorded conversations. I was interested, however, to come across this letter from Bohr to Heisenberg, in which Bohr expresses puzzlement over part of Heisenberg's story. (Clark recommends this PhysicsWeb article for general background on this point.)

Newton against the Trinity

Isaac Newton's place in the history of science is generally known. What it is less known is his place in the history of the doctrine of the Trinity. Newton devoted considerably attention to the Trinity, which (as an Arian) he opposed, even using the General Scholium to the Principia Mathematica as a forum to take a subtle swipe or two at the doctrine. I want to look briefly at this attack on the Trinity, which is actually quite clever; but a bit of background might be useful at first.

In one of Newton's manuscripts (Yahuda Ms. 1.4) we find a discussion of the Arian controversy in the context of an exegesis of a vision in the book of Revelation, with which he had a bit of a fascination. On Newton's view, the primary purpose of Revelation was "to describe & obviate the great Apostacy," which "was to begin by corrupting the truth about the relation of the Son to the Father in putting them equal." For this reason, on Newton's view, the vision in Revelation 5, in which a figure is seen upon a throne and gives to the Lamb a scroll, is not a mere set of images by a doctrinal system put in imagistic form. In particular, it is a prophecy showing the true relation between Father and Son: "the Son's subordination, & that by an essentiall character, his having the knowledge of futurities only so far as the father communicates it to him." The scroll is originally sealed; Newton points to this as evidence that the Son's receiving of knowledge from the Father is not eternal. This knowledge "was not given to the Lamb at his first generation but since his resurrection; he meriting it by his obedience to death."

The obvious orthodox response to this, of course, would be to say that Newton is confusing the Word in Himself with the Word Incarnate. Newton, however, is no fool, and anticipates the response, which he thinks the vision also guards against "by a threefold insinuation."

First, the vision begins with the one on the throne holding the book in his hand, and is closely followed by the declaration, in the entire company of heaven, that only the Lamb is worthy of it. Thus the vision shows God and the Lamb as the most worthy in this assembly; and the Lamb is shown originally without the book. On Newton's view, this suggests that the distinction between the Word as God and the Word as Incarnate is sophistical: if the Word had known these matters beforehand, the Lamb would have been as much in possession of the book as the one on the throne. (For those who aren't used to this sort of topic, Newton's argument here is very weak; it depends crucially on his assumption that the scroll is some sort of divine knowledge. The usual interpretation, which takes into account the whole imagery of the book of Revelation, is that the scroll has to do not with knowledge but with salvation and judgment. The one thing going for Newton's interpretation is the claim in the Gospels that only the Father, and not even the Son, knows the day and hour of judgment; this verse is an important problem for the orthodox position, but Newton's application of the claim to the vision is a stretch.)

Second, Newton notes that the Lamb in this vision is the object of worship, both alone and together with the one on the throne. This might at first seem to cause a problem for Newton's own view, but he has a clever response that is relevant to his jab at Trinitarianism in the General Scholium:

Now this worship was given to the Lamb as he was a God without all doubt, Divinity & worship being relative terms, & yet it was given to him as he was worthy to take & open the Book for at the falling down of the four Beasts & 24 Elders before him to worship him, the very act of their worship was to celebrate him for his worthines to take & open the book. The Lamb therefore as he was a God was worshipped for his worthines to take & open the book & therefore took & opened the Book as he was the object of worship, that is a God. But to make all this plainer you may compare it with Philip: 2.9 where tis expresly said, that for his obedience to death God gave him a name above every name that at the name of Iesus every knee should bow &c. that is that all the creation should worship him which is as much as to say that he should be ισα θεω as a God over the creation: for Deity & worship are relative terms & infer one another.

In other words: 'God' is not an absolute term; it doesn't identify anything ontological. The reason we call something a 'God' has nothing to do with what it is in itself. Rather, we call a thing 'God' if it has the sort of dominion or authority that calls for worship. Thus Newton has no problem with calling the Lamb 'God', because the Lamb is given divine authority (which he previously did not have) by the Supreme God (the one on the throne).

Third, Newton identifies a difference in how God and the Lamb are treated by the vision as objects of worship. (1) The Lamb does not sit on the Throne but stands by it; whereas the one on the throne (and who is therefore King over all who are not on the throne, including the Lamb) represents God. (2) In Newton's view, the doxologies that follow the investiture of the Lamb show a gradation, with God being given a "higher degree of worship" than the Lamb, a pattern that he thinks is repeated in Revelation 7.

Thus Revelation 5 is:

a system of the Christian religion, showing the relation of the ffather & Son, & how they are to be worshipped in a general Assembly of the Church & of the whole creation. The ffather the supreme King upon the Throne, the fountain of prescience & of all perfections. The Lamb the next in dignity, the only being worthy to receive full communications at the hand of the ffather. No Holy Ghost, no Angels, no Saints worshipped here: none worshipped but God & the Lamb, & these worshipped by all the rest. None but God upon the Throne worshipped with the supreme worship; none with any other degree of worship but th eLamb; & he worshipped not on the account of what he had by nature, but as he was slain, as he became thereby worthy to be exalted & indowed with perfections by the father. This was the religion to be corrupted by the Apostacy. This therefore was very pertinently shaddowed out in the exordium to the Prophesy of that Apostacy.

This is Newton's Arianism in a nutshell; although I think it's a bit strained, it's quite striking, and much more creative and original than most subordinationisms.

On to the Principia. In the General Scholium, which was added to the Mathematical Principles in 1713, after having stated that a system as beautiful as the solar system must be "under the dominion of One," goes on to consider the nature of this being:

This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all: And on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God Pantokrator, or Universal Ruler. For God is a relative word, and has a respect to servants; and Deity is the dominion of God, not over his own body, as those imagine who fancy God to be the soul of the world, but over servants. The supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect; but a being, however perfect, without dominion, cannot be said to be Lord God; for we say, my God, your God, the God of Israel, the God of Gods, and Lord of Lords; but we do not say, my Eternal, your Eternal, the Eternal of Israel, the Eternal of Gods; we do not say, my Infinite, or my Perfect: These are titles which have no respect to servants. The word God usually a signifies Lord; but every lord is not a God. It is the dominion of a spiritual being which constitutes a God; a true, supreme, or imaginary dominion makes a true, supreme, or imaginary God.

It can be seen easily enough that this is the same argument that we saw above. There it was used to interpret the prophecy of Revelation in a non-Trinitarian way. Notice the claim that "a being, however perfect, without dominion, cannot be said to be Lord God". (As we saw above, Newton interprets claims that the Son was given dominion quite strictly with regard to the person of the Son.) Notice also the distinction between 'true', 'supreme', and 'imaginary' Gods. (As we saw above, according to this distinction the Word is a true God, but not the Supreme God.) By relativizing the term 'God' in this way, Newton can break up the apparent unity that seems to be attributed to Father and Son in Scripture. Of course, by relativizing the term 'God' in this way, Newton seems to be committing himself to polytheism. He does, however, make some effort to alleviate this by pointing out occasional uses in Hebrew and the like where the relevant term for 'God' is applied to people who aren't God. This is fair enough. It's doubtful, however, that this bit of evidence stretches quite as far as Newton wants it to stretch.

ADDED LATER: A number of people have been coming to this recently for various reasons, so I thought I would update it with a link to the newer address of the Newton Project, where you can find the manuscripts in question:

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tom Zarek, Freedom Fighter

I thought this was an exciting hint of what's to come in the next season of Battlestar Galactica:

"What happened to Zarek? Given his help getting Baltar elected, I would have expected him to have recieved a pretty nice 'reward', perhaps as VP? Did Baltar even have a VP? We never see Zarek post-election or a year later on New Caprica. Given Zarak's penchant for political mayhem, I would think that his fate would be one of significant interest. Perhaps we will see this early in Season 3? "

You will be seeing Zarek again and early in the season. He was the Vice President, but his relationship with Baltar went south relatively quickly, and he simply refused to cooperate once the Cylon occupation began.
[Ron Moore]

Unnatural Death

In Unnatural Death (a.k.a. The Dawson Pedigree), Dorothy Sayers puts together a distinctive mystery story. Unlike most mystery stories, this Lord Peter novel (the third, I believe) is fairly clear from the beginning who committed the murder, if any was committed; what is puzzling is whether it can be shown that the death was, in fact, a murder, and (if so) how and why it was committed. The story is also notable for the extensive involvement of Miss Climpson. As readers of other Lord Peter novels know, Miss Climpson is a recurrent occasional character, a gossipy old spinster with a heart of gold who often helps Wimsey out. She's also noteworthy for being the only consistently religious character in the series; and one of the interesting features of Unnatural Death is Miss Climpson's difficulties in both assisting Wimsey by nosing about, and doing so in a scrupulously Christian way -- a tension she doesn't always successfully navigate. As she says, sometimes she has to get Jesuitical in a good cause. Climpson is also fairly consistently an occasion for Sayers to say something about the poor prospects of intelligent older women for finding worthwhile employment in societies like ours. Alas, there's no Dowager Duchess, but you can't have everything.

As with all of Sayers's Lord Peter novels, there are lots of allusions that are easy to miss. Bill Peschel has a good set of annotations for Part I.

Principle of Counterpoise

From Michael Levine's article on Hume's argument against miracles:

Why did Hume think that one could justifiably believe that an extraordinary event had occurred, under certain circumstances, but that one could never justifiably believe a miracle had occurred? The proposed interpretation of Hume's analysis of miracles in relation to his analysis of causation and his wider empiricism yields the only plausible answer to this question that I know of. This interpretation also shows why it makes no substantial difference whether we interpret Hume's argument in Part I "Of Miracles" against the possibility of justified belief in testimony to the miraculous as an a priori argument or an a posteriori argument since the arguments essentially coalesce.

My own interpretation is that there is no argument at all against the possibility of justified belief in testimony to the miraculous in Part I of the essay. Rather, what Hume does is argue for a standard of proof to which testimony for miracles would have to be held. He then goes on in Part II to argue that no testimony in favor of miracles meets this standard.

The only basis, I think, for holding that there is an argument against the possibility of justified belief in testimony to the miraculous is the principle of counterpoise. Hume says:

The very same principle of experience, which gives us a certain degree of assurance in the testimony of witnesses, gives us also, in this case [i.e., the case of a fact "as has seldom fallen under our observation"], another degree of assurance against the fact, which they endeavour to establish; from which contradiction there necessarily arises a counterpoize, and mutual destruction of belief and authority.

It is the principle of counterpoise that seems to make Hume's argument parallel to Tillotson's argument against transubstantiation. Thus one might argue, that just as Tillotson uses a sort of counterpoise-principle to argue against transubstantiation, Hume uses it to argue against miracles.

This can be granted; but it doesn't follow from this that it has any teeth in Part I. (It clearly does in Part II, because if the considerations in Part II are right, the mutual destruction of belief and authority always ends against miracles.) What Hume actually argues in Part I is that even if the testimonial proof of miracles be 'entire' -- i.e., conclusive if considered on its own -- in combination with experience of the uniformity of nature (also a complete proof in Hume's sense of the term) it creates a counterpoise, to the mutual destruction of both. If there is any disparity at all in the force of the proofs, then the proof with greater force wins out, and survives with its original force minus the force of the opposing proof.

Given that Hume had originally told us in Section VI of the Enquiry that proofs are arguments from experience that leave no room for doubt or opposition, it is something of an exegetical mystery how Hume can talk about proofs in opposition, but he does; so either he is inconsistent or (perhaps more likely) he is merely speaking hypothetically here or (and this, while more of a stretch, is an intriguing hypothesis) he is describing a mechanism for how proofs could cease to be proofs. In any case, I won't dwell on this here. The question at hand is: Does this amount to an argument against the possibility of justified belief in testimony to the miraculous?

No, unless one assumes that testimony for the miraculous never has a greater force of proof than experience of the uniformity of nature. Hume never argues for this in Part I. Indeed, strictly speaking, he never argues for this at all, because he thinks it can easily be shown that testimony for the miraculous doesn't even have the force of proof (unlike experiential evidence for the uniformity of nature, it always falls short of proof). Strictly speaking, all Hume implies in Part I is that you'd have to consider the matter on a case-by-case basis, and determine whether (in his words) it would be more miraculous for the testimony to be false than for the alleged event to occur. This is not an argument against justified belief in testimony to the miraculous; it's the set-up for an argument to such an effect, an argument we only get in Part II.

I like parts of Levine's argument, but I think in addition that he puts too much emphasis on the fact that in Hume's sense we could never experience a supernatural cause. Hume seems elsewhere pretty well committed to the claim that we could never experience the cause of gravity, either; but it doesn't follow that we can't ever attribute events to it, due to an inference that there must be such a cause. (This particular example gets into tricky issues in Hume interpretation, but Hume does clearly allow for us to attribute events to causes we can't experience; he attributes such actions to 'philosophical', i.e., scientific, thinkers.) Also, I don't think Levine's quite right about the Indian prince, although I find his argument very interesting. The Indian prince example, like the Cato example, is just an example of counterpoise, as the way of proportioning belief to evidence, in action. Due to Locke, this sort of example is in fact used in this period as a rather standard example of such a proportioning. (I've briefly discussed it here and here.) And note, that while Hume insists that the Indian prince reasons justly, he denies that the Indian prince is in a position to be "reasonably positive" about what would happen under conditions other than those found in Sumatra; the claim that ice freezes requires "a pretty strong testimony, to render it credible to people in a warm climate". This seems to me to be fairly conclusive evidence against Levine's interesting conjecture that Hume considers us all to be in the position of the Indian prince (with regard to testimony for miracles). Hume actually denies that with respect to miracles we are in the same position the Indian prince was with regard to ice. Hume says something very interesting in this connection, though. He says that the difference between the two cases is that the Indian prince actually doesn't have a proof against ice freezing under different conditions (it would be a "new experience" and thus uncertain, and liable only to analogical conjecture; and analogy would have not have suggested the freezing of ice). This differs from the case of miracles because the miracle is supposed to be a deviation under the same conditions. This is why the experience of the uniformity of nature is supposed to be a full proof against a miracle we are told of, even if we are supposed to have a full proof in favor of the testimony by which we heard of it.

But these kinds of issues are a bit contentious. I like Levine's article, although I disagree with much of it. I do agree with his claim about Bayesian interpretations of the argument; but I think my interpretation gives a better reason to accept such a claim than his own does.

Power of Pardon

In a post at "Prosblogion," Theological Determinism and Supererogatory Salvation, on which I have been doing some commenting, there has been an interesting discussion of supererogation. (One of my arguments is that sets of supererogatory acts may be suberogatory. To put it in other terms, the inference from 'Doing A is supererogatory, Doing B is supererogatory, etc.' to 'Doing both A and B is supererogatory' is illegitimate. It commits the fallacy of composition, or something like it.) In the context of this discussion, I brought up the csae of executive power to pardon, which is a case of legal supererogation: the executive is not duty-bound to pardon anyone, but is free to use the power to pardon at his best discretion to preserve and further the common good. So I've been doing some reading on the legal power to pardon. I haven't found much that's actually relevant to the particular discussion at "Prosblogion," but I have found some interesting passages on the role of mercy in a justice system. Here are three historical examples by top-notch thinkers in the field of jurisprudence:

William Blackstone on the power of pardon:

This is indeed one of the great advantages of monarchy in general, above any other form of government; that there is a magistrate, who has it in his power to extend mercy, wherever he thinks it is deserved: holding a court of equity in his own breast, to soften the rigour of the general law, in such criminal cases as merit an exemption from punishment. Pardons (according to some theorists) should be excluded in a perfect legislation, where punishments are mild but certain: for that the clemency of the prince seems a tacit disapprobation of the laws. But the exclusion of pardons must necessarily introduce a very dangerous power in the judge or jury, that of construing the criminal law by the spirit instead of the letter; or else it must be holden, what no man will seriously avow, that the situation and circumstances of the offender (though they alter not the essence of the crime) ought to make no distinction in the punishment.

Alexander Hamilton on the power of pardon:

Humanity and good policy conspire to dictate, that the benign prerogative of pardoning should be as little as possible fettered or embarrassed. The criminal code of every country partakes so much of necessary severity, that without an easy access to exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt, justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel. As the sense of responsibility is always strongest in proportion as it is undivided, it may be inferred that a single man would be most ready to attend to the force of those motives, which might plead for a mitigation of the rigor of the law, and least apt to yield to considerations, which were calculated to shelter a fit object of its vengeance. The reflection, that the fate of a fellow creature depended on his sole fiat, would naturally inspire scrupulousness and caution: The dread of being accused of weakness or connivance would beget equal circumspection, though of a different kind. On the other hand, as men generally derive confidence from their numbers, they might often encourage each other in an act of obduracy and might be less sensible to the apprehension of suspicion or censure for an injudicious or affected clemency. On these accounts, one man appears to be a more eligible dispenser of the mercy of the government than a body of men.

James Wilson on the power of pardon:

The most general opinion, as we have already observed, and, we may add, the best opinion, is, that, in every state, there ought to be a power to pardon offences. In the mildest systems, of which human societies are capable, there will still exist a necessity of this discretionary power, the proper exercise of which may arise from the possible circumstances of every conviction. Citizens, even condemned citizens, may be unfortunate in a higher degree, than that, in which they are criminal. When the cry of the nation rises in their favour; when the judges themselves, descending from their seats, and laying aside the formidable sword of justice, come to supplicate in behalf of the person, whom they have been obliged to condemn; in such a situation, clemency is a virtue; it becomes a duty.

But where ought this most amiable prerogative to be placed? Is it compatible with the nature of every species of government?

...Why, according to Sir William Blackstone, can the power to pardon never subsist in a democracy? Because, says he, there, nothing higher is acknowledged, than the magistrate, who administers the laws. By pursuing the principle of democracy to its true source, we have discovered, that the law is higher than the magistrate, who administers it; that the constitution is higher than both; and that the supreme power, remaining with the people, is higher than all the three. With perfect consistency, therefore, the power of pardoning may subsist in our democratical governments: with perfect propriety, we think, it is vested in the president of the United States.

(Blackstone and Hamilton presumably need no introduction; but Wilson might. James Wilson, born in Scotland in 1742 or so, was a lawyer who signed the Declaration of Independence for Pennsylvania; he was one of the first Supreme Court justices, and served on the Court until his death in 1798. Brilliant in the field of government and constitutional law, he seems to have been incompetent in practical matters, and was continually having problems with debt -- he even served time, while on the Supreme Court, in debtor's prison.)

Monday, March 27, 2006

I'm from B-162

You Should Be a Science Fiction Writer

Your ideas are very strange, and people often wonder what planet you're from.
And while you may have some problems being "normal," you'll have no problems writing sci-fi.
Whether it's epic films, important novels, or vivid comics...
Your own little universe could leave an important mark on the world!


...which is scarcely bigger than myself. In case you really are wondering.

By the way, this year is the sixtieth anniversary of that exquisite little classic. My favorite character is the fox. I can never get enough of the fox.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

'Caesar's Divinity Is Showing Again'

He fingered the mound of faggots on which the wooden martyr stood. That's where all of us are standing now, he thought. On the fat kindling of past sins. And some of them are mine. Mine, Adam's, Herod's, Judas's, Hannegan's, mine. Everybody's. Always culminates in the colossus of the State, somehow, drawing about itself the mantle of godhood, being struck down by the wrath of Heaven. Why? We shouted it loudly enough--God's to be obeyed by nations as well as men. Caesar's to be God's policeman, not His plenipotentiary successor, nor His heir. To all ages, all peoples. --"Whoever exalts a race or a State or a particular form of the State or the depositories of power...whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God....." Where had that come from? Eleventh Pius, he thought, without certainty--eighteen centuries ago. But when Caesar got the means to destroy the world, wasn't he already divinized? Only by the consent of the peopel--same rabble that shouted: "Non habemus regem nisi caesarem," when confronted by Him--God Incarnate, mocked and spat upon. Same rabble that martyred Leibowitz....

From Walter M. Miller, Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz. The quote in the passage is indeed from Pius XI -- Mit brennender Sorge, 14 March 1937. The full quotation is:

Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community - however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things - whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.

Unfortunately, it's a truth of which people need continual reminding.

Links and Things

* An interesting paper by Mark Sharlow: Chemical Possibility and Modal Semantics (PDF).

* At "Philosophy, etc.," Richard has a good post on Customer Consultation vs. Democratic Deliberation. See also Bowling Together by Coleman and Gøtze.

* A great Borges resource page (HT: Reality Conditions). My favorite Borges stories, if you are interested in knowing, are "La busca de Averroes" (which I can't find online anywhere Thanks to Alejandro for pointing out that it is here); Tlön, Uqbar, Orbius Tertius (I find the whole notion of a Nihilartikel fascinating); and El Sur.

* Chris at "Mixing Memory" has a link to an interview with Daniel Dennett on his recent book.

* Heo Cwaeth continues her series on "Medieval Women I Adore" with Hrotswitha von Gandersheim.


* Ed Cook at "Ralph the Sacred River" debunks some common urban legends about cannabis and the Bible; some of which are found in the Wikipedia article on cannabis.

* Fido the Yak muses on shoes, ways of thinking, and disposability in the context of Roger Scruton's "On the Mend".

* Chris Bray mentions Martin Van Ceveld at "Cliopatria." I've read two of his works (Command in War and Supplying War), which are quite good (I particularly liked Supplying War). There are several things by him online. Some particularly interesting examples: Through a Glass, Darkly, which briefly discusses the way war has changed through the centuries; Sonshi's interview with Van Creveld, in which he discusses Sun-Tzu's The Art of War, Iraq, and war in general; The Blemish of Conquest.