Saturday, July 25, 2009

Various Poem Re-Drafts

Flowing Clock

You turned into a flowing clock
dripping down the wall,
which had a bulge and curvature
like a time-hued ball;
and I fled
down streets of jasmine scent
through catacombs of the dead
where thoughts were bent
around a singularity,
attractive, charming, strange,
the focus of an orbit
that time and space deranged
until it curled and flowed
like some mobius made of worlds,
like a string of crystal globes
through free-fall hurled.
And you were still around me
like the breezes in the air,
touching my thought and passing
in games of truth or dare,
and one point drew me on,
a magnet drawing steel.
I, who am but a pawn,
the check of life could feel
until that gentle point,
wild and sublime,
turned a clock into a flowing face
and turned back space and time.

Half Asleep in a Thunderstorm

I lie in bed at night,
a fan above my head;
my mind whirls round and round:
I dream that I am dead.

The darkness all around --
a blanket on the brain;
my heartbeat in my ears --
the pounding of the rain;
I watch the world go by,
leaves upon the gale,
in visions of lost time
before the lapse of tale.

The darkness thunders softly
as I drift here in my bed,
half in the world and of it,
half out of it and dead.

Gray Skies

The skies are gray today; but what of it?
Every gray sky has blue sky above it,
and warm light.
When gray clouds are done
a burst of splendid sun
springs down, clear and bright.

Corpus Christi

The bread is broken on the table;
into the cup is poured the wine;
by this word the Word our Savior
becomes the substance of the sign.

Adam's flesh from fleshly Adam
freed from sinful flesh once more,
for we, by blood and by slain body,
are flesh and blood with Christ our Lord.

Speak, my tongue, of His scourged body,
blessed and broken for our race,
of pricelessness of blood now flowing
to pay our price and grant us grace.

Sing, my voice, the song of angels
as they wonder at his tomb,
which, with side-sprung water flowing,
encompassed us to be our womb.

Love, my heart, the changeless ancient
who descends from God above
to be a babe and passion's patient;
He is God, for God is Love.

Trust, my soul, in Truth most holy:
Truth is true and does not lie.
Free from lie, from lies He freed us;
see the sign Truth truly died!

Hope, my spirit in your Savior,
who is life, in dying lives,
and is given by the Father
to be this bread that life can give.

Shout, my sisters; shout, my brothers!
From the housetops make it known.
Tell the tale on every mountain;
own this well: you are His own!


Beyond the first awareness is the seed,
source untouched by any craving need,
spark forever steadfast in its light,
constant in reflection and in fight:
thinker is but thought, and doer deed.

Sacred text in hand, the lion waits;
teaching is the path through golden gates
that reaches other realms and then
the byssal depths of light no thought can ken.
One question given, answers dissipate.

Lion for reflection on the plains,
Free of deep delusion, in the rains
looks out on golden grasses and the sky;
golden eyes outlook all things that die.
This self once overcome, no self remains;
thoughts that know no craving know no pain.


How many men are fallen, sons of men,
how many dead and dying
in great Ascalon and Tyre?
How many widows crying
where blood flows down like water
from a horse's smashing hoof?

How many youths lie dead, O sons of men?
How many in the grave unwed,
where roses grow, and poppies,
on these bloody fields of war?
How many, O ye nations?
How many slip to darkness,
each face to be seen no more?
How many men are fallen, sons of men?

In starlit skies, bright and shining,
Mars has wandered to work his will;
the wolves on the plain are howling,
carrion-vultures take their fill.

The formless hand its word has written;
mene, mene, tekel and parsin,
no longer is it hidden.
A name is branded on children's faces
as they laugh and as they play,
and you have branded it, sons of men:
"Quick pickings, easy prey".

An angel in heaven was flying
to and fro o'er all the earth;
an angel in loud voice crying,
"How many, O sons of men?"

Do Well, Do Better, and Do Best

In Piers Plowman, the narrator has a dream about Piers Plowman that leads him to conclude that it is not enough to trust to the pardon the Church can give; he must seek out Do Well, for Do Well will be more help for the soul in the Day of Judgment. His search leads him to study theology.

'Do Well, and Do Better, and Do Best,' said Thought
'Are three fair virtues, not far to find.
He who is true of tongue, and true of his handiwork,
And by labour, as as a landlord, earns his living,
Trustworthy in his accounts, taking but his own,
And neither drunken nor disdainful, is the man for Do Well.
Do Better does all this, but he does much more.
And has run into religion and taught the Testament
And preaches to the people in Saint Paul's words
Libenter suffertis insipientis, cum sitis ipsi sapientes.
Suffer fools gladly; so God commands you.
Do Best is above both, with a bishop's crozier,
Hooked at one end to hale you from hell;
There's a spike on that spear, that will not spare the wicked.

According to Wit, a bit further on,

'Do Well is to dread God, Do Better is to suffer,
And Do Best springs from both, to abash the arrogant,
The wicked will, that is at war with work,
And drives Do Well away, through the deadly sins."

But the study of theology leaves him more confused than ever; it is all abstract and he still has no idea how to find Do Well in the real world. So he keeps traveling, and goes to a number of others, each of whom gives him a somewhat different account of what Do Well, Do Better, and Do Best are. The Friar or Doctor (i.e., teacher of theology) he meets later tells the narrator that Do Well is to do as the clergy teach; Do Better is to be the teacher; and Do Best is to teach well and practice what you teach. But it is the hermit Patience, dressed as a pilgrim, who in the end tells Langland the true meaning of the trio: We are to learn, teach, love our enemies. To learn is to Do Well; to teach is to Do Better; and to love is to Do Best. The Doctor, incidentally, is not pleased, and sternly says of Patience that pilgrims are often liars. Conscience, however, is struck by what Patience has said, and Conscience and Langland set out with Patience to understand better what the life of Do Well, Do Better, and Do Best must be. Only Piers Plowman knows the full secret; but, interestingly, the narrator never quite gets him in full view again, although he still learns from him. He comes in and out of the poem and the narrator's dreams; and the poem ends with Conscience seeking him out to turn back Antichrist, who has assaulted Church and subverted the clergy with Pride and Hypocrisy. But the narrator's learning from Piers is never really done. And perhaps that is the as it should be; for in real life the quest after Do Well is endless, with layers upon layers and knots within knots.

[Quotations from Visions from Piers Plowman, Nevill Coghill, tr. Phoenix House (London: 1949), pages 67 & 68).]

Friday, July 24, 2009

Many Kinds of Reading

Tyler Cowen shows his complete inefficiency in reading (ht):

Tyler Cowen, a George Mason University economics professor, makes the suggestion in his book "Discover Your Inner Economist," which shows how to use economic reasoning to improve your life. Scarcity is one principle — a lack of attention and time keeps us from being as cultured as we'd like.

We should ask ourselves if reading a book we're getting little out of is the best use of scarce resources.

He takes his own advice, saying he finishes one book for every five to 10 he starts.

If this is true then the principles by which Cowen selects books to read in the first place are simply awful; there's no reason why he should even be starting most of those books. If time and attention are so important, why waste time on them at all, sinking the original investments of time that it takes to start them? Some books are surprise duds; but that much waste suggests a serious need for a better way of picking out books to start in the first place. You can sample how a book will be without starting it; people do it in bookstores all the time. There's no perfect method for it, but it can be done.

In any case, the article makes a common false assumption, namely, that reading is all of a piece, all the same thing. 'Rewarding read' and 'easy read' or even 'good read' are not all the same thing; and in each of the three cases what counts is determined by the reason why you are reading in the first place. In some cases whether you like the book will be irrelevant; in others it will be the only thing of relevance. In some cases you will be trying to 'get something out of a book' and in some cases you will simply be reading in order to be reading. And so forth. Reading is not all the same.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Whewell on the Importance of the Classics

The cultivated world, up to the present day, has been bound together, and each generation bound to the preceding, by living upon a common intellectual estate. They have shared in a common developement of thought, because they have understood each other. Their standard examples of poetry, eloquence, history, criticism, grammar, etymology, have been a universal bond of sympathy, however diverse might be the opinions which prevailed respecting any of these examples. All the civilised world has been one intellectual nation; and it is this which has made it so great and prosperous a nation. All the countries of lettered Europe have been one body, because the same nutriment, the literature of the ancient world, was conveyed to all, by the organization of their institutions of education. The authors of Greece and Rome, familiar to the child, admired and dwelt on by the aged, were the common language, by the possession of which each man felt himself a denizen of the community of general civilisation;-—free of all the privileges with which it had been gifted from the dawn of Greek literature up to the present time.

William Whewell, On the Principles of English University Education (1838). This work is actually one of Whewell's pro-calculus works, which you might not recognize from the title alone. Whewell belonged to a movement of people at the time (which included John Herschel and Charles Babbage among others) that was trying to push forward a more mathematics-heavy form of education, and in particular the study of calculus according to the Continental method; the book is an argument for a form of University Education which retained the classics, for reasons such as those given above, but also gave mathematics an important place as the best means by which a person can be schooled to reason well.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

False Analogy

The Wikipedia entry on false analogy is a bit odd. The following are given as examples of false analogies:

Love is like a spring shower. It brings refreshment to a person's body.
Children are like dogs. They need to be strongly disciplined and housebroken.
You are the star of my life! You bring light and joy to my existence.
This product will make you feel like a kid again!

But not a single one of these is a false analogy; they are all just comparisons. And if we used the method that the article uses to identify them as false analogies, we would not have any true analogies. Analogies do not require flawless similarity in order to work; the fact that analogues are also dissimilar is not a reason for regarding the analogy as false if the analogues are nonetheless similar in the relevant way, the way that matters. Very oddly, the article also goes on to recognize this. One of the citations is of the false analogy page at, which also exhibits the confusions, since it gives the following examples:

People are like dogs. They respond best to clear discipline.
This soap is like a dream. It lifts you up to a spiritual plane.
A school is not so different from a business. It needs a clear competitive strategy that will lead to profitable growth.

Again, not a one is a false analogy, even if one regards the statement as false, because each of these is a comparison plus a reason why one should make the comparison, which is exactly the opposite of an analogical inference: the inferences here, if we even take them as inferences rather than as a figurative and a literal way of saying the same thing, are all non-analogical inferences to a similarity. To have a fallacy of false analogy you have to have an actual inference, and the inference has to be analogical.

Part of the confusion is perhaps that 'analogy' is equivocal; it can just mean a similarity or a comparison describing one, or it can mean an analogical inference. Only the latter can be fallacious; a comparison may be a bad comparison, but to have a fallacy you have to have an argument. So by 'false analogy' you might mean that the comparison is false, which is not a fallacy, or that the inference itself is faulty (and 'faulty analogy' is a commonly used synonym for 'false analogy'). The term is also a bit unfortunate in that analogical inferences can be false and yet good inferences, because analogical inferences do not yield necessary conclusions but simply probable ones.

Which actually raises the question of whether there really is a false analogy fallacy at all, i.e., a form of analogical inference that is a fallacy in the true and proper sense. You can have badly formed comparisons, but that's not a problem with the inference itself, and the same is true if the grounds for the original comparison is false; your inference can get you the wrong conclusion, but that's not surprising because analogical inferences are defeasible. The mere fact that you started with a false assumption doesn't make the inference bad; and when we are dealing with defeasible inferences, the mere fact that your conclusion happens to be false doesn't, either. We'd need a real fallacy: a form of inference that is itself unreasonable to make.

But as analogical inferences really make use of two similarities, and is an inference from one to the other, one can certainly have an inferential failure if the original similarity is not (in context) relevant to the target similarity, which is to say, the original similarity gives no reason in context to conclude the target similarity. So in many contexts this would be problematic:

Person A's name is Ed and Person B's name is Ed, and Person A is tall; so Person B must be tall.

And the reason is that name is not under most circumstances plausibly considered to be relevant to height. So it would be tempted to think that this could be considered an example of false analogy (and it is certainly better than the above examples), although I don't think this is actually right, for reasons I'll get to in a moment.
The Logical Fallacies website
thus seems to be on the right track, since it gives these examples:

Employees are like nails. Just as nails must be hit in the head in order to make them work, so must employees.
Government is like business, so just as business must be sensitive primarily to the bottom line, so also must government.

I don't think the second example would ordinarily be an example of false analogy, even though the conclusion is false; but, however they are alike, hitting a nail on the head and hitting an employee on the head are not actually similar. I think the first example is actually very good, because I would suggest to you that it is the first real case of a false analogy. And the reason is that there is no actual analogy here. It is set up as an analogy, but it equivocates on the word 'head'. Employee heads and nail heads are both heads in only an equivocal sense, so the analogical inference is actually equivocating -- which is why it reads like a joke, since it's the sort of equivocation we'd typically use in order to make a joke. It's not mere falsity. It is irrelevance of a sort; but it's the sort arising from equivocation.

Are all fallacies of false analogy forms of equivocation? When we eliminate analogies that are merely based on bad comparisons (which is not a fallacy but just false premises), and also analogies that merely have a false conclusion (which is not a fallacy but an unsurprising result given that analogical inferences are nonmonotonic and defeasible), that narrows the field of plausible cases considerably. By 'plausible case' I mean one that has all the desiderata, i.e., it is an analogical inference that is a fallacy in the strict and proper sense, which is to say, is unreasonable precisely as an inference, and not merely because the premises or conclusions simply happen to be false.

There are those cases, like the name-tall case, that seem to be bad in a nonequivocating way. The IEP article on fallacies gives another example:

The book Investing for Dummies really helped me understand my finances better. The book Chess for Dummies was written by the same author, was published by the same press, and costs about the same amount. So, this chess book would probably help me understand my finances.

There's obviously a sort of irrelevance here. But is it the inference itself or the assumption that author, publisher, and cost are either causes, effects, or probable concomitants of content? If the latter, it's not a true fallacy; it's a regular analogical inference with a false assumption about books, just as the name-tall case would be a regular analogical inference with a false assumption about names. After all, analogical arguments are evidential arguments, and both these cases seem to go wrong so badly because they show a failure to understand what's good evidence for what. And that's a bad thing, but it's not a fallacy, any more than

If dogs are canines, the categorical imperative is false
Dogs are canines
Therefore the categorical imperative is false

is a fallacious inference (if the conditional is taken as it usually would be in ordinary language, and if the argument were given in an ordinary context), rather than just a nonfallacious inference based on a bad idea of what counts as evidence against the categorical imperative.

So what do you think? What's the best way to handle it?

Three Poem Drafts


Dream said to me, "Come hither
for the day has begun to wither
and air on the moorish heather
is gloaming toward the night."

But I said, "I know not why,
but I feel that tonight I will die;
the crescent now waxes on high
and unseelie is its light."

Yet I heard the sultry tune
of that unreal, banshee moon
and fell into a swoon
with scarce a feather of a fight.

A green and silver dream
rose up without a seam;
it stripped the sky of gleam
and I died.

Cicadas Soon Will Sing Me Home

Cicadas soon will sing me home
to the land of summer dreams
where heat and humid air combine
to make things other than they seem;
they weigh my eyelids down and down
with gentle rattle-lullaby,
rhythmic like a mesmer's voice,
while sun and sleep both cross the sky.


The Lord roars forth from Zion;
can you hear the roar of the lion
when the lion has no prey?
Can you hear the roar of the Lord
and your heart not melt away?
Who molds the mount and makes the wind,
who makes the mortal man his friend,
but turns to darkness morning light,
and full of fire, free of blame,
treads upon the highest height --
the Lord is his most holy name!
He turns to darkness brightest morn,
who made the stars on high be born,
who calls the waters of the sea
and pours them to infinity,
from age to age the ever-same,
the Lord of hosts his holy name!
He with a touch can melt the earth
and bring the world to mourn
and cast the land out, beaten, torn,
and robbed of everything of worth;
he calls out to the tidal sea
from highest height's eternity,
the Lord, the Lord his name!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Wind is Raving in Turret and Tree

The Sisters
By Alfred Tennyson

We were two daughters of one race;
She was the fairest in the face.
The wind is blowing in turret and tree.
They were together, and she fell;
Therefore revenge became me well.
O, the earl was fair to see!

She died; she went to burning flame;
She mix’d her ancient blood with shame.
The wind is howling in turret and tree.
Whole weeks and months, and early and late,
To win his love I lay in wait.
O, the earl was fair to see!

I made a feast; I bade him come;
I won his love, I brought him home,
The wind is roaring in turret and tree.
And after supper on a bed,
Upon my lap he laid his head.
O, the earl was fair to see!

I kiss’d his eyelids into rest,
His ruddy cheeks upon my breast.
The wind is raging in turret and tree.
I hated him with the hate of hell,
But I loved his beauty passing well.
O, the earl was fair to see!

I rose up in the silent night;
I made my dagger sharp and bright.
The wind is raving in turret and tree.
As half-asleep his breath he drew,
Three time I stabb’d him thro’ and thro’.
O, the earl was fair to see!

I curl’d and comb’d his comely head,
He looked so grand when he was dead.
The wind is blowing in turret and tree.
I wrapt his body in the sheet,
And laid him at his mother’s feet.
O, the earl was fair to see!

'Philosophy of Religion'

Kelly Clark, in reviewing a work, touches on an important point about labels:

In England a book of this sort might be titled "Philosophical Theology"; this would prove a more apt title. This is easy to see in discussions of omnipotence and divine command theories and even more so in those about prayer, human worth, and the atonement. Some of the discussants commend appeals to theology, and the theology in question is broadly Western and theistic and, in some cases, specifically Christian. Hence, there's little philosophy of religion in this book and more philosophy of God (even the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). This is just an observation.

I have always said it makes no sense to call the field "philosophy of religion" if you aren't going to discuss religion in an anthropological or sociological sense. A philosophy of religion should range widely among different religions, just as anthropology of religions; it should range far more widely than the topics usually discussed, which would be better called 'natural theology' or, at the very least, as Clark suggests, 'philosophical theology'. When it is used for the latter, it is a weasel phrase, a way of saying you do theological metaphysics without having to come out and say it. The label would be best reserved for those philosophical explorations that parallel anthropology of religion, or sociology of religion, or psychology of religion.

Indeed, this is exactly why the label began to be used in the first place; all the earliest uses of it are along these lines, although in practice Christianity was often the primary religion in view. So people would ask: "What are the origins of religious life? How did religious consciousness evolve? What are the relations between religious life and moral life? What social functions are fulfilled by taboos and priestly laws? What are the key differences between different religions and what are their philosophical significance? What is the relation between religion and teleology? What counts as a distinctively religious experience? Is there a particular sort of religious knowledge? What is the best way to understand acts of worship?" And so forth. But in the twentieth century there was a revival of interest in the sort of topics that used to be called natural theology; without, however, there being any place to discuss them respectably. So people began sneaking it into the philosophy of religion courses, whence it ended up dominating it entirely, actually pushing out most of the philosophical work that had previously been done in the field. That the topics came back to be seriously considered is great; that they only did so by largely pushing out legitimate work is not.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Links of Note

* Carnivalesque 52 is up at "Gilbert Mabbott"

* Remembering the Body and Blood of Christ on the moon (ht)

* Speaking of which, We Choose the Moon, put up by the Kennedy Presidential Library, has pictures, video, and audio to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the first moon landing.

* And lest we be too impressed with NASA's most significant achievement, they managed to record over their original footage of the event.

* A confrontation between moderate Muslims and extremist Muslims in Luton. It's actually not uncommon, although usually things don't get quite so public.

* Too often true. Like "you can't prove a negative," this claim shows just how superficial much of the philosophical folklore about reasoning that floats around is. As I put it once:

What 'extraordinary' claims require is what 'ordinary' claims require: evidence of a kind relevant to the relevant kind of inference. When you look at the uses of the cliché, you find that it just serves intellectual laziness: instead of doing the serious critical work required to dismiss some claims and support others, people try to define themselves into rightness by throwing slogans. And to that extent it doesn't matter if the claim they are rejecting is wrong: the response to the claim is even worse, because it is mumbo-jumbo of the most insidious sort, the most insidious sort being the kind that passes as sagacity among people who, when confronted with the claim, can't be bothered even to raise the simplest and most basic kinds of questions suggested by perfectly ordinary habits of critical thought. Questions like: "How do we non-arbitrarily determine extraordinariness? Is there a link between extraordinary claim and extraordinary evidence that is more than the purely verbal fact that we can use 'extraordinary' of both? What substantive evidential basis is there for thinking that the resulting principle applies to all kinds of claims and all kinds of evidence?"

* The difficulty of transcribing the Nixon tapes.

* Sherry's Hundred Hymns list continues:

#68 Children of the Heavenly Father
#67 Jesus Loves Me
#66 Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent
#65 What Wondrous Love Is This
#64 To God Be the Glory
#63 I'll Fly Away
#62 Take My Life and Let It Be
#61 Jesus, I am Resting, Resting
#60 Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
#59 Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
#58 Alas and Did My Saviour Bleed
#57 Jesus Lover of My Soul

Two Poem Drafts

On Ps 147:4

Stars beyond all human sight that stand mind-numbing miles away, like sparrows, lilies, swirl in course without regard for human thought! Yet they are sheep in vasty meadows; he who made them guides each one and knows them in their deepest depths: he knows the number of each one and calls them all by name. See the King of all creation! Eyes of flesh will never see His face, but they may rise to see the edge of robe divine: that hem is made of all the stars.


The final tally taken, all the world at rest,
the sun has finally set in the melancholy west,
the twilight stars have strengthened
to shine like diamond fire
and earth itself, long tired,
for bed has now undressed,
and you and I will slumber, deep in quiet dreams
until the vivid dawn awakes us with its beams.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Hidden Treasure of the Interior Castle (re-post)

The following is a post from July 2004, slightly edited.

Saint Teresa of Avila has a fascinating discussion of the soul and self-knowledge in her work, The Interior Castle (which can be found on-line here), a spiritual classic written in 1577 or shortly before. There she pictures the soul as a castle made of diamond or crystal, in which there are many rooms (aposentos), "just as in Heaven there are many mansions" (moradas) (1.1.1). The 'rooms' of this castle are connected with self-knowledge, for Teresa immediately goes on to say:

It is no small pity, and should cause us no little shame, that, through our own fault, we do not understand ourselves, or know who we are. Would it not be a sign of great ignorance, my daughters, if a person were asked who he was, and could not say, and had no idea who his father or his mother was, or from what country he came? Though that is great stupidity, our own is incomparably greater if we make no attempt to discover what we are, and only know that we are living in these bodies, and have a vague idea, because we have heard it and because our Faith tells us so, that we possess souls. As to what good qualities there may be in our souls, or Who dwells within them, or how precious they are -- those are things which we seldom consider and so we trouble little about carefully preserving the soul's beauty. All our interest is centred in the rough setting of the diamond, and in the outer wall of the castle -- that is to say, in these bodies of ours. (1.1.2)

So the idea is this: The soul is the castle itself; but the soul also in a sense occupies different rooms of itself through its knowledge of itself. As she notes, linking the issue of self-knowledge with prayer,

But you must understand that there are many ways of "being" in a place. Many souls remain in the outer court of the castle, which is the place occupied by the guards; they are not interested in entering it, and have no idea what there is in that wonderful place, or who dwells in it, or even how many rooms it has. You will have read certain books on prayer which advise the soul to enter within itself: and that is exactly what this means. (1.1.5)

Most of our self-knowledge is purely superficial - the outer wall of the castle, i.e., our body. Teresa is very insistent that there are many, many, many rooms in the castle; but the rooms also fall into rough groupings that can be distinguished according to interiority. The innermost room of the castle is the room "where the most secret things pass between God and the soul" (1.1.3). The Interior Castle is a guide to moving, through prayer, from the sort of self-knowledge we have in the outer part of the castle, to the sort we have in the inner part of the castle. (She divides the groupings into seven; of these we cannot get much farther than the second on our own - beyond that we need humility, prayer, and considerable reflection and meditation.) One of the interesting aspects of this whole picture is that Teresa was not the last to make use of it. Edith Stein uses it in Finite and Eternal Being. Edith Stein (1891-1942), for those who don't know, was a student of the philosopher Husserl. Jewish by background, she eventually converted to Catholicism and entered the Benedictine Order as a Carmelite. In 1942 the Nazis arrested her and sent her to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she died. She was canonized a few years back (1998), and so is known variously as "Saint Edith Stein" or "Saint Teresa Benedicta a Cruce," which was the name she took in honor of Teresa of Avila. The interior castle is introduced in part VII, section 3. There she notes (quotations are from Finite and Eternal Being, Kurt Reinhardt, tr., ICS Publications, Washington D. C., 2002):

The soul as the interior castle--as it was pictured by our holy mother Teresa--is not point-like as is the pure ego, but "spatial." It is a space, a "castle" with many mansions in which the I is able to move freely, now going outward beyond itself, now withdrawing into its own inwardness. And this space is not "empty," even though it can and must receive and harbor a fullness in order to become capable of unfolding its own individual life. (p. 373)

The soul 'dwells' in various aspects of itself: in the body, as sentient; in the spirit, as extending outside itself to recognize a world of persons, events, and things; and in "the personal I" or "pure ego". Stein is careful to indicate the point at which she is going beyond Teresa, saying, "St. Teresa was not interested in the question of whether the structure of the soul, aside from being the abode of God, has an independent meaning of its own and whether there is perhaps another entrance 'portal' to the soul's inwardness besides contemplative prayer" (p. 598 n. 33). In Stein's understanding of the interior castle, the dwelling-places are a significant fact about the very nature of the soul's 'inwardness' or self-consciousness; and the other entranceway is what she calls the "awake and conscious ego-life" (p. 375). It plays an important role in her attempt to clarify what it is to be a person. We have a genuine sort of soul-structure, a multifacetedness, in our self-knowledge; spatial metaphors are an attempt to characterize this, given that we don't have more convenient words for what is being discussed. She agrees with Teresa that the "ego which apprehends, observes, and works upon its own self as if this self were a purely external thing evidently does not have its seat in the interior of the castle" (p. 433), and that self-knowledge is closely related to interiority. As she says:

In its innermost being the essence of the soul is completely overt to itself. When the ego lives in this interiority, i.e., in the ground of its being where it is truly at home and in its own, it experiences in some measure the meaning of its being and feels the collected power that precedes the division into individual powers or faculties. And when the ego's life issues from this interiority, it lives a full life and attains to the height of its being. (p. 438)

This transformation to interiority is a gradual process; in particular, it is a gradual process in which the person becomes more fully what they are called to be: the call to interiority is an appeal to the person, to the intellect, to the free will. And we do experience a call to interiority. It does not compel, but to dwell in our castle in a more interior way is to understand ourselves more fully and to be more at home with who we are; the call to interiority is the call to 'take a stand' with respect to what sort of persons we will be, the voice of conscience: "Reason and faith are both appeals of the soul, calling it 'to enter into its own self' and to mold human life from the innermost center" (p. 440).

This only barely scratches the surface of the investigations of the two Teresas on this point. I find it immensely interesting from a philosophical perspective; in part, because I think they are both on to something very important about the nature of self-knowledge, and in part because it highlights that there is an immense amount of moral psychology and philosophical anthropology locked in spiritual classics. It's perhaps worth noting, too, that recognition of this is important to doing more justice to the actual participation of women in the Colloquium of Ages that is the history of philosophy. There are many important philosophical insights from women located in works of piety and spirituality with which, for various reasons, they often were in more of a position to write than they were to write any treatise that would be more stereotypically 'philosophical'.