Saturday, October 23, 2010

Of Simplicity and Sameness

Jason Zarri has a nice post up on my post from a while back in response to his post. In that post Jason had put up an interesting argument:

One of the main reasons we can have for believing in God is that, If God exists, we have a good explanation for the existence of an orderly and relatively life-friendly universe such as we find ourselves in. But this is only true if God’s will is not completely free.

I argued that the full argument conflated a distinction important for explanation, and this new post is his response to it. In it he concedes the importance of the distinction, but holds that there is a high price to be paid for it as a response in this particular case. In particular, Jason argues that there's a trilemma here:

Thus the theist, as I see things, has three main options: First, they could accept the externalist account of God’s actions, which would presumably preserve God’s freedom, at the cost of committing them to hold that God could not explain why the world is the way it is in any substantive sense. Second, they could reject Divine Simplicity and hold that God is both free and explanatory, but in doing so they would be giving up a long-held orthodox belief. Thirdly, they could maintain that God is explanatory but unfree in a libertarian sense, because God’s will is the same in every possible world—a position which, as it involves the idea that God could not create a world that is disordered and/or hostile to life, is also unorthodox by traditional standards.

If this were right it would be a pretty serious pinch: either God is not cause (in a robust explanatory sense) or God is not simple, or God is not free. I don't think it's right, and I think the part of the trilemma that crumbles is the middle horn.

Of divine simplicity Jason says:

Traditionally, it has been thought that God’s nature or “essence” is identical to God’s existence—as are all of God’s attributes and/or properties. Thus, God just is his own Omniscience, Omnipotence, Goodness, Wisdom, Mercy, etc. (This doctrine is known as “Divine Simplicity”)

That this is the traditional view of divine simplicity is a common view among philosophers of religion -- I have seen quite a few put it forward. I am very sure, however, that this view does not in any significant way predate the early modern period, and largely only gets called the traditional view because of a misleading translation.

Simplicity is fundamentally not a doctrine about identity; it is not the claim that God "just is" His attributes. Rather, it is the claim that God is not composite, that He is not composed of anything. Aquinas at one point, I forget exactly where, gives us a list of kinds of composition that are not in God, and it is clear that he regards it as exhaustive:

1) part and whole
2) matter and form
3) nature and supposit
4) essence and esse
5) genus and difference
6) subject and accident

All of these compositions in a true and proper sense of the term because on Aquinas's account of composition you have composition only when two things are related in such a way that one is potential to another. Part is potential to whole, matter to form, nature to supposit, essence to actual being, genus to difference, subject to accident. Thus since nothing in God is potential to anything else in God (for various reasons I won't go into here), God is not complex; He is simplex. What is very noticeable about this account is that it doesn't rule out distinctions as long as they don't introduce potential-actual distinctions.

And while not everyone has exactly the same view, it's nonetheless clear in, say, the medieval period that (1) everyone accepts divine simplicity; (2) no one holds that this eliminates every distinction one might make; and (3) there are arguments all over the place about whether, given divine simplicity, one can apply this or that distinction to divine matters. Almost everything everyone says about distinctions in theological matters in the medieval period becomes completely unintelligible if divine simplicity is taken to mean that everything in God is identical to everything else, because this makes distinctions absolutely impossible, by definition.

It's an interesting question why people think the identity thesis is the traditional view of divine simplicity. I think there are two major contributing factors. The first is that the account of divine simplicity which most philosophers have come across in a form where it does clear philosophical work is the Cartesian account of divine simplicity. Now, if there's any account of divine simplicity that comes pretty close to the identity thesis, it's Descartes's version of it. Despite attempts by, say, Dan Kaufmann, to argue that Descartes introduced no serious innovations into the doctrine, Descartes's account of divine simplicity completely baffled almost everyone who came into contact with it at the time and almost every Cartesian after him struggles to rethink divine simplicity in Cartesian terms (and keeps running into new problems). (Shifts in the use and content of the doctrine of divine simplicity in the major Cartesians, by the way, would be a very good dissertation topic; they certainly are there but haven't been looked at very closely.) But since pretty much everyone trained in philosophy today spends a fair amount of time on Descartes, and certainly more time on Descartes than on any other major thinker who takes divine simplicity seriously, philosophers have a bad habit of assuming something like Descartes's view is the traditional view, and that the sort of philosophical ramifications it has will always be those that it has in Descartes's philosophy. This is not so.

The second is that one of Aquinas's key doctrines is often called "the identity of essence and existence". Reading 'identity' here as identity in the sense that essence and existence are identical, so that the one 'just is' the other (without any attenuating qualification like, 'in some way'), is, I think, based on an anachronistic reading of a not-particularly-great translation. As I've talked about this before (here and here) I won't dwell here on the reasons for my view on this point. Suffice it to say that it makes sense as a description of the Thomistic doctrine (if essence and existence are not composed in God, then they are in some way the same, idem), but 'identity' in this context does not mean what we would usually take it to mean. And, of course, there are other traditional accounts of divine simplicity besides Aquinas's.

In any case, the point is that divine simplicity is merely divine noncompositeness; this does not require the identity thesis, and thus one can easily have divine simplicity while rejecting the account of it Jason is assuming here. So God can be free and simple and explanatory. I'm not convinced that even the defender of the identity thesis is in quite such hard straits as Jason suggests; but since this post is long enough, I will simply leave it, and perhaps some day develop this suspicion a bit more fully in a future post.

Happy Boethius Day!

Today is the Feast of Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Martyr, who had the victory of an unjust death.

(1) Consolation of Philosophy, Book II, Meter 8 (Relihan, tr.):

A steadfast, trustworthy universe
Makes harmonious, ordered change;
Pacts eternal restrain and curb
Warring physical elements.
Phoebus brings forth the rose-red day
From a chariot made of gold;
Stars that Hesperus ushers in
Phoebe governs in dead of night;
Seas immoderate keep in check
Rolling waves in determined bounds;
Dry land, shapeless and protean,
May not stretch out beyond its pale.
What binds this sequence of things so tight,
What is king over land and sea,
What the heavens obey, is Love.
Should he slacken or drop his reins,
Things that now love each other well
Will do battle forever more,
And will venture to tear apart
What they faithfully now impel
With Love's motion--the world machine.
He holds nations together too
With inviolate treaties bound;
He joins marriage's sacred rites
In immaculate bonds of love;
For the loyal and faithful friends
He lays down what is right and wrong.
O how happy the mortal race,
Were Love king over all your hearts,
Love that heaven accepts as king!

(2) A link to a post from about two years back, on one of my favorite parts of the Consolation.

(3) A reminder in this election year of a different kind of politician, who held that a statesman should teach people to think more logically:
Although the cares of my consular office prevent me from devoting my entire attention to these studies, yet it seems to me a sort of public service to instruct my fellow-citizens in the products of reasoned investigation. Nor shall I deserve ill of my country in this attempt. In far-distant ages, other cities transferred to our state alone the lordship and sovereignty of the world; I am glad to assume the remaining task of educating our present society in the spirit of Greek philosophy.
[Boethius, In Categorias, E. K. Rand translation, quoted in F. Anne Payne, King Alfred and Boethius, U Wisconsin P (Madison, WI: 1968) p. 7.]

(4) In one of my classes we're talking (briefly, in relation to Book III of the Consolation) about Boethius's De Hebdomadibus, and I was re-reading Aquinas's commentary (PDF) on the work. I find I am completely puzzled as to why Aquinas thinks "hebodmada" and "to investigate" mean the same thing; there's bound to be some reason for such a strange identification. If you don't approach the text form a Neoplatonist angle, treating 'hebdomad' as something like 'a period of investigation' actually makes a lot of sense of the text, or, at least, keeps it from sounding very strange; but the identification suggests that there was more to it than this. Does anybody have any ideas? It's possible he's adapting prior interpretations; a similar interpretation is also found in Gilbert of Poitiers and Thierry of Chartres, since they interpret it as 'conception', and Aquinas links his interpretation to this interpretation; they all seem to think there is some etymological link between the two, but I can't see what makes them see the etymology in the first place.

Alain of Lille also proposed an interpretation: he thought 'hebodmad' meant 'something worthy of assent'; it's also unclear why. But, of course, they all had the excuse of not knowing the Greek word; Schultz and Synan, in their introduction to their translation, suggest that it refers to the seven axioms, which almost everyone lists as nine. I regard this as just as speculative an exercise of stretching as anything the medievals suggested. Incidentally, my own preferred speculative stretch, if we must stretch at all: Boethius is talking about a week, and the puzzle in question is how God can call all things good in the week of creation given that we are also told that God alone is good; both claims, of course, have philosophical backing, and so there's a question as to how they can both be true. Pro: It actually makes sense of everything, except possibly the plural form of the word 'hebdomad', and even that could be explained away. Con: There's not a hint of actual linkage to the week of creation, unless you count 'hebdomad' itself and its linkage to the goodness of things. Of course, who knows? Despite the title, the only thing we learn about the hebdomads is that Boethius has been thinking about them, and that this problem about participated good arose with regard to them. In matters like these we are necessarily only saving the phenomena.

Friday, October 22, 2010

On Ruse on Harris

Ruse, describing Sam Harris:

According to him, we have been quite mistaken in thinking that matters of fact and matters of value are two separate things. David Hume was wrong when he said we can never legitimately go from the way things are to the way things ought to be. G. E. Moore made a mistake when he invented the “naturalistic fallacy” for moves from the scientific to the ethical.

Unfortunately, Ruse is wrong about Hume here: Hume doesn't say that we can never legitimately go from the way things are to to the way things ought to be; he says that in all the standard systems of morality he's come across, the author starts out with 'is' propositions and then gets to 'ought' propositions without explaining this new relation, which needs to be explained; and he says that this shows that 'ought' is not to be treated as a relation perceived by reason alone. Hume never claims that we can "never" go from 'is' to 'ought'; he claims that in rationalist and popular systems of morality, which treat 'ought' as a relation, this transition is never explained properly, and that this is reason to think that the transition is impossible if 'ought' is treated as a relation.

It's also somewhat misleading to bring up Moore's account of the naturalistic fallacy here without making clear that the majority of philosophers have accounts of ethics that are inconsistent with it: utilitarianism, to give just one instance, is exactly the sort of thing that Moore thinks commits the naturalistic fallacy, and lots of philosophers are utilitarians and so hold views that commit them to saying that Moore's account is, at the very least, flawed or misleading. Moore's account doesn't eliminate "moves from the scientific to the ethical"; it eliminates any definition of 'good' in terms of 'natural quality' (Moore never seems to have come up with a reasonable account of what counts as a 'natural quality'). The moves are fine; they just aren't definitive of good. And if Moore's account did eliminate such moves, it would not eliminate just scientific ones, but (apparently) any connection of ethical domains with any sort of natural domain, scientific or not (as Prior pointed out once).

Individual Substance of a Rational Nature

Since Person cannot exist apart from a nature and since natures are either substances or accidents and we see that a person cannot come into being among accidents (for who can say there is any person of white or black or size?), it therefore remains that Person is properly applied to substances. But of substances, some are corporeal and others incorporeal. And of corporeals, some are living and others the reverse; of living substances, some are sensitive and others insensitive; of sensitive substances, some are rational and others irrational. Similarly of incorporeal substances, some are rational, others the reverse (for instance the animating spirits of beasts); but of rational substances there is one which is immutable and impassible by nature, namely God, another which in virtue of its creation is mutable and passible except in that case where the Grace of the impassible substance has transformed it to the unshaken impassibility which belongs to angels and to the soul.

Now from all the definitions we have given it is clear that Person cannot be affirmed of bodies which have no life (for no one ever said that a stone had a person), nor yet of living things which lack sense (for neither is there any person of a tree), nor finally of that which is bereft of mind and reason (for there is no person of a horse or ox or any other of the animals which dumb and unreasoning live a life of sense alone), but we say there is a person of a man, of God, of an angel. Again, some substances are universal, others are particular. Universal terms are those which are predicated of individuals, as man, animal, stone, stock and other things of this kind which are either genera or species; for the term man is applied to individual men just as animal is to individual animals, and stone and stock to individual stones and stocks. But particulars are terms which are never predicated of other things, as Cicero, Plato, this stone from which this statue of Achilles was hewn, this piece of wood out of which this table was made. But in all these things person cannot in any case be applied to universals, but only to particulars and individuals; for there is no person of a man if animal or general; only the single persons of Cicero, Plato, or other single individuals are termed persons.

Wherefore if Person belongs to substances alone, and these rational, and if every nature is a substance, existing not in universals but in individuals, we have found the definition of Person, viz.: "The individual substance of a rational nature."

Boethius, Contra Eutychen et Nestorium, II & III (from here)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Election Year

Were you to catch sight of a nest of mice and one among them claiming power and authority for himself in preference to all the rest, what laughter would split your sides!
[Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, Book II, Prose 6 (Relihan translation)]

So far the most striking candidate of the 2010 election year is this third party candidate for New York Governor:

Of course, he apparently has something of a dubious background. But that just means he needs to go into advertising.

Pulse and Consonance

Consonance, which rules every modulation of music, cannot come to be without sound; sound, in turn, cannot be transmitted without a certain pulse and percussion; the pulse and percussion cannot, in turn, come to be at all unless motion precedes them. For if all were immobile, it would not be possible for one thing to push against another, such that the first be impelled by the second, but if all were to be immobile and without motion, it would necessarily follow that no sound would come to be.

Therefore, sound is defined as percussion of air which does not cease until it reaches the hearing organ.

Boethius, De Institutione Musica (quoted from here)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The World in the Soul

Extraordinarily busy, so although I have more substantive posts coming, they will be after a bit. It's been a long time since I've had anything from this blog's namesake, though.

Naturalists, whose proper province it is to consider phænomena, experiments, mechanical organs and motions, principally regard the visible frame of things of corporeal worlds supposing soul to be contained in body. And this hypothesis may be tolerated in physics, as it is not necessary in the arts of dyalling or navigation to mention the true system or earth's motion. But those who, not content with sensible appearances, would penetrate into the real and true causes (the object of theology, metaphysics, or the philosophia prima) will rectify this error, and speak of the world as contained by the soul, and not the soul by the world.

George Berkeley, Siris, #285. The "art of dyalling" is another name for horology, the art of measuring time (i.e., dial as in 'sundial' or 'the dial of a watch'). Of course, it follows from Berkeley's immaterialism and idealism that the world quite literally is in the soul, rather than vice versa.

Same and Different

Sameness is predicated in three ways: by genus; e.g., a man and a horse, because of their common genus, animal. By species; e.g., Cato and Cicero, because of their common species, man. By number; e.g., Tullius and Cicero, because they are numerically one. Similarly difference is expressed by genus, species, and number.

But a variety of accidents brings about numerical difference; three men differ neither by genus nor species, but by their accidents, for if we mentally remove from them all other accidents, still each one occupies a different place which cannot possibly be regarded as the same for each, since two bodies cannot occupy the same place, and place is an accident. Wherefore it is because men are plural by their accidents that they are plural in number.

Boethius, De Trinitate (quoted from here)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two Sikh-Themed Poem Re-Drafts

Since I put up something on Sikhism in the last post, I thought I would put up the most recent forms of two poems that derive their themes from Sikhism. Amritsar is the Sikh holy city, and Kartaa Purakh means, very, very roughly, 'Lord Creator'. Sat Naam, His Name (naam) is True (sat = enduring, changeless, certain) is an important Sikh devotional phrase, and is found as part of what is perhaps one of the most important verses in the Guru Granth: Ik Onkar, Sat Naam, Kartaa Purakh, Nirbhau, Nirvair, Akaal-murat, Ajuunii, Saibhang, Gur Prasaad; Jap! (God is One, His Name is True, Doer, Fearless, Hateless, Undying, Birthless, Self-Enlightened, Guru's Grace; Pray!)
ADDED LATER: You can hear the verse sung at the very beginning of the Guru Granth here (#2, requires Real Player).


Although the sea divides us, in Amritsar I stand;
my heart rests in the warmth of its nectar-golden sand.
In a vessel, clay and calm, made by the guru's hand,
I feel blessing pouring down: for in Amritsar I stand.

When time pools all around me like some silent sarovar
I am in Ramdaspur; and, whether near or far,
my heart is by those waters as they shine beneath the stars
around the golden temple of blessed Amritsar.

When trouble overtakes me I flee to the fort of steel,
I shelter in the city with the sacred pools that heal,
I search for the jot of light where the psalms of gurus peal:
this world is all mirage, but Amritsar is real.

Kartaa Purakh

All-enlightening boundless being,
His Name is True!
Never dying,
Never pictured,
Never by the concept tamed,
Forming all,
All things seeing!

Every seeing eye He makes
To see Him in a given guise:
The wisest knowing Him as light -
The sweetest knowing Him as grace -
The bravest knowing Him as might -
One everlasting Name!

His Name is True!
Never failing,
He knows no bounding by guise or word,
All expressing!
He makes each spirit in its kind,
Builds the souls of living nations,
Makes them all to sing and live!

Every living mind He makes
To know Him in a vital guise:
The purest heart as vital goodness -
The softest heart as touching beauty -
The warmest heart as fire truest -
Every guise is but a glimpsing,
None can capture all His Name!

All this world is fiercely burning!
All this land is mired in flame!
Save it, Lord, with showered blessing
Through every door that may deliver!

Unbounded God within His people
Moves about in living form:
The unformed speaks in bounded creature,
Takes a shape in living works!
The noumenal by all uncaptured
Captures all,
Takes all by storm!

Overflowing life and being!
Flooding force of light and love!
Worship Him in mind and glory!
Know Him well:
His Name is True!

Walls of Sand

Meditate in remembrance on the Lord -
meditate on the Lord;
this alone shall be of use to you.
Abandon your association with Maya,
and take shelter in the Sanctuary of God.
Remember that the pleasures of the world are false;
this whole show is just an illusion. ||1||Pause||
You must understand that this wealth is just a dream.
Why are you so proud?
The empires of the earth are like walls of sand. ||1||
Servant Nanak speaks the Truth:
your body shall perish and pass away.
Moment by moment, yesterday passed.
Today is passing as well.

Raag Jaijaavantee, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Section 35. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib, of course, is the holy book of the Sikhs, the perpetual Guru; it consists of songs in praise of God (written by Sikh Gurus, Hindu bhaktis, and Muslim Sufis), of which there are many interesting ones.

First and Second Good

The first good, because it is, is good in virtue of the fact that it is. But a second good, because it flowed from that whose being itself is good, is itself also good. But the being itself of all things flows from that which is the first good and which is such that it is properly said to be good in virtue of the fact that it is.

Boethius, De Hebdomadibus (Scott Macdonald, tr.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Notes and Links

* Tim McGrew's article on miracles is up at the SEP. Big, big improvement over the Michael Levine article it is replacing (Levine's article was OK, but very limited and not very informative or thorough; and the interpretation of Hume, who was central to the argument, was wrong, although that gets into rather complicated matters), and McGrew has actually taken the trouble to investigate what has actually been said in philosophical discussions on the subject of miracles rather than merely assuming that he knows it already, as most people tend to do on the subject.

ADDED LATER: Having looked at McGrew's discussion of Hume more closely, I am very, very pleased. My only quibbles would be (1) I don't think there's anything in Campbell that really suggests that Part I, as such and on its own, is an argument (there is room for disagreement here, and I once had a long and interesting online argument with McGrew about this very point) -- although he does think that Hume's argument is for the conclusion "that a miracle story could not be believed on testimony even under the most favorable circumstances," he makes no sharp distinction between Part I and Part II at all; (2) the slow turn in Hume scholarship over the question of whether Part I is any argument against miracles at all may arise "in part from the apprehension on the part of some of Hume's defenders that if it is an argument, it is not very good," but the major reason for it is that the reading of Part I on its own as an a priori argument against miracles has never sat very well with the way Hume himself actually describes what he is doing in the essay itself; (3) crucial to Hume's argument is the fact that he really and truly does think that you can have opposing proofs (he says so more than once, and under conditions that cannot be purely ironic), and his account of what a proof is also crucial to the argument, but this really isn't addressed, despite being relevant at several points (it's a reason why Hajek's very nicely argued case for his reconstruction still fails, for instance); (4) while not essential, it would have been nice if it had pointed out that some key elements of Hume's argument are adaptations of Protestant arguments against Catholic miracles (a point which explains a number of otherwise puzzling issues in the essay) -- but, again, it wasn't essential, and the article isn't on Hume's account of miracles. All in all quite good; one of the best discussions on Hume's essay on miracles that I've read in a while.

* Jules Verne's fascination with Scotland.

* A Lakatosian paper on .999... = 1 (PDF), and in particular on the deeper mathematical points that make it unsurprising that students are often confused by it. (ht) In effect (as the author notes) it's an attempt to restart the old Analyst dispute.

* Fr. Z clears up confusion about whether Hildegard von Bingen is a (recognized) Catholic saint. The answer in short is: certainly. She was never formally canonized, but she's early enough that her longstanding veneration in respectable dioceses and orders counts. And if one wants something official, she's listed in the Roman Martyrology (not being listed in the Roman Martyrology, since it's not an exhaustive list of saints recognized by the Church, wouldn't mean anything, but being listed is as official as one could wish). If I recall correctly, she's not on the General Calendar, so regular veneration of her feast day (17 September) will only occur where she is on the local calendar (in Germany and in Benedictine communities, mostly) but because she's listed specifically as a saint in the Roman Martyrology, any priest anywhere in the world can devote a mass to her on any day in the General Calendar that does not already have a saint assigned to it (a dies non). This, of course, applies to liturgical commemoration; people can commemorate her non-liturgically in any reasonable way they see fit, at any time they see fit.

* By the same token (I mention it because I was once somewhat puzzled by it) the same is true of Boethius, who is listed in the Martyrology as a saint; Boethius is not on the General Calendar, so his feast day (October 23) is not universally celebrated, and is mostly only celebrated in Italy. But he is officially recognized as a saint, and because he is in the Martyrology, he can be celebrated on any dies non.

* Female Character Flowchart (ht)

* Something I learned recently: Philippa Foot was the granddaughter of Grover Cleveland. President Cleveland and his First Lady, Frances, had a daughter, Esther Cleveland, who met a British Army officer, Captain William Bosanquet. Their offspring was Philippa Judith Bosanquet (the 'Philippa' seems to have been after William's mother), who eventually married the historian Michael (usually known as M. R. D.) Foot and became known as Philippa Foot.

* Mike Flynn discusses liberum arbitrium.

* Yesterday there were six Catholic canonization, of which three were especially notable: André Bessette, Mary MacKillop, and Camilla Battista da Varano. Bessette is the first member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross (C.S.C.) to make it to the General Calendar. His feast day is January 6. And MacKillop, who belonged to the Sisters of St. Joseph, is the first Australian to make it to the General Calendar (sainthood it seems, is not really something Australians do). Her feast day is August 8. Camilla Battista da Varano was an Italian princess who became a Poor Clare and wrote rather extensively on theological subjects; her feast day is May 31. She wrote an autobiographical work called The Spiritual Life, which is currently available online in translation (PDF).

An Animal Divine by Virtue of Reason

So is it really the case that there is no possession planted within you and truly your own, so that you all must look for your possessions in things external to you and separate from you? Is the order of things so upside-down that an animal that is divine by virtue of its reason never seems to itself to be radiant except by the possession of its inanimate possessions? Everything else is satisfied with its own, but you mortals!--though you are like God by virtue of your minds you try to acquire from what is bottommost things on which to pride your superior nature....

Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, Book II, Prose 5, Relihan, tr. Hackett (2001) p. 37.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Gramertsfelder on Russell's Mysticism and Logic

With respect to the recent post on Russell's "Mysticism and Logic," I recently came across a text (fairly critical, and indeed, I don't think at all fair, of Bradley and Bosanquet, and published in 1920) by a man with the unlikely name of Walter Sylvester Gameltsfelder. He notes:

And certainly if we are to accept Mr. Bertrand Russell's designation of the convictions common to all mystics (his position appears tenable), we must assert that a mystical tendency is present throughout the philosophical systems of Mr. Bradley and Prof. Bosanquet. Mr. Russell suggests that all mystics share in the following beliefs: 1) That knowledge is possible through revelation, insight or intuition, as well as through sense and reason; 2) That Reality is a Unity and that there is no opposition or division anywhere; 3) That time is ultimately unreal; and 4) That evil also is unreal and only appearance. Mr. Bradley and Prof. Bosanquet openly subscribe to these four tenets in the creed of Mysticism, as the body of our study shows, and it is this element which leads them to posit the existence of ultimate Reality beyond the reach of human experience, and to accept a criterion of truth and Reality which, for the finite mind, is never wholly realized. With whatever success we have shown that this view of Reality and its criterion are untenable, the same applies in criticism of the above mentioned tenets of mysticism, for Absolutism and Mysticism seldom appear divorced.

Not hugely significant, but it shows one contemporary reader of Russell's essay who saw clearly the connection between the Absolute Idealists and the argument of the work.