Saturday, June 09, 2012

Dashed Off

As usual, just putting some of my dashed-off notes up. Use with caution.

Since art does not require deliberation, deliberation is not required for having ends.

Contempt is a weakness in the contemner.

Laughter is the diamond in the crown of reason.

It is corrosive to demand apology when only concession is required.

A funeral should provide the fitting closure to a journey by being a thanksgiving for the sharing of a life and a remembrance that our lives in coming to an end show their substance and weight.

Music paints pictures of motions by representing rises and falls, slides and steps and soars, shades of force and textures of sound. To some extent these are conventional -- what in one culture is seen as the ascent of a scale may in another be seen as the descent of a scale -- but this is true of painting as well.

The adaptation of the changing condition of humanity to the gospel is always needed in every age of the world.

Irrational natural explanations are no less irrational for being natural.

Much nonsense has been written about evolution that treats it as a single kind of change when it manifestly is not.

Asserting the same thing in two different ways can be a very useful thing to do.

how to assess extraordinary evidence -- anything assessible like ordinary evidence is ordinary evidence

free choice as a necessary precondtiion of rational evaluation

the rational choreography of a Platonic dialogue

There are two kinds of epiphany. Some people are like the shepherds at night, taken by surprise, or a-sudden. But others are like the Magi, thinking through their destination and the way to it, having to find their way by reason and advice. But both have their epiphany.

The historical record has large holes to hide things in; even our best such records can miss extraordinary things, as we have sometimes found by new discovery.

Excessive focus on tiny strands of argument is a common weakness in philosophical reasoning; one learns much from such focus, but not all reasoning is wisely treated as a mere aggregate of little bits.

teaching as casting one's bread upon the water

Teachers are facilitators and catalysts: they simplify and accelerate the process of learning. But for the same reason they have limited effect on the essentials of learning.

We cannot account for the actual as we find it without considering the actual as also potential.

Practicing law is like engineering with an incomplete, and sometimes unstable, physics.

The only hopeless students are the ones who run away.

associative chains as inference facilitators

Love in the will activates or energizes love in the passions; but other things influence the passions as well.

Wars are often lost in their first conception.

HADD accounts of religion presuppose that agency is not conceptually confined to the ordinary agents of our experience, but that it admits of much, much wider possible extension.

To consider & test: Defenders of well-entrenched philosophical positions are more likely to argue for stalemate, rather than victory, in their defenses.

All divine attributes are essentially divine.

The inability to handle situations involving ambiguity is a sign of logical frailty, not logical strength.

philosophical argument as position play (go)

People often talk about entitlement when all they have established is need or prudence.

In politics rewards are often leashes.

Necessity has no slippery slope.

There are two kinds of verbal dispute: practical disputes about stipulation and theoretical disputes about classification. Neither is automatically silly or pointless; what is silly or pointless is to treat one as if it were the other.

We cannot adequately contextualize historical events unless we think in grand sweeps as well as in precise details.

The construction of arguments is precision work.

urgency, impact, and trend of philosophical problems

Intellectuals too often forget the distinction between their private interests and the interests of intellectual life itself.

crafts of a free people

the Allegory of the Cave as a transcendental deduction of the Good

liturgical refreshment of senses

Too little of what passes for critical thinking is concerned with means-end reasoning.

but-for causation

The best action movies work by focusing on the aesthetics of daring -- one notices that clear failures are the ones that either lose a grasp on daring entirely -- nothing is really dared, or, at least, nothing is felt to be so -- or subordinate it to non-daring-related spectacle, not as a respite or refreshment, but on a large scale.

Lv 19:19 as a figure for not mixing the covenant of God with other things, or for carefully distinguishing what pertains to each law ("Keeping statues")

Bene docet qui bene distinguit.

cascade failures in argument

argument weakening
(1) by modal subalternation
(2) by quantitative subalternation
(3) by terminal qualification
(4) by qualititative qualification
(5) by inferential qualification

It is better to speak of hard fortune than bad fortune, hard luck than bad luck, for it is always by its nature merely a difficult opportunity.

It is fortitude that makes it possible for anger to become an instrument of reason.

Antecedent credibility establishes suitability for being a provisional hypothesis.

Pursuit of the pleasant or pleasing is not the same as pursuit of pleasure.

economy, decorum, & equity as principles of politics and governance

Grace perfects nature, but here we must be careful. For grace perfects nature not necessarily according to natural ends but according to ends beyond natural ends, namely, divine ends. Grace perfects nature by preparing it for the transfiguration of glory.

Questions are only as simple as their context.

There are many different kinds of persuasion; arguments in particular can have several distinct persuasive functions.

The primary purpose of experimental controls is to increase the salience of desired information.

We can see Godel as having set up, indirectly, a hierarchy of intellectual risk for mathematical systems.

Natural selection can get no closer to belief as such than value/referent structure-types.

Debunking arguments are causal arguments.

mere hesitancy vs judicious suspense

Danger is an aesthetic concept.

oppression as the fruit of imprudence Pr 28:16

It is possible to aestheticize or ethicize any natural statement simply by adding a relevant modality.

faith as extending the horizon of reason, or rather rational certainty

mere conjunction vs. conjunction in the idea of a whole

petitio principii, ignoratio elenchi, etc. all have counterparts in defining -- fallacies of definition

dominance and submission symbolisms in philosophical argument -- these become mroe extensive and more easily identifiable in the modern period

We live our lives according to the audience we think we have, within the limits of memory.

Sometimes a more inaccurate model will allow for more fruitful lines of research.

the duty of practices of joy

Long chances may win long games.

Confirmation is always with respect to a context.

the sheaf of middle terms in a conclusion

liturgy as a source of richness of life

Demonstrations rise like spires from a seething sea of dialectical negotiations.

The faithful hold their bishops to the faith as will moves reason to believe.

Selection-based accounts of functions are only viable if they work by restricting possible functions rather than by positing functional ends.

the circulatory system of the Church: missionary travel and epistolary correspondence

Long after moral truths are no longer understood, cargo cult imitations of morality will endure.

Contrastive explanations are implicitly reduplicative.

If integrity is a good, there are sins against oneself that harm only oneself.
We can make sense of sins against oneself whether we are utilitarian, Kantian, or Aristotelian.

the need for hortatory institutions, especially in democratic societies

The decisions of courts need to be as predictable as the need for ingenuity in the face of the new can allow, so that citizens may take this into account.

contrastive explanation & final causes

All great ideas take years to develop.

ideational drift & the loss of learning

justification as grounding
justification as accounting
justification as rectifying

The thing about leaping to conclusions is that you can always recover from it.

"A quest is always an education both as to the character of that which is sought and in self-knowledge." MacIntyre

entitlements: right, desert, title

Avoiding proximate occasions of sin requires not just evasion but also development of the habitudes that make them no longer proximate occasions of sin.

It is notable that so much of the Matter of Britain is French and that so much of the Matter of France is Italian.

While you can standardize competence, you can only inspire excellence.

questions as imperatives

mass as an activity of a body

Statistics is the study of nomologies and anomalies in collections of measurements.

a fortiori by argument weakening
a fortiori by superparity

superparity : parity :: ≥ : =

(1) reality of the world
(2) intelligibility of the world
(3) real definition
(4) natural classification

Cumulative experience allows recognition; recognition allows insight.

People have become suspicious of crucial experiments, but they still treat virtually all abstract arguments as if they were supposed to be crucial in exactly the same sense.

Family resemblances can be defined with respect to types.

Disputes in economics are either purely technical or primarily ethical.

good-natured humor as a sign of sanity

the dervishness of life

The Faith is too much to put in a party platform or a social policy.

the Aeneid & the cost and worth of vocation

The Age of Gold is at angles to every present age.

We verify the emotions of others by participation in them.

Fear is less honest in tendency than hope.

on treating 'harm' as a taboo-like concept

The natural ends of work and business are, first, necessity, and, beyond that, creative fruition. Profit, on the other hand, is merely the delight of business, as pleasure is the delight of sex. Whoever is in business to make profit *rather than* to create is a dissolute libertine, and, like all dissolute libertines, will only be preserved from destruction, and the destruction of others, by sheer chance. One may indeed take profit as an end in business, but only as the crown of creation.

The function of an institution in broader society cannot be separated from the justifications it is seen as having.

Satire displays incongruity; hence its associations with humor, since humorous things are in some way incongruous. But the reverse is not true, and sometimes the incongruity is not supposed to induce laughter, but to distress, or to puzzle, or to emphasize, or to make suspicious.

treating laws of nature as a belief revision system for cases of nomological counterfactuals

convenant as mutual law
covenant as law mutually agreed

Remoteness of material cooperation generalizes complicity; proximateness specifies it.

Callicles's attack on philosophers as acting like boys picks up on the childlikeness of philosophical inquiry, its innocence in the use of the question, Why?

inference rules as accessibility relations among propositions

Tolkien's Elves are magical because they make poetry real; they do not merely personify trees in words, they wake the persons in them.

Being human is partly a learned behavior.

Massive complexes of evidence are negotiated by 'feel', that is, by passion and inclination organized by the desire for truth. Such things are handled synoptically.

Conscience cannot be kept private; it tends to the public by nature.

Autonomy is merely a way of talking about authority.

Arguments chiefly change beliefs by shifting sympathies.

It is natural to human beings to embody their beliefs in their material environment; otehrwise the beliefs come to seem tasteless.

utility, loyalty, deference, purity, dignity, and equity as facets of justice

solidarity as a link between dignity and purity -- purity vs complicity

In the last analysis, people must be taken on faith; there is too much of them not to do so.

(1) No consistent distinction can be made between justice by nature & justice by convention.
(2) Any consistent account of the good life includes self-discipline.
(3) True politics makes the people more just.
(4) Injustice is more to be feared than death or suffering.

Peace is a kind of wholeness.

There is no true freedom of worship where there is no freedom to live religiously.

requirements of natural law vs 'aspirations or wishes of natural law' (Maritain)

Socrates's dialectics is a positional game constructed largely by quiet moves.

The architectures of music and language are as important to civilization as those of stone.

Every virtue has a solidarity appropriate to it.

People are more convinced by arguments to which they contribute something than they are by other arguments.

We only love ourselves properly when, loving God, we see ourselves as we are, and all the joy and sorrow of it: icons of God under the shadow of death. And when we love ourselves as such, we finally know what it is to love our neighbor as ourselves; and it is then that the second law is like to the first.

poetic arts of advice & counsel

atheism as larger solipsism (cf. Merleau-Ponty on Malebranche & the cogito)

The political power of the literary is a subtle but constant pressure; like all subtle, constant pressures, it is easy to overlook but can in the long term accomplish extraordinary things.

Rule is more about attracting the wise, the capable, and the noble than about giving commands.

analytic, synthetic, and synoptic approximation

logical, psychological, sociological, and ethical dimensions of the strength of an argument

progress as the opiate of the intelligentsia

Excessive focus on defense immobilizes.

Common good establishes rights in common.

Joy and Sorrow are bound by Light and Glory.

re-enactments of intellectual arguments

causation as a foundational concept of ethics

Hurt feelings are not grounds for exception to laws.

the sense in which learning begins with trust (fides)
the sense in which learning begins with understanding (intelligentia)
the sense in which learning begins with experience (experientia)

The history of philosophy is by its very nature a real -- although imperfect -- dialectic.

The human race working together, or even a fragment of it, has in some ways a less sophisticated cognitive agency than a single human being, but in some ways a more powerful one.

In the moral life, great changes are sometimes needed, but more often subtle refinements are more valuable: delicate detail-work rather than massive reconceivings.

The transfiguration tells us that it is the Son who suffers.


We do not directly study power, whether active or passive; we study it by recognizing a certain unrestrictedness or unlimitedness in the actual.

The first thing a debunking argument must do is avoid debunking itself; and then from then on out it must not add anything that would lead to self-debunking.
Debunking arguments encourage special pleading.

Ethics must deal with the unusual, but it must deal most with the everyday.
The standard of competence for an ethicist is being able to give people ethical guidance for the circumstances under which many people actually live -- having this history, being faced with those choices and problems, having these resources, starting with those institutions and practices.

Even when something is morally permissible, that does not mean it is prudent to do.
Discussions of moral permissibility cannot ignore particulars, for these can affect the permissibility. It matters that this person is doing it, not that; it matters that these are the circumstances, not those.
There is no contextless moral permissibility.

When Kant says that religion is recognition of all duties as divine commands, he means rather that religion is the recognition fo teh fact that such an interpretation of duties is admissible given the character of duty.

Moral law may be complete in itself, but moral action is not until moral law is completely integrated with the conditions of human action.

Infants are communal members (qua wards) of their family and of society at large, not private property of their parents.

Indulgences are penitential practices suitable for substituting for other penitential practices, and certified as such by the Church as extension of its sacramental ministry of reconciliation.

The great sin of the intellectual is to support evil because it is interesting; it is a very great sin.

Exchanges may themselves be gifts.

potential parts of justice and the surplus of gift over exchange

The man who starts with fictions may discover truths, but the man who starts with nothing discovers nothing.

Every proverb is the seed of a story.

Scientific inquiry gets its value more from identifying the potential than from identifying the actual.

Eustathian vs Meletian lines of orthodox response to Arianism

From the distinctions of (1) the same and the different, (2) the actual and the potential, and (3) the consistent and the inconsistent, and these alone, if they can be granted to be actual distinctions of actual relevance to the real world, we can build almost all of classical metaphysics.

Hume's paradoxes in Treatise 1.4.2 shoudl be regarded as closely analogous to ancient Greek paradoxes about change. Indeed, they both are in the one genus of paradoxes of sameness and difference. Take this analogy & run with it.

Proportioning belief to evidence in Hume's account requires restraint of one's passions; any other reading of it is non-Humean.
Pascalian Wagers as arguments that we can and must sometimes proportion belief to practical reasons as well as theoretical reasons (all Wager arguments actually do this for specific domains)

The love of novelty has a worse reputation than it deserves; neither Malebranche nor Hume are fair in their criticisms. It is on strongest ground when it is not used alone; and even when alone it is at least harmless and often mildly beneficial -- if it is moderate. And it is as much an impulse of discovery as surprise or curiosity.

principles of credulity for each kind of inquiry, serving as initiators
principle of credulity for sensation

By testimony society itself becomes a cognitive instrument.

the mythopoetical aspect of scientific theory (verification of likely stories)

Mathematics begins with imagination rather than sense.

Cataphatic theology is recognition; apophatic theology is purification.

The sin of legalism doesn't just involve condemning others unjustly; it also invovles excusing oneself unjustly.
Legalism and anomianism have a sort of symmetry in the vices they feed.

ritual sacrifice the template for moral sacrifice

theodicy & the problem of formulating cases of conscience for God

Memory plays a more important practical role than speculative role, although, of course, our reason and reasoning are always both practical and speculative.

"Every morally obliging authority and force is founded essentially in the light of truth." Rosmini

the circulatory system and immune system as quasi-cognitive subcognitive systems

We must trust in order to learn what is trustworthy.

Future-loss accounts of why murder is wrong reduce murder to theft. This should strike more people as odd than it does. But it raises the question of what you'd get if, holding an account of the wrongness of usury, or lying, or ruthlessness, constant, one assimilated murder to that instead; and also what would happen if theft were instead reduced to murder. Think on these things.

A scold will inevitably be charged with hypocrisy. This will usually be right, but the charge will be made regardless of whether it is.

We experience coherence as a feature of the external world insofar as we experience it having a history.

Understanding based on ridicule is generally illusory.

resentment as a fellow-feeling

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please understand that this weblog runs on a third-party comment system, not on Blogger's comment system. If you have come by way of a mobile device and can see this message, you may have landed on the Blogger comment page, or the third party commenting system has not yet completely loaded; your comments will only be shown on this page and not on the page most people will see, and it is much more likely that your comment will be missed.