Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dashed Off

As usual, this is just a set of things from my constant note-taking. Grains of salt and all that.

instrumental externalization of second nature

Minds too narrow fill up too quickly, minds too open do not fill up at all.

the sense of the sublime as evidence for the supersensible character of intellect

Constant conjunction is an effect, and implies a cause.

Christian vocation is a convocation.

Hume's philosophy would change considerably by keeping the copy principle and its method of application but merely allowing intelligible as well as sensible impressions. Think on this.

peaceful laws, just treaties, sound coinage

constitutions as teleologically constrained circulations of power

That all men by nature desire to know we see from the joy of discovery.

the sufficiency of bodily goods instrumentally required for virtuous life

Virtuous society requires three things as its source: peaceful union, direction to good, supply of the instruments of virtuous action. It requires three things for its maintenance: orderly appointment and succession, means of restraint and inducement, defense against external danger. And since virutous society that does not improve will dissolve under the corrosion of fortune, continual improvement and correction of error is required in each of these things.

permissibility vs. advisability

philosophy & the art of making things intelligible (illuminating)

Humean empiricism is a digital empiricism: minimal sensibles organized by associative rule sets. It is unclear, though, that vivacity is not intended by Hume to be continuous. But its operation as described by him is not obviously inconsistent with discrete values.

The brain is a powerful organ, but one must think with one's whole body.

Even the damned are human in nature.

That Heidegger could see Nazism as a possible solution to the problem of technology is a sign that he misconceived the problem.

To make well a resolution like marriage one needs genuine self-knowledge.

The vocation of marriage is to abide.

juxtaposition as proto-metaphor
liturgical development as selective consolidation of proto-metaphor into metaphor

What counts as the neighborhood of an argument is always relative to an operation on the argument space.

Hell is what you are when all your self-deceptions run out: a burning darkness, a weeping, a gnashing of teeth.

sensory systems as imagination extenders

One of the most egregious confusions one can make is to confuse intellectual humility and intellectual timidity.

adapting Bobbitt's modalities of constitutional interpretation to traditional adaptation and development
(1) historical research & rediscovery
(2) textual implication and requirement
(3) coherence with overall systemic analogies
(4) use of precedented methods
(5) teleological fitting
(6) economy (expedience)

One sign of weakness & strength in argument is whether it can survive a reasonable change in vocabulary.

Annunciation : Ascension :: Nativity : Pentecost

Love is drama.

Pen and sword alike are applications of force.

Intellectual airs have often been used to cover mere license.

Morality needs symbolisms to infuse.

When sophistry lays a trap for us, we are the bait for ourselves.

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. That leaves a region of ambiguity: those who believe but are not baptized, like the good thief or the trembling devils.

Fairness of outcome is not something anyone can completely control. Slight differences in one place can yield massive differences elswehere.

broadly monastic life as carrying forward the essential features of primitive Church into new circumstances

Operationalism guarantees that scientific reasoning is nonmonotonic or at least imperfectly monotonic (bounded resources, etc.).

Feuerbach's argument that God is human anture taken objective also has the implication the world is human nature taken objectively; it is based on the proposition that the object of any subject is the subject's own nature taken objectively. He does, of course, deny that this is true for the senses, in which consciousness of object is distinguishable from consciousness of self, due to externality and independence, but we cannot reduce the world to such externality and independence as we find in the senses themselves, and the world as alter ego clearly runs into the same issues; and the more we open the problem to let the world escape, themore we open it to let God escape as well. External world realism as well as religion is the childlike condition of humanity.

"Different systems of expression are often of the greatest advantage." Peirce

probability as ration of frequency of species to frequency of genus (Peirce)
-> this would make probablility always of a species relative to a genus

You can only actually find out what you don't know by laying out what you seem to know and finding aporia.

With Humean causes there is no effect except order.

A state is a selective organization of monopoly.

Christ's atonement is (1) persuasive; (2) imputative; and (3) assimilative.

All folly is mutilated wisdom.

To teach technique without teaching virtue is to teach slavery.

Newton's first law does not state that constant motion needs no cause but only that all change of velocity of motion needs a particular kind of cause.

Truly long-range plans still require the urgency of the immanent end.

the causal principle as intrinsic to human curiosity (curiosity has a structure described by the principle, cf. questions) -- Beattie

To say that He is the Holy Spirit is to say that He is the Spirit of saints.

Bede uses the letters of Gregory to establish a pattern for the faithful English nation by tracing the wisdom at its roots.

Loss of hope is poison to friendships.

the intimation of priesthood, prophethood, and royalty in marriage

Tyrell is right about one thing: "The religion of all men must be the religion of the whole man -- Catholic in depth as well as in extension". Very true, and well said. But he has just spent a whole book cutting off parts of the whole man.

The fundamental problem Augustine scholarship must overcome is that Augustine is often read as dogmatic even when there is clear textual evidence that he is being tentative, or just considering a possibility, or even arguing in someone else's terms or on someone else's assumptions.

our knowledge of the external world in terms of causation, relation, and remotion

levels of contemplation
(1) consideration of the sensible
(2) transition from the sensible to the intelligible
(3) evaluation of the sensible in light of the intelligible
(4) consideration of the intelligible reached by the sensible, in its own right
(5) consideration of the intelligible not reached by the sensible but only by reason
(6) consideration of the inexhaustible intelligible, divine truth

'All shall be well' as a summary of penance

Much knowledge of much is still never enough.

servile love of knowledge, mercenary love of knowledge, pure love of knowledge

The waters of baptism find their own level.

The post-Tridentine nationalizing of spirituality seems to be a side effect of communication patterns.

Schelling's philosophy of nature is a philosophy of pre-reason.

philosophical perception as dual: to have an object and contemplate the having of it. (philosophy in this sense is like common sense working with the external senses.)
-> indeed, while there are many defective conceptions of philosophy, this point seems to have a powerful hold, and is found through many, sometimes as the very last residue: not to forget or overlook the possibility of the reflective element of the act

Every explanation must appeal to what is actual; to say a change has no actual cause is to claim that there is nothing that can actually explain it, that it is purely unaccountable. And for no change can it be demonstrated that there is no explanation for the change, that no account at all can be given of it.

Virtue is a principle of ordered action.

Without a principle of ordering there is no order.

Most modern 'accounts of causation' are just claims about how causal statements can be classified.

Sacraments are primarily signs of mysteries and secondarily signs of allegiance.

Pragmatism is the poor man's Kantianism. (cf. Kant's influence on Peirce and John Watson's discussion of James)

The primary line of response to polytheism (Baruch; cf. Boniface's letter in Bede 2.10) is that human beings are more noble than their supposed gods, and that human beings as the image of God are more noble than idols as images of the gods.

Chess is a good analogy for argument only if we imagine chess in which every move can open a new game, games within games within games.

People are not canonized because they are admirable, but because they are living pictures of aspects of grace.

Miracles, by showing something different, by, so to speak, putting the point in a new and poetic figure of speech, show how wonderful the ordinary course of nature is.

Sacramental character indicates priestly covenant.

six days to work in Torah, one day to rest in Torah

The errors of Fénelon can be reduced to the problem of treating the internal as external. You can always get orthodox results if one makes this explicit with each of the condemned propositions. The soul in pure love no longer desires eternal salvation as something external to the love itself; it may sacrifice all conception fo happiness as external, it may be indifferent to external standards, seeking only the internal organic development of perfection and virtue, it may lose sight of Christ as external to itself. All these go wrong if one assumes that this external remotion is an internal or absolute remotion; and failing to realize this was Fénelon's great mistake -- and also why it was not a mistake anywhere on the level of the major mystical heretics of the day. It is a failure of clarity, so that truht was hard to distinguish from error, not a rejection of truth or full acceptance of error.

Our language about God necessarily consists of diverse fragments; these fragments can be coordinated but not conflated.

Humility before truth is bold.


  1. What would it mean to "think with one's body"?

  2. branemrys9:26 PM

    The real question is what it would mean not to think with one's body. Some ways in which we do:

    * We estimate heights relative to eye-level.
    * Goal-directed movement involves constant kinaesthetic feedback -- it's not a mere brain-to-hand thing, for instance, but a complex interaction.
    * We develop motor learning skills.
    * We count with our fingers, thus using our bodies directly as cognitive instruments.
    * When trying to rotate imaginary shapes, we can use our hands to simulate the rotation, thus keeping track of the sides.
    * When trying to understand what someone else's feelings are, it often helps to go physically through the same motions and facial expressions.
    * We make use of 'gut feelings'.
    * We analogize things to our bodies (Roger Scruton has some good discussion of this, if I recall correctly, in the context of music).

    In other words, we measure with our bodies, simulate with our bodies, train our bodies to give the right solutions to problems, use our bodies as metaphors, not to mention sense with them. The list could be made very long. Despite the fact that we do this a lot, we don't do it very systematically, nor do we take full advantage of the potential. And despite that only very specific kinds of cognitive activity, a much smaller number than our full cognitive panoply, can be located wholly in the brain, we still tend to think of ourselves as stuck inside our skulls somehow. But when I am counting with my fingers, my cognitive act of counting is not in the brain; it's a brain-nervous system-muscular system  interaction involving brain, arm, and hand.

  3. I was going to protest "Love is drama", but on further consideration this makes sense. Drama is change, and love (at least human love) requires constant change and alteration to thrive. Even an externally happy, peaceful love demands constant internal self-abegnation and readjustment of priorities on the part of the individual lovers - "dying to self" is the traditional religious description of the drama of love.

  4. branemrys10:42 AM

    Hmm. MrsDarwin had a comment, but it seems to have bypassed Disqus somehow.   Here it is:

    I was going to protest "Love is drama", but on further consideration this makes sense. Drama is change, and love (at least human love) requires constant change and alteration to thrive. Even an externally happy, peaceful love demands constant internal self-abegnation and readjustment of priorities on the part of the individual lovers - "dying to self" is the traditional religious description of the drama of love.

  5. MrsDarwin1:31 PM

    For research purposes: sent that comment from my cell phone.


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