Saturday, April 28, 2012

Music on My Mind

Máddji, "Iđitguovssu". This is a Sami folk song about the sunrise.

Another Poem Draft

This is based on a very striking passage in the Iliad, in which Achilles is laying waste to the Trojans and comes across Lycaon, one of Priam's young sons, who goes down on his knees and begs Achilles to spare him because he was not one of those who had killed Greeks and he was only half-brother to Hector, who had killed Patroclus. But Achilles insists that all Trojans will die for the death of Patroclus and of the other Greeks, and then, calling Lycaon his friend, tells him that all, even he, Achilles, will die. Achilles then cuts off his head, throws Lycaon's body into the River Scamander (further angering the river-god, who hates Achilles) and taunts him, saying that little fish will come and eat the white fat of Lycaon. It is a very old-style pagan passage: terrible savagery and human sympathy side by side with no sense of contradiction, full of resignation and revenge at one time, showing the full range of human emotion in one bewildering mix, simultaneously plausible and strange.

Achilles to Lycaon Before the Death-Blow

You too, my friend, you too must die;
Why then beg mercy, weep tears, and cry?
Others have died, of great heart and loves true,
Heroic in passion; yea, better than you.
And death rules all, even I, yea, I,
It hangs over all like a thundering sky.
Come morning, come evening, come sun-searing noon,
My life will be taken, too swift and too soon,
By some arrow shot, or some spear made to stray,
And down I will fall, and leave realms of day.
Why then beg mercy, or tremble and cry,
When you, my friend, you, you also must die?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kierkegaard on Confession III: Double-Mindedness

We are to will the Good with purity of heart, we have to renounce double-mindedness. Kierkegaard says quite a bit that's of interest on the subject of double-mindedness, but here we'll just look briefly at some of the different forms double-mindedness takes.

(1) Who wills the Good for the sake of a reward is double-minded.

The person who wills the Good for the sake of some other reward is not willing the Good as one thing, but willing two things. He does not will the Good in truth. Kierkegaard here, without mentioning him by name, appeals to Socrates in his arguments against sophists and orators:

In ancient times, this problem was also frequently an object of consideration. There were shameless teachers of impudence who thought it right to do wrong on a large scale and then to make it appear as if one willed the Good....But in ancient times there was also a simple sage, whose simplicity became a snare for the impudent ones' sophistry. He taught that in order really to be certain that it as the Good that man willed, one ought even to shun seeming good, presumably in order tha thte reward should not become tempting. For so different is the Good and the reward, when the reward is separately striven after, that the Good is the ennobling and sanctifying; the reward is the tempting. (pp. 69-70)

We aren't tempted unless there is some reward to be had; and if we will the Good in order to have that reward, then even though we are willing the Good, we are succombing to temptation. And we should be cautious even with regard to the possibility of succombing to temptation. Kierkegaard uses the example of lovers. A man who loves a woman because she is wealthy is not a true lover. When we deal with someone who loves a woman and thinks that her wealth is also a good thing, we would urge at least caution; the influence of the latter can make the former seem greater than it is. How do we know for sure when we have a true lover? When he loves the woman despite her wealth, in the sense that he could sincerely wish that she wasn't wealthy so that it would not cloud the issue.

It's important to be clear that, despite the language bordering on quietism (to which Kierkegaard is arguably very much inclined), Kierkegaard is not saying that everything that could be called a reward is ruled out. For instance, there can be a sense in which we might say that the Good carries a reward in itself, or that there is something rewarding about the Good itself; he himself talks about the reward that is added to the Good for all eternity "in the internal realm" as "homogeneous with the Good" (p. 74). The reward Kierkegaard has in mind here is that which is external to the Good, the kind that can come or go. It is this that allows the possibility of self-deception and therefore double-mindedness: we fool ourselves into thinking that we love the Good even though we really love the reward (like seeming good to others), just like the man can fool himself into thinking that he loves the woman even though he really loves the idea of being wealthy with her. The man can deceive the woman, too. But the Good is never deceived.

(2) Who wills the Good out of fear of punishment is double-minded.

The obverse side of willing the Good to get a reward is willing the Good to avoid a punishment; both indicate a reward-centered mind. Kierkegaard's argument is Socratic here, too:

He should fear to do wrong. But if he has done wrong, then he must, if he really wills one thing and sincerely wills the Good, desire to be punished, that hte punishment may heal him just as medicine heals the sick. If one who is sick fears the bitterness of the medicine, or fears "to let mhimself be cut and cauterized by teh physician," then what he really fears is--to get well.... (p. 79)

This argument is straight from Plato's Gorgias (although it is not explicitly mentioned), which is the source of the quotation; although the passages in the reward are not so telling, it was probably also the Gorgias that Kierkegaard primarily had in mind when he was discussing reward. Kierkegaard recognizes that it is a spiritual illness not to fear what you should fear; punishment, Platonically considered, is a medicine, and medicines are genuinely dangerous. But it is a worse spiritual illness to fear what you should not fear, such as medicine when you need it. Kierkegaard uses several analogies here. Fear of being poor can make a man of miser; it doesn't, however, give him the virtue of thrift. Fear of sexual disease can make a man a more moderate debauchee, but it never makes him chaste. Likewise, fear of punishment can make sinners hypocrites, but it can never make them pure of heart. Why? The problem is that they only will the Good for avoiding punishment. The miser's life makes a mockery of thrift, the moderated debauchee's life makes a mockery of chastity, and the sinner's attempt to avoid the hardship of seeming to be a sinner makes a mockery of the Good.

It is extraordinarily important, however, to be clear that here, as with reward, Kierkegaard is not saying that all things that might be called punishment are not to be feared; one could for instance call the loss of the Good a punishment. Indeed, he criticizes people who are squeamish about raising the possibility of an eternal punishment, because this, too, puts the Good under a condition and therefore makes it impossible to will it single-heartedly: such people who will the Good only under the condition of "if there is no eternal punishment" or "if I can escape eternal punishment" are as double-minded as anyone who focuses only on temporal punishment, and deceive themselves into thinking that they are willing the Good without fear of punishment. But if eternal punishment matters to how and what you would will where the Good is concerned, how can your willing of the Good not be something conditioned by fear of punishment? And regardless of the form, fear is an unsafe assistance to willing the Good: "Only one thing can help a man will the Good in truth: the Good itself" (p. 84). And who wills the Good in truth will accept, even hope for, whatever punishment the Good requires to waken him and lead him back to the Good when he strays.

(3) Who wills the Good so that it may be victorious through him is double-minded.

Far more subtle than the previous two is the person who wills the Good so as to be victorious, who takes the Good as a means for his own conquest or dominance. He wills to be the instrument of the Good, the chosen instrument, the one through whom the Good gets its victory. But the Good has eternal victory in and of itself. The reason this double-mindedness can enter into the picture is that the manifestation of this victory in time is very slow in coming. Over and over again people devoted to the Good die and it seems that they have managed to accomplish very little. Thus men charge around doing things, allegedly for the sake of the Good, as if the victory of the Good depended on it, and this, which is really the vice of impatience, they mistake for something more pure, namely, enthusiastic willing of the Good. The Good can only be willed in truth if it is willed patiently:

The Good puts on the slowness of time as a poor garment, and in keeping with this change of dress one who serves it must be clothed in the insignificant figure of the unprofitable servant. With the eye of his senses he is not permitted to see the Good in victory. Only with the eye of faith can he strive after its eternal victory. (p.103)

We can only will the Good when we no longer take it to be about us; when we will the Good not from self-assertion but simply because it alone is the Good itself. Once we, in our minds, split off the victory of the Good from the Good itself, we begin to deceive ourselves and become double-minded.

(4) Who wills the Good only up to a certain degree is double-minded.

This is a harsher sentence yet. The world is a busy place, with so many calls on our attention. Thus we rush around, distracted, and thereby enters in the danger of self-deception and therefore double-mindedness, because we can come to love the Good but only in a shallow way. When we hear of the Good, we may warm to it; we may be gripped in imagination and passion by talk of it. But we do not will it singleheartedly if we let the busy buzz of our lives give us excuses not to act on our love of it. Rather, we must recognize that there are no such excuses; such excuses are mere self-deceptions. As with the previous case, there is often an impatience that goes with this one, and we find ourselves with this double-mindedness when we try to reform, recognizing the medicine of punishment, accepting it, but, when we begin to be healed we simply step back out of the world and stop what we were doing. We are like patients who are continually sick because, though we go to the physician and trust the treatment, it is only up to the point; the doctor insists that we must be on the medicine for several more weeks or the sickness will come back with a resistance, but we feel fine, so we stop taking the medicine, and, sure enough, become sick again. And we do it over and over and over. Kierkegaard calls this the doubleness born of weakness, and says that it is the most common form of double-mindedness; we will the Good sincerely, but not with purity of heart.

And thus we come to the next stage of Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing, namely, the answer to the question of what is required to have purity of heart.

Soren Kierkegaard, Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing, Steere, tr. Harper (1956).

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I've never done much with Collingwood, but I was thinking about his concept of re-enactment today. Collingwood is one of the, if not the, most influential philosophers of history in the twentieth century, and he argued that historical reasoning has a fairly distinctive feature, which he called re-enactment. The idea is that the task of the historian is to re-enact the past in his or her mind:

My historical review of the idea of history has resulted in the emergence of an answer to this question: namely, that the historian must re-enact the past in his own mind. What we must now do is to look more closely at this idea, and see what it means in itself and what further consequences it implies.

In a general way, the meaning of the conception is easily understood. When a man thinks historically, he has before him certain documents or relics of the past. His business is to discover what the past was which has left these relics behind it, For example, the relics are certain written words; and in that case he has to discover what the person who wrote those words meant by them.

This often seems to be misunderstood as meaning that re-enactment is a method; but I don't think this is Collingwood's point. Rather, the point is that this is the standard of success. A historian has succeeded in (say) understanding Plato's arguments to the extent that he or she can trace something like Plato's own steps with something like Plato's own reasoning, and the closer that "something like" is to "exactly like" the more successful the historian is. There should be a common structure between Plato's reasoning and the historian's reasoning; the historian of ancient philosophy is trying to synch his or her mind with Plato's, to the extent that's possible.

This gets more complicated when the relics aren't written words but something else (stone obelisks, or buttons, for instance), but reading Collingwood, it seems to me that he intends to include these as well. It's hard to say; he talks very abstractly at times, but most of his examples are written texts. This could just be because they are the most information-rich "relics of the past" that historians deal with. Re-enactment of the life of a button in one's mind has obstacles that arise from a lack of information. But certainly historians who deal with material culture could be said in some sense to try to re-enact the life of the button in their minds, and they know their trade the more they can use subtle clues to get something very like the actual life of the button. On the other hand, Collingwood repeatedly talks about it as if it's a problem of other minds, and we aren't dealing with other minds in the case of the button, unless, perhaps, we are thinking about trying to re-enact the mind of the button-maker as he carved this button, or something like that.

So the big question becomes: is there a fundamental difference between these two? Is re-enacting the thought of Plato fundamentally different from re-enacting the history of the obelisk or the button, because one involves a mind? Or do they involve the same kind of thinking, just applied to different evidence?

On Gallicho on Get Religion

The blogging at dotCommonweal seems to have been undergoing a steady decline in intellectual quality over the past year or so, and unfortunately a recent post by Grant Gallicho only serves to confirm my impression on this point. In it he makes an utter fool of himself in responding to a post by Mollie Ziegler at "Get Religion".

What Gallicho apparently has not wrapped his mind around, the point he didn't sufficiently take care to understand before getting into his high dudgeon, is that "Get Religion" is a journalistic site concerned with the specific question of how journalists handle religious news stories. Mollie's post was not presenting her own position; it was looking at the dual questions of (1) what journalists are leaving unclear to readers who are depending on them for information and (2) whether the language used is actually backed up journalistically by quotes, figures, and the like. This is what the "Get Religion" blog does -- while it not uncommonly comes out, because posters try to be above-board, the posts are not about the poster's own views but about what could be done better to present news stories on religious topics. Gallicho, however, apparently can't grasp this concept, and treats the post as if it were some rant; however his own responses to Mollie's questions (which were meant to highlight points that the reports in question are left unclear for readers, not, as Gallicho seems to think, to address the question of how to evaluate the CDF assessment or LCWR reactions to it) merely highlight Zeigler's points -- that there is key information that journalists are not being careful with in delivering, because Gallicho (and this is one of the moves that shows that he doesn't understand what he's criticizing) appeals to information that is not actually made clear by the news reports that were the actual focus of Mollie's post. The absurdity of Gallicho's criticism is merely highlighted by his parting shot, which he no doubt thought was clever: "No one should be surprised by the sisters’ response. Least of all those who purport to get religion." This manages to pack errors, violations of charitable interpretation, and mere obnoxiousness into a single comment. For one thing, the "Get Religion" name and tagline are not claims by the posters that they "get religion" in any special sense; it's a reference to the commonly recognized criticism of religion reporting that journalists don't "get religion", and the point of the blog is to highlight problems in religious reporting, comment on possible ways religious reporting could be more informative, and open the matter to general discussion in order to start improving the situation. For another thing, these last two sentences show yet again that Gallicho doesn't grasp the concept that "Get Religion" is not about what experts, or even people with extensive familiarity, get, but about how the press informs people who know nothing about the subject except what they read, or see, or hear from journalists.

Now, it's entirely understandable that someone should misinterpret a post on a narrowly specialized weblog by accidental inconsistencies in interpretation; but Gallicho's post goes well beyond that -- he shows that he didn't bother to consider the context at all, but was merely reacting with knee-jerk sneering and snideness. Managing to be uncritical, uncharitable, confused, and arrogant all at the same time is quite a feat; and one hopes that this is simply catching Gallicho on a really, really, really bad day rather than the typical level of intellectual thought for Commonweal editors.

The Heritage Guide to the Constitution

The Heritage Foundation has put its Guide to the Constitution online, and it makes for lots of interesting reading. The interpretation is originalist, although several of the contributors make an effort to be fair to other interpretations, but even for those who aren't originalists themselves there's a sense in which originalist interpretations are the most interesting reading, because they necessarily get into the history of the thing and show what the original point was. I was especially interested in seeing how the essay on the 27th Amendment was, and the author does a good job in brief space of explaining what is the most interesting of the Amendments, considered simply as amendments. The 27th, if you'll recall, was one of the original amendments proposed for the Bill of Rights, but didn't pass; it would have established a limitation on Congressional compensation (if they vote themselves a pay raise, they have to wait until after the next election to get it). Here and there another state would ratify it, but never enough to do anything (as the number of states increased, the number of states needed to ratify it increased). Two hundred years later, a college student started a ratification campaign after researching it for a term paper, and ten years after that Michigan became the 38th state to ratify it, thus finally making the proposed amendment meet the Constitutional requirement and unexpectedly smacking Congress upside the head. Because the ratification process took so long, there was some question of whether it was really a valid ratification process, but Congress, weighing the situation and realizing that they could not politically win a fight over whether to accept an amendment restricting their ability to compensate themselves, caved and recognized it. Heartening, really, despite the fact that the amendment isn't exactly earth-shattering; it shows that, though the leash may be miles and miles long, there's still a choke collar around Congress's neck, and the other end is still in the grip of the American people.

In any case, the website makes for some interesting reading if you have the time.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Contrastive Explanation and the Presupposition of Possibility

Bill Vallicella has a post up on contrastive explanation, in which he considers the following two questions:

1. Why is Mary walking rather than swimming?

2. Why is Mary walking?

These are distinct questions, of course, and call for distinct answers; the first question calls for a contrastive explanation. (There is a position that holds that all explanations are actually contrastive, but even if that's true, the contrastive explanation for (2) could not be the same as the contrastive explanation for (1), at least in general.) He then goes to argue that there are three presuppositions to question (1): that Mary is walking, that Mary is not swimming, and that it is possible for Mary to be swimming. His argument for the third of these:

If I aim to explain why she is walking rather than swimming, then I presuppose that she is not swimming. But her not swimming is consistent with the possibility of her swimming. Her not swimming is also consistent with the impossibility of her swimming. Nevertheless, if I ask why walking rather than swimming, I presuppose that she might have been swimming. 'Rather than' means 'instead of' (in place of). So if she is walking instead of swimming, and walking is possible because actual, then swimming must also be possible if it is to be something that can be done instead of walking. It might help to consider

3. Why is Mary walking rather than levitating?


4. Why is Mary walking rather than levitating and not levitating at
the same time?

These two questions have presuppositions that are false. (3) presupposes that it is possible that Mary be doing something nomologically impossible, while (4) presupposes that it is possible that Mary being doing something that is narrowly-logically impossible. Questions (3) and (4) are therefore not to be answered but to be rejected -- by rejecting the false presuppositions upon which they rest.

I do not find this argument convincing at all. If someone honestly asks "Why is Mary walking rather than levitating and not levitating at the same time?" it seems to me that the explanation that it's possible for her to walk but not possible for her to levitate and not levitate at the same time is a perfectly good contrastive explanation, and is, in particular, an intelligible answer to an intelligible question.

There seems to me to be an alternative explanation here, which is that questions (1), (3), and (4) do not require us to presuppose that the contrast case is possible; rather, as a practical matter, it would be unusual for anyone to ask such questions if no one thought the contrast case possible. This, however, makes it not a presupposition but an implicature; that is, in most cases it would arbitrarily violate the maxim of quantity. I think the 'thought' is important; it's not necessary for us to be presupposing that the contrast case is really possible, only to be suggesting that someone might think it possible. A pretty good paraphrase of (1) in actual conversation, for instance, would be "Why is Mary walking and not swimming, given that one might think that she would be swimming?"

For both of these reasons, I do not think we have to say that (1), (3), and (4) have a false presupposition, and therefore I don't think the questions can be dismissed on this basis. (Indeed, as one might infer from my comments, I don't think we can reasonably dismiss them at all; it's just that they have very easy answers. But since impossibilities can be pretty subtle, this would not apply to every kind of request for contrastive explanation.)

ADDED LATER: Just thought of a good addendum here. Suppose the question were:

(5) Why is it impossible for Mary to levitate and not levitate at the same time rather than possible for her to do it?

Now, we get potential complications here by the multiplication of Diamond modal operators (the alleged presupposition is that it is possible that it is possible for her to do it). But whether this is an issue will simply depend on which modal system we are presupposing. It seems that we can make perfectly good sense of this question, and of answers to it, without having to dismiss it as having a false presupposition, because we can explain why it is impossible rather than possible, without assuming that the contrast case is actually possible, and we can take it just as something-that-someone-might-think-possible or something-that-someone-might-claim-is-possible.

Lady Ella's 95th

Nobody did music like Ella Fitzgerald, who was born on April 25, 1917; you can pick almost any verse out of most of her songs and find some twist in the way she delivers it that makes it pop out as something special. She truly was the First Lady of Song.

In the Very Best Tradition, Classic, Greek

An Ancient Gesture
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron:
Penelope did this too.
And more than once: you can't keep weaving all day
And undoing it all through the night;
Your arms get tired, and the back of your neck gets tight;
And along towards morning, when you think it will never be light,
And your husband has been gone, and you don't know where, for years,
Suddenly you burst into tears;
There is simply nothing else to do.

And I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron:
This is an ancient gesture, authentic, antique,
In the very best tradition, classic, Greek;
Ulysses did this too.
But only as a gesture,--a gesture which implied
To the assembled throng that he was much too moved to speak.
He learned it from Penelope...
Penelope, who really cried.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Three Poem Drafts


All the starlit pools are full with a nocturne born of joy;
in the silky night of waters it is heard,
and there visions may be found that are woven out of sounds
and crafted not of light but living word.
There are ripples on the surface as the dimpled waters laugh,
as the wind tickles the glass until it wakes.
All the stars then dance in circles, and circles upon circles,
until the moon is done and daylight breaks.


Cast your net in hunch or guess!
No fish will come to netless boats,
but those who cast a net may bless
the God who gives, with song in throat.
And if the nets should come back bare?
That is no worse than nets not there.

Psalm 22

I will praise the Lord in the congregation,
I will fulfill my vows before the reverent.
The humble shall feast to satisfaction;
they who seek the Lord shall praise Him
with hearts that live forever.

I will praise the Lord in the congregation;
to the ends of the earth the nations
will remember the Lord with conversion.
All families in each generation
shall bow down before Him.

I will praise the Lord in the congregation!
To Him alone shall bow down
the nations that sleep in the earth;
before Him shall kneel in devotion
all who descend to the dust.

I will praise the Lord in the congregation,
and to Him shall my soul give its life.
All generations from me, may they serve Him;
let the new generation be told of Him,
that they may proclaim to an unborn nation
the rightness of His ways.

Sterner Trials

The Moral Warfare
by John Greenleaf Whittier

When Freedom, on her natal day,
Within her war-rocked cradle lay,
An iron race around her stood,
Baptized her infant brow in blood;
And, through the storm which round her swept,
Their constant ward and watching kept.

Then, where our quiet herds repose,
The roar of baleful battle rose,
And brethren of a common tongue
To mortal strife as tigers sprung,
And every gift on Freedom's shrine
Was man for beast, and blood for wine!

Our fathers to their graves have gone;
Their strife is past, their triumph won;
But sterner trials wait the race
Which rises in their honored place;
A moral warfare with the crime
And folly of an evil time.

So let it be. In God's own might
We gird us for the coming fight,
And, strong in Him whose cause is ours
In conflict with unholy powers,
We grasp the weapons He has given,—
The Light, and Truth, and Love of Heaven.

One of his (many) anti-slavery poems.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Fortitude to Bear

by James Russell Lowell

A Lily with its frail cup filled with dew,
Down-bending modestly, snow-white and pale,
Shedding faint fragrance round its native vale,
Minds me of thee, sweet Edith, mild and true,
And of thy eyes so innocent and blue,
Thy heart is fearful as a startled hare,
Yet hath in it a fortitude to bear
For Love's sake, and a gentle faith which grew
Of Love: need of a stay whereon to lean,
Felt in thyself, hath taught thee to uphold
And comfort others, and to give, unseen,
The kindness thy still love cannot withhold:
Maiden, I would my sister thou hadst been,
That round thee I my guarding arms might fold.

Aquinas's Summary of the Boethian Account of Happiness

I mentioned in a previous post that Kierkegaard accepts a version of Boethius's account of happiness. As it happened, today I was lecturing on Boethian accounts of happiness, because Thomas Aquinas also gets a lot of his account of happiness from Boethius. Boethian accounts of happiness argue that most things we try to get in the pursuit of happiness are false goods, and give only a false happiness; true happiness is the Good itself. Here's Aquinas's handy summary (PDF) of the reasons for this position:

Now four general reasons may be given to prove that happiness consists in none of the foregoing external goods [riches, honors, fame, and power].

First, because, since happiness is man's supreme good, it is incompatible with any evil. Now all the foregoing can be found both in good and in evil men.

Secondly, because, since it is the nature of happiness to "satisfy of itself," as stated in Ethic. i, 7, having gained happiness, man cannot lack any needful good. But after acquiring any one of the foregoing, man may still lack many goods that are necessary to him; for instance, wisdom, bodily health, and such like.

Thirdly, because, since happiness is the perfect good, no evil can accrue to anyone therefrom. This cannot be said of the foregoing: for it is written (Ecclesiastes 5:12) that "riches" are sometimes "kept to the hurt of the owner"; and the same may be said of the other three.

Fourthly, because man is ordained to happiness through principles that are in him; since he is ordained thereto naturally. Now the four goods mentioned above are due rather to external causes, and in most cases to fortune; for which reason they are called goods of fortune. Therefore it is evident that happiness nowise consists in the foregoing.

It is Boethius's account of happiness that gives us the famous image of Fortune's Wheel, by which the fickle goddess Fortune dispenses her favors.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Absence of Chains or Rudder

Yesterday was the feast of St. Anselm of Canterbury, so here's a little something from him.

For injustice is not the kind of thing which infects and corrupts the soul in the way that poison infects and corrupts the body; nor does it do something in the way that happens when a wicked man does evil deeds. When a savage beast breaks its bonds and rages about wildly, and when a ship—if the helmsman leaves the rudder and delivers the vessel to the wind and the waves—strays and is driven into dangers of one kind or another, we say that the absence of chains or of a rudder causes these events. [We say this] not because their absence is something or does something but because if they had been present they would have caused the wild animal not to rage and the ship not to perish. By comparison, when an evil man rages and is driven into various dangers to his soul, viz., evil deeds, we declare that injustice causes these deeds. [We say this] not because injustice is a being or does something but because the will (to which all the voluntary movements of the entire man are submitted), lacking justice, driven on by various appetites, being inconstant, unrestrained, and uncontrolled, plunges itself and everything under its control into manifold evils—all of which justice, had it been present, would have prevented from happening.

[Anselm of Canterbury, De Conceptu Virginali (PDF), Chapter 5, Jasper Hopkins, tr.]