Saturday, July 06, 2013

Music on My Mind

Sassafrass, "The Futhark Song". A fun a capella arrangment, by Ada Palmer, from their upcoming Norse mythology cycle, Sundown. And, really, how else are you going to learn your Norse runes?

"My Brother, My Enemy" is excellent, too, incidentally.

Be Heavy Again, or Else Must I Die

The Complaint of Chaucer to His Purse
by Geoffrey Chaucer

To yow, my purse, and to noon other wight
Complayne I, for ye be my lady dere.
I am so sory, now that ye been lyght;
For certes but yf ye make me hevy chere,
Me were as leef be layd upon my bere;
For which unto your mercy thus I crye;
Beth hevy ageyn, or elles moot I dye.

Now vouceth sauf this day or hyt be nyght
That I of yow the blisful soun may here
Or see your colour lyk the sonne bryght
That of yelownesse hadde never pere.
Ye be my lyf, ye be myn hertes stere.
Quene of comfot and of good companye,
Beth hevy ageyn, or elles moot I dye.

Now purse that ben to my my lyves lyght
And saveour as doun in this world here,
Out of this toune helpe me thurgh your myght,
Syn that ye wole nat ben my tresorere;
For I am shave as nye as any frere.
But yet I pray unto your curtesye,
Beth hevy ageyn, or elles moot I dye.

L'Envoy de Chaucer

O conqueror of Brutes Albyon,
Which that by lyne and free eleccion
Been verray kyng, this song to yow I sende,
And ye, that mowen alle oure harmes amende,
Have mynde upon my supplicacion.

Friday, July 05, 2013

A Poem Re-Draft and a New Poem Draft

Tick and Tock

Tick, the clock said, sour of face,
sitting on the mantle space,
then, to soften blow and shock,
relented with a sullen tock.

Tick -- my time is ticking on,
the new becoming old anon;
nor can any means in stock
prevent the tick that follows tock.

Tick -- the world will pass away;
nothing you can do or say
brings again the turn of clock
that once was spoken at the tock.

Tick, the watching watches shout,
tick, the sullen wall-clocks pout,
tick, the grand-old-father clock
will claim, and will not stay at tock.

Tick -- it passes. Tick -- it ends.
Tick, it says, and tick again.
But ah -- 'tis true, tick cannot block
the single hope returned by tock.

Tick -- accept it, but recall
pendulum must rise and fall:
for every end ticked by the clock,
a new beginning starts with tock.

On Saturday Night

Saturday night and I'm still living;
I can barely handle what life's been giving.
I shrug my shoulders; I don't know why
the world seems driven by this do-or-die.
Saturday night and the stars are hidden;
I try to make the best with what I've been given,
building up Babel, though I don't know why
(can never stop building, can't touch the sky).
Saturday night and my head is spinning.
No safety from losing and no sign of winning,
I look at my life and I could almost cry:
all of these wings and I still can't fly.

Lumen Fidei

Pope Francis's first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, is now available. It was begun by Benedict XVI and finished by Francis, in much the same way that (if I recall correctly) Benedict XVI's first encyclical on charity was begun by John Paul II and finished by Benedict.

Faith, in fact, needs a setting in which it can be witnessed to and communicated, a means which is suitable and proportionate to what is communicated. For transmitting a purely doctrinal content, an idea might suffice, or perhaps a book, or the repetition of a spoken message. But what is communicated in the Church, what is handed down in her living Tradition, is the new light born of an encounter with the true God, a light which touches us at the core of our being and engages our minds, wills and emotions, opening us to relationships lived in communion. There is a special means for passing down this fullness, a means capable of engaging the entire person, body and spirit, interior life and relationships with others. It is the sacraments, celebrated in the Church’s liturgy. The sacraments communicate an incarnate memory, linked to the times and places of our lives, linked to all our senses; in them the whole person is engaged as a member of a living subject and part of a network of communitarian relationships. While the sacraments are indeed sacraments of faith, it can also be said that faith itself possesses a sacramental structure. The awakening of faith is linked to the dawning of a new sacramental sense in our lives as human beings and as Christians, in which visible and material realities are seen to point beyond themselves to the mystery of the eternal.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Thursday Vice: Civil Impiety

There is very little direct discussion of civil impiety in the history of ethics; discussion is almost always very indirectly in the context of civil piety or, as it is sometimes called, patriotism. The 'piety' in civil piety is pietas, which, as I've mentioned before, is the virtue concerned with devotion to one's parents. However, by a sort of spillover, devotion to one's parents flows into devotion to one's family. And it was also held to spill over to devotion to concivis, fellow-citizens, and beyond that to one's city or patria (parent-land, or as it is usually translated, when translated with regard for etymology, fatherland, which shows the link to filial piety); as Aquinas says (ST 2-2.101.1), "In devotion to patria is understood devotion to fellow-citizens and all friends of the patria." This is a Ciceronian idea, derived from De Inventione 2. Civil piety is therefore a species of pietas concerned with one's compatriots, and (it is worth noting the explicit mention found both in Cicero and Aquinas) all who wish one's country well. Civil impiety, then, would be the vice of defect by which one does not exercise appropriate responsibility and reverence (officium et cultum, to use the Ciceronian phrase) either toward one's greater family of fellow-citizens, or toward those who are friendly to one's citizenry, insofar as they are such.

Patriotism or civil piety is itself something that is relatively rarely given serious sustained analysis. In the ancient and medieval world, it is seen as an obvious extension of devotion to parents; if one takes devotion to family as being devotion to parents at first remove, then civil piety is devotion to parents at second and third remove. This does not mean that it was regarded as unimportant -- such a suggestion would have been completely foreign to Cicero -- but that it's really part of a larger virtue concerned with familial duty and respect. Patriotism tends to be detached more from filial piety in the modern world, but rarely with the result of being extensively analyzed on its own. There has in recent times been more discussion, largely deriving from Alasdair MacIntyre's "Is Patriotism a Virtue?", which argues that it is and that it is not a virtue modern liberalism can encompass. Both of these have been discussed at length, and one of the major philosophical debates currently running is whether patriotism should be seen as a virtue or a vice. In my opinion, this debate has been largely of definitely inferior quality, in which participants have largely attempted to address the question without regard for obvious virtue ethical questions or, at times, even the history of the idea. Perhaps the best argument for the claim that patriotism is a vice is that in Simon Keller's "Patriotism as Bad Faith". But there are a number of obvious defects in Keller's argument, not least of which that, despite Keller's attempt to argue against the analogy between love of country and love of parents, it really boils down to stipulation and a double standard; one can, despite Keller's claims otherwise, run parallel arguments against there being a virtue concerned with one's parents. Other arguments, for and against, are often even more egregious, often relying on verbal sleights of hand.

One of the nice things about the Aristotelian doctrine of the mean, in which every virtue is seen as a geometrical mean between at least one vice of defect and at least one vice of excess, is that it frees study of the virtues from the tyranny of vocabulary. Aristotle himself recognized this, pointing out that the doctrine of mean shows that there are virtues and vices for which we do not even have words, usually because they don't come up enough as major and obvious problems in our society. But they are still part of the moral terrain, despite being easily overlooked through a lack of vocabulary. The doctrine of the mean makes them identifiable even under conditions where we have no available words for describing them. Another aspect, relevant here, is that because our vocabulary is necessarily more limited than the full richness of moral character, it will often be the case that we will end up falling back on using the same word to describe both virtues and vices. Since the doctrine of the mean doesn't imply that virtues are equal distances from their vices of defect and vices of excess, one of the vices is usually much closer to the virtue than the others. When it's close enough, the vice can easily be confused with the virtue. The doctrine of the mean makes it easier to determine when this is actually happening. And it is clear enough that this has come to be the case with patriotism. The point is put quite nicely by G. K. Chesterton in his essay, "A Defence of Patriotism":

The decay of patriotism in England during the last year or two is a serious and distressing matter. Only in consequence of such a decay could the current lust of territory be confounded with the ancient love of country. We may imagine that if there were no such thing as a pair of lovers left in the world, all the vocabulary of love might without rebuke be transferred to the lowest and most automatic desire. If no type of chivalrous and purifying passion remained, there would be no one left to say that lust bore none of the marks of love, that lust was rapacious and love pitiful, that lust was blind and love vigilant, that lust sated itself and love was insatiable. So it is with the 'love of the city,' that high and ancient intellectual passion which has been written in red blood on the same table with the primal passions of our being. On all sides we hear to-day of the love of our country, and yet anyone who has literally such a love must be bewildered at the talk, like a man hearing all men say that the moon shines by day and the sun by night.

This is put in the usual indirect Chesterton way, but the point is quite important: when people don't have a very good acquaintance with a virtue, the words to describe it end up being used to describe the vice that most closely mimics it.

This is why the proper way to approach the virtue that sometimes is known as patriotism is by looking at the relevant vice of defect. If you look at all the recent debates about whether patriotism is a virtue, you find that this is precisely what tends to be left out. It shows one way in which the manner of formulating a question may dangerously interfere with answering it. "Is patriotism a virtue or a vice?" seems quite straightforward, but in this case, the relevant virtue, assuming there is such a virtue, pretty much has to be much closer to some vice of excess than to a vice of defect, because patriotism is universally recognized as a quite active and passionate thing with lots of consequences, whether one regards it as a virtue or as a vice. But to draw the distinction between a virtue and a vice that closely mimics it, one must already know what the virtue and the vice are. So if patriotism is a virtue, trying to take on the question "Is patriotism a virtue?" directly is almost certainly not the best way to discover that fact. What one should do is look for the vice that is least like what a virtue associated with the word 'patriotism' would have to be. In this case, it is the vice of defect, civil impiety as I've called it, and one should begin with the question: "Is there a vicious form of deficiency in matters of the sort that are usually associated with patriotism?" It is this question that people should really have asked. It could be that when we look at the kinds of moral deficiency one can have in these matters that the non-deficiencies are not actually the kinds of things we ever ordinarily call 'patriotism'. It's pretty obvious that this is not true in the case of patriotism; not being a traitor to one's country or not being indifferent to the moral life of one's citizenry as a whole are clearly the kinds of things people usually count as falling under the term. One then can go on to ask whether these are traceable to the same virtues or different ones, what kinds of vices of excess there would be, and other relevant questions, thus making actual progress in the discussion.

Self-Evident Truths and American Independence

One of the common reactions of the British to the American Declaration of Independence was astonishment at the claim of self-evidence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident” is certainly a bold way to begin. It is also a beginning that could hardly go unchallenged.

One of the more interesting arguments against the self-evidence claim can be found in the sermons of George Campbell. Campbell first came to the general public eye with A Dissertation in Miracles, which was widely seen as completely refuting Hume’s arguments for skepticism about miracles, at least until people stopped reading it. His major life’s work was the translation of the Gospels from the Greek, but the work that gave him the most lasting fame was The Philosophy of Rhetoric, which is still one of the classics of the field. And in December of 1776 he preached a sermon on the text: Meddle not with them that are given to change.

Read the rest of this post at "First Thoughts".

The Greeks Always Mock the Romans

Terry Eagleton has a little too much fun reveling in the a-bit-too-true stereotypes of Americans at the Chronicle:

One of the gravest moral defects of Americans is that they tend to be straight, honest, and plain-speaking. There have been various attempts to cure them of those vices, including the establishment of clinics where they can receive intensive therapy for their distressing tendency to mean what they say. Even with compulsory daily readings of Oscar Wilde, however, it is hard to rid them of the prejudice that there is something admirable about what you see being what you get.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013


Today is the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, also known as St. Thomas Didymus (or the Twin) and St. Thomas the Doubter. According to legend, he spread the gospel in India, of which he is the patron saint. The Saint Thomas Christians of India (Malankara Orthodox, Syro-Malabar Catholic, Syro-Malankara Catholic, and others) trace their community back to him. It's commonly held that this is due to confusing an early Thomas (usually Thomas of Cana) with the Thomas; but it is undeniable that the Nasrani or Saint Thomas community in India is very old, going back at least to the third century, and by the third century it is also a very widespread view in the Roman world, both in the West and in the East, that St. Thomas the Apostle journeyed to India.

The Acts of Thomas is a gnostic work that seems to have been mentioned by Epiphanius of Salamis, thus strongly suggesting that it was in circulation in the fourth century; it likely goes back to early third century Edessa, in Syria. It is a Gnostic work, although this becomes obvious relatively rarely. It collects together stories of St. Thomas's mission to India. My favorite story is that of St. Thomas and King Gundaphorus, which has a lot of other versions that appear to derive from the Acts of Thomas version.

Thomas, traveling with a merchant into India, was brought before Gundaphorus, who asked him his craft. Thomas said that he was a carpenter and a builder, capable of building many things, including palaces for kings. So Gundaphorus asked him to build him a palace. Thomas replied that he would wait for the winter months to build the palace; which amazed Gundaphorus, because everyone else built in the summer. But Thomas insisted, and Gundaphorus gave him a large quantity of money for building the palace, and continued to send him large quantities of money and provisions as the months went by. But Thomas took all the money and provisions he received from Gundaphorus and began dispensing it to the poor, saying, "Kings know how to obtain the reward of kings, but now the poor must receive their refreshment."

After a while King Gundaphorus sent a messenger to Thomas, and asked him how the palace was going.

"Everything is built except the roof," Thomas replied. So Gundaphorus sent him gold and silver to roof the palace, and Thomas, thanking God, gave it all to the poor, telling them, "The Lord has given you this, and gives everyone their food; for he cares for widows and orphans, and is the relief of the afflicted."

After a while the king came to the city and began inquiring of his friends and allies about the palace. They told him that Thomas had done nothing about any palace, but instead had been going about giving large sums of money to the afflicted, healing the sick, and preaching a new God. Needless to say, Gundaphorus was a bit angry and sent for Thomas.

"Have you built me my palace?" he asked.

"Yes," the apostle said.

"Then show it to me," the king said.

Then Thomas shook his head. "You cannot see it now; you will only be able to see it when you have departed from this life."

The king, of course, was exceedingly angry; Thomas was thrown into prison, and Gundaphorus decided that he would flay the apostle alive.

In the meantime the king's brother Gad had become deathly ill and died. The king loved his brother, and with great sorrow made preparations to mourn him. However, as they were putting the burial-clothes on his body, Gad revived. The king was overjoyed and ran to his side.

Then Gad said to Gundaphorus, "Brother, I know your generous heart, and how you would give half your kingdom to anyone who asked for my sake; I beg that you grant me one favor."

And Gundaphorus said to Gad, "Ask anything and I will grant it."

Then Gad said, "Brother, sell me your palace in the heavens."

The king was very puzzled by this and asked, "How could I have a palace in the heavens?"

Then Gad told him that when he died, his soul was carried by angels up to the heavens, where they showed him many palaces. At length they approached to one that was particularly beautiful, and Gad had begged the angels to let him live in even the humblest room of this beautiful palace. But the angels shook their heads, saying he could not dwell in that building. It had been built by Thomas for his brother. Then Gad had asked them to let him return to his brother in order to buy the palace from him. And they let him return for this very purpose.

Then Gundaphorus said to his brother, "Brother, it is not in my power to sell you that particular palace. But if you wish to buy such a palace, it is in my power to give you the means to buy it."

So Thomas was set free in order to build a palace for Gad, just like the one he had built for Gundaphorus. The two brothers became Christians and devoted much of their lives to relieving the poor in their dominion; for it is of such stewardship that the best palaces are made.

Such is the legend. In the 1800s in Afghanistan and the Punjab, the British came across coins that had the first mention of Gundaphorus, or Gudapharasa. There were several kings in a row named Gandapur, one of whom, usually known today as Gondophares IV Sases, would have ruled at exactly the right time to meet the Apostle. After the first Gondophares, it seems to have been used as a title, so it's entirely possible that the name is used in the Acts of Thomas just because it had become a well-known name of an Indian king. And we know nothing else about the real Gudapharasa, beyond the fact that he is attested to by coins minted for him and what is attributed to him in this legend of St. Thomas. But it's also the case that people used to think he was entirely made up in the first place.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Threading Dances Light

by Robert Bridges

Angel spirits of sleep,
White-robed, with silver hair,
In your meadows fair,
Where the willows weep,
And the sad moonbeam
On the gliding stream
Writes her scatter'd dream:

Angel spirits of sleep,
Dancing to the weir
In the hollow roar
Of its waters deep;
Know ye how men say
That ye haunt no more
Isle and grassy shore
With your moonlit play;
That ye dance not here,
White-robed spirits of sleep,
All the summer night
Threading dances light?

Aquinas and Sexual Exclusivity

One of the requests I received when I asked for them a couple months ago was for an account of Thomism on "the exclusivity of love (IOW, why should it be limited to one person only)." I have been puzzling about how to handle this request, but I do think I should say a few things about it.

(1) There is no general exclusivity of love in Thomism; we are to love God and our neighbor, and because the latter love depends for its fullness on the former, our neighborhood is all creation. Now, the request was specifically about sexual love, but Aquinas himself doesn't recognize any specifically sexual love. There is love as an act of will (the kind of love we are commanded to have) and love as a passion, and sexual love is at least the latter in a sexual context, and hopefully the former as well. Love as such has no direct implications in the matter. Love is just complacentia, the being pleased with, an object, that results in being drawn to the object (which we call desire) and joy in attaining it.

(2) There is, to be sure, a distinction in love-as-a-passion between love of concupiscence and love of friendship, and this does give a relevant consideration. In terms of effect, we could summarize the difference in more modern terms by saying that love of concupiscence, craving love, results in jealousy and love of friendship results in zeal for another's good. The former of these clearly does have to do with exclusivity: if you are jealous, you want some good to be exclusively yours somehow. This does come up when Aquinas talks about exclusivity in marriage, as a sed contra, but it is not the mere fact that it happens but that we universally take at least some such jealousy to be a natural consequence of the kind of sexual love in a marriage. That is, it is not jealousy as such that does the work, either. It's the structure and character of marriage itself that actually makes the jealousy natural.

(3) We have to be very careful in talking about Aquinas on marriage, much more careful than people usually are. We do not actually have Aquinas's final account of marriage. The Summa Theologiae cuts off before it gets to marriage; the question in the Supplement is, like all the questions in the Supplement, excerpted from Aquinas's Sentences commentary, which was his earliest work. This is actually something of a serious problem with much of the Supplement, since the questions on the sacraments that we have show considerable and important revision over the corresponding questions in the Sentences commentary. We have quite literally no idea how St. Thomas's Summa-era ideas on the instrumental causality of the sacraments would have forced the revision of arguments in the question. It would have had to, although much would have been retained; but since Aquinas never actually got around to revising them, we don't really know how it would have played out. There are scattered comments on marriage in the Summa as such, whence we can confirm some of the principles that would have been presupposed: matrimony is both an office of nature and a sacrament, it contributes to the completion of the whole community of the Church both naturally and spiritually, it is concerned with procreation and with remedy of concupiscence, as a sacrament it gives grace by signifying the Passion of Christ in respect of its compassion, it is appropriately treated as the last of the sacraments because it is the least spiritual sacrament, but it nonetheless super-excels all the other sacraments on the specific point of signification. None of this is particularly surprising and, more to the point, none of it addresses the exclusivity of marriage.

In the Sentences commentary and the Supplement, marriage is exclusive in a very complicated way. St. Thomas thinks that having many husbands and having many wives are not perfectly symmetrical when it comes to marriage as an office of nature. Marriage as an office of nature has two ends, of which one is the begetting and rearing of children and the other is community of life. Having many wives does not hinder the first end of marriage at all. Nor does it necessarily hinder the second, although it is very difficult to arrange things peacefully enough so that it doesn't. Thus on Aquinas's view as presented in the Supplement, polygamy, taken to mean a husband having many wives, is not rigorously contrary to natural law. It's just that permissible cases are necessarily rare. This is not the case with a wife having many husbands, according to Aquinas, because such a situation has the additional feature of complicating the connection between fathers and offspring in such a way as to interfere with the raising of children. (He also thinks that it increases the chances of the woman or the fetus being harmed in pregnancy.) It is only in marriage as a sacrament that we get a clear and clean rejection of polygamy in both senses: matrimony cannot function properly as a sign of Christ united with his Church if it is polygamous, nor is polygamy well-suited to raising children in the faith. This is a fairly layered discussion, which approaches the topic without any of the more sophisticated nuances of Aquinas's later sacramental theology. It is also remarkable in that Aquinas explicitly affirms that some kinds of polygamy are on rare occasions perfectly consistent with marriage as an office of nature, although none are consistent with it as a sacrament.

In other words: in Aquinas's account as we have it, the exclusivity of marriage is, strictly speaking, purely a matter of the relation of Christ to the Church. It's highly conformable and appropriate to natural law, as witnessed by the occurrence of mutual jealousy and by common customs; but it is not strictly required by it.

When we look a little more widely at Aquinas's discussions of sexual sins, we find little more help. Again and again the major issue in (say) fornication or adultery is not the nature of love, nor even the nature of marriage, but injustice to any children that might result from the sexual activity. That is to say, to commit adultery or to fornicate is primarily wrong because it is to act in such a way that if any children result you have already committed an injustice against them. Occasionally there are suggestions that injustice to the mother, should she become a mother, is also a factor somewhere in there. Exclusivity of love doesn't really enter into the discussions, at least any of them I can think of.

Thus there is no general exclusivity of sexual love in Aquinas; and marriage is only intrinsically exclusive for Aquinas when it is sacramental, although he holds that there are almost always good reasons for rejecting polygamy. (Sexual relationships other than marriage, like concubinage, are of course always contrary to natural law. But here again, we see that it's really marriage that's important to the question, and nothing else.)

(4) But this is all focusing on Aquinas himself, and again, St. Thomas's failure to finish the Summa leaves us with an account of marriage based only on his very earliest ideas on the subject, along with some later scattered comments in the Summa and elsewhere. This is not much to work with. However, Thomism is broader than Aquinas. I haven't done any thorough investigation, but the traditional commentators almost certainly just stick with Aquinas. Cajetan, for instance, while opposing Henry VIII's divorce, pointed out that polygamy could possibly be an acceptable solution to the problem.

I think to find a form of Thomism that has a much stronger view on the exclusivity of marriage, you'd probably have to look at something like Lublin Thomism, the sort of thing we get in Karl Wojtyla's Love and Responsibility, although L&R itself only definitely rejects polygamy on the grounds of the Gospel, and seems to me to be mostly vague otherwise. But I haven't looked very thoroughly at possibilities there, either.

(5) So I suppose this all boils down to the response that if you want something on the exclusivity of sexual love, or even the exclusivity of marriage, Thomism is not at all the place to look, because Thomism in general has no strong position on the subject, and actually inclines against the strict necessity of any such exclusivity, although affirming that it's usually far and away the better idea. This is certainly not what most people would expect of Aquinas and Thomism a priori, but there it is. Thinking that polygamy is on rare occasions perfectly fine is entirely consistent with even the strictest Thomism. There is no general Thomistic account of the exclusivity of love, although that doesn't strictly rule out the existence of some particular form of Thomism having such an account.

Incidentally, it's worth comparing Aquinas on this subject to Scotus. Both Aquinas and Scotus agree that on rare occasions polygamy may have dispensation. However, dispensation on Aquinas's account is simply the fact that secondary principles of natural law don't necessarily apply in every combination of circumstances, which means that on Aquinas's account it is built into natural law that some kinds of polygamy are OK if the circumstances are just exactly right. On Scotus's account, dispensation arises from the fact that secondary principles of natural law presuppose certain conditions that depend entirely on the will of God. Thus Scotus can make the rare OK-ness of polygamy a matter extrinsic to natural law itself: polygamy is simply against natural law, it's just that God can make it so that the precepts in question don't apply to particular cases. This means that Scotism has a stronger position on the question than Thomism does; Scotus's full account of why polygamy is wrong would rule out Cajetan's view of Henry VIII, because Cajetan as a Thomist doesn't think divine revelation of the dispensation would be necessary, whereas Scotus's discussion at strongly suggests that he thinks it would be. But the Scotist position, while very slightly stronger than the Thomist position, is also a much weaker position than I imagine most people would suspect.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Notes and Links

* Tolkien, Blunden, and the Great War at "Philosophy, lit, etc."

* Whale-horses and morses: Tolkien and the Walrus in the OED

* Talking philosophically with children about dessert

* Eric Schliesser on philosophy and poetry (using Wallace Stevens as an example) at "NewAPPS"

* Medieval pet names

* Steven Nadler on Spinoza and Descartes

* What did wine taste like before modern wine techniques? Even in the modern age, the task of the wine taster, in distinguishing wines by category, has become increasingly difficult, not always because the wines are better (although they often are) but because consistency in making them has massively improved, thus making for much less variation.

* Tristan Haze on the Or-to-If Argument for implications being material conditionals. I've always been baffled by the argument, since it does not, in fact, derive the implication from the disjunction but from the structure of a complete disjunctive syllogism, or, in other words, not from the disjunction but from the conjunction of the disjunction with its eliminative disjunct -- all it could possibly establish is that the conditional is at least not stronger than the combination of the disjunction plus an eliminative premise, given disjunctive syllogism. Focusing on the conditional proof aspect is an interesting move.