Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Aquinas for Lent XXXI

Now every one, as a matter of fact, loves his own life, but some love it absolutely, without qualification, and others love it partially, in a qualified way. To love someone is to will good to that person; so, to love one's own life is to will good to it. Therefore one who wills what is good without qualification to his own life, loves it unqualifiedly; while one who wills his life some partial good loves it in a qualified way. Now the unqualified goods of life are those which make a life good, namely, the highest good, which is God. Thus, one who wills the divine and spiritual good to his life, loves it unqualifiedly; while one who wills it earthly goods, such as riches, honors and pleasures, and things of that sort, loves it in a qualified way.

[St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel of John, Chapters 6-12, Larcher & Weisheipl, trs., Catholic University of America Press (Washington, DC: 2010) p. 279.]

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Voyages Extraordinaires #42: Face au drapeau

The carte de visite received that day, June 15, 189—, by the director of the establishment of Healthful House was a very neat one, and simply bore, without escutcheon or coronet, the name:


Below this name, in a corner of the card, the following address was written in lead pencil:

“On board the schooner Ebba, anchored off New-Berne, Pamlico Sound.”

The capital of North Carolina—one of the forty-four states of the Union at this epoch—is the rather important town of Raleigh, which is about one hundred and fifty miles in the interior of the province. It is owing to its central position that this city has become the seat of the State legislature, for there are others that equal and even surpass it in industrial and commercial importance, such as Wilmington, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Edenton, Washington, Salisbury, Tarborough, Halifax, and New-Berne. The latter town is situated on estuary of the Neuse River, which empties itself into Pamlico Sound, a sort of vast maritime lake protected by a natural dyke formed by the isles and islets of the Carolina coast.

Face au drapeau, or Facing the Flag, is not one of Verne's better known works, but it has a great deal to recommend it. It is a tale of mystery and espionage, of piracy and patriotism, of powerful missiles and submarine boats. There are a number of ways, too, in which one can clearly see that Verne is experimenting a bit with his writing -- for instance, while the frame is third-person, much of the tale is first-person from an active narrator who only gradually unravels the mystery in which he finds himself, and as the tale progresses, it shifts from a first-person recent-past narrative (a journal) to a first-person immediate-present narrative (notes taken as things happen). At least as far as I could tell from the English translation, this deliberate narrative shifting is done in a skillful manner that heightens the urgency of the tale as things come to a head.

Thomas Roch is a brilliant inventor with a long string of successes, and he has come up with one of his greatest: the fulgurator, a weapon that could give a nation dominance on land and sea. However, he has become bitter at what he sees as people unfairly taking advantage of his inventions to profit themselves, and at what he regards as a general lack of appreciation, so when he approaches the French government, he demands a very high price, and, what is more, refuses to demonstrate the weapon until he is paid, and stubbornly refuses to see the unreasonableness of this. The French break off negotiations. Feeling betrayed, Roch turns his back on the French flag and offers his invention first to the Germans, who don't think they need the help of a Frenchman, and then to the more practical English, who hear him out but also turn him down. Increasingly sour on the world and emotionally unstable, Roch approaches the even more practical Americans who, recognizing that he is not quite right in the head, seize him and put him in a mental institution, the Healthful House, until he becomes more sane and amenable to negotiation -- an action that probably not accidentally also keeps him from approaching any other governments with the weapon. A French engineer named Simon Hart hears about the situation, and so, under an assumed name, gets himself hired at Healthful House to keep an eye on Roch and make sure that the fulgurator is not used against French interests. But other people have also heard about the situation, and see all too well the potential....

The book, interestingly, led to a lawsuit; Eugène Turpin, the inventor of the explosive melinite, sued Verne for defamation on the ground that the crazy Roch was obviously a representation of Turpin himself (who had been thrown in prison on accusations that he was trying to sell to foreign powers). Turpin lost the lawsuit, in part due to Verne's brilliant lawyer, Raymond Poincaré, who later became President of France, but it was not an unreasonable conclusion. Verne at several points does refer to Turpin's inventions. And while Turpin could not have known it, Roch was indeed inspired by Turpin's case; in his correspondence with his brother Paul, Verne refers to Roch as "le Turpin".

Aquinas for Lent XXX

As may be gathered from the words of Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv), beauty or comeliness results from the concurrence of clarity and due proportion. For he states that God is said to be beautiful, as being "the cause of the harmony and clarity of the universe." Hence the beauty of the body consists in a man having his bodily limbs well proportioned, together with a certain clarity of color. On like manner spiritual beauty consists in a man's conduct or actions being well proportioned in respect of the spiritual clarity of reason.

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 2-2.145.2

Monday, March 19, 2018

Appeal to the Stone

As I have previously noted, 'The theory of fallacies is merely partially systematized folklore; as one would expect from folklore, it is a weird brew of logical tidbits, practical advice, ethical admonition, historical detritus of exploded or doubtful theories, things people thought clever or neat at some point, and misunderstandings.' One of the interesting things about it is seeing how different fallacies -- or more often, pseudo-fallacies -- emerge into common discourse.

I recently came across an attribution of the fallacy of the 'appeal to the stone'. It's an interesting example of how these things are born. The original idea is well known:

After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it -- "I refute it thus."

Any Berkeley scholar will note that Boswell and Johnson seem to have misunderstood Berkeley's claim, although in a way that was usually done. (Thus Jonathan Swift, who was Berkeley's friend, is said to have played the practical joke of telling his servants to leave the door locked when Berkeley came to call, because the door was only in Berkeley's mind.) Berkeley, in fact, would arguably agree with Johnson on the key point. But it's not a fallacy to misunderstand a position. Moreover, given what Johnson thought he was refuting, one can simply see the action as a reason to regard the claim as wrong, and it's certainly not a fallacy to give such a reason.

Regardless, the 'appeal to the stone' gets its name from association with the story, whether the story exemplifies it or not. According to Wikipedia, "Argumentum ad lapidem (Latin: "appeal to the stone") is a logical fallacy that consists in dismissing a statement as absurd without giving proof of its absurdity." Considering bare dismissal without reasoning as a fallacy, which is an error of reasoning, is dubious already, but in any case it seems implausible to say that there are no absurdities that can be dismissed without proof. For instance, if I say "P & ~P", whatever P may be, there seems to be no problem with just dismissing the claim as absurd. 'Absurdity' is a classification term; classifications can have quirks or unexpected results, but some things will just be obviously the kind of thing for which you have the classification, 'absurdity', to begin with. There will be times when you can't get away with mere classification without proof -- although those will perhaps all be cases either of 'begging the question' or of just being wrong to begin with. Some classifications, however, have to be basic, and some things will indeed just be absurd. Now, to be sure, although the article is a bit obscure, it does seem at least to suggest that argumentum ad lapidem is a form of begging the question, in that it links it to 'proof by assertion', "where an unproved or disproved claim is asserted as true on no ground other than that of its truth having been asserted." In this way one could make some kind of sense of the fallacy attribution, and in a fruitful way, since petitio principii, unlike most fallacies, has a good account (Aristotle's). The case still would be complicated and uncertain however, since, as Aristotle noted, you can't beg questions with immediate principles, and the falsity of some absurdities is an immediate principle (as in the case of contradiction above).

Wikipedia's account is heavily based on Madsen Pirie's How to Win Every Argument: The Use and Abuse of Logic, although it's clear from the Talk page that there has been some effort to make more sense of it. Pirie's discussion is interesting, in that it is based on the principle, "An argument or piece of evidence cannot be dismissed because it fails to conform to an existing opinion." This does not seem to be universally true, although there will indeed be cases where it would be foolish to dismiss an argument so easily. Much of the problem is that we do a lot of different things with arguments in a lot of different contexts. Some of those contexts will have presuppositions that need to be taken into account. It is not unreasonable to dismiss an argument against (say) the possibility of evolution in a class on evolution. If Pirie means 'opinion' in a broad sense, so that it includes things we think we know, then the principle is too broad: it would make it impossible to reject any argument at all. If Pirie means 'opinion' in a narrow sense, so that it excludes anything we actually know, it becomes more plausible for some cases, but, as I have noted, not for every kind of context. (It's interesting, incidentally, that one of Pirie's examples is no-platforming or shouting down a speaker on college campuses. This shows that Pirie's point is a more controversial one than you would gather from the Wikipedia article -- in the book Pirie is actually trying to present a particular picture of what rational discourse is, and each fallacy discussed identifies elements of that picture. Pirie is fairly explicit about this, and for this reason is explicitly generous about what counts as a 'fallacy'. But much of the picture is deliberately put forward in contrast to other conceptions of rational discourse, or at least other practices purporting to be rational discourse. This isn't a problem in Pirie's book, but it's noticeable that it vanishes entirely in the Wikipedia article. This phenomenon, of a set of claims from a very specific argumentative context continuing even after the context is dropped, is very common in the history of fallacies; I've discussed it here before, for example, with the case of false analogy.)

Most of the uses of 'appeal to the stone' or 'argumentum ad lapidem' as a fallacy label trace back to Pirie's book, either in this edition or in the earlier edition, which had the title, The Book of the Fallacy. But the term did not originate here. The earliest I've been able to trace it is to 1959, in Fearnside and Holthier's Fallacy: The Counterfeit of Argument; you can find it under section 39, 'Abandonment of Discussion', in the 'Diversions' section. Their comment is notable:

Johnson's refutation of Berkeley, a form of refusing to discuss the "absurd," is jestingly referred to by philosophers as the invention of a new fallacy, the appeal ad lapidem (to the stone).

We see here all the later elements of it -- and the explicit recognition that it is something of a joke fallacy. I suspect that their doing so is related to their treating in a discussion of fallacies while also recognizing in the same section that abandoning discussion is not the sort of thing that would ordinarily be considered a fallacy. In any case, this is not the first instance of a joke-fallacy insinuating its way onto serious lists of fallacies; the same thing happened with argumentum ad crumenam and argumentum ad baculum much earlier, as I've also noted before.

Aquinas for Lent XXIX repent is to deplore something one has done. Now it has been stated above (III:84:9) that sorrow or sadness is twofold. First, it denotes a passion of the sensitive appetite, and in this sense penance is not a virtue, but a passion. Secondly, it denotes an act of the will, and in this way it implies choice, and if this be right, it must, of necessity, be an act of virtue. For it is stated in Ethic. ii, 6 that virtue is a habit of choosing according to right reason. Now it belongs to right reason that one should grieve for a proper object of grief as one ought to grieve, and for an end for which one ought to grieve. And this is observed in the penance of which we are speaking now; since the penitent assumes a moderated grief for his past sins, with the intention of removing them. Hence it is evident that the penance of which we are speaking now, is either a virtue or the act of a virtue.

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 3.85.1

Sunday, March 18, 2018

White in the Lily, and Red in the Rose

Today is the memorial of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church, although of course the feast is liturgically superseded by Sunday. He was an irenic man, inclined to compromise to keep the peace, who had a career that was very much not irenic at all; he was deposed and banished about three times for not accepting Arianism, although in each case he was eventually restored, and he was one of the Conciliar Fathers of the First Council of Constantinople. From his Catechetical Lectures, Lecture 16.12

And why did He call the grace of the Spirit water? Because by water all things subsist; because water brings forth grass and living things; because the water of the showers comes down from heaven; because it comes down one in form, but works in many forms. For one fountain waters the whole of Paradise, and one and the same rain comes down upon all the world, yet it becomes white in the lily, and red in the rose, and purple in violets and hyacinths, and different and varied in each several kind: so it is one in the palm-tree, and another in the vine, and all in all things; and yet is one in nature, not diverse from itself; for the rain does not change itself, and come down first as one thing, then as another, but adapting itself to the constitution of each thing which receives it, it becomes to each what is suitable. Thus also the Holy Ghost, being one, and of one nature, and indivisible, divides to each His grace, according as He will: and as the dry tree, after partaking of water, puts forth shoots, so also the soul in sin, when it has been through repentance made worthy of the Holy Ghost, brings forth clusters of righteousness.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

There Is a Moment of Intense Delight

The Hill of Saint Patrick
by Sir Aubrey De Vere

There is a moment of intense delight
When, standing on the place of some great deed,
We mark where human intellect for right
Hath triumphed, as at bloodless Runnymede,
Or where the victim Spartan fell in fight,
Self sacrificed, that Hellas might be freed;
Beside the walls with Raffaelle's soul still bright;
Or Chatham's tomb, by Senate-kings decreed.
In such a mood, on this bold height, I stand,
Where first the holy pilgrim, Patrick, trod,
And as he gazed upon the glorious land,
Like Pisgah's Seer, stirred by the inward God,
With the deep weight of prophecy oppressed,
Stretched forth, and blessed the land:—and it was blessed!

Aquinas for Lent XXVIII

...the proper and direct cause of sin is to be considered on the part of the adherence to a mutable good; in which respect every sinful act proceeds from inordinate desire for some temporal good. Now the fact that anyone desires a temporal good inordinately, is due to the fact that he loves himself inordinately; for to wish anyone some good is to love him. Therefore it is evident that inordinate love of self is the cause of every sin.

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 2-1.77.4

Friday, March 16, 2018

Dashed Off V

1. logical constraint
2. intentional content
3. communicative means
4. physical constraint

provable as 'admitting of proof', i.e., proof is possible vs. provable as 'one can (actually) construct a proof for it' vs provable as 'is proven'

1. from a constraint
2. of a subject in a context
3. under an authority
4. over something subordinate
5. to options
6. for an end

the analogies of Christian liturgy and Christian moral life (the reflection of the sacraments in Christian morality)

Some words of art are precisifying and others are summarizing; they work very differently.

An image is apt to be a sign, but is not necessarily a sign.

The material disposition of philosophy is not separable from actual human life. This material disposition has potentially that which is actually unified in an ordered totality in the ideal disposition of philosophy. The material disposition of philosophy, however, receives these things with difficulty because it relies on the senses as a crutch, and therefore expresses these things not as an ordered system but as a diffuse meander. To the extent that this meander is ordered, it involves receiving by means of gradation, one thing through another and for the sake of another. In receiving that which the ideal disposition unifies, the material disposition is completed or perfected by conceptualization, or discovery, and formation of positions. In doing this there is a sort of unity between the material disposition and the ideal disposition, but it is impossible for them ever to be the same: there is always knowledge eluding philosophy as practiced, and the manner in which the material disposition is completed guarantees that it cannot integrates what it receives in the way it is unified in the ideal disposition.

Models are analogies, not definitions.

'Converting to a religion' is primarily a matter of social reasoning. When it is based in philosophical argument, it is in fact a matter of the natural social path given that argument and other context.

relics as an expression of the communion of saints (cp. the Martyrdom of Polycarp)
2 Kg 13:21, Acts 19;12, and relics

analysis of 'intuitions' by productive cause (power), objective cause (that to which the power tends), formal cause (actual kind of exercise), instrumental cause (means by which object is presented to power)
- this allows one to consider possible defective causation in each case

Our sense of objectivity is a feeling of dependence, of wishing, and not being able to accomplish our wish, or at least the hypothetical of this (if I wished otherwise, I could not accomplish it).

2 Tim 1:18 and prayer for the dead (note that Onesiphorus is not greeted either at the beginning or the end of the letter, only his household; all description of Onesphorus is in the past tense -- Also note that what Paul does say about him is pretty typical of what one might say about the dead -- praying for his household and recalling the good he has done)

Voting is a form of petition.

swiftness, acuity, and sensitivity of understanding

Skill, as such, does not reflect.

sets as inquiry-results
To say that there is a set is to say that a particular collecting is logically possible.

present tense as a kind of overlap

squares of opposition
inside, inside not, not inside not, not inside
outside, outside not, not outside not, not outside
into, into not, not into not, not into
out of, out of not, not out of not, not out of
intrinsic, intrinsic not, not intrinsic not, not intrinsic
extrinsic, extrinsic not, not extrinsic not, not extrinsic

"No one functions so independently of another that even the lowliest part does not have some relation to the Head to which it is connected." Leo I

People want to have virtue without having fortitude, and there is no such thing.

Rational politics consists chiefly, although, to be sure, not solely, in living a reasonable life.

the natural right to emergency hospitality

"since land everywhere offers the possibility of supporting a large number of people, the sovereignty of the State, although it must be respected, cannot be exaggerated to the point that access to this land is, for inadequate or unjustified reasons, denied to needy and decent people from other nations, provided, of course, that the public weal, considered very carefully, does not forbid this." Exsul Familia

The integrity of elections requires upholding the character of the election as a good-faith negotiation; that requires entering it with a good faith willingness to abide by it.

As sweet may become dull without ceasing to be sweet, so pleasant may pall without ceasing to be pleasant. There is at least a shadow region of mingled weariness and pleasure.

the shadow of reason in the passions

Latour's modes of being as kinds or spheres of meaning

Progress without practicality is a contradiction in terms.

Ghosts of wickedness linger long in human cultures.

To understand what it means to say that marriage is a contract requires understanding that contracts can be sacred things.

Lack of tradition is sterility of culture.

"The Vocabulary of Virtues and Vices is a constant moral Lesson; perpetually operating to bring each man's moral sentiments into agreement with the general judgment of men." Whewell

Inference to the best explanation is necessarily causal (the 'explanation' part).

positive laws as a precondition for large-scale joint moral action

transcendentals as homoiomerous

Protestantism oscillates wildly between a 'platonism' and a 'nominalism' of grace.

There is a natural abstraction in the progress of a field in which it goes from being about X and its properties to including structures of X and X-properties. Thus mathematics goes from quantity to higher-order structures that illuminate quantity, jurisprudence from law to legal systems, and so forth. The danger is that the root may be forgotten as the field just begins talking about itself; but the progression is natural and the benefits potentially good.

HoP as the study of systems of philosophy, qua systems and the networks of influence

voting as counting-like vs voting as temperature-like (i.e., treating it as an extensive vs as an intensive measure)

alternation of ratios in concept formation:
if a:b::c:d, and I have a concept R such that R(a:b) = R(c:d), then I can form a concept S such that S(a:c)=S(b:d)

a mereology of part-taking

act & potency -> same & different, and parr & whole -> structure

the material cause of law as the whole body of the people (Robert Gahl, Jr.)

Nothing on earth consoles so well as good sense.

"a Contract to speak the Truth is implied in the use of Language" Whewell

authority of infallibility vs authority of doctrinal providence (Billot)

tyranny of rule vs tyranny of usurpation

passive resistance vs passive obedience

the importance of the quieter and more sober part of society to its governance

Campaigning decisions are not made on the basis of validity of votes but on the basis of accessibility of votes.

Scripture & Apostolic Succession of churches as the two instruments for conservation of Tradition
- the two mutually conserve each otehr

suppressio veri & suggestio falsi in jokes

The 'morality of Common Sense' concerns dispositions more than particular actions. But it also often deals with dispositions indirectly, in terms of what we are comfortable or uneasy with, etc.

As it is impossible to obtain exact precision in promising, there is always a region of negotiation involved in determining what promises require.

Every argument in a sense draws upon the whole system of logical principles.

Every government in a democratic society promises the moon but only delivers what it can afford.

Matters of faith may be rationally suggested by a reason that cannot prove them.

[Box : possibilities][Box : place-times][Box : red](not black)

Reasoning about impossibilities is a sort of mirroring or inversion of reasoning about necessities.

If there is legitimacy in the notion of stakeholder, it should apply in all cases of possession of private property.

preconditional, essential, consequential, and incidental Box

Voting is a context in which not supporting is almost as significant as actively supporting.

Every artistic object has an internal logic of design (even if it is a bad logic of design).

journalistic reporting as classifications of circumstances

running gag vs surprise gag

As philosophical positions increase so do objections.

(1) sensation with guarantor
(2) sensation with causal inference
(3) inference to medium
(4) transcendental precondition

Our experience of the world does not indicate that it is infinite in space or in time, nor does it indicate any definite boundaries in space and time.

the world as medium of action, as medium of communication
the world as object(s), as medium, as active power(s)
the world as intelligible object, as sensible object, as object of physical action

3 problems with Sidgwick's handling of 'common sense morality'
(1) inadequate distinction of disposition-duty & action-duty
(2) inadequate distinction between uncertainty arising from principle & uncertainty arising from that to which it is applied
(3) inadequate distinction between specific virtues and general properties of virtue

Aquinas for Lent XXVII

At the present time we cannot know how great God's love for us is: this is because the good things that God will give us exceed our longings and desires, and so cannot be found in our heart: "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, that God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor 2:9).

[Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel of John, Chapters 13-21, Larcher & Weisheipl, trs. The Catholic University of America Press (Washington, DC: 2010) p. 191.]

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Five Poem Drafts

The first two are based on Ossian, the last one on Ahikar and Proverbs.


Star, night's companion,
whose face rises, brilliant,
from the sunset-clouds,
whose majestic steps press down
on the firmament blue,
what do you see below?
The stormwinds of the day are still,
the evening gnats, on light wings,
fill the heaven-silence with their buzz.
Brilliant star,
what do you see below?
But I already I see you
settling with smile on horizon's edge.
Farewell, farewell, silent star!

you dwell on hero-covered land.
Sing at times the glory of the dead;
may their shades rejoice around you.

Sun of Justice

O you who roll on high,
round like ancestral shield,
O divine sun, where are the rays?
Whence springs eternal light?
In majestic beauty you advance.
The stars vanish in the firmament;
the moon, pale, cold, hides in western waves.
You alone endure, O sun!
Who could match you in your course?
The moon wanders in the heavens:
you alone are ever the same,
constantly rejoicing in shining splendor.
Thunder may roll, lightning fly,
but from clouds you burst forth in beauty,
laughing at the tempest.

The Fire-lit Firmament

The fire-lit firmament,
azure field,
is lightly swept with dust of cloud.
The moon has slept but rises now,
an orb of snow,
hanging low
with silvern shine
between mountains steep and sheer.
The winds are winding
through old ways,
mountain passes
thick with grasses
still wet from lately fallen rain,
a fleeting shower
that kissed each flower
and, faithless friend,
was swept by wind,
was off as swiftly as it came,
nothing left to be the same.

Neyat Sor

Above stirring foam,
undaunted by storm,
gale-winds defying,
great spires rising
with crystal gleam;
glowing like snow,
the high castle stands,
praying to heaven.

Courtier's Handbook

Lend your hear that you may hear,
your heart to understand:
casket truths inside yourself
and answers will rise to mouth.
Thirtyfold is cleverness
to make the naïf wise,
that they might speak right answers.
Rob not the wretched,
burden not the weak;
the crime is weighed in the end.
Work not with the unsettled soul,
lest you yourself be overturned.
Do not trouble the age-old bounds.
Focus on the reward that is given,
and do not hound for more.
Do not take praise deceitfully
for in the end it is nothing.
Hare not after money;
ill-gains devour the gainer
and fly beyond reach like a bird.
Be not greedy after gain,
or you will spew it forth.
Do not trouble enduring bounds;
beware the Lord of All.

Aquinas for Lent XXVI

The accumulation of temporal goods contrary to justice is always a mortal sin. And so Hab. 2:6 says: "Woe to those who pile up things not their own." Likewise, the accumulation of temporal goods, even if not contrary to justice, is a mortal sin if one makes them one's end.

[Thomas Aquinas, On Evil, Regan, tr., Oxford University Press (Oxford: 2003) p. 395.]

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Voyages Extraordinaires #23: Le Rayon vert




One after another these names re-echoed through the hall of Helensburgh; it was the way the brothers Sam and Sib had of summoning their housekeeper.

But just now these diminutives had no more power of bringing forth the worthy dame than if her masters had bestowed on her her rightful title.

It was Partridge the factor, who, with his hat in his hand, made his appearance at the hall-door.

Addressing the two goodnatured-looking gentlemen seated in the embrasure of a bow-window in the front of the house, he said,—

“You were calling Dame Bess, masters, but she is not in the house.”

“Where is she, then, Partridge?”

“She has gone out with Miss Campbell for a walk in the park.”

A considerably underappreciated tale, Le Rayon vert, or The Green Ray, is a tale of poetry and love on the western coast of Scotland. Verne was enthusiastic about Scotland; he like to yacht, and visited Scotland several times in his life. Part of his interest was that geography was one of the loves of his life, and Scotland, with its many unusual features, variety of islands, and untamed coasts with picturesque ruins spoke to that part of him completely. We tend to think of Verne as a science fiction writer, and he did deliberately pursue that aspect of his fiction, but many of his tales are, first and foremost, geographical stories: it's the 'geographical' part that usually gives us the voyages in the Voyages Extraordinaires. Part of his interest was that he was part Scottish himself, through an ancestor who had been an archer in the service of King Louis XI, and from an early age had an enthusiasm for Scottish literature, which he read in French translation -- Sir Walter Scott and Ossian, in particular, his love of which comes through on practically every page of The Green Ray.

The Green Ray tells the story of the Melville brothers, Sam and Sib, and their niece and ward, Helena Campbell, on whom they dote. She is of the age to marry, and they have in mind an excellent candidate, Aristobulus Ursiclos; but Helena, being of romantic temperament, has read about the Green Ray, a flash of green light that sometimes appears just as the sun passes the horizon at sea when the sky is clear, and, it is rumored, the viewer of that phenomenon will find his or heart's desire. She insists that she will marry no one until she has seen the Green Ray (although one wonders how much is enthusiasm for the Green Ray and how much of it is reluctance to marry Aristobulus). So off her uncles take her to Oban, in an adventure attempting to find a proper viewing point for the Green Ray. In the course of the story -- which should be read with a map of western Scotland -- Verne satirizes those who would attempt to disparage poetic, artistic, and even just whimsical approaches to the phenomena of nature in the person of Aristobulus Ursiclos, who is a devoted natural historian. Aristobulus's enthusiasm for science is in fact, as we begin to see clearly over the course of the tale, a form of narcissism; it is a way of being self-absorbed. Of course, Helena herself borders on self-absorption throughout -- she has been practically spoiled by her doting uncles -- and her pursuit of the Green Ray could very well have tended in that direction; but as she tours the western coast and islands of Scotland, she will learn to rise above the self-absorption. And in that way she will indeed find her heart's desire.

(Those who are interested in Verne's connection with Scotland might be interested in Ian B. Thompson, "Jules Verne, Geography and Nineteenth Century Scotland".)

Çatalhöyük and Other Complications

I have been reading with some interest various news items that have been trickling out about a major archeological scandal. James Mellaart (1925-2012) was one of the world's greatest experts in prehistoric Anatolia, making a major splash in archeology with his discovery of a Neolithic site, Çatalhöyük, in Turkey. It revolutionized the field, and, more than that, the exciting discoveries to come out of the site made Çatalhöyük a fairly significant tourist site -- not a minor thing in an academic discipline whose funding is as closely tied to public interest as archeology's is. One of the things Mellaart argued was that the 9000-year-old settlement was matriarchal and had a Mother Goddess religion, because there were a lot of female figurines in goddess-like portrayals. This was called into question with more careful study in the 2000s, when it became clear that, while a lot of figurines were being uncovered, they were almost all animals, and very rarely women, and nothing about the few female figurines really suggested any major religious character. What is more, the evidence of social status that kept being turned up did not indicate any significant difference between men and women -- if Çatalhöyük was matriarchal, or for that matter patriarchal, it was not showing up in the evidence. The difference between Mellaart's claim and the increasingly clear disposition of the evidence was treated as march of science -- the techniques were better, the work far more extensive, speculations had been proven wrong by new evidence.

But Mellaart had an interesting way of showing up around controversy. For instance, Mellaart began publishing about some interesting pots that he had discovered, and people started noticing pots like them showing up in various venues for the sale of antiquities, for thousands of dollars. It began to be thought that the pots were leaking from the archeological site -- always a potential problem -- but there was no reason to attribute it to Mellaart himself. Analysis eventually indicated that the pots were in fact forgeries, so even the suggestion that the site was leaking was dismissed.

But there were others. The most notorious of these was the Dorak Treasure scandal. Mellaart's version of the story was that he met a young woman named Anna Papastrati on a train from Istanbul to Izmir who was wearing an unusual item of jewelry. He asked her about it and discovered that her family were antiquities collectors; on learning that he was an archeologist, she invited him to her house to show him the collection, but, she said, photographs were not allowed -- if he wanted photographs, he would have to wait. So Mellaart sketched a number of pieces in the collection over a few days, and then left. He later got a letter from Papastrati giving him permission to publish his sketches. He did so. The Turkish authorities, who keep an eye on this sort of thing, were angered that he had not properly informed them of this discovery and began to investigate. The investigation discovered that there was no house at the address Mellaart had on file for Papastrati. The Turkish government naturally drew the conclusion that the collection had been illegally smuggled out of Turkey. The theft of Turkish antiquities is something that the Turkish public is very sensitive about, and the whole thing blew up, so that he was banned from Turkey. His career in the field apparently broken, he nonetheless made a persuasive case to the British that he was just unfortunate, and perhaps a bit foolish in going public about something before he had dotted all the i's. He got a job as a lecturer in London, where he was very popular with the students, who often found him inspiring. He wrote bestselling books in archeology, and received a number of important awards and recognitions for his archeological work. He had a reputation for being a brilliant man who, perhaps, had a bit of a tendency to jump to conclusions, but whose work was nonetheless groundbreaking and valuable.

Mellaart continued to do important general research, and soon contacted colleagues about having come into possession of a text by a French archeologist sketching part of an extended hieroglyphic inscription in the Luwian language which had since been destroyed. He told them that he didn't know the language and so needed help translating; and it was indeed an interesting find. There was some caution, given Mellaart's reputation for getting ahead of himself and the inevitable worry that it could be a forgery. But it was difficult to see how there could be any forgery here, since no one could have done it except an expert in Luwian. Mellaart could neither read nor write the language, and Luwian hieroglyphics were a very difficult and esoteric field that had only slowly been deciphered. Mellaart didn't actually do any of the interpretive work and analysis; that was done by others, so he wasn't even getting the primary credit for it. What is more, Mellaart seemed to have followed proper procedure here; he claimed to have been working on it since the 50s, and the preliminary work had been done by a team of scholars, which included only respectable experts. He hadn't rushed to publication. It created a significant controversy between those who were inclined to accept it (in which case it shed crucially valuable light on Philistine culture) and those who were more skeptical, given that everyone was working on copies of an inscription that no longer existed, from a man who had not always exercised due caution. And occasionally someone would note that Mellaart's not having rushed to publication had a disadvantage -- all the scholars from the preliminary research team had died, except for Mellaart himself.

When Mellaart died in 2012, he left a request to the colleagues he had been working with to see to the publication of certain materials related to the Luwian hieroglyphs that he had not been able to get into proper shape. They agreed, but there some complications and the materials they had were not quite adequate to what they needed, so after some rigmarole they got access to his complete papers. And the world came crashing down.

James Mellaart was an expert on Luwian hieroglyphics. He didn't just have an acquaintance with it; he had clearly studied it very, very closely, and knew the language well. He had been lying in saying that he didn't know it. It's remarkably clever, really. Nobody expects an academic to claim ignorance of a matter in which they have expertise -- and certainly no academic would expect it from another academic. The puzzle that had spoken for the authenticity of the find -- that there was no one who could have done a forgery like that -- fell apart. You can read an old interview from poor Dr. Woudhuizen, one of the people Mellaart had contacted about the inscription, defending Mellaart and the find, and it all depends on Mellaart not knowing Luwian hieroglyphics. Another layer of cunning: he set up honest researchers to give the work an air of authenticity. And a third: nobody expects a forger to forego the benefit of his forgery, but Mellaart had set it all up so that most of the forgery would become available after he died.

Nor was that all. They found what seemed to be rough drafts of the inscription, as well as significant numbers of what seem very much to be draft copies on slate of some the murals from Çatalhöyük on which Mellaart had published. And in a sense that's even worse: a blatant forgery is a personal wrongdoing, but it can be pinpointed and excised. But the evidence that Mellaart was engaged in forgery means that half a century of major archeological work is potentially contaminated. Nobody knows what was legitimate and what was not. Mellaart got away with his late forgeries because of his brilliant early work. But when did it all start? And he got away with it, too, because he was a brilliant man who genuinely knew the field from first-hand research. Where is the line between his genuine work and his forgery? Beyond some minor points that have panned out independently in other research, nobody knows -- a serious issue in a field like archeology that constantly deals with a lack of evidence, so that every distinctive bit of evidence is immensely precious. It all has to be ripped up. And, too, while research has often corrected Mellaart's speculations, it has sometimes confirmed them -- but how much of that confirmation in reality is partly based on evidence from Mellaart himself? It all has to be looked at again.

Two news items that are particularly good at giving the background:


Queensland Times

Aquinas for Lent XXV

The faithful must be strong through charity, for love is as strong as death (Song 8:6); hence, it is symbolized by a pillar of fire capable of consuming everything: therefore, they received a burning pillar of fire for a guide on the unknown journey (Wis 18:3). As fire makes the surroundings visible, puts metals to the test, and destroys what can burn, so charity enlightens human actions, examines one's motives, and exterminates all vices.

[Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Letters of Saint Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians, The Aquinas Institute for the Study of Sacred Doctrine (Lander, WY: 2012) p. 178. From the commentary on Ephesians.]

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

From the Moon to the Earth

Isaac Todhunter in his biography of Whewell notes that among Whewell's papers there was a story, in four parts, although each part seems unfinished. The story is what we would call a science fiction story, and describes a man who has come to Earth from the Moon on a meteoric rock. Todhunter, alas, does not give us the whole story, but he does give us an outline, as well as a brief passage from the second part and the whole of the third part. The story outline is, more or less:

I. The narrator recounts his longstanding desire to communicate with inhabitants from another world, and discusses the facts that have led some people to think that Venus, Mars, or the Moon might be inhabited. To get from the Earth to the Moon would require a projectile, and would immediately run into the problem of the immense acceleration required. But to get from the Moon to the Earth is not such a formidable problem. Thus the narrator has an interest in meteorites.

II. This brings him into contact with a mineralogist, Edward Daniel Clarke, whose lectures put him on the trail of a large mass of meteoric iron in Siberia. On the way there, he meets up with a strange man in Pekin (modern day Beijing), named Mono, who is also interested in meteorites. The proceed together to Siberia, and in the course of their journey have a discussion about what the sky would look like to someone viewing it from the Moon.

III. Mono reveals that he is in fact from the Moon; he came to Earth looking for his brother, who, being of the daring sort, had first made the attempt to travel from the Moon to the Earth. The narrator wonders if Mono is crazy.

IV. Further questioning by the narrator elicits more explanation from Mono. They agree to go together to Peru in the hope of finding there some evidence of what happened to Mono's brother.

That the story was never finished is one of the misfortunes of philosophy, I think; what Todhunter gives of it is interesting, if somewhat digressive. And you get really nice passages like this, when Mono describes the history of the Moon-men, who live on the side of the Moon facing away from the Earth, as they discover the Earth:

It was an ancestor of my own, named Tisiri, who had the privilege of making this discovery, the greatest event in our lunar history, and I think, the greatest and most striking scientific discovery ever made by any inhabitant of the solar system....You may try to conceive my ancestor's feelings when, climbing the last ridge of the boundary mountains, he saw resting, as it seemed, upon the mountains of the opposite horizon this vast luminous orb: for it so happened that at that time the earth was at full, as you say of the moon: that is, her whole disk was enlightened. Tisiri, in his travels which he wrote and which we possess in our family, gives vent to his feelings in the most rapturous language. 'I saw,' he says, 'that mysterious center which we had long felt, as an invisible power, shaping and controlling the movements of our planet, expanded before my eyes into a vast luminous orb, vying in splendour with the sun and far larger than he. Considering how vast an influence this orb exerts upon our world I was disposed to fall down and worship it, but better thoughts prevailed, and I knelt down and thanked him who made both it and our planet, for having permitted me to see it, first of moon-men, and to disclose its existence to my fellow creatures.'

The story clearly draws on the Plurality of Worlds debate, which was raging at the time throughout the learned world: Are there inhabitants on the other planets in the solar system? The Yes answer had become overwhelming popular, being explicitly advocated in a number of public works and having a certain plausibility due to analogy and certain religious considerations. Whewell had contributed to this debate in 1853 with his work, originally anonymous, The Plurality of Worlds (he added the dialogue in 1854); it became an instant hit, widely published and widely attacked. In that work he essentially rips apart the case made by proponents of the idea of inhabitants on other worlds, systematically showing that it was based on speculation, not evidence and that, indeed, most of the evidence pointed the other way and that the evidence that did not was not sufficient to establish even any probabilities. But he seems to have also been interested in human fascination with the idea of otherworldly inhabitants, which he notes is a recurring idea.

Aquinas for Lent XXIV

...there are many works in the world which are good to men but not good to God since they are not done aright. Prov. 14:12: There is a way which seemeth just to a man: but the ends therefore lead to death. Eccles. 8:10: I saw the wicked buried: who also when they were yet living were in the holy place, and were praised in the city as men of just works. But this is manifested by right faith when it attains its reward from God, Who does not remunerate except right things.

[Thomas Aquinas, Commentaries on St. Paul's Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, Baer, tr. St. Augustine's Press (South Bend, IN: 2007) p. 200. This is from the commentary on Philemon.]

Monday, March 12, 2018

A Liberal Education

It is not because any one is profoundly versed in the records of ancient learning, or because he is familiar with the discoveries of modern art or science, that we deem him liberally educated. It is because he knows, of ancient literature, that which enables him to understand and to sympathize with those noble efforts of thought and imagination, by which Greece and Rome became, and have continued up to the present day, the mistresses and models of the civilized word: and again, because he has accompanied the course of those more recent triumphs of a severer intellectual power, in virtue of which the last two centuries must for all future ages continue to be the leaders and teachers of all nations in the knowledge of material nature. A liberal education is that which, so far as the progress of taste and thought and real knowledge are concerned, connects the past with the present and the future. And those who enjoy the inestimable advantages of such an education are the instruments, graced and honoured by their office, of diffusing through the present race of men, and transmitting to the next generation, all the best consequences of the intellectual exertions of man, from the first dawn of letters up to the present time.

William Whewell, Sermons Preached in the Chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge, Sermon XXI. It's not immediately obvious from this passage (although it becomes more so later in the sermon), but Whewell is taking a position here in a larger debate about liberal education, although it wouldn't have been controversial in context because the position was the Cantabrigian one (in part due to Whewell himself): that a liberal education requires, in addition to the Classics, the Sciences.

Aquinas for Lent XXIII

...the ceremonial precepts of the Old Testament were certain determinations of the precepts of natural rights and moral precepts. And therefore, with regard to this, those things which they used to hold from natural right were kept before the Law only for the observance of a vow, and without some precept. For, that something be offered to God in recognition of creation and dominion, this is natural; but that bulls and goats be offered, this is ceremonial.

[Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Baer, tr. St. Augustine's Press (South Bend, IN: 2006) p. 142.]

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Fortnightly Book, March 11

While Sigrid Undset is most famous for her large medieval novels, most of her books are more modern in focus. This is the case with Ida Elisabeth, the next fortnightly book, which takes place in the 1930s. As with most Undset novels, it concerns living with a disastrous choice, and the question of how one puts one's life together given that the past cannot be undone. The backcover of it says that Ida Elisabeth marries her "teenage sweetheart", which is certainly overstating the matter; Ida Elisabeth and Frithjof in a sense just fall in together as teenagers sometimes do, and then they later marry, not so much for love but for familiarity. But Frithjof is a well-meaning dream-and-do-nothing kind of man, not very brave and not very honest, although sincere in his own way, the kind who always starts and never finishes, big on dreams and low on accomplishments. It is a catastrophe inevitable from the beginning, and there are no do-overs with something like that.

Sir Walter Scott, Rob Roy


Opening Passage:

You have requested me, my dear friend, to bestow some of that leisure, with which Providence has blessed the decline of my life, in registering the hazards and difficulties which attended its commencement. The recollection of those adventures, as you are pleased to term them, has indeed left upon my mind a chequered and varied feeling of pleasure and of pain, mingled, I trust, with no slight gratitude and veneration to the Disposer of human events, who guided my early course through much risk and labour, that the ease with which he has blessed my prolonged life, might seem softer from remembrance and contrast. Neither is it possible for me to doubt, what you have often affirmed, that the incidents which befell me among a people singularly primitive in their government and manners, have something interesting and attractive for those who love to hear an old man's stories of a past age. (p. 5)

Summary: Francis Osbaldistone is a young man raised to a mercantile family who very much does not want to go into the family business. In response, his father sends him off to his cousins in a kind of exchange -- since Frank won't take up the accounting ledger, he will go to Osbaldistone Hall, and one of his cousins, Rashleigh, will come to work in the London offices. Frank finds his cousins an uncouth lot, but living with them is the beautiful Diana Vernon, with whom he immediately falls in love; but she seems to be destined for another, or (since she, unlike Frank, is Catholic) a convent. When Rashleigh betrays the family, Frank in his attempt to make things right will find himself in Scotland, in desperate need of the help of others -- the cowardly servant, Andrew Fairservice; the shrewd Bailie, Nicol Jarvie; and the outlaw, cattle rustler, con man, blackmailer, patriot, Robert MacGregor. It is a sticky situation; tensions are high as the opposition between Highland Scotland, which is Catholic and Jacobite, and England (as well as its Protestant collaborators in the Lowlands), steadily makes its way toward the Jacobite rising of 1715.

Mr. Jarvie at one point makes an interesting comment that I thought shed a great deal of light on the themes of the novel; in response to Frank's asking him for advice about the best way to act for his honor: "Honour is a homicide and a bloodspiller, that gangs about making frays in the street; but Credit is a decent honest man, that sits at hame and makes the pat play." From the comment you can gather that Mr. Jarvie is very much a partisan of Credit; so, indeed, is Frank's father. But the novel itself does not denigrate honor, because it is the combination of the two -- Credit and Honour -- that make Scotland what it is, and the line between them is not a line between factions but something that runs through all the characters. Mr. Jarvie himself is an honorable man, as we see in comparing him to the MacVitties; mercantile credit and industry may have the upper hand, but honor has a voice, and, indeed, the two aspects of Scottish life, represented by bustling Glasgow and the bonnie Highlands, are not as unrelated as they might seem, just as the credit-shrewd Mr. Jarvie turns out to be cousin to the honor-shrewd Rob Roy. Rashleigh's betrayal is an attack on both, Credit and Honour; victory over him will require both.

It's a sign of Scott's literary genius, incidentally, that he is able to take two very negative stereotypes of Scotland -- the profit-minded, pinchpenny, accounting-book miser Scotland, and the sulky, touchy, kilt-wearing backwoods clan Scotland -- and turn them around to create an attractive picture by putting them in rapprochement, united in a just cause.

Like most of Scott's work, the story is slow-building, but it never lags in pace; it is interesting all the way through. Rob Roy is only occasionally on the scene, in the same way that the troubles building up to the Fifteen are merely an occasional element of the background, but the tale actually benefits from this, since it allows room for a suggestiveness that a plainer telling would miss. It is also a very character-oriented tale; with the exception of Rashleigh, whose good qualities are merely cleverness and charisma, and a few scattered minor characters, all of the characters are presented as very flawed but often admirable nonetheless.

Favorite Passage:

The attack which he meditated was prevented by the unexpected apparition of a female upon the summit of the rock.

“Stand!” she said, with a commanding tone, “and tell me what ye seek in MacGregor's country?”

I have seldom seen a finer or more commanding form than this woman. She might be between the term of forty and fifty years, and had a countenance which must once have been of a masculine cast of beauty; though now, imprinted with deep lines by exposure to rough weather, and perhaps by the wasting influence of grief and passion, its features were only strong, harsh, and expressive. She wore her plaid, not drawn around her head and shoulders, as is the fashion of the women in Scotland, but disposed around her body as the Highland soldiers wear theirs. She had a man's bonnet, with a feather in it, an unsheathed sword in her hand, and a pair of pistols at her girdle.

“It's Helen Campbell, Rob's wife,” said the Bailie, in a whisper of considerable alarm; “and there will be broken heads amang us or it's lang.” (p. 369)

Recommendation: Highly Recommended.


Sir Walter Scott, Rob Roy, Penguin (London: 1995).

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Aquinas for Lent XXII

The effect of Sacred Scripture is twofold: it teaches man to know the truth and persuades him to work justice. Jn 14:26: But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost...will teach you all things to be known, and bring all things to be done to your mind. And therefore it is profitable to know the truth and direct it into action.

For there is the speculative reason and the practical reason. And in each two things are necessary: that it know the truth and refute errors. For this work is the work of the wise man, namely, not to lie and to refute the liar. Regarding the first he says, is profitable to teach, namely, the truth. Ps 118:66: Teach me goodness and discipline and knowledge. Regarding the second he adds, to reprove. Tit. 1:9: That he may be able to exhort in sound doctrine and to convince the gainsayers.

[Thomas Aquinas, Commentaries on St. Paul's Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, Baer, tr. St. Augustine's Press (South Bend, IN: 2007) p. 137. From the commentary on II Timothy.]

Friday, March 09, 2018

Aquinas for Lent XXI

When hope is abandoned, the reason is usually to be found in the powerlessness of him from whom help was expected. The confidence characteristic of hope is not wholly grounded on the mere willingness to help professed by him on whom our hope rests: power to help must also be present. We sufficiently express our conviction that the divine will is ready to help us when we proclaim that God is our Father. But to exclude all doubt as to the perfection of His power, we add: “who art in heaven.”

Thomas Aquinas, Compendium of Theology, Part 2, Chapter 6.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Music on My Mind

Martin McGinn, "Rob Roy MacGregor".

Eat the breed, heed the baw
The man who ett the bile`t ham raw
He very seldom kicks his maw
Rob Roy Mcgreeger, O

It's a parody song of the finale from John Davy's operatic play, "Rob Roy":

Pardon now the bold outlaw
Rob Roy MacGregor, O!
Grant him mercy, gentles, a'
Rob Roy MacGregor, O!
Let your hands and hearts agree
Set the highland laddie free
Let us sing wi' muckle glee
Rob Roy MacGregor, O!

Lang the state has doomed his fa',
Rob Roy MacGregor, O!
Still he spurned the hatefu' law,
Rob Roy MacGregor, O!
Scots can for their country dee;
Ne'er frae Britian's foes they flee,
A' that's past forget - forgie,
Rob Roy MacGregor, O!

Scotland's fear and Scotland's pride,
Rob Roy MacGregor, O!
Your award must now abide,
Rob Roy MacGregor, O!
Lang your favours hae been mine,
Favours I will ne'er resign,
Welcome then for auld lang syne,
Rob Roy MacGregor, O!

Aquinas for Lent XX

All things naturally tend to God implicitly, but not explicitly. That this may appear clearly it should be observed that a secondary cause can influence its effect only in so far as it receives the power of the first cause. The influence of an efficient cause is to act; that of a final cause is to be sought or desired. A secondary agent acts only by the efficacy of the first agent existing in it; similarly a secondary end is sought only by reason of the worth of the principal end existing in it inasmuch as it is subordinated to the principal end or has its likeness.

Accordingly, because God is the last end, He is sought in every end, just as, because He is the first efficient cause, He acts in every agent.

Thomas Aquinas, Disputed Questions on Truth 22.2

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Voyages extraordinaires #34: Sans dessus dessous

"So, Mr. Maston, you claim that women are incapable of even advancing either the mathematical or the experimental sciences?"

"I'm afraid that is what I am forced to think, Mrs. Scorbitt, said J.-T. Maston. "It's certainly the case that there have been, and even are now, a few astonishing lady mathematicians, particularly in Russia. But, with the type of brains females have, no woman could ever become an Archimedes or still less a Newton."

"Oh, Mr. Maston! I protest in the name of our sex...."

[Jules Verne, The Earth Turned Upside Down, Sophie Lewis, tr., Hesperus Press (London: 2012), p. 3.]

Mr. Maston, of the Baltimore Gun Club, should perhaps be a little less self-important; as we discover, despite his prodigious algebraic ability, he's not quite an Archimedes, either.

Sans dessus dessous, often titled in English, Topsy-Turvy, or The Earth Turned Upside Down, or The Purchase of the North Pole, is the third of the Baltimore Gun Club books. Twenty years after the historic trip to and around the moon, President Barbicane, Captain Nicholls, and J. T. Maston are hatching a new scheme for the next generation of artillery engineering, one that, with the help of Captain Nicholls's new explosive, melimelonite (literally, 'mish-mash-ite') or dyna-mix (as Lewis decides to translate it), will shake the world. On the basis of some evidence that there are coal deposits in the Arctic, they purchase it in an auction. But how are they going to get to the coal? Well, since it involves the Baltimore Gun Club, you know that it will involve a very, very big cannon.

The work is highly comical; Verne's full satirical vein is seen here (my favorite is when the British try to organize a collective effort among the Europeans to lock the Americans out by outbidding them and it fails because none of the nations are willing to promise more than a few dollars for fear that it would put them on the hook for more than their neighbors, a beautiful symbolic caricature of most European efforts to stop Americans from doing whatever they want), and the buffoonery that often came out in From Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon is taken to the limit. It's a fun romp, but it also touches on a number of serious themes that are common in Verne's works. Verne remarks more than once, that nobody consults any of the people who actually live in the Arctic, or any of the poor nations that will be affected by the scheme. The work presents a picture of single-minded devotion to 'scientific progress', regardless of the consequences, as if real scientific progress was not progress by being a benefit to all humanity rather than a juggernaut rolling over anyone who stands in its way. And it is also a commentary that these big, boundary-breaking ventures in 'scientific progress' are often themselves based on a wholly unwarranted confidence.

Sans dessus dessous is interesting with respect to the whole series of Voyages extraordinaires, because it binds together a number of them. It is, of course, an explicit sequel to De la terre à la lune (#4) and Autour de la lune (#7), but it also explicitly mentions in the course of the story two other works: Hector Servadac (#15) and L'École des Robinsons (#22). I find it interesting that Verne did this, in part because it puts a number of his crazier and more satirical stories in the same 'fictional universe', as we would call it -- a universe in which one of the least crazy things is a billionaire spending absurd quantities of money to buy an island to play a practical joke.

Aquinas for Lent XIX

It cannot be said that man's happiness should arise from any kind of life, for even plants have life. But happiness is sought as a good characteristic of man since it is called a human good. Likewise, happiness must be different from the life of nutrition or growth, which even vegetables possess. From this we take it that happiness does not consist in health, beauty, strength, or great stature, for all these things result from activities of vegetative life.

On the step above the life of mere nutrition and growth is the life of sense experience. Again, this is not proper to man but is possessed by horses, oxen, and other animals. In this kind of life, then, happiness does not consist. So we conclude that human happiness is not found in any form of sense perception or pleasure.

Beyond the life of assimilation and of sense experience there remains only the life that functions according to reason.

[Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Litzinger, tr., Dumb Ox Books (Notre Dame, IN: 1964) p. 42.]

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

William Whewell

William Whewell died 6 March 1866. A few links to some posts I have done on various aspects of Whewell's philosophy. I have been talking about Whewell since this blog began (the fifth post I ever did was a quotation of Whewell); nearly fourteen years of occasional comments. I have not included all the quotations, nor all the casual mentions.

Moral Philosophy

Whewell argues that moral life can be organized according to five Virtues: Justice, Benevolence, Order, Veracity, and Purity.

* Justice

* Benevolence

* Order

* Veracity

* Purity

* The Principle of Purity

He argues that moral judgment is complex:

* Moral Judgment

He was an active opponent of utilitarianism, being instead an intuitionist:

* Moral Faculty

He has a moral argument for the existence of God based on multiple strands of moral life:

* Sentiment of Dependence

* Spontaneous Impulse of Gratitude

* The Idea of a Higher Moral World

* Aspirations for the Infinite (includes the comments on the various components)

Philosophy of Science

Whewell's philosophy of science was informed by an intensive study of the history of science and of all its major fields -- the reason for Sydney Smith's famous biting comment about him that science was his forte and omniscience was his foible. His studies led him to argue for a theory of scientific history based on three phases in the development of any major field:

* Epochs of Induction

* Inductive Epochs (considers astronomy in particular)

He recognized a point that is later associated with Planck, namely, that one of the mechanisms that has to be considered when looking at how theories develop is the older generation dying off:

* Transformation of Hypotheses

Whewell's view of scientific progress is pluralistic; there is no single line along which it proceeds. However, he famously argues that one mark that you really are making progress is consilience, when two theories from previously separate fields jump together so as to provide a unified account of both. I discuss consilience and consider whether it might be related to supererogation in moral matters:

* Supererogation and Consilience

The key idea in Whewell's philosophy of science is what he calls the fundamental antithesis, namely, that all knowledge is a union between the world as we discover and the mind's conceptualization of what we discover:

* The Fundamental Antithesis of Philosophy

* The Fundamental Antithesis

* Scientific Method

* Epistemology

* Theory

I did a series looking at Whewell's account of Newton's Laws of Motion:

* I: Induction

* II: Causes

* III: The First Law

* IV: The Second and Third Laws

Whewell has a fairly well developed theory of classification. He attempted to work out a rigorous account of scientific classification, which is based on the notion of a natural classification:

* Constructing Classificatory Sciences

* Natural Classification

I consider how his philosophy of classification relates to a historical question in mathematics:

* Classification and the (Non-)Primality of 1

And also his opposition to a claim by John Stuart Mill (and Auguste Comte) on classification, namely, that there is a natural series as well as a natural classification:

* Natural Series

Closely related to his interest in classification was his interest in rational scientific terminology, and was considered the foremost authority on this subject in the English-speaking world. Because of this, we owe a number of important scientific terms to Whewell:

* Scientific Terms We Owe to Whewell

Philosophy of Education

Whewell, as Master of Trinity College, was actively involved in the curriculum debates of his day. He argued that colleges should seek to have a unified curriculum involving both permanent and progressive elements -- classics and sciences, roughly. However, he did not think this should be indiscriminate. For instance, he argues that geometry is a better form of mathematics for a liberal arts education than algebra and calculus:

* Analytic Mathematics in Liberal Arts Education


Whewell takes his place in the history of found poetry for a sentence in his 1819 textbook, An Elementary Treatise of Mechanics. He wrote serious poetry (including translating German poets), but it's probably the most famous poem linked to him:

* Found Poetry

Part of his poem on the death of his wife:

* The Return Home

He also wrote an important book on Gothic architecture, arguing that it was dominated by the Idea of the Vertical; I make a comment or two on the relation between this and intellectual life:

* Philosophy in Stone

* Gothic Cathedrals

Aquinas for Lent XVIII

It is also a property of friendship that one take delight in a friend’s presence, rejoice in his words and deeds, and find in him security against all anxieties; and so it is especially in our sorrows that we hasten to our friends for consolation. Since, then, the Holy Spirit constitutes us God's friends, and makes Him dwell in us, and us dwell in Him (as was shown), it follows that through the Holy Spirit we have joy in God and security against all the world’s adversities and assaults.

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Book IV, Chapter 22, Section 3.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Necessity Implies Normativity

There is, I think, a very good, but generally overlooked, case for the claim that necessity implies normativity; that is, that necessary claims are, ipso facto, normative claims as well.

(1) Role in practical planning. Suppose that you are an engineer building a bridge. There are certain things to which your project must conform; among these are principles of mathematics directly relevant to the project of building a structure spanning a space. But this is nothing other than for relevant necessary claims (in this case mathematics) to function as relevant normative claims, since they impose a standard or requirement on your plans. But what is true of engineering in building a bridge is true of any sort of practical plans; there are always at least some necessary claims relevant to your plans, and these claims work just like any other kind of normative claim.

(2) Role in rational discourse. The principle of noncontradiction is a necessary principle; what does that mean in practice. In practice it means that its being necessary makes it function in rational discourse (say, in the evaluation of an argument) just like anything we would consider a normative principle. All discussion of rational argument, in fact, treats necessity as implying normativity for how one ought to act and reason.

(3) Convergence of vocabularies. We in fact talk about necessary truths in normative terms. For instance, we can phrase the principle of noncontradiction as the norm that you shouldn't hold something to be and not to be in the same way at the same time. Likewise, we talk about at least some norms in necessity terms: they are things to which you must conform. This indicates that there is at least a strong analogy between the two. But that it is more than an analogy is suggested by the fact that we get absurdities if we try to treat the necessary as not normative, e.g., "This principle is certainly necessary but nobody has to act accordingly."

(4) Deontic logic. In deontic logic, we have the well-known problem of deontic necessitation. But the whole of the problem just consists in assuming that it is wrong that the necessary should be 'obligatory'; as I've noted, this is probably not a fair assessment of the deontic logic itself, but if we look at how we use strong normative terms, we find that, in fact, there is in real life some kind of connection between necessity and normativity, and so we should be putting that assumption in doubt, anyway. In any case, assuming that necessity implies normativity allows the most elegant and easy-to-work with kinds of deontic system. This would not be definitive on its own, but the only reason for not taking it to be a reason is if it were actually a bad model for our discourse. But, as noted above, this does not seem to be true.

As there seem to be contingently normative claims, it is not true that normativity implies necessity; necessity is the stronger modality. But it does appear that it is strong enough that it is reasonable to say that necessity implies normativity. And it is noteworthy that contingent normativities work a lot like conditional necessities.

There may, of course, be some kind of qualification. For instance, we don't usually pay attention to details of what is relevant to what when dealing with necessary truths (we just assume that they are relevant, somehow), but one might argue that normative claims require definite relevance to practical contexts; in which case it might be better to say that necessity, in a practical context, implies normativity. But this does not affect the fundamental point, which is that learning that something is a necessary truth would ipso facto be learning that it is normative for certain kinds of practical contexts.

Aquinas for Lent XVII

Manly exercises in warlike feats of arms are not all forbidden, but those which are inordinate and perilous, and end in slaying or plundering.

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 2-2.40.1 ad 4

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Music on My Mind

The Corries, "Bonnie Dundee". The lyrics of this popular folksong are a shortening and simplification of a poem by Sir Walter Scott, written in 1825; the tune already had the name and Scott, having it in his head one day, decided to make lyrics for it. The poem, like the name of the tune, is about Dundee's Rising, the first major military action by the Jacobites, in 1689. 'Clavers' is John Claverhouse, the first Viscount of Dundee, who was one of a handful of Scottish nobles to remain loyal to King James. He won the Battle of Killiecrankie, but died almost at the moment of victory. This song is, incidentally, one of the songs parodied in Carroll's Through the Looking Glass.

Bonnie Dundee
by Sir Walter Scott

To the Lords of Convention 'twas Clavers who spoke.
'Ere the King's crown shall fall there are crowns to be broke;
So let each Cavalier who loves honour and me,
Come follow the bonnet of Bonny Dundee.

Come fill up my cup, come fill up my can,
Come saddle your horses, and call up your men;
Come open the West Port and let me gae free,
And it's room for the bonnets of Bonny Dundee!

Dundee he is mounted, he rides up the street,
The bells are rung backward, the drums they are beat;
But the Provost, douce man, said, "Just e'en let him be,
The Gude Town is weel quit of that De'il Dundee."

Come fill up my cup, etc.

As he rode down the sanctified bends of the Bow,
Ilk carline was flyting and shaking her pow;
But the young plants of grace they looked couthie and slee,
Thinking luck to thy bonnet, thou Bonny Dundee!

Come fill up my cup, etc.

With sour-featured Whigs the Grass-market was crammed,
As if half the West had set tryst to be hanged;
There was spite in each look, there was fear in each e'e,
As they watched for the bonnets of Bonny Dundee.

Come fill up my cup, etc.

These cowls of Kilmarnock had spits and had spears,
And lang-hafted gullies to kill cavaliers;
But they shrunk to close-heads and the causeway was free,
At the toss of the bonnet of Bonny Dundee.

Come fill up my cup, etc.

He spurred to the foot of the proud Castle rock,
And with the gay Gordon he gallantly spoke;
"Let Mons Meg and her marrows speak twa words or three,
For the love of the bonnet of Bonny Dundee."

Come fill up my cup, etc.

The Gordon demands of him which way he goes?
"Where'er shall direct me the shade of Montrose!
Your Grace in short space shall hear tidings of me,
Or that low lies the bonnet of Bonny Dundee.

Come fill up my cup, etc.

"There are hills beyond Pentland and lands beyond Forth,
If there's lords in the Lowlands, there's chiefs in the North;
There are wild Duniewassals three thousand times three,
Will cry hoigh! for the bonnet of Bonny Dundee.

Come fill up my cup, etc.

"There's brass on the target of barkened bull-hide;
There's steel in the scabbard that dangles beside;
The brass shall be burnished, the steel shall flash free,
At the toss of the bonnet of Bonny Dundee.

Come fill up my cup, etc.

"Away to the hills, to the caves, to the rocks
Ere I own an usurper, I'll couch with the fox;
And tremble, false Whigs, in the midst of your glee,
You have not seen the last of my bonnet and me!"

Come fill up my cup, etc.

He waved his proud hand, the trumpets were blown,
The kettle-drums clashed and the horsemen rode on,
Till on Ravelston's cliffs and on Clermiston's lee
Died away the wild war-notes of Bonny Dundee.

Come fill up my cup, come fill up my can,
Come saddle the horses, and call up the men,
Come open your gates, and let me gae free,
For it's up with the bonnets of Bonny Dundee!

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Aquinas for Lent XVI

Now the doctrine of the Old Testament was twofold. One was placed openly; the other was veiled under figures and mysteries. The first regarded the unity of God and the creation of the world; the second, the mystery of the Incarnation and reparation. Wherefore, just as they observed the Sabbath as a memorial of creation, so we keep Sunday as a memorial of the Resurrection.

[Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Baer, tr. St. Augustine's Press (South Bend, IN: 2006) p. 232.]

Friday, March 02, 2018

Deontic Logic is a Logic of Solution-Features (Re-Post)

This is a lightly revised post from 2013.

A deontic logic is a modal logic in which the strong modality operator (Box) is interpreted as obligation (or something similar) and the weak modality operator (Diamond) is interpreted as permission or acceptability; in standard deontic logic, the characteristic modal axiom is:

□p → ⋄p

That is, Box implies Diamond. In standard deontic logic, however, Box does not imply True; if X is an obligation, it does not follow that X is true.

I am inclined to think that we largely interpret deontic logics too narrowly. In reality, deontic logics are logics of solution-features for problems, and it is this, I think, that makes them suitable for handling obligation and the like, because these are also concerned with solutions to problems. I would like to note a few apparent puzzles of deontic logic that make a bit more sense when we recognize deontic logics as logics of solution-features for problems, in which Box consists of conditions that solutions have to meet and Diamond consists of features of solutions that are acceptable.

(1) Deontic Necessitation. Deontic necessitation says that if you can prove p as a logical theorem, you can conclude □p. People tend not to like this rule, but it is required to make standard deontic logic play nicely. It makes plenty of sense if we think about deontic logic as being concerned with the kinds of features that a solution to a problem must have. If you have proven p as a theorem, you have established that it is in some sense necessary; but solutions to problems have to take necessities into account. Therefore if something is proven to be necessary, it is a necessary constraint on solution, or, to put it in other words, the solution ought to take it as a fixed reference point.

Deontic necessitation has the further result that □⊤, where ⊤ is Top, and is usually taken to indicate tautology. And this makes sense as well: solutions have to take tautologies as fixed.

(2) Good Samaritan Paradox. Take the following proposition:

□(Jones helps Smith who was robbed)

It seems to follow that "Jones helps Smith who has been robbed" implies "Smith was robbed and Jones helps Smith". But then it follows:

□(Smith was robbed and Jones helps Smith)

But from this it seems to follow by conjunctive simplification:

□(Smith was robbed).

This seems to be a bit awkward, because it then seems that we are saying that it ought to be true that Smith was robbed. However, if we interpret □ as indicating something that a solution ought to take as a fixed reference point, is there a situation in which this makes sense? Yes, the situation in which the problem is that Smith was robbed. A solution to the problem that Smith was robbed has to take into account the fact that Smith was robbed. And given this interpretation of □ as something with which the solution necessarily has to be consistent, it's pretty clear that

□(Jones helps Smith who was robbed)

does imply

□(Smith was robbed).

(3) Penitent's Paradox. Consider the following proposition:

□~(John does wrong)

□~ usually is taken to mean that it is forbidden in some way. But this proposition implies

□~(John does wrong and John repents of his wrongdoing)

From which it follows:

□~(John repents of his wrongdoing).

But we see that, under the solutions interpretation, our first proposition indicated that we need to take as a fixed point for our solution "It is false that John does wrong". But given this it is surely not surprising that we should also require our solution not to include his repenting of having done wrong, which seems to imply that he has done wrong.

So we see that the interpretation has some force against puzzles and paradoxes. There are other puzzles and paradoxes that would be more difficult, the most important of which are "conflicting obligation" paradoxes. And it is is important to understand that I am not here saying that standard deontic logic is the only true logic of solutions. I think, in fact, that this is obviously false; there will be problems where the most appropriate solutions will be governed by nonstandard deontic logics. But deontic logics in general are logics of solution-features, and taking them as such clarifies a great deal.

This ties in with another important point, which I've argued before, and will not argue here: obligation or 'ought' in our ordinary sense is (at least in many circumstances) appropriately modeled by deontic logic not because deontic logic has only to do with obligation, but because our ordinary sense of 'ought' or obligation primarily concerns the problem of deciding what to do, and therefore indicates a constraint on solutions to this particular problem. But there is nothing hugely mysterious about it; it's just a special, and especially important, version of the general fact that solutions are logically constrained by the problems to which they are put forward. This helps clarify what one really wants in a truly deontic logic, i.e., a logic that really is about moral obligation or duty: one wants a deontic logic, i.e., a logic of solutions, that takes into account the distinctive features of problems concerned with deciding what to do. And almost all the puzzles people have over standard deontic logic concern distinctive features of this particular kind of problem.

Rough Timeline of Scotland During the Jacobite Risings

Some dates approximate, as is the order of events for a given year.

1687 James VII and II issues the Declaration of Indulgence, first for Scotland, then for England, suspending laws requiring conformity to the Church of England, as well as those requiring religious tests for offices.

1688 James re-issues the Declaration of Indulgence; Anglicans attempt to argue that it is illegal.

A son is born to James in June, thus displacing the heir presumptive, Mary, a Protestant married to William of Orange, and raising the possibility of a Catholic dynasty. English parliamentarians conspire to put Mary, and thus William, on the throne. William invades in November and quickly achieves victory in England at the Battle of Reading.

Early 1689 William forces Parliament to make him joint monarch with Mary by threatening to withdraw his troops.

The Parliament of Scotland passes the CLAIM OF RIGHT, recognizing William and Mary as monarchs.

The Parliament of Ireland meets for its only session in the reign of James (the 'Patriot Parliament') and re-asserts James's right to the Crown of Ireland, thus leading to the War of Two Kings (the Williamite War).

Leisler's Rebellion: News of the Revolution reaches the Dominion of New England, and leads to the Puritans revolting and overthrowing the unpopular James-appointed government there. Leisler will for all practical purposes rule New England until he is executed for treason in 1691.

DUNDEE'S RISING (the first Jacobite Rising) in Scotland
27 July 1689 At the Battle of Killecrankie, Jacobite forces crush pro-William forces, but at heavy cost.
21 August 1689 Jacobites lose the Battle of Dunkeld to the Cameronian Regiment, an army of Convenanter volunteers.

Coode's Rebellion: Puritans in Maryland overthrow the government there and begin to take steps to outlaw Catholicism.

The English Parliament enacts the Declaration of Right (Bill of Rights), and it receives Royal Assent.

1690 Battle of the Boyne in the Williamite War: Jacobites and Williamites fight to a narrow victory for William's forces. The battle was far from decisive, but James flees to France, to the fury of his Irish supporters. The flight could have ended the war, but in the Declaration of Finglas, William demanded harsh terms for surrender, giving the Irish reasons to continue to fight.

1691 Treaty of Limerick in October ends the Williamite War in Ireland.

1692 Massacre of Glencoe: Williamite forces kill thirty-eight men of the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe, and about forty women and children die of exposure in the aftermath, due to the slowness of the MacDonalds of Glencoe to sign the oath of allegiance.

1696 THE JACOBITE PLOT: George Barclay plans an assassination attempt against William, but the plan is discovered before it can be carried out.


1 May 1707 The ACTS OF UNION unite the kingdoms into Great Britain.

1708 James Francis Edward Stuart (the Old Pretender) sails from Dunkirk with an army, planning to invade by landing somewhere along the Firth of Forth; it fails when the British Navy engages the fleet and the French admiral retreats despite Stuart begging him to land the army.

1714 Death of Queen Anne, the last English monarch of the House of Stuart; she is succeeded by the Elector of Hanover, George I. Power passes from the Tories to the Whigs, who begin presecuting the previous Tory politicians, and the Tory Lord Bolingbroke flees to France, becoming the Old Pretender's Secretary of State. They began planning an invasion of Scotland.

LORD MAR'S REVOLT (also known as the FIFTEEN)
27 August 1715 John Erskine, the Earl of Mar, independently of the Pretender, holds a council of war at Braemar.
6 September 1715 The Earl of Mar lifts the standard for James the Eighth and Third, and the revolt begins in earnest. In response, Parliament suspends Habeas Corpus and promises anti-Jacobite tenants in Scotland that if their landlords are Jacobite, they can have the forfeited property
2 October 1715 The English government manages to nip in the bud a sympathetic rising in western England.
6 October 1715 A sympathetic English rising begins in Northumberland.
22 October 1715 Having (in large measure through a good choice of subordinates) captured almost all of northern Scotland, the Earl of Mar receives a commission from the Pretender.
13 November 1715 Mar's army defeats the Duke of Argyll at Sherriffmuir, but Mar fails to press his advantage and falls back to Perth.
14 November 1715 After intense fighting, the sympathetic rising in Northumberland is defeated at the Battle of Preston.
22 December 1715 The Pretender lands at Peterhead and begins the march to Perth; by the time he reaches Perth on 9 January, the Duke of Argyll has begun to advance with heavy artillery, and the Jacobite army spends the rest of the month in retreat.
4 February 1716 The Pretender leaves Scotland and returns to France.

1 November 1716 The Disarming Act makes it illegal to carry unauthorized weapons in Scotland.

1716 An Anglo-French alliance requires the Stuarts to leave France; they eventually settle in Rome at the invitation of Pope Benedict XIII.

July 1717 The Indemnity Act pardons those who took part in Lord Mar's Revolt except for the MacGregors (including Rob Roy MacGregor).

22 August 1717 The War of the Quadruple Alliance begins, pitting Spain against Britain, France, Austria, and the Dutch Republic. The Spanish begin considering a diversionary invasion of Scotland to draw the powerful British fleet away from the Mediterranean.

11 April 1719 George Keith lands with 300 Spanish soldiers at Loch Alsh, and with the help of the Mackenzies raises a local army. They garrison at Eilean Donan Castle and march on Inverness.
10 May 1719 Three major English warships anchor off Eilean Donan and, after an attempt at negotiation, capture the castle and then shell it into ruins.
5 June 1719 General Joseph Wightman meets the Jacobite army at Glen Shiel, and defeats them with overwhelming firepower. Lord Carpenter recommends that it is not worth the time and effort to hunt down the rebels in the Highlands, on the ground that the swift and conclusive defeat had damaged the Jacobite cause far more than the British government could possibly do.

1721 The Rosses, who had been appointed factors for the forfeited estates of the Mackenzies, try to collect rents, which had not been paid (the Mackenzies had instead continued to send their rents overseas to the clan chief). They are ambushed near Glen Affric, soundly defeated, and agree to give up all claim to the rents. The British government, hearing of the matter, attempts to press the issue by sending a regiment from Inverness; the regiment, under Captain McNeil, is ambushed at Coille Bhan. They win the battle, but, hearing of approaching Mackenzie reinforcements, recognize the futility of the attempt and return to Inverness.

1744 The French back an invasion plan, but it is aborted due to hostile weather; however, war between France and Britain gives Charles Stuart, "Bonnie Prince Charlie", a reason to think conditions still may be favorable.

THE FORTY-FIVE (also known as the YEAR OF CHARLES)
23 July 1745 Charles lands at Eriskay with Irish volunteers and begins gathering local Scottish support.
19 August 1745 Charles raises the standard at Glenfinnan and the uprising begins in earnest.
17 September 1745 Charles and his army enter Edinburgh unopposed, although Edinburgh Castle remains under British control.
21 September 1745 Jacobite army wins the Battle of Prestonpans.
8 November 1745 The Jacobites begin an invasion of England, but disputes about the appropriate policy are already beginning to cause discord in the Jacobite leadership, and support from English Jacobites and the French turns out to be far less than expected.
20 December 1745 The Jacobites return to Scotland. Despite the failure of the expedition, the fact that the army had invaded England raises morale considerably, and volunteers begin to increase.
4 January 1746 Charles reaches Stirling.
17 January 1746 The Jacobites win the Battle of Falkirk Muir but fail to press their advantage.
1 February 1746 The Jacobites are forced to withdraw from the Siege of Stirling Castle.
16 April 1746 The Jacobites lose at the Battle of Culloden.
20 April 1746 Given divisions between Charles and his advisors, and the low level of French support, Charles disbands the army.
27 June 1746 Flora MacDonald helps Charles escape British troops.

1 August 1746 In the aftermath of the Forty-Five, Parliament passes: the Heritable Jurisdictions Act, stripping clan chiefs and hereditary sheriffs of their judicial powers; and the ACT OF PROSCRIPTION, which increases the punishments for unauthorized weapons and makes tartan and kilt illegal.

20 September 1746 Charles returns to France.

June 1747 Henry Stuart becomes a Cardinal in the Catholic Church, widely seen as being an admission of the end of the Stuart cause.