Friday, May 11, 2018

Dashed Off IX

"Love makes us poets, and the approach of death should make us philosophers." Santayana

the Chinese five virtues as a better spirit of interpretation than a mechanically applied principle of charity

Santayana wants to put objective weight on mechanical law while holding an account on which it is more subjective than objective.

Cons Ipr3: Philosophy enters the solitude of our exile, leaping down from the center-point of heaven.

The condition of Boethius is the literal and physical expression of the moral exile of all human beings.

Cons Ipr3.11: To be displeasing to the most despicable is a guiding principle of philosophers.

Cravings and fears are the chains of cowards.

the library as the dwelling-place of philosophy Ipr4.3
but, no, the dwelling-place is the mind IPr5.6 (cp. IIPr1.5)

the sponsor of recuperation IPr6.19

the mereological analogy for practical reason (end : whole :: means : part)

A virtue, even if not expressed, is an intrinsic good.

To be such as to endure difficulty for virtue is in itself desirable.

Our desires alone do not function precisely the same as our desires when we are interacting with others.

A man who sacrificed a pleasant life for an erroneous conception of Virtue or Beauty made a mistaken choice, but not as mistaken as one who did the reverse. There is nobility even in failing in the pursuit of Virtue and Beauty.

An ultimate end must 'satisfy our imagination by its vastness, and sustain our resolution by its comparative security.' Pleasure has no vastness or security in itself.

To consider one's actual individual existence, one must recognize the point of view of a larger whole.

Good is naturally regarded as Pleasant, pleasantness being a diagnostic sign of Good, but not naturally regarded as Pleasure. That is it, it is natural to think of goodness as eliciting pleasure, but not as its being the same.

The pain of sentient being sis not per se to be avoided, but only on balance and normally.

Water can be channeled because it has tendencies not imposed from outside; so too with cultivation of human nature.

There is a relish to morality itself.

Moral goodness must be something shared in common.

If you save a child from falling into a well, you don't do it for pleasure. And if we ask in the abstract why it is good and right to do so, it is not because of pleasure. And if we discovered that letting the child fall would bring, in the end, everyone more pleasure, and the child little pain, it would not matter.

Eventually every moral matter of importance to a society is invaded by humorless, self-righteous moralizers.

invariance principles in reasoning about precedents and moral cases (person invariance, time invariance, space invariance)
modulation principles of same (how circumstantial constraints shift applications)

"A good way of testing the calibre of a philosophy is to ask what it thinks of death." Santayana

Academics have a tendency to overestimate the extent to which others have a responsibility to take them seriously.

Legitimacy of government is nothing other than consent of the people through customary means, as ascertained by reason.

The human ability to form society (qun) is interlinked with the ability to divide roles (fen).

conditions of good taste as basis for evaluation of analogical reasoning

the conditions for reasonable hyperbole

yang xin, yang wei, yang an

three aspects of intellect: xu (continual power to receive the new), yi (power to receive contraries and consider contradictories), jing (power of clarity)
- emptiness, unity, stillness

arguments in which a starting point that is Diamond requires another thing that is Box

incipit as a kind of Diamond
- in which case the corresponding Box is not-Incipit-not (which is a non-desinit)

'Act only' in an imperative can be interpreted as having 'existential import' or as not.

One violates bodily integrity by treating the body as if it were not the body of a rational being.

"The life of reason is a heritage and exists only through tradition." Santayana

One may love the ideal and still not condemn the actual that fails to meet it, and for good reason.

wisdom, tradition, calculation, and negotiation

mimesis, catharsis, and wonder as political acts

It is a psychological fact that people don't always avoid evitable pain, and, indeed, that they sometimes actively seek it.

dark utopia literature as theodicial
(false utopias are often used to explore why, for instance, free will is valuable enough that it should not be traded for peace, etc.)
-Because they aren't specifically written to be theodicies, they sometimes depend on assumptions that are not nec. theologically relevant. E.g., part of Whedon's Serenity is concerned with lacking wisdom to make that trade-off, and that's not uncommon as a theme. (Whedon's Serenity, however, also suggests a more straightforward free will defense.)

Bayesianism is a theory of analog probability calculators.

the importance of the rationalizable in political negotiation

Contractualism overassimilates ethics to sustainable reasoned discourse.

penance as partly to heal the wounds inflicted on the Church by your sins

the Lucan portrayal of Mary as the foundation of the doctrine of the Immaculate Heart (Cana is the major non-Lucan element in the devotion)

subjective credence, degree of implication (or evidence), objective chance, evaluations of propositions

In the long run, political movements are more likely to be defeated by their own corruption and incompetence than by their opponents.

Political protests are only effective when they establish that you have the power to force a choice between your proposal and something worse. For this, they require a context to which they are appropriate and within which a choice is intelligible.

Property is a defense of dignity; thus its perpetual link to honor and shame.

Tiny steps from the obvious eventually get you far afield.

Roman history as a system of ethico-political cases

planning as concerned with the convergence of the expected and the desired.

In historical reasoning, coincidences are to be expected but mistrusted.

Discussions of moral luck often confuse luck and contingency.

analyzing dialogues in terms of players, payoffs, and strategies

religious vows and priestly celibacy as ways of minimizing conflicts of interest

freedom of thought, limitlessness of inquiry, the Great Coherence

the objective beauty of intelligibility

A real determination of the sense of the people has to take some account of diversity, in particular limiting swamping by a single large subpopulation. But at the same time some consideration must be had for pluralities and majorities.

Punishments in which the state benefits create a conflict of interest by giving the state an economic interest distinct from its interest in public order.

"If you let loose a law, it will do as a dog does. It will obey its own nature, not yours." Chesterton
"There is no trysting place outside of reason; there is no inn on those wild roads that are beyond the world."

Politics is the art of getting people willingly to make sacrifices.

Effective escalation in politics requires overwhelming superiority in force or else extensive alliance-building. Those who escalate without either are incompetent and will be swept aside. Those who cannot do either, however, sometimes find that de-escalation is a more effective, if sometimes more time-consuming, path to victory.

We can surely have existence proofs in ethics analogous to those in mathematics.

'There is nothing' seems clearly to be necessarily false in mathematics. (cp Augustine on this)

The existence of goodness is an obvious candidate for ontological argument; and, in fact, this is historically the origin of ontological arguments.

Brownson on private judgment with sola scriptura: "It subjected me to all the disadvantages of authority without any of its advantages."

"...whenever you and I feel fully sane, we are quite incapable of naming the elements that make up that mysterious simplicity." Chesterton
"The age we live in is something more than an age of superstition -- it is an age of innumerable superstitions."

When a moral principle is not defended, it is forgotten. When it is not discussed, it fades away.

One of the problems with always telling people what they must do is that in every society only the worst people dare to do this consistently. One may firmly believe something is right; one may reasonably hold that it should be encouraged by law, or even that deviation should come with consequences; one may hold that in extreme or in emergency cases people must be made to comply; but in every society only evil people take this as a normal, default path, or treat themselves as having any particular right to do it all the time.

To conceive of punishment as normally a means of forcing compliance is already a corruption.

Could Hume's conception of the 'problem of induction' be influenced by Thucydides -- 'an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future, which in the course of human things must be resemble if it doe snot reflect it'?

intermediary measures (e.g., rates, like speed, link to time measures and space measures, which are not mutually commensurable)

What could possibly be the unit of measure for a 'quantum of happiness'? Degree-seconds per animal?

Correct interpretation starts with being human to oneself and others in the act of interpretation, with being, so to speak, co-human.

Ways and means shape the flow of social order; virtue and honor are the wellspring of order.

As accumulated earth makes a mountain, and accumulated water makes a sea, so accumulated good deeds make moral authority. (cp. Xunzi)

Achieving authority one can achieve steadfastness.

'More probable' in ordinary conversation often means 'more trustworthy for giving you an answer that is largely correct'.

Probability theory in itself is just a mathematics dealing with relations on an interval entirely from 0 inclusive to 1 inclusive; everything else we say about it is an application that must be justified.

What are the conditions for reasonable enforcement of law by the general citizenry rather than by police?

Church and state in society
(1) classical: social institutions properly and in themselves fall under the authority of Church or of state, but not both
(2) glutty: social institutions properly and in themselves fall under the authority of both Church and state
(3) gappy: social institutions properly and in themselves are not strictly under the authority either of the Church or of the state
(4) coincidental; social institutions are properly and in themselves twofold, under each distinctly
(5) eliminativist: there are no real social institutions, just bundles of customs and conventions pertaining to the operations of the Church and the state
- each of these, of course, allows for general and specific forms

kinds of defective causation in testimony
(1) internal distortions (e.g., misinformation)
(2) distortion from internal to channel
(3) distortion from external to channel
(4) distortion in inference and interpretation

God in Whitehead is supreme rhetor.

A politicized civil service is in a pervasive state of conflicts of interest.

inside/outside formulations of CoI
public/private formulations of CoI
safety/risk formulations of CoI

CoI & theology of temptation
(a conflict of interest is indeed an occasion for temptation -- whether a proximate or a remote one)

original sin as the most comprehensive conflict of interest

MacDonald & Norman: primary problem with CoI is not immediate case but precedent

feeling offended vs being offended against

Civil freedom is a system of privileges, protected from external interference, and justified by general benefit.

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