Friday, October 26, 2018

Dashed Off XXV

Evil being a privation, for any argument from evil one should look at what it implies about good.

sins that rust, sins that burn

the task of the statesman (the happy life of the citizens):
(1) opibus firma: strength for their safety.
(2) copiis locuples: abundance for their goods.
(3) gloria amplia: fame for their self-worth.
(4) virtute honesta: good for their virtue.
[Cicero, quoting Scipio, Ep. 8.11 to Atticus]

Imagination is hampered by lack of logical analysis. It is logical analysis that shows that what seemed necessary was not, that this is indeed possible given that.

The human heart needs more than safety and pleasure; give human beings nothing but safety and pleasure and they begin to rot.

Centralization of power facilitates dishonest government.

If you keep boring people, they will inevitably start doing shocking things.

The insistence on wheat & wine & oil for the sacraments is linked to the historical character of the Incarnation.

Even the Church cannot fight every evil equally intensely all the time.

circumcision as the symbolic acceptance of natural evil for the sake of God

Claims of Christ suggesting that He is God:
Either they are (1) later legend or (2) fact.
If (2), they are either (2.1) misunderstood metaphor or (2.2) correctly understood.
If (2.2), they are either (2.2.1) false or (2.2.2) true.
If (2.2.1), Christ is either (2.2.1.1) a liar or (2.2.1.2) a lunatic.

The Church's claim that Christ is God:
Either the Church is (1) right or (2) it is deceived.
If (2), it was deceived either (2.1) by Christ or (2.2) by disciples of Christ.
If (2.2), those disciples were either (2.2.1) the Apostles or (2.2.2) the Fathers.

holy devotion : human person :: glory : God

In theology, the intellect must hold itself to an ascetic discipline.

Power, wisdom, and goodness are the three things that form hierarchies, and that evoke a sense of deference in the human mind.

The natural religious tendency of centralized liberal democracy, in the European sense, seems to be to somewhere between agnostic unitarianism and ietsism, just as the natural religious tendency of Greek democracy was to syncretic polytheism, and the tendency of the rougher American-style republican democracy is to something like moralistic deism.

All substantive credibility depends on some kind of temperance or self-restraint.

Political lying leads to political violence in the long run.

Liberalism is the form of government that tries to create freedom by artificial method.

A people without a strong sense of loyalty slip into authoritarianism, because loyalties create limits to the use and exercise of power. (It does not follow that loyalty on its own is universally adequate to prevent every kind of authoritarianism.) The shifting of loyalties on the grounds of preference and convenience is exactly one of the things that most easily leads to authoritarianism. Who has no stable loyalties is easily manipulated.

purgatorium = emendetorium

Saints are signs, exemplates, and paths oriented to the Word Incarnate.

"For it must be a strange sort of rational creature that can live in such a beautiful fabric was we inhabit, without thinking how it came here, and who was the maker of the universe." Mary Astell

No one talks up freedom and rights more than usurping tyrants.

what signs express vs what signs evince

layers of Christian devotion
(1) Gift of Piety
(2) Theological Virtue of Faith
(3) Infused Virtue of Religion
(4) Acquired Virtue of Religion

[the Gift] -- [what it perfects]
Understanding -- speculative intellect in discovery of truth
Wisdom -- speculative intellect in judgment
Counsel -- practical intellect in discovery of truth
Knowledge -- practical intellect in judgment
Piety -- will in itself
Fortitude -- will with respect to irascible appetite
Fear -- will with respect to concupiscible appetite

A nation is a guise under which people seek and preserve common good.

Vico's criticisms of Hobbes can be summarized as: human societies must grow, not be mechanically constructed; human society's rise is marked by poetry, not by calculation.

Although they are not always stated in this way, design arguments typically are two-stage: design vs chance (the phenomena are designed) and unified design (common cause) vs separate causes (there is a designing agent rather than just a design-converging complex of factors). A reason this is not always made clear is the modern muddle about final causes.

Sometimes we classify to know the thing, and sometimes we classify to regiment our thought about it.

"Because of the indefinite nature of the human mind, wherever it is lost in ignorance, man makes himself the measure of all things." Vico

design // obligation

Extensive conquest requires previously existing political structures that are capable of being coopted and then built upon.

Moralism sees no sublimity.

Confirmation (of a theory, etc.) is a transition from one kind of modal operator to another.

Our views on punishment are often more about stories we want to tell about ourselves than about justice.

HoP & the logistics of rational discourse

The relation between exemplar and exemplate is easier to grasp than the relation between universal and instance; which is why the former is more common across many cultures and why certain views -- like empiricism, intelligent design theory, etc. -- have consistent imaginative purchase.

conservation laws and the universe as a necessary being (in the Third Way sense)

In online as well as offline arguments, feeling entitled to victory is a harbinger of aggressive nastiness if victory is denied.

Peter as the chorypaeus of the choir (Chrysostom)

Sometimes when people speak of tradition they mean little more than a sense of propriety.

One reason for giving rational accounts is to prevent our meanings from drifting out from under us, by tying them in particular ways to other words and to real things.

the logic of implication as the logic of enthymeme
-- the paradoxes of implication as arising from issues with enthymemes
-- modal division of enthymemes: strict [ □(a->b) ], material [ (a->b) ], and suppositional [ ◇(a->b) ].

Syllogism establishes union, enthymeme presupposes it.

inferential division of enthymemes: rational (therefore), conditional (if), causal (because)

Null hypotheses are formed by dichotomizing, and face the same problems as using dichotomy to classify.

Law must be made present by promulgation and enforcement.

The endurance of rights in human society requires that there be memorial witnesses to them.

piacular guilt as a sign of sublimity

moral debt
(1) for good received: gratitude
(2) for bad received: vindication
(3) for unintentional bad done: piacular honor

Military strategy requires a genius for finding ways to change the rules.

NB Vico takes other words to arise from interjections, and pronouns to arise out of the sharing of ideas with others about things we can't name, or for which they don't understand the names.

"The threat prompting resentment, made fully explicit, is of license with impunity." Margaret Walker

Arendt's dictum: We cannot genuinely forgive what we cannot punish.

Court nobility, as such, arises when functional roles maintained by families become more titular than functional, either by the function becoming otiose, or by a shift to a new function without a shift of name in order to maintain continuity in familial honor.

"The basic problem of every former colony -- the problem of intellectual servitude, of impoverished tradition, of subaltern spirituality, of inauthentic civilization, of obligatory and shameful imitation -- has been resolved for me with supreme simplicity: Catholicism is my native land." Nicolas Gomez Davila

incongruity
(1) pleasant: humor
(2) unpleasant: bitter irony?
novelty
(1) pleasant: surprise
(2) unpleasant: shock

We define substances not by enumerating sensible ideas but by determining what is required for them to act as they do.

It is remarkable how many people fail to understand that finger-wagging does not encourage mercy or kindness in general.

Rhetorical cascades have an ideal component and a material component, and it is the combination that makes the cascade.

Full consent is only possible to the moral good, for reasons given in Plato's Gorgias.

"The greatest examples of the action of the spirit and of reason are in abnegation." Tolkien

We clearly can be moved by anticipated plights and by probable but not certain plights; thus we can be moved by imagined plights and by fictional plights.

All belief is inside-a-story belief.

Fictions influence emotions by evoking moods, which are then concentrated.

NB that Vico takes our sense of civil beauty to be prior to our sense of natural beauty.

Complaining about the diaphonia of schools in philosophical inquiry is like complaining about the diversity of instruments in a symphony.

If abstract objects exist, they act, for what actually is, acts as it is. If abstract objects are known to exist, they act, for things are known, directly or indirectly, as they act.

A problem with too many modern political theories is that they attempt to pass themselves off as healthy simply on the grounds that they are not fast-acting poisons.

A true intellectual life is an entire economy: for some truths we hunt, for some we trap, for some we fish, for some we sow.

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