Saturday, November 03, 2018

Dashed Off XXVI

Charm is in part a skill of reasonable and selective distraction.

A problem with Humean accounts of laws of nature is that counterfactual prediction requires different conditions entirely from simple prediction. (Indeed, Hume's own argument exploits what on analysis turns out to be this very distinction, and thus the distinction is not generally avoidable.)

auspicial, formulaic, and reputational expressions of authority

forms of state/Church regime
(1) integral (Immortale Dei 21): state accepts own limits and respects explicit rights of the Church
(2) ralliement (Au milieu des sollicitudes 22): state has no protective role, but a Catholic people make laws in accordance with Catholic teaching
(3) influenced secularity (Au milieu des sollicitudes 28): state rejects protective role but legislators influenced by acceptable principles and tolerate the Church
(4) persecution (Vehementer Nos 15)

A healthy society needs a stable heritage, a sound view of progress, and a living spirit animating both.

ontological arguments as establishing that God's existence is not less than that of mathematical objects

To be genuinely Catholic requires being infinitely Catholic.

the five aspects of sacrifice: consecration, oblation, immolation, consumption (nihilation), participation

(1) Either a thing has a direction to effects in itself or it does not.
(2) Direction to effects is a cognitive act.
(3) Lacking direction to effects makes effects a chance case-by-case affair -- causal regularity requires direction to effects.
(4) Noncognitive things have causal regularity.
(5) Therefore noncognitive things have direction to effects.
(6) Therefore noncognitive things have direction to effects from another.
(7) Therefore noncognitive things get direction to effects from a cognitive source.

forms of inquiry regime
(1) cumulative progress: clear desiderata indicate a particular tree of possibilities that presuppose each other
(2) broad diffusion: many trees of possibilities being explored simultaneously
(3) random exploration: field of possibilities has no clear trees, or at least none that have yet been discovered

"...marriage emerged as the first kind of friendship in the world." Vico
"...the true natural friendship is matrimony, in which are realized the three final goods: the honorable, the useful, and the pleasant. Husband and wife by nature share the same lot in all the prosperities and adversities of life, just as by choice friends have all things in common (amicorum omnia sunt communio), and Modestinus therefore defines matrimony as a lifelong lot sharing (omnis vitae consortium)." Vico

The common view that we take things as metaphorical because we have assessed that taking them literally would require them to be false, is absurd; it sits poorly with the pervasiveness of metaphor, with the fact that the line between literal and metaphorical sense often takes profound analysis to trace, with the fact that shifts of language often leave unclear where to draw the line (e.g., 'light'), and with the practice of poets, who do not typically go around hunting for falsehoods in their descriptions.

social relativism // polytheism

deterioration of public spirit:
(1) idleness and lassitude with regard to liberties
(2) overreliance on command
(3) indifference to usurpation
(4) ignorance of commonweal as if it were alien

There are no rules for devising literal speech as such because what counts as such depends on common usage and expectation. There is no test for literal sense that does not involve a sort of social sense.

No literal meaning can be assigned to words apart from contexts of use.

There is no limit to what language calls to our attention, and much of what we thereby notice is not propositional in character.

Literal statements are often not easily amenable to literal paraphrase in terms other than those they use.

All historical reasoning must use the principles of causation, remotion, and eminence: from this evidential trace, we work back through the causes, removing what cannot be true of them, recognizing that what was, was such as to exceed the trace that came from it.

To be a unified diversity is to be an effect.

truth, stability, and purity as features of knowledge

Phaedo 107d-108c The soul is guided to Hades by its daemon
Republic 620d Each soul has a guardian daemon
Symposium 202d-203a Daemons intermediate between gods and men (cp also Epinomis 984b-985c)

Seneca, Letter 41 to Lucilius, and sublimity as the mark of divine action

the inherent tendency of the notion of philosophical inquiry to the notion of human moral equality (cp. Seneca to Lucilius, letter 44)

Idle hands will break an army.

Apaideusia is a failure to cultivate what is required for being part of a community of inquirers; thus, for instance, those who demand demonstration of first principles do so out of apaideusia, cyclopean barbarism of intellectual habits, an inability to be in genuine intellectual conversation or dialogue.

"Some need persuasion, some need hard knocks." Aristotle Met 1009a17-18

Stories are constructed out of things about which one wonders.

It is important to be merciful, but you need God's mercy more than anyone needs yours.

forms of evidence for function
(1) apparent aptness
(2) comparison of actions
(3) analogy to other kinds of actions
(4) structural constraints

Pascal's Wager is not concerned with utility functions but with having practical reasons under conditions of uncertainty.

laws of nature as divine ideas (the explanatory role of laws of nature as exemplar in character)
-- an exemplar account of laws of nature can allow for both necessary and contingent laws

"No collection of facts can constitute a law; for the law goes beyond any accomplished facts." Peirce

(1) There is no sentence meaning in the sense usually meant; it is all speaker's meaning or else expectations about speaker's meaning.
(2) The distinction between literal and metaphorical is not sharp, and it is possible to understand a claim and not know whether it is literal or figurative.
(3) Metaphorical statements may be true.

In matters of religion, what is different is not always contrary.

Hume overestimates both the extent to which non-Christian religions make miracles a matter of importance and the extent to which miracles have as their direct scope the establishing of religion.

[responding to] : [appropriate response]
argument : argument
declamation : analysis
inconsistency : exposition

Works of classical Chinese are clearly not meant to be read outside an already existing tradition of teaching and learning; thus their allusiveness and indirectness, as if one were always walking into the middle of a conversation.

As far as everyday experience is concerned, minds are less in need of explanation than other things, because we have direct, everyday experience of (1) minds as having the feature of explaining other things; and (2) minds as directly involving necessities in their operation. In everyday experience, nothing is more explanatory, and less in need of any immediate explanation, than mind.

Phil's Arguments in Hume's Dialogues
(1) His power is infinite; what He wills is done; neither man nor animal is happy; therefore he does not will their happiness.
-- possible response: Anselmian recognition of ambiguities of 'to will'
(2) His wisdom is infinite; He flawlessly chooses means to ends; nature does not tend to human or animal felicity; therefore nature is not established for that purpose.
-- possible response: Butlerian recognition of partial tendency and possibility of probationary means
(3) Therefore, from (1) and (2), His benevolence and mercy do not seem to resemble human benevolence and mercy.
-- possible response: human benevolence does not seem to work in the way this assumes.
(4) the Epicurian questions: If He is willing to prevent evil, but not able, He is impotent; if He is able, but not willing, He is malevolent; if He is able and willing, there should be no evil.
-- possible response: All three of these are hyperbolic, and thus not to be trusted as a strict guide.

Most reasons for rejecting cosmological arguments have analogues in arguments rejecting realism about laws of nature.

(1) the Trinitarian invocation
(2) various divine attributions to the Three
(3) the absolute distinction between Creator and creature
(4) the unity of God
non-Trinitarian positions are not really possible.

The rights of children grow up within the rights of their parents.

Experience and testimony are not commensurable evidences, although at a very abstract level we can compare them. (Note that Campbell explicitly argues this.)

By testimony we use the minds of others as instruments; thus there is a close link between evaluation of testimony and evaluation of instrumental results (e.g., in experiments).

While the evidence of bare sense is more forceful than the evidence of bare testimony, our interpretation of sensory evidence is heavily influenced by testimonial evidence.

The testimony that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood is not, pace Tillotson, a testimony that one is sensing wrong.

Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus Inciderit. (Horace)
-- 'God of the gaps' and similar is an issue for narrative explanation in general.

internal structure of ideas + drift due to imperfect transmission and chance psychosocial interactions + sifting of ideas through the structural pressures of political and social institutions and practices

To flourish a religion must stimulate communal feeling and a sense of mission, build a unifying structure, appeal to sense and intellect both, maintain a continutiy from which to develop; it also must involve a simplicity ramifying into great variety, and a boldness that does not cease to venture.

the confusion between rights and life-ideals

By mercy we often reach a greater justice.

the passions as natural educations

The power to punish too often leads those who wield it to assume their own rightness.

A common trick of modern government is to rule without appearing to rule by indirectly forcing corporations to impose policies for them. Thus a government itself restricted from (e.g.) limiting freedom of speech may limit it indirectly by requiring employers to have policies that stifle certain forms of speech. Thus also governments have historically enforced secularization, party loyalties, economic activities, and symbolic obeisances. Sometimes its effects are good, sometimes bad, but in all these cases it is a government coercing intermediaries to coerce in ways that it cannot.

God and His saints do endlessly many things in the Church; it is neither necessary nor possible fo rthe Church to certify the authenticity of them all.

Without honesty, political deliberation begins to collapse; only what is honest in it maintains it as real deliberation.

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