Monday, March 25, 2019

Lent XVII

The necessity of baptism is so great that if anyone were to die without reception of Baptism, or at least desire for it, he could by no means enter heaven. Because infants are liable to danger of this sort, and can easily die, but still do not have capacities to desire Baptism, therefore it is necessary to baptize them as soon as possible. And although they do not understand that which they receive, nevertheless, the Church supplies that which it responds and pledges for them by means of the godparents, which suffices. Just as by Adam we have all fallen into sin and disfavor with God when we still did not know it, so also it is enough for God if, through Baptism and the Church, we are freed from sin and received in its grace even if we do not yet notice.

[St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctrina Christiana: The Timeless Catechism of St. Robert Bellarmine, Grant, tr., Mediatrix Press (2016) pp. 159-160.]

Bellarmine's language, "Baptism, or at least desire for it," follows that of the Council of Trent (Session 6, Chapter 4) about translation to the state of grace: "this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God".

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Three New Poem Drafts

In Flight

Rippled like the wind-blown snow,
Clouds in blanket-hills below
Capture gleams that moonbeams cast
After plane-wings that have passed;

Wisps of ghostly shadows float,
Catching like a broken note
Shapes that wayward winds have wrought,
Subtly there, then subtly not,

As we in flight now leap and span
Mountains, lakes, and towns of man.

Transfiguration

On high the cloud is shining gold
where Tabor's hill is rising, bold;
our Lord our God has glories shown
and all his realm to us made known.

I see the light stream through His face
who lived and died to give us grace;
in vestment pure and glowing white,
he gives his truth to faith and sight.

The law prepared that we might wait
and know the one to change our fate;
the prophets hoped and showed the way
that we might find our Lord this day.

Lord, I, a fool, am bowed in heart;
I do not know my place or part,
but, if you will, my heart is yours
through every age where love endures.

Though less than nill I have to give,
my Lord, take all my life to live,
take all my death, for you to die,
and grant this light to see you by.

Introspection

Let holy fate fall where it falls:
My flaw is clear; I hope, I lose,
I fall for easy ruse. I know
the dawn, its light, that, slow,
upon the brightning road will flow, and tread
across the deepening red;
my hope is real; my hope is small.

The heart is made of all its woe.
I know this hurt, its slow, tight mesh,
the cold of steel on flesh,
the jostle thick with thresh and toss,
the awful ache of loss.
I know -- yet I do not recall.
Let holy fate fall where it falls.

In Both Let's Do Our Best

Lent
by George Herbert


Welcome dear feast of Lent: who loves not thee,
He loves not Temperance, or Authority,
But is compos'd of passion.
The Scriptures bid us fast; the Church says, now:
Give to thy Mother, what thou wouldst allow
To ev'ry Corporation.

The humble soul compos'd of love and fear
Begins at home, and lays the burden there,
When doctrines disagree,
He says, in things which use hath justly got,
I am a scandal to the Church, and not
The Church is so to me.

True Christians should be glad of an occasion
To use their temperance, seeking no evasion,
When good is seasonable;
Unless Authority, which should increase
The obligation in us, make it less,
And Power itself disable.

Besides the cleanness of sweet abstinence,
Quick thoughts and motions at a small expense,
A face not fearing light:
Whereas in fulness there are sluttish fumes,
Sour exhalations, and dishonest rheums,
Revenging the delight.

Then those same pendant profits, which the spring
And Easter intimate, enlarge the thing,
And goodness of the deed.
Neither ought other men's abuse of Lent
Spoil the good use; lest by that argument
We forfeit all our Creed.

It's true, we cannot reach Christ's forti'eth day;
Yet to go part of that religious way,
Is better than to rest:
We cannot reach our Saviour's purity;
Yet we are bid, 'Be holy ev'n as he, '
In both let's do our best.

Who goeth in the way which Christ hath gone,
Is much more sure to meet with him, than one
That travelleth by-ways:
Perhaps my God, though he be far before,
May turn and take me by the hand, and more:
May strengthen my decays.

Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast
By starving sin and taking such repast,
As may our faults control:
That ev'ry man may revel at his door,
Not in his parlour; banqueting the poor,
And among those his soul.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Lent XVI

Now He is baptized not as Himself requiring purification but as making my purification His own, that He may break the heads of the dragons on the water, that He may wash away sin and bury all the old Adam in water, that He may sanctify the Baptist, that He may fulfil the Law, that He may reveal the mystery of the Trinity, that He may become the type and ensample to us of baptism. But we, too, are baptized in the perfect baptism of our Lord, the baptism by water and the Spirit.

[St. John Damascene, An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Chapter 9.]

Friday, March 22, 2019

Lent XV

Great is the Baptism that lies before you: a ransom to captives; a remission of offenses; a death of sin; a new-birth of the soul; a garment of light; a holy indissoluble seal; a chariot to heaven; the delight of Paradise; a welcome into the kingdom; the gift of adoption! But there is a serpent by the wayside watching those who pass by: beware lest he bite you with unbelief. He sees so many receiving salvation, and is seeking whom he may devour. You are coming in unto the Father of Spirits, but you are going past that serpent. How then may you pass him? Have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; that even if he bite, he may not hurt you. Have faith in-dwelling, stedfast hope, a strong sandal, that you may pass the enemy, and enter the presence of your Lord. Prepare your own heart for reception of doctrine, for fellowship in holy mysteries. Pray more frequently, that God may make you worthy of the heavenly and immortal mysteries.

[St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, Prologue. He is addressing catechumens, of course, who are preparing for baptism.]

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Ink Traces of Newspapers

The unlettered of ancient times read from the book of nature. Or rather, he was from the book itself, he was the book itself of creation. The lettered of ancient times was a person of the book(s) and was himself one or more books. The modern person is a newspaper, and not only one newspaper, but our miserable modern memory is like so many miserable, worn-out newspapers on which, without changing the paper, have been printed every day the newspaper of the day. And we are no more than this frightful staleness of letters.

Our ancestors were blank paper and the linen itself from which the paper is made. The lettered were books. We moderns, we are no more than the ink traces of newspapers.

[Charles Péguy, Notes on Bergson and Descartes, Ward, tr., Cascade Books (Eugene, OR: 2019) p. 79.]

I doubt he would be impressed by the Internet Age.

Lent XIV

What is Baptism?

It is the first and most necessary Sacrament of the new Law, by which we are enrolled among the heirs of eternal life, because once it is conferred in water, by which we are spiritually reborn, and gain a full remission of sins, we are adopted into the sons of God.

[St. Peter Canisius, A Small Catechism for Catholics, Grant, tr. Mediatrix Press (2014) p. 58.]

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Honest Men, Like Others

We can only think of Plato and Aristotle in grand academic robes. They were honest men, like others, laughing with their friends, and, when they diverted themselves with writing their Laws and the Politics, they did it as an amusement. That part of their life was the least philosophic and the least serious; the most philosophic was to live simply and quietly.

[Blaise Pascal, Pensées, Arcturus Publishing (London: 2018), p. 114 (#331).]

Lent XIII

In hierarchical actions we must consider the agents, the recipients and the actions. The agents are the ministers of the Church; and to these the sacrament of order belongs. The recipients are those who approach the sacraments: and these are brought into being by Matrimony. The actions are "cleansing," "enlightening," and "perfecting." Mere cleansing, however, cannot be a sacrament of the New Law, which confers grace: yet it belongs to certain sacramentals, i.e. catechism and exorcism. But cleansing coupled with enlightening, according to Dionysius, belongs to Baptism; and, for him who falls back into sin, they belong secondarily to Penance and Extreme Unction. And perfecting, as regards power, which is, as it were, a formal perfection, belongs to Confirmation: while, as regards the attainment of the end, it belongs to the Eucharist.

[St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae III.65.1 ad 3. The references are to the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy. Illumination (Enlightening) is, of course, the Eastern name for Baptism. The Dionysian doesn't consider the list of seven, but this is a clever way to fit all seven into what he does say about the sacraments.]

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Continents

These great philosophers are explorers. Those who are great are those who have discovered continents. Those who are not great are those who have only thought of being solemnly accepted at the Sorbonne.

There is a certain world, a universe of thought. On the face of this world geographies can be drawn. In the depth of this world geologies can make deeper engravings. The public, so to speak, always believes, and the philosophers almost always believe, that they are quarreling over the the same terrain. Neither sees that they are plunging into different continents.

Charles Péguy, Notes on Bergson and Descartes, Ward, tr., Cascade Books (Eugene, OR: 2019) p. 58.

Lent XII

...a cure is not perfect unless it maintains health once restored. In the strife of the battle [of this life], spiritual health may be maintained nowhere but in the ranks of the Church, 'terrible as an army set in array', and this is because of the armament of its sevenfold grace. This is why there have to be seven sacraments. Since this army consists of elements that are subject to weakening, in order that the ranks be perfectly and permanently strengthened, it needs sacraments to fortify, relieve, and replenish its members: to fortify the combatants, relieve the wounded, and replenish the dying....

And so Baptism is designed for those just entering the fight, Confirmation for those engaged in combat, the Eucharist for those refreshing their strength, Penance for those rising from their sickbeds, Extreme Unction for those who are departing, Orders for those who break in the new recruits, and Matrimony for those who provide these recruits.

[St. Bonaventure, Breviloquium, Monti, ed. and tr., Franciscan Institute Publications (St. Bonaventure, NY: 2005) pp. 220-221. The quotation is from Song of Songs, of course.]

According to the editors, Bonaventure is deriving this scheme from Peter of Poitiers, about whom I know nothing except that he has a reputation for complicated and subtle argumentation and that he has to be distinguished from several other people of the same name. But the notion of sacraments as armaments may well have been strengthened by a number of comments by Hugh of Saint Victor in his De Sacramentis, one of the most influential treatises of sacramental theology in the medieval period [Hugh of St. Victor, On the Sacraments of the Christian Faith, Deferrari, tr., Ex Fontibus (2016)]:

So there are three things simultaneously, faith, sacrament, and work. In faith, fortitude is attributed to the Christian, in the sacraments, arms; in good works, weapons for him who is to fight against the devil. (I.IX.VIII, p. 165)

Now, that in this battle he may be able to stand unconquered and guard his good unharmed, there are given him, as it is said, arms in the sacraments with which he may fortify himself, missiles in good works with which he may lay the enemy low, so that with love of faith and with hope combined he may meanwhile both be strengthened and live. (I.X.IX, p. 182)

Monday, March 18, 2019

Fortnightly Book, March 17

Obviously I'm a bit late with this, but one of the books I was going to do was ordered from elsewhere and ended up being a number of days later than I expected, so I had to wait until I received it.

I happened to stumble across, in different venues, two English translations of works that I did not find for my year of reading Jules Verne's Voyages Extraordinaires, so it seems fitting to make a bit of progress with that by doing another Verne Fortnightly Book. The two works are The End of Nana Sahib and Keraban the Inflexible.

La maison à vapeur (#20), published in 1880, is a tale of the British Raj; a number of British colonists go touring about the land in a wheeled house drawn by a steam engine in the shape of an elephant. This, of course, lets Verne do his usual geographical exploration. A bit of spice is added by the fact that the book takes place in the immediate aftermath of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The 1857 Rebellion is dominated by a significant mystery. It was led by a man generally known as Nana Sahib; due to a payment dispute with the British East India Company, he gathered a revolt and laid siege to a British garrison, which he captured and held for several days by the means of executing all the survivors. The British, of course, returned with a vengeance, recapturing the garrison and forcing Nana Sahib to flee. And then he disappeared. Rumors swirled for years about his being sighted in various places in the world -- everywhere from Turkey to Nepal -- but nothing was ever able to be proven. Since Verne tries his hand at speculation of what might have happened, The Steam House is also often known by its occasional subtitle, The End of Nana Sahib, as it is in the edition I have. Of course, Verne, like everyone else, had nothing but rumors and incomplete and inconsistent information about Nana Sahib; the novel should be taken perhaps as more history-inspired than historical, even setting aside the steampunk mobile home. The edition I have is put out by a company that publishes inexpensive India-related classics. Since Verne is generally quite sympathetic to freedom fighters, and the novel's context is a major Indian event, it's not surprising that they would be interested, but 'inexpensive' is certainly right. The page order of my edition is: 12, 13, publication information page, Table of Contents, 16, 17, 2, 3, 20, 21, 6, 7, 24, 25, 10, 27. After that they start settling down, but I seem to be missing most of two chapters, and may have to supplement with another edition, or even go to the French.

Kéraban-le-têtu (#24), published in 1883, is subtitled, Adventures in the Euxine, 'Euxine' being an old name for the Black Sea. Jan van Mitten and his valet, Bruno, find themselves in a trip that is more than they bargained for when they meet the local tobacco dealer, Keraban, and agree to take his boat across the short Bosphorus Strait to his house to have a business dinner. Unfortunately, the Ottoman Empire imposes a tax for strait travel while they are in transit, and although it's a paltry sum, Keraban turns out to be the most stubborn and inflexible man imaginable: he promised to take them to his house for dinner, and he does not break his promises, but he absolutely refuses to pay the tax, so he will go all the way around the Black Sea to do it. Poor van Mitten and Bruno find their dinner ride lasting a few more weeks than they were expecting. Keraban's on a time schedule, too; he has to be back in six weeks, or his nephew will be in a bit of trouble -- his nephew is marrying a young woman who will inherit a small fortune if she is married before her birthday, but will receive nothing if she marries even one day later. Keraban's presence is absolutely necessary. Needless to say, there are people who do not want her to inherit, and they are willing to go to any length to make sure Keraban misses his appointment. They may have underestimated how stubborn Keraban is, though. My edition is the Frith translation; the usual translation you find in English is Curtin's, so I don't know if this is good or bad as a translation, although looking at Frith's other work, I expect it at least not to be horrible.

I'm also reading, slowly, L'Archipel en feu in the original French, although it's not part of the Fortnightly Book, and I don't know when I'll finish it. When I am done with all three, I'll have read a total of 45 out of the 54 Voyages Extraordinaires, and all of the the first thirty. The nine that are left will probably have to be read in French at some point.

Cyrillus Hierosolymitanus

Today is the feast of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Confessor and Doctor of the Church. From his Catechetical Lecture 10:

But some one will say, If the Divine substance is incomprehensible, why then do you discourse of these things? So then, because I cannot drink up all the river, am I not even to take in moderation what is expedient for me? Because with eyes so constituted as mine I cannot take in all the sun, am I not even to look upon him enough to satisfy my wants? Or again, because I have entered into a great garden, and cannot eat all the supply of fruits, would you have me go away altogether hungry? I praise and glorify Him that made us; for it is a divine command which says, Let every breath praise the Lord. I am attempting now to glorify the Lord, but not to describe Him, knowing nevertheless that I shall fall short of glorifying Him worthily, yet deeming it a work of piety even to attempt it at all. For the Lord Jesus encourages my weakness, by saying, No man has seen God at any time.

Lent XI

...there cannot be a perfect cure without a complete restoration of health. Now the sound health of the soul consists in the exercise of the seven virtues, namely, the three theological and the four cardinal. Hence, in order to restore their healthy exercise, it was fitting that seven sacraments be instituted. For the healing work of Baptism leads to faith, Confirmation to hope, the Eucharist to charity, Penance to justice, Extreme Unction to perserverance -- the complement and summit of fortitude, Orders to prudence, and Matrimony to the preservation of temperance, which is threatened mainly by the weakness of the flesh but is saved through honest marriage.

[St. Bonaventure, Breviloquium, Monti, ed. and tr., Franciscan Institute Publications (St. Bonaventure, NY: 2005) p. 219.]

This can be compared to St. Thomas's version (ST 3.65.1), which links it with the first remedial scheme, which we've already seen in St. Bonaventure:

Some, again, gather the number of sacraments from a certain adaptation to the virtues and to the defects and penal effects resulting from sin. They say that Baptism corresponds to Faith, and is ordained as a remedy against original sin; Extreme Unction, to Hope, being ordained against venial sin; the Eucharist, to Charity, being ordained against the penal effect which is malice; Order, to Prudence, being ordained against ignorance; Penance to Justice, being ordained against mortal sin; Matrimony, to Temperance, being ordained against concupiscence; Confirmation, to Fortitude, being ordained against infirmity.

Note that Aquinas and Bonaventure are in agreement about the virtue scheme except for Confirmation and Extreme Unction, which are switched. All of the sacraments, of course, affect all of the virtues; in assigning virtues to sacraments neither is saying that the virtue is linked only with that sacrament, but that there is some appropriate analogy or link between the virtue and the sacrament. It's easy to establish that Baptism has a special link to faith and Eucharist a special link to charity, so it would make sense that the others would be associated with virtues as well.

Aquinas's assigning of fortitude to Confirmation (the strengthening sacrament) and of hope to Extreme Unction (looking forward to the resurrection of the body) seems to me to be the more plausible version. If I'm not mistaken, though, Aquinas's version of the virtue scheme is just directly taken from Alexander of Hales; if so, Bonaventure is taking Alexander's scheme and deliberately changing it, so he must have reasons for doing so. My suspicion is that one or both of two things are going on -- first, that he sees a natural progression from Baptism to Confirmation to Eucharist, that makes hope a plausible middle term, and, second, that hope, as one of the theological virtues, is a very important virtue, and so he may be trying to associate it with a sacrament in more general use than Extreme Unction. Other possibilities are that the link between Penance and Unction is an influence, or that he sees the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, given by Confirmation, to have a direct relation to how hope works in the Christian life.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Patron Saint of Cats

Today is the memorial for St. Gertrude of Nivelles, who is popularly known today as the patron saint of cats. I was wondering what the reason for that was. In some cases, it's a matter of association of the animal with the saint in some specific legend (e.g., St. Melangell for rabbits or St. Roch for dogs or St. David for doves); in other cases, it's a matter of iconography (e.g., St. Mark for lions); there are many other possible ways it can happen(like a later association with a shrine or a church named after the saint), since these informal patronages do not indicate anything formal or substantive beyond the fact that we need to draw on our poetic imaginations in intercessory prayer as elsewhere, and therefore do. So how does St. Gertrude come to be the patron saint of cats? The answer seems to be that nobody knows for sure, but the association is relatively recent, since the first definite attribution of patronage of cats to St. Gertrude is usually thought to be a 1981 catalogue by the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has a long association with mice; according to legend, water from her abbey's well will chase away rodents. So the best that can be guessed is that this leads to the association with cats, who also chase away rodents, and thus can be regarded, poetically, as St. Gertrude's Knights.

In any case, here's a fairly good Mental Floss essay from two years ago on the question.

Life and Death Make a Goodly Lent

Lent
by Christina Rossetti


It is good to be last not first,
Pending the present distress;
It is good to hunger and thirst,
So it be for righteousness.
It is good to spend and be spent,
It is good to watch and to pray:
Life and Death make a goodly Lent
So it leads us to Easter Day.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Garland Roark, The Lady and the Deep Blue Sea

Introduction

Opening Passage:

The big clipper was slanting her masts alee when the captain's wife appeared on the quarter-deck and braced herself for the snap roll to windward. As the ship roared on for Boston harbor, Jenny Broadwinder found her sea legs, moved to the lee rail, and stood gazing out over the water.

At a glance, one might believe her sea-weary and dreaming of land and flowers after a long voyage from India; or one could imagine that she was thinking of a home which the handsome captain on the weather side might have promised her after four years of married life at sea. (p.11)

Summary: In 1856, Jenny Broadwinder, the wife of Captain Philip Broadwinder, comes to one of the owners of her husband's ship with a proposal. Captain Broadwinder had been challenged by Captain Mayo Keys, from another shipping firm, to a race; Jenny proposes to the owner, Cartwright, that Cartwright work with the other firm to establish the race as a matter of friendly business rivalry and publicity; in exchange, if Philip wins the race, he will get the half-ownership in his ship, towards which he has been working. Cartwright, unimpressed by Philip but struck by Jenny, agrees -- in theory on business principles but in practice because of Jenny -- and the race is set up.

Captain Philip Broadwinder is a talented captain in many ways. There is no captain who more thoroughly has the admiration of his men. He makes his firm quite a bit of money, because his dash and style makes him popular everywhere he goes. He knows his trade quite well, although Cartwright thinks, with some truth, that he relies a great deal on his luck, which has never run out. He means no harm and is altogether honest. But one of the things we learn during the race is that Captain Philip Broadwinder of the Calcutta Eagle is excellent a captain as he is because of his wife. He sometimes forgets substance in the pursuit of style, and she reminds him of what he's forgetting; she aids him in various ways in dealing with the crew; and she quite clearly does a lot of the behind-the-scenes bookkeeping parts of the captain's life, not because Broadwinder is incapable or unwilling to do it but because it's the sort of thing he would never prioritize. Captain Broadwinder married to Jenny Broadwinder is a smarter, steadier, more effective captain than Captain Broadwinder would be alone.

It's less obvious, but I think important to the story, that Jenny Broadwinder also benefits from the arrangement. She has a life that she enjoys, she gets along very well with Philip with never more than an occasional marital spat of the usual sort, and he gives her a venue for her talents that she would not have at all without him. And, as important, but I suspect harder for more recent readers to appreciate, 'Captain Philip Broadwinder', as known to the public, is as much an expression of her as it is of Philip himself, and she likes it that way. She does not have his flamboyant charm, his ability to be the distillation of everyone's image of a sea captain; she neither is able nor wants to be the public face of the 'Prince of Sea Captains', but the 'Prince of Sea Captains' is something she thinks worthwhile, a creative work that Philip himself, for all his flaws, can undeniably make possible to her. Looking at many online reviews of the work, a lot of readers don't like the ending. But it's an ending consistent with what we know of Jenny Broadwinder: to break the 'Prince of Sea Captain' image would be a loss as great for her as it would be for Philip, perhaps even more so. It would destroy everything she had been working for.

I confess I found the husband-wife banter to be a bit much; it is done very well but there is a limit, I think, to how much one can appreciate such a thing as a spectator. But there is a very real sense in which this is a story about the marriage itself, and about how a healthy, even if imperfect, marriage is not merely something that you happen to have, but something that contributes part of who you are.

Favorite Passage:

"The ship that will race another soon? OF course. Of course." The old man contemplated this for a time. "The captain's wife, friend, is a lovely creature. Indeed, and I am wondering fit he great achievement of my life could be an agent of unhappiness. It must not be, for the object of one's life on this earth is to do good in order to prepare for the next reincarnation. I promised Buddha of the great Shwe Dagon pagoda of Ragoon that I would look deep lest my artistry do evil."

"Evil? Do evil?" Cartwright began. "Now you look here--"

He got no further. The other raised a hand and said, "If honor exceeds all else in you, we can trade. But honor is not a virtue when one argues that he is the possessor of it. So I place you at a disadvantage, for which I beg a thousand pardons even as I await some word from you." (p. 170)

Recommendation: Recommended; it's an interesting, swift read.

-----

Garland Roark, The Lady and the Deep Blue Sea, Doubleday (Garden City, NY: 1958).

Lent X

We may likewise gather the number of the sacraments from their being instituted as a remedy against the defect caused by sin. For Baptism is intended as a remedy against the absence of spiritual life; Confirmation, against the infirmity of soul found in those of recent birth; the Eucharist, against the soul's proneness to sin; Penance, against actual sin committed after baptism; Extreme Unction, against the remainders of sins—of those sins, namely, which are not sufficiently removed by Penance, whether through negligence or through ignorance; Order, against divisions in the community; Matrimony, as a remedy against concupiscence in the individual, and against the decrease in numbers that results from death.

[St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 3.65.1.]

Note that the difference between this remedial scheme and the previous one is that this one is concerned with the 'parts' of every sinful action, moving from their bad root (absence or weakness of spiritual life) through the actual sins to their sinful effects.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Diagramming Syllogisms

Ruggero Pagnan, in two articles ["A Diagrammatic Calculus of Syllogisms", Journal of Logic, Language, and Information, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Summer 2012), pp. 347-364; "Syllogisms in Rudimentary Linear Logic, Diagrammatically", Journal of Logic, Language, and Information, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Winter 2013), pp. 71-113], develops a very nice diagrammatic system for syllogisms. It's particularly handy in that, unlike most of the other good diagrammatic systems, it can easily be typed.

First, for the basic categorical propositions:

All X is Y
X → Y

No X is Y
X → • ← Y

Some X is Y
X ← • → Y

Some X is not Y
X ← • → • ← Y

All of these are commutative; you can do them backwards (this helps for putting them together). So, for instance, you can always change X → Y to Y ← X.

We add two principles that let you add new premises in any argument:

Identity
X → X

Subalternation
X ← • → X

We need to be able to link diagrams by terms. For instance, starting with the premises,

X → Y
Y → Z

You can get

X → Y → Z.

In essence, we just overlap the Y's. And last, we need a rule that lets us delete mediating terms, so that by deleting Y and collapsing the arrows we can change this to

X → Z.

The major restriction is that we cannot delete bullets.

Given this, we can establish the Barbara syllogism:

1: M → P
2: S → M
--------------
S → M → P (by concatenation)
S → P (by deletion)

And so on with all the others.

Lent IX

...a perfect cure requires the perfect and complete expulsion of sickness. Now in this case there is a sevenfold disease, comprising three forms of sin -- original, mortal, and venial -- and four forms of penalty -- ignorance, malice, weakness, and concupiscence. Furthermore, as Jerome says, "what heals the foot does not heal the eye." And so it is appropriate that a combination of seven remedies are needed to drive out completely this sevenfold disease: against original sin, Baptism; against mortal sin, Penance; against venial sin, Extreme Unction; against ignorance, Orders; against malice, the Eucharist; against weakness, Confirmation; against concupiscence, Matrimony, which both tempers and excuses it.

[St. Bonaventure, Breviloquium, Monti, ed. and tr., Franciscan Institute Publications (St. Bonaventure, NY: 2005) p. 219. The quotation of St. Jerome is from the Commentary on Mark 9:28.]

Aquinas calls the four forms of penalty the "wounds of sin" (ST 2-1.85.3) and attributes the list to St. Bede, although we don't know why (it's not in any work by Bede that we know).

St. Thomas also has this scheme, but he mixes it with another scheme, the virtue scheme.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Lent VIII

Spiritual life has a certain conformity with the life of the body: just as other corporeal things have a certain likeness to things spiritual. Now a man attains perfection in the corporeal life in two ways: [I] in regard to his own person; [II] in regard to the whole community of the society in which he lives, for man is by nature a social animal.

With regard to himself man is perfected in the life of the body, in two ways: [IA] per se, i.e. by acquiring some vital perfection; [IB] per accidens, i.e. by the removal of hindrances to life, such as ailments, or the like. Now the life of the body is perfected per se in three ways.

[IA1] By generation whereby a man begins to be and to live: and corresponding to this in the spiritual life there is Baptism, which is a spiritual regeneration, according to Titus 3:5: "By the laver of regeneration," etc.

[IA2] By growth whereby a man is brought to perfect size and strength: and corresponding to this in the spiritual life there is Confirmation, in which the Holy Ghost is given to strengthen us. Wherefore the disciples who were already baptized were bidden thus: "Stay you in the city till you be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).

[IA3] By nourishment, whereby life and strength are preserved to man; and corresponding to this in the spiritual life there is the Eucharist. Wherefore it is said (John 6:54): "Except you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you."

And this would be enough for man if he had an impassible life, both corporally and spiritually; but since man is liable at times to both corporal and spiritual infirmity, i.e. sin, hence man needs a cure from his infirmity; which cure is twofold.

[IB1] One is the healing, that restores health: and corresponding to this in the spiritual life there is Penance, according to Psalm 40:5: "Heal my soul, for I have sinned against Thee."

[IB2] The other is restoration of former vigor through appropriate diet and exercise: and corresponding to this in the spiritual life there is Extreme Unction, which removes the residue of sin, and prepares man for final glory. Wherefore it is written (James 5:15): "And if he be in sins they shall be forgiven him."

In regard to the whole community, man is perfected in two ways.

[IIA] By receiving power to rule the many and to exercise public acts: and corresponding to this in the spiritual life there is the sacrament of Order, according to the saying of Hebrews 7:27, that priests offer sacrifices not for themselves only, but also for the people.

[IIB] In regard to natural propagation. This is accomplished by Matrimony both in the corporal and in the spiritual life: since it is not only a sacrament but also an office of nature.

[St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 3.65.1; I have made a number of modifications to the translation. Note, incidentally, since it is often missed, that the propagation Matrimony concerns qua sacrament is propagation in the spiritual life.]

A slight variation (particularly with regard to extreme unction and with spiritual propagation being given to Order rather than Matrimony) on this scheme is found in St. Thomas's catechetical writings:

First, man needs regeneration or re-birth which is brought through the Sacrament of Baptism.... Secondly, it is necessary that man develop perfect strength, which is, as it were, a spiritual growth, and this indeed comes to him in the Sacrament of Confirmation. This is like the strengthening which the Apostles received when the Holy Ghost came upon them and confirmed them.... The third similarity is that man must be fed with spiritual food.... Fourthly, man must be healed spiritually through the Sacrament of Penance.... Lastly, one is healed both in soul and in body in the Sacrament of Extreme Unction.... Two of the Sacraments, Orders and Matrimony, are instituted for the common good of the Church. Through the Sacrament of Orders the Church is ruled and is spiritually multiplied; and through Matrimony it is increased physically in numbers.

It is worth comparing this to the similar scheme (same with also a slight, and different, modification for extreme unction) of St. Robert Bellarmine:

Now, the reason why there are seven is that God customarily proceeds, in the way in which spiritual life is given, in an incorporeal manner. In as much as He considers the corporeal life: 1) it is necessary to be born; 2) to grow; 3) to be nourished; 4) whenever one must fight, he must be armed; 6) it is necessary that there be some head that rules all men after they are born and increased; 7) that there would be some to whom the duty to propagate the human race would fall, otherwise, if others were not born to succeed the dead the human race would forthwith go out of existence.In the same way, God also constituted this arrangement in the spiritual life. 1) It is necessary for us to be born in the grace of God through Baptism; 2) Confirmation makes it so that grace will grow and be fortified; 3) the Most Holy Eucharist is given so that grace might be nourished and sustained; 4) that whenever the medicine of Penance is received, the grace lost to the soul will be recovered; 5) that when a man is at the point of death he arms itself against the infernal enemy who attacks us more at that time than in any other time, which is done with Extreme Unction; 6) that there would be someone in the Church that rules and governs us in the spiritual life, which is done by one in Orders; 7) that there would be some in the Church who look to the spiritual propagation of the human race, whereby the number of faithful could be increased in this way, which duty is carried out in the Sacrament of Matrimony.
[St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctrina Christiana: The Timeless Catechism of St. Robert Bellarmine, Grant, tr. Mediatrix Press (pp. 153-154).]

Being the preferred scheme of Aquinas, the most widely read Doctor of the Church, and the scheme used by Bellarmine in his catechism, which for a long time was the most widely read Catholic catechism (and influenced a number of other catechisms), this scheme based on analogy with natural life is far and away the most common one. But, as we shall see the next few days, there are others based on analogy with medicine, with moral life, and with equipping an army.

With regard to the slight variations, all of them seem to work as they are; my own view is that Aquinas's catechesis on the sacraments has the best account of Unction (the Summa seems to give us only an indirect analogy, and Bellarmine seems to give us a secondary feature), but both Bellarmine and the Summa give a better account of Matrimony than it does (because spiritual propagation should in fact be assigned to Matrimony rather than Order). The reason is that sacramental theology in Church documents has stabilized in primarily thinking of anointing the sick as based on overflow of grace from spirit to body, while there has been an increasing recognition of the importance of Matrimony as the sacrament that forms the 'domestic church'; Order, on the contrary, is more concerned with maintaining and protecting the integrity of the whole sacramental economy.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Four Kinds of Nonsense Words

We can distinguish different kinds of nonsense words (including in that category nonsense phrases as well); not all nonsense words are equally nonsensical. Here's a rough classification, moving from most nonsensical to only borderline nonsensical.

(1) Arbitrary Gibberish: Examples might be 'sgjkdf' and 'wiouein' or 'dabalobidra'. These nonsense words have no meaning, no association, and are just an artifact of our ability to run through combinations that our language does not in fact use.

(2) Mock Vocabulary: Mock vocabulary has no sense in itself, but exists in a context that makes it work as if it does. Mock vocabulary is distinguished by Alice's Test: "Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas -- only I don't exactly know what they are!" An obvious example is 'vorpal' from Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky":

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

Alice's Test distinguishes mock vocabulary from arbitrary gibberish, which doesn't "fill my head with ideas". It also distinguishes mock vocabulary from the next kind of nonsense word, which does fill the head with ideas, but which depends on your knowing exactly what they are.

(3) Incompatible Combination: Examples of nonsense associated with definite ideas would be 'goat-stag', 'round square', and the like. This kind of nonsense has definite sense, arising from the component parts; it's just that those parts should not go together. You know what a goat is; you know what a stag is; you can't have something that is both simultaneously.

(4) Representative Gibberish: Gibberish is not completely divorced from language. Sometimes you want to say that something is gibberish, and one way you can do that is by labeling it with gibberish. 'Blah blah blah' is possibly of this sort; 'blictri' in logic examples is certainly of this sort. It's supposed to be gibberish; but because it is representative gibberish, it functions as a real word standing in for other kinds of gibberish, or (sometimes) for things that are not gibberish but practically speaking might as well be gibberish -- which means that even though it is nonsense it practically has a meaning. Everybody knows what 'blah blah blah' means in the Gershwin lyrics:

Blah blah blah blah blah blah your hair
Blah blah blah your eyes
Blah blah blah blah care
Blah blah blah blah skies

The whole point is that 'blah blah blah' is gibberish; it conveys that while lover's songs (especially those in movies) may put meaningful words in the place of 'blah blah blah', none of that meaning really makes much of a difference; and because it does convey this, in a paradoxical way it has meaning. That is what representative gibberish is: nonsense words that remain nonsense, but because they stand in for other things, act in language as if they had senses.

Lent VII

Regarding His human nature, Christ received His fullness, such that through Him it is derived to all. Jn. 1:14: 'Full of grace and truth'. And a little later: 'And of His fulness we all have received, and grace for grace'. And 3:34: 'For God doth not give the Spirit by measure'. And so baptism and the other sacraments do not have efficacy except by virtue of the humanity and the passion of Christ.

[St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentaries on St. Paul's Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, Baer, ed. and tr., St. Augustine's Press (South Bend, IN: 2007) p. 189. This is part of his commentary on Titus 3:6.]

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Lent VI

What has been said up to this point indicates not only the source of the sacraments but also their function and their fruit. Their source is Christ the Lord; their function is to prompt, to instruct, and to humble; their fruit is the healing and salvation of humankind. It is also clear that their efficient cause is their divine institution, that their material cause is their representing by a sensible sign, that their formal cause is gratuitous sanctification, and that their final cause is the medicinal healing of humankind. And because a thing's name comes from its form and its end, these signs are called 'sacraments,' as being remedies that sanctify.

[St. Bonaventure, Breviloquium, Monti, ed. and tr., Franciscan Institute Publications (St. Bonaventure, NY: 2005) p. 214.]

Monday, March 11, 2019

Politics, Academia, and Expertise

I have a theory, not very popular among most of my fellow academics, that academia has a natural tendency to corrupt politics and reduce it to a husk. There are a number of reasons for this. For instance, as any academic knows, academics (including administrators involved in academia) have a tendency to talk about problems rather than solve them; every academic sooner or later is faced with a problem that arises and the response of faculty and administrators alike is to have a committee meeting and talk about how bad the problem is, at the end of which no one has actually solved the problem, so that what solution the problem gets is likely worked up at last minute by whoever is left holding the bag. And social media has made this even worse, because this is something social media already tends to encourage, leaving us with what we sometimes seem to have, an entire nation of people who think they are addressing a problem by gossiping about it on Facebook or on Twitter. Progressivism and conservatism get replaced by chatter. But it's already something implicit in academia itself, theorizing the problems instead of solving them.

A much more serious problem is the fact that, academia being a realm heavily governed by considerations of reputation and symbolic gesture, academics tend to reduce all political problems to problems of self-identification and symbolic gesture -- it's about associating yourself with the right group, saying the mandatory things, checking off the right boxes, presenting yourself in the right way. I remember right after the election of President Trump, when people were just starting to talk about 'the Resistance', a number of academics in social media talking about what they were doing to be part of 'the Resistance'. And if you looked carefully at what they were doing to be 'the Resistance' it was -- exactly what they would be doing anyway. Their lists closely conformed to professional and contractual obligations that they already had. And when it went beyond, it was mostly talking or holding a sign in a protest, or some such thing. Now, it's true that these are things that could be minor contributions to some kind of act of defiance, on occasion. But this is not what was happening; it wasn't as if they were breaking down their real acts of defiance into their atomic parts. Rather, they were doing what we academics have a tendency to do when calls for action go out: they re-interpreted what they were already doing as symbolic defiance. And anyone who hangs around academics when talking about politics knows that this is very common.

An even more serious problem is that the modern educational system is structured by class oppositions. The whole point of the modern university system is to create an official educated class as distinguished from the uneducated class; if everyone were educated in the same way, it would be impossible to sell degrees for the price at which they are sold. And as a teaching institution, it is very, very tempting for both faculty and administrators to fall into the notion of a 'civilizing mission' -- that one's purpose is to teach the savage natives what they need to be civilized. While obviously people put it in less bald terms, nobody in academia manages consistently to avoid thinking of the broader public as the people who need to be taught civilization by academics. One sees it in mission statements and proposals that treat the purpose of education, or of liberal arts, as 'disorientation' or 'de-familiarizing the familiar' or 'teaching students to see the world differently'. These are all civilizing-mission notions. And this colonialism-at-home kind of thinking makes it very easy to be patronizing or even dismissive of the larger public, despite the fact that all of academia depends crucially, every day, on the good will of the public at large. We only exist because farmers and factory workers and people working in the fast food industry think it is, overall, good for us to exist. But it's very easy to forget that. I've occasionally had to point out to a colleague that if they don't think it's acceptable (even if not ideal) for their vote to be outvoted by two uneducated fast food workers who get their knowledge of the world from the alien programs of the History Channel, then they don't believe in democracy and should stop pretending that they do. Everybody knows that this is how democracy is supposed to work, everyone with the dignity of a contributing voice; history shows over and over again that academics forget it and think that they can dismiss the contributing voices of non-academics who disagree with them.

All of these are probably unavoidable. They follow from the kind of institution academic institutions are, and from the kind of people who tend to become attached to them. No academic avoids falling occasionally into these traps, because the temptations are always there. It does mean that academics should not consider themselves political leaders, and should be very careful not to go about (as has regularly happened in my lifetime) co-opting political movements; and that they should probably not, in most cases, consider themselves as contributing to politics qua academics but just as citizens among citizens, people among people. But there is one kind of corrupting influence that is very definitely avoidable, and that we are very definitely not avoiding, which aggravates all the others, and that is the tendency to associate universities with expertise.

Now, obviously there are a great many experts about a great many things in universities. But this is trivial. Here's a game anyone, academic or not, can play; I call it World's Greatest Expert. Identify something in which you are probably the world's greatest expert, other than yourself and things directly related to you, and give the reason why. For instance, I'm probably the World's Greatest Expert on William Whewell's ethics of Purity. The reason is that very few people study Whewell in particular; of those who study Whewell, very few study his moral philosophy; and there is so much to his moral philosophy that probably no one in the world has studied Whewell's discussions of Purity as much as I have, simply because I find them interesting and other people are interested in other things. When I did my dissertation, I was definitely and undeniably the World's Greatest Expert on Malebranche's account of our knowledge of the external world; I'd done a dissertation on it, and the reason I'd done a dissertation on it was because no one else had worked through the whole thing, so I had to do it. (My original intent had been to do a dissertation on Hume's account of the external world in its historical context; I ended up doing Malebranche because almost nothing had been done on his views of the topic of the kind that I needed for the 'historical context' part.) It would be a bit harder to argue today, since a bit more work has been done in the long ages since, but I'm still a candidate for being the World's Greatest Expert on the subject. I could spin these out all day -- and so could you. Some people will have an easier time of it -- I have a very easy time of it because I tend to study things other people haven't even heard about, and wouldn't study if they had -- but everyone is the World's Greatest Expert, if you just draw the boundaries right. And the reason is that all it takes to be the World's Greatest Expert is to have spent a bit more time, or studied at greater length, or even to have been in the right place at the right time to find, accidentally, the solution to a problem most people haven't even thought about.

Universities are often said to produce experts; this is kinda true, and highly misleading. They are very badly designed as institutions for expertise, for the simple reason that they were never designed for it at all. They exist for exploration and teaching, neither of which requires any sort of expertise, but both of which tend to produce expertise in exactly the same way that everything in the world tends to produce it -- if you spend enough time exploring or teaching, you eventually become an expert of some kind about something. Academics become experts on something because they spend an extraordinary amount of time doing something. But this is true of absolutely everyone who is not just flitting around doing in a dilettantish way what other people are doing more seriously. It's even more obviously true in politics, where we have to remove the restriction not to include things relating directly to yourself. As Mill argues, everyone tends to be the world's greatest expert on what's beneficial for them. That doesn't mean they are right -- experts, as we all recognize when we are thinking about it, are often wrong -- but it does mean that we are all usually the people best positioned and best informed on the subject. Other people may be more right, at times; no one is ever more of an expert on it.

The tendency to think of universities as having a special association with expertise has an especially detrimental effect, I think, on the interaction between academia and politics. And the reason it ends up being detrimental is that it leads academics to think their politics are intelligent when the truth is that everyone's politics are stupid, including their own. Note that this is not to say that everyone's politics are wrong. Your politics can be as right as rain, and the fact of the matter will be that it is not because of your extraordinary intellectual insights. Politics is complicated. That sounds trite, but nothing is more easily forgotten. You simply don't have the ability to consider all of the relevant possible points of view; you don't have the ability to foresee all of the negative effects of a proposal; you don't have the ability to investigate, thoroughly and properly, everything that politics covers. Nobody does. You might, due to your personal experience and background, have a better line of reasoning about this or that particular issue than other people. You have not reasoned better about everything; chances are very good that many of your political views are not based on any serious reasoning at all. If you're right about something in politics, the chances are very good that you are so because you happened to have copied someone who knew what they were talking about, simply because it sounded good. To muddle through politics, we all cheat off other people's tests. In other cases, you just might happen to have a background that put you in the right place to see something, by sheer luck. In other cases, you might have friends with good taste. To be sure, some of your political opinions are based on reasoning. But with a lot of the political opinions for which you can give reasons, you got the reasons after you got the opinions. There is nothing wrong with such rationalization; it's literally unavoidable. If we all only had political discussions about what we really and truly knew on rational grounds, we would all be silent most of the time, and practically speaking we would never be speaking up soon enough, to the perpetual aggravation of endless numbers of problems.

But the blurring of the notion of the academic as a specialized explorer (who might have come across things other people have not) and the notion of the academic as an expert (which, on any given point even in one's own field may or may not be very true) leads, I think, a great many people in academia to see their political views as more intelligent overall, rather than just having a better argument here or there, and thus as the template of other political views. And I think the same blurring often leads non-academics to think that if they can find an academic to dress up their arguments in academic jargons, or give additional arguments they can add to their own, that this shows that their views are really the intelligent and educated views. This is, I suspect, the root of the 'Historovox' that Corey Robin recently talked about: it's a genre for people who like to pretend that they have more rational foundations for their political positions than they actually do. Of course, everyone knows that there are academics who are crackpots outside their own field; for that matter, there are academics who are crackpots in their own field. But we still over-associate academic credential with expertise when the fact of the matter is that, at best, certain kind of academic resources and means make it easier to do the exploring that might lead to someone becoming an expert.

The fundamental test for an academic as to whether their politics is really reasonable is ultimately whether they treat their own politics as on the level with everyone else's, and thus whether they would be willing to admit that random people off the street, some of whose opinions they may think awful, probably sometimes have better arguments than they do about some things. Nothing about being an academic makes your politics superior. Nothing about being college-educated, for that matter, makes your politics superior. It just one of the things that makes it yours, if that happens to be your background.

It used to be that this was not so much of a problem; academics were an insular bunch. But I think that as time has gone on, people are learning their politics less and less from particular organizations (unions and societies devoted to particular causes) and more and more from being at college. It certainly seems to be the case that all of the academic corruptions of politics have been spreading. And we are all the less for it. Nothing is more dangerous than a society of lecturers; we lecturers aren't usually listening.

Lent V

[A sacrament] is a sensible thing that from the stable institution of Christ has a power for holiness, or for effecting and consequently signifying justifying grace....

For the essence of a sacrament is needed three things: (1) that it be a stable sign; (2) that it signify true holiness; (3) that it have its effect by the deed done [ex opere operato], that is, its use and application, by its own efficacy, not by the doer's doing [ex opere operantis], or by the act or disposition of the minister, or of the one who partakes -- which, although needed for the effect of the sacrament, is needed not as a cause but as a necessary condition [sine qua non].

[St. Alphonsus Liguori, Theologia Moralis, 6.1.1. My (rough) translation.]

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Passions and Reasons

We must renounce this idea that passion is murky (or obscure) and that reason is clear, that passion is muddled and reason is distinct. We all know passions that are as clear as fountain-springs and reasons, on the contrary, that always get tangled up in their own baggage train. One cannot even say that passion is rich and that reason and wisdom are poor, for there are passions as flat as billiard tables, and wisdom(s) and reasons as full and ripe and heavy as grapes.

[Charles Péguy, Notes on Bergson and Descartes, Ward, tr., Cascade Books (Eugene, OR: 2019) p. 28.]

To Do Without, Take Tosses, and Obey

Patience, Hard Thing
by Gerard Manley Hopkins


Patience, hard thing! the hard thing but to pray,
But bid for, patience is! Patience who asks
Wants war, wants wounds; weary his times, his tasks;
To do without, take tosses, and obey.

Rare patience roots in these, and, these away,
No-where. Natural heart's-ivy Patience masks
Our ruins of wrecked past purpose. There she basks
Purple eyes and seas of liquid leaves all day.

We hear our hearts grate on themselves: it kills
To bruise them dearer. Yet the rebellious wills
Of us wé do bid God bend to him even so.

And where is he who more and more distills
Delicious Kindness? - He is patient. Patience fills
His crisp combs, and that comes those ways we know.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Two New Poem Drafts

Saved

I see the sea turn gold
at the dawning of the light;
I see it fierce and bold
and leaping to the fight.
I see the glory pouring down
for the crowning of the wave
with angelic might,
and I know that we are saved.

Extreme Unction

Reminiscent,
as with some ancient memory,
but of what is above
as well as what is behind,
the recollection of serenity,
too often lost, yet always there,
descends with soothing scent,
the flesh pants like a hart,
yearning for living water,
loving and yearning to love,
with a kiss of the crucifix;
the heart is sick in the presence of God,
sickness merely a lacking of God,
a distance as upon a cross
that may be raised in sacrifice,
a purifying as if by fire.
Upon the head which knows,
upon the hands which do,
upon the body and its means,
the Spirit is given,
the oil is given,
and like the penitent thief
stealing into paradise,
the soul shares the Passion of God
in the mortality of the body,
and the spirit overflows,
redounding in splendid glory,
that the body be made sign
of its own resurrection.

Lent IV

...a sacrament properly speaking is that which is ordained to signify our sanctification. In which three things may be considered; viz. the very cause of our sanctification, which is Christ's passion; the form of our sanctification, which is grace and the virtues; and the ultimate end of our sanctification, which is eternal life. And all these are signified by the sacraments. Consequently a sacrament is a sign that is both a reminder of the past, i.e. the passion of Christ; and an indication of that which is effected in us by Christ's passion, i.e. grace; and a prognostic, that is, a foretelling of future glory.

[St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 3.60.3.]

Friday, March 08, 2019

Dashed Off V

When people say 'methodological naturalism', they often mean 'teleological naturalism' -- i.e., they are not actually taking naturalism as a method of inquiry but as an end.

"if something, no matter what, exists, then it must be conceded that something exists necessarily" Kant A585/B613
- necessary being is required for morality and religion (as a ground of the unity and purposiveness of the phenomenal world) A466/B494
- necessary being is required for theoretical reason (as a ground for the greatest possible unity of appearances) A617-8/B645-6

Note that Kant's Doctrine of Virtue is in fact a doctrina *officiorum* virtutis.

Vatsyayana: Conjunction causes new entities, so cannot be merely proximity and contact.

Virtue is unified because virtues are mutually supporting, and what is mutually supporting is unified, as we see in bodies and groups, which we can recognize as unified because their parts are mutually supporting; thus it is proved.

As human deeds take the form of thought, word, and external action, God commanded that when they sin, they should bring a ritual sacrifice as an action, confess as a word, and burn the sacrifice symbolically as a thought, replacing or substituting the thought, word, and deed of the sacrifice for that of their sin, so that, knowing they have sinned against God and that it would be more fitting to be sacrificed than to do so, they will know the mercy and lovingkindness of God. (Compare Nahmanides on Lv 1:9)

The probability of an event is relative to a frame of measurement.

We are not usually aiming at pleasure but at pleasant things; to aim at pleasure requires a higher-order reflection.

Effective policing requires recognizing two things:
(1) That people resent punishment given for reasons that they do not understand and regard as at least reasonable.
(2) That people resent punishment given by people who do not seem to be considering their best interests, at least broadly and generically.


"Only the simplest of pleasurable experiences are readily accessible to all." Joad

The exemplar cause is a term of imitation. Thus the sacraments can be seen as means of imitation. But this is surely not enough, for the sacraments are means of imitation by being instruments of divine acts, God acting on us so that we may imitate Christ,such that the imitation is a cooperation between us and the divine act itself.

God cuts with a scalpel, man with a hatchet.

Love is halfway to skill.

"Every generation is guided, and to a great extent governed, by ideal conceptions; and the conceptions which influence any given age are indicated by the abstract words which find most favour with it." James Fitzjames Stephen

imputability : act :: responsibility : agent (Grenier)

Marriage is sacred even as a natural institution, just as parental authority is hieratic even as a natural institution.

The rights of the state to educate are rights to assist and to supplement the education proceeding from the more basic parental right to educate, and to provide resources for educating in specifically civil matters (like civics or military training). The rights of the Church to educate spring from its divine mission; they include subsidiary and supplementary rights similar to those of states (but in a different order) and the rights of evangelization, catechesis, and the like.

Authority is a precondition of liberty.

To understand the basic idea of any field of mathematics, ask what different things it unifies.

asymmetric dependency theories of mental representation // regularity theories of causation
teleological theories of representation // powers theories of causation

In an environment of toxic discourse, all apology is treated as confession and all explanation is treated as attack.

That one loves reasoning does not mean one never tires of arguing.

kinds of doxography
(1) placita (topical arrangement of opinions)
(2) lives (biographical arrangement)
(3) diadochai (philosophical successions)
(4) chronologies (metrical arrangement)
(5) incidental (e.g., in miscellanies or in passing discussion)

If you take any society's metaphors too seriously, it will always sound like a society of savages.

From the fact that Homer calls the sky a (metal) bowl, one does not learn that the Homeric sky is a metal bowl; one learns that it is smooth and arching and bright in appearance.

the splitting (or splitness) of earth and sky as a fundamental part of human experience of the world, as witnessed by myths across the globe

Appearances are a glimpse of the obscure. (Anaxagoras)

It is pointless to say that Communism has never been implemented when trying-to-reach-Communism keeps resulting in endless poverty and murder.

It is an overlooked but important point that Confucianism doesn't say all that much about how to structure a family or a kingdom; this is not its chief interest. Structure it how you will -- if you do so wisely. And how to do so wisely is the matter of importance.

It is strange that Analects 7.34 is so often read as suggesting doubt about prayer when the natural reading is that prayer is something that is always done, not confined to times. This is a problem one regularly finds. Imagine a scenario analogous to Analects 11.11:
"The man came to the Desert Father and asked about service to God. The Father said: You do not yet know how to serve your neighbor. How will you be able to serve God?"
Would anyone conclude that this was a criticism of service to God, or a sign of agnosticism, or an insistence that the purely human is more fundamental? One would take it as providing an answer to the question asked, not a dismissal of it.
The point is not that there is some true religious reading here; it is that a reading is being imposed that itself prejudges what one should learn from the teacher. And every teacher knows that this jumping-ahead is one of the errors every student must overcome in order to learn.

Confucius did not teach himself as a subject. The Analects are not his whole teachings; they are his comments (at least the ones his students found very useful) on how to learn what he taught, which were the actual arts of civilized society.

Good manners require an attention to forum as well as to form.

If I haven't met John, I may have evidence for and against his existence. If I have met John, I see that all or most of the evidence against his existence was merely apparent, but I still have all the evidence that he exists. The only 'evidence against' that matters at that point is evidence suggesting I err in thinking I have met him.

Moral agreement is not a mere agreeing-that; it is at least an agreeing-for.

To talk about reasonableness is already to assume what is right.

To recognize an Other is in part to recognize them in a normatively structured relation to oneself.

I think with you; therefore we are.

"The great and the beautiful strikes the mind with veneration, and leads us to infer intelligence as residing in it, or directing it: a careful attention to the structure of our own nature and its powers leads to the same conclusion." Hutcheson

intrinsic dignity vs expressed dignity vs tastefulness with respect to dignity (i.e., adjunct dignity)

causes of moral disagreement (Hutcheson)
(1) Different notions of happiness and what promotes it.
(2) Narrower or more expansive views (the system in which the tendency of action is considered)
(3) Different opinions of divine command.

the intrinsically colonialist character of utilitarianism

global interventionism // colonialism

Meriting is a kind of partial causing.

metaphors as representational aids in conditions of scarce representational resources (Yablo)
-- In fact, of course, there is reason to think they can do this because metaphors are themselves a major part of our representational resources -- calling them 'aids' makes them sound as if they were supplements when in reality they are a major part of how we can represent at all.

It is perfectly legitimate to read off 'ontological commitments' from figurative statement; you just can't switch to a literal reading in the middle of doing so.

Paraphrase presupposes a classification whose resources can be used to select an alternate route for description. If I try to paraphrase 'The Queen has a corgi' without using the word 'corgi', I need to have some classification of corgi (e.g. as a breed of small herding dog originating in Wales) to be able to construct a different description to the same effect.

While etiological accounts of function are often put forward as neutrally objective and naturalistic, they are in fact irreducibly cognitive and rationalistic, for what actually does the work is not bare history but that history in particular that explains and makes intelligible.

Olfaction is a significant contributor to the ambience of the external world; consider sufferers of anosmia who, lacking all sense of smell, often find themselves disoriented, less easily able to connect to the world, perhaps because smell plays a significant role in classifying *situations* (home, presence of favorite foods, possible danger or worrisome something-or-other-wrong, being with loved ones, etc.).

It has always been tempting to think of olfaction as passive, but in fact a significant part of it is active sampling (sniff, attentive inhalation). Olfaction is basically one part of our chemical testing system; we test for chemical presence with our sense of smell.

elegance as goodness of logic-in-motion

By consistency with the principle of noncontradiction, things participate the unity of God (and vice versa: by their participation they are consistent).

Thought may give an object to a concept by empirical experience, by reflection, or by causal inference. In the first way we 'mix' with objects in the body; in the second, the mind is present to itself as object; and in the third we recognize that there is an object because of other objects.

Much of the critique of reason in Kant is simply a demonstration of what happens if you try to do rationalism with an empiricist account of existence and causation and system.

Kant's use of the term 'deduction' is legal, not logical, from the legal documents used to show that an acquired right was legitimately acquired (see Santo). Thus Kant is continuing the earlier practice of looking for 'the originals of ideas', tracing things back to what gives us the appropriate right to use them.

Welfare systems generally work by honor and shame, and break down if the latter do.

A child begins its life physically enfolded in the body of its mother, and also spiritually enfolded in the care of its parents, which lasts longer; in both cases the child is a person whose life is a partially distinct, partially indistinct part of the lives of the parents.

Kant's antinomies and the potentiality/actuality distinction
- the infinite regress side in each case as really showing that, for any given series, the series could be longer.

Etymologically the mark of an infant is not speaking (in-fans).

The prosperity of a society is the continual accumulation of modest gains.

The Scottish Enlightenment involved two elements: 200+ years of educational development (beginning with the founding of the universities -- St. Andrews 1413, Glasgow 1451, Aberdeen (King's College) 1495, Edinburgh 1583, Aberdeen (Marischal) 1593, and continuing with the Education Act 1496) combined with the new economic development arising from the Union.

It is with prudence that the natural image of God is made most clear, because by it we are most assimilated to God our providential Creator. But charity assimilates us to God in an even more fundamental way.

It is by their opposition to prudence that vices most clearly display how they degrade the human person.

Lent III

Signs are given to men, to whom it is proper to discover the unknown by means of the known. Consequently a sacrament properly so called is that which is the sign of some sacred thing pertaining to man; so that properly speaking a sacrament, as considered by us now, is defined as being the "sign of a holy thing so far as it makes men holy."

[St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 3.60.2.]

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Lent II

A sacrament occurs in a celebration when a deed done is so understood as to signify something that is received in a holy way. And so baptism and chrism, body and blood, are sacraments. These are called sacraments because, under the bodily skin of the thing, the divine power secretly works the salvation pertaining to those sacraments; thus on the basis of secret or holy power they are called 'sacraments'. These are fruitfully accomplished in the hands of the Church because the Holy Spirit dwelling in it works the effect in a a secret way....Thus in Greek it is called 'mystery', because it has a secret and concealed disposition.

[St. Isidore of Seville, Etymologies 6.19.39-42, my translation.]

I'd normally be hesitant to translate 'secretius' and similar words by 'secret', because (despite appearances) the word usually means 'private' or 'personal', not 'secret'; it's what gives us the word 'secretary'. Thus, for instance, the 'Vatican Secret Archives' sounds really confidential and mysterious in English, but the name literally just means that it is privately owned by the Pope -- it's basically the Pope's private filing cabinet (a library-sized filing cabinet!) for receipts, correspondence, and various miscellaneous documents pertaining to the Pope himself. It contrasts with the public archives of the curial offices. Here, however, while we could translate it as 'private' or 'personal', St. Isidore so emphasizes the fact of hidden power that this seems a rare case where the English word 'secret' is probably the best translation: a sacrament is a secret sacredness, a hidden hallowing.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

'Signify by Their Institution'

Thinking about today's Lenten quote from St. Bonaventure, and particularly the point where he says that sacraments signify by their institution, I suddenly saw something that I probably should have seen before, but only just realized. That sacraments signify by their institution is a standard position (as positive signs, it's obvious that they get their primary meaning from institution), but on Bonaventure's account of institution, it's not something that happens all at once. There is no single moment of institution. Christ did not, one day, out of the blue, suddenly say, "From now on, do this thing you've had no inkling of before." Rather, the institution as Bonaventure describes it (1) is a multi-stage action that (2) can be done in more than one way. In every case it involves some kind of build-up to a completion, and in every case the kind of institution is appropriate to the role of the sacrament in the overall sacramental economy of the Church.

Bonaventure divides the sacraments into several groups in terms of the kind of institution they received. Matrimony and Penance go together, Confirmation and Unction go together, and Baptism, Eucharist, and Order go together.

Matrimony and Penance: Bonaventure says that the kind of institution Matrimony and Penance have was that Christ "confirmed, approved, and brought [them] to perfection" (p. 221). The build-up to Matrimony and Penance is a very, very long build-up. Alexander of Hales had argued that Matrimony and Penance were both instituted as sacraments in Paradise, before the Fall, and after the Fall they were modified to be remedial, without becoming entirely different. Bonaventure doesn't go that far with Penance, but he does with Matrimony; he states multiple times that Matrimony is a paradisial sacrament. And he thinks there was a sacramental form of penance predating the Incarnation. God had already initiated sacraments of Matrimony and Penance, concerned with procreation and repentance. So what Christ does is confirm and complete these long-building sacraments, making them sacraments of the New Covenant "by preaching repentance, attending the wedding feast, and reasserting the command concerning the marriage" (p. 223). There wasn't much he actually had to do in order to institute Matrimony and Penance as evangelical sacraments; he just had to give them the final touch by making repentance a gospel precept, giving his example at the wedding at Cana, and establishing the conditions for marriage under the gospel.

Confirmation and Unction: Confirmation and Unction are very different sacraments but they do have definite similarities -- they both use oil, and they both have historically been adjunct to other sacraments (Baptism for Confirmation and Penance for Unction) -- so it's interesting that Bonaventure also groups them together for independent reasons. Bonaventure says that Christ instituted these two sacraments by insinuation and introduction. These sacraments had their essential features put together during Christ's life, when the disciples were participating in the work of the Holy Spirit but in an incomplete and anticipatory way. Thus the institution of some sacraments partakes of this anticipatory character. Confirmation was instituted "by imposing his hands on the little ones, and by foretelling that his disciples would 'be baptized with the Holy Spirit'" (p. 224); thus Christ gives his example and alludes to Confirmation. Unction was instituted "by sending the disciples to cure the sick whom they 'anointed with oil'" (p. 224); thus Christ combines the example and the allusion by giving his disciples the pattern that they will use.

Baptism, Eucharist, and Order: Christ instituted Baptism, Eucharist, and Order in a full and complete way; he "inaugurated, brought to perfection, and received" all three. Baptism as a distinctive sacrament was inaugurated and received by Christ's Baptism in the Jordan; he also completed it by giving it a definite form (the Trinitarian forum) and making it a precept. Order was instituted first by giving the power of the keys, and then by giving the power to confect the Eucharist. The Eucharist was instituted by Christ's comparing himself to a grain of wheat in John 12:24-25 (which is an odd choice, but I take it that this is supposed to be representative of Christ's Eucharist-relevant claims, rather than the sole component) and by the Lord's Supper. Bonaventure's view is that these sacraments were given special institution by Christ, to emphasize that they are the essential evangelical sacraments. (This contrasts with common Reformation and Counter-Reformation discussions which take Baptism, Eucharist, and sometimes Order to have the paradigmatic institution. Protestants would argue, for instance, that other sacraments were not sacraments because they were not instituted the way Baptism and Eucharist were; Catholics would disagree, but they still tended to take these two as being the standard pattern for sacramental institution. There is no standard or paradigmatic kind of sacramental institution on Bonaventure's account, however, since the institutions vary for reasons having to do with the different ways the sacraments are supposed to work, and the institution of these three is so far from being the standard template that their institution is extraordinary specifically to emphasize that they are especially central.) For the same reason, these three have the most Old Testament prefiguring.

Since sacraments signify by their institution, and since Bonaventure, unlike many, takes institution to be a multi-part thing, on Bonaventure's account, the signification of each sacrament has multiple elements. Marriage in the Garden of Eden does not merely anticipate sacramental marriage; it is actually part of the sacramental sign, as is the wedding at Cana. Christ's Baptism is part of the sacramental sign in sacramental Baptism. And so forth. And the differences in how each sacrament has traditionally been found in the Gospels are essential components in how they differ in signification. Christ didn't give Anointing the Sick a defective institution by never saying "Do this in memory of me" or "Go out and do this to all nations", the way he did with the Eucharist and Baptism; he gave it the institution that was appropriate to it as a very different kind of sacrament with a very different role in the sacramental economy. And so forth. It's a very interesting approach.

-----------

St. Bonaventure, Breviloquium, Monti, ed. and tr., Franciscan Institute Publications (Saint Bonaventure, NY: 2005).

Lent I

We must maintain the following about the source of the sacraments: that they are sensible signs divinely instituted as remedies in which, "under the cover of material realities, divine power operates in a hidden manner." Thus, "they represent by similitude, signify by their institution, and confer a certain spiritual grace by sanctification" through which the soul is cured from the weakness of its vices. They are principally ordained to this as their final end; but as subordinate ends, they also are a means of humiliation, instruction, and exercise.

[St. Bonaventure, Breviloquium, Monti, ed. and tr., Franciscan Institute Publications (Saint Bonaventure, NY: 2005) pp. 211-212. The quotations are from St. Isidore (Etymologies 6.19.40) and Hugh of St. Victor (On the Sacraments 1.9.2).]

I've decided this Lent to make sacraments the theme.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Evening Note for Tuesday, March 5

Thought for the Evening: Person as Subsistent Right

Antion Rosmini wrote a voluminous philosophical study of the concepts of 'right' and 'rights'. 'Right' he defines as "a moral power, or authority to act" or "a faculty of acting, protected by moral law, which obligates others to respect it" (The Essence of Right, Book I, Chapter I). 'Rights' are right as applied to specific cases, and they are known on the proprietà, which Cleary and Watson like to translate, sensibly, as 'ownership', but which I think could sometimes be better translated as 'belonging'. Rights concern what is your own, what belongs to you, what is proper to a person.

The most obvious thing we might want to say is your own is you. But obviously in some sense it's also odd to say that you belong to you. The reason is that your 'right to your own person' is not a right like other rights, but in some sense more fundamental. If we think about the definition of 'right', where do we find it? All the elements of it are found in the person, as an intellectual subject capable of free action. Right is just a way of being a person. On the basis of this, Rosmini argues, we should say that a person is subsistent right (Rights of the Individual, Book I, Chapter III, Article I). To talk of human rights is just to talk about the human person.

We can see this in another direction by considering reason itself, and how it gives everyone who has it a power of dominion or authority:

But because the dignity of the light of reason (ideal being) is infinite, nothing can be superior to the personal principle which of its nature acts on the promptings of a teacher and lord of infinite dignity. Such a principle is naturally supreme; no one has the right to command that which depends upon the commands of the infinite.
[Antonio Rosmini, Rights of the Individual, Cleary & Watson, trs., Rosmini House (Durham:1993) p. 21.]

It follows from this that one always has a duty not to injure the person. But right is the complement of duty. Thus the person is subsistent right. All specific rights concern what belongs to a person, what is proper to the person, what is personal. The person has dominion, first over the capabilities and capacities they have by nature, then over extensions of these as we acquire new personalia, things that are ours, things that become united to us.

All of rational jurisprudence, then, can be derived from the proper understanding of the person; and, conversely, a poor understanding of the person will lead to a poor understandings of the rights that a person has or can have. The human person is the principle or standard that establishes the genus of all human rights. It also follows from this recognition that there are natural rights (although Rosmini prefers to call them 'rational rights'), and that all positive rights in fact depend on these natural rights and ultimately on subsistent right itself.


Various Links of Interest

* Richard Pettigrew, Dutch Books, Money Pumps, and 'By Their Fruits' Reasoning

* Namwali Serpell, The Banality of Empathy. This is a fascinating discussion of literature and ethics, and I'm still sorting through what my thoughts about it are.

* Medieval Pattern Poems of Rabanus Maurus

* Drossbucket reviews The Eureka Factor; the review ends up being an excellent discussion of the nature of creative insight.

* Lynne Olson, The Hedgehog's Great Escape, tells some of the fascinating story of Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, who joined the French Resistance, became perhaps its foremost spy, and managed to escape the Gestapo.

* Jordana Cepelewicz, Smarter Parts Make Collective Systems Too Stubborn. (The title is somewhat misleading; the article really reviews various ways in which changes to parts can improve or mess up the systems of which they are part, sometimes in surprising ways.)

* Thomas Hurka, From golf to Grand Theft Auto, why do we love playing games? I remember being in graduate school and Thom even then was arguing for Bernard Suits's analysis of games as a model of philosophical analysis. I talked about what are, in my view, the strengths and weaknesses of the analysis before (ten years ago!).

* Jacob Stegenga argues that there are serious problems with the standard reasoning by which we take the usual antidepressant medications to be antidepressant.

* Since the dose makes the poison, I shouldn't be surprised, but apparently you can become seriously intoxicated from drinking too much Earl Grey (due to the oil of bergamot). I've heard, although I don't know the medical facts, that the same is true of jasmine in tea. You have to drink a lot, though.

* Luke Timothy Johnson, Can We Still Believe in Miracles? and Michael Sweeney, Beyond Personal Piety: The Laity’s Role in the Church’s Mission from Commonweal; both of these are far superior articles than I have seen in Commonweal for a long time.

Currently Reading

Garland Roark, The Lady and the Deep Blue Sea
Blaise Pascal, Pensees
Etienne Gilson, The Unity of Philosophical Experience
Plotinus, The Enneads
Jules Verne, L'Archipel en feu

Monday, March 04, 2019

Kant's Categorical Imperative

This is a handout I give my students when discussing Kant's categorical imperative. It's always astounded me how much confusion there is when it comes to discussing the organization of Kant's account of the formulations of the categorical imperative in the Groundwork. The discussion always seems to me to be quite lucid -- Kant gives the categorical imperative (the first on the list below) and then gives three formulations of it adapted to different kinds of moral vocabularies (the Law of Nature formulation, the End in Itself formulation, and the Kingdom of Ends formulation, which are the next three respecitvely), all three of which are supposed to be different ways of stating the one categorical imperative. Each of the formulations emphasizes a different aspect of the original statement of the categorical imperative (universality, maxim, and law, respectively).

But when you turn to discussions of it, it is remarkably how confused and confusing even some of the scholarship is. For instance, you find discussions where there are two 'Law of Nature formulations', where there is an Autonomy formulation that is distinct from the Kingdom of Ends formulation, etc. Many of these interpretive choices make no sense at all. For instance, the discussion of autonomy is quite clearly building up to the Kingdom of Ends, and Kant never actually gives a distinct 'Formula of Autonomy' at all -- the Kingdom of Ends formulation is the Autonomy formulation. There are many discussions that certainly get it right, but there are perhaps just as many that make a pig's breakfast of it, as well. And it can matter, since many of the criticisms that are made of Kant's account don't make much sense once you recognize how it is structured. For instance, people sometimes say the formulations are not equivalent, but recognizing that each formulation is simply emphasizing one of the elements of the categorical imperative makes it clear that Kant's claim that they are is at least plausible. If you chop up the discussion of the formulations in the wrong way, though, it wouldn't be surprising if you ended up with things that weren't equivalent.


*****

Categorical Imperative

Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.

A ‘maxim’ is a “subjective principle of acting”; it is the rule someone makes in a decision that is based on their own circumstances and conditions.

Kant also summarizes this as: Always choose in such a way that the same willing includes the maxims of our choice as a universal law.


Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a universal law of nature.

‘Nature’ in its broadest sense means everything that is determined by universal laws, so this formulation emphasizes the universality.

Kant also summarizes this as: Act on maxims that can at the same time have for their object themselves as universal laws of nature.

Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person, or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means.

An absolutely universal moral principle would have to be based on something whose existence is of absolute worth or value (something that could function as an ‘end in itself’); and this means value for every rational being precisely because they are rational. The only thing that can have worth for every rational being in this way is rational nature itself. Another way to put it: The only end that can be proposed by a moral law supposed to legislate for all rational beings in all possible circumstances is an end that is available to all rational beings in all possible circumstances. The only such end is rational nature itself.

This formulation emphasizes the maxim: the categorical imperative requires restricting our maxims so that they conform with universal law; this formulation recognizes that doing so requires restricting our maxims so that rational nature is always paramount.

Act according to the maxim of a universally legislating member of a merely possible kingdom of ends.

To recognize yourself as being an end in yourself, you must recognize that you, as a rational being, are legislating universally for all rational beings, independent of any interest or incentive.

By ‘kingdom’ is meant a society of different rational beings united by common laws. Since each rational being, as rational being, legislates universally for all rational beings, one can think of a kingdom whose members are each autonomous legislators, who are able to be united because they are all willing the same law; and for this law to be universal, it would have to treat rational nature as an end in itself. Thus such a society would be a ‘kingdom of ends’. It is said to be ‘merely possible’ because we are not talking about a society that actually exists, but only a society that we can form by our actions.

‘Autonomy’ is legislating for oneself; it is the opposite of ‘heteronomy’, receiving one’s laws from another. The only law that could be universally valid for all rational beings is the kind of law that rational beings legislate for themselves as rational beings. The only permissible actions, therefore, are those consistent with the autonomy of a rational will.

Worth is determined by law. Because rational beings are self-legislating ends in themselves, and thus are the source of law, they have absolute worth. This absolute worth is called ‘dignity’, a pricelessness that means nothing else can be substituted for them as being of equal or greater value. The only correct attitude toward something with the absolute worth of dignity is respect. It is because they have dignity that human beings are called ‘persons’.


Kinds of Moral Principle that Would be Heteronomous

Empirical (based on happiness)
Private Happiness
Moral Sentiment

Rational (based on perfection)
Divine Will
Relations of Perfection

Kant tells us that moral sentiment is a better candidate than private happiness, and relations of perfection a better candidate than divine will; neither moral sentiment nor relations of perfection weaken the force and authority of moral law, whereas private happiness and divine will do. Relations of perfection are a better candidate than moral sentiment because they are matters of pure reason. None of these, however, are capable of being a foundation for morality because they separate the source of moral law from the rational being who is supposed to follow moral law.